GIFTS: Concentration. Focus. Patience. Gentleness. Zen-like calmness. Clear sight and discernment (black and white).
CHALLENGES: Not seeing or accepting the nuances (gray) of life. Stubbornness. Rejection.
Spirit animal Panda offers the gifts of concentration and discernment. Physical pandas eat only bamboo leaves. The message for you is not literally to limit yourself to only one food source, but rather to focus your attention on the one single most important thing in front of you right now. No multi-tasking. Just one thing. I’m reminded of Jack Palance’s admonishment to Billy Crystal in the movie “City Slickers”: “One thing.” The most important thing is the one thing.
Call in Panda when you are procrastinating or feeling distracted. This applies to when you’re distracted from the people you’re with. Hanging out with your kids? Put the iPhone away. (I know how hard it is!) Having dinner with a friend, a date, or your spouse? Be there fully and completely with them. Concentrate all of your attention on them and see the amazing response you get.
A wonderful and easy meditation you can do to hone your Panda gifts is to close your eyes and repeat to yourself (out loud or silently): “Just this. Just this. Just this.” Repeat the mantra slowly and gently. There doesn’t need to be a tempo or rhythm to it. It doesn’t have to match your breathing. When your mind starts to wander—which is totally fine—softly bring it back with the reminder “Just this.” You can even imagine bamboo leaves if you want to!
Panda’s gift of discernment comes from the black/white nature of Panda. The world is not black and white, of course. Most of the world is swirling in grays—and purples, reds, yellows. . . . Panda offers you the gift of discernment that comes from clear sight, from being able to tell one thing from another, from being able to pick out the truth from the lies and the “more right” from the “less right”—or the outright wrong.