A few weeks back I was practising for my upcoming backpacking trek by trudging to the bank in the heat of the day, with 10 kilos in my pack. I was going to pay for the re-printing of my Grandmother’s wildflower book and was on the tail end of five days of high stress load, feeling overwhelmed by suddenly becoming a publisher and a hiker on top of everything else in my life.
I knew I wasn’t balanced because my body was telling me so, and I had noticed my thinking patterns were getting a little unhealthy. Suddenly, a leprechaun jumped on the back of my pack. I pushed it off, cross that my psychic imagination was encroaching on my personal space without being invited, knowing this was another sign that I was pushing myself too hard, and losing my grounding.
The leprechaun didn’t go away. It muttered crossly about me being very rude and proceeded to explain that it was trying to help me find treasure. Great. I obviously wasn’t getting enough sleep. I told the leprechaun I wasn’t dumb, I’d read plenty of stories about genies and three wishes and promises of treasure: there’s always a catch. It always backfires. Sorry, not interested. And besides, what’s in it for you?
The leprechaun said he would get a spotters fee. I repeated that I wasn’t interested and he eventually went away and left me alone. Reflecting later that day, I realised I’d just had an encounter with trickster energy; a universal archetype that pops up and plays games with us whenever we are taking ourselves and life too seriously. When a part of us wants something almost too much, it can easily be lead astray by someone saying just what we want to hear. The parts of us that are prone to being sucked in by trickster energy are the ego and the romantic inner child who believes in fairy tales.
For me, the trickster encounter was a good shake up. I needed to slow down, meditate, and do some healing on myself, so I did and immediately felt so much better. Trickster energy has always been a good friend to me, pointing out when I’m going astray. My male guide Tomas is part trickster energy. If he starts playing annoying tricks on me, I know I’m being over-serious and need to chill out.
Weeks later, the encounter with the leprechaun started making lots of sense on a metaphorical level. I noticed myself talking a lot about how I don’t ever again want to be fooled into entering contracts with people who talk the good talk but don’t actually have any substance. I’ve become very wary. This wariness includes a degree of cynicism about the allure of wealth and success. I’ve watched lots of people pursue these pathways at the expense of their integrity, happiness and freedom and I don’t want to follow. Treasure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And real treasure often isn’t out there in the material world anyway- real treasure is usually more intangible and no one can sell it to you- you find it inside yourself. I’ve had enough of people trying to sell me things. I’ve had enough of trickster energy in the world around me telling me (and everyone else) that we will become happier more substantial people if we strive to achieve success, fame and wealth.
My inner child has told me that the treasure she values is freedom, and contrary to popular opinion, freedom isn’t something that arrives automatically on the tail feathers of success and wealth. In fact, the pursuit of success and wealth can come at the cost of personal freedom. I don’t need to go searching for treasure because I already have it. I’m quite open to receiving or becoming aware of more treasure in my life, but I’m not about to launch wild goose chases going after things that glitter in the night because in most cases it’s a sham; a crazy trickster distraction that stops me from appreciating and engaging with the real treasures in my life. You don’t have to be successful or wealthy to be happy or free. Most times, happy and free is already here, just waiting for us to stop looking up flagpoles and start being fully present in our own lives.