Owls have always been quite illusive to me. I have only seen them 3 times, the most recent being last week. But let me start with the first time. 

The first time I ever saw an owl was with one of my best friends Jonathan, we were driving; as we had spent so much time doing together, and I remember thinking about how cool it was, yes this may sound kind of lame but I live in the mountains and it wasn't until I was 22 years of age that I saw my very first owl. I will never forget this, it was perched in a tree and I only saw it for a second or two but it seemed like a mini milestone moment. 

The second time I saw an owl was 12 days after Jonathan had passed away. This time I got a much better view, I was in the passenger side of Jonathan's car once again. I was traveling with his wife and daughter and we were on our way to the beach, it was a cool spring day and we all needed to take a break and decided to convoy with some friends to a beach about an hour away. We were driving along a road that has only recently been paved and is still primarily used for logging and is usually quite deserted. We were traveling along a long straight stretch and this huge bird which I recongised by its very flat face to be an owl dive bombed the car. I could have reached out the window and touched it and its noble eyes looked straight into the vehicle. To any one else it would have looked as though this wise creature were trying to commit suicide but to both Chelsea and I we knew this was merely Jonathan saying hello - and scaring the hell out of us!

The third time was last week, I drove into work and realized that I had forgotten my lap top at home which is 45 minutes away. Furthermore I was also nearly out of gas and had noticed that the only gas station in between was closed. Now at this point I had to make a decision: do I go into the next town to fill up, likely adding about 20 minutes to my journey or do I chance it on the next town that is more 'on my way' and was about 20 minutes away. I decided to chance it. I had two bars left on my gas meter, well as soon as I turned onto the highway towards home, the 'no turning back point' it dropped to one bar - now why is it that the first half of the gas tank seems to last so much longer then the last, this I always wonder, and as that second to last bar disappeared my stomach dropped. I have already realized that if I run out of gas this will likely take about an hour out of my trip rather then the 20 minutes that I had previously been concerned with and as I thought my most positive thoughts and said 'come on baby - you can make it' to my car this owl swooped down right across the road in front of me. And once again it scared the hell out of me, while at the same time providing me with the comfort to know that I was going to make it. Though let me tell you when I was still 10 minutes away and that last bar disappeared I became slightly desperate, I still knew that this must be Jono telling me that I was going to make it.
A sign. 
And I did, by the skin of my teeth I am sure but I did.

Approaching 2011 with the Leadership of the Cougar

Every year I look forward to doing some goal setting at the end of December, often due to the holiday I end up doing mine the first couple of days in January. While I have set up some professional goals I have been waiting for some quiet time to set my personal goals. I have thought quite a bit about it but I do intend to write out a detailed plan. When I want something I plan.... despite what 'The Secret' says, I believe that it requires a little more then some positive thinking - Positive thinking can go a long way; however I believe that they need to be a little more directed. Sitting down and writing out your intentions will certainly help you to achieve them, especially if you add the actions of following though.
This is without a doubt the best way for me to achieve what I want.

That being said last night I kept dreaming about Cougars, so I looked up the totem and here is what is says:

This is a very powerful, but very difficult totem. 
Cougar medicine is the lesson of the use of power,
how to be an effective, fair leader and not abuse power.
This totem’s gift is how to balance power, intention, strength and grace. 
It is the balance of body, mind and spirit.  
The first responsibility of leadership is truth. 
Remember:  Responsibility is no more than the ability to respond to any situation. 
Cougar can teach you how to bring out your power
and fill your heart with it that will enable you to take charge of your life. 
You can use Cougar power to defend yourself or to attack. 

(This is an excerpt taken from Lin's Domain )
I think this is a great philosophy to take with me into the New Year, and tonight as I set my goals and intentions forth I will be taking this into consideration.