Archetypal characters are found in the stories of all cultures. The ‘trickster’ character type, represented by Coyote, arrives in our lives to shake things up and help wake us up. Right now we are in a collective ‘wake up’ call and it’s important we don’t go back to sleep.

Imagine the Scene

The camp is organised as a circle of tents with an open fire flaming in the centre. There are smells of food cooking and the soft light of the dusk sky, reflects the beauty of the in between worlds of day and darkness.

An idyllic scene until out of the blue, a squeal from one of the campers raises the alarm. The campers are shocked awake from their drugged like states, just in time to spot the coyote, which has snuck into the space and is dashing off with the sausages! 

Everything suddenly becomes chaotic, someone trips over a tent peg collapsing a tent which catches fire. The kids inside the tent are screaming and the coyote and the sausages are forgotten as the need for damage control takes over.

Everyone at the campsite responds differently. Team leaders annoyed and declares “This trip was all  perfectly planned, no-one told me there were coyotes out here”. Team Vegan thinks it’s karma and the animals are winning this one! Camp Mother is worried about how she’s going to care for 8 freaked out children. She didn’t volunteer for this level of responsibility, she’s tired and she doesn’t feel she can handle the kids on her own. 

One of the kids is crying uncontrollably, unsettling all the others, he just wants to go home and he wants his mother now! The bus driver is triggered by the heightened emotions and he wishes he’d brought some more whiskey, looks like it’s going to be long night ahead.

Stories as teachers

Story telling is one of humanities oldest healing salves. It is the starting place of all health and wellbeing consultations. We share our stories to make sense of our relationships, events, reconnect with values, convey life’s ethics, and integrate our life lessons.

How we respond to ‘life’s wake up calls’, surprises and the unexpected, depends on our points of view. How we think about these situations affect how we engage with them and there are many factors, such as roles, backgrounds, life experiences, energy levels, state of mind and inner and outer resources.

Story telling is one of humanities oldest healing salves.

Unpacking the themes and characters of the story

  1. Coyote and the surprising happenings of our lives come to wake us up. The time of day is dusk, the time when the darkness is taking over the day. It is a threshold, a passage from one phase of life to the next. At times of transition the view is not very clear, it is harder to see what is happening.

2. Most of the kid campers were lounging in their tents looking at their phones, semi-comatosed by the low levels of dopamine. Coyote is having fun, he’s gobbled down the sausages and is already looking for his next ‘wake up’ job. Surprise happenings generally activate urgent responses, fuelling further chaos, the collapsed tents and the fire.

3. Our life roles dictate our positional authority. How we show up in our roles directs our performance. Team leader is on the ‘us and them’ spectrum and sees how this situation could soon get tricky. He’s thinking about who to blame. Team Vegan sees it all as ‘cause and affect’. Camp Mother doesn’t want to do this alone and wishes she’d enlisted the support of the sisterhood. She realises straight away it’s time to stop playing the role of supermom and get some help!

4.The kid who is crying had big reservations about coming. He wets the bed and all his worst nightmares are coming true. He just wants to go home and see his Mum. The other kids are resonating with this idea and the collective fear factor is ramping up, rippling through the scene. Feeling strong emotion is not an option for the bus driver, he wants to escape as fast as possible and whiskey is his path.

What happens next ?

A day later Camp Mother has regrouped. She has enlisted the support of a wise grandmother who hosts a talking circle around the fire. Her quiet elders voice, and kind Hearted presence soothes everyones emotions.  A few people speak about how they felt, opening up the communal mirror for the group. Everyone hears how thier common need is shared, they all just want to feel safe and at ease with themselves and others. 

The kind Hearted leadership approach and warms everyone up, and before long the group is united. They all agree to all contribute to the success of their week together. With a common purpose, Team Leader was able to create a new management plan with assigned tasks and responsibilities. Everyone knows what is happening next, it’s simple and doable.


Right now we are experiencing a collective ‘wake up’ call. The board has been flipped, the game that was never fair is finishing. It is time for a restart. Step be step we can navigate our way through this time to shift from breakdown to breakthrough.

To begin we make time to listen to ourselves and each other. We start by reconnecting to the simple, primal things that reset our lives, sleep, food, rest and time in nature. Re-ordering these basic rhythms helps us to settle. From this more grounded position we can start to connect to what has real meaning in our lives. At this point we reconnect to the ‘knowing’ of the Heart, which is unavailable when the body-mind is in over-drive! 

‘Wake Up Calls’ are always an indication we haven’t been listening to what we know deep down. They always come when we are ‘off track’. In Chinese medicine, these peak times of change, are referred to as ‘Life Gates’, which can be used for deep healing and transformation. We are all at a threshold, leaving behind an old world and creating a new one. It is a time of threshing, sorting out the rubbish from the good stuff. It’s definitely not comfortable for most of us, which is to be expected. 

Through times of transition where the view is not yet clear, it’s important to open up, be willing to adjust our positions, expand our perspectives, and see life from higher points of view. There is a divine order operating here and yet it’s a mysterious process, which is difficult to accept, when we been brainwashed to think if we plan well ‘everything will work out the way we want it’, a head dominant point of view. 

The view from the Heart’s perspective, signified in our story by the wise grandmother, embraces all points of view. Sharing in the talking circle, everyone had an opportunity to express what was happening for them. When we approach challenges first with just listening, without trying to fix, we engage the Hearts capacity to sit in the awareness of ‘what’s meant to be is meant to be’. This can be hard to accept during a time of crisis, as we have all been conditioned to think in terms of good/bad and right/wrong, which is the way of a head used to judging.

The heads healthy role and job, is to focus like a spotlight on managing the details of life. It likes to plan, analyse, organise, manage timelines and numbers. The head’s role was demonstrated in this story, by the creation of a new shared community management plan, with doable steps and practical actions.

The Heart by contrast is like the sun in the sky which sees the overall big picture view, from higher points of view. It knows what’s appropriate because it recognises the others in the picture and what’s needed to create a harmonious picture.

As we learn to live by aligning our Heads and Hearts, we will start to orient around what’s truly important to us and others and adjust plans and direction to suit. Using the power of these two intelligences we can help ourselves and each other, wake up and step by step recreate our lives aligned with what really matters.


  • Cameron Tukapua

    Chinese Medicine Practitioner I Strong Hearted Leadership Coach

    You Being You

    Cameron Tukapua synthesises her lifetime study of clinical acupuncture and professional development training into wellbeing and spiritual self-identity courses through You Being You. "As a sensitive high energy person it was massive relief to discover and start studying Chinese Medicine at age 21. It literally saved my life! Immediately I could see where I belonged in the world and how to strengthen my mind-body balance. This time tested medical tradition shows us how we connect to the world around us, and how the body-mind is one system . Teaching and learning has been a lifelong passion. For nearly a decade I owned and directed the "Christchurch College of Holistic Healing" offering full time Acupuncture practitioner training. Since 1993 I have co-led Mind-body Wellbeing retreats in Hawaii, China, Bali and New Zealand. What I know is people transform when they learn how to be their own healers and teachers. What we really need to know is inside us all. Facilitating connection to ourselves, others and universal energies, is my contribution to the Wellbeing revolution. The YBY courses provide simple clear reference points on HOW to nurture lifelong wellbeing for the body mind. The focus is on connecting to our true Heart nature. The teachings are Uplifting, Heartfelt and Unifying."