I’m going on a Lion Hunt (I’m going on a Lion Hunt),
But I’m not afraid (I’m not afraid),
Cuz I’ve got my gun (I’ve got my gun),
Fifty bullets at my side (fifty bullets at my side),
I remember singing this as a small child. Right from the start my heart would race and my head would swim in a sea of excitement and danger. Then the leader would shout ‘Stop!’ and always at this point in the song, I would be filled with a small but palpable panic. What is the obstacle going to be? I don’t want to be stuck! I gotta figure out how to get outta’ here!
Can’t go over it!
Can’t go under it!
Gotta go through it.
And on and on the song would go. This band of five and six year olds lion hunting, would go around, under, over and through obstacles in order to find themselves a lion! If you remember there was a climax to the song where the participants were told to RUN because a lion was on the move. I don’t really remember whether we ever got to shoot the lion or what, I just remember that when our leader would prompt us to run, I would run (on the spot of course) with abandon, determined to not get caught by the lion.
It dawned on me the other day that my life has been a little bit like that song. As a young person I tried to equip myself with everything that I would need to survive this life. I tried to prepare myself, follow the rules as best as I could, brought great companions along for wisdom and guidance and I expected that all would be well. Until it wasn’t. Until I was so filled with fear and anxiety that I no longer wanted to even be on the journey. Somehow, I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t cut out for lion hunting. I preferred to disappear into the thick reeds of avoidance and camp there until it was safe.
The problem with the run and hide strategy is that you never gain confidence in your ability to face the challenges and pain that life can throw at you. What is true for the children’s song rings true in my life. There is always going to be pain, trials, frustrations, fears, broken hearts, shattered dreams…and though I have often tried, I can’t go over them, I can’t go around them, I’ve got to go THROUGH them.
I have recently made a conscious effort to go through the things that terrify me instead of freezing in fear or avoiding them altogether; situations that I would normally convince myself I cannot tolerate or survive. Situations like: putting myself out there again in the performing world, even though I’m not perfect, and don’t have the talent I think I should (or wish I had); attempting to connect my dichotomous worlds of ‘good ol’ stay at home Mom’ who’s main focus is her family and performing in theatre. As always – I long for the PERFECT way of doing things – the perfect way to fight that lion and end up victorious! However, the painful truth of the matter is that if I don’t TRY, I won’t ever learn. If I don’t fall, I won’t ever gain the strength to lift myself up again.
It is uncomfortable and at times, painful to be in combat with the lion. It attacks, scratches, preys and pounces. However, instead of trying to suppress my fear or ignore my feelings, I am trying to be mindful and honest about my experience. I am also preparing and arming myself with the tools (and people) that I will help me ‘make it out alive’. I am also giving myself permission (best-selling author Brene Brown recommends even writing a permission slip to keep in your pocket!) to cancel the hunt and have a backup plan, should the fear or confrontation of the lion be too much for me on a particular day. A hunt can always be rescheduled to a later date.
My next hunt will still terrify me. And maybe the next one will as well. But maybe, if I stop dropping and rolling out of my life, I might just move THROUGH what terrifies me, and develop a confidence in my own safariing abilities, no matter what I encounter.
Becoming Ordinary: Year 2 Day 26