A Lion Hunt…

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Amazing photo captured by photographer Nicol Spinola Photography www.nicolspinolaphotography.com Thanks Nicol for sharing your amazing art with us!

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

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Hope on the Horizon

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I haven’t had a chance to write in a LONG time.

It’s not that my mind hasn’t been buzzing with things to write about – it has.  However, getting those thoughts down on ‘paper’ is what has been difficult.  With my kids off for the summer, I have been focusing more on family time and togetherness and less on myself which, let me tell you, is a welcomed relief and mostly a good thing.

Usually, my own thoughts about myself, my life, my ‘issues’, my destiny are like constant raindrops making their way through a waterlogged leaky roof – annoying, relentless and impossible to ignore.  However, with the distraction of my kids, our gorgeous new deck that we’ve been living on, and my lack of alone time, I’ve had only moments of deep self reflection that have quickly been swept up in the activity of the moment.  I’ve been so swept up in fact, that I missed my blog’s TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY!  It was not intentional AT ALL, however I think it speaks volumes to where I am another year later.

As I sat to write this post, one thought kept occurring to me: though I have been trying, at times desperately, to find serenity and fulfillment in the ordinary things of life, there is one thing that I have definitely learned about life this last year – life is anything BUT ordinary!  It is complex, difficult, painful, trying, beautiful, stunning, confusing.  Everyday there are new challenges, new hurts, new struggles.  Pain has no prejudice or favourites.  All the more reason to pay attention to the little, ordinary things and enjoy them.  You may be surrounded by a downpour but there are simple graces and mini miracles that offer a kind of protection from the storm.  They can canopy over you making the storm a little less potent, powerful and overwhelming.

It’s not always easy to see the beauty in the ordinary or feel the wonder in the mundane.  In my own life, the downpour is sometimes ALL I can see, and unknowingly I become sopping wet, miserable, and pruney.  However, when I AM stuck in the rain I consciously make a choice to reach for that umbrella of hope; my daughter’s smile, my son’s arm around my neck, my husband’s hand in mine.  And though it’s still raining, I am no longer alone and can see hope on the horizon.
Becoming Ordinary: Year 2!! Day 14

In Need of Rest

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As June is slowly creeping up on our calendars, I can’t help but feel like time just moves WAY too fast (you know you’re getting older when these types of thoughts or statements start to creep into your vocabulary!).  There seem to be an increasing number of ‘t”s to cross and far too many “i”‘s that will have to go ‘undotted’.  My daughter actually turned to me yesterday and said: “Why aren’t we sitting at our table to eat together anymore, Mom? I miss it!”  Gulp.  She’s right.  How could that have fallen off of my radar after consciously making it an important part of each day this past year?  Cue guilt ridden, excuse making mom.  “Well…things have been really busy the last couple of weeks.  There was your Spring show in the theatre, Caed started his spring soccer league, then spring camp, your spring recitals coming up, our spring renovations…”.  Yuck!  Too much time DOING things, and not enough time LIVING.

Well, I guess the prayers that I didn’t even know I was praying were answered this week with a NASTY sinus infection. With all of the crazy busyness I had been longing for the calm of my porch swing.  Where we have spent many afternoons cuddling as a family and many evenings touching toes as we read long after the sun went down.  So that was where I went the other day when I needed to crash for an impromptu sickness induced nap.

The swing swayed gently and consistent, and though I was feeling rotten, I was lulled into the tranquility of the moment, as the warmth of the sun poured over our porch.  As I laid there, I closed my eyes and listened.  Listened to one of my kids giggling.  Listened to the birds singing and playfully bouncing from branch to branch.  Listened to the far off lawn mowers and weed whackers desperately chugging, waging war against the winter’s growth.  All of these sounds combined created a symphony that strangely, I usually ignore in the day to day hustle.

It took getting SICK, (and literally being unable to keep myself upright longer than 20 minutes) to appreciate that LIFE was teaming and scheming around me.  It really was much more than just listening to what was going on around me.  It was like I could sense things.  Things…growing… even my children.  I could sense strength; strength in the ordinary and mundane tasks of life.  I could hear togetherness and sense a thread of connection running from the tip of my toe to everything and everyone around me.

I sometimes feel lonely in this world.  A stranger to my habitat or a sojourner, unsettled, and restless.  But this week, being forced to slow down, I listened. I waited. I prayed.  And felt peace and strength.  For that, I am thankful.

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1  Day 284