Tag Archives: fear

A Lion Hunt…


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


A (sometimes reluctant) Journey to Hope



Recently I was asked to describe how my anxiety and/or depression felt in my body.  Are you kidding me? “BAD!!!” I wanted to pipe. What kind of a question is that?!

But I was encouraged to reach inward. To stop, connect and reflect on what was going on inside of my body.   I am sharing it here because I know the statistics – there are MANY of us out there who struggle with depression and anxiety.  I am not alone in this.  Perhaps you can find yourself in my journey or at least look from afar and think “I am SO glad that isn’t me!”.  Regardless of where you are on the continuum, we are all on a journey and the following describes my journey today.

I began to describe the state that I found myself in.

Restricted. Tight chested.

Strangely, as I began to describe how I felt, the sensations changed.
The chain to my inner motor was suddenly yanked and I began to zip – my thoughts raced and my stomach was flooded with a zillion butterflies.

Something came creeping up the back of my throat that made it difficult to swallow. Why was my mouth so dry all of a sudden? I wanted to retreat. I wanted to cocoon myself… wrap myself up and stow myself away until a stronger more capable creature could emerge.

I was struck with the reality that I am no longer a child who can disappear into corners or make believe a different self. I am me. And to wish ‘me’ away would…we’ll, it isn’t possible.  As I reflected, I was confronted by the oddity of my situation. I saw a child in my mind, or a young girl at least, but I am neither.

The butterflies stopped their dancing within me and heaviness set in.  Defeat imminent.

Forget the butterflies.  Forget the cocoon.  Forget the young girl that never grew up.  It is NOW. What am I doing NOW?

I know that I am not where I would like to be and I am not doing what I would like to do though the ‘what’ remains elusive.  All I really have NOW is today.  All I really know is the flawed broken version of myself.  Perhaps I’ve been running away too long, hunting for the finish line never having found the place to start.  Me.

I walked.  Deep in my thoughts.  I looked up, and around.  The captivating sunset briefly stole my attention and interrupted my woe.

‘Why can’t it always be this beautiful?’ I asked myself.  The sun must set. Yes, the sun always sets for the night.  It is then that I sit clothed in darkness and feel alone; abandoned by the light.

But the sun, though out of sight, does not stop or delay. On the other side of time it rages fierce and fired as ever.  Then when the sun rises again it pierces my present darkness and I am engulfed by its light.

What light. What peace. What love.  A light so bright contrasted to the dark that was, but is no longer. It pours itself unabashedly into hidden corners of pain and loneliness and warms my shadowed weary heart again.

When in the dark, I believe… I hope… I resolve… that the sun is coming. It will rise again. Washing, cleansing the darkness. Leaving it bright and glorious.

Becoming Ordinary: Year 1 Day 154