Recently I overheard a conversation. The kind of conversation that either makes you angry, or jolts you into understanding. There is a lesson in the words – if you are open.
I was volunteering with homeless animals and a conversation was taking place between two staff members. They were discussing the politics of the day and the subject of the recent terrorist bombings in London came up. It became apparent that they were both carrying a great deal of fear – fear to travel, fear of attending large events and fear of being in crowds.
The lesson for me came when one of the staff members said that they wondered if all the young men of a certain religion should be killed to prevent any more violence. She knew it sounded bad, but maybe it was the only way to stay safe. Then, as if she realized the weight of her words, she asked, “Does that sound like Nazi Germany?”
In that moment, I realized the power that our fear has over our lives, and the lives of others. Maya Angelo wrote, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.”
What are you inviting into your life – hope or fear?
Animals teach us the importance of hope and of living in flow with creation. When I was 13, a devastating flash flood tore through my home town. It destroyed homes, landscapes, and dreams. Over 200 people died, along with an unknown number of animals.
The night of the flood, I was at a neighbor’s house waiting for my parents. Their house was at the mouth of a canyon, just off the paved road. The water roared down the canyon trapping their dog, Willie, on the other side. It was too swift to cross over and help him and the owners resigned themselves to his fate. I felt horrible. Willie was the neighborhood dog and I loved him like he was my own.
Suddenly Willie jumped into the current to try and make it to the safety of the house. I watched helplessly as he was carried away in the swift current. How could this happen? I was horrified to think I would never see him again.
After ten minutes, I heard barking and we all ran to the door. There was Willie standing in the drive way. He was alive! Willie managed to survive the rapid current by going with the flow of the water, until he found an area that he could make his way across the road. If he had fought the current from where he entered, I’m sure Willie would have died that night. Instead, he allowed the water to carry him to higher ground.
I learned an important lesson from Willie. Animals remind us not to fight the events that happen in our life. Instead, they remind us that we will find peace and balance when we get back into the flow of life. So how do we do that? By developing our awareness skills.
Begin by taking responsibility for your destiny. Do not place blame on others. When you look to things outside yourself for your success or your pain, you give away your power.
Be open and alert to change and have a confident, flexible response to change. Be like Willie and allow life to carry you in its flow.
Commit to finding solutions when problems and obstacles block the way.
When the events of our life cause us to get thrown off balance and get caught in the current of fear, stop, take a deep breath and remember the lesson of animals. Live in the flow of life.