What This Blind Bird Can Teach Us About Overcoming Fear

May 6, 2015


The bird never saw Spunky aggressively lunge towards him, and thankfully right past him, missing his feathers by mere centimeters. With all the commotion, the bird just stood there, continuing to peck at what looked like muffin crumbles that had fallen to the ground. I was so taken with the bird’s bravery, that it warranted further inspection: There was a nasty looking growth covering the bird’s eyes and it never saw Spunky coming in its direction. In fact, the bird was probably deaf too, because just the snarl of this dog is enough to scare you away. The bird was completely unfazed, aimlessly walking around looking for food, even unintentionally provoking Spunky by walking towards his alert paws, which were ready to pounce. Was this a challenge? Brave bird, I thought.

Why did this bird not react to Spunky’s instinctive and snarling lunge? Were there not any senses left for the bird that could signal fear?

Watching the bird stand confidently as my dog lunged towards him gave me an interesting insight into fear. That is, that fear is strictly perception. The building blocks of fear are constructed from anticipation.

I’m “afraid” of skydiving. I have little interest in experiencing it because I struggle to breathe, even with the blowdryer in my face. There’s so much anticipation when I think of skydiving. The jump camp, gearing up, flying, the actual jump off the plane, pulling the cord, waiting for the parachute to open, thinking about landing and then actually landing. And there’s a million other things that I’d be cautious and afraid of.

Let’s say I was blind or sensory deprived and I had never been skydiving before. Would there be so much fear in just thinking about the act? If I never knew that I might struggle for a breath of air with the heavy wind in my face, would that remove the fearful block of anticipation that I’ve held onto for so long? If I were sensory deprived, might I trust in God, or the Universe, and just jump?

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The Art of Surrender Through Breastfeeding

May 5, 2015

I waited. Even by modern standards, I was late to the game of motherhood. I was never the kind of girl who dreamed of having children or the kind of woman itching for a family. I could equally appreciate the benefits of a childfree life or a life with kids. I figured if it were meant to be, it would happen. And, when the time was right, it did. I was 41 years old when I finally became a mother on June 2, 2014.

Even though I wasn’t a “dreaming-of-babies”, doll-loving little girl, there was an aspect of motherhood I thought would be tremendously special: breastfeeding. I find it so primal; an intuitive act of deep love and nurture. I was a nature-loving kind of kid, so when my pets had kittens and puppies I would watch with amazement as the babies suckled their mamas. I noticed that my cats and dogs seemed to know exactly how to care for their offspring with tenderness and wisdom, as if something were leading them with absolute clarity from within. It was sweet and powerful all at the same time and I yearned to experience that.

It was with much joy and pride that I breastfed my little Savannah on her first few days of life. I thought it would be a breeze and that I would be a natural. So, it was with much anguish and disappointment that I found out that was not the case. It hurt. A lot! I am a strong woman who is pretty good with pain, but it felt like this beautiful baby girl had gums made of razor blades and shards of glass. By the 3rd day of her life I would scream in pain every time she latched on and tears streamed down my face until my nerves adapted to the discomfort. It was outrageous and horrifying.

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