I brought her to the ocean for the first time the other day; she's from Louisiana so she's had little experience. When we got there, the ocean was like a sheet of glass, barely a ripple beyond a gentle caressing of water to sand. Still, Suki was pretty timid, taking several minutes to get close enough to touch one of the slow receding "waves". For me, it felt fantastic to get my feet in the moist sand and water. Her preference was definitely the dry stuff and, to my great amusement, at one point when she wasn't looking, a whisper of wave water came to shore and inadvertently touched her paw. She jumped in the air like someone afraid of spiders. All that was needed to complete her reaction was a high-pitched yelp.
As a rescue, her history isn't certain to me and I wanted to ease her into the beach experience so that we could have fun and enjoy it. I coo'd and consoled her so she'd get comfortable, reassuring her the whole time that it was fine. Even so, she wasn't convinced...until I found the magic switch. All I needed was a ball to change her relationship with the ocean - a good old yellow-green tennis ball! One throw into the water and she was back in her joy realm, having a blast playing fetch and eventually dripping wet from paw to tail. What fun!
Suki is a real inspiration. She brought to mind how many times we are afraid to move past our fear, even if it's a relatively small one like moving out of our comfort zone into new scenery. For many of us this happens too often and it can leave us feeling small, squelched, agitated, and unhappy. It's a real restriction of life when we know there's something beyond this but can't get to it. I know for me, the frozenness of winter has had a hard time dissolving as I've felt stuck, blocked, and in my own way too often lately.
When we engage with the fear mind, we tell ourselves all the reasons why things won't work out or we dramatize all the bad things that may result. Our imagination is very active, going in all sorts of directions and, while we think we might be being proactive in planning and strategizing with these thoughts and projections, we're actually closing out possibilities. Smallness arises. Most of the things that our mind comes up with aren't even true yet we let them guide our life's actions. When we become trapped by our thoughts and our fears of potential negative outcome, our life caves in before it's even begun. That's a pretty scary place to live from.
Suki can teach us a lot. She worked past her fears by engaging with something that was much more important to her. Her focus and attention went to that which she really wanted to do, that she loved. She maintained her inspiration by connecting with that part of herself that felt truly alive, embracing how she really wanted to feel (free and full of fun). Once she was activated in the joy and thrill of her favorite thing, nothing else really mattered. If the waves would have gotten any bigger, she would have simply swam with them, not jumping back like the ocean was full of spiders.
All in all, I'm a pretty big risk taker and have taken a lot of chances in my life, including how I got to where I am right now. There are even several times I've jumped into the water without really checking the depth and safety of what was beyond yet I've somehow always landed on my feet. It's that lioness / cat part of me, I guess, and trusting the bigger energies to be there. I'm also aware, however, that momentum is a factor in moving forward. To get unstuck, we must get up and do something different, take a chance, even a small one, and then keep moving forward. With sights and senses on what we love to do more than anything, our inspiration and aspiration, it's easy to access the strength to let go of the silly don't-do-it mind. Focusing on the YES piece, the play / fun / joy / love piece, automatically releases the fear factor. Accessing that part of our soul can be a simple switch of the mind. We can decide what to turn on and off and, as Wayne Dyer would say, "Don't believe everything you think."
So the next time you get stuck in your fear box, maybe take your inner dog to the ocean and see what shows up. Let the water wash away any mindset that's constricting your joy and let yourself be loose and free. Go play ball! It's much more fun anyways.
Mindfulness & Stress Management Coach
Eden Energy Medicine Certified Practitioner
8 limbs Holistic Health, LLC