Bear bells, being who you are and owning your power

IMG_2845-2The purpose of wearing bear bells, is to let the bear know who you are.  You are a human. In some ways, you have more power than the bear.

The purpose of being yourself is to let people know who you are. You own certain power. If you cloak your abilities and bury your desires, when they do come out, it startles those around you.

When your power or intelligence bursts forth – and it will – it surprises the ones you are next to.  They explode.  They either shatter in a million pieces or attack you.

Other people, less powerful, less charismatic, more nonchalant, may be able to  confront and stand up to the same people with impunity; for all along, they have been gently jingling bear bells. If you, who have kept hidden and unnoticed, do the same thing; they explode and attack you.

Surprise and defensive attack happens if you don’t wear bear bells. If you are wearing bear bells and you come in range of a bear; the bear might be quietly picking berries and it hears this unwelcome sound of a human approaching.  Instinctively, subconsciously, the bear moves down the berry bushes in the other direction because the bear does not want to be near the powerful human.

Is that what you are afraid of?  Other people going away? Sneaking up on people only fools them for a little while.  Be honest about who you are. Shed the furtive, covert, secretive and live openly.  If the bear does not hear the human, if the human sneaks up on the bear, the bear is startled and attacks.

Perhaps in the past, someone told you that you need to take a backseat and let them lead.  If you are a woman, others may have indicated that it is wrong, unfeminine for you to lead.  And so, you cloak your charismatic leadership.  But it does not go away.  It is hidden, stuffed down.

Andrea in Peru
Andrea in Peru

Exercise your leadership

Own your power

Step up to the plate with your gifts

The bears will move away from you

This post was inspired by a Spring Break 2012 conversation with my daughter, Andrea. Andrea is a Christian anthropologist, fascinated (as am I) with philosophical discussions and what makes people tick. She also knows how to love and encourage more than anyone I know. 

The story from my tombstone

Must have lived nine lives
Must have lived nine lives

Cat extracted herself from the pavement, like a frugal parent peeling fruit leather from the paper; anxious to get every morsel. “Geeeeeaawd!”  she yowled, “Again?  Five lives I have lived and you still want more?  Why can’t I just lie down here on the asphalt and call it quits?”

“God isn’t finished with you yet!”  barked Pluto from the door of Hades, “Out, out damned spot!  Go get a life.”

“So when do I get the dog’s life?”  mumbled Cat.

“I never even got to have a normal cat’s life.  What happened to basking in the sun, purring languidly, stretching and strolling?  Oh, I have done my share of arching my back and whipping my tail – and my share of mousing.  There was that year of four and twenty deer mice I threatened to bake in a pie. Oh, yes, I used my keen ears for the cause of music and my instinctive sense of direction to get other people where they needed to go.

“There were masters who required me to play the part of Puss in Boots. There were times I  wore the pants for tom. I have been aloof and unreachable, and have played the role of pretty much every molly in the world. I have foraged for my meals like an ally cat; licked and groomed and preened – and, been neat about my business, with or without the luxury of litter.

“Meouch, I even played the demeaning part of a dog; the come when I whistle, sit, jump, follow me like a puppy, role.  What’s feline about that?

“Aaaah,” Cat purred, “there were two distinct and wonderful lives when I nursed my kittens and carried them by the scruff of the neck. I was good at that.  I enjoyed it so much, I even carried around others’ offspring for a few seasons, including a new generation. It takes a village, you know.”

Often, I walk the narrow ridge atop the fence. In truth, I usually land on my feet when I fall.  But, it’s those times when I get hit by a ton of bricks, or a two ton truck of slander and misunderstanding, that slay me.

Five lives I have lived – maybe six-I’ll have to get the count straight while I still have a life left to live to write about it.  It has been an incredible journey.

My headstone:  Always starting over – must have lived nine lives.

What does your headstone say?

One day at a time


Pursue Today heartily.  To pursue the future and neglect today is to build a shaky foundation.  Sometimes the concerns of today occlude the future.  On the other hand, focusing entirely on the future, we forget to live today well.

I was thinking similar thoughts last week as I posted on facebook, “ Just for today, I am not going to think too much; not ahead to worry, not behind to regret. I am just going to enjoy the sunshine and be joyful and write and make music.”

In my classroom teaching time, I experienced the value of teaching to the end of the year – squeezing worth out of each day rather than packing up and wrapping up early and fazing out opportunities.

So I urge you, as I urge myself; as you approach the end of this season, go ahead and look forward.  Yes, plan for, hope for, long for; a great future. But, wring everything you can out of today.  Invest your strength and passions and live as though it were your last.  Strength for tomorrow comes from the quality of a life lived well today.

P.S. What did you do to seize your weekend?  I hiked in the Monument with new friends and went to Pirates of Penzance at Colorado Mesa University!