Ya'll, I don't like snakes.
I do enjoy researching antiquity. Many of the oldest rituals of mankind invoke serpent imagery. Far from being a symbol of evil, ancient cultures associated snakes with many concepts including: duality, mother goddesses, fertility, and much more. Still, snakes creep me out. I believe that what really creeps me out about them, is my own lack of knowledge. I know that some are really dangerous; so I fear them all.
Recently, I researched the symbols of alchemy. According to this ancient discipline, all things break down to sulfur, mercury, and salt. While many see alchemy as a quest to create gold, there are many that take a more philosophical approach to this school of thought. These secret teachings regard sulfur as the soul or essence of a thing.
About that same time we were visited by some snakes near our new home. I also encountered one while driving. My husband currently works in pest control, so he treated the boundaries of our property to ensure our safety. He explained that the snake repellent was sulfur based. Interesting! My freaked out meter exploded. What a coincidence.
For the next few weeks I lived in fear of the outside. I mean come on... it was (is) snake season, in South Carolina, with record breaking heat waves! I stopped going into our backyard. I was paranoid, scanning the grass... hurrying to lock the front door so one couldn't sneak up while my back was turned. Panicking as walked 20 feet to the car. Crouching down to make sure one wasn't underneath the car. Jumping in the car quickly, because what if it was up in the wheel well, and I didn't see it, and it was going to jump out at me, at any minute now. Frequently checking out all the windows when I was inside because there was once a snake out there so there will be one again...
After a few weeks of this self torture I went to the window to again check for a snake. Again, I didn't see a snake, but this time I noticed the birds. The happily singing birds going about their day. Those poor birds... Don't they realize they are in danger! Surely most birds who been around for a bit know that snakes are a thing! I stared longingly, captivated by the freedom these birds embodied. They didn't let the fear of a potential snake in the grass keep them from gliding to the ground to forage, rest, and just generally enjoy the moment.
Suddenly, GaryVee freaking yelled at me! No he wasn't in my kitchen, but his voice interrupted my internal monologue shouting, "Stop living your life being afraid of an anonymous online stalker!" *CLICK* As a survivor of much childhood abuse, my anxiety skyrockets when I perceive the possibility of danger. In this case, I was stressing myself out for nothing and missing out on so much joy in the process. The truth is I'm going to encounter more snakes in my life. It's also true that I'm not likely to see a new one every 2 minutes. My constantly checking for it won't make it appear nor will it make it go away. This small lesson extrapolates to life in general.
For a long time I've lived a life steeped in fear. Survival mode never turned off. I've been constantly on alert for snakes in the grass instead of paying attention to the journey I want to be on. I've too often stuck to the paths with-in my comfort zone. I couldn't possibly share 100% of myself. My struggles were mine alone to bare. I was playing the role of an anonymous online stalker, prejudging how 'good' I am compared to others and finding myself short.
Too many people are letting the fear of a random Facebook troll, (You know, the one you made up to tear you down before you post about that thing you love... that dream you're chasing... that talent you are developing into a skill-set... ) stop them before they begin.
The lesson I've learned is to be more like the birds. Stop worrying about that one snake that might be in the grass... eventually, someday, maybe.
Just sing your song... because you have a song, and it's beautiful.