Pick Up the Tiger – Embrace What is Terrifying

I have a deep connection to tigers. It started when my Mom died, and I was sitting on the front porch, allowing myself to slip into the comfort of a trance state. My eyes were open as I stared softly down the block to the very end. And slowly, a vision of my Mom appeared walking hand-in-hand with me as a little girl. They were walking away from the adult me in the trance. Linney, a nickname my family called me back then, was the one protecting and comforting the Mother. As Linney and the Mother approached the end of the block, they saw a full-grown tiger pacing back and forth, eyeing them carefully. Linney kept her eyes on the tiger, but spoke reassuringly to her Mother and said, “Don’t be afraid, Mommy, the tiger won’t hurt us.” Linney continued to coax her Mom forward, confirming that they were safe, and neither of them would be harmed.

The vision held great meaning for me at the time, and it made me a lover of tigers in ways I had not appreciated before. Recently, during a healing session, I remembered the vision during an intentional posture that was producing a deep release, thereby causing me pain. I spoke briefly of the tiger being a messenger for me, and my healer softly encouraged me to “pick up the tiger.” My eyes widened, and I daresay my body must have tensed up as I imagined how I could possibly do such a thing! It seemed like that was the most terrifying and daring maneuver one could do. And just as quickly, I knew this was the most prudent pathway to take. Pick up the tiger. Completely embrace that which most terrifies us.

How often do we enter into situations that most definitely require us to take a risk? How about the times have you wanted to do something courageous, noble, or downright dangerous, and then found yourself hesitant? Do you do it, or do you let it pass you by? I’m certainly not advocating that we throw caution to the wind at every turn, rather I am encouraging us to be bold. Be bold even when you’re not absolutely certain of the outcome. Sometimes it has nothing to do with physical prowess, as in the vision of the tiger, it can be as simple as revisiting your patterns. For example, the one where you believe that you have control over every facet of your day, or your philosophy to never be predictable because then people will see who you are. We all have patterns and stories that we have constructed over the years (whether 5 or 50 years), and because they are familiar, we think we are safe and sound. What we might be, is simply stuck. Not living freely. Not seeing the wonder of what is around that blind corner. Not changing enough to see the myriad possibilities for closeness and deep satisfaction in a relationship we have allowed to stagnate.

In every risk we take, there is opportunity beyond what we can imagine. Even the failures and wrong turns we have taken can unearth profound breakthroughs. Looking honestly within, recognizing that fear is not only normal, but essential for our growth, and taking that unproven step holds the promise of reaching unfathomable heights. Be bold. Pick up the tiger.

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