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Be Like a Bear

Be like a bear.

I’ve been thinking about all the reasons why re-entry to society is always so painful since I got back from the Arctic two weeks ago. So many reasons. But here is just one for you.

One of the great comforts I find while totally immersed in nature…is the purity of truth. Everyone knows their place. Trees don’t lie. Bears don’t lie. They unabashedly carry on with their life…in all its force and grace. Killing and scavenging to survive. While the mice scurry about and collect crumbs, and the sedges bounce in the breeze. Ravens keeping track of everyone. Eagles overhead…seeing all. The easiest way forward while immersed…is to live your own truth. Just simply be who you are. Lying about it will not help. It will hinder.

Humanity’s separateness from nature is spelled out in the symptoms of a failed culture. I see it in the headlines every single day. Every human scrapping for a crumb. Separate.

Concealing and lying about uncomfortable truths. Humans are singularly capable of deceit. Not even dogs do it. Usually. I had a dog who stole a block of cheese once. He was so ashamed. I pitied him. If only humans had such honor.

Last summer…I was with a group in Alaska, and we spent a day watching bears feeding on salmon. I was struck by the fact so many powerful beasts could make room for one another. Each bear so different in personality and style of fishing. At one point 30-40 bears all in one area. Each bear very careful to make room for the others. The goal was eating to survive winter, not to dominate anyone else, or try to change them. I couldn’t help but think about my own life. How many times have I concealed myself…even lied…to keep those around me comfortable…all in a futile effort to protect them from their own uncomfortable truths? I’ve made the commitment to never do that again. Not ever. I didn’t see one single bear making apologies for existing…fully existing.

In recent years…the learning that can happen at the fringe of, or even beyond the limits of the ‘comfort zone’ have gotten into the common vernacular. I can say with authority, it is futile to howl about the pain when you have stepped into that space. The learning happens when you sit quietly and absorb the lessons. Learn from them. I find it curious to watch those who give lip service to discomfort and learning…and then when discomfort happens to them…they howl in pain to anyone who will listen…and miss the lesson entirely.

Be like a bear. Quiet. Usually. Honorable. Always. Accepting. Always. Honest. Always. Speak your truth. Live your truth. Make space for others.

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