I’ve always thought of myself as someone who sees the world from a “Glass Half Full” (or even overflowing) perspective. When faced with a challenge, I look for the gift. When staring at a road block, I actively look for the solutions.
But I had an interesting thing happen yesterday, which has changed my perspective.
In my capacity as a volunteer wildlife rescuer, I had been caring under license for an injured python – a really big Mumma python, almost 3 metres long, and very strong. I named her Bliss because of her gentle personality. I was comfortable reaching into her enclosure, picking her up without the extra caution of “heading” her (meaning to hold her head). I trusted her.
Then I learned a very valuable lesson. I became complacent, and didn’t pay close enough attention to her behaviour, and one day she bit me.
It wasn’t just a little “snap and let go” (we call that a “tag”, and it’s a warning strike). Instead, Bliss did a full-on bite of my hand, and once my hand was in her jaws and the blood was flowing, she showed me how hungry she was by trying to eat my entire hand. It took 2 other helpers and 8 to 10 minutes before we were able to free my hand. By this stage, my hand looked severely mauled and badly bruised.
Of course, I have enough tips and tricks up my belt to help my hand to heal incredibly quickly, with barely a scar. But inside of me, the fear had built up, and I became nervous of handling Bliss. I began to “head” her each time I handled her, and she would sense my increased stress levels and become very feisty during handling, matching my heightened energy levels.
The day came for her stitches to come out, and that meant putting her into a pillow case for transport. I had a friend assisting me, and Bliss was extremely difficult to handle, attempting to “handcuff” both of us at once with her powerful coils.
I ended up having to unwind her from the grip she had on my arm, and put her back into her enclosure, pillow case and all. At that point she attacked the pillow case, locking her jaws around it with her rows of tiny sharp teeth, then coiling around it in order to strangle the life out of it.
While she was preoccupied with her cotton “enemy”, I bundled her and the pillow case up into a second pillow case. Even that was a tricky procedure, given her size. There was a lot of adrenaline running through me, and by the time I had her safely in the second pillow slip, my hands were shaking.
I warned the vet about how much of a handful she had become, and recommended that 2 handlers be present when they did the blood test on her. But when I collected her from the vet, they commented on how she’d been “as gentle as a lamb, and so easy to handle”.
And that’s when I realized that she was reacting to me and my fear. And in that moment, I felt that I’d somehow let both of us down. By not overcoming my fear sooner, I had caused us both some extra stress in the final month of her care.
The vet had given Bliss the all-clear for release, and as I drove towards the site where she’d been found, tears welled up, and I began beating myself up for my fear and how I had let it get the better of me.
But then something magical happened. A thought came to me that was not generated from my mind. It was the voice of Spirit, and it said to me, “Artemis, you had a choice. After Bliss bit you, you could have easily handed her on to another carer. Many people would have done this. But instead, you chose to continue your journey with her, and face your fears. You didn’t do wrong by her. You made a choice that was loving and courageous for both her and yourself.”
And I realized that the gift was not in overcoming my fears while she was with me. That would be a journey, and it would take its own time.
The gift was in my willingness to face my fears with her. Because courage without fear is not courage at all.
As my perception was gently and lovingly corrected by Spirit, I realized that although I see the glass half full in other aspects of my life, when it comes to myself I often see the glass half-empty.
In the past I have always been very quick to judge myself, and be my own worst critic. I have held myself to a standard of perfection that is impossible to achieve, so that I inevitably fall short in numerous ways.
Bliss taught me the importance of the journey, rather than the destination. And Spirit allowed me to see my “glass half empty” attitude towards myself.
Thankfully, every instant of every day is a new beginning, and an opportunity to choose again…..this time with kindness towards myself.
What about you? Is your glass for yourself half full or half empty?
- When faced with a challenge, I look for the gift. When hindered by a road block, I seek the solutions.
- I see myself through eyes of love.
- I respect myself.
- My cup is overflowing with an abundant attitude to life and myself.
- I trust in the journey, knowing that it is more important than the destination.
- I remember to pause and smell the roses along the path.
- I recognize, honour and celebrate all of my achievements, both the little and the large.