Friday, June 24, 2011

Red Bear Girl

Modern fear is a delusion. When was the last time you were really scared? Think about it? Wikipedia describes fear as: Fear from the Greek meaning "morbid fear", a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat.  A perceived threat… But it seems as if these days our perceived threats are all over the place. In the airport, at home, in the office, driving. The media pumps us with terrorist threats, the economy creates stress-inducing fears, and the movies paint pictures of horrid murderous threats. (Thanks to “Pshyco” there is the threat of someone breaking into my bathroom while I'm in the shower. Thanks to “Jaws” there’s the threat of man-eating sharks in the ocean.) Think about it for a moment, when was they last time you where really fearful for your life? Not a delusional fear that was preempted by the media or a modern myth, but a real in your face fear? How many of us have actually been in a hostile situation caused by a terrorist, a shark, or a bathroom murderer?

 I bring this up because on June 11, I found real fear for the first time. It was an awe inspiring, beautiful, respectful fear that has forever changed every atom in my being. Upon hiking on our land in Ruidoso, New Mexico, I met a mother bear. I turned a corner and there she was about 7 feet in front of me. She turned her head to look at me and we locked eyes. My core tightened immediately and my center of gravity grounded. I was highly alert.   Thoughts raced: Pick up a stick. Get big. Don’t run. Stand your ground. She’s so beautiful. Wow. Can I get closer? What does she feel like? Why would she harm me? She doesn’t want to harm me. She is a vegetarian mostly… Is her baby is near?   

I had seen the baby bear earlier. At dusk I stepped out of the cabin and the baby nearly walked straight up to me. My friend pulled at my arm and yelled, “Get in the house! Get in the house!” But I was intrigued and not at all frightened. She we so cute and sweet. My friend tugged at me again. Her fear crept into my arm and we ran into the cabin. I was left feeling rude, as if I had cut my conversation with the baby abruptly short because of a mental dilemma of my own. I decided if I were to ever be in this situation again, I would fully feel the moment without distraction and act authentic to the present moment. I would not have True Reality be diluted by delusion of what could be or what was once.

So there I was 7 feet from the momma bear. Our eyes locked. I quieted my mind and listened. As she gave me a calm look over, her eyes said, “Really? Are you really going to follow me?”  My strong shoulders caved in a bit and my body responded “no, no.” I slowly began to walk backwards back to where I came from. She did not move. When she was out of sight, I did pick up a big branch and slowly, and deliberate with each step, walked back to the cabin.  My family at the cabin stared at me from the porch as I neared. They said my steps where like a Jedi, my face held terror, excitement, joy and awe. My father gave me the name Red Bear Girl. I felt so accomplished within my self. In the face of danger, I actually was able to calm, assess, listen, face the present, and respond in a respectable way. This feeling has stayed strong within ever since.  I will forever be protected by the lessons of the bear and her baby.

What was intimidating about the moment wasn’t that I felt I would be eaten, or harmed, but it was the powerful wild nature of wilderness, the unknowing of what could be, the energy exchange of consciously creating a moment fully together with another wild being. The Bear said “Really are we going to explore this moment further?” and I responded. “No thank you. This is quite enough for me.”  And we were both on our way. I truly felt a respect for the wild endless possibilities. 
So, when was the last time you were really scared? tell me about it.


  1. Wow! What an incredible experience! I love you sweet reflection! Thank you for sharing! XOXO <3

  2. Wow! What a wondrous and truly wild experience that must have been! Red Bear Girl, I love your new nickname..well deserved! :)

  3. great photo.i remember that look perfectly as we were in the talking circle. i am so glad you felt inspired to write this. very thought provoking! And what a beautiful opportunity for you to look "fear" in the eye and realize the fear is really a mental state. the bear saw your beauty too i am sure!

  4. beautiful, moments like these remind us we are animals too! ;-)