While walking my dog mid day, I was chased, cornered and attacked by a deer.
I saw her alongside the road with her young doe, and as she took a not so tentative step towards me, I immediately crossed the street giving her a width girth of room. Unfortunately as I looked back, she had bowed her angry head and was starting to stomp her hooves as she prepared to charge me.
I thought to myself: “there‘s no way I’m going to out run this deer.”
So I clutched my dog’s leash and ran towards a nearby home, jumped onto the small porch, and thought I’d no longer be a threat to her.
I was wrong.
Instead, the deer came charging onto the bottom step, reared up on her back legs, and threw her hooves towards my body. Her huge head and fierce brown eyes were less than an arm’s length away as I thought to myself: “Seriously? This is how I’m going to die?” Her snorts were drowned out by my screams as I felt the force of her hooves skimming the small space of air between us as I stood pinned against the front door.
Suddenly my dog wriggled out of her harness and took off. In slow motion, I watched the deer turn, chase, knock down and trample my dog.
I ran towards them screaming as she got up and ran with the deer in fast pursuit. Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere and shouted for me to call my dog’s name. I called and watched as she turned and ran towards me with the deer closing in from behind. This amazing man, a true hero in my book, stepped between the deer and my dog long enough for me to grab her collar and run to the next house.
As I laid in bed that first night of summer with teeth chattering and legs twitching in primal trauma release, I drifted in and out of sleep gratefully holding my dog, kissing her ears and shaking from head to toe as the fear left my body.
I’m told 13 people have died this year from deer attacks.
Native American medicine teaches the deer is about gentleness. I learned a different lesson from that deer.
In the instant of her attack, I was more in the moment than I’d ever been in life. I was fully present.
Like everyone on the planet, I’ve gone through a few scary situations in life. Years ago I was hit by a car and gave up on my road bike. A while ago I went through a break up and stopped dating. Even more humiliating, I almost died two years ago and stopped trusting my body’s strength and health.
I let fear shut me down and slowly strangle the life right out of me. I stopped taking risks and stopped exploring the world around me as I let fear control my life.
I’m betting over the years you’ve shut down yourself down too.
My turning point?
Something primal kicked in when I faced my own death in such violent way. I thought I was doing the safest activity in the world: walking my dog, and yet I was almost killed.
Something changed in the moment I held eye contact with that angry deer. I felt a life force blast through me and I embodied a primal determination never before experienced. I felt activated and alive. My acupuncturist says my adrenals were finally used in the way they were designed instead of how I had used them daily: through fear, worry and stress.
If we’re not careful, fear comes into our life and multiplies like a virus.
That day I was attacked by a deer, but if I’m honest, throughout my whole life I’ve allowed myself to be attacked by fear.
A friend shared with me that humans are born with only two natural fears. The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. Everything else is learned behavior.
For me, fear had wrapped her sticky black tail around my neck and strangled the hopes coming from my heart before they could be heard by my head.
Fear had multiplied to the point that I was a mere shadow of who I used to be.
Luckily, a crystal clear clarity came over me the day after the attack.
Realizing I had stopped living a long time ago, I felt a powerful rage rise up inside me, a hot anger towards all the ways I’d let fear run my world.
I burnt sage and purified my home after realizing everything in my world had been tinged with fear. The light timers I set to prevent break-ins, the clothes I bought to look attractive, the vitamins I took to ward off diseases, the food I bought in hopes of staying healthy, the communication patterns I used to be liked, even the activities I participated in to feel safe.
My entire life was rooted in fear.
Tony Robbins teaches that we are either driven by pleasure or by the need to avoid fear.
If doing the safest activity in the world: walking my dog, could have almost killed me, I was going to live large from this point forward. I’m rolling my dice and betting it all on life again. I’d still eat well, take vitamins and set light timers, but the energy behind those activities will be different.
The way I see it we have two choices. We can either run from fear, or we can run towards life. I know which way I’ll be running. How about you?
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