The big cats were locked inside the small sleeping area at the back of their enclosure.
There wasn’t much you could see other than the glitter of their eyes catching the light as their outline stalked up and down inside the small space.
The zoo keepers seemed very unhurried as they cleared out the enclosure. Then, when they’d done, they exited stage left and the doors were opened.
At first nothing much happened
But then...a flash of movement as they left the small space to survey the perimeter.
As i walked past the enclosure later in the afternoon, I could see one tiger at the far side of the man-made pond. It was pacing up and down, up and down.
I felt a stab in my heart at the sight.
This majestic creature was still enclosed. Sure it was bigger than that tight space it was forced to inhabit for clear up time. But it didn’t really resemble a freedom that a wild animal would surely long for.
Did I imagine a sadness and a flare of anger in its eyes as it kept up its restless pacing?
Our own cage door has opened
With lockdown ending this week, it feels a little like we’ve been let out of one enclosure, only to find ourselves ring-fenced by another.
I spoke with my brothers this week to work out who could see who and how the restrictions would impact us.
My Mum is extremely vulnerable and my Nana is also highly at risk (she’s in her 90’s and vulnerable despite her protestations to the contrary!).
It feels like an impossible trade off
How do we work out what to do and how to still create the magic we’re all craving after this year of pain and difficulty?
The promise of a new year, a new vaccine and a chance to reclaim some normality is a glittering prospect.
The truth is that we don’t know how much struggle is left to come. We can’t predict the fallout of this time.
But we CAN impact how we show up, how we adapt and how we cope.
How do you tame the tiger in your mind?
So how can you change things if you feel like that tiger, pacing back and forth and struggling to make sense of the confinements to your life?
I have two "go to" things that help me:
1. Making space to be aware
So often a big part of the problem is not recognising what we're feeling. We unconsciously struggle through our days with difficult thoughts and feelings running in the background.
Instead of a full appreciation of the bars that keep us caged, we keep bashing up against them.
So giving yourself just a few minutes a day to pause and tune in to what you're experiencing will do more than just allow you to relax. It will give you the perspective you need to start looking at your situation differently.
2. Licking my wounds
The other down side to being unaware of exactly what we're feeling is that we deny ourselves the compassion and care that we need.
I watched my dog yesterday spend all afternoon licking and soothing a wound on her leg (admittedly she'd also spent the morning completely oblivious to it and charging around like a lunatic which no doubt made it worse!).
There was something about her deliberate and careful attention that made me realise how differently I know I feel when I give my own suffering that undivided attention and care.
Even though caring is an inherent trait within all of us, it's often so much easier to offer to others first.
What would your own experience be right now if you paused and licked your wounds?
My mission is clearer than ever
What’s become clear to me is that the work I do to make meditation attainable and sustainable is more important than ever.
More and more people (individuals, businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes) are reaching out to me to provide ways to help themselves and their teams manage stress and change.
Let’s start 2021 together
I’ve been busy refining and creating a way for you to work with me to transform your life - no matter where you are - with live support and coaching so you can really make meditation work and experience the change it offers.
I’m excited to let you know that you can now sign up for the pre- release of my new 21 Day Ninja Mind Skills Programme.
This is a crazy special price for December to make this accessible during these difficult times and the programme will go live on January 10th.
You can find out more by clicking here: Yes Please! I’m ready to be a Ninja!