The Power of Love
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Back in 2015 I was out on a hike with a dear friend when we walked by a really large man who looked and felt to be unwell in many ways. The energy I experienced as we passed him sent a shiver down my spine.
Shortly after seeing this man, we began descending down into a ravin when I noticed footsteps behind us. At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I heard them getting faster and heavier and I felt prickles on my neck so I turned around to see the man we had passed moving towards us with a knife in his hand.
As I took him in I noticed that he had taken off his jacket, and by his facial expression and the energy coming from him I knew that he was ready to attack.
Despite the fear coursing through my body, my instinct guided me to look him in the eyes and, with as much love as I could possibly muster, ask him if he was okay.
“What did you say?!?” He barked back at me.
“I’m wondering if you are okay. You look upset and I see you have a knife in your hand which makes me think that you are not doing well. Are you okay? Do you need help?”
This man was so stunned that he could hardly speak. I wondered if anyone in his entire life had ever kindly or caringly asked him if he was okay when he was upset.
After a long silent pause I asked him if he would be okay with putting the knife away because it was scaring me, and much to my surprise and relief he slowly began folding the knife and then put it in his pocket.
With a shake of his head and a confused sounding “I’m fine” he turned around, grabbed his coat and hiked out of the ravine leaving my friend and I alive albeit in complete shock.
Over the years that experience has been a reminder of the power I poses to face the "big scary monsters" of my life with a loving and open heart.
Though it isn't always easy to do, I find that life is much more graceful when I lead with love, whether that is in holding a difficult emotion or interacting with a person who challenges me. That day gave me the gestalt experience I needed to embody a deep knowing that love really can change the world.
Before I complete this post I want to give credit to some of the training that supported me in responding the way that I did.
The first piece came from a professor and mentor from Naropa University named Duey Freeman who spoke to our class about the powerful self defense method of looking a potential attacker in the eyes instead of running. He shared with us that many predators are really after the thrill of the chase, and when someone looks them in the eyes they are often deterred.
Second training had a similar thread and it came to me as I prepared to solo hike 500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I knew that Mountain Lions live out there, and I learned that running away from them is a bad idea as it can actually encourage them to chase. Better to stand your ground and make sounds to encourage them to go away.
The third piece that guided me that day was my understanding of Deer spirit medicine as it came to me through Jamie Sams “Medicine Cards” animal spirit deck. In her book I read that Deer was the animal whose love and compassion was strong enough to melt the heart of the biggest, baddest, scariest demon.
Sending much gratitude out to the teachers and teachings that have helped me show up in Love!