Friday, May 29, 2009

My Fear Of Snakes

Normally I try to write things that are more positive but today for reasons I do not understand, I have decided to write about my fear of snakes. I just feel prompted to write about this and so I will. After all, this is a subject, I'd rather avoid so maybe that in itself is part of positive side for writing this. And no there will be no snake picture posted with this entry for obvious reasons. In the picture that is posted, is the bush that HAD the snake which has moved on for the moment.

You see, today I looked out in our yard, just feet from our pool on the old half dead, purple flowering bush. This bush took a pretty hard hit from a freeze this winter and we actually thought it was completely dead. There are some signs it may be coming back to life but I really need to prune it. As I looked at it, I noticed something odd on the top of it where the sun was hitting the dead branches. You guessed it - one of those s-n-a-k-e-s. And moments later, when I looked again, I saw not one but TWO!

The minute I saw the snake, my breathing almost stopped, my body wanted to freeze and all I wanted to do was get the heck out of there. Through the frightened feeling I felt, my body wanted to run, hide, disappear, cry and be anywhere but where this snake was. For me this is a common reaction to snakes whether it is one that I see physically around me somewhere or one that is on TV or in a magazine. The same reaction happens. It isn't fun. It wipes me out and exhausts me. And the entire time, I struggle to understand just why this event is so powerful.

Many people have suggested over the course of my life to just ignore it and not think about it or make light of it by saying, not all snakes are harmful and you need to learn which are and which aren't. The thing that these well intentioned people fail to see is that it isn't about any of those things. And trying to ignore it and think that it isn't there is like having a 650 pound gorilla sitting on your lap and trying to ignore that!

In addition to the s-n-a-k-e spottings in our yard, I've had the dreams where you could not have convinced me that a snake was not right there. It has been so bad that I had to turn on all the lights and strip the bed down just to prove to myself that there was no snake. Of course trying to go back to sleep after these dreams have startled me so badly is almost impossible.

I've read many things online and heard many people talk about snakes may mean this or that. Some say they have a strong connection to people who are Christians because they see the devil as a serpent. Some say it is a warning or a sign of wisdom/new information coming to you. It could be some childhood trauma playing out as well. The list of explanations could go on and on.

For me, all of these explanations sound nice and look pretty but they don't make any more sense to me than my fear of seeing a s-n-a-k-e on TV. I know that there were some childhood trauma moments around snakes but I most likely don't fully remember the entire event. I know I grew up in a very strict fundamentalist church where Satan, the devil (i.e. serpent) was a very very bad thing. I am coming into new information and awareness each day but it isn't the kind that startles or scares me. It feels pretty safe and welcoming to me. There is nothing in any explanation to this point that makes sense or seems like the key to unlock the door.

Of course, I do realize that fears are not normally rational. They are the connections of neural pathways in our brain and the emotion or memory experienced in the present may not have necessarily been directly tied to the actual event. The fear episode may be strangely connected to something that has entirely nothing to do with it. So, I realize that the story playing out may not have all the facts.

And I know that fears can be overcome. I have done that with many in my life and many of them were not easy to take on, but once I was able to take my power back from them, the fears looked like tiny little spineless nothings. I've learned also, that the more I face my fears and accept them with open arms, the more I am able to reclaim that power. It is through embracing and accepting them that they are no longer enemies.

The answer to this mystery right now is beyond my current consciousness and knowledge. I wish I knew the magic button to push and make this all go away. I wish I understood why it is happening. For now, all I can do is just acknowledge that this exists and will hope that my path leads me to understanding and release of this fear.

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