Lessons from a frog

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure.” ~Helen Keller

I have koi ponds in my back yard that I inherited from the former owner. This past weekend brought our first freezing weather,  so I had to take the first step of starting to prepare the ponds for winter weather by bringing the tropical plants that normally live in the pond inside to live in big plastic tubs of water for the winter. As part of this process of transferring the plants indoors, I drag them out of the water to let them drain, cut them back, trim away the excess roots extending out the sides of the pots, and clean out dead leaves, algae, and other debris from the surface of the pots.

As I was doing this for one of the biggest of the plants, I discovered an area on the surface of the pea gravel in the pot that was shiny. A little investigation revealed that this was a small frog that had taken refuge in the dead leaves that had collected at the base of the plant stalks.

I had a beautiful, large frog that lived in my ponds last year (see picture at right) until a neighbor’s cat killed him. I have been wishing for a new resident frog ever since, and I was thrilled to discover that one had arrived! Between taking it out of its natural environment and the threat of my two house cats, I knew that bringing him inside with the plant that it had taken refuge in was not in his best interest.

I gently and carefully pulled him loose from where he was hiding, but he got away from me and dove back into the pot, burying himself as deeply as he could beneath dead leaves, loose roots, and other debris. I could see his whole body vibrate as his little heart pounded in fear. Once again, I very gently had to pry him loose from where he was trying so hard to cling. Once I finally got him free, I set him on a nearby stone at the edge of the pond, and he quickly dove down to hide under a large rock.

I’ve found myself thinking of that frog several times since then. How many times has change come upon me and I was so busy trying to cling to the way things used to be that I was endangering myself by not realizing that my old safety nets were no longer safe for me? How many times has the universe had to drag me kicking and screaming out of a situation that was no longer serving me? How often to I forget that I can’t always see the bigger picture as I fight change that may well be in my best interest if only I would take the risk of giving it a chance? How often do I bury my head in the proverbial pea gravel to avoid something that is happening in my world?

If I’m honest, I have to admit that I act like that little frog most of the time. I have great compassion for the fear and resistance he must have been feeling. I’m sure it seemed to him that his world was ending and that he was in mortal danger, even though I was trying to rescue him from heading in a direction that would have been more dangerous to him.

I think that Helen Keller was right, there is no security in this world. There are no guarantees of safety. Knowing that, it’s my choice whether I want to approach it as a daring adventure or a cause for cowering in fear. I’ve spent most of my life in the cowering in fear mode, but the last few years have pried my grasping little fingers off of the things that I thought would bring me safety time and again. And I’ve survived. No, that’s not true … I’ve done more than just survive, I’ve thrived!

Next time I am in that moment of deciding how to react to some new occasion of unexpected change in my life, I hope to remember my new little frog buddy and decide to go with the daring adventure approach. I want to let go of those old dead leaves and soggy algae-covered roots that I’m clinging to and turn around and dive right into the pond myself without having to go through the process of the universe prying my clinging fingers away first.

Here’s to diving head first into daring adventure! Will you join me?

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a fragile and vulnerable place to be, so I am committed to keeping this a safe place for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight are not welcome here and will be deleted.

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4 thoughts on “Lessons from a frog

  1. I love this! Living bound by fear is no way to live. I know that personally, and still battle hold out areas. No, safety is an illusion, so live life to the fullest!

    • Thanks, OneHotMess! I’m still battling plenty of hold out areas, too, but I am making great strides toward living life to its fullest all the time. Your story and seeing how you are thriving after facing so much change helps inspire me to keep making progress!

  2. I love this post for so many reasons. One is that I can identify with your frog friend as I have felt like my world has been turned upside down only to find it was better than I ever expected. It takes a lot of trust and faith to know things will settle again and be much better than before. Thank you for this reminder!

    • Thank you! I identify with my little frog friend, too. It helps to have memories of times when things have turned out better than expected before, but it’s start hard to wait in trust and faith when the world is in the middle of turning upside down. Thanks for the comment!

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