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I recently lost a very dear, very old friend, Daisy. She was a 21 year old grey feline companion with the most strikingly beautiful jade green eyes that I had ever seen. She and her litter mate brother, Maxwell were pound kitties dropped off when they were a bit too young to be separated from their mother.

Although they obviously thrived (having reached 21 years of age), Daisy had for most of her life been very skittish and fearful. We inhabited four different homes during our relationship together and the first three did not offer the safe option of allowing the siblings to venture outside into the wide open world. The first opportunity for outdoor exploration came when we moved into our present home a few years ago. As soon as I was sure that they had been in the house long enough to get their bearings, I invited them out into the bigger world. Maxwell was ecstatic and immediately took full advantage! Daisy, however, was just too fearful to venture more than a few feet outside the door and would run back inside after just a few minutes.

Her fear kept her curled up on a warm, comfy bed instead of basking in the sunshine, discovering the joy of a dust bath, chasing grasshoppers and feeling the breeze through her fur. Although she was content on her soft and inviting bed, she was missing out on a whole other world and the experiences that accompanied it. She simply chose to be very, very safe and contained. She was, however, comfortable…

In her advanced old age Daisy’s health began to fail. She became emaciated and weak and I knew that there was pain. The word “cancer” got mentioned and although we loved her dearly, at 21 years of age, drastic measures were not called for. We decided to let Daisy live out the remainder of her life with as much dignity and love as possible without being poked, prodded and harassed.

A couple of weeks before she passed on, amazingly, Daisy lost her fear of the outside world! Realizing that her death was near, she knew that she no longer had anything to lose. The result was freedom! She slipped out one day, unbeknownst to us, and we searched all over the house looking and calling for her, fearing the worst. When we couldn’t find her anywhere inside we started looking outside, and there she was, lying in a patch of grass by the pond, eyes closed, with her sweet little face pointed up to the sun just soaking it all in.

She discovered how warm and comforting the spring sunshine felt on her old bones. She discovered that she loved to drink from the stream and lie close to it to be lulled to sleep by its mesmerizing song. The fish in the pond fascinated her and the birds were a wonder. She would walk around the pond many times a day and then take naps in her favorite places. I had to keep the pond scoop very close by because she decided that walking on the path was not good enough, she had to walk right on the edge of the stones above the water. In her weakened state she was wobbling and staggering and I was sure that she would fall in. She never did… She was taking in all of this new experience that she could before she passed on and missed out.

I felt such joy as I watched her fearlessly maneuver through this process, but I also felt sadness that she had missed out on this adventure for so long. Her fear had held her back from things that she discovered she truly loved. She had only two weeks…

Fear holds us hostage. Fear prevents us from living full and bountiful lives. Fear limits us. Fear makes us unaware of our true potential. Fear kills happiness, love and purpose.

Coaching questions:

  • Where is fear holding you back in your life?

  • Without fear restricting you, what would your life look like?

  • What one small thing could you do today to have a win over your fear?

We buried sweet Daisy by the stream overlooking the pond. Thank you my friend for grounding this lesson for us. In the end, you were so brave…

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