I love the warmer temperatures and longer days that come with Spring and Summer. Sitting outside at night, leaving the windows open in the house, flowers, fresh vegetables and fruits, butterflies, short sleeves and short pants, sandals – just some of the many delights that I enjoy during warmer weather.
But with the warmer temps comes the appearance of a couple of my least welcome neighbors: spiders and snakes. Phobias are strong, irrational fears that produce anxiety and distress and I’ve got those feelings about both spiders and snakes – but my fear of snakes is especially strong.
A few weeks ago, as I was mowing the yard, I hit a compost bin with the mower and snakes of various sizes went squirming and twisting out of the bin away from the mower. I jumped and screamed! I wanted to abandon the mower and flee for the safety of the house but my cooler head prevailed and I stayed and finished the job, albeit constantly monitoring my surroundings. I reminded myself that I live in a safe Universe and that in that moment I was perfectly safe. There was no danger. I took a deep breath in and smiled as I realized how silly I probably looked to my neighbors.
Each time I’ve mowed the grass since, I’ve been keenly aware of the snake encounter from a few weeks ago and used caution when in that area of the yard. I realized that every time I mow the grass, I roll back over ALL the snake encounters I’ve had while mowing – even as far back as when I was a kid on the farm. All those instances each time I mow the grass – that’s a lot of thinking about something that scares me! No wonder I’m frightened. I haven’t really had that many close encounters with snakes but I have relived all of them over and over for years. I’ve never let myself get to know snakes. My sole contact with them is the surprise encounters and stories of friends’ fears of and about snakes.
I made a commitment years ago to live and let live and I have honored that. I just avoided the snaky places when I could and grit my teeth and tightened my jaw when I couldn’t. So when I have met up with a snake, my reactions have ranged from outward calm and inner turmoil when I knew it was not appropriate to have a melt-down to full-on panicked jumping and screaming when I was truly startled and generally alone – but never acceptance. Never acceptance. The “Ewww!” factor is still very much alive and well in my consciousness when it comes to snakes.
I don’t think I’m unique in my reactions to the things that scare me – the things that I don’t know about. I watched and read the reactions to the Supreme Court’s recent decision to lift the bans on same-sex marriages and was aware that there were real similarities to my reactions to snake encounters and a lot of peoples’ reactions to the legalization of “Gay Marriage”. I realized that I am someone’s snake. There are plenty of good people in the world who have never let themselves get to know someone like me – someone who identifies as LGBTQ. If they knowingly have to be around a person with other sexual preferences, they may figuratively or literally grit their teeth and tighten their jaws and just push through it believing that is what they are supposed to do. That is tolerance – not acceptance.
Sure, much like snakes, LGBTQ people can’t be avoided all together but those who fear homosexuals – and other things (like snakes) that they don’t know – will certainly keep at arm’s length and avoid engaging. There is still that underlying “Ewww!” factor. They are satisfied to only know what someone else tells them or what they learn in the news or books or movies – most of it supporting their existing concepts – much like I avoid finding out anything real about snakes. My rational mind knows that there is a place for snakes in the world – that’s what I’m told – and to be a good citizen of the world, I have to reconcile my differences with snakes. I think a lot of good people have simply avoided what’s uncomfortable for them – in this case, the fact that LGBTQ persons live and work right along side them – and they’ve been as tolerant as they know how to be and believed was a good balance. It has been. It is part of what has gotten us to where we are now which is a tipping point – an opportunity to look at our beliefs and learn more and expand and grow as the divine expressions of God that we ALL are.
As a Science of Mind Practitioner, I am here to know the sanctity of all things. All things. Even snakes. Even the people who don’t take the time to get to know me or people like me. And I know without a doubt that God is right where everything is, every THING. It is my consciousness that needs the adjustment and I treat daily for a heart that is ever expanding and opening wider and wider. The last time I mowed the yard, I felt peaceful and happy knowing that the snakes were there and that I could be there too and be calm. But today, writing about them, I’m a little distressed. It’s always a work in progress and we are all on our way.
The acceptance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, omnisexuals, queer, genderqueer, pansexuals, asexuals, interesexuals, transgendered, heterosexuals and even snakes – universally and completely – is an idea whose time has come! But it won’t happen overnight. We’ll go back and forth and back and forth and then we’ll be there.
For myself, I’m going to be diligent in my learning about and opening to the things that make me want to run for cover. Those are the blessed signs that I’ve got work to do and I want to do that work. I want to live completely free of the “Ewww!” factor. Now I have the awareness that I am someone’s snake and that makes snakes a lot easier to deal with for me. And it makes me a lot gentler in my consideration of the people who can’t accept me right now. As I open my heart to accept the things I try to separate myself from, I am enabling a clearer path for someone else to do the same in their life.There is only Love.
Peace and blessings.