Freeing the Lion
Astrologically speaking, I am a Leo. A Leo I, to be exact, I was born in the Week of Authority. I have always loved lions and legitimately try to fashion my hair like a lion’s illustrious mane. And the idea of authority has always been a puzzle to me. I am deeply respectful of teachers, healers and mentors who are in positions of authority, often blindly bowing to the answers they seem to provide. However, I have struggled with finding and respecting the authority within, failing to trust my own internal compass, and sense of knowing. It is difficult to have faith in oneself when you are in the grips of the roar of the inner critic. For symbolic purpose, I will hereby refer to my inner critic as a lion. Its characteristics are similar to that of a lion, being strong, powerful and fierce. And boy, has its roar been loud lately! So loud, that it has made my essential self ever smaller, to the size of a little mouse.
As a Four, one of my greatest strengths and alternately my greatest weakness is my romantic idealism. I have incredibly high hopes, high expectations, high ideals, and high romantic visions. They are so high that they all live above me, in a Kingdom of my own creation, nestled sweetly and safely on a cloud. I love that Kingdom on a cloud. I love to look at it and wistfully dream about the one day that I will live there.
A challenge that I have been experiencing, as of late, is questioning on whether I will ever get to those dreams in the sky. I try to set goals that would be like stepping stones, or Jack’s beanstalk, carrying me little by little up to that pristine palace of romantic vision. To set goals is not difficult for me. In fact, they become their very own little castles.
Let me be specific, a goal I am currently trying achieve is to create a self-care routine that I can commit to on a consistent basis. It’s a beautiful goal I have for myself, one that includes treating myself with love and respect. In this dream of a goal, I would be implicitly healthy. I would wake up early in the morning, excited to meet my day. I would have a practice of meditation, and gratitude and prayer, being thankful for all that God and the Universe has given to me. I would treat my body like a goddess, feeding it only those foods that are most life affirming and nutritious. I would go for long jogs in the park, able to clear my head of negative thoughts. I would practice yoga, feeling the strength and length of my beautiful body. I would go for dance classes, feeling free and having fun while letting my heart beat fast. Oh, this goal of self-care is so beautiful. But oh, to get there seems so impossible.
So, I have carefully constructed this goal, this dream. It is pure and untouched and full of endless hope and possibility. I stand outside of the castled creation, a little mouse underneath the drawbridge door, waiting for it to lower so I can enter. The lion stands beside me, berating me with its critiques. Every step I take, the door recedes, eluding my small efforts. The lion roars loader, taunting me, tearing me down with its claws. “You are worthless. You are nothing. You have no willpower. You have no strength or courage. You’ll never achieve what you want. You’ll never be who you want to be. You might as well give up.” And on and on he growls. The fire of his roar is singeing my little mouse body and I feel completely and utterly useless and powerless.
I am reminded of the Aesop’s Fable, The Lion and the Mouse. It was the mouse that rescued the lion from the hunter’s snare, by slowly nibbling away at the ropes, ultimately freeing the lion. Inspired by the strength that this tiny creature exhibited, I looked up the symbolism of the mouse, and what I found was quite amazing. The mouse is a symbol of trust in the Divine, of humility and simplicity and gentleness. It is the mouse that is able to break a large problem (or goal) into smaller pieces and deal with one part at a time, slowly but surely, achieving its goal.
I know my lion has a purpose. I know its roar comes from a frustration, of wanting to be free, so that I can be my best self. It is instructing me on what it is that I really want and long for, on what is important to me and why. In some way, it is encouraging me not to give up. And I can use the gentleness of the mouse to assuage the lion’s fear and to free it from its ropes of imprisonment. Not to be crippled by the lion’s grip, or reduced to a puddle of shame by the lion’s shadow, but to treat my inner critic with compassion, as I go about my merry way, taking my sweet time, of slowly and deliciously nibbling towards my dream. Maybe it won’t be as fast as I want it to be, maybe it won’t be as grandiose as I imagine it to be, but I know for sure, if I can free that lion from off my back, I’ll get there one way or another.