Eating the Bear

Posted by on July 19, 2013 in On Life | 8 comments


by Christina Carson

I’m at that point in my life where I am beginning to lose people, at least from this earth anyway. A dear friend from university days made a sudden exit last week. Selfishly, I wish she hadn’t left just yet, for we had only reconnected a few years back. Her passing put me in a thoughtful state. (Yes, I know most everything does, doesn’t it?) And I began to look again at the conditioning we humans receive regarding the aging process. In two words, it’s crummy. I’m talking about how we’ve been taught to view aging, not the aging itself. To go beyond that conditioning offers fertile ground for growth—a challenge in your later years of something to rise beyond. For life isn’t worth much without challenge, and our end point is the one challenge we can’t avoid. So let’s veer off from the gloomy direction this blog appears to be taking and look at that conditioning, to see what can be done about it.

    Send the bear packing.

Send the bear packing.

Fear is the bear, and in old age the number of questions that can arise that can scare the heebie-jeebies out of you begins to feel rather daunting. So the answer to this challenge of later years is to eat the bear. This doesn’t mean to attempt to dismantle thoughtfully and rationally each fear as it jumps in front of you like some crazy character from the Fun House. Rather it invites us to open to a new view, one that lives outside the conditioning, one where fear doesn’t reside. Since we play the “what if” game with fear all the time: What if I get sick, what if I’m alone, what if…. What might happen if we instead played the “what if” card where Reality is concerned, the real way life works. What if I actually have all the resources I need to move through whatever confronts me? What if I could be open enough that I actually begin to lose a sense of where I end and the universe begins? What if I called that Love? I’ll tell you what would happen, you old thing, you’d have the affair of a lifetime.

Everyone wants a manual. They want the 3 steps, the perfect process they can carry like a tray of desserts to each hungry hour. The good news is that it is impossible to lose yourself or your resources. But in an era marked by a plague of choices, we often make the wrong ones. The Truth: there really is only one choice that matters amongst them all—to want to know what you truly are and what naturally accrues to you as a result of that. If we want to know that more than we want to suffer, we’ll eat the bear. In the words of dear Hafiz who doesn’t lie:

This is the time for you to deeply compute

the impossibility that there is anything

but grace.

From “Now is the Time” as it appears in The Gift by Daniel Ladinsky


With special thanks to Daniel Ladinsky who brings dead sacred poets to life like no one else can.

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  1. Yes, the saying goodbye to friends and family for the time being. Surely not easy, I love to think that they are preparing the way for us – maybe even spreading some rose petals for our future walk through the gates into a different consciousness. How wonderful that you and your friend got to connect before she left for that trip. Thank you Christina!

  2. Just beautiful. And touching. And insightful…I mean, what else could one wish for?

    • Christina Carson

      To know it as one’s own. Thanks for stopping by, dear Adrienne.

  3. There is a saying often heard in manual labor circles and there it is most often heard during the hot summer months – the statement – “Don’t let the bear get you.” I heard it first during a hot August when I was sixteen and working as a laborer on a construction job. I asked, “What do you mean, don’t let the bear get you.” The reply was, “The bear is any danger you cannot see. The bear for us today is the heat.”
    It’s always the bear you aren’t aware of that gets you. In Vietnam, it was the “bullet sent to whom it may concern.”
    Beautiful post.

  4. “If we want to know that more than we want to suffer, we’ll eat the bear.” It’s always this way with any change, isn’t it? The desire to change must outweigh the fear of it. Life occurs in stages, and different parts of our personalities surface to fill the needs of the current stage. If I know myself well, I can call the needed part forward quickly, If I don’t it will surface much later, and not as helpful kicking and screaming.
    Beautifully written, Christina. Thank you.

    • Christina Carson

      What a grand way to describe precisely what occurs. “If I know myself well, I can call the needed part forward quickly; if I don’t…” Oh do you ever have that right. “Know thyself” was one powerful message for just that reason. Always good to hear your thoughts. Thanks MK.


  1. Eating the Bear - Digital Book Today | Digital Book Today - [...] guest blogger is Christina Carson author of several books including Dying To Know. Find out how you can be…

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