tiger in the zoo

[a break in the timeline, from the splice until now, to visit some things I have learned.]

Recently , I was given an analogy to help me cope with things as I learn how to accept and appreciate the changes in my life.

It's called "Tiger in the Zoo." 

The simple premise is this: the tiger in the zoo is master of his domain. If human or animal flesh enters his space and he is hungry, it will never leave. But he does not waste his energy trying to eat the children on the other side of the glass. He is too smart for that. He knows they are outside of his domain and regardless of their taunting, their tapping or their stupid zoo animal hats, he will never waste his energy trying to get to them. 

I've applied this analogy to many parts of my life now. 

I do my best to be there for my girls and for others, but when something is outside of my control, I try to become the tiger. I simply watch the children on the other side of the glass and think to myself:

"Let them taunt and tap away - this is ok." 

When the girls cry, I try to calm them. I make direct eye contact and try to transfer good energy to them. I place my hand on their head and breathe slowly and calmly, I try different tones of voice, I feed them, burp them, change them, try some milicon, make silly faces. When nothing works, I just hold them, rock them and listen to their cries. 

I become the tiger in the zoo and everything is ok. 

When people in the world are cruel to me, I become the tiger and it is ok. When I work hard on a project but things don't turn out the way I thought they would, I become the tiger and it is ok. When Juniper has seizures or I hear difficult predictions from our neurologist, I become the tiger and it is ok. When death sneaks around in the corners of my mind, I become the tiger and it is ok. 

In this sense, the tiger in the zoo is free. He may be in a cage, but he is free.

If I am not careful, I find myself trying to control as many variables as I can in my life. Having children has quickly and violently ripped any sense of control away from me. And I have to let it go.

The culture I have grown up in has tried to convince me that the future is most important. So much so that I've often neglected the present. By letting go of the future, I can try to let go of the need to control so many things. I can look for opportunity right in front of me, right now. 

A smiling little girl, a sleeping hound dog, my beautiful wife. I don't know what I will have in front of me tomorrow, but I know I'll do my best to be right there with it, as I am today. I will do my best to get what I need and let go of the rest.

A tiger in the zoo.