When I Walk with the Lion – And Other Things I Learned About Combating Fear


I am proud to share this fire film with you for so many reasons, because it delves into the performance experience, and in it, I am doing something that I had been afraid to do for so long.

I know what subtle fear looks like on my face, and I can see it at :17.

Then I glance at world-renowned fire performer,  Flambeaux and nod at :23 in a we’re-in-this-together look.   I have to summon the courage to walk into the performance space. I have to summon the courage to quell my shaking as I look up to see people hanging from the balconies watching, people surrounding me watching….an audience waiting for the show.

But something changes at 29 seconds in, if you are watching closely, you can see an almost complete physical change.  The fear evaporates and something else takes over.

You can see it in the way I move….

I call on the lion to walk with me.  Watch it again.

This is the real me.  This is a photo I wasn’t ever going to post.  A photo that Burke snapped in a private moment. But I want to make good on my promise to show you the bones and here they are.

You’ve asked me what I do to combat fear.  You’ve asked me what I do when my legs are shaking so hard that I don’t think I can even move them to get me on to the stage.  I’ve told you many other answers of things that help me, but this is one I’ve never shared until now.

Partially because it was so deeply personal I wanted to keep it to myself. But then I thought, well, if this idea could help someone else, why would I keep it hidden?

And the other part, is because it is so incredibly personal and might seem odd to some, I was afraid of being made fun of about it. But as I sit here in the dawn of the early morning, as a simple post about a fire film that I am proud of is turning into something quite different than I expected as thoughts pour out on my keyboard, what is most important is the truth.

So I will post it. I will post it rather than deleting all of my words and going on about my day like I have done so many times before in the past.

Her name is Sekhmet.  She is from 1390 BC and was found in Thebes, Egypt during the XVIII Dynasty.  And one day in 2006, while wandering through the Egyptian wing, I came face to face with her kind and fierce 3,000 year old eyes.

I stood there in front of her until the museum closed.

I was emotionally moved by something very, very old before me.  Perhaps it was because it moved something equally as old inside of me, something in my DNA harkening from the beginning of time.

I found myself in that human moment, faced with the great mysteries of the world…standing before this Sekhmet carved during one of the earliest civilizations on our planet…. and my mind was flooded with wonder, with reverence, and with awe.

There are pieces we can carry with us today from the myths and stories told by our ancestors in front of fires thousands of years ago.

There is something powerful in Goddesses that will not die.

I have seen it myself in the eyes of a 3,000 year old statue.

And there is something of that – that lives on in us.

We are more than what the eyes can see.

We are far older than our age.

I never take the stage alone, even when your eyes can only see me.  I carry the stories of my ancestors, the eyes of my mother, the charisma of my father, the magic of my grandmother, the walk of Sekhmet.  I carry all of these to combat fear,  I carry them to push myself into things that I long to learn and do, I carry them to craft the story of my life….

and to boldly walk forth into new adventures.

How do you combat fear?   Do you have any secret tricks that you can share with our Danger Diary community?  Let’s continue this conversation over here!

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