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Are you feeling powerful today? Able to take on the day with confidence and strength? On any given day, some of you will and some of you won’t. There’s no judgment, there’s no right or wrong answer here. Some days we feel powerful and some days we don’t. Perhaps you’ve had a string of days that have worn you out, hours held together with hurry, worry, and uncertainty. I’ve had those days too, days where I couldn’t tackle what needed to be tackled. But today, I feel a bit stronger, so I’m going on a journey to a place where I can build my personal power. It’s growing inside me, and even though some days it hides away, today it wants to come out and play.

To explore our personal power, let’s use the metaphor of a lion’s roar. When I first came up with the poem and the theme for this podcast episode, I thought I’d had an epiphany. An original idea, I thought, how exciting. Let’s talk about the lion’s roar as a metaphor for breaking free and pushing our personal power out into the world. Oh, this is a powerful metaphor, I thought. And it is.

Then I did a little digging online and came to find out that much of my “original” idea was ancient. The metaphor I’m talking about today—how we roar (take actions, speak up for ourselves, try new things) as an expression of our own personal power—is a very old idea that can be traced back to Buddhist teaching. It turns out my internal wisdom, built on five decades of living, is more connected with old teachings about inner peace and happiness than I realized. But then again, there’s a comfort in knowing that my thoughts are in tune with old, sage advice.

To learn more about the Buddhist concept of the lion’s roar, check out this video by psychologist and Buddhist meditation proponent Tara Brach. There's a ton here to unpack; Tara talks about faith, trust, self-doubt, and imposter syndrome, but it’s the idea of the lion’s roar that interests me the most—the idea that we can have faith in ourselves enough to know that whatever comes up in life is workable. We won't be undone. What a comforting idea.

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When You've Had Enough, It's Time to Roar!!

In Katy Perry’s 2013 song Roar she sings about how she let fear stop her from speaking her mind and going for what she wanted until she experienced a breaking point. That’s the point where the patterns of the past no longer work in your current reality. You become uncomfortable with the way your life is going, experiencing things that you never envisioned for yourself. How did you get there, you ask? As if instantly, your reality doesn’t align with the real you, the authentic you that you know exists deep down inside. You’ve had enough. Once you hit the breaking point, it can be transformative, and you watch the faint voice inside grow louder until it’s a roar. Check out Katy Perry’s song on the LTVF Season One music playlist for some musical inspiration.

Strangely, and in tune with the other mysteries of life, you usually only reach the breaking point when you’ve gone through some heavy stuff. There has to be so much at stake that you have no other choice but to break out. The status quo can’t go on. If you’re a people pleaser like me, this can be terrifying. To extend the metaphor further, we can look to the mighty lion that lives inside us all as a symbol of our power and authentic voice. But sometimes, to access this voice, we have to be pushed to the near breaking point.

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Imagine this: We’re on the African savannah, shades of tan on a dry landscape with patches of tall grass. We look out on the wide open space, a few trees scattered about. It’s been a hot day, but the sun starts its descent to usher in dusk. We are lions, at home in this harsh landscape, and we belong to a fierce pride that rules this land. As lions, we express our fierceness, we weld our power, going after our prey with stealth and mastery. We are agile. We look, listen and ready ourselves to pounce on our prey. We act on instinct, built on years of doing what needs to be done. We must do it. We won’t rest until we conquer and feast. As a dark canopy descends on our territory, we hunt through the night. And then, as a new day begins to dawn, we ROAR.

Do you have that picture in your mind? OK, I’m moving to the urban jungle where I live. The lions are replaced by people, lots and lots of people, some of them meek and quiet, others confident and loud. This is their roar; this is my roar too.

Step Into the Jungle – and R O A R!

by Jill Hodge

Life rides like a rollercoaster.
Two-seater Alfa Romeo, boastful.
Pedal down, racing, first day’s light,
blown right past it, G-force flight.
Shake off the dream,
the morning’s here to meet you.
Open your eyes,
sun journeyed here to greet you.
Urban Jungle’s bout to jump off,
Mornin’ DJ turn that shit off.
Siren, scream, and I want out,
inner rumble, tussle, shout.
But you don’t hear,
words go in and out.
You’re seduced by the commotion
all around, all about.
Step into the jungle and R-O-A-R.
Tussle with the lion, patch the S-C-A-R.
Hustle is my daily grind,
but I want off this steely ride.
It’s really no surprise, when the
blaze heats, the embers blind.
You are in the mix,
gold woven in the fabric.
Remember when you signed on,
they called you Magic Maverick.
You had a vision, you wanted this or that.
But day’s a collision. Life, my friend, a revision.
Step into the jungle and R-O-A-R.
Tussle with the lion, patch the S-C-A-R.
Pen a new playbook,
be your own champ.
Gas up the ride,
turn up your own amp.
Choose for today, but know for a fact
tomorrow’s in flux, nothing’s been cast.
Without your consent, life’s fluid, in flow.
Your choice can be rewritten, and you do reap what you sow.
You’ll have to act as if,
you’ll have to stand as if,
you know what you are doing,
when jumping off that cliff.
Step into the jungle and R-O-A-R.
ROAR ROAR ROAR ROAR


Living is not for the faint of heart. No matter how anxious we may be about a possible future event or how many obstacles we predict will come along, we are almost always wrong! Life has other plans for us, and we didn't see any of them coming. We get side-swiped all the time.

When this happens, we might start down the pity path. Why is this happening to me? Haven’t I been through enough? Can’t I catch a break? The short answer: No. Life is a living event. It has teeth, crushing jaws, and a big ole’ stomach, and it will eat you whole if you let it. Some call life a rollercoaster. Its twists, turns, and backflips are rewritten every day, sometimes every moment. Our job is to keep up.

We Must Take on the Jungle!

We can do it, but we have to be willing to take on things, take on the jungle. We have to get into the fight—no standing on the sidelines and waiting for things to get better. I think it’s better to try to push through our fears and make our will known and felt. It’s not always possible for us to have that level of strength, but when we have the ability to act in the best interests of our most authentic selves, it can feel so amazingly empowering. Before that amazing feeling though, sometimes you can be scared, and it doesn’t always feel good to go against the “system,” to be your own person.

It isn’t until things start to turn around (and we feel light and happy) that we know that there is a serenity that lives on the other side of our angst and our fears. We must know pain to get to pleasure. We must taste bitter to get to sweet. We can’t be passive; we must assert our will to at least try to make our wishes come to fruition. We step into the jungle and roar.

brown and beige wooden house
Photo by Andreas Haimerl / Unsplash; Duality plays out in our lives.

Whatever that battle may be—family issues, work or relationships, money problems. There’s no shortage of challenges, and we have to dig deep to take action to try to free ourselves from negative feelings about our situation. Sometimes we don’t see our resolution the way we wanted, we simply tire out and wait until the situation changes. But just as surely as the struggle comes into our lives, it will leave (eventually). When that happens, the pleasure on the other side of angst is much sweeter because we fought for it. We invested in it. We shaped its outcome. To extend the lion metaphor, we rest under a shaded tree and get a respite from the daytime heat only after we’ve hunted, feasted, and roared a bit during the night.

Journaling 101: An Inspirational Guide to Start (or Revive) a Practice
Whether you write, doodle, draw, or keep memorable quotes, journaling uncovers YOU. Let your unconscious mind speak, download my free guide.

Sign up for the Let the Verse Flow Newsletter and get access to all my articles, including this free journaling guide.

Journal Prompts to Bring Out Your Inner Lion

Here are today’s journal prompts. Write about them, then put your thoughts away, and when you return to read them on another day, you’ll find a new perspective told in your own words. Your inner voice is working here, and what you discover about yourself can be amazing.

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Write about a time you “roared” and asserted your personal power. How did it feel at that moment and a few days later?
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How can you build confidence in your ability to “roar” when needed to make your needs known?

Until next time, don’t forget to stay on the bright side of the beat. 🌞


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Music: My thanks to all the musicians who make incredible music and have the courage to put it out into the world. All music for my podcast is sourced and licensed for use via Soundstripe.

Songs in this episode:

Brown Power by Reggie B.; Winning Streak by JeesGuy; Sub Insanity by Ghost Beatz; Pyaar Kee Seemaen by Cast of Characters

LTVF Season One Music Playlist: Check out the songs that inspire me, and connect with artists from many genres who add to our collective, human soundtrack.

Resources:

The Lion’s Roar (Part 1A) - Tara Brach video

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