When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 6, 2014

On flying ants and fear

A strange thing happens here sometime every autumn.  Invariably, we arrive home one afternoon to find a massive colony of flying ants clustered on our front steps, except that they are not flying when we first see them; they are wandering about in every direction on the ground, and there are so many of them that it looks like the very steps themselves are crawling.  At first glance, this ant situation is about as horrifying as you're probably imagining right now. Will flat out refused to go in the front door when he discovered this year's winged ant explosion and instead burst breathlessly through the less-convenient back kitchen door to tell me what he had found.

I was as startled by the ants as Will was, but I did not want to spook him further by freaking out over them, so I remained calm and encouraged him to come and watch them through the window with me from a safe spot inside the house. (Really, I didn't know what I could do about the swarm anyway, because as much as Will is afraid of ants, he is also a tender-hearted keeper of all creatures, and it would have upset him if I had exterminated even one of the creepy-crawling things.)  We both stood quietly for a while, our eyes following the tiny, determined insects as they slowly spread out in droves over the entire front walkway.  And then suddenly, one by one, the ants began to spread their delicate wings and rise above the earth.

It was a completely different story once those unnerving creatures began to fly.  The ants floated off one after the other like bubbles dancing in a gentle breeze, each small speck eventually disappearing on the bright blue horizon against the late afternoon sun, until finally there was not a single ant remaining. Will and I both experienced a moment of wonder witnessing them take this important flight to begin the next phase of their lives; the anticipation and possibility contained in that migration was palpable. And it hit me just then that often what we are most afraid of need only to be looked at in a different light to become something beautiful and inspiring instead.


This past weekend I attended BlissDom Canada, an exciting three-day blogging and social media conference packed with engaging sessions and powerful speakers, including Derreck Kayongo, whose lively telling of his Global Soap Project filled me with hope. I was thrilled to be there, and came away from the conference with a sense of connection and my brain buzzing with new and interesting ideas.  I was also confronted by some nagging anxieties over those three days. Despite the fact that it was my third year in attendance and many of the faces I saw there looked familiar, I still felt nervous and lacking in confidence. I couldn't muster up the courage to introduce myself to the some of the people I wanted to, and I felt self-conscious and tongue-tied sometimes when opportunities for conversations presented themselves.  I was reminded of the goals I had set for myself after the conference last year, and while I am pleased to say I accomplished some of them, I will also admit that fear has kept me from chasing some of my biggest dreams.  

This year's conference has ignited a spark in my mind and my heart and inspired me to look at what scares me from a new perspective. I will stop worrying about possible failure or disapproval should I venture into the unknown, and start imagining instead the possibility for success and deep personal satisfaction.  I want to spread my own wings in the warm sunshine and believe wholeheartedly that I have it in me to fly.  I'm excited to see where my new-found bravery might take me.... 


  1. I have my pom poms out and I'm ready to shake them. Go Lisa. I can't wait to see what happens.

    1. I love your encouragement, Louise! Thank you. xo

  2. I'm so happy to hear that this year's conference has ignited that spark in you. :) I look forward to seeing what you do this year.

  3. Thanks Courtney! It was great to see you as a Community Leader at Blissdom this year! :)

  4. Great analogy on viewing life's challenges differently. Of course, everything looks friendlier, less intimidating from inside. ;-)

    I used to be much more introverted, almost afraid of life and happiness really, but going gluten free pushed me outside of my boundaries and actually physically/neurologically changed me as far as being moody, anxious, afraid, etc. But that's not to say that I still don't get anxious or am afraid from time to time. I am. I think we all still fight fear of some sort. I try to ask myself, what's the worst that can happen? Usually the worst is not that awful, so I go ahead and introduce myself to strangers regularly, share thoughts I'd rather not share, take the road I've never been down before, etc. and I've never regretted any of it. Do it one step at a time, Lisa, and you'll find it gets easier and easier!


  5. Yes, "inside" is a very good place to be when there are millions of flying ants outside! ;)

    I really appreciate hearing your perspective and advice regarding introversion and being nervous, Shirley. The "What's the worst that can happen" question is a good one to remember, because you're right -- usually the worst thing is not bad at all. I am inspired by the changes you've seen in yourself because you've pushed yourself outside of your usual comfort zone. Thank you for sharing this with me! (And I'm glad to hear that it gets easier. :) )