When You Meet a Cougar!

On my recent vacation, I embarked upon a 3-mile trail run in Bend, Oregon.  I was being challenged with the usual things, like altitude change, trail vs street and hills.  At the half-way point of the loop, I happened upon a sign stapled to a tree that was titled: “Be Advised: A cougar was reported seen in this area.”  The date of the sighting was literally 3 days prior to my run!

After a few gulps and a quick assessment of my location, I realized that I was at the turn of the loop and had to run just as far as I had already travelled to get back to the park.  I read further on the posted sign and took a mental note of the suggestions.  

  • STOP 
  • STAY CALM 
  • APPEAR LARGE
  • MAKE NOISE 
  • AVOID WALKING ALONE

As I start the run back to my vehicle, I became super aware of my surroundings!  I listened and searched ahead of me for other fellow humans on the path.  I noticed where the path had high ground overhead and felt the relief when I made it to a more even playing field!  

And I thought and considered and thought some more!  Could I really stop and stay calm if I met a wild cat?  The detailed directions were to not turn your back, and to not run away.  And the part about appearing large was particularly confronting.  It suggested that you make noise and hold any coat out away from you.  

As I approached the more open, flat ground surrounding the park, I realized how these suggestions are a great fit for humans, in general!

  • Stop running away when something feels difficult or threatening.  Do you retreat or hide when faced with challenging conversations?  What about fear of rejection?  
  • Stay calm and breathe deeply to increase my awareness.  Learning how to slow down and take a breath, even before answering a seemingly simple question, creates so much more space for knowing.
  • Appear large is equivalent to having a tribe!  There is strength in unity!  Life is much more manageable with a group of people who have your back.  Have you ever decided that it would be somehow easier and faster if you just handled something all on your own?  Having community is a vital part of creating a larger presence in the world.
  • Make noise is like speaking, asking, relating about self and what you want, need or desire.  This particular issue comes up often with clients who have made an assumption that they cannot have the thing they desire, yet have never actually asked!  Make some noise!  Get your voice into the proverbial room!  This is one of the main reasons we play Inside Outs at communication game events.  It is a relatively short and simple way to have everyone actually say something, getting their voice into the room.  
  • Avoid walking alone…that is having tribe and knowing that humans are made for connection!  Loneliness is an epidemic and connection with humans in a physical, limbic and emotional is becoming a lost art.

Hope you find the list of suggestions helpful whether you are meeting a cougar on your path, or finding your way in human relationships!

If you would like to have exquisite attention, loving accountability from a deeply passionate coach about finding your way in relating, reach out and let’s chat!

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