A Big Black Nose

Posted by on Jun 7, 2014 in ALL Posts, Blog, Finding Courage | 27 comments

The blog has been quiet for a couple weeks, but there has been good reason. If you missed the reason you can catch up real quick on the last blog post located here: http://www.louannstropoli.com/ive-got-that-lovin-feelin/

 

Today’s post is a story about a very fascinating and rare experience I had in the White Mountains before I left New England. It’s followed by a simple quick leadership application. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the actual experience.

DSCN3944So… I’ve been a camper pretty much all my adult life. I love the campfires, the hiking, and the wildlife. I decided that I wanted to do hike my favorite hike (the Franconia Ridge loop) one last time before I left the area. So, I headed up to the Lafayette Campground where I always stay when I want to hike this loop and I settled in for a nice campfire.

Now – there was just one other group and I in the campground that night so I took some extra precautions to stay safe. I found a big rock and I weighted down the rain fly of my tent by the door and then I put my camping chair right in front of the door just so I’d know if I got any visitors in the night. Then, all safe and sound, I fell off to sleep under the canopy of a spectacular bright moon.

 

DSCN3957Well – off to sleep for a while that is. At around 1:22am I suddenly woke because one side of my tent seemed to suddenly fall or get pushed down, almost as if the steak came loose from the ground. In my groggy state I thought, “It must be the weight of the rain.” I then realized it wasn’t raining. Then all of the sudden, the tent popped back up and I thought – ok – well – whatever. I started to lay back down.

Just then I saw footsteps. My heart began to race.  I said internally, “Find your knife! Find your Knife! Find Your Knife!” See I always carry a threesome: a knife, a whistle, and a flashlight all connected by a rope. So, I thought – if some guy thinks he’s comin’ in here – he’s going to learn the bloody way that I’m not interested.

But then – my mood changed in a flash. Instead of human footsteps those legs actually belonged to a furry friend. My fear turned to excitement and I said internally, “It’s a bear! It’s a bear!! It’s a bear!!!”

Now – you have to understand, I’ve been wanting to see a bear in the wild for quite some time! Well, as long as I’ve been a camper! So when I saw this bear, I was beyond myself with excitement.

Thanks to the wonderfully bright full moon that night I was able to watch as this beautiful creature walked around the foot of my tent and over to my tent door. I saw his/her stately figure and puppy like ears. By this time I was seriously wanting to find my video camera but was so in awe I was having a hard time thinking clearly. I’m sorry I don’t have this on video to share with you!!

Anyway – I was now calmly watching this beauty, holding my whistle in case I needed it, and keeping myself as still and as calm as possible.

So there I sat: my nose, five inches, a tent wall, and…. well then the bear came to the door of my tent, put her beautiful big black nose to the mesh opening and sniffed several times. We were that close. Just 5 inches between us. Be still my heart. S/He apparently decided I didn’t smell too appetizing cause that’s as close as we got to each other.
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I wanted to reach out and touch that fascinating head and back but I dared not. In a flash of time I had the rare opportunity to watch this bear’s incredibly strong and magnificent frame walk into the darkness.

I understand that some may have been frightened, but for me this experience was an act of love. It was a parting gift to me from the creator of our universe. I’ll never forget that beautiful bear and our close and heart warming encounter. Although this moment is not on video, it is forever in the video of my mind and heart.

Now, what does this have to do with leadership?

DSCN4060Ok – here’s my take. In the moment, I had to decide how to respond to an unknown and completely new experience. I could scream or pee my pants, but I decided the best thing to do under the circumstances was to be very still, calm, and quiet. I responded to the bear in the same way this little chipmunk responded to me. Keep still – don’t move – wait

 

Sometimes the climate of our leadership situations contain unexpected turns and dangers. Many around us may find themselves overwhelmed with fear or emotion. During those times we may find that the best possible response for our Inspirational Leadership is to be still, calm, and quiet. We are leaders who lead with strength. We strive to be internally calm and at peace in all circumstances. We instill that peace to those around us.

How can you apply this story today? Is something happening in your home, your community, or your workplace that is raising the heat or causing people to fear? What if, in the midst of that, you chose to be the one who is calm, still, and quiet?

Tell us about it or share your response to the story in the comments below!!

 

We can all learn from each other and there’s hardly anything more helpful in our own development than a positive supportive community.

 

Remember: We are all leaders.
The choice we have is what kind of leader we will be.

Be Inspired! Be Inspirational! Be a Leader!

 

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27 Comments

  1. LouAnn!!! Great story!!!!! I love it!!!! I love bears!!! This was heartwarming! I am very happy that God gave you this incredible gift! Isn’t He AWESOME!!!!!!

    • Hi Heather!
      Sorry for the late approval and response. My word press is not sending me emails when I get comments. I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. It was so incredible. I still wish I has captured it on video. The Bear was so incredibly beautiful. Thanks for your comment and your bear excitement. 🙂 Hope you’re having an inspired week!

  2. What a great story, LouAnn! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been afraid of bears since coming face to face with one when I was little, but I can definitely see how this intimate experience with one was truly a parting gift from God!

    • awww too bad your love for bears was interrupted. So not fair! S/he really was completely non-violent and was just looking for a few bites of something yummy. It really was the best parting gift. Now I hear there are mountain lions on the hikes here! Maybe someday I’ll get to post about that! 🙂

  3. This is proof that two people can have very differing perspectives in the same situation. I’m not sure many people would choose your perspective, LouAnn. But there are a lot of lessons in it. It’s so cool that you got to experience that AND be safe at the same time.

    • hahaha Lori, that’s too funny. I’m sure you are right… not everyone would have that same perspective. I’m glad I was safe too. Still wish I’d gotten it in video!! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  4. Beautiful!

    • Thanks!

  5. I bet the bear wasn’t a vegetarian so you didn’t smell like bear food to him or her. Just another reason that following a vegetarian diet is healthy for people, especially those who go camping and hiking in bear country.

    What you said about remaining still and calm especially for leaders in unexpected potentially threatening situations reminded me immediately about the verse “Be still and know that I am God”. As a leader if I can be still when facing a tricky situation I allow God to give me the perfect advice on how to proceed. As happened for you by staying still and calm you were able to see God working out a way for you to have an amazing experience and not come to any harm while going through it.

    • hahaha That’s awesome. They do like berries, however. 🙂
      Yes – being still and quiet is one of our greatest challenges as leaders. I’m sure we’ll all have a ton of opportunity to continue to learn and practice this skill in the years to come. 🙂

  6. What a great story and application! And a reminder that when we choose not to let fear rule, but only allow fear to alert us appropriately, as shared in your story—had whistle on the safety rope ready for an emergency— we remain in a position to receive all sorts of surprise gifts. What a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father you received!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for the comment and for sharing your wisdom and application. Awesome!! You are SO right!!!
      Now – let’s see if I can apply all that in real life. 🙂
      Have a wonderfully inspired day!!

  7. What an amazing story! I’m pretty sure I would have been terrified, but I’m glad you got your wish of seeing one of these impressive animals up close in the wild and everything turned out okay. Congrats on the move!

    • Thanks, Carolyn. It’s funny – lots of leadership stuff can terrify us. This was simply further training in learning to quell my internal reactions. Thanks for your comment! You are always one of our most inspirational members. 🙂

  8. wow amazing story! My husband and I were walking in the impenetrable rain forest in Uganda (Gorilla land) and thought we heard a silverback, we however were not brave: we walked slowly in the other direction and then RAN! not sure what that says about us!

    • hahaha That’s awesome Leonaura. too funny.
      As long as you are far enough away – then running is ok. Otherwise, it can trigger a race.
      That would have been oh so bad. 😉

  9. So often we need to “keep still and wait” for so many things! I think I will like to have that reminder Bear Nose Free though 😉 Great story and I am glad that bear didn’t think you smelled good!

  10. The creaturely things of creation are beautiful and awesome even if a little scary. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. I know it must have been awesome. I would have been still and quiet too, but I’m afraid I still would have peed my pants!

    It has always been my nature in situations to be still and take everything in before opening my mouth. It is just part of my cautious nature, but it has served me well. You can learn so much just by observing and really listening, not only to what is said, but also to what is not being said. That can say volumes too. I often have people tell me that I present a calm presence. I do not think it is anything I consciously do, but I think it is because I listen. That is an important thing for a leader to be able to do.

    Thanks LouAnn. I hope you find a place for you and sweet Taj soon!

    • hahahaha so funny. You never know what your bladder might have done.
      Thanks for the incredible example of calm leadership in real life!
      Good for you for knowing instinctively to be calm and to listen. That’s a lesson many of us have to learn through trial and error. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your inspiration!!
      LouAnn

  11. Great story with the tie-in to leadership! Now, can you link the “scream & pee” options to leadership? LOL Thanks for the inspiration–keep ’em coming!

    • hahahaha I’ll try Tom! Thanks for the comment and the tip on how to make it more applicable.
      Have an Inspired day!

  12. So glad you didn’t get eaten! 🙂 And very glad God gave you such a glorious send-off!

    • Thanks, Susan! Me too. I’m trying not to be offended that I didn’t smell too much like bear food. 🙂
      it was a wonderful send-off. S/he was soooo beautiful!!
      Have a wonderfully inspired day!

  13. Still calm and quiet is a great way to approach an unexpected turn of events!!! I love the way you responded to this. You got your dream of seeing a bear. When you we least expect it, we get things come into our life in ways we never imagined. Thanks for the inspiration, can’t quite top that one!!! So glad to hear from you again in sunny CA.

    • Thanks so much, Laurie!! You’re so right. Many times the most fantastic things in life come when we have no idea they will. Now… to apply this to my new job! 🙂 Thanks for all your wonderful inspiration through your comments here on the blog. You’re awesome!

  14. This is fantastic! I am not certain how I would react – I’ve seen a few bears in my life and they were all from a distance. Beautiful creatures.

    I do think that God takes over for us sometimes – wraps us up in comfort so that we remain calm and still in His presence while the unpredictability of the world goes on around us. I have felt that a few times in my life in an indescribably wonderful way!

    Other times – I have to remember to lean on Him to help me remain calm, cool and collected! (Doesn’t always work out that way!)

    I bet you’ll have some wonderful hiking/camping experiences in CA! Can’t wait to hear about those!

    • Thanks, Katrina! It’s such a gift to see you here on the blog page. Yes… they are fantastic!!! I’ve only seen a couple cubs before – that was when I was driving through Yosemite.
      I think you’re right. It’s a combination that I’ve taken years to learn. Part His doing and part ours. We can’t just sit back and let him change everything within us, but if we try all on our own, we miserably fail.
      Oh yes.. I hear that is the truth about hiking – though I’ll miss the lush greenery of the east coast.
      I’ll be sure to share photos and such.
      Next blog post will be about the cross country trip. 🙂
      Thanks again for your input and for sharing your comments and wisdom here in our Inspirational Leading team!
      You’re the best. 🙂

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