Several years ago, I visited Tierra Del Fuego, an incredibly beautiful island off the tip of Argentina, and home to the southernmost village in the world. This land of jagged snowy peaks is also the home to an enormous colony of beavers. These beavers are not native to Argentina, I was told, but were brought there from Canada in the 1940s by some ambitious entrepreneurs, who thought they would be able to make a fortune out of the beaver’s furs. Their reasoning seemed ingenious: the beaver’s only predator was the bear, and there were no bears in Argentina! With no predators, the beavers would multiply quickly, and they would reap the benefits, selling the expensive furs and making a fortune.
The plan was soon put into action, and 25 pairs of beavers arrived in Tierra Del Fuego. As the beavers went about their beavery ways, the entrepreneurs waited gleefully for the fruits of their labor. The beavers did indeed multiply, but something rather unexpected happened – the newborns did not develop thick coats like their Canadian relatives. In fact, their coats were totally useless.
The distraught entrepreneurs soon learnt that the beaver’s coat grows thick when the animal experiences fear. With no bears, there was no fear, and so their coats did not grow!
In our society, comfort is king. Anything that makes life easier and requires less effort, is prized. We have learnt to avoid confrontation and conflict, to value routine over the unknown, and security over spontaneity. Yet often it is the things that make us uncomfortable – the hard knocks, the disappointments and the losses – that challenge us most in our lives. They are the storms we wish we did not have to weather, yet they are the storms that make us strong. They give us maturity and responsibility, for what better teacher can we have than our own direct experience? When we embrace these hard knocks, we realize that everything is an opportunity for us to be more and more love, until we reach the point where nothing can ruffle our fur. Except maybe a ten foot grizzly bear!
Isha Judd is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and author; her latest book and movie, Why Walk When You Can Fly? explain her system for self-love and the expansion of consciousness. Learn more at www.whywalkwhenyoucanfly.com.