This is a book I used to read to my kids. There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. It is the story of young Bill Bixbee who finds a baby dragon on his bed one morning. He carries the dragon downstairs to breakfast to show his mother. Despite the
dragon standing on the table eating his pancakes, Bill’s mother insists, “There’s no such thing as a dragon.” Bill accepts her view on the situation and the baby dragon grows a bit bigger. Throughout the day, each time Bill tries to show the damage done by the dragon, his mom denies it’s existence and the dragon grows even bigger. Until, by the end of the day, the dragon is so large it carries the house down the street after a bread truck. When Bill’s mom notices her house has been carried off, she finally acknowledges the dragons presence. With her noticing the dragon miraculously returns to kitten size. The story ends with mom petting the dragon while it rests on her lap. “I don’t mind dragons this size,” she says to her son, “I wonder why it had to get so big?” Bill replies,”I think it just wanted to be noticed.”
I LOVE this story. In it’s simplicity is it’s wisdom. Often something has to get really big for us to notice it.
I can choose not to notice my life’s dragons. I can ignore my exhaustion from living a busy, stressed filled life until I am knocked off my feet and put in bed by an illness that is big enough to get my attention. I can pretend my ailing relationship is fine until it is over. I can swallow my hurt, sadness, loneliness until I find myself raging or depressed (Often mistaken for PMS when it is actually my dragon trying to get my attention).
Denial is a useful and powerful coping mechanism. We believe, “If I don’t acknowledge it, it doesn’t exist.” Convenient for the short term, risky in the long run. We all wait to our breaking point to notice. We think we can outsmart our emotions by ignoring them. The house often has to be carried down the street for us to notice the disruption.
This is another invitation to notice. Last week I talked about my meditation class and all the noticing going on. When I notice myself, my feelings, my sensations, my thoughts, I am in the moment with myself. The more I am “with myself” the more honest I can be about what is true for me. The best part, I think, is the more I can be with me, and tolerate what is really there-even if it is a dragon, the more I trust myself. Like in the story, little Bill Bixbee had to feel much safer with his mom when she could notice the obvious. We need to be “good moms” for ourselves by noticing what is going on inside so the dragon can stay kitten size.
I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings about noticing (or not) your dragons. Maybe in our sharing we can notice even more…