Snake Story

January 11, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

Yesterday I went out to the farm to check on a friend’s cat and the chickens (the girls). The cat and I had a wonderful bonding time. Then I bebop over to the barn to check in on the girls.  As I come into the coop, what do I see in the egg box?  Yup, a snake.  I had the awe s*** moment hit.  As I looked, he had one of five eggs in his mouth.  I thought, ok buddy, you can have the one egg, and I will take the rest.

Now I had to figure out how the heck I was going to get the eggs out of the box if he was still in there.  Being the chicken that I am, I take a little feed into my hand and throw it at him with a hope that this will make him move.  Nope!  He doesn’t stir.  “Ok, next strategy is?” I ask myself.  Then I see a big stick near a window. I can handle this!

I grab the stick with the determination that I am coming out of the coop with the four eggs.  I still am not going to put my hand anywhere near my new friend; he can have the fifth egg. I take the stick and hit the side of the box to see if this will cause him to move. Nothing.  “Now what? Let’s try to move him out of the way.”

I try to get the stick under him to lift him out of the box.  What does he do?  He releases the egg and starts to hiss at me.  Well, this scares me even more, but now I am determined to get those eggs; he has to go. I continue to try and lift him up and out of the box.

My fear now includes the thought that he will come up the stick at me.  To my relief, he doesn’t.  With a little fight between me, the big stick and him, he finally gets the message it’s time to leave. He slithers away the way he may have come into the coop.  And I walk triumphantly, and shaken, out of the coop with all five eggs.

And this thought hits me – even being face to face with a nemesis, I can be mindful. I am amazed at my response to the situation…I didn’t let my mind wander in any direction. I was in the moment, felt the trembling in my body the whole time. I heard the chickens around me, smelled the coop, felt my hands and feet. Somehow, I was totally aware of everything going on, in and around me. Without these past 8 weeks of practice, I don’t think could have been as mindful nor taken action as I was for this experience.

I’m not saying that I want to have this experience again.  I still don’t like snakes, and I sure as heck do not want to be around them. J

Periodically we publish reflections in the Monthly Musings section of the newsletter that have been written by students in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes. If you have a piece you’d like us to consider, please send it to Karen Dyer at

Filed Under: Monthly Musings