Jack Kent wrote a book called There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon, which illustrates the idea of noticing and allowing. One morning, a boy wakes up with a tiny dragon in his bedroom. When he tells his mother, she tells him “there is no such thing as dragons.” The two proceed to go about their daily routine ignoring the dragon, and the longer they ignore the dragon, the larger the dragon grows. Eventually, he is large enought that his head and tail stick out each door while his legs stick out the windows. By simply walking, he moves the house to a different location. Even as the dragon is moving the house, the mother maintains that there is no such thing as dragons. Evenutally, they acknoweldge that there is a dragon, the boy pats the dragon, and something amazing happens. The dragon shrinks back down to his original size.
It is essential that I (we) acknoweldge, allow, address, and/or accept the dragon as it is. See it. Acknoweldge it. Talk about it. Allow it. Being aware of, allowing, and addressing the dragons in our lives helps to keep them small.
My experience with trauma has been much like the story of the dragon. I woke up one morning knowing something that had happened to me overnight was not okay. I saw the dragon and called it a dragon. When I told the person responsible, they told me they thought I “wanted it.” “There is no such thing as dragons.” A few days later, I told a professor of mine. He asked me what my part in it was. “There is no such thing as dragons.””
In the last five years, my therapist has repeatedly told me there are such things as dragons, and I have in fact been living with one. The times I take on others’ opinions, the dragon grows, taking over, but the times I am able to look at the dragon and call it a dragon, I am able to reach out and touch it as the boy did in the story.
Therapy or not, I am not certain I could reach out and touch the dragon without mindfulness practice. Mindfulness teaches us that there is no other moment than right now. Mindfulness teaches us that what is here, is here—allow it. Mindfulness teaches us to gently dip our toes into the discomfort and then return as necessary to the breath, sound, sensations, or wherever we can ground back in a safe present moment. “There is such a thing as a dragon,” but by acknowldging them—reaching out and touching them as we are able—we keep them small and manageable.
Believe in dragons. Allow yourself to see them as they are. Touch them. Breathe. Get support from someone else who believes in dragons. There is such a thing as dragons.
3 thoughts on “Mindfulness: The Dragon”
This is a very insightful post. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and connecting it to the children’s story of “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon”. How do you suggest someone identifies the dragons in their lives, especially if they have been ignoring them for a long time? Is there a specific technique or practice that you recommend?
Thank you! You know, dragons are difficult to identify once they’ve been hiding in plain sight for so long. I believe our lives are much more complicated, painful, and unfulfilled when we ignore what is staring us in the face.
Who are you? Who would you like to become? If today were your last, what would your regrets be? The most honest look at our lives comes when we believe we are dying, at least in my opinion.
Though I’m not dying, I realized I wasn’t living.
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Thanks for your reply. That’s a great point. Not dying but not living either.