Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Channel the Iguana

Last year I wrote a post called The Obstacle Course which has been shared and recommended more than anything else I've written. In it I described what quitting booze feels like, and why you really, really don't want to keep doing the early days over and over again.

(To read the Obstacle Course click here).

Well, last week I was watching David Attenborough's incredible Planet Earth 2 with the children and I came across a scene which reminded me vividly of those initial days wrestling with the obstacle course.

So, if you're at that horrible stage when you're sitting on your hands and grinding your teeth every evening at wine o'clock, and you can't believe that life is ever going to feel good ever again, then please watch this clip, it'll really help.

David Attenborough films a volcanic island where hardly anything lives except a lot of iguanas and even more snakes. These are no ordinary snakes - they are called 'racer snakes' and they live up to their name.

Pretty much the sole diet of the racer snakes is iguana.

The adult iguanas lay their eggs away from the shoreline to protect them from the waves, but this means that the very first thing a newly hatched baby iguana has to do is to make it across the beach to the shoreline where the mummies and daddies are hanging out.

The racer snakes know this, and they hide in the rocks just waiting for a tender young iguana to run by, at which point it's dinner time.

This clip shows a heroic baby iguana - his first day on the planet. He knows instinctively that there is danger around him, and initially he stays very still, hoping that an approaching snake won't see him (this is the denial stage, remember that one?).

Eventually he realises that he has to run, or he's toast.

As he charges towards the shore he's chased by loads of snakes - at one point they are literally coiled around his body - but each time he escapes with amazing determination, courage and death defying leaps.

Finally, he makes it to safety.

So, next time you're wrestling with the racer snakes, channel your inner iguana. You can do it. You can make it to the shore. You will find peace.

(To watch the clip, click here)

Love SM x


  1. I love that phrase. "Channel you're inner iguana." I will be using it all day long (silently) for anything difficult that comes my way. And it's true -- only the beginning is hard.

  2. That totally sums it up SM...quite simply the most beautiful demonstration of what we are up against. Loved it when the iguana wrestled itself out of what seemed an impossible bind. Hope for us all xo

  3. Inner iguana - that will now be my mantra during wine-o'clock, to give me strength and make me smile! Day 17 here and going strong. I'll re-read The Obstacle Course now, to remind me. And maybe watch the clip - am way too emotionally raw to watch Planet Earth at the moment, but I feel I can now I know he gets through to safety! ;-) Red xx

    1. Huge congrats, Red! You're doing brilliantly xxx

  4. Im with Red, so raw right now. Amazing how the early days are the exact same for everyone. I feel like the early days are the great equalizer of man.

    Im not sure what age your kids are, but if they are young like mine, A Turtle's Tale has the same struggle as the baby turtle needs to make it to the ocean from his egg.

  5. It is amazing how the snakes seem to come from all directions...but focus and desire are powerful.

    I love that analogy. Thank you!

  6. Brilliant SM. I have struggled this evening with an evening dress dinner - Fizz, wine, port. My first since giving up. Others I have managed to avoid but I couldn't duck this one. I was surrounded by Racer snakes and had even said I wold drink the port for appearances sake - I didn't drink a drop but the battle has exhausted me and I wasn't good company, which was a pity as they are friends of mine and one of my staff was leaving. I am safely away now, in the rocks and away from the snakes but it shows me that you can't let your guard down and the urge, while suppressed, remains very strong.


    1. You made it! I know you're exhausted with it all now, but tomorrow you'll be so proud of yourself, and next time it'll be easier. You're awesome xxx

  7. Love it! I haven't got over the obstacle course yet. But this time I am going to. Day 25 here. :)

  8. Love this! Im on day 11 and physically feel amazing but I feel like my main obstacles will be socialising, especially so close to Christmas. My first night out tomorrow and I'm driving so that's a good start I think!! X

  9. Hi SM

    Just wanted to say that I really appreciate all you do and your blog. I am going to get to the field of bunnies if it kills me :):)

  10. I keep going over the first few hurdles! Mad isn't it? Love the obstacle course analogy. Will use it when next I'm tempted to go back to the beginning instead of looking for the cute bunnies! Thank you for all your inspiration. KT