Friday, May 3, 2013


“I asked the Zebra,
are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on and on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes...again.”
-- Shel Silverstein

Picture a great fire sweeping across a savannah in Africa.  Thousands of animals run from the wall of flames in terror as fast as they are able.  More often than not, the animals tire and the fire catches up with them and consumes them.  All except the zebra, a rather ornery and strong-willed animal.

Unlike the other animals, the zebra runs toward the fire.  He runs at it in a valiant attempt to run through the fire and escape his demise.  Often, he succeeds.

This is an important metaphor for our awakening.  You must run toward the fire of your “work”, allowing your awareness to grow.  You must immerse yourself in the heat of the hero’s journey, whatever form that takes for you.  To transform your life, you must awaken to how you live, react, and think.

Challenge yourself to give up worn out and useless ways of approaching life, letting the fire of self-discovery burn away the dross in your life.  You must face extinction, the end of your old self and mode of living, and welcome a new way, a new path, a new world.  Seek your soul’s mission, reorder your values, and seek divinity within yourself and others. 

Become the zebra and run through the fire!

-- Pete


jan said...

I LOVE this poem! I'm surprised I haven't seen it before because I have most of his books. Thanks!

jan said...

Also...congratulations on finishing the A to Z challenge! I'm so proud of my soul-searching writer brother!