Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Daniel’s Dream: In the Lion’s Den–by Daniel Holland


My sweetheart Daniel Holland in Northern California had a wonderful dream one night and was fortunate enough to remember it. This is an archtypal dream every performer, artist, and writer must know and face before putting work out in the world. --JRG

In the dream I'm in the lion's den with two lions. They are ferocious: growling and prowling half circles around me, ready to attack. Instead of fighting them off or acting aggessively, I bend my knees in a signal of submission. I acknowledge their power and welcome them, comfort them, rather than attack back.

The lions become tame. They slowly circle around me. There is a respectful space between them and me. One lion looks at me. The other looks away. There's not going to be a fight. That's it. I am released from the pit by the king.

I passed the test. No one in the auditorium applauds. They look. I walk away. The audience doesn't respond. There's no glory. They wanted to see me torn apart by the lions. They are disappointed.

But I am free to go. I've earned my freedom. there will always be a space between me and the people. Neither popular or unpopular. I have my boundaries. I am safe. I am free.

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  1. I love this dream! If it were my dream, I'd wonder who the lions were. I think if it were my dream that the lions might be the critic inside me and the critics outside me. Lions are powerful animals--the kings of the jungle and savannah--but also ferocious when stalking their prey. That you were able to bring their power into the scene of your dream is impressive. I think that's what artists, writers, and performers are challenged to do--to bring the power of their fears and doubts into their work.

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