Live Like a Lion, Love!


As I return home from almost 30 straight days on the road, having visited three continents, five countries, and three US states, I’m adding a new mascot to the bevy of beasts that have taught me how to live. The great things about being human is that, though we can’t quite equal the strengths of any other animal, we can do at least a half-assed imitation of any. (Yesterday on the History Channel I saw a blind man who echolocates like a bat, clicking his tongue and “reading” the sound echoes that bounce back to him from various objects.)

My current role model is Felix Leonis, the African lion, but not for the usual reasons. People have been identifying with lions forever because they’re big, strong, and have great hair. Me, I’m into their actual habits, which aren’t nearly as dignified and industrious as most people think.

First of all, lions sleep 20 hours a day. EXCELLENT! In Africa I met a wonderful Team member named Georgina Hamilton (now nicknamed Geo) who told me about a seminar she attended to learn lucid dreaming. For 10 days, the participants got up, ate breakfast, heard some instructions, and went back to sleep. Lunch, lecture, more sleep, dinner, much more sleep. What a concept! Listening to Geo I resolved to get serious about sleep—as aggressive as a challenged lioness, if need be.

Other than snoozing, lions have two major occupations. First, they hang out with their loved ones. I’ll never forget watching two leonine brothers—massive animals with manes like rock stars—wrap their front legs around one another and set to purring like tractor engines. Imagine two NFL nose guards with the social inclinations of Teletubbies. This I intend to imitate with anyone I love, and frequently.

The final lion occupation I intend to adopt is being silly. On the Masai Mara a few weeks ago, I flip-cammed these two youngsters playing with their food. Notice that they don’t actually eat the poor dead thing (at the height of the wildebeest migration, these lions were surpassingly well-fed) but use it for goofy hunting practice. You can practically hear them saying, “I will kill you some more! And more! Like this! You’re dead! Now you’re dead again! You are soooo dead this time!”

If you find this ghoulish, I understand. It takes some time to get used to the circle of life on the African savannah. But like a lion, I’m going to let you process that on your own. I’m feeling a little drowsy.

10 replies
  1. Lynne Andersen
    Lynne Andersen says:

    Great post! I’m paying particular attention to animals this week to prepare for an improv class – we’re going to use animals as a building block for characters. I appreciate what you said about looking at habits rather than physical characteristics alone. Lions can be dorky – what a cool contrast!

    Also want to mention that I really enjoyed Finding Your Own North Star. It’s the only self help book that I finished. I was so inspired that I signed up for my first improv class in January and by June I was not only in the cast of Carolina Improv Company but also developing a stand up act. And I’ve found my own tribe of creative artists. Thanks so much!

  2. Danielle Miller
    Danielle Miller says:

    Sleep and giggles…perfect!

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed living vicariously through you on your journey:-) As a fellow FM thriver 😉 I too love me a good sleep, a great belly laugh and the love of family.

    I adore how you’ve adopted the lion as a role model and moved beyond the strong, proud “normal” characteristics associated with these amazing animals (although I still dig the hair!).

    Thanks for sharing:-)


  3. Zia
    Zia says:

    Awesome…Very few authors make me laugh out loud when I read their musings. I do believe you are the only NON-fiction author to do so. Love your books, blog, your presence on earth. I might have to manifest the fees for the Life Coaching cuz suddenly my soul is telling me that is where I was always meant to go. That is, when not pursuing my other passions of writing and music. Blessings to you and all.

  4. Brandi
    Brandi says:


    This is my first time to look you up. But I felt an overwhelming need to thank you for the article you wrote a couple years ago called The Halo Effect. My mother sent it to me during a time I really really needed it. Your words really changed my life and I can say that I am a much happier wife, mother, friend, daughter, sibling because of your words.

    Thank you,

  5. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    Hi Martha,

    I just got back from Sabah (Borneo) where I went to see the new female rhino they captured. They think her foot was caught in a snare when just an infant and she pulled it out, pulling the foot out with it. Over the past week or so there has been a deluge of stories in the press about the Sumatran rhino. I haven’t written mine yet. I’m reading through additional material, and the more I read, the more a sense of hopelessness takes over. I know you love animals and you are actively championing the African ones. So I thought I’d give you a shout-out about this one. Soon to disappear.

Comments are closed.