“I don’t think I can do it,” I whispered, tears stuck in my throat.

Jaguar stirred, yawning and stretching. She leaned over the tree branch, glancing toward me. “Can’t do what?” she asked.

“I don’t think I can change. Again.” Weighted down by exhaustion and embarrassed by my words, I tried to explain myself. “I wish things were different. I’ve been trying. But I’m afraid. It’s hard to step out of my comfort zone.”

Jaguar leapt to the ground, landing gracefully without a sound. She walked in a circle, imprinting the earth with a trail of massive paw prints surrounding me. Her wild feline presence, the solidness, softness, and strength, filled her every step. When she stopped in the stillness, her brilliant eyes peered directly into mine. I couldn’t look away. I could barely breathe.

“You’ve got this all mixed up, turned inside out and upside down,” Jaguar told me. “Holding back natural cycles of growth and change. Hiding what you know. Ignoring what you love. Pretending to be happy. Becoming something you’re not. Numbing the instinctive callings to be free.

“That isn’t comfort. That’s discontent. Disharmony. A losing yourself zone. Living a lie zone. A war zone, battling against yourself and everybody else.”

Jaguar shook her head briskly side to side. “Shake it off,” she growled. She shook her head again. The shaking vibration spiraled along her spine and through her legs and paws and furry tail.

“Shake it off!” I joined in, making up my own shaking-it-off dance. My feet touched the soil and lifted into the air, landing back in the earth again and again. My footprints left behind an exuberant design inside the circle of paw prints.

Jaguar’s eyes glistened like golden stars. “Now,” she said, “remembering your aliveness, have a look around. Feel with the eyes of your heart. Who you are. Where you are. What you love. What you want.

“That’s the way home, stepping into your Comfort zone. Your genuine Comfortable in Your Own Skin zone. A space that is truly nourishing. Filled with loving care. With sacred regard for your own existence. Even when there are questions, challenges, and unexpected twists and turns.

“Your inner home comfort zone is rich fertile ground. A vibrant space you can nestle into,” Jaguar said as she retraced her steps around the circle. “This is where you settle your heart. Take a breath. Plant your feet. Rest and regenerate. So you can hear the callings of your purposes and passions, remembering why you are here, now, living on earth. This is how you dance your dance with life.”

Jaguar stood steadily in the quiet between us. I leaned in close, nose to nose, eyes to eyes, touching forehead to forehead. With a swish of her tail, Jaguar disappeared into the deep darkness of the rainforest night.