Snakes and Courageous Conversations

As we move forward, we (as a counseling and helping community) must continue to engage in these courageous conversations. We must attempt to diminish fear and eradicate ignorance by demonstrating and promoting care, compassion and advocacy for all beings.

As Berry proposed, the world is a “community of subjects rather than a collection of objects” that is interdependent and a “mutually- enhancing human-Earth presence.”  We need to learn to play nicely together for the sake of all creatures.


I was afraid of the serpent in my back yard because I was ignorant. When I took the time to study her as a fellow participant in my community, I became less fearful and cultivated a respectful awe of my new neighbor. It is in this place of wonder and awe, and “in between the creases of dark and light where vision is blurred,” that I leave you with a final tale whose author remains anonymous.

Once upon a time…a very wise professor had a very engaging class…

and her students asked one day, “Professor, how can we tell the difference between light and dark?”

The professor began to think deeply when a student interrupted, ” Oh, I know…when we can discern a palm tree from a fig tree in the distance?”

The professor thought a moment and shook her head, “No.”

Another student piped in, “Oh I know!  When we can perceive a donkey from a camel in the distance?”

The professor thought a moment and again replied, “No”.

Impatient (as curious students can be) they asked, “So…how is it we can discern when darkness is turning to light?”

The professor looked at her thoughtful students and said,” You will know that light is upon us…when you can look into the face of a stranger…and see the eyes of a brother or sister.  Until then…we all live in darkness”.


Snakes and Courageous Conversations

Cheryl Fisher, PhD.,NCC, LCPC

Dr. Fisher is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in private practice in Annapolis, Maryland. She is a visiting full-time faculty member at Loyola University Maryland in the Pastoral Counseling Department. Her current research examines sexuality and spirituality in young women with advanced breast cancer. She is currently working on a book titled, “Homegrown Psychotherapy: Scientifically-Based Organic Practices” of which this article is an excerpt. She may be contacted at [email protected]


APA Reference
Fisher, C. (2016). Snakes and Courageous Conversations. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Aug 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Aug 2016
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