Written by Dr. Martin C. Wesley
I am currently reading a book by renowned author and Harvard psychology
professor, Dr. Stephen Pinker entitled
Enlightenment Now: A Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.
This book is a follow-up to his groundbreaking The Better Angels of our Nature, where he shows that our
assumptions of the world is falling apart or going to “hell in a
handbasket” are all wrong. Instead he shows that we are truly living is the
best of times and that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge
and happiness are all on the rise.
We all have a tendency of viewing our present circumstances, the current
politics, cultural values and more as devolving instead of taking us to
better times, to peace and toward values where all people are loved and
valued. We look at the future with fear and anxiety and long for the good
ole days, which often were not so good.
This reminds me of my grandmother. Her name was Doreen and her maiden name
was Martin. I was named after her family. When I was growing up in Arizona,
my grandparents would often come to visit. They would bring their camper
which was so large, I wondered how their truck didn’t tip over with any
gust of wind. When I was about eight or nine years old, they took me and my
brother to the Phoenix Zoo. I believe my mom was there with us and my baby
sister who was in her stroller. We walked through half of the park and came
to the lion and tiger exhibits. Most of the time these zoo animals rarely
give you a good show. Often, animals are hiding or sleeping but not today.
Today the large male lion was making some noise and roaring at the crowd.
My grandma pulled out her Kodak instamatic camera and with limited vision,
started moving closer to the lion exhibit. What she didn’t see was that she
was walking toward a sloped flower and shrubbery bed that was faced with
raised railroad ties. Grandma tripped on these ties and fell straight down
into this lowered shrubbery bed beside the lion’s area. Grandma was now
head first, wearing a dress and her legs lifted in the air. All the while,
the lion becomes louder and louder with his roars and grandma is screaming,
thinking she just fell in the lion’s den and she is now on the menu. My
grandpa was trying to help my grandma up, but also trying to keep her dress
closed as that was probably worse for grandma that being eaten alive by the
Soon, with the help of some other zoo patrons, my grandmother was lifted
out of the bed. She was disoriented and scratched up from the shrubs but
soon saw that her fear of being a lion burger was unfounded. Later, she
could see the humor in the confrontation with the lion and would laugh at
the incident. I should also mention that grandma got a great picture of the
lion before she went down!
We all have a tendency to believe that we are falling into the lion’s den.
Often, we are also in the midst of true oppression or distress,
experiencing the loss of a loved one or have been experiencing failing
health. Yet, there is hope and often opportunities exist to overcome and
become stronger. I became a licensed professional counselor and a professor
because I love lifting people up and guiding them out of their own lion’s
den. I love helping people out of addiction, family dysfunction or out of
feelings of depression because they see no hope for the future. If you are
like me and want to help people out of their own lion’s den, please reach
out to me or others at Argosy University who can help you in your next
Dr. Martin C. Wesley is a Licensed Professional Counselor and the Associate
Chair of the College of Counseling, Psychology and Social Sciences in
Florida at Argosy University, Sarasota and Argosy University, Tampa. Feel
free to reach out to Dr. Wesley at email@example.com. ###