Home » Blogs » Mentoring and Recovery » What One Little Stomach and One Big Lion Have in Common

What One Little Stomach and One Big Lion Have in Common

shutterstock_17632963The other night I had a dream that a big lion bit me in the stomach and I died.

It was a sad dream.

My family was there, and many friends, but no one could do a thing to save me.

Please understand – this kind of dream is nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I have always dreamed vividly and do not anticipate this will ever change.

I don’t even really mind it – over the years I have learned my dreams are often teachers – especially the ones that come over and over and over again.

Also, I have learned that often my pets will take on roles as “me” in my dream state (understandably, over the years this has made repeated episodes featuring the dream-time demise of my beloved parrot much easier to bear).

The lion dream especially interested me, because it followed a mystifying two-week episode of intense stomach distress of the kind I used to get when I was recovering from my eating disorder.

What was most interesting about this – I haven’t experienced this sort of distress in years, and it has lingered on and off even after the worst subsided.

After a particularly grueling episode one evening, I fell asleep and the pride of lions singled me out and attacked me while my family looked on. The largest (and, I presume, the hungriest) bit me straight-on in the stomach.

I’ve never studied dream theory or dream psychology much, preferring to let my intuition work out the meanings of my dreams unimpeded.

As has become typical, this dream’s meaning was quick to present itself.

After all, I love watching nature shows about animal behavior, and I can’t remember the last time “National Geographic” featured a hungry lion “going for the stomach” rather than the rump or the always popular jugular.

The lion also didn’t stick around to feed – or offer to share its “kill” with the rest of the pride, as is common lion behavior. Rather, it took one rapid giant solo bite and then as rapidly took off, pride in tow.


Here is what my dream intuition worked out:

  • Lion (arguably the most powerful jungle predator) = eating disorder (past) and (lately) body image distress as I get older
  • Stomach = center stage of my disease AND my recovery
  • Bite = death to eating disorder/body image distress aka life to ME

The moment all this became clear, I looked down at my stomach region and marveled.

Such a small, single organ, the “stomach,” and it has consumed such a vast majority of my time, attention, and life to date.

Yet its role is essentially so simple – to process whatever nutrients I give it into fuel to run the whole body system.

It has been my battleground – the arena where I have engaged in multiple fights to the death and – miraculously – won back my life from some very powerful opponents.

It has been my re-birthplace – the foundation upon which I have rebuilt a life that looks and feels and acts much more like the me I’ve always dreamed of being.

It has been and continues to be a great mentor, serving up handy reminders that I can freely choose my values, my priorities, my focus and my legacy.

I can choose to let my stomach lead me – or I can gently guide it to play its own small part in my much greater life.

Today’s Takeaway: What have you learned from your dreams? Do you ever feel like dreams come to remind you of important realizations or life goals? What is your relationship with your sleep life and dream state? 

Lion image available from Shutterstock.

What One Little Stomach and One Big Lion Have in Common

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Songwriter. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). What One Little Stomach and One Big Lion Have in Common. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Mar 2019
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.