I just returned from picking up my children from their father’s house. Though it was my home for fifteen years and feels so familiar, I am no longer attached to it in any way. The house, along with my marriage, are part of who I used to be. I do not regret having experienced any of my past. I know it brought me to the place where I am now. My present is peaceful, powerful and full of hope for the future. However, during this particular visit, as I spent a few moments on my old back porch, something very small happened which caused a deep feeling of unease. I immediately knew that I needed to find time to pause and examine the experience and inner conflict which arose.
As I arrived at my old house today, I noticed a beautiful Luna moth resting on the porch floor. My ex-husband said that the cat had not seen it yet and so it was still alive. I wanted to move the moth to safety and mentioned that but he seemed quite opposed to the idea. Eventually, the cat did find the moth and was about to attack. I instinctively protected it in spite of the tension that I felt I was somehow overstepping my bounds. It was not easy to do this carefully but I did the best I could and walked away.
Somehow, I knew that the imagery of what just occurred was meant to teach me a lesson. The discomfort I felt needed to be examined in order to understand my own hidden beliefs. When I got a chance, I looked up the spiritual meaning of the Luna moth and it was exactly what I expected it to be. It represents following light in the darkness as well as surrendering to a slow, gradual transformation. Some interpretations even say it symbolizes death. My instinct was to protect the moth yet I felt the energy of another who simply wanted to leave it to fate. I felt, from past experience, that I was being viewed as one who was overextending my power and attempting to control a situation. Whether or not this perception was real, I cannot say. All I know is that is what I believed in that moment.
In truth, all I wanted to do was to defend something more vulnerable than me which happens to represent the very essence of my heart and soul. I felt pressure to stand down because of how I may have been perceived but I did not. I acted and then I felt guilty as though I had done something wrong. For a moment, I wondered if the lesson was to stop acting from my gut. Thankfully, I have learned that once we have done our own inner work, all messages are meant to encourage us to embrace who we naturally are.
Soon after returning to my current home, as all of these things were going through my mind, I heard my son say, “Hello, grasshopper.” He found a tiny, green grasshopper which needed to be rescued and put outside. Together, we managed to gently return it to the grass. Then, of course, I looked up the spiritual meaning of a grasshopper. It is said to represent good luck and abundance in moving forward. It is often viewed as an encouragement to listen to your inner wisdom and take a leap. It was then that I realized that I needed to cast out all guilt I felt about protecting the Luna moth and what it symbolizes. Those feelings were from my past and I felt them when I was quite literally standing in the setting of my old life. Once I came home to my new sanctuary, I was encouraged to believe in my mission enough to continue to act.
The Universe speaks to me in the tiniest of moments. I am so grateful that I have learned it’s language. It is always encouraging and positive, affirming who I am and what I am here to do. It is love and it speaks with a resounding, “Yes!” Like the Luna moth, I have had to learn to be drawn to that which illuminates. Things I see in my own shadow are always the things that prevent me from living from my heart, free of fear and guilt. The process of learning this language was painful and definitely worth every minute of suffering. The ultimate lesson in everything is that what lies on the other side of fear is perfect love.
Over the years, I have wondered why people don’t often approach me. I used to feel invisible, small in my physical presence and quite easy to overlook. Then one day someone who knows me very well told me that I am intimidating. It made me laugh because I am quite an unassuming person. I certainly am not bubbly and full of enthusiasm though I am gentle, kind and do my best to see all perspectives rather than judge anyone.
Even though I have always been this way, there have been times when I have tried to exert my power through physical strength or a loud voice. That is what we are all taught to do. What I learned is that it doesn’t work. As an overwhelmed mother, I spent several years trying to carefully structure and manage my children’s lives. It did not feel genuine to me but there were so many rules that must be followed and someone had to make sure they were. I very notably parented my first child that way. He is very stubborn and does not automatically do as he is told. He fights and questions me every time I try to guide him. There is certainly a benefit to his being that way but what he made me realize is that as a tactic to bring about change, control does not work.
What I began to do instead was to ask questions and listen to answers. If my children are behaving in a way that is not appropriate, I ask them what they are feeling and why they are acting that way. Most of the time, we are able to get down to the bottom of the matter and everyone ends up feeling satisfied. The behavior changes and though it takes some time, the results are lasting. We don’t have the same argument again because we gave it enough attention the first time.
In order for me to approach my children this way, I have to be vulnerable. I have to open my heart and acknowledge the fact that I may be wrong. I have to let go of my need to force change and rather try to understand and respect them. Redirecting their behavior often begins with a hug rather than a shouting match.
Growing through the process of learning to be a parent has helped me to understand that my power lies in my sensitivity. When I allow myself to be open and receptive, taking it all in rather than forcing my agenda, I show that I am strong. I believe in the things that I stand for so much that I don’t have to prove them. Unfortunately, some people take this lack of action as callousness. Although my children know me and understand that my quiet presence indicates respect, that is not the norm for most people. Therefore, it can appear that I am being aloof or neglectful. I show my love for others by listening and taking it all in. I remember nearly every single person I meet and can tell you when and where I first met them. What I have had to learn is that other people don’t naturally feel as comfortable with silence and stillness as I do.
As difficult as it is for me to remember, I need to go out of my way to communicate and engage with others to make them feel seen and heard. I need to recognize that different people need different things. Truly caring means that I step outside of my own experience to meet another in theirs. I must be vulnerable enough to express the truth of my heart to complete strangers. Apparently, if I don’t, my tiny little self becomes somewhat scary.
Every time I write something, I look for an image to encapsulate the point I am trying to make. This one may be my favorite so far. To me, it depicts not only the state I am in right now but also the state of the world. We all have a light of love burning within. In order to cast out the pain and suffering of the world right now, we can commit to opening the door to allow more of our own light to shine. The fear, of course, is that someone will blow it out. Yet we know that there is always a spark to light it again. Maybe we will have to go inward and nurture our own light once more. We may have to forgive ourselves for taking a risk and forgive others for rejecting what we offered. Then, once our light is burning brightly, we can try again. That is what life is all about and it is why we are here in this particular moment. There is most certainly enough love to cast out this hate and fear. All we have to do is be brave enough to open our hearts.