As I continue writing the second installment of, “The Crow and the Butterfly” (which I promise to finish by next week), I am becoming increasingly aware of when animals showed in my life and I didn’t realize it.
Funny what being forced to pay attention through writing makes you see in hindsight.
Butterflies are agents of change. When they show up, they ask you to deal with the unexpected, to see events as trans-formative and fluid. The butterfly marks a time of transition in the learning of the soul and they can teach us to accept the change that comes with grace and eloquence.
Often in our lives, we may notice that we start accumulating new things for our house that revolve around a theme. Or maybe we suddenly realized we’re wearing a certain color a lot because it’s how we’re feeling. There are many things that change based on our moods and what is going in our lives and most of it, I would say for the majority of people, remains unconscious.
But, in the process of thinking and writing about animals as totem spirits in fiction, I’ve noticed that they’ve been there when I needed them, in unconscious support of my life where I need them most. I just wasn’t paying attention. Just imagine how differently I might have seen the events around that time if I had actually been actively listening to the message!
I’ve always believed myself to be highly adaptable, but the last five years of my life has shown me that I’m not as malleable or easygoing as I believed. I am always adaptable where others are concerned, but I was more rigid and hard on myself than I realized. I gave permission for everyone else to have what they needed and I’d adapt. But for myself, I couldn’t do that.
About the time that I was going through difficult pregnancy and birth experiences, 2 years apart, I was learning three lessons:
1. You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.
2. Life is about the experience of what happens, not what you can make happen.
3. Whose life would have been made easier without my selfish need to control events? (Hint: mine and my babies’…and probably my poor husband’s)
I went through an emergency C-section, which my ego saw as a violation of my very soul. I was determined to have the second baby the way I’d fought to have my first…naturally. The first time, ten years before, I had won. I had gone through thirty-six hours of battle and we both made it out the other side, and part of me felt as if my son and I had defeated some evil thing called surgery and proved the doctors wrong.
But, with the second one, it was impossible. It would kill him. I had no choice and I felt violated and cheated to have fought that hard and won only to be utterly defeated years later with a C-section anyway. I still get emotional when I talk about it, in a “support group” kind of way. Not the “I had a beautiful baby” kind of way. I always felt guilty about that, too.
Then, two years later, I was going through enforced bed rest, and that was even more traumatic. Being sound in mind and body, but being on a cushy sofa prison, subject to everyone’s whims, was a five month nightmare for someone who needed to possess herself so rigidly. I had little say in where I was, what I ate, who was with me, and what I wanted. I lost my creativity and I became depressed and emotional. I knew that I was doing it for the sake of the beautiful baby that I got at the end. But, it was still one of the hardest things to do. So, at that point I just gave up, and didn’t even try for a natural birth. I scheduled the C-section, because, after all, it was just going to happen anyway. I was defeated.
How sad is it that with all three of my kids, my focus was on controlling the environment around me for the perfect experience and fighting what was happening instead of learning to relax and let the Universe guide me? And now my pain was coming to terms with the guilt I faced, realizing that I did that to myself and to my own kids for no purpose whatsoever. My oldest didn’t deserve to go through that battle for hours because of my pride. My second deserved to be held by a fully present mommy when he was born, not a drugged out, emotional mess who didn’t get to meet him until hours after everyone else. And my third didn’t deserve to have me give up. Giving up is different than acceptance.
But, I drag on…
What do butterflies have to do with this? A few years into all these experiences, I had started collecting butterflies without realizing it. Not real ones, but they started coming to me as decorations for my house. There are butterflies everywhere on my walls, and it was not intentional! I was never a very “girly” person, who collected colorful decorations, or animal pictures, or any of that. So why did I start collecting butterflies? What were they telling me?
I refer back to those three lessons. You get what you need, life is about the experience, and your control issues only hurt yourself and others.
Butterflies are agents of spiritual change. I had learned, I had changed, and I had grown. I also had to learn to see the events that filled me with guilt and regret as trans-formative and life events as fluid. I needed to lay down the guilt because the lessons I was learning were not punishment. It was a gift, that in no way has truly damaged my children. I had learned that it was just as okay for me to not have performance rules. I certainly wasn’t making other people conform to any in my life. I can be as easy on myself and as forgiving of myself as I am with other people. Whose life will now be made better in my future or my kids’ futures because I learned about transformation and acceptance?
Those events were not my failures, and at the end, I did get the most important thing plus a bonus.
Three kids and three lessons.
Beautiful butterfly artwork by Baljeet2506 at deviantart.com: http://fav.me/ddyub7