a beautiful door at Rancho La Puerta–the legs are the handles
A few days ago I went looking for this story, an allegory about transformation. About pushing, wanting, maintaining the illusion that we are in control. That there isn’t some grander scheme at work.
I’ll start with sharing it first.
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.
Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.
It’s no secret that life has been a struggle for me the last couple of weeks. As soon as I come up for air, another wave comes. Like for example me thinking it’d be safe to just stay in and quiet on the 4th of July by myself puttering. Suddenly I heard a strange sound downstairs. I hunted it down and there, in my laundry room was a drip drip drip coming from the CEILING to the floor. In two places. The ceiling was all puckered where it was dripping.
You can only imagine what was coursing through my mind. A plumbing emergency on a holiday, two days before I’m to leave the country and I’m already slammed.
Luckily one of the quick remedies for this involved a hammer and a screwdriver so I was able to pound on something hard as in aggressively hard and have it be meaningful. I blasted a big hole in the ceiling and saw wet wood up there but at least the water stopped dripping. It was about a half a cup probably that drained out total. Obviously some kind of slow leak which just overflowed. Pretty sure I discovered the culprit but it’s gonna have to wait a week. That’s just all there is to it.
Kind of like my life. A slow leak of energy just finally blew out in my body and mind last weekend. I really hit a wall knowing I had nothing more to give. Not. one. more. thing. And just in time for me to unplug (did I mention I’m leaving in the morning for my spa retreat? :::happydance:::).
Speaking of which, what am I doing sitting here in my jammies the eve of my vacation without a glass of wine next to me? Be right back.
Ok, that’s better.
When I was waiting for Alfonse’ admission on Monday, I went to the public restroom there and was struck by some graffiti I saw in the stall there. Cries for help, messages of anguish, signs of hope.
What stood out to me the most, in my state of exhaustion and disappointment were those hand drawn hearts. Who writes the word “suicidal” then puts a heart underneath it? Someone who still holds out hope, that’s who.
I made a decision then and there that I would be open to the graffiti in my heart in the midst of my despair, however it showed up.
Oh but my chaos cocoon didn’t let go of it’s grip on me that easily. I went in for a haircut the next day. I love my hairstylist and enjoy my time there. But my last hair appt. the week before was rushed as she’d kind of overbooked herself. So she asked if I’d come back for the haircut portion. My first disappointment was after spending about 3 hours the week before to get my new stylish “reverse ombre” look, all I ended up with was a less dramatic version of my usual highlights. She even used 5 colors and used this whole new technique, but no, it just didn’t take. It’s not a bad color, it’s just not what I was seeking. It’s not time for that outer change just yet I guess.
I really thought I’d leave the hair salon looking exactly like her!
So I went back for the haircut portion this week, saw M, my stylist and instantly burst in to tears. It was that kind of day. It was the day after I put John in the hospital. If I open my mouth, I’m gonna be bawling type of day. No control. So I think she was just dumbfounded with my pain and wanted to make me feel better but it was just one of those inconsolable moments. Life has just not been being a good friend to me lately. But a new haircut, that will make me feel more renewed, more special, more perked up.
Until I got home and realized I have two haircuts on my head somehow. The one on the left that’s the usual breezy, feathery layers and the one on the right that’s about an inch shorter and a blunt cut. WTF? I felt too weak and on overload to say anything and thought, maybe this is just my imagination.
See what I mean?
Pardon the horrible pic but I needed to send it to my stylist to show her what I meant. I do look drained though don’t I?
I got the nerve up today to text M to ask her to fix it when I get back as honestly it’s driving me nuts. It’s just one more sign that my life is in a state of chaos, that nothing is working quite right, that the Universe seems to be conspiring to disrupt me at every turn. Of course this would be the one week that M gets my haircut all off. The week I’m going away to pamper myself.
She readily obliged to fix it for me and made a funny remark about styling it in a way that looks intentional. I thought about just getting it cut again at The Ranch until…..
Until I realized that all of this just may be the way it’s supposed to be. All of these reminders and scrambled events may just be holding me tightly in that cocoon of chaos that I have no business leaving yet. That I’m just supposed to find a way to get a comfort zone in the midst of all this discomfort.
I know I’m not alone in this desire to rush the process, to stop the pain, to organize all of this massive disruption and disorderly conduct of my life.
Yet what I realized today is I’m a total fraud if I can’t find a way to dig deep and embrace it. My work is all about chaos theory and helping people cross that chasm of disorganization to reorganization. Yet here I am, trying to rush in to a comfort zone, trying to embrace some kind of illusion that I’m in control here. Trying trying trying.
What if I could just start with embracing this lop sided haircut? What if I could stop resisting it and rock it like it’s the newest, hottest style? What if I could just wait and not do anything about it for just one week? What if I could find a place of love for it? For myself even with this “flaw”?
I came home from work this afternoon and checked my mail and there was my sign. An anchor in the sky. I tend to survive these kinds of crisis points in life by looking for guideposts along the way wherever I can find them.
I opened my mailbox and had two post cards in there from my father, one for me, one for John.
I read the back first of course, then turned it over and there it was plain as day.
Isn’t that a beautiful ship they are cruising on? Imagine floating along in that vessel with all of those big windows, watching the pastoral countryside drift by. I feel relaxed just looking at it and am so glad my father is having this amazing experience.
But that’s not my sign. Can you see it?
Look in to the sky. See those geese flying there in formation?
So I don’t make you have to sign out and scroll back, I opened my last post, just yesterday, with this image.
Inspired by the poem where David Whyte writes about the geese and the sense of belonging they bring.
I knew then and there, right there at the mailbox, that I’m not forgotten on this planet. I may feel like I’m traveling this solitary journey filled with discontent and loneliness at times but none of that means I’m actually disconnected. It means I’m still learning. And still being propelled forward and still growing, thank God. I’m not stagnant, that’s for sure.
I don’t how else to describe it but something happened at that mailbox when I looked up. It was like the whole world expanded and opened up further for me. I literally felt the sky expanding and the breeze on my skin and my whole body coming more alive.
Aw heck I’m gonna be redundant as I think this just needs to be said again. I went back to listen again so thought you might want to hear these wise words just one more time, like I do.
“We are the one part of creation that knows what it’s like to live in exile….and that ability to turn your face toward home is one of the great human endeavors”.
I leave in the morning, leaving my home yet turning my face toward Home.
All I can say is I will be looking for signs the entire time I’m gone. And I hope you will too. And maybe you will feel inspired to share yours here. Where are the lily pads and guideposts becoming your compass?
Please promise me you will at least open your mind to seek them. Maybe see them. Maybe be found by them.
Safe travels you all.
See ya in a week.
(oh and PS stopped by to visit Alfonse tonite and he seems MUCH better, was engaged in a game of Yahtzee when I got there, other patients were speaking highly of him to me and he wished me a great trip over and over. I think we are out of the weeds.)
gratuitous me with the hot latin dance instructor shot