“Freedom is what you do with what’s been carried out to you.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre
“So did you determine what your shadow totem is?”
This was the very first thing out of my husband’s pal’s mouth as I sat all the way down to dinner at an area downtown restaurant, throughout from my husband and a pair pals we have been assembly up with.
I laughed on the selection of query however then paused with extensive eyes and replied, “YES, I DID! Oh my gosh. It’s an ant!”
The backstory is that we had beforehand had a dialog about animal symbolism, and the way determining what we establish with (spirit animal) or most concern (shadow totem) may help us acquire deep insights into ourselves. I had no bother with figuring out my spirit animal—an eagle—however couldn’t for the lifetime of me pin down my shadow totem.
As he requested that query that night, a light-weight bulb in my head went off. I had been battling a multi-week-long ant infestation in my residence and it had grow to be the bane of my existence. Each time I noticed a type of suckers, I obtained triggered another time. It ruined many days. So this made good sense! Ants are my shadow totem. However why??
Upon reflection about this realization, I mulled over the which means of this and was in a position to come away with some fairly unimaginable nuggets. Put merely, the ants struck me at my weakest level: my want for management.
I do know I’m not alone on this quirk—“management points,” as numerous us jokingly seek advice from them. However the reality is, in case you’re saddled with this deep urge then you reside your life on a excessive wire, attempting to stability every thing and maintain it completely simply so. And when you’re thrown off, you’re taking a fairly deep dive into psychological chaos till you proper the ship once more. Okay, too many metaphors, however the level is, it sucks.
Again to the ants. Days after the dinner I took time to consider the true which means of them as my shadow totem. The insights I had about my management points weren’t solely useful to me, however I wager would be the similar for you!
I used to be even in a position to establish three mindset changes as an accompaniment. I observed they have a tendency towards the Buddhist mind-set however are simply actually stable methods to method life. So right here we go!
1. The ants have been popping out of nowhere. And FROM ANYWHERE. It drove me nuts since I couldn’t establish the supply of the issue.
Upon reflection, I related this to how I typically really feel like a sitting duck in life, simply ready for the following blow to come back. The unpredictable nature of issues appears like a continuing risk. Additionally, I discover I typically doggedly seek for the “why” of issues, however sadly am not all the time in a position to provide you with a solution.
I’ve felt this sentiment in lots of conditions, starting from the trivial to probably the most profound, with the latter being when I had a miscarriage. It was (as a lot of them are) not attainable to tie to a definitive cause. On this case, my solely true plan of action (one simpler mentioned than carried out) was to settle for and transfer ahead.
Acceptance, although not a horny response to the above, is actually one of the best one. You’re gonna get ants in your home (particularly when it’s in a inexperienced neighborhood inbuilt 1936!).
In life, you’re gonna get surprises. And never all the time completely satisfied ones. I as soon as heard that in case you can count on the surprising, when it comes, you’ll settle for it as an “previous pal.” Sounds significantly better than treating life’s downs (the “ups” are extra simply dealt with, proper?!) as a monster beneath the mattress.
2. The dang ants have been ruining my days. What a waste! However true.
I felt foolish with my outbursts, exclaiming expletives every time I got here throughout a type of evil little issues. My poor husband (who has the endurance of a saint, zen grasp, and doubtless Jesus, mixed!) listening to me from the following room. I didn’t need this for me (or him).
Similar to in my bigger life, small issues going unsuitable can actually mess me up. The sensation of getting a nasty day reasonably than simply protecting it a nasty second is one I’m conversant in, sadly.
Enter mindfulness. This helpful technique permits for a form of compartmentalization so we are able to absolutely be within the actuality that’s in entrance of us within the current second. The reality is, the ants have been actually solely in a pair rooms of the home, and I solely encountered them for possibly a pair minutes out of my day. However MAN, you wouldn’t have identified it!
Attaching to our day being or staying a selected approach is definite demise. Okay, that’s excessive, however it’s trigger for sure nervousness. And that’s no option to reside this quick life. Key precept: impermanence. Funnily sufficient, I’ve that phrase tattooed on me! In everlasting ink… however is it “everlasting”? I digress.
3. I selected a therapy possibility for the ants, however nonetheless I walked round in a huff about it. I had carried out all I might do—why couldn’t I let it go?
I incessantly discover myself ruminating on different issues in life lengthy after I had chosen a plan of action. Appears like a waste of psychological, emotional, and even bodily (in case you’re pacing!) power to me.
Like after I made the choice to modify careers from enterprise to training. Questions lingered, swirling in my head for fairly a while after: “Is that this a mistake?” “What if I need to change my thoughts once more?” “Did I simply waste my bachelor’s diploma?” This made the trail ahead foggy and unsure when what I wanted was readability and clean crusing—which might have been afforded to me had I had self-trust on the time.
Arduous as it’s, the apply—key phrase, PRACTICE—should be letting go together with the information you could solely accomplish that a lot. There are such a lot of sources of inspiration for this idea. Take your choose: The well-known quote “Let go and let God” or “Let it goooo” a la Frozen (some other mother and father in the home?). You get the thought.
Additionally, add to the mantra record that nature will all the time win. That is true with the ants (spoiler alert, they got here again) and with life basically, the universe on a broader scale. Suppose entropy. It’s in every single place in all methods. The earlier we align ourselves with the idea, the higher!
I felt oddly grateful to the ants for the chance to mirror. It gave me an opportunity to achieve insights that I (and possibly you!) in any other case wouldn’t have had. If you happen to’re apprehensive about us forgetting this knowledge, don’t be. These little reminders (aka the ants) are all the time across the nook.
Put up-writing edit: Humorous factor is, proper after penning this, I walked into my lavatory and noticed an ant making its approach up the facet of my mirror! Poetic, huh?