January Reflections Day 2: Into the Fire

Image result for bonfire

For my meditation today, I imagined a large fire, built slowly and lovingly.  Into this fire, I threw everything that no longer served me.

Resolutions and goals often involve adding new habits and patterns to our lives.  However, with this adding must come some subtracting.

These are the things that I will be throwing into the fire:

  • My perception of myself as needy or annoying.
  • My perception of myself as mentally ill or otherwise not whole.
  • My perception that something is wrong with me.
  • My perception of myself as socially awkward.
  • My eating disorder.
  • My need to use alcohol to numb emotions.
  • My perception of myself as not being accepted.
  • My fear of setting boundaries or confrontation.
  • My perception of myself as being weak (emotionally or physically).
  • My perception of myself as not being physically flexible.
  • My need for validation.
  • My perception of myself as incapable and irresponsible.

Everyday this month, I will envision burning these habits of the body and mind, and then I will visualize what my life will look like once I have gotten rid of these things.

There are so many things–addictions, habits, misperceptions–that stand in the way of our dreams.  While it isn’t good to constantly think about what we don’t want, spending a little time imagining those obstacles burning away can be incredibly freeing.  It can open up space for us to more clearly picture what we do want.

This exercise can also help keep us from addiction-hopping.  I know so many people who gave up alcohol but began overeating.  It is the same pattern, but with a different substance.  Being committed to letting go of the pattern and being open to learning new ways of coping is what leads us to freedom from all addiction.

So today, think about what it is that you would like to release.  What would you throw into the fire?


January Reflections, Day 1: First Day as a Butterfly

I imagine it is a little awkward for the former caterpillar, when it first emerges from its cocoon.  Its whole body has changed, and it has abilities beyond its wildest imagination.  And yet, it feels the same.  It is the same caterpillar it has always been, at heart.

Walking feels different, and it wonders why it can no longer crawl.  It can not figure out how to eat the leaves that it used to enjoy.

Bewildered, the caterpillar seeks out its friends–all of whom are caterpillars, spread throughout the green plants.  They each give advice, based on their caterpillar experience.  Keep your belly on the ground.  Try taking little nibbles.  Practice crawling more.  Stop standing up like that–it will not help you get anywhere quickly.  Just ignore those wing things–nobody knows what they are for.

The caterpillar heeds their advice and begins to wonder what it wrong with it.  I was doing so well, the caterpillar thinks.  Why have I suddenly lost every skill I had?  Everything that ever got me through life, everything that helped me to get to where I am now…none of it is working for me anymore.  And why can’t I relate to these other caterpillars?  They are my friends.  They have been my greatest support through everything that has gotten me here.  Why is their advice not serving me now?

After spending the day trying to crawl on the ground, the caterpillar flaps its wings and feels its feet leaving the ground.  Excitedly, the caterpillar runs to its friends and tells them it can fly.

Some friends do not understand.  Some friends tell the caterpillar to stop trying to leave the ground–it isn’t safe or natural.  Best to stick with what is known to work.  Some are so caught up in their daily life crawling on the ground, that they do not notice that their friend is able to fly.

Looking up, the caterpillar–which is actually a butterfly, of course–sees other butterflies fluttering about, drinking the sweet nectar of the flowers.  They eagerly encourage the new butterfly to join them, and the butterfly’s heart yearns to soar above, delighting in the new, beautiful world where it now belongs.

But then it looks to the caterpillars on the ground.  Those are its friends.  Yes, many of them will eventually be butterflies in the sky as well, but leaving them in that moment is unspeakably hard.  But the butterfly can not force the caterpillars to journey to this next step.  Nothing can force growth, and it will always happen in its own time.

There is work for the butterfly to do…as a butterfly.  It has a purpose, and its purpose is not on the ground with the caterpillars any longer.

Looking up toward its beckoning new friends, the butterfly spreads its wings and soars toward all that is new.