The Practice of the Mantis

Recently at my Shape up classes at our local YMCA a lovely Praying Mantis has been visiting us during our hustle and bustle of lifting weights and enjoying the cool fall breezes. I always notice her on the back wall of our building; she places herself on the cinder blocks that are still warm from the setting sun. I know her life cycle is coming to the end, she has laid her eggs and is just living out her days enjoying a warm fall day.

But did you know the Mantis is a huge spiritual symbol of patience and meditation. The Mantis takes in its surroundings and moves through life at its own pace. In our hectic lives we have created we can learn a lot from my leggy friend.

We have gotten so caught up in trying to stay current, stay active, go the extra mile, keep up with the kids, and still have somewhat of a life that at the end of the day, I know personally I feel unsettled. The anxiety that I missed something, feeling bad that I didn’t have time to work out, or messed up an appointment time, forgot to send an email or return a text is always running in the back of my mind.

This is no way to live in my book, so during these times I take a note from the Praying Mantis and slow down, observe my environment, and also evaluate my state of mind. This is my personal form of meditation.

I laugh because I never knew that is what I was actually doing, I thought of meditation as something monks did in a temple in some far eastern country. But after seeing our yoga instructor work with one of my classes with meditation, I observed, I had been doing it all along. I found my own personal way to meditate, without knowing it.

A Reset, Refocus, Reflect if you will. Looking in the mirror, looking myself in the eyes, which is not always the easiest thing to do especially if you know deep down you need to slow down and address an issue. Then I talk myself through what is happening in my life, what options I have to correct the direction of my decisions and actions, and come up with a plan to obtain my over all goals.

Now this may happen twice a year, or every week, sometimes it depends on the season, my work schedule, or personal things happening in my life. But the lesson is, it is my own personal practice. I take the time to realize, yes, I need to get everything aligned again. Sometimes life can send well made plans in a tail spin. When this happens, take a moment to observe, think, and then act on your intentions like our friend the Mantis.

There is nothing more satisfying that getting to know yourself. Realizing you have a purpose, you know what you need in life to be happy, healthy and active so that you can give your 110% to this spin you have on our big blue planet.

I have seen more Praying Mantises this year than ever in my life, and this I am taking as a sign. I need to learn more patience, my goals will not all happen tomorrow, but with persistence, hard work, and perseverance I can do this.