Change Becomes You
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Change Becomes You

https://unsplash.com/photos/ZArDeAtxj0Q

A lesson on anxiety from a humble spider…

An invoice arrived yesterday and, due to circumstances outside of my control, it was for an amount rather larger than I was expecting. A spider helped calm me down.

I read and reread the invoice and thought, ‘can this be right?’ as I felt the acidic pang of the primal ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ feeling rush through my body. A feeling society had conditioned me to deem as unpleasant. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a very strong feeling, one that takes continual practise and reminding that the feeling itself won’t hurt me — I can and will always cope — I just need to witness it and accept it will pass (and it does, every time, eventually).

Seeing it for what it is, a rush of energy with thoughts very quickly attached to it was brought to life as I looked up and out of the window to breathe for a moment. There I noticed my now friend John going about his business. John is a spider (hey, it was lockdown!) and twice now he’s been there for me as a reminder for this very wise lesson.

He was rebuilding his web for probably the twentieth time since I’ve ‘known’ him. This time though I watched for a while at the beautiful intricacy in the art of what he was doing. No two webs are the same. Macabre snowflakes, lurking in the shadows, each is unique, exquisitely crafted every time a spider’s home/life has to be put back together. No one web is better or worse than the former, just different. Spiders react to any upheaval with no fuss, moaning, or anxiety. ‘It is what it is’ to a spider every day. In fact, what’s beautiful about them, and is part of their lesson, is how they go about rebuilding each time something outside of their control throws a spanner in the works. They move with great care, tenderness, and grace during the build.

Reflecting on John’s work, I realised I’d become attached to a version of the future and it was simply that attachment, and the classic ‘oh shit’ type thoughts around it, that caused my initial panic. Spiders aren’t attached to each of the webs they build. Well, they kind of are, but you know what I mean. They very quickly get over being knocked down and build another version.

Over the next twenty-four hours, I regrouped, adjusted my timelines (not my goals), and noticed the shift in my feelings. I even had a slight feeling of excitement around the challenge of making the changes, I now have to, with such a drain on my finances. That’s a first in my forty years for sure!

This morning, as I read the book I’m into at the moment (The Soul’s Code by James Hillman), this sentence jumped out and compounded exactly what John had been there to show me; that “perception brings into being and maintains the being of whatever is perceived.”

With that, over breakfast, I gave John eight fist bumps and smiled at the thought of being reminded, each time I see a spider, that what’s important is the how not the what, I create in life and that “we exist and give existence by virtue of perception.”

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