There’s been a spider lurking in our bath for 3 days now. Every time I’ve gone into the bathroom, I’ve been meaning to remove it safely to an outside place, but I never quite got there. Even when I took a shower, which is right next to the bath, I had other things on my mind and the spider remained where it was. Until yesterday, that is.
Yesterday, I went into the bathroom and there it still was, except this time it was dead. Shrunk, legs all squished up to its body, no movement, no life, nada, nothing. And what did the ever-present, critical voice in the back of my head say?
‘Well, if that doesn’t prove how slow you are in taking action on things, I don’t know what will? This time, something has actually DIED while it was waiting!!’
And with that, a flood of the many other things I’ve been meaning to do for a while, in some cases a long while, came rushing into my mind. Of course, looking down with remorse at my dead spider friend, I resolved to take action on these before they too gave up while waiting for me. It’s a sign, I thought. I should do something about that.
Almost absent-mindedly, with a feeling of some sadness and a little guilt, I then set about removing the dead spider from the bath – apparently, in my world at least, it’s ok to have something alive hanging around, but dead things should be removed at once. Interesting…
So, I leaned over the bath and with a tissue, went to scoop the spider into my hand. But as I did so, one of its legs momentarily uncreased itself and stretched out into life, then another, then another. The spider was not dead at all, but had simply assumed a kind of curled-up hibernation-like state. The voice in my mind, never short of an opinion, immediately rushed in again:
“Ah, so it wasn’t dead, it was conserving its energy, waiting for the right moment, the right time to move into action. See, appearances can be deceptive – everyone else might think nothing is happening, but choosing the right time to take action is as important as taking any at all.”
And in an instant, my mood lifted into one of optimism (my ‘natural’ state) and hope. It is a sign, I thought – that there is a right time for everything and to trust that things also take their own course in a certain way…
Poised over the bath, looking down with wonder at this amazing spider that now embodied an aspect of life, the universe and everything to me, I suddenly remembered that, while I may not be scared of dead spiders, alive ones with working, spidery legs normally get a slightly different reaction from me. Somewhat laughably, I (bravely – haha) got the spider into the tissue, and ran with it at arm’s length to release it, 3 days late, back into the ‘wild’. I smugly watched as its beautiful, very alive legs carried it off and away off to start its next chapter of its adventurous life. I felt satisfied, like I’d achieved something. Today I saved a life or something like that…
The point is, nothing has any meaning save the meaning that we attach to it.
I could equally have read the ‘death’ of the spider as a sign that:
• life is cruel and what’s the point, so it’s time give up on what you’re trying to do, or
• death is irreversible, you don’t get two chances, so seize life in every moment and live it to the full, or
• I really should clean the bathroom more often…
These meanings are only about me and my own perceptions. They are simply my interpretation of my current ‘reality’. The ‘death’ of the spider is an event with no meaning in itself, only what I decide the meaning to be – life-denouncing, life-empowering or just plain dull and insignificant to me.
As soon as the spider moved, my ‘reality’ changed and I realized I had interpreted everything in one (mistaken) way – my emotions shifted in an instant – bye bye guilt and remorse, hello hope and optimism. 0-60 in 2.4 seconds. The speed at which my mind rearranged or rewired the ‘facts’ was truly amazing.
So, be wary of your Real-ometer. It’s not so accurate or as fixed as you might think. Whatever you’re (unconsciously) looking for, in terms of meaning in any given situation, you will probably find… the question is, what signs are you on the lookout for? Change those, and of course, you’ll change what you find.