Lessons From a Spider
Today, I began my day bright and early with a brisk walk to my neighborhood yoga studio to begin the day with a little heart and hip opening. We began the yoga class by setting an intention. The teacher spoke about the vibration that we are creating in our lives and how important it is to be mindful about what and who we surround ourselves with. I set my intention to focus my experience on the immense love, gratitude, abundance, and bliss that is available to me. In order to fill my life with these positive vibrations, I would need to kick fear to the curb, choosing higher vibration thoughts instead. I closed my eyes, brought my hands to hearts center and placed the seed of intention between my palms.
I gently opened my eyes gazing at my mat, and there between my two feet was a SPIDER. EEK! Truth be told, I’m not very zen in my relationship with spiders and at home might consider taking a shoe to it, but here, in this space that practices the yogic principle of Ahimsa, or nonviolence, I could do no such thing. So I watched it and laughed at the irony of the situation. The universe has a hilarious sense of humor when we pay attention. Here was the universe, “Saying, you think you’re ready to cast fear aside and choose love and peace instead? Show me.”
First I attempted some spastic movements hoping to scare him off, but he only seemed more intrigued. With my first lunge he scurried to the side of my mat and it's there he would be my little keeper for the rest of class. I started to flow through the poses dropping into relaxation, joy, and peace, and then that little fear would pop up. I’d open an eye and scan my space to make sure he was not closing in on his attack. I watched my fear arise and then gently brought my focus back to the present moment. At one point the thought crept in, “Oh crap, how am I ever going to be able to relax in savasana at the end of class if I can’t peek to make sure he’s keeping his distance? I started to get caught up in the irrational fear around this and then thought, “okay, what is the very worst that could happen. Well he could bite me but hey, I wake up with spider bites a lot and I’m pretty sure I’m still alive and kicking. He could crawl into my mouth or a nostril, but I’m also pretty sure that I’ve eaten a spider or two in my sleep and that hasn’t seemed to affect my life in any major way. I relaxed into the potential outcomes and then came back to the moment again. I was grateful to be able to witness my fear and the way it pulled me out of the present moment - out of the experience of peace and love.
I started to flow without worrying about so much about this little spider. He was going to do what he was going to do and in the meantime, I could surrender to the flow and to the beauty available to me in this moment as well as to the gratitude for my new teacher, Mr. spider.
Okay, okay, so you ‘re probably thinking, “It’s just an innocent spider!” I know I sound ridiculous but the truth is that most of our fears are quite irrational, yet we spend so much of our time, energy, and attention on them! In the meantime, we are sacrificing the opportunity to be filled with love, joy, and peace. We are abandoning the experience of the present moment.
So let me ask you, what is your metaphorical spider? What fear continues to creep in taking you out of the present moment? What is the worst that will happen if that fear comes true? Can you handle it? I bet you can.