Have you ever watched a butterfly zip from flower to flower and linger just long enough to extract the sweet essence out of each one? Or have you ever seen a sloth just hang upside down in a tree watching the world as it passes by? As I meander down the path of my spiritual growth, I have observed that I embody the tendencies of both. Mostly I live somewhere in between.
Every so often I conduct a one-to-one-life review and write myself a report card that, sadly, does not always read very well. It’s a little disheartening, for example, to find that there has been little, if any improvement in the subjects of perseverance, commitment, or laziness. My friends might scold me for being so hard on myself, but they needn’t bother, because that’s one subject that I definitely ace.
One such friend gave me an adorable stuffed sloth in response to my claim of being one. It sits on a stool in the corner of my bedroom and reminds me that procrastination becomes laziness and laziness becomes procrastination. As a child, my family used to accuse me of getting up earlier so I could loaf longer. Apparently I have done my best to live up to their expectation of me. Maybe they were just being helpful and giving me a head’s up about an upcoming major life lesson. Welcome to my sloth self.
My butterfly self is another story. Between the two of us, another friend and I have racked up a total of five marriages (six if you count one repeat performance by a slow learner). Betwixt and between marriages, there have been a series of jobs in varying occupations all with a life expectancy of about six years. Apparently I have earned my butterfly wings.
All of this flitting occasionally leads to self-judgment. Why do I—and so many others—have the tendency to focus on those parts of ourselves that we perceive as being flawed? Why instead, do we not write report cards on those parts of ourselves that deserve honors? Why pick on ourselves rather than praise ourselves?
There is nothing quite like a visit to an ashram to open the eyes of the soul. Years ago, a one-week stay at the ashram of a guru provided me with the perfect picture of my life in a nutshell. In an ashram, service (seva) is an integral part of the stay. Assignments are doled out to each sevite upon arrival and dutifully completed day by day. I was given a butterfly assignment, flitting from one job to another, while my steady, stable, consistent, reliable traveling companion was assigned a Xeroxing job that kept her standing in one spot for the entire week. We each had the perfect opportunity to view our entire life history in the space of seven days. I admire her tenacity. I judge myself for not being more like her. Add to that the pitfall of comparison and it becomes a double whammy.
This morning I awoke with the renewed awareness that what I do does not matter. More important is what I think about what I do. My life assignment in this classroom earth is to learn and grow. My curriculum is tailor made to suit my own particular path. If it includes the experience of flitting from job to job or marriage to marriage, or to see that self-criticism blocks the way to self-love, so be it. Perhaps it is the vehicle best suited to burn through karma at the speed of light, or maybe it’s the speedy route to enlightenment. Who knows? And who am I to judge?
It occurs to me that my blog-writing history is a mirror image of my life because it reveals my days of ups and downs, days of struggling with some aspect of myself that I perceive as imperfect, and other days when I love myself exactly as I am. I can see where a reader might be thoroughly confused, as I sometimes am when I flip back and forth through the pages of my life. It dawns on me though, that I am simply a reflection of so many others like myself who wrestle with the occasional love-hate relationship presented to us by the ego.
It is gratifying to know that my spiritual quest will be successful, regardless of how long I lollygag along the path, or how often I stop to smell the roses, or zone out in front of the TV. I’ll get where I’m going eventually, and meanwhile, I’ll focus on enjoying the journey and let go of the idea that I am anything less than I am—a spark of the Divine. And I’ll set an intention to tip the balance with more Divine Spark days than doldrum ones. What a good idea!
In spite of my slothful and flitting butterfly ways, there has always been one constant that drives my life and leads me from one place to another. My vision of reaching the top rung of the enlightenment ladder and stepping into the next realm of existence fuels my passion and desire to graduate from classroom earth with honors. Heaven here I come. I’ll see you there. Eventually.
Note: The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)