Message of the Mantis
The announcement made by the owner of the farm to the work crew had not set well with me. From my perspective, it felt stubbornly one-sided, charged with projections from the past and fears of meeting resistance from the workers. I could not find consensus with the unilateral change in our agreement within a community that makes statements about living more consciously. His unexpected increase in our work hours, with no corresponding benefit, felt demanding and disrespectful . To top it off, he'd said, "If you don't like it you can leave."
My body tightened like a bow. I chewed on my resistance while pulling a weed called spurge, noting angrily to myself that it rhymes with "scourge."
Conflict roiled in me as I struggled to maintain balance and not go into impulsive reactivity. Thoughts (from my own projective mind) pulled me into the strong restrictive currents that I sought to avoid. Still charged and chewing, I nearly bit my tongue to hold back the urge to give notice, but my best efforts to calm the turmoil weren't working. What was I missing?
At least I was sitting on the earth, on a lava tube that has been partially cultivated for beauty. While I continued clearing out weeds that had overtaken a section, a tiny creature barely the length of my little finger's first joint hopped onto my leg. As my eyes focused on it, I saw the perfect form of a baby mantis. I said to the mantis, "Aren't you beautiful. Do you know I bought two egg cases and enjoyed the thought of having lots of little ones like you in the garden I left behind, but they never hatched."
The mantis cocked its triangular head and looked me in the face. I went on, in a quiet and appreciative voice, "Well, I would love to have you stay. You could ride around on my shoulder and we'd be friends. But I don't want you to be hurt. You are probably better off to be on a leaf."
Very slowly, I moved my finger to the mantis and coaxed it onto a large green leaf. The little creature looked this way and that, then back at my leg. I moved my leg away from the leaf. The baby mantis made a large leap to be back on my leg. I apologized, "You are most welcome to be on my leg, but I have to walk now and I am concerned you would be smashed." Then, it made another leap off my leg to a plant on the other side.
This gift from the bounty of nature's wonder had interrupted my mind from spinning drama with the thread of projective thoughts. In the unspoken presence of this tiny creature, I became more relaxed and present to the moment. Later, while reading about the attributes and symbolism of the mantis, my heart felt warmed by the grace of the timely encounter.
"An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quiet and reach a place of calm. It may also a sign for you to be more mindful of the choices you are making and confirm that these choices are congruent." - http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-symbolism-mantis.html
Have you felt life speaking a message to you today?
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