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Posts Tagged ‘Advice from a caterpillar’

Self-reinvention is everything
Spin many nests . . .
Molt, Rest, Molt again…

Before she left our current dimension, my adopted Wise-Mother Ginnie told me many smart things. Whenever life got overwhelming I would pour my heart out to her and she always had the right words for me in return. Some were her own, some were the words of others. She was a word collector with a brilliant mind that was like a perfectly organized Super Filing Cabinet. She had been a librarian and I never met anybody whose profession fit them as well as hers. Some days I miss her voice and her word-magic in my life so much it hurts my stomach.

The words above were a response from Ginny at a time when my life had been undergoing gut-wrenching and overwhelming change, and all of it against my will. For some reason, these words were in my head when I woke up this morning. Probably because I have been thinking a lot about change, the fear of change, changes that happen against one’s will, inevitable change, the embracing of change, and the futility of ignoring change, for better or worse. Also, I have been changing. I’ve been getting some serious rest and relaxation for the first time in a long time and I like it so much that I’m doing everything I can to insure that I get to have it even after I go back to school in the fall. Everything I do lately gets filtered through my ‘change lens’ with a question of whether or not I should change the way I do it, or stop doing it altogether. Even the way I sleep has undergone a drastic change. The top sheet is off and I sleep sideways in the bed with a single loose blanket and no pillows, totally free-form, and my long-running shoulder pain is suddenly gone. Why did I have to sleep in one direction in a bed tucked in on three sides? Who wrote that rule and why did I follow it even though it didn’t work for me? Stupid. Fear of making a change. Anyways, changes have been going on all over the place.

It’s pretty scary to make changes. If you change jobs because you dislike your current one, you’re happy and terrified all at once. Even an unsatisfactory job is a comfort in ones life and changing that throws one off balance for a while. Deciding to change your diet and exercise routine is ominous and doomed for failure unless you completely embrace certain changes. Saving money and getting out of debt means changing the way you treat money – that’s totally terrifying. Even deciding that certain things you’ve been doing in the garden are not really worth the time and effort can cause a hyperventilated panic attack, because it means changing the routine, doing away with the familiar.

Today, I decided to stop composting until I finish school. Simple enough, but I was strangely hesitant of facing the fact that I no longer wanted the extra task of keeping track of kitchen and garden scraps and caring for my electric composting machine. It almost felt sinful and I don’t really believe in sin. Tom suggested I do it the traditional way with a big can and I said no, no I just want to have a life free of compost thoughts for a while. Is that ok? He said “it’s already done, you’re free, feel better?” – yes, yes I do. Every time I turn around I find something similarly outdated that I want to change or eliminate, streamline or throw in the garbage. What will I do with that extra time? Something exhilarating and valuable, something that impacts life in a profound and beautiful way. Or maybe an extra nap now and then.

The words quoted at the beginning of this post were words Ginnie told me every time my life was undergoing dramatic and traumatic change and I was fearful or weary, not rolling well with the punches. They were from a poem by Amy Gerstler and I haven’t read it in a couple of years. Today it was perfect. Thank you, Ginnie.

Advice from a Caterpillar
by Amy Gerstler

Chew your way into a new world.
Munch leaves. Molt. Rest. Molt
again. Self-reinvention is everything.
Spin many nests. Cultivate stinging
bristles. Don’t get sentimental
about your discarded skins. Grow
quickly. Develop a yen for nettles.
Alternate crumpling and climbing. Rely
on your antennae. Sequester poisons
in your body for use at a later date.
When threatened, emit foul odors
in self-defense. Behave cryptically
to confuse predators: change colors, spit,
or feign death. If all else fails, taste terrible.

I wonder if he smokes a hookah?

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