A butterfly landed on my hand today while I sat in the car listening to the radio. For anyone who knows me, it’s a regular thing to just hang out in the car with my feet propped up. I suppose it reminds me that I’m never stuck anywhere. I’m here by choice and can leave whenever I choose.
Anyway, this butterfly spent well over three minutes poking at my fingers as if nectar would pour out of the tips. His antenna flipped forward, then back up, and no matter how I moved my hand it didn’t flutter away.
Starstuffs, one of my favorite reference sites for animal totems, says this about butterflies:
“Major transformations and transmutations taking place, outcome is different than expected. Symbol of joy, color, gentleness, lightness, and change in life. Awakens us to dance on the winds of life, teaches that growth doesn’t have to be painful, allows us to discover the important issues in life for conscious transformation. Can you discern what is important right now? Don’t sweat the small stuff, be joyful and thankful for your blessings.”
More than the transformative message of this experience is a greater truth I’ve come to realize —
Inner peace is an active pursuit.
It takes a conscious effort to remove or ignore negativity, not just within but from others as well. When I allow outside opinions to be the barometer by which I determine my worth or change the core of who I am to suit the whims of someone else, I’m giving them power over me. More over, I’m giving them my peace.
The fragile peace I’d started to gain in my universe was nearly destroyed. It’s funny really, how the harsh words and condemnation of someone we love can cut so deep, can make us question our very character. And for a brief moment, I did. I sat crying in a puddle, wondering what happened over that weekend to make someone think I’d ever actively or passively seek to hurt anyone.
Then I realized something I’d said days before, “I won’t be anybody but myself. If you want me to be someone else I should stay home.”
I’ve come to a peculiar time in my life where being anything other than myself is impossible. I carry my passion and peace everywhere and won’t hide how I feel or who I am.
It translates to my writing — actively, viscerally, authentically me. All the passion and purpose I possess bleeds in black and white just as certainly as it does in my real live life. And that was the problem.
During the course of a phone call, I heard the message loud and clear — it’s okay to myself in quiet intimate moments when no one was watching, but in the bright daylight of other’s view I had to be someone else.
And here’s where the new tagline for this site was born…
Authenticity because anything else is slow death.
Comparatively, I’ve learned very little in four decades on this planet. But a chance encounter with a butterfly reminded of the most important lesson. Inner peace is an active pursuit. It requires being myself unapologetically, recognizing the truth of my existence, removing negativity, accepting unconditional love and blessings, acknowledging my failures and successes as small steps towards a larger goal, and never using the opinions of others to measure my worth. It also requires a great deal of honest self reflection.
Nothing is more smothering than hiding a part of myself. Like the totem butterfly suggests I’ve reached a point of conscious transformation. In that quest, I’ve found my peace again. I’ve found love of good people. I’ve found love within myself. I will not sacrifice it for anyone, but I do hope to one day to craft a life with another soul actively seeking inner peace.