A Delicate Balance

I love this picture!

Every time I see it, my first reaction is to start cheering for the  butterfly:  “Come on sweetie, you can do it.  Keep those wings going and you’ll pull that little boulder right up the stairs.”  

But then my second reaction is to look at it again and say:   “Oh sweetie, it’s just too much, too heavy a burden.  Why are you even spreading your wings and trying?    

Finally, I take a third look at the picture and smile, allow a wave of compassion to envelop me, and take a moment to sit in stillness . . .  feeling into what the image evokes within.
I’ve had this image in my photo library for a number of years now, but recently I googled it and found a range of captions for the image:  from “just let go,” to “believe,” to “don’t be weighed down.”    Close to my first and second reactions.  
But the more I feel into what the image evokes in me, the more I love the delicate balance it portrays.  We all have hopes and dreams.  We want to spread our wings.  We want to reach our goals in life . . . and yet we must face illness, hardship, death, pandemics, loss of jobs and friendships, those aspects of our very existence that weigh us down. 
And so my focus goes from the butterfly and the boulder to the rope connecting them.   And I ask myself, how do I live with and in that connection.   
And so the real work begins .  .  . 
       as Mark Nepo says in The One Life We’re Given, “Our challenge is not to choose between the fragility and strength of life but to cultivate our wonder by holding both in our heart.”

Let me share some of the ways in which this very moment, April of 2020, seem to be asking us to hold both our strength and fragility in our hearts on a daily basis:

  • keeping in touch with those we love — and accepting our anxiety and fear of becoming ill
  • learning new skills, be they computer, household, etc. — and feeling overwhelmed by the new technology and skills that many of us need to learn
  • being appreciative and saying thank you to those working at stores and pharmacies –and understanding the importance of the social distancing we are asked to maintain
  • staying grateful for what we have in terms of food and clothing, homes or apartments — and feeling panic around money, jobs, and personal income
  • feeling safe and protected by Spirit — and sitting with the unease around the larger economic, environment, political and humanitarian outlook
  • appreciating new ways of organizing our days and time to ourselves — and feeling anger at the lack of control around getting supplies, tests, as well as understanding government decisions and the effects of these decisions on our healthcare workers, the homeless, and those in prison or in poverty. 
Our journey is to hold all of these in our hearts!   Allowing ourselves to live in love and gratitude as well as fear and sadness.  
THIS MOMENT is the journey.  Our role is not simply to get through it, but to allow this moment to change us in ways that honor all of life.  
Sending you light and love,