I had my heart cruelly broken at the end of 2018, and spent all of January 2019 sick in bed, and I’m positive that the two are related. While I eventually became physically well enough to work, go grocery shopping, and clean my house, I performed these tasks with only my body. My mind was off trying to alternately figure out how I could have chosen so poorly, and also what was wrong with me. Maybe you can relate.
As I cycled through the stages of grief again and again, I looked for ways to heal myself. One of my go to strategies is to make myself super busy, so I started taking piano and Spanish lessons. That was helpful, and I’m a more accomplished person now as a result, but I was still a complete emotional wreck. I needed something more.
One morning I was scrolling through my email and got a message from the universe in the form of an email from HeatherAsh Amara, a spiritual teacher that I follow, inviting me to join a trip to Teotihuacan, Mexico, a place I’d wanted to go since my high school Spanish teacher showed us photos of the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon located in the Teotihuacan complex. I opened the email.
Here’s HeatherAsh Amara’s website for more information on what she has to offer: HeatherAsh Amara’s website.
If you’ve never heard of Teotihuacan before, please look it up, because the photos will blow your mind. It’s a pre-Colombian pyramid complex northeast of Mexico City with three beautifully preserved pyramids along what’s known as the Avenue of the Dead. As I read the description of the trip, my heart spoke up and said, “I want to go there!” Since it was the first time my heart had said anything except, “I hurt” in months, I pulled out my credit card and booked the trip.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, because Teotihuacan turned out to be powerful medicine for my grief. Every day at the pyramid complex felt like I’d been transported to another world so majestic that my heartache seemed petty and unimportant. I climbed to the top of both pyramids, descended into the Temple of the Butterflies, and bonded with an incredible group of women, but there is one experience that I particularly want to share with you today.
Each day, we all gathered and walked out to the pyramid complex for ritual. On this particular day, the instructions were to walk the grounds gathering stones. Each stone was to represent a loss. I didn’t know yet what we were going to do with these stones, but I had losses and I was ready to represent them. So, I went out and, with the determination that I give to most tasks, gathered two heaping handfuls of stones. Then I went to the assigned meeting point and waited for the others to finish their task.
The only other woman at the meeting place was the co-leader of the group, Emily Grieves, who has an amazing personal story and is an incredible painter. Here’s her website for more information: Emily Grieves’ Website.
Feeling a little bit shy and star-struck, I said hello to her, but then waited quietly for the rest of the group to arrive.
The longer I stood still in the sun, sweating, the more bugs began to take interest in me. When a particularly nasty bug landed on my arm and bit me, I jumped, dropped all of the stones in one hand and swatted the bug. With the danger over, I sighed and proceeded to try to identify and re-gather the stones that I’d been holding on to. Emily Grieves watched me, saying nothing.
When another, even more enormous and hideous bug landed on my other arm, I dropped my stones and swatted it away again. This time, however, instead of staying silent as I began to pick my stones back up, Emily said, “Maybe those bugs are trying to help you let go.”
What an incredible idea! I looked around myself at the swarm of bugs, then at my empty hand, and then at the stones strewn around my feet and thought, “Maybe the bugs ARE trying to help me let go.”
Then, just as I’d decided not to gather those losses back to myself, the biggest blue-green dragonfly I’ve ever seen circled my head a couple of times and flew away.
I looked at Emily Grieves and said, “Did you see that dragonfly?”
She smiled and said, “Yes. I did. Dragonflies symbolize illusion.”
Then I had the epiphany.
All of those stones–all of those losses–they were just illusion anyway. I had been holding on to those stones waiting for someone to give me permission to let them go in the proper way, but those losses were in the past and they could only touch my present if I continued to hold onto them.
Now, I would love to tell you that I put the rest of those stones down and was immediately and miraculously healed of my broken heart, but that wouldn’t be true. What is true is that I changed my mind that day, and it was the beginning of true healing.
Now, my question for you is this: Are there bugs in your life that are trying to help you let go of your stones?
They may look like annoying problems, but perhaps they’re trying to show you that what you’ve been holding on to is only an illusion that is keeping you from seeing the reality of your life unfolding in this present moment.
For instance, maybe your difficult boss is the “bug” that is trying to show you that you’ve been holding on to the illusion that you need this particular job even though you don’t like it, and by letting go of that illusion you could move into more fulfilling and meaningful work. Or, perhaps, that difficult partner is the “bug” that’s trying to show you that you’ve been holding on to the illusion that this is the relationship for you, and by letting that go you could either grow more fully into your relationship with yourself, or move into a healthier partnership.
When I realized that the bugs were telling me to let go of the illusion that the relationship I’d lost was the one for me, my relationship with myself blossomed so beautifully that I’m not only still taking piano and Spanish lessons, I started a blog and a podcast and wrote a book.
Perhaps if you let go of that thing that you’re trying to force, you’ll find that you bloom in new and wonderful ways. I encourage you to give yourself that chance.