“Mo-o-o-o-o-o-om?” My daughter’s urgent call came from behind the tightly closed bedroom door. I was in the other room, working, when I heard her purposefully quiet and forcefully calm cry. I could tell she needed me, but was trying to not sound panicked. Which panicked me.
I charged in, fearing what I would find, and being completely unable to imagine what could cause her to be so terrified or worse, hurting. I found her pretzled up on the bed, her head hanging over the edge of the mattress and her eyes wide.
“What’s happening?! Are you hurt?!”
I couldn’t see any gaping gore and blood or skewed bones – Whew! No physical trauma! And there were no tears – Good! No heartbreak or emotional wounds! She did, however, look clearly distressed so I was having a hard time understanding what I was seeing.
“Mo-o-o-o-o-o-om?” She repeated the original appeal, apparently unable to form a coherent answer to assuage my rattled momma-heart.
“What? What is wrong?!” I was feeling powerless to help her because I didn’t know what needed helping.
“Look!” She pointed in a vague direction toward the floor.
I followed her point and saw nothing but carpet. I stared at the area where she was pointing, wondering if she had hit her head on something hard, as I asked, “What? I don’t see anything.”
“There’s a bug!” She stabbed in the air three times toward the same general area with her pointing finger, as if doing so would clear my vision.
I almost laughed out loud, but swallowed my mirth and nearly choked as soon as the carpet began moving. She squealed. I squealed, mostly because she squealed, but also because the carpet had literally moved. I bent over to take a closer look.
Fully alarmed, my daughter yelled, “What are you doing?!” which caused me to jump back, startled.
Then I began laughing and said, “I’m trying to get a closer look. I can’t tell what it is.”
“It is a friggin’ bug!” She offered vehemently. “The ugliest bug I’ve ever seen!”
I leaned in again and sure enough! She was right! It was the ugliest bug I had ever seen. It looked as though it was a cross between a millipede and a shrimp. It was about 1.5 inches long with seemingly hundreds of legs, 2-inch long antennae on its head, equally long hind legs, all striped and banded, and a series of tiny pinchers along the area where I imagined its mouth to be. Seeing it, I wasn’t scared. I was completely fascinated because it was the freakiest looking bug I had ever seen. And then it moved! And that movement scared the bejeebas out of me. That sucker was as fast as lightning!
My daughter scrambled along the top of the bed, getting far away from the alien creature and I watched with morbid fascination, tracking its movements – mostly so I wouldn’t lose sight of it and then have no idea where it was in our room. Grabbing two clear glasses, I gently removed the creature from the floor and put it up near the light so we could examine it with a false sense of security while it was trapped in the transparent prison. Which worked, until it began to successfully scale the side of the glass, which was how I discovered the row of pinchers. Then it fell to the bottom of the glass and so effectively played dead that I suddenly feared that it had, indeed, dropped dead. I felt a little guilty, at that point.
After studying it and taking pictures so we could share its loveliness with our friends, I escorted the scary bug out of our room, up the stairs, and into the back yard. As soon as I dumped over the glass, it resurrected itself and zoomed across the patio, straight for my feet, causing me to jump up on the patio furniture lest I be accosted by the terrifying beast. When I returned to the room, we did some researching on a site that talks about the some 220+ species of bugs we have identified here in Utah – all with lovely pictures.
And there, amongst the creepy-crawlies and spiders and all manner of pests that made me itchy with skin-crawling sensations, was a picture of the very culprit that had invaded our peaceful abode: “House Centipede” also known as Scutigera coleoptrata. When I glanced at its scientific name, I saw “Cleopatra” and that is what I began calling the bug in my head. I made myself read all of the description, although I was completely grossed out by the picture that accompanied it and the fact that one of the fiends had been in my bedroom.
When the truth about Cleopatra began unfolding, I was stunned. We discovered that our monster was actually a good creature that helps rid our home of other unwanted pests. Then, I began to feel something akin to sadness. This scary looking thing was actually put on this earth to help me and because it was so disturbing and alien-like, my first response had been: EXTERMINATE!
This experience got me thinking about my beliefs…
Belief: Feedback needs to come to me in pretty packages.
Truth: Feedback comes in all kinds of packages, some of which are pretty, some of which are downright ugly.
Belief: Scary looking things are dangerous.
Truth: Sometimes things that look dangerous are not. Sometimes they are. Trusting myself is the answer to knowing that difference.
Belief: Scary things have no purpose other than being scary.
Truth: Sometimes scary things are actually really beneficial, I just don’t have enough information to know that yet. Learning about the scary thing through a trusted source provides information to shift my understanding.
Belief: If it’s scary, it’s gonna hurt me.
Truth: Sometimes that which seems scary in the beginning actually ends up being interesting, helpful, or fun, and there is no pain involved.
Belief: If I don’t know what it is and have never seen it before, it has to be bad, dangerous, or wrong.
Truth: Just because I don’t know what it is or have never seen it before does not mean it’s bad, dangerous, or wrong.
Belief: It scares me. Therefore it has to go away.
Truth: Sometimes the very thing that scares me is actually there to help me and learning about it before I send it away can bring help into my life where I would have otherwise pushed away.
Belief: Scary things are bad for me.
Truth: A healthy dose of curiosity, wonder, and distance can lead to understanding of something that I’m experiencing as scary and shift how I interact with it.
Belief: Ugly things are bad things.
Truth: Judging a thing by its appearance causes me to miss opportunities and experiences.
Maybe you recognized some of these from your own life. In the recognizing of them, you will be able to begin shifting them to something that feels more empowering to you. How are you interacting with things that scare you? Are you stomping on them? Are you shoving them away? Are you studying them? Are you escorting them outside?
Once Cleopatra was outside and I knew she was alive and well, I felt much better. After I learned about all her beneficial attributes, I had a moment of relief to know that I had not killed something as powerfully beneficial as she. I had allowed her to live. Outside. Away from me. I was happy for that.
And that realization brought up one more thing…
Belief: Even if I don’t like the experience, I can learn from it so I (or it) must stay.
Truth: If I don’t like the experience, I don’t have to live with it. I can live this life as a positive experience. And while some things are beneficial, it doesn’t mean I have to continue to experience them. I get to choose. My power is in my choice.
© Angie Millgate
The above post is my current Meditation of the Week. This *f*r*e*e* service provides uplifting articles, graphic design hints, Intrinsic Universe readings of the week, and special offers. If you’re interested in signing up for this service, you can do so through the “In-Box Inspiration” box to the right.
I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.
Feel free to jot down what you’re thinking in the comment box below.