Today I found a perfect little ladybug crawling around on the bed and immediately set in motion my plan to save it! I encouraged it on my finger while admiring its beauty and then safely cupped it inside of my hands. When I arrived outside I walked around looking for the perfect place to set it free, eventually placing it on some lovely flowers. At that point I sat and watched it happily roam around on the leaves before bidding it goodbye with a warm heart and virtual pat on my back for being such a compassionate human being. Yay for me!
If it were just about any other kind of bug I would have been pretty grossed out and handled the whole thing very differently. More than likely, I would have run to the kitchen to find a cup and a dish rag to cover the cup just so I wouldn’t have to touch it before rushing downstairs and flinging it into any random bush I could find! How rude!
Isn’t it fascinating how drawn to beauty we human beings can be? The ladybug might have pretty marks on her, but she is still a bug after all and surely looks kinda creepy under a microscope. Yet, I slowed down and was completely drawn in just because of how beautiful I believe her to be. In fact, ladybugs are the only bug I willingly let crawl all over me with giddy enjoyment.
How often do we find ourselves rushing towards beauty, happiness, love, warmth, ease, and safety? This isn’t surprising, as the alternatives can be extremely unpleasant and much messier. This reality wouldn’t be quite so bad if we didn’t tend to lean so far away from anything that registers as unpleasant. Beauty, ease and happiness = good right?
OK, I don’ t actually think it’s bad to lean into what feels good and safe in my life. I’m writing this blog post while looking out over the water admiring incredible natural lands and feeling pretty blissful to tell you the truth. Where I get into trouble is when I’m so committed to being happy and comfortable that I forget how important and valuable the icky difficult parts of life can be. These are the parts that often serve us the most as they point us so clearly to where we have yet to grow.
Are we willing to lean into the moments and people in our lives that make our skin crawl? Can we stop ourselves from looking the other way when we are afraid, confused, or angry? Carl Jung teaches us that knowing our own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness in other people. If we are always looking for the beauty in others we miss the chance to know ourselves more completely. Our lives present us with endless opportunities to reflect with wonder on the darkness that lurks within others and us.
The next time a creepy bug crawls by on the bed I just might stop, pause, and question why I was about to jump back in disgust. Then I’ll try to save it with as much love as I gave that ladybug. Or at least unravel a bit of my precious psyche in the process. Let’s lean into our darkness skillfully and thoughtfully… imagine how much light we might find in the process…