A few months back, I spent some time deep in the Andes Mountains in Chile. Those mountains had been calling to me for a long time now. Beckoning me to reconnect with the ancient energy and merging with the flow of the mountains.
Although I had travelled south under the pretense of a shamanic pilgrimage, I had no idea that my greatest lesson would come from a two inch butterfly-in-training.
One morning as I sat outside my tent gazing at the Andes and lost in my own contemplations, I became aware of an ache at my solar plexus….an area that relates to the third chakra…a place of personal power. I tuned into that ache and realized that there was a storm blazing within.
As I tried to figure this out with my rational mind, I felt a tickle on my right ankle. I looked down and saw an earth-bound friend climbing his way slowly up my leg. He was just a wee fellow and appeared content to be exploring a new environment. At first, I reacted and brushed him off quickly and he landed about two feet away from me. Then he came crawling back toward me. So I picked him up on a stick and then placed him gently inside the middle of a yellow buttercup and observed him. I watched him as he slowly climbed out of that flower, down the stalk and inched his way back toward me again. Fascinating. Was this little caterpillar being drawn to me? And why? So I thought I would experiment and change spots to see if he would change his direction. He did. He crawled right toward me and climbed up onto a rock to get a better vantage point. It was like he was waving all of his little legs trying to capture my attention.
So I gazed down at him and asked out loud, “What are you trying to share little guy?”
He then whispered in his biggest voice, “OWN YOUR POWER”.
Those three words hit me with such force that I actually reeled back and gasped. Own my power? Own my power?!? This didn’t make sense. My mind was overrun with confusion. Wasn’t I already doing that? Hadn’t I already stepped into my power years ago by overcoming the traumatic events of my past or facing my own mortality or finally having the courage to leave my husband? Wasn’t raising my daughters on my own for so many years even when I was married allowed me to tap into that vast pool of power that lies within? No. No. He was all wrong.
I glared down at that little caterpillar with contempt and exasperation. He was full of it.
My little caterpillar friend just patiently and lovingly looked up at me with his multiple eyes and said, “Then what are you doing here?”
Gasp…This time the weight of those words flattened me.
What WAS I doing here? Was I seeking outside of myself instead of looking within? Was I trusting the words of a spiritual “guru” over the truth of my own soul? Was I in essence giving my power away? Too many questions and I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. I was angry because I already knew this. How could I let that one fundamental truth slip away?
So had I been giving my power away? Perhaps once upon a time I did….when my spiritual identity was based on young, wobbly legs not yet ready to support the weight of such potency. That early time when seeking wisdom from a guru made more sense than trusting myself.
Then I got to thinking…which can be a dangerous thing for me. This spiritual path back to self can be tricky one. It is loaded with detours, distractions and land mines. One has to be of strong mind to be able to bypass all of the things that want to pull us back…into dependency and that state of mind of “never knowing enough”. And so we wander down that path with a twisted sense of self thinking that if we just read enough spiritual books, go to enough spiritual retreats and trainings and find that perfect guru who will tell us everything we need to know about life that we will finally be happy and perhaps…gasp…”enlightened”.
I will be honest with you. I fell into that trap. And let me tell you that it is can be a very disheartening and disempowering journey filled with egos and misaligned intentions. It’s not what you think it is.
Sigh…I need to tell you something. And it may sting a little. There is nothing that a guru can tell you that you don’t already know. It’s there within you…waiting to be revealed and rediscovered. All that you need is there. Call it your inner guru, inner guidance, spirit or whatever. It’s already there. I am sure you have heard this before. But until you truly integrate that critical truth within, you will always be looking outside of yourself.
Here’s the clincher. If we are all connected and Divine wisdom flows freely through all…then don’t we just have to close our eyes, enter into stillness and allow Spirit to whisper the answers that we are looking for? Can we not tap into that universal pool of all-knowingness and extract what we need to live a blissful, harmonious and ecstatic life?
But that would mean placing radical faith and trust within yourself. Some are ready for that courageous leap of faith back to self. Some are not. But at some point one must consider that the most sacred site in the world is contained within ourselves…within our own spirit. Something to think about.
My little caterpillar friend had a lot to say on that sunny day in Chile. I smiled down at him and silently thanked him. Was he my guru? No. I didn’t need one. But he was a friend that was courageous enough to help me rediscover my own truth. And in the end..that’s all that matters.