Monday, July 24, 2023


Just as I was about to leave to run some errands, the hood latch on my car failed. I was faced with a choice. I could go anyhow, knowing that it would probably be perfectly safe - there was a safety latch and I would drive carefully. Or I could see it as a sign that it wasn't the best time to go.

Either choice was likely valid, but I chose to stay at home. Experience has taught me that when something gets in the way of my plans, then maybe I need to revise my plans.

In the past I might have pushed through to meet an obligation or a promise. Or if I was afraid of missing out on something. Or if it would cost me something I wasn't sure I could afford. These all carry emotional loads which add an extra layer of stress. It's stressful to go against the flow, and more stressful when there's something emotionally at stake.

The hood latch didn't have an emotional charge so it was a great time to practice my intuition. What do these choices feet like in my body? Stay? Everything feels smooth. Go? The gut feels a bit tighter. When I pay attention to these signs, I can act on them more easily when the stakes are higher.

I may never know why the hood latch broke when it did. But I do know that by choosing to stay at home, my action aligned with the flow of life. If those errands were meant to be run at all, there would be another day for them. A better day.

Lao Tzu said, "The world is ruled by letting things take their course."

By letting life show us where to go next, we can make smoother choices. By leaving the fear out of the equation we can make wiser choices. By allowing ourselves to move with the flow of life itself, we may find we don't even need to choose at all. Instead, the choices seem to make themselves.

The Peace of Meditation

Many meditations are guided journeys for giving us a framework for a mental activity. This is great. It can lead our emotions and body to follow.

Others are designed to be more free flowing so that we can be aware of the habitual thought patterns that dominate our thinking lives. This deepens awareness of what we are - and what we are not, and opens us to more paradoxical thinking. This is great, too.

Most of us start to meditate because we just want to feel better. We start with guided journeys because they can help us relax, many for the first time in ages. But after a while, many of us yearn for something more - or we have seen things or experienced things in that relaxed state that are interesting or new or have opened us up spiritually. That's when we make the switch to the sitting, silent, watching-the-breath type of meditation, although most of us will bounce back and forth forever.

If we are lucky, at some point, the desire to sit so that we feel better falls away and we start to sit for the sake of sitting. Not because it feels good or feels bad, although being joyful helps to keep us sitting. But because we feel curiously at rest or peace when we do.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

It's Earwig Season

I saw my first earwig in 1976 when we moved to Dufferin County. It creeped me out. I just saw one in the kitchen. They still creep me out, but not as violently. I can pick them up now with a piece of toilet paper, and escort them outside. Most of the time.

My aversion escalated in 1977 when while rolling up sod to prepare for a driveway, the overturned earth squirmed with hundreds of them. It escalated again in 1978 when we put the basement in. They were getting in. Too many of them. 

I used to keep a shoe by my bed to swat them when they showed up. That's when I discovered they eat anything, even their own kind. You can imagine how deeply I wanted them to go away. How desperately. 

They seemed to come in, unfortunately, in the basement corner where I'd moved my home office. I looked for openings and found none. I sprayed with that awful insulating foam. That didn't slow them down a bit. I sprayed bug spray - the stuff that likely isn't legal any more. That slowed them down a bit but didn't stop them. I could hear them sometimes landing on the concrete floor under the window as I worked at the computer. I looked inside and outside to see if I could see any openings I'd overlooked. It all looked fine.

So this went on for SEVENTEEN years.

I'm a spiritual person and I knew it was a big lesson. I knew I'd have to find a way to make peace with them, that my aversion was just making things worse.

Over time, I gradually did. I never really warmed up to them - come on, the pincers - but over time my energy didn't rise in aversion any more. 

One day, I caught a glimpse of one walking across the carpet in the office beside my foot. I didn't quite feel affection for it, but maybe a hint of friendliness. I got a kleenex and took it outside. While out there, I had an urge to look yet again at the window in that basement corner. We had bought two identical windows for that end of the house when we put in the basement. I took my time and compared them board for board. And I found a gap in one of them. 

I wouldn't say I ran to find some putty to fill the gap, but I might have. After I filled that gap, the main earwig problem went away. We still get them inside now and then in the years when there are lots of them. This summer there are lots of them. My spiritual lesson in July on years like this is to make peace with them again. As much as I can. They still creep me out.