Would You Like Joy and Abundance Right Now?
From a simple butterfly (00:30)
Caterpillar goop and human soup (2:00)
How you can create more time, more space, and slow things down (5:55)
Trust + openness = joy + abundance (7:35)
Look to the horse, of course (10:05)
Your turn… (12:30)
WOULD YOU LIKE JOY AND ABUNDANCE RIGHT NOW?
A few years ago, I lived on a street with gigantic eucalyptus trees, and one or two months out of the year, the monarch butterflies were thick as pea soup, hanging out in droves in that eucalyptus grove. You could barely walk down the road without bumping into one or two butterflies as the flittered through the air.
I love the monarchs because they remind me of the power of trust – the trust that comes from being present and a connection to my inner knowing, the trust that my journey is unique, and a trust in the ease that exists for me when I fall in love with what is instead of trying to control and manipulate what my mind thinks should be.
Now, you may be thinking, “Beth, how do you get all of this from a simple butterfly?”
Well, it begins with the caterpillar…
CATERPILLAR GOOP AND HUMAN SOUP
Much like each of us, the caterpillar goes along, minding her own beeswax, when suddenly, she is overcome with the urge to stop and slip into a very deep rest. She literally cannot go on.
As she sinks into this deep rest, her entire body – all the way down to her cell structure – begins to dissolve. Luckily, nature has provided her with a hard outer casing, and it has directed her to find a resting place sheltered under a heavy leaf cover. As the caterpillar trusts the dissolving process and gives in to it, she is safe.
I envy the caterpillar, as I imagine that in her thinking mind, her brain, she does not question what is happening – she just moves with it. There certainly have been (and continue to be) times in my life when going into a deep, deep rest and letting go of what I thought should be would have saved me much stress, anger, resentment, and a great deal of effort.
When I heard spiritual teacher Jeff Foster speak a few years ago, his journey enlightened me. He encouraged us to say the words “depress” and “deep rest” aloud, and listen for the similarity. He invited us to, perhaps, accept that when our body signals symptomology that can be felt as a time of depression, perhaps it is calling for an incredibly deep rest – a deep rest from storytelling, a deep rest from striving and ambition, a deep rest from compare and despair energy, a deep rest from trying to figure out what we should be doing: What’s my calling? What’s my niche? How can I get ahead?
Author and coach Martha Beck calls this phase “human soup.” Just as the caterpillar dissolves into an insect soup during a time of great change, Martha recommends that we do the same – that we allow ourselves a protected rest, and we trust that the knowledge of what the future will bring is held safe inside the soup. That knowledge can come forward through rest, and, soon enough, we, too, will sprout wings and fly. It is our fate.
HOW YOU CAN CREATE MORE TIME, MORE SPACE, AND SLOW THINGS DOWN
People ask me frequently, “Beth, how can I create more time? How can I create more space in my life? How can I slow things down?”
More time, more space, and a slower pace are in those periods of deep rest, in meditation, in sitting outside, in those moments when you allow your eyes to gently close, and in sleep.
All of those moments are times when our subconscious is allowed to call for solutions, answers, ideas, and innovations. When we shut down the hum of our thinking brain for five minutes – or even just one or two minutes – we allow our subconscious to bring forth ideas and answers that are deep in our knowing.
Many people tell me, “I can’t meditate, Beth. I can’t clear my brain of thoughts.” Well, neither can I (almost no one can), but the truth is, meditation is less about being empty of thoughts and more about cultivating stillness and allowing thoughts to pass by like groceries on a conveyor belt – you’re not reaching out and grabbing for them, you’re just letting them go on by.
TRUST + OPENNESS = JOY + ABUNDANCE
If you’ve been in any of my workshops or attended one of my talks, you’ve probably heard me say that, in many ways, we’ve been sold a bill of goods, one that can cause shame or feed our “not enough” feelings.
It carries the myth that if we do enough of the right things – if we meditate enough, if we journal enough, if we eat enough superfoods, if we say enough positive affirmations, if we pray enough, if we make the perfect vision board, etc. – then we will have a life of joy and abundance…
...but all that striving and trying and doing is exhausting!
My life experience tells me that joy and abundance are not the achievements of a perfected bliss that’s maintained day in and day out. Joy and abundance are the awareness that when disappointment, confusion, grief, hard choices, loss, and heartache come forward, I can feel them fully, but then, with the wisdom of the caterpillar going to soup – plus some space and some grace – I can come back to my center.
Instead of trying to fix it, change it, avoid it, or fight it, I can choose to sink in. I can allow myself to be, to take a deep rest, and to trust that the way will again become clear.
LOOK TO THE HORSE, OF COURSE
I was reminded of this again last week, when I was working with horses and emerging leaders in an Equus coaching session. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was working with a coaching client who was having a hard time stopping and enjoying and just being present – not striving, not doing, not trying to figure it out.
The thing is, horses naturally live in the present, so when there was an empty moment between her and the horse – when she was talking to me or pondering or thinking – the horse didn’t try to fill that time by doing anything or trying to be anything. Instead, it gently folded its legs and took a great roll around in the warm, sandy soil.
This was true for all the horses that day. They were fully present with the participants when they were needed, but the instant there was a break in the action, every one of the horses took the opportunity for a luxurious roll in the sand. They fell in love with what is – with the warm day and the sandy soil – and immersed themselves in it.
I don’t think the caterpillar has a sense that they are going to morph into something new. Just as, when I look back on my life, I could not have imagined myself where I am today, the caterpillar cannot imagine what is next for them.
But I’ve learned, when things get tough or when I feel uncertain, to trust and be open to what is. I’ve learned to accept that joy and abundance are not things to achieve or work for or get to. They are right here, right now, in this moment, in the warm, sandy soil and in the unanticipated sprouting of wings.
Would you like to experience joy and abundance right now? Exactly where you are? If your answer is Yes, then try this—
Feel your feet on the floor, and feel the chair (or couch, or bed) supporting you. Notice where you can release a bit of tension in your spine … your neck … your jaw … the balls of your feet.
Feel the sun (real or imagined) on your face, and allow any thoughts that arise to pass on by, just like groceries on a conveyor belt.
And as you continue with your day, and all the days to come – even in the toughest moments – remember to take a look at where in your life you can let go, sink in, and trust that all will be as it’s meant to be.
Just like the caterpillar, what you experience after that moment of openness and trust may be an outcome that is far more magnificent than you could possibly imagine.
p.s. If you’d like some practice sinking into a meditation that will help with these concepts, scroll to the bottom BethWonson.com and sign up for the Heart Expansion Meditation. It’s a quick and easy 10-minute recording you can listen to time and time again that will help you bring yourself into a place of trust, openness, and grace.