If you’re new here, my Monday musing is some loving guidance I send your way weekly to tide you over or top you up or get you through. I believe that shit happens but we can fix it and feel so much better when we do. Life doesn’t have to feel this hard. LOVE doesn’t have to feel this hard.
Last night I had the strangest dream.
I found myself with my family in a place that was called “The Darkness”. We were warned that at any time the light could be snuffed out and we would not be able to see. In The Darkness I was disoriented and was having trouble figuring out the reason for going about a day. A man appeared, a guide of sort and so I asked him, obviously the two most important questions in entering a new realm. If I earn money in The Darkness, will I have it when I leave? If I lose ten pounds here in The Darkness, will I be ten pounds thinner when I am back to ordinary reality? For obvious reasons Friend. I mean who wants to do all of that cardio just to start back at zero when they like wake up. You may be tempted to psychoanalyze me now, or scold me for eating sugar at night. Go ahead. I can take it.
I awoke to my daughter chirping on about some stuffed moths she had found on a website. Like I mean stuffies, stuffed animals, cute furry things in bright colours that you can cuddle with for emotional support, yes, even if you are an adult. It’s actually a thing. No reference to taxidermy, or the etymological collecting and displaying of species by pinning them to a board. That’s veering into the creepy Silence of the Lambs territory.
Moths in our culture have a bit of a bad rap. The anti-butterfly. They are nocturnal, flutter in darkness, in a world of shadow and secret and mystery. They symbolize the unconscious mind, the hidden and the repressed. They approach beauty but without colour. They flap frantically toward light, as if in mad escape. They disorient us with their flight. We see moths in horror films. They witness the dark world.
And yet there is a gentleness to the moth. They are the totem of truth and the unapologetic self. They are furry and touchable. The moth orients its flight against the glow of the moon, via what science calls transverse orientation. The reason we see them committing what seems to be group suicide on our porches at night is that electric lights overstimulate their sensors. This creates a short circuiting and causes them to wildly seek the light source that is illusory, in that it neither guides them along their path nor gives them sustenance.
What does this have to do with my problems, Erin? Well, let me tell you.
I think that there are people in our lives, loves in our lives that flash intense disorienting light at us. Because of how we are wired, our childhoods, our past relationships we think this must be the way home. We can’t see anything outside of their intense blinding glare and we just keep flying toward it, while it burns us and keeps us from our happier destination.
Sometimes it’s an idea and not a human that we wildly fly toward. If only I could just have this, solve for this, overcome this.
The moth is misunderstood as self destructive or masochistic or insane.
And yet like the rest of us, just wants to go home.
We’ve all been there. Bedazzled and transfixed.
Sometimes the stories you tell me are moth stories. They are mystical and secretive and don’t come from the rational scientific mind. Crazy tales of threads of past lives that tie you to another soul. Have you ever heard of this, Erin? You ask in a tentative whisper. You know that ordinary math is not enough to explain the death grip on your heart, the intensely familiar fragrance of their hair (like cookies and a mother’s love), or the depth of commitment you feel toward the new barista at the local café #twinflame.
And I hear you friend. Life is not always a rational affair. And love certainly is not. You can share your supernatural psychic mystical synchronistic moments with me. I know how to speak that language.
And even as we untangle your crossed emotional wires, and solve for our universal and driving need to be loved, accepted and protected we can also honour how freakishly compelling our unresolved ‘karma’, or pheromonal connection can be, or how star crossed we feel in the presence of Romeo or Juliette. Even though Monday through Friday we have our shit together, like award winning, running the company level together, you know?
It’s not always easy to whisper the moon to a soul who is drunk on 150 watts of General Electric. The work I do with all y’all requires tender care, focused attention and a healthy does of vulnerability. I am in constant danger of being zapped. LOL.
But then you share with me how much better you feel at the end of a call and I hear it in your voice; or that for the first time you didn’t feel anxious on a date. Instead of running from imagined rejection you have a voice. Instead of falling into despair you are proud of how you showed up, all self respecting and with boundaries, oh the boundaries that have been created this year friends. It’s enough to make me weep. You said a big fat NO, even after the bottle of wine! No to hook ups. No to narcissists. No to manipulation. No to emotional avoidance. No to the less than voice at your ear. No to making choices out of fear. For the first time in so many years you don’t feel ashamed and you can look at what happened and integrate it and move forward without feeling haunted. I see that light come on in your eyes. The way you exhale relief when you finally understand yourself with compassion. When there is language for what ails you, and you can stop apologizing for what you want, and mistaking what you think you want for what you need. Your wife thanked me, because you are so much more peaceful at home and confident at work. Your sister tells me that you are free of the heavy burden you used to carry, that she has seen a spark ignite in you again. The thing you dreaded happened and you were OKAY. The black hole that was your future is now filled with music and inspiration and meaning.
The moth transforms, held tight in a cocoon in which it births flight.
Last summer I read a book in which the heroine sends moths into the dreams of humans. They fly out of her mouth (cool trick you probably don’t want to try at home) and she is able to heal the dreamer, to bend a nightmare into something gentler, safer. To draw from the terrifying images of loss and failure and heartache repeated and twisted to haunt, and to illuminate them. See how you were brave? You’re looking in the wrong place. Over there, in the moment you glance up, when you take their hand. That is when we see who you truly are. I thought, this is me. It’s all that I have ever wanted to do!!! I am the healer of dreams. I go into those dark places and help you see past the monsters to your brilliant ever so love worthy selves.
Today I want to whisper to you that The Darkness is not really that scary. There’s some random guy there waiting to give you cryptic answers to your questions about weight loss and financial investments, so that’s cool. And ah hell, if he’s busy, give me a call. I have a spare moon in my pocket. I’ll guide you back to your senses. I’ll distract the ghosts and ghouls with my groovy dance moves while you sneak away, or I’ll help you find your lost keys or kitten with lots of obvious hints, or when you fall off the swing I’ll catch you with my super fun bouncy castle, before you even get close to hitting the ground. When you realize you’ve gone to school with no pants, I’ll be hiding behind your locker with spare skinny jeans! And don’t even get me started on the good dreams.
So today remember this. Try not to eat cake after midnight. AND:
When the blinding light dims and you can see the way home at last, you’re not really dying.
You’re just becoming whole again.
— Love Erin
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.