“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. – Buddha
I think we both immediately knew it was a blessing being delivered to us in support of our efforts to help empower, elevate, and enlighten others in light of the fact that these butterflies typically don’t fly on cloudy days, none-the-less on rainy days!
Butterflies symbolize the soul in many world cultures. This animal totem is most often associated with transformation and rebirth, while other associations include endurance, hope, renewal, life, and lightness of being. It is this last association that shifted something for me in that moment and encouraged me to share the following intention-setting ideas to help you shake free from whatever it is that might be weighing your wings down, keeping you from taking flight and sensing into your lightness of being:
- Ask for Help. When we begin to sense a heaviness in our energy, it is a signal that we might be carrying too big of a load for just one person. This signal suggests that it is time to consider asking for some assistance, whether to delegate some of the tasks on our “to do” lists or to simply reaffirm that we are not alone and we have people around us that are ready, willing and able to help and support us. Remembering how it feels when we help others can be just the motivation to allow others to help us – why would we ever want to rob others of feeling that joy of connection!
- Share your Stories. We cannot experience the lightness of being when our minds are full of thoughts that make us doubt ourselves. Finding someone you can trust to simply listen as we put words to the stories in our heads helps to put own experiences into context and perspective, without which invites separation and loneliness. When our stories only live in our heads, they get distorted, blown out of proportion, and become ripe for self-judgment and criticism. When we share them with just one other person, it creates a space for a new outlook and opens a door wide for a sense of connection to our authentic being to enter.
- Act of Kindness. Which brings me to . . . performing an act of kindness towards yourself. Society promotes and supports doing for others, which does feed our souls. However, it is mission critical to our well-being to offer that same empathy towards ourselves if we want to find lasting ease in our bodies and peace in our minds and hearts. Might I offer the first act of kindness to consider: challenging your inner critic that is the voice of judgment that says you need to do more to be worthy.
- Write down your Mantra. Which leads me to . . . documenting a mantra that challenges your inner critic’s judgment. Maybe it’s “I am enough” or “I am perfect just the way I am” or “I am worth it” – take the time to find one that makes your heart sing, write it down using a writing tool with a color that appeals to your eyes, and place it somewhere where you will see it at least once a day, if not more. The act of committing something to paper creates energy around it and reflecting on it each day, even if only for a few moments, begins to align the energy between our minds and hearts, rewiring our neural pathways for health.
- Shine a Light on Shame. Shame lives in the darkness. When we invite it into the light, getting curious about it and challenging it, it cannot survive. Shame silences us or worse, cuts us off from experiencing connection, isolating us from the world around us. Shame is the intensely painful belief that we are flawed and, therefore, unworthy of love and belonging. We are all human beings, which implies we all experience limitations of one kind or another, making each one of us uniquely and perfectly imperfect. So we need to stand up to the belief that our imperfection is something to be ashamed of or that if we speak up for ourselves, no one will listen because we are not worthy of care and concern. There is a flame that burns within each one of us that others might have tried to snuff out in the past through the weapon of shame. Our inner flame might have gone dim in the darkness of shame, but as long as we breathe, it has not gone out. To truly experience lightness of being, we need to do whatever we have to in order to cast out shame from our minds and bodies. The first step in doing so just might be to invite it out of the darkness and into the light for a long overdue conversation!