NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Upside Down and Praying

October 19, 2012

 

At some point a few days ago my thoughts turned negative, judgmental, and deafening in my head. The word hate became the verb of choice. I hated the bright blue sky and the heat. I hated all my clothes. I was bored, and hated the boredom. All the while a taunting voice whispered a well-worn list of my inadequacies. I wanted gray skies and cold rain, along with new shoes and distraction. Thankfully the noise was limited to my surroundings and environment, not toward the dear ones around me.

 

Following the thread of unrest to its source led only to the tiniest awareness. Fact #1: My thoughts were stuck on negative. Fact #2: I was deeply in the muck. So I slogged through the days, doing as little as possible to irritate or provoke the cacaphony.

 

Until three days later—as the shadows began to soften and a breeze began to cool the air—I stepped outside into my little walled garden. Passing my favorite bamboo I caught a glimpse of the praying mantis I’d seen the last few days. Anchored to a small leafy branch by four wire-thin legs, it hung upside down, its two forelegs  pressed together as if in prayer, its face turned upward.

 

The insight was instant. I’ve been upside down, AND praying. Okay! Not comfortable in the least. Not ideal in some mythologized compartment of my brain of how things should be. Nope. Just doing the best I could with what I had available. Then I grabbed my camera and took the above photo of the gift-bestowing mantis. I sat down to write this. And found myself smiling.

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