By Angela

Sluggish Trials and Trails

March 30, 2005: I can’t keep up with everything! I throw it in a corner or a pile and much like Scarlett O’Hara, I just can’t think about it today. Perhaps tomorrow. The bills, the fact that I only have one more month of living expenses, the collection agencies, the car tags which have expired, the taxes that are still waiting for me to do, the chiropractor who wants to foreclose on my home to force me to pay his bill, the disability forms that are still poking out of the folder to remind me that I need to follow up on that item. All of this is more than I can handle.

My life since the accident seems to be constantly screaming at me to slow down. But how can I? I’m not used to this. If I slow down any more, I will lose everything. Perhaps I’m going to lose everything anyway. But each time I push myself as I did before the accident, my body literally shuts down.

The fog rolls into my head, confusing my thinking. The words are jumbled inside my head while my mouth stutters and stumbles over my tongue. A tremor starts in my lower back. If I push on, the tremor will overtake my shoulder blade, neck and head. My body starts shaking so bad, that my legs give out, forcing me to stop and rest. I don’t understand any of this.

Today I’ve decided to do something spontaneous. I found a coupon for an oil change. My car is in dire need of an oil change. This is something I should have done before the accident in July and now it is March. Instead of putting the coupon aside for another day, only to get lost and forgotten. I seize the moment and head out to the car, determined to get this one task done!

I feel a change in the air. It’s warmer outside. The sun is shining. I think spring has finally arrived. My eye catches something glittery on the cement driveway. There’s a 3’x6’ patchwork of sparkling, intersecting lines.

I immediately recognize this as the telltale signs of a slug. I find myself staring at the sight before me. Mesmerized by the beautiful artwork created by such an ugly, slimy, slow creature. It is a magical moment. I begin to wonder if I could create something as beautiful from my own “sluggish” journey.

Before the accident I was working on developing more of an understanding and appreciation of nature and its creatures. Native American beliefs involve understanding the lessons that Mother Earth and all her children have to offer. Just as dream interpretation can give us guidance and insights, so can the animal messengers which appear in our lives.

I go inside to find Ted Andrew’s book, Animal-Wise: The Spirit Language and Signs of Nature and turn to the section about the slug. He begins by describing how slugs “are essentially snails that have lost or almost lost their shells.” There’s something about that description that hits a chord with me. Although I have not yet lost my home (and hope that I won’t), I feel very vulnerable. As if my “shell” is my past identity and concept of myself. This strong coating has been lost through my recent experience, leaving my inner self exposed and without protection.

Andrews goes on to say that a slug is a message that “a new path is opening…The Hermit Path.” This is a path that leads one to change and a higher spiritual level. I find it fascinating that he refers to the slug’s path as “The Hermit Path.”

I have been so isolated, that I feel very much like a hermit. I’ve had to strengthen my own beliefs that there is a purpose, a lesson to learn from each event that seems like a misfortune. The belief that I continue to be supported by the Universe, and that all is well. This has been difficult to maintain as I watch parts of myself and the world I knew, stripped away, just like the slug without a shell.

I remind myself of difficult situations in the past that I survived. Each one felt like an impossible challenge to survive. Yet, each time my life changed for the better. Why would I question that it would be different this time?

Lesson: Be careful not to judge a person or an experience by its outward experience. Beauty and magic can be found when one examines and appreciates the inner expressions.

© Angela Cramer, 2008

Clipart is the property of Jupiterimages made available through subscription:
© Jupiterimages Corporation, 2008 www.clipart.com

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