Tag Archives: Holidays

Praying Mantis Sends a Message?

This mysterious creature came to visit me the eve before Thanksgiving. Isn’t it amazing? As I snapped this close-up, she actually turned her head inquisitively, as if sizing me up. It’s large eyes and triangular shaped head then shifted and looked at me from the other direction. I stood motionless for a moment. What an intelligent, thoughtful, surprise visitor! I was baking a pie, the night before Thanksgiving, and she walked, easy as you please, right past my strawberry-apple pie. She seemed to know where she was going. Very determined to say the least.

By the time she reached my fork, I took the close-up picture and then found a helper to put the insect in the back yard—where she’d be less likely to get stepped on or eaten by a playful pet.

After this surprise visit, I started thinking about the significance of seeing a praying mantis in your home, or so close in range. I had had a disturbing dream the night before seeing this creature and felt like both were trying to send me a message. I began googling for information and found more than I needed. The most impressive came from fellow wordpress blogger Claude S. of Anything Box, who provided an amazing description of the praying mantis:

“Excellent hunters with an efficient attack strategy the praying mantis always knows the right moment for attack and for retreat. Time in the linear sense is irrelevant to the mantis.  They move according to their inner instincts and remind us to do the same.  Moving effortlessly between worlds the mantis is associated with time travel. They help us break out of linear time and move according to our personal bio rhythms.

The praying mantis can remain motionless for an indefinite period. This ability helps them blend with their environment becoming invisible to predators. They hold the secrets of materialization and de-materialization and awaken this ability in people who hold this medicine.  Perception through stillness is part of its teaching.”

If the mantis can remain motionless for long periods of time, in order to blend into its environment, what possessed this mantis to walk right past me as I’m putting together a pie and step up onto my fork like that? Well, apparently, legend has it that if a praying mantis comes to you in your house, it is a good sign of things to come. But others say it could be an omen or the visit is trying to force you to re-evaluate issues in your life.

Claude S. interpreted his mantis visit as a wake-up call:

“Patient, perceptive and focused this little totem holds a powerful message. When it appears in your life it is asking you to direct your energy, your thoughts or your actions in a different way. Asking the following questions can give you the insight necessary to motivate appropriate changes.  Have I lost patience with a particular situation?  Have I been too patient, and if so, has this had a detrimental affect on me?  Is my perception correct regarding a situation?  Have I become narrow minded? Am I focused on my objective?”

Very intriguing and appropriate questions for me at this point in my life. Perhaps in yours, too?

Apparently, many think the praying mantis symbolizes magical qualities. One google search showed me this list (which I believe originated from In Signs, Symbols & Omens: An Illustrated Guide to Magical & Spiritual Symbolism, written by Raymond Buckland (2003: 231))

Mantis’s Wisdom Includes:

* Ability to manipulate time

* Power to move between moments

* Understanding of the circular nature of time

* Power of stillness

* Female warrior energy

* Attack strategy

I’d like to think that seeing this praying mantis so close-up was a good sign of things to come. Perhaps it was a wake-up call—or a call to look more closely at  situations or issues in my life. I don’t know about its particular message, but I like the qualities that a mantis represents: the power of stillness and female warrior energy, especially.

I could use a little female warrior energy! Sometimes it’s still hard for me to ask for what I need, or to quickly recognize when a situation isn’t healthy. I’m growing and learning each day to shed my co-dependent ways. This holiday season I’m striving to find more peace and stillness and less stressful situations for my boys. Incorporating some praying mantis tactics such as staying still, observing situations calmly and listening to my inner instincts, can only be good additions to my life. How about yours?

Waiting to Re-Emerge

Photo by Miroslav Petrasko

I’ve been under the weather, so has my oldest for weeks. Also slammed with deadlines and an inability to completely get through some fears that linger. (Two steps forward, one back.) I will start my project soon and continue with this blog, regardless of pressure to stop. In a way, I’m waiting to truly emerge again after events from the New Year. There is so little we can control in life, except the way we live. It reminds me of a Jackson Browne line: “Nothing Survives, but the Way We Live Our Lives.”

Anyway, this week I’m feeling down and a bit defeated by things out of my control. I’ll have to not let them hold me back permanently. The year started out so amazing, however. I spent New Years week on a cruise watching a man emerge into grace. (Emerge seems to be my word for the evening, bare with me.) I watched him take care of his father who took a dramatic turn for the worse. With humor and compassion, he took such amazing around-the-clock care of his father without one word of complaint. I don’t know if I could be as strong or as graceful in the same circumstances. And, by the end of the cruise, his adorable father was much better. But even at his worst, the 80-year-old man had me laughing and wishing I could be so much fun to be around when I felt like crap. It was a reminder to me of what is important. I’ve had so many reminders in my life so far, that I wonder why I seem to keep needing them? And while I’ve been pondering so many of life’s lessons, I guess right now I’m focussed on one: sometimes, protecting those we love, or ourselves, takes a bit of courage. So, in a muddled hour tonight, as I wrestle with sinus headache, heartache, and so many thoughts, I ran across this old post from a fellow blogger:

“when I decided to give up what I thought was right for me and truly let go of the sadness in the past, did things come together for me. I have read many books about “letting go” of the things that have hurt us and focus on present circumstances-quite frankly I thought this was a bunch of made up feel good nonsense. But it was only when I stopped holding on and gave up feeling rotten, opened up my mind and heart, did things really start to happen for me”

I couldn’t agree with her more. (Read her post She Never Saw It Coming.)

My problem isn’t that of letting go of the past and moving forward—but just in the confidence necessary to keep moving forward regardless of where that leads. I’ll just add the caveat that focussing on present circumstances can only be helpful if those circumstances aren’t mired with toxic distractions so you can go where you need to go. Phew, too heavy, right? I’m taking a short time out, or a breather, to listen, watch, gain a bit of strength and re-emerge.

Good night all. I’ll be back in better form soon. x

Harnessing Fear in the New Year

“Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.” Martin Luther King Jr.


Happy New Year!! As you can likely tell, I’m slowly inching into this new year. I’m just getting to my first post and I’m excited to say that gifts are being mailed out to the NavigatingVita contest winners next week!!

This first month of 2012 has been filled with many surprises so far. Not all good, but I’m learning a lot about myself and others. I wanted to write this first post of the year about Fear and its power to paralyze and keep us from being present and living the lives we are meant to lead. It’s not a coincidence that so many women going through divorce vent via support groups or with friends about receiving threatening texts and phone calls from Exs over a myriad of issues with control at the heart of each. Being able to rise above the noise, determine whether or not it is a real threat, and then harness your fear, is a liberating endeavor. I, by no means, have any answers, but I think for most of our issues  we, intuitively are our best guides. Blocking out the noise of chatter; stopping our minds from obsessing on all the what ifs; and avoiding talk with friends who may plunge you further in fear; are all good ideas.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when fear is really merited, isn’t it? I’m currently dealing with a disturbing event. Although I can’t discuss it at the moment, I can discuss how I’m mentally dealing with the fear. I’ve found a spiritual counselor and with meditation I’m learning to listen to my inner voice. I’m avoiding chatting with too many people about it as their ‘advice’ could spiral me further into fear. And even though there are wrongs that my ego would like to right, I’m learning to let it go. Sometimes the best reaction to a volley, is to let the ball bounce off the court and to move on. It’s been two and a half years, I’m tired of volleying.

For the record, as I move into my next phase, I just want to reiterate that NavigatingVita is a place of inspiration for myself and other single or divorcing parents. My goal is to find ways for us to explore our daily struggles and the important issues of our lives—while striving to remain positive and to focus on moving forward in a loving way.

I know a lot of you who are going through divorce may have become paralyzed at one point or another by the fear that I’ve discussed. Focussing on all the fearful issues will only keep them in front of you and you’ll chase them like a dog chases his tail round and round. Plus, it plunges you into a victim role.

Because again, the more you focus on it, the worse it gets. The better focus is on ourselves. Of course, if you’re battling real issues with abuse or neglect, harness the fear and deal with it calmly with your attorney. But for the most of us, we need to take a time out, and focus on ourselves.

I hope you’re motivated to take that time out with me. This new year is going to be a great one for us all!

Lots of love,

Laura