When I considered this next bug story, there was a part of me that really didn’t want to tell you about it. Why? Because a few weeks ago, I shared about how much I value life and didn’t want to kill the bee that got stuck in my house. Today’s story involves killing bugs, and I didn’t want to tarnish my reputation as a non-insect-killer, but that wouldn't be the whole truth and so here we go; vulnerability, confessions and all.
Sometime in 2021, in the place we lived before we moved last June, we started to notice moths on the ceiling. They were few in number (at first) and so we just kind of co-existed with them. They were mostly in our little storage/laundry room and so all was well.
Within a few weeks, they started to multiply (as bugs do). They also began to emerge into the rest of our condo, onto the kitchen and living room ceilings. Hoping the problem would resolve itself through blatant ignoring, that’s what I did. Sadly, it didn’t work.
After a few more weeks, it was clear we had a moth problem. I really didn’t want to kill them, but I knew if we called an exterminator, they would do the same thing. My solution was to vacuum them up. Every time I extended that vacuum upward to suck up a moth, I would say, “I’m so sorry!” I felt terrible to be ending their lives.
The vacuuming helped for a bit and we thought we had solved the problem. We were wrong. It got to the point where all of us (me, Paul and the kids) were taking turns every day sucking moths from the ceiling. I also discovered cocoons all over the storage room, so then I had to become a larva killer too. (I think that’s what they're called at that stage, right?) Even worse, we started to find the caterpillar stage as well. It was horrid; horrid I tell you. It was truly an infestation.
We didn’t even bother putting the vacuum away at that point. The moths were taking over our lives! Fortunately they didn’t bite or anything, but still…
On the plus side, it was time to move. That, I figured, would solve the issue. Was it running away from our problems? Perhaps. But, we weren’t moving because of the moths. They just happened to be there at the time of the move.
As we packed up everything in our condo, we made sure to vacuum out the storage room from top to bottom, including the ceiling and behind the storage racks where we discovered many more cocoons. Ew. (*Shudders with the memory.)
Over the next few weeks, we settled into our new moth-free place and it was wonderful. Until the day there were moths on our new ceilings. Ahhh!
Again, they started to show up in our new storage room. Were they storage room moths? We didn’t know but we found the tiny, sticky cocoons in there too. It seemed like there might be a message in all of the moths, so I looked up their meaning.
Like butterflies, they signify transformation. I thought, “Okay, that makes sense, because we just moved, but I would have thought that the transformation was complete.” Apparently not.
Like in the previous place, they started to multiply and the vacuum found a permanent home outside of the closet. I continued to apologize as I sucked them up off the ceiling.
Eventually, my daughter, Zoe, and I decided to take a thorough look through the storage closet. Sure enough, we found the source of the problem. And it was dreadful.
Amidst a basket of grains, there was a ziplock bag that had something like 9 grain cereal in it, along with hundreds of MOTHS! I totally freaked out, grabbed the bag (since there was no husband around to do it for me that day), chanted I’M SORRY I’M SORRY I’M SORRY (with Zoe also freaking out next to me) and threw the ziploc bag into a bigger garbage bag. We then dramatically ran the moth bag down to the garbage room. Case closed!
The Mothssacre was complete. I felt really awful but also really good to not have to vacuum moths up dozens of times every day after that. No more cocoons or caterpillars either. Thank goodness.
So what was the self-care lesson amidst the moths?
I learned that things are not black and white when it comes to values. Of course, I value life and don’t like to kill things, including moths or caterpillars, and at a certain point, I had to re-evaluate when it became evident we were fighting a losing battle.
I had to expand my definition of myself and my values. From that I learned that it doesn’t serve to judge ourselves or others, because we don’t know what they’re going through or what’s going to happen in our own lives. It doesn’t serve to attribute absolute labels to ourselves or others either. We benefit much more from fluidity and flexibility in our attitudes. We just don’t know what we will have to face or what others have encountered in their lives to cause them to make decisions that they’re making.
Everyone has their own life’s curriculum and we can’t know what’s best for them. One of the most comforting things I’ve learned is that when we feel resistant to something that’s happening and we want it to be different, it’s helpful to expand to be able to embrace it as it is. You know how it’s supposed to be happening? Because it is. And so the best course of action is to embrace it and to rise to whatever challenge is presenting itself.
How to embrace? Infuse yourself and others with love. Love is big enough to include everything. I can love myself even though I instigated a mothssacre. I can also love that I would rather have kept them alive. I can love and accept it all.
What can you expand to embrace this week rather than resist? Have you been judging someone or something? Can you relax into the truth that it wouldn't be happening this way unless it absolutely had to? What opportunity is there for growth and for more love in you?
Embracing with love is the solution that will work every single time. It’s not always easy, but it’s always effective.
Wishing you a week filled with expansive love that’s free of larvae and caterpillars (unless they’re one of your passions, of course).
With transformative love and enveloping courage,
>Creator of Courageous Self-Care
>Adept wielder of vacuums
>Liberated from self-imposed labels
PS - We’ve got a live Sacred Success Sunday Review coming up this week. If you want to learn how to have more fun, be kinder and gentler with yourself and reduce overwhelm, this is it! More details available here.
PPS - No live yoga class this week, but I did add a Special Yoga Class to the community to help ease menstrual cramps. If you’re a member and you want to access it, you’ll find it in the members site. If you’re not yet a member, you can register here to access all the recorded classes for free.