Several months ago I was taking a shower (I have taken some since then as well) and I saw a spider. Normally when I see a spider in the shower I find away to get rid of it. But this time was different. I stood there staring at it. I couldn’t take my eyes off of that spider.
In March I attended a retreat in Colorado and often we were asked to notice – to pay attention to what was going on around us. It was then that I started noticing birds and other small creatures more – creatures that I would often bypass as I moved quickly from one thing to the next. Soon I noticed bugs and caterpillars and spiders. I began to see them less as an annoyance and more as beings of worth or purpose. Although I realize these creatures don’t think the same way we humans do, they surely have senses and can feel something. Just because something isn’t like us doesn’t mean it’s not just as important – we humans have a tendency to think the world was created just for us. Not so. In the timeline of the universe we have been around for mere seconds.
So anyway, I had been thinking a lot about these little animals and then a spider shows up in my shower. I saw it trying to escape and I did nothing. I didn’t kill it but I also didn’t help it survive. I watched as it tried escaping the water – it fought so hard but eventually the water took over and washed the spider down the drain. I was in tears. I wondered if the spider drowned quickly or suffered. I was upset with myself that I didn’t do something more. I got out of the shower and with tears in my eyes told my husband about this spider’s sad death. Thankfully he didn’t make fun of me 🙂
After that anytime I saw a spider in the house, I saved it. I found a way to get it back outside. A few days later I was walking my dog and happened to look down and there was a huge spider. The body was probably the size of a dime. Normally I would be scared or walk away from it. But this time I took a few moments to stop and admire the coloring and size. I wondered where it was headed.
Time passes and I stopped thinking about spiders as much. In fact, I found myself getting tired of freeing them from the house and let my husband kill them instead. It’s interesting how I can be so passionate about something one moment and so apathetic the next. Then in late June I attended a gathering for women at a local park. We were sitting on the ground around lots of candles and incense. As part of the opening ritual we all received a card – mine was of spider woman. I immediately remembered that spider in the shower and the one on the road. I didn’t understand why spiders kept popping for me.
I began to read more about spider woman and came upon this description: “Spider Woman’s web links you to everything and everybody in our reality.” Have you ever looked at a spider web? I mean really looked at it? They are amazing. Some are small and so intricate. Others are huge and defy the laws of gravity. The spider works and works at this web not knowing how long it will last – days, weeks, sometimes only hours. But that doesn’t keep the spider from making a new web. It’s what they do and they do it well. Some spider webs are never seen by a human, but they spin the web anyway. They do it out of necessity not for attention, even though what they create is so beautiful. Spider webs remind us that we are all connected. When one part of the web is destroyed, the rest of the web is effected.
What do I need to learn from these spiders and their webs? What is it about connection that I need to be reminded of? What are spiders teaching me about creating? I am often the one connecting people – it’s part of my job but it’s also part of my DNA. Listening and remembering are important parts of connecting – I can’t connect you to another person if I don’t first take the time to listen to you and then remember someone else’s story. Are there areas of my life where I need to do more connecting – maybe new areas, places I haven’t explored?
Likewise, I am a creator. I can create something beautiful out of something worn out and tossed aside. I can take an old wedding dress and make it useful again. There are times that I create because of the income it provides or the attention it brings. However, creating is more about the act itself than the end product. Creating involves imagination, trial and error, trust and risk. Every new quilt I make I learn something new. I discover joy in the process, whether it brings in money or not isn’t the main goal.
One tiny little spider. That’s all it took for me to shed a few tears. I had no idea how that little creature would effect me and yet it did. It did effect me. It added something new to my life. New ideas, new concerns, new compassion. When I take time to notice something other than myself I learn. The world has so much to offer us but we rarely take the time to really notice it. To think and explore and discover meaning. Meaning is everywhere, but we have to take the initiative to find it. Find something small today. Look closely at the things you normally walk right pass. I bet you’ll find some undiscovered meaning too.