Professor Centipede

So, I am not really sure why the universe seems to speak to me the way it does, I guess I should just be grateful that it speaks to me at all…and that I can hear it.

When I moved to Hawaii almost 4 years ago, I was overjoyed (UNDERSTATEMENT) by the fact that the Hawaiian Islands are free from any form of my one and only significant and completely rational fear…snakes. After a small (but not really) run in with a rattlesnake found under my bed while in Mexico at my first Yoga Teacher Training, I was told from a wise teacher that serpents are my “guide”.  This friend of mine entered my birthdate and a few other facts about my identity into a computer and Voila! Within moments, the computer provided what my friend assured me was an authentic Mayan reading which now explained the presence of serpents throughout my life. Snakes are here to teach me….something. Yay!

No, wait. No Yay. For a moment I felt relieved that finally there was an explanation, but that relief was short lived. Reality check…I had still found a rattlesnake under my bed. And I had 2 more weeks left in Mexico.

Somewhat uninspired and still quite freaked out, I went back to my hut in the middle of the desert. With the help of my roommate, we decided to put a zip up tent inside of our hut. Problem solved. We could now zip ourselves into safety while we slept. No more snakes. I discerned from the situation that my lesson was to learn to be savvy. When the world puts a snake under your bed, don’t quit yoga teacher training…..learn to creatively adapt.

Fast forward a few years and here I am in Hawaii. Super excited to hear that the Island is snake free, which must mean that my serpentine education is complete and I can move on as a stronger, braver and wiser being.

That was until about a month into my new life in Hawaii when I met the creature straight out of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom….the Hawaiian Centipede. I mean seriously? This cant be real. These things freak me out more than snakes. And they just keep showing up! On my walls, in my kitchen, under my bed, on my couch… I know people that have lived here for years and have never seen one with their own eyes, and I have had at least 100 unlikely run-ins with them in the 4 years I have lived here. That may not seem like that many, but trust me, it is more than enough.

So tonight at dinner, one dropped from the ceiling, landed on my shirt, and started crawling towards my neck. Yup. My neck. Some friends and I were enjoying some great conversation, great food, and a fresh yoga buzz from an earlier class….and then we were interrupted by the fact that a centipede was crawling up my shoulder headed for my neck and even worse…potentially getting lost in my hair.

AAHHHHHHHH!!!!

I hesitate. Do I scream WTF, jump from my chair and rip my shirt off??? Or does the yogi in me remain calm and simply recognize that God is in the creature, softly brush it to the floor, acknowledge it with a namaste, and let it make its way, slightly shaken, to wherever it was going? Well, its all a bit foggy, but I think I managed not to curse or strip, but I did leap from my seat, shake with some super hip 80’s dance move, and release a strange yelp out of my mouth.

Thankfully, my 5 ft 10 body managed to hail victorious over the 5 inches of centipede that nearly took my life. He too, survived, and slipped between the wood panels in the floor to carry on in nature as centipedes do. Which is a good thing, because I didn’t want him dead, I just wanted him off of me.

So, as I climb into bed with a lingering case of the heebie jeebies, I check my sheets and around my bed, and I begin to reflect on how some creature can have so much influence on my state of being. What does it represent? Is it possible that the centipede could be here to teach me something, too? And if so, can I please learn my lesson already?!?!?!

So, Professor Centipede, Lets sum these lessons up with some gratitude.

First, I thank you for not stinging me.

Second, I thank you for reminding me that Fear is a human experience that is part of my existence. Without fear, the absence of fear would be hardly noteworthy.

Third, I thank you for giving me perspective. Maybe the fact that I am in bed as I type this, without needing to put up a tent in my room, is a good sign of progress.

(And also thanks for the perspective that every lesson doesn’t have to be profound.)

And lastly, and probably the most important lesson, thank you for teaching me that, contrary to my prior belief, having a centipede on my neck will not kill me.

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