This past summer I was lucky to able to spend some time on the shores of a small mountain lake in British Columbia. One hot afternoon, as I paddled my kayak past the dock and out into open water, I discovered that I had a stowaway on board. It was a spider.
I do not generally find spiders alarming, and so I observed what unfolded next with a sense of bemused curiosity.
I quietly watched her make her way up the paddle, and onto my hand. She then crawled up my arm and onto my shoulder and then along my neck, and that was when I started to find her distracting. I confess that I did contemplate dropping her into the lake, where she would surely have drowned, but something made me hesitate. She was so small and fragile after all. So instead I gently moved her to the front of the kayak.
She stayed there for only a moment and then she headed back towards me. I watched her crawl along the side of the boat, onto the paddle and up my arm back to my shoulder, as if to say “pay attention.” She then moved purposefully down my torso and onto my leg and stopped at my knee. And there, between my bent knees, she started making a web!
As often happens when I have an unexpected encounter with an insect or animal, I laughed.
And then, as you do, when kayaking with a spider, I closed my eyes and listened.
Floating on that quiet lake with the spider, I had a flash of insight. In the silence I heard: “I am here at your knees because you are giving birth – to yourself. And you need to tell the story of your rebirth — to write about it.” And I remembered that for many people spider is a symbol of creativity, especially in the areas of writing and drawing, and also an ancient symbol of death and rebirth.
It has taken me these past months to fully understand what this encounter with spider was teaching me.
A spider woke me up to a powerful, essential truth
At that time, I had just left my full-time job and was working on building the structure of my new business and my new life – so I truly was birthing a new way of being for myself in the world and struggling to find my voice and vision. And, just as I had tried to lay the spider aside and had even considered drowning her, so too had I attempted to lay aside and drown out my own desire to write.
I yearned for creative expression and yet I had been casting about looking for an outlet, bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t paint or play the piano when all along the answer was sitting right on my shoulder whispering “hello…writing”.
And it wasn’t just the recent avoiding of writing for my website or blog that I was faced with…it was the fact that I had been putting off writing for YEARS.
It took this most gentle and tenacious of creatures to crack open the door I had closed on the creative fire inside me, to remind me that in the call to be ourselves we must give our creative gifts expression, we must let our story and our voice be heard.
To be ourselves we must make space for creative expression. We must let our story and our voice be heard.
For a long time, I didn’t think my story mattered that much. I didn’t think anyone would want to hear it or read about it. Mine was an average life, my struggles too trivial or certainly too private to share. My writing surely only mediocre.
What spider showed me was that we are in fact every moment giving birth to our story. And it matters.
Ted Andrews asserts that “The spider awakens creative sensibilities and reminds us that the world is woven around us and through us… just as we are the keepers and the writers of our own thoughts, so too are we the keepers and writers of our own destiny”.
Inspiration longs to come through us, in all creative forms, to allow us to weave our story into the immense design of things. It’s a way of marking our place in the world, and each and every story and the expression of that story is important.
If you can, take the advice of a small but mighty spider: write, draw, dance your way into the creative rhythm of nature, weave the story of your life, step into your untapped creative powers and give birth to your future.
Do you hear the small yet persistent voice of your creative force calling you? Is it time to birth a new chapter of your life full of vibrancy and meaning but you’re not sure how or where to start? Would you like to better understand the messages that nature offers you every day?
Schedule a free call with me – I am here to help and I look forward to hearing your story!