Last week the valley where I live was filled with travelers on their way to a warmer place. Those journeying appeared tireless in their lighthearted flittering— joyful even through the exhaustion of their migration.
These were no ordinary pilgrims. They were the Painted Lady butterflies. And they have been migrating south in massive groups larger than what we’ve seen in years past. The flutter of butterflies, also called a kaleidoscope (!!), was so dense that the doppler system actually picked it up on radar.
The “blob” that was approaching Denver was initially thought to be birds, but was soon seen for what it truly was: a gigantic kaleidoscope of Painted Ladies.
Normally I would be delighted at the sight of so many butterflies. And at first I was. My smile lit up brighter with each one I noticed, reflecting back their seemingly inexhaustible effulgence.
But as they wove haphazardly along the road that follows the river on my way to town, they kept veering suddenly my way, meandering toward me with no concern for my vehicle, getting swept off the side of my car at the last moment, carried by their lightness in the wind to narrowly escape death by headlight, or not.
My face soon reflected horror as I must have smashed into at least five of them in less than one minute.
Photo by Elizabeth Marcus-Sonenberg (http://www.instagram.com/pure.o); Post-production by Brea Fisher
Just a week prior, while consoling a friend as she plucked a lifeless Monarch off the grill of a random parked pickup and placed it honorably on her dash, I had told her tenderly:
I brake for butterflies.
But here, when faced with this many vehicle-oblivious butterflies it seemed impossible to hit the brakes for all of them.
I slowed way down, which helped, but it wasn’t until I remembered to ask, that I was able to stop my butterfly murdering.
I relaxed my body and calmed my mind, drove slow, and spoke, out loud, in request:
“Dear, sweet Painted Lady friends, thank you for being here today as you voyage south. Please be aware, I am moving quickly on this road. I ask that you stay clear of my vehicle so that your journey can continue safely. Thank you.”
And with that, I envisioned a big, soft, bubble of light surrounding my car by about five feet on all sides, which to my awe and delight, began to bounce the butterflies away from my car as if on the whim of the wind.
I didn’t hit another butterfly the whole way to town.
Now, this sort of experience isn’t new or extraordinary for me, and if you are also one who speaks to animals, insects, plants, and rocks, you know as well as I do that they have a way of understanding and communicating back.
But the part about this that really stands out to me is a timeless lesson we can all benefit by remembering:
Ask and you shall receive.
Without posing the question, declaring what it is your heart desires, you leave no space to be given an answer.
Most of the time I’m guessing you won’t be asking butterflies, but people, which for most of us, are easier to hear when they respond. And even if those people end up saying no to your request, it feels really good to give them that opportunity, and to give yourself the chance to receive it honorably.
We all know how it feels to have a burning question and to hold it in without asking.
When we don’t ask for what we need it hurts the heart.
If you need help and you are too afraid, too embarrassed, or too whatever-is-holding-you-back to ask for it, it’s a very direct communication with yourself that you are unworthy of that help, false premise though it is.
Even if it’s uncomfortable at first, it always feels better to ask for what you need because doing so is a heart opening act of self-worth.
Acknowledge the discomfort of having to ask for help, then let it go and ask anyway. You’ll feel better than holding back because by asking, you open your heart to receive and that is an act of love.
Everyone has something they’ve been holding back asking for. You know what your’s is, even if you have to get quiet a minute and bring it up to the surface of your consciousness.
Go ahead and take this moment to do that now.
When you have your question, determine to whom you can or need to ask it. Maybe it’s just one person. Maybe it’s a few people. Maybe it’s a bunch.
And then ask.
Whatever answer or answers you may get, commit to receiving them gracefully and with gratitude— even the no’s.
Look for the relief and the lightness of heart you feel simply in the asking. That’s you telling yourself you’re worthy.
And the next time you need to ask for what you need, go for it again; and again; and again.
An open heart helps light up the world because asking for what you need inspires others to do the same.
If all of humanity suddenly began to consistently ask for what we needed, we’d find that sometimes people say no and sometimes people yes, and we’d all be totally okay with the no’s because we’d know that there are just as many yeses out there for us, too. (This, by the way, also makes saying no to others easier to do when that’s what you need to do.)
It would be a brilliant kaleidoscope of asking of those who are willing, able, and happy to give, and offering to those who are open to receive from us.
Sometimes we’d be driving fast vehicles and sometimes we’d be flitting along a riverside road, tired and beautiful and blissfuly unaware of cars… until we were asked to be so.
Now it’s my turn to ask.
Many of you have asked me how you can support my work and up until now I haven't initiated any methods to receive contributions. I'm really excited to announce that I now have two ways for you to become a patron.
For you, who are new to my work, and for you who have been following me from the beginning, I am so deeply grateful to you. Not a day goes by that I don’t feel appreciation for having you here in witness to what I do.
If you feel moved to make a donation, here are a couple simple ways to do it:
Patreon is an artists’ platform designed to allow fans to offer a monthly amount for content shared. Sign up is quick and easy and presents you options for a monthly donation as low as $1, deducted automatically and securely until you choose to make a change. This is the easiest and most impacting way to support my work and is also the platform I’ll be using for the upcoming Lesson Film Subscription Series.
If a monthly payment is less appealing to you than a one-time donation, PayPal is another reliable and secure method. You can click my personal link above to send money in any amount you choose.
I can never tell you too many times how much I appreciate you being here with me. My gratitude for you is a forever-fluttering kaleidoscope in my heart.
With the deepest of bows,