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Work Like a Butterfly

After a beautiful and soothing outdoor meditation, possibly my last of the year now that the weather is turning colder, I spent a few minutes just watching a butterfly. As it flitted from blossom to blossom, I thought about how a butterfly makes its living, and how we humans do, and realized how very differently most of us approach our work.

The Human Way

We think of work as something we must do in order to earn the money we need. We don't do it because we like it, or most of us don't. We do it because we have to. Our belief is that this is how the world works. We trade our time for money. We have no choice. We feel almost enslaved to our jobs at times.

The Butterfly Way

Butterflies don't think about having to work. Instead, they follow the call of sweet delight. Something smells delicious over this way! And off they go, over that way. And, those colors are spectacular! Look at that fuchsia! That purple! And they are pulled in closer. And they land on the petals that feel like velvet, and even provide tiny hairs for the butterfly to grasp. Then at last, they dip their proboscis in and taste the sweet nectar they need to survive.

Butterflies don't spend a lot of time worrying about how to get nectar, or where to find it, or whether there might be a shortage or too many other creatures competing for a limited supply.

Butterflies don't gather the seeds from the plants later in the year and haul them to a nearby field, and dig tiny holes with their tiny feet to plant them. There are no flower farms run by butterflies.

Butterflies follow what feels good to them. The scents and colors of the flowers are all designed to bring them in.

With few exceptions, humans are not butterflies

However, there's still a huge lesson in this for us. We're supposed to be following our bliss. I am supposed to be following my bliss. It's what I vowed to do this year. But seeing the butterfly just blissfully sipping nectar from one blossom after another on a beautiful sunny autumn day made me realize I haven't been, really. I've been working really, really hard.

I've been thinking really hard, too, my brain doing acrobatics to figure out how to negotiate the journey to where I want to be. I've been sliding back into stress and tension and worry, old habits I had left behind.

First question: What's my nectar?

Watching the butterfly that morning gave me a clearer perspective. I thought I was following my bliss, but watching that gorgeous creature following his, I realized I could do better.

So the first thing on the agenda is figuring out the goal. Or is it? Does the butterfly know his goal before he follows that enticing scent? Or is he just following it because it smells so good? I'm thinking the latter. Besides, the goal is always the same anyway. We all just want to feel good.

Oh, I hear folks yelling at their devices. I want a Ferarri. I want a new job. I want a lover. I want a self-sustaining revenue stream to support me in the style to which I have become accustomed.

At first glance, those all seem like unique and different goals. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll find they're all the same. Why do you want the hot new car? Because it would feel so good to have it. Why do you want the lover? Because it would feel so much better than not having a lover. Everything we want is because we think having it will make us feel better than not having it.

So in the end, the goals don't matter. It's the feeling the goals will bring.

So what?

So everything, that's what. Look this isn't rocket science (so I don't know why I have to keep learning it over and over again, but whatever.) If we look for the feeling first, it will lead us to the thing (and other things) that will bring it.

We do everything backwards, we humans. We don't believe something until we see it, but believing in it before we can see it is the easiest and fastest way to see it.

Same here. Seek the feeling this goal will bring you, and the feeling will lead you to the goal.

And how do you seek things that feel good? That's pretty easy. When you feel them, go that way. When you smell the delicious scent, go that way. When something is making you laugh, do more of it. When something brings you near to tears of bliss, bask in it.

The opposite is also necessary.

When something smells bad, don't bend closer to sniff it. When something feels bad, don't turn it up louder or play it again. When something makes you angry, that's something to turn away from, not go toward.

Facebook copied its algorithm from nature itself. What you react to, you get more of. What you spend most time looking at, you get more of. What you think about, talk about, care about, you get more of.

Renewing my vows...

So we do our best, and we see the results, and we learn how to do even better and then we do so. That's life on earth. We don't have to worry about getting too far off track, because if we do, things will get worse instead of better and we'll take the note and take a different route.

I intend to see myself as blissfully flitting from one delightful thing to the next in the coming days. Let's see how this goes!


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