About a week ago I started my first GoFundMe appeal – ever. It was one of the most difficult things I ever tasked myself to do. This is about how I nearly lost my business. To be honest, I haven’t saved it yet so I’m still very much living in my own fable.
I have been stressed out about putting my personal story and vulnerability out into the world with such candidness. I feel embarrassed and unworthy, in some ways, to ask for help when I neglected my business after giving birth to my first child in January. The months that followed were wrought with pain – both physical and emotional. It was a long recovery. I did not expect for that recovery to manifest the way it did – to say I was blindsided is an understatement.
Starting the GoFundMe campaign has also given me space for the opportunity to grow. It takes courage to ask for help. I had to transcend beyond the feelings of shame and judgement I placed on myself for being “weak” – which begs the question – why do we tell ourselves stories about ourselves that are untrue, misguided and unkind?
Luckily, I got beyond the shame and judgement. Instead, I opened myself up to the abundance the world has to offer, to the kindness and generosity of others, to the goodwill that supports individuals, families and communities. I decided it was okay to allow myself to receive.
My giving/receiving has always been a bit out of balance. I think part of that has been due to the unspoken pressure that is culturally placed on women to be the givers in society. In fact, there are several good books out there about learning how to receive that are written specifically for women. My favorite is The Power of Receiving by Amanda Owen.
It starts with being able to take a compliment. I have always struggled with receiving compliments – I often downplayed what was being praised and then I would say something to put myself down to detract from the attention. For example, someone might say my hair looked lovely and I would say something like – “Oh, it’s a mess today. The humidity makes it so frizzy, I hate it – ugh!”
Why not just say thank you?
It has everything to do with the power of receiving. I always give out heart felt compliments, I am generous with my friends and family, and I like to take care of others. I rarely accept the compliments and generosity of others. I learned that when you don’t receive with grace, you actually deny others the opportunity to give. So, to be in balance with giving and receiving, we must exercise both muscles.
The GoFundMe campaign surprised me. Immediately, kind people in my work, college, and family networks concerned themselves with helping me. Donations to save my business began to come in – showing me that “no [wo]man is an island”.
My circumstance seemed touched by nature’s grace, with the universe sending me a powerful message through the unlikely visitation of a simple green grasshopper.
Just days after the GoFundMe launch, I was driving down the street and noticed a small, shiny green grasshopper on my windshield. It was staring at me while holding on for dear life. It looked into my eyes! I took the photo of the said grasshopper above. There was a soul connection! When I pulled into my garage and got out of my car, the grasshopper was gone. I got my baby out of his car seat and when I walked onto the back patio, I saw the grasshopper happily launch itself into our green acre garden.
What I didn’t realize at the time was the universe had just orchestrated a gentle moment of giving and receiving. The grasshopper delivered an important message from the universe while I offered the grasshopper a lift to greener pastures.
Two days later, another green grasshopper, bigger, skinnier with longer legs, hitched a ride on my back window. I didn’t see where it exited. But, I thought this was too unusual to be a coincidence. I don’t believe in coincidences, anyway. Coincidence is just a word to describe that which what we cannot understand.
I knew the universe was trying to tell me something.
I looked up grasshoppers. I first came across Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and the ants. The fable basically describes a hungry grasshopper begging for good from an ant when winter comes and is refused; the moral lesson is about the virtues of hard work and planning for the future. The grasshopper was lazy and therefore should suffer the consequences of its actions (or lack thereof).
I hoped the grasshopper wasn’t there to tell me I shouldn’t ask for help because I didn’t work hard enough or plan for the future. Because, in truth, I did nothing to prepare myself for such an outcome. I assumed I would be healthy, strong and ready to charge ahead with my business even more empowered by the childbirth experience.
I continued to read about grasshoppers.
Aesop’s ant was mostly perceived as mean and self-serving. Later, Jean de la Fontaine retold the fable in French and shifted to the themes of compassion and charity. Since the 18th century the grasshopper has been seen as an artist archetype.
Whew. We’ve moved on from being scolded for “poor work ethic and not planning for the future” to being capable of receiving compassion and charity.
The grasshopper was telling me to let go of the blame for not being able to handle my business while in recovery and, rather, exercise my receiving muscle. My therapist told me there’s a difference between failure and the fear of failure.
I have also learned about the symbolism of the grasshopper.
The grasshopper is a symbol of good luck all over the world. Grasshopper’s ability to connect and understand sound vibrations is why it’s also a symbol of your inner voice – its presence might be a sign telling you to trust yours.
According to theastrologyweb.com – the grasshopper symbolizes luck, abundance, courageousness, resourcefulness, insight, peace, patience, fertility, intuition, vibrancy, stability, security, solidarity, balance, freedom, joy, honor and creativity. Aided with an ability to move forward only it suggests advance thinking and enlightenment.
Color plays a role in symbolism, too. A green grasshopper signifies rejuvenation, fresh beginnings, adventure, growth, health and youthful concepts.
The grasshopper visits were a gift from the universe. I truly believe that. If only to send me on a curious exploration to the learn the fabled or totem spirit interpretations and symbolism of these magical creatures to elevate my thinking and perception of my own present circumstances.
I have always had a knack for reframing. If I get knocked down, I get back up again, etc. I have found reframing to be one of the most important life skills to master. The grasshopper reminded me of the practice of transcending and reframing. I have the skill. I just needed to apply it to my struggle with my business.
Ask, and you shall receive.
This is not a one way street. I don’t plan to just take the compassion and generosity of others without giving back in some way. I’m working on a giving platform to thank everyone who is helping me out. I want to keep my giving/receiving in balance!
Meantime, I’m sharing these words about the grasshopper. If you are lucky enough to receive one – in your house, on your shoe, or on your car – don’t freak out! Be grateful and gentle. The universe is sending you a beautiful, positive message.