3 Life-Altering Insights for Control Freaks (Classes from an Ant Infestation)

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“Freedom is what you do with what is been performed to you.”  ~Jean-Paul Sartre

“So did you determine out what your shadow totem is?”

This was the initial point out of my husband’s friend’s mouth as I sat down to meal at a regional downtown restaurant, across from my husband and a couple buddies we were being assembly up with.

I laughed at the preference of issue but then paused with large eyes and replied, “YES, I DID! Oh my gosh. It’s an ant!”

The backstory is that we had previously had a dialogue about animal symbolism, and how figuring out what we discover with (spirit animal) or most fear (shadow totem) can assistance us acquire deep insights into ourselves. I had no trouble with identifying my spirit animal—an eagle—but could not for the life of me pin down my shadow totem.

As he requested that query that evening, a gentle bulb in my head went off. I had been battling a multi-7 days-extended ant infestation in my dwelling and it experienced turn into the bane of my existence. Every time I noticed a person of these suckers, I bought induced all more than yet again. It ruined a lot of times. So this built perfect feeling! Ants are my shadow totem. But why??

Upon reflection about this realization, I mulled around the meaning of this and was in a position to appear away with some pretty amazing nuggets. Set just, the ants struck me at my weakest point: my want for regulate.

I know I’m not on your own in this quirk—“management concerns,” as a great deal of us jokingly refer to them. But the fact is, if you’re saddled with this deep urge then you know you are living your daily life on a large wire, trying to stability every little thing and hold it properly just so. And when you are thrown off, you just take a fairly deep dive into mental chaos until you right the ship yet again. Okay, way too several metaphors, but the level is, it sucks.

Again to the ants. Days immediately after the supper I took time to believe about the legitimate meaning of them as my shadow totem. The insights I had about my manage concerns had been not only helpful to me, but I bet will be the similar for you!

I was even able to detect a few frame of mind changes as an accompaniment. I recognized they are inclined towards the Buddhist way of wondering but are just definitely good means to method lifetime. So below we go!

1. The ants were being coming out of nowhere. And FROM Everywhere. It drove me nuts given that I could not establish the resource of the trouble.


On reflection, I connected this to how I usually truly feel like a sitting down duck in lifetime, just waiting for the up coming blow to occur. The unpredictable character of matters feels like a continual threat. Also, I observe I frequently doggedly look for for the “why” of things, but regrettably am not normally equipped to come up with an reply.

I have felt this sentiment in several predicaments, ranging from the trivial to the most profound, with the latter remaining when I had a miscarriage. It was (as lots of of them are) not doable to tie to a definitive reason. In this case, my only accurate system of motion (1 easier stated than performed) was to take and shift ahead.

Mentality adjustment:

Acceptance, although not a captivating response to the previously mentioned, is genuinely the best 1. You are gonna get ants in your dwelling (primarily when it’s in a eco-friendly local community constructed in 1936!).

In lifestyle, you’re gonna get surprises. And not generally pleased kinds. I after read that if you can anticipate the surprising, when it comes, you will settle for it as an “old mate.” Sounds a lot greater than managing life’s downs (the “ups” are additional very easily managed, ideal?!) as a monster beneath the mattress.

2. The dang ants have been ruining my times. What a squander! But accurate.

I felt silly with my outbursts, exclaiming expletives each and every time I came throughout one particular of those people evil little items. My inadequate spouse (who has the patience of a saint, zen learn, and in all probability Jesus, merged!) hearing me from the next area. I didn’t want this for me (or him).


Just like in my bigger lifetime, tiny items likely wrong can really mess me up. The feeling of getting a lousy day relatively than just retaining it a terrible second is one particular I am common with, sad to say.

Way of thinking adjustment:

Enter mindfulness. This useful strategy lets for a form of compartmentalization so we can absolutely be in the actuality that is in front of us in the present moment. The fact is, the ants had been definitely only in a pair rooms of the home, and I only encountered them for probably a couple minutes out of my day. But Male, you would not have known it!

Attaching to our day remaining or staying a unique way is specific demise. All right, which is excessive, but it is bring about for sure stress and anxiety. And which is no way to dwell this shorter life. Essential theory: impermanence. Funnily more than enough, I have that word tattooed on me! In long lasting ink… but is it “permanent”? I digress.

3. I chose a cure option for the ants, but nonetheless I walked about in a huff about it. I experienced finished all I could do—why could not I let it go?


I commonly come across myself ruminating on other things in lifetime extended right after I experienced decided on a training course of motion. Seems like a waste of psychological, emotional, and even physical (if you’re pacing!) energy to me.

Like when I designed the choice to switch professions from small business to education. Thoughts lingered, swirling in my head for rather some time right after: “Is this a slip-up?” “What if I want to adjust my thoughts once again?” “Did I just waste my bachelor’s degree?” This designed the route forward foggy and uncertain when what I necessary was clarity and smooth sailing—which would have been afforded to me experienced I had self-have confidence in at the time.

Way of thinking adjustment:

Hard as it is, the practice—keyword, PRACTICE—must be allowing go with the awareness that you can only do so substantially. There are so quite a few sources of inspiration for this idea. Acquire your decide on: The renowned estimate “Let go and enable God” or  “Let it goooo” a la Frozen (any other mothers and fathers in the dwelling?). You get the thought.

Also, incorporate to the mantra checklist that mother nature will generally gain. This is true with the ants (spoiler inform, they came again) and with lifestyle in typical, the universe on a broader scale. Consider entropy. It’s in all places in all methods. The quicker we align ourselves with the principle, the superior!

I felt oddly grateful to the ants for the option to replicate. It gave me a probability to gain insights that I (and probably you!) in any other case would not have had. If you are fearful about us forgetting this wisdom, really do not be. People small reminders (aka the ants) are constantly close to the corner.

Submit-producing edit: Amusing point is, suitable after producing this, I walked into my lavatory and observed an ant making its way up the aspect of my mirror! Poetic, huh?


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