My Butterfly Epiphany

If we’re willing to listen to the quiet whispers, if we’re willing to be open to receiving the messages we need, they come.  They often come when we least expect them.  Like at 3:00am.  But they come.

My Truth

Photo by Ian Chen on Unsplash

I have struggled in 2021, especially the last six months.  I believed 2021 was my year, especially because I was able to leave southern California and return to New York City.  California was supposed to have been a fresh start for me but it turned into a nightmare.  Add to that the fact that I moved my mother in with me and cared for her through the end of her life, the last few months of which was extremely difficult, and I wanted to get out of California. 

I missed the seasons.  I’m the type of person who needs four distinct seasons, especially autumn.  In Ventura County, where I lived, there are two seasons:  wildfire season and the rest of the year.  It only rained once in 2020 and that was for about ten minutes.  It affected me. 

I had planned to return to NYC in 2020 but the pandemic put all that on hold.  I had traveled to NYC in early September and found the perfect apartment but then everything shut down and I was stuck in SoCal. 

I had submitted my resignation in January to the university where I taught because I had planned to return to NYC, so when I was unable to return to NYC I found myself unemployed and stuck in SoCal.  Fortunately, I was able to receive unemployment because I also taught part-time at a community college for extra money but the pandemic resulted in classes being cancelled, so that qualified me.  My unemployment didn’t even cover my rent but at least it was something.

I was able to take a disbursement of $20,000 from my retirement because of the CARES Act, which covered me for a while.  Around New Year’s Eve, things got really bad.  I ran out of money.  I was unable to pay rent from January through May and had received a Pay or Quit notice.  Fortunately, the updated pandemic assistance legislation provided rental assistance, so I was able to apply and was approved.  The problem was that part of the agreement required me to vacate the apartment by the end of May.

My block in the Bronx.

So, I returned to New York City.  Combined with my tax refund, I was able to crowdfund the money I needed to pay for the moving expenses and returned to NYC in May.

The rent for my apartment in the Bronx is significantly lower than what I was paying in SoCal, so my unemployment actually covered my rent.  But pandemic unemployment was scheduled to end in September so I actively pursued employment, including applying for positions outside my career field.

I landed what I thought was the position of my dreams but that turned into a disaster.  Check out my post about that here.  After six weeks, I was unemployed again.  I immediately started sending out my resume and got a couple interviews but no job offers.

In the ER. Edited to remove any personally identifying information. I love Photoshop!

Then, the week before Thanksgiving, I ended up in the hospital with a suspected heart attack.  I was experiencing supra-ventricular tachycardia, my heart rate was over 230 beats per minute, my heart was jumping around in my chest, and I was vomiting.  After forty-five minutes of trying to calm it down, I called 911 and was transported to the hospital by ambulance. 

I was in the hospital for a week and was discharged the day before Thanksgiving with a Holter monitor attached to my chest so the cardiologist could monitor what my heart was doing because, of course, it didn’t do it while I was in the hospital.  Because I did nothing but lay in that damn bed and sleep.

Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

I’ve been home since then, unemployed, with zero money coming in.  I don’t qualify for unemployment because I only worked for six weeks.  I was denied food stamps and other assistance because they kept trying to call me for my interview but I was in the hospital so I had no clue they were calling.  I tried and tried to call them but either received the message, “All agents are currently busy.  This call will disconnect at the end of this message.  Please try again later,” or I would get through, sit on hold for thirty minutes, and then get that message.  So I have to appeal, but in the meantime, I have nothing.

I was able to apply for rental assistance here as well and was approved.  My rent is paid through the end of January.  Thank goodness for that.

I actually had to put out a request on Instagram asking for twenty dollars to buy some groceries. 

The holidays haven’t been filled with joy and good cheer.  I have been sinking in a morass of depression. 

Fortunately, I have one of those friends who is willing to call me on my shit.  She came over a couple days ago and literally said I need to get help.  I have medical insurance, thankfully, so she insisted I find a psychologist immediately.  She insisted that I do basic self-care.  She told me to clean my apartment to shift the energy.  I know I need to do these things, I just haven’t been able to motivate myself to do them because of the depression.  But something about her saying it shifted something inside me. 

She’s my ride or die.  We have been friends for over a decade and she is one of only three people  I can honestly say I trust with my life.

My Shift

While she was here, she forced me to leave my apartment, something I hadn’t done since before my trip to the hospital.  Together, we walked to the pharmacy and I picked up my thyroid prescription, which I had needed since my return from the hospital but hadn’t taken in a month.  We stopped in at the grocery store and I bought an apple, an orange, a banana, and some saltine crackers with the money I had remaining from my Instagram request.  We walked to the post office where I tried to return the Holter monitor (the new mailboxes don’t actually have a handle to pull open anymore and it wouldn’t fit through the narrow slit so I still have to return it).  And then she bought us Chinese food for dinner and made me get large sizes so I would have food for a few days. 

She really is my ride or die.

And something inside me shifted.  My perspective, my outlook, my ability to hope.  I’m not sure what, exactly, but something shifted.

I have spent the past three days creating.  I have been working on the oracle decks I’m creating.  I submitted a story to a challenge on Vocal, where I receive $3.80 for every 1000 reads (I have earned about $0.53 so far, lol).  I have focused on my writing career.  And I have felt fulfilled despite my precarious financial situation. 

My Epiphany

My husband was transported from work—he works overnight—to the hospital on Wednesday night (we don’t currently live together; that’s a story better left for a different post) and diagnosed with a suspected pulmonary embolism.  I got no sleep.  I was awake until 8:30am.  I finally slept for a few hours but that was it.

I was so exhausted last night that I went to bed at 9:00pm, something I haven’t done since I was working for those few weeks because I have struggled with insomnia.

I woke up at 2:30am.  I remembered my dream, wrote it down in my journal, and did some research to better understand it.  I then received a notification on my phone that it was snowing.  Yay!!  I got up and looked out the window and took a couple pictures because I knew it would end by daylight.  And since it’s supposed to rain on Christmas day, I figured it was my chance to see snow, something I hadn’t seen since I left NYC back in 2016.

I climbed back into bed and, as I was laying there, I had an epiphany:

Butterflies have to struggle to get out of their cocoon. It’s really difficult. Instances when someone has tried to help them have resulted in their not being able to fly because their wings didn’t develop the strength they needed through the struggle of emerging from the cocoon. I need to make it through my current struggle on my own in order to develop the strength I need to spread my own wings and achieve my dreams.

Whoa!  This seems so simple, so common sense, but it hadn’t occurred to me.  But there, in the silence of the middle of the night, while snow softly fell from the sky, the message I needed came to me.  I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it.

My current struggle won’t last forever.  I need to work through it to develop my spiritual, emotional, and intellectual muscles so that I can emerge from it strong enough to take flight.  And I will take flight. 

2022 is a 6 year in numerology, which aligns with the Lovers card from the tarot.  That card is about partnership, relationships, and not necessarily intimate relationships. “The trust and the unity that the lovers have gives each of them confidence and strength, empowering the other.” My intuition tells me I will find a mentor who will help me rise to the next level in my writing career.

I decided to also find out what 2022 means for me, specifically, using numerology.  To do that, I add together the digits of my birth month, birth date, and 2022.  My numbers are 13 and 4 because the numbers add up to 13, which is Death in the Major Arcana, but those two numbers also reduce to 4, which is The Emperor in the Major Arcana. 

Death isn’t anything to be afraid of because it isn’t literal.  Instead, it portends a major transformation and the end of a cycle, a metamorphosis, if you will.  It suggests that I will lose/release the old me and my beliefs and behaviors, and will transform into a new version of me, kind of like the caterpillar that goes through its dark night of the soul and experiences a metamorphosis to emerge as the glorious butterfly.  The Emperor signifies stability.  “To see him in a reading presents a chance to grow in terms of the goals that you have set for yourself. It presents a successful future as long as you pursue your goals similar to the fashion that the Emperor does, methodically and strategically.”

So, I am transforming.  I will emerge as someone entirely different from the self I have known.  That’s kind of exciting.  In the meantime, I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and trust that everything is happening exactly the way it’s supposed to.

Published by Lisa R. Barry, Ph.D.

Life Story Coach, Shamanic Life Coach, Reiki Master, WomanSpeak Circle Leader, Tarot & Oracle Reader, Wisdom of the Serpent Oracle & Guidebook Creator, Witch, Chakra Healer, Crystal Junkie, Author, Scholar, Former College Professor (25yrs), Speaker, Crazy Cat Lady, Hippie Liberal Feminist

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