Ever seen an iguana? Their seeming vicious appearance intimidates me: amphibian like scaly skin, sharp teeth, long tails, webbed feet. Yet, when approached, they scurry away, more scared of humans perhaps. But I tend to scurry first!
Well, this week my dog taught me a lesson: confront the iguana!
Every morning he pulls to go outside, typically meaning he has to ‘go.’ Down in the Keys this means “I’m on a mission to conquer the iguana!” I don’t have the heart to tell him they’ll outrun him. So morning after morning, off he goes. Yesterday he chased one into a boat. I scooped him up, carried him off and sure enough, the iguana ran away too.
I giggled my way back to the computer. “It’s rather foolish it takes my dog’s attempted conquest to brave me toward an iguana!” And then it hit me: iguanas are very much like the stuff I carry around mentally that I really would rather run from than deal with—especially if dealing means confronting someone.
I used to call that stuff ‘mental muck.’ No more. New phrase: mental iguanas.
Cool name perhaps. Not cool how many I’ve run from instead of confront! Ewww….rather humbling to take a long hard look at that one!
I confronted one this week: my tendency to neglect my needs if it means meeting those of another, especially a loved one’s.
No big deal if this means I choose to use the bathroom second, select whatever’s left over (food, seat in car, place in a restaurant booth), and choose if I wish to offer input in a group discussion.
Do this for a couple of decades and everyone will expect this behavior. And it gets deeper: let others tell you when to visit, and when you do, let others tell you what’s good for their schedules, even if it means completely changing your own, involving much investment of time, money, traveling, whatever.
Yep: my ‘wait my turn’ or ‘remain on the down low’ type behavior with family really blared out to me this week because I found myself contemplating rearranging an entire trip to see someone I love.
Not unthinkable, this person is my Dad. He’s senior to me. I respect him. His schedule’s a tough one to break into. Yet he does manage several times a year to socialize with friends all over the country and makes time for them. And year after year of thinking we will make time to be together, I gotta wonder, Why am I not making this happen?
Simple: I don’t wanna inconvenience him.
EWWW! See the vicious iguana? See the thing you just wanna run away from?
Inconvenience? Bother? Interrupt? Gimme a break! I’m his daughter. We are extremely close! Why do a carry around a deadweight of guilt when I’m trying to see him? Because inevitably I’m always interrupting something. Similarly, his is not a household you can enter and exit at will. There are rules in place and routines to follow. It’s just not always something you wanna deal with, ya know?
I recalled when I flew down and surprised him. He was elated. But surprising him was complicated because of his schedule and a few other elements. I spent most nights with my mom at her place. Dad and I carved out some boating time: we drove down to the Keys and spent Father’s Day on the water where we saw a school of dolphin—it was an exhilarating day and one of my favorite memories, truly.
Realizing that was three years ago strangled my sense of love. It was just flat out wrong.
The iguana of self justification crept in and insisted why I’ve not made more efforts:
–logistical rigormorole to fit into his schedule
–house rules that ‘sweat the small stuff’ (what dishes/food/towels/sheets you can use)
–unsolicited advice about what to change about my life.
Not a typical scene you’re biting at the bit to dive into, believe me. But with Father’s Day coming up, I decided to confront the iguana. So here’s how I prayed my way through:
First, I re-established that God governs every moment. Every substantial and lasting motive, thought, action is impelled by divine Love. Next, I defended that both my Dad and I express this Love, thus no ego, will or fear could manipulate our actions. Next, I faced down all fear anticipating criticism, rigidity, ill will. Such have no place in the consciousness of Love. I didn’t need to anticipate them anymore than I would lend myself to expressing them.
Mary Baker Eddy’s statement from Science and Health reinforces this truth:
“Nothing is real and eternal,–nothing is Spirit,–but God and His idea. Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion, of material sense.”
I knew that with love, it would be doable to look beyond the superficial barriers of personality and will and whatever else. And I knew that there could be a way to find a compromise. I reached a peace, called my Dad and scheduled time to spend together.
Confronting the iguana this time around was surely worth it!