By Trina Otero
It was very late into the summer night, past 1 a.m. in Italy, and Tasneen was comfortably sitting on the couch downstairs in her home. She had her iPad, a book, and a set of earbuds beside her. But her phone was in her hands – she was talking to various friends online, all of them in different time zones. After quick chats she wanted to relax, read a little, and perhaps watch something on her tablet. All of a sudden, out of the corner of her left eye she saw something on the floor move. She broke her gaze with the phone screen to look in the direction of the moving object. To her, it seemed like a small leaf was resting on the tile floor a few feet away. She shook her head, telling herself her eyes were tired. Nothing moved. She went back to her conversations. But then the leaf moved again.
She placed her phone down on the coffee table and looked over again, this time putting on her lenses. She shrieked out of fear…it seemed to be a bug. She stood up and walked a tad closer – immediately her body went cold and her heart began to pound. She slowly backed away to the couch, sat on it and lifted her feet off the ground. A spider. A HUGE spider. She had never been so close to a spider that humongous. Her mind raced.
Typically, Tasneen would capture bugs within the house and free them outside, instead of killing them. She no longer had the desire to kill bugs and insects, even though many of them creeped her out. She could not bear to take the life of any living thing. She was faced with a dilemma – the spider was so gigantic that she was too afraid to walk close enough to put a container over it.
She kept saying aloud, “Oh my god..it is so huge! I don’t know what to do!”
She sat there and contemplated her options — A) She could find the nearest shoe and kill it; B) She could find a container and use that to remove it from the house; C) She could call down her dog Leonidas, who would most likely eat it; or D) She could ignore it and run upstairs like a baby. All options, except for one, would suddenly or eventually lead to the spider’s death.
Tasneen’s mind: Perhaps I should kill it. That is the easiest thing to do. I am too afraid to capture it, because then I would need to be near it to flip the container over and free it outside!
Tasneen’s heart: Killing the spider is a cop-out. That is the easiest route to take. Because of my fear am I willing to take its life? If I take the easy way, what would be the repercussions? Would there be any gain at all?
Tasneen’s mind: If I kill it, it will be gone, problem solved!
Tasneen’s heart: If I kill it I will have taken a life. A life that is not mine to take. It would be right to give the spider the freedom it is entitled to. I shouldn’t take its life just because I am afraid. That is unjust.
Tasneen stood up and walked to the kitchen to look for something to capture the spider. She looked in every cabinet, her heart racing, but many of the tupperware bowls were gone. They must be in the dishwasher. She didn’t want to use a clean glass cup because she knew she might slam the object down hard out of fear. Tasneen peered into the dishwasher, scanning for anything useful. But the adrenaline was causing her to rush and she couldn’t seem to calmly find what she needed. She looked into every cabinet a few more times, then took a deep breath to calm herself. Once again, she looked in the dishwasher. There. A liquid measuring cup. Perfect size plus it was clear – she wanted to have a view of where the spider was after she caught it.
Now, all I need is sturdy paper to slip underneath the cup after I catch it…
She frantically walked around the kitchen and part of the living room, searching for paper. She did not want to walk near the spider — she was afraid she would startle it causing it to run off. She ripped a piece of college-rule paper from a notebook and folded it in half. She sat back down on the couch, taking deep breaths.
How do I do this?!?
“Spider,” Tasneen said aloud, “I am not here to hurt you. Please, do not be afraid of me. Do you feel my love? I don’t want to hurt you. I know you are scared too. Please let me help you.”
Tasneen visualized her energy flowing out from her to the spider. She hoped the spider felt her soothing vibes. She stood up from the couch and slowly walked towards the gigantic creature. She felt sweat instantly secreting out her skin, everywhere. She felt hot and cold all at once.
“Spider, please do not run away. I am here to help you.”
The spider walked ahead a few centimeters and stopped. She gasped, perspiring even more. Then she calmed her mind again and slowly walked towards it, slightly bending over. Many thoughts flew through her mind – “I can’t believe I’m doing this” thoughts to “You can do this” affirmations. Somehow she managed to place the measuring cup over the spider, and she gasped for air and stood back, relieved. She grabbed the folded paper and tried to slide it under the cup without the spider running out. It was scared. One minute it was still and the next moment it began running to the other side of the cup. Suddenly, the spider just.. ran out.. and Tasneen jumped backwards. Then she realized there was a dip in the plastic by the handle creating a small gap of space between the lid area and the floor. Shit!
She ran to the kitchen and grabbed a small tupperware container from the dishwasher. This time she was successful, after chasing the spider for a few minutes. She let the spider, and herself, calm down before she attempted to slide the paper underneath. She left no room for error – she was on her hands and knees, her face inches away from the covered spider, tightly sliding the paper under until the container and spider were on top of it.
Tasneen quickly ran to the front door, unlocked it and flipped on the porch lights. She carefully picked up the container with the spider in it and walked outside. The entire time she calmly talked to the spider. She was so focused on keeping the spider calm and not dropping it that she was unaware that she was extremely nervous.
“Spider, please trust me. I’m not here to hurt you. Trust me, you will appreciate what I am doing.”
She placed the container in the grass, lifted the container, and quickly jumped back. She ran back into the house, locking the doors behind her, and stood inside breathing heavily. Her body was drenched in sweat. She sat down on the couch and took deep breaths, waiting for her heart to return to its regular rhythm.
“I cannot believe I just did that! I cannot believe I was THAT close to a humongous spider!”
But yes, indeed, despite her fear she did face the spider. And she saved it.
This is a true story – this happened to me two nights ago! I sat on the couch afterwards and contemplated the situation, still in shock. When I picked my phone back up I realized the time – 11:44 pm. This is a number that has been repeating to me for over a month, so I quickly looked up the meaning. It confirmed what I felt inside. Let me share the moral of this story with you.
1144 can mean to “step out of your comfort zone and strive forward.” In a physical sense, yes, I did have to step out of my comfort zone to do what I felt inside was the right thing to do. I took my time to find a way to free the spider outside. I knew my friend would have visciously attacked him with ANY object, and Leon (her dog) would have eaten him. The spider is who he/she is. The spider cannot change its identity, so why should I or anyone else hurt it just because we are afraid of its identity? It was my DUTY to help.
On a more personal, spiritual level, the spider taught me a lesson. I am in a new chapter of my life and right now everything is new. Finding a job overseas is new and scary, but if I want to pursue my passions I need to go beyond my comfort zone. I’m nervous about a job opportunity I applied for but if it’s meant to be, I’ll have it. And it will be scary and new. I’ll be alone in a new city and country. I do not speak fluent Italian yet. I may think I don’t know how to do the job but then again I thought that way about my teaching/tutoring job at the middle school at first, but I soon realized I was meant for it. The same goes for whatever choice I make NOW.
Will I choose to exterminate, ignore, or turn away people and experiences because I am afraid and uncomfortable? Or will I face whatever it is, head on, aware of my fear but choosing to stand strong and choosing to use Love as my grounding force?
I have also been looking at yoga schools in India. If I decide to do the rigorous yoga course I’ll be uncomfortable. But when there is discomfort, and even pain, there is GROWTH. The same day of the spider fright I saw a few photos and quotes about pain and discomfort, and now I know this is confirmation to the lesson, just like the number message and the spider. I am being told that changes are on the way and I may become uncomfortable – but it is for my own growth.
Oh, by the way, that was totally a Wolf Spider. I did my research the next day. Yes you can scream with me now!!