Rena M. Reese, M.S. is an author, founder of Soul Salon International and instructor at The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda, Md. In her latest book, The Soul Salon, readers enjoy what would equate to a year of personal life coaching as they learn about the path to awakening & bliss, living in alignment and enjoying a life of purpose. For more information about her books or speaking, please visit www.SoulSalonInternational.com.
There is a time to follow and a time to lead– Discern the time for each in life; your happiness may be riding on it. Now, on to Fabre and his caterpillars…
Jean Henri Fabre was a French entomologist. He conducted research in regard to the inherited behavior patterns of certain insects. I recently heard about his findings in regard to the Processionary Caterpillar named for reasons made obvious by the photo below.
Fabre conducted a study where he put pine needles, the caterpillars food, in a pot and placed the caterpillars in a circle around the pot. For seven days the caterpillars continued in an eternal circle around this pot; eachfollowing the caterpillar in front. Sadly they all died with the food they needed just three inches away inside the pot they mindlessly circled around.
The problem was that the caterpillars followed the caterpillar in front of them. Each as trusting and clueless as the next one–which of course led them on a path of “Activity” but not “Accomplishment.”Interestingly, the caterpillars leave a trail which gives feedback to any caterpillar who comes upon it. They can tell an old trail from a new trail, how many caterpillars were in a procession, and they follow the trail that was “marked” by the greatest number of caterpillars.
Sometimes we do that too, don’t we? The masses can’t be wrong, right? Notice if there are places in life where you follow the trail of many or follow in the footsteps of ______. We can easily be hypnotized by group thought. In my practice, I have worked with people trying to create new paradigms for themselves. Some have had to face breaking away from the “trail” of abuse, addiction, or rigid religious dogma. Others have had lighter trails to step away from, like moving to a new part of the country away from family or pursing a line of work or education different from peers or previous generations.
Standing apart and forging your own trail is not always easy, but will lead you to your most authentic and happy place.
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