Alligator surfaced in my intention to choose Life. Beneath, were two converging undercurrents: 1. To transform unfavorable traits 2. To view negative experiences with soft eyes.

“You’re too Sensitive!” I got the message early on that I’d better toughen up. For that reason, I put on Alligator’s thick skin and turned my sensitivity outward.

In time, my truer Self became restless. I wondered if there was more to this gargantuan reptile than a resilient exterior. After all, there was more to me.

So, I stepped into the water to see for myself. Immediately, alligator bit into me and violently rolled me over and over until there was nothing more of the false self to wrestle.

Midlife’s initiation was distinctively different from my childhood baptism. The water was dirty and the crowd, not so forgiving. However, the words, “Buried in death, and raised to walk in newness of life,” accurately described both experiences.

Riptide surged. Had I invited this experience by deliberately living into a joy-filled life?

Like the first light of day after a long, dark night, a realization rose up in me. My sensitivity that other people saw was not a flaw, but instead the shadow that held my best gifts.

Prior to my reptilian encounter, I associated alligators with tough skin and bulging eyes skimming the water’s surface. After rolling with Alligator, I knew his inner fortitude and also mine.

I began considering people’s missteps with a little more compassion, for they too, could be in the throes of an alligator roll. Perhaps my response to their ugliness would encourage them to do more than merely endure the murky waters.

I erected fiercer boundaries, too. Newfound joy is often an invitation to people to be hurtful. I found that onlooker’s responses to meannesses were valuable signposts in my journey.

Abundant Life requires us to transform the negativity in our traits and to find a gift in every life experience. Joy asks us to let go of things that threaten the Sacred within, so there will be room to receive.

Sacred Ruminations*

What hinders your personal wholeness? How do your choices offer life to other people?