Sometimes the Design Your Life Weekend has such a deep effect on people they make major life changes immediately. This week, I want to share with everyone a letter I received from an August Design Your Life Weekend participant that shows just how quickly she changed her life. When she first came in, based on her homework, I honestly wasn’t sure how much we could help her. Many, many areas of her life were in disarray. When I met her, I saw a beautiful, soulful, intelligent, passionate woman who wanted to recover from a life of lying, struggling and chickening out. She quickly caught on to the Handel Method® and put it right to work. Three weeks after the course, she wrote to the entire group to tell us she’d already lost 12 pounds, left a dead-end relationship and set in motion getting her children’s books published. Then she got a tattoo (see the picture she sent us) and explained it like this:
It’s a Luna Moth and there is a story behind it.
When I was in the fourth grade we had to put together bug collection for a science project in school. There were certain species that were extra credit, one of which was a Luna moth. My group had a pretty thorough collection and we were certain we’d get an “A” on the project.
One night I went outside to let my dog out and there was the most beautiful moth I had ever seen just hanging out on the porch light. I got my butterfly net, caught it and put it in a jar to bring to school. In my heart I knew I should set it free, but I wanted the extra credit and I wanted to be the cool kid that found the awesome moth.
The next day when I brought it to school, everyone in my group insisted we kill it to mount on our project. I was mortified, but went along with everyone. We put the bug killer stuff on a cotton ball and put it in the jar. I stared at that jar for HOURS panicking, knowing I should get up from my desk and set it free–but I didn’t.
After school we took the moth out of the jar to mount it but it was still alive! “Free it NOW!” I thought…but again, I was too scared to go against my group. Too cowardly to do what I knew was right.
We put it back in the jar with more bug killer for two hours…and again it was still alive!
I went through the same internal struggle, and again I failed the moth. Finally we pulled it out, poked a pin through its center and mounted it and miraculously it started flapping its wings!
I knew it was speaking to my heart “Set me FREE! I don’t belong on this board!” And finally I spoke out…”We have to let this go!” I demanded “No way! This thing’s worth 25 extra points” argued my group members. So, against my better judgment, I gave up the control. I let them kill the moth.
Since that project, I’ve never once spotted another Luna moth in nature. They come to me in dreams, often, when I am faced with a difficult decision.
The Luna moth tattoo on my wrist is a bit crooked on purpose. I wanted it to startle me every time I look at it. To remind me that I am in control of every choice I make. Every choice.
Today I choose life.
Today I set myself free.
Thank you Laurie, the tattoo was inspired by the course- and something so simple, yet so profound that you said about having control of my hand. My hand puts the food in my mouth. My hand signs the credit card statements. My hand hits the snooze bar on my alarm clock when I am avoiding something.
I am a visual person, so the tattoo is my reminder that everything is a choice. Every choice takes me closer or further away from my dream of making a difference. I believe I was meant to live this life to be an inspiration. I want to be a role model, not only to my children, but to the hundreds of children I have the privilege of influencing as a teacher. I feel so much gratitude to you for showing me I already am who I want to be if I choose every day to be her.