Snails and Infinite Possibilities

giant snail in cartoon forest

Embracing the Unknown: Lessons from Unintended Consequences

In my journey towards awakening, one of my core intentions has been to live a life that avoids causing harm to any being. However, this pursuit sometimes leads me to confront the weight of my actions and the unforeseen consequences that arise. A recent experience on a rainy day, walking along a sidewalk teeming with snails, triggered a profound reflection on the delicate balance between intention and unintended outcomes, and how the Universe offers infinite possibilities.

The Burden of Consciousness

As someone committed to living in harmony with all life forms, the burden of consciousness can weigh heavily on me. Each step I take is guided by the intention to minimize harm, but this heightened awareness sometimes engenders an overwhelming sense of responsibility. This was especially true as I found myself developing an inexplicable terror about walking on the sidewalk where countless snails would cross my path.  The little buggers come out in droves on a rainy day.

The Weight of Past Mistakes

To understand the depth of my anguish, let’s explore a past experience. Once, I accidentally stepped on a salamander, breaking off its tail. Overwhelmed by guilt and bawling at my insensitivity, completely forgetting that salamanders can regenerate their tails, all I could perceive was an animal in pain and “suffering” from my actions.  This event left me questioning my role as a caretaker of Mother Nature, instilling a hyper-awareness of where I placed each foot.

This is a common experience for those who are learning the value of life. We do our best to harm no one, sometimes to the point of extreme worry about doing so. Now, since we are creating a reality with these thoughts, what do you think will happen?

So on this rainy day, I did my best to avoid the multitude of snails that were set in my path. And then, out of the overcast sky emerged a breathtaking cloud, with sun rays shining through it in an epic display of Source’s magnificence.  I was in awe.  I walked up the hill, mouth agape at the majesty of it all.  Until…

Crunch.

I stopped in my tracks. Lifting up my foot, there was a crushed shell beneath it.

In an instant, the awe-inspiring display of nature transformed into overwhelming guilt and remorse.  I was a killer. A horrible ward of Earth’s fauna.  Unworthy to co-exist with fellow animals.  Not to be trusted with another’s life.

Guiding Back to Positivity

Forever ready to help when needed, my guides descended on me…fully aware of my imminent spiral into further negative thoughts.

I heard multiple voices urging me: “Keep walking.”

A hit and run.

“That’s irresponsible human behavior,” I said out loud.  My thoughts raced, replacing the snail with a human, left behind as I fled the site of an auto crash, and my stomach tightened into a knot.

One guide, in her best compassionate drill sergeant tone, reminded me to consider the transformative power of this moment:

“Your thoughts right now affect the rest of your life. Which thoughts do you want to think?”

No minced words here. She had a point. Which ideas did I choose to embrace?

Yet if all life was of equal value, why would my guides urge me to keep walking for a snail, when I would never do that to a human?   Perhaps there was more to this lesson.  Perhaps I should withhold judgment until more information arrived. This is a challenge for most humans, I know.  We are quick to make assumptions based on just a few bits of information; we turn those assumptions into facts and we affect the rest of our lives with them.

So I shelved the human element and returned my attention to the image of the broken shell I’d left on the sidewalk. It felt better.

“Keep walking.”

This may be easy for a guide to say.  Most of them are not in the physical, feeling the intense emotions that humans feel.  The guilt, the fear of making a wrong decision, and the repercussions of our actions that often leave us with viscerally painful memories.  With each step, eyes focused on the sidewalk in front of me, a neon sign blinked on and off on my inner screen:  KILLER.

We know that consciousness never dies.

Inherently, I know that the snail, allegedly squished beneath my shoe, would continue to live. Perhaps my unfortunate misstep could have ended his life here as a snail on earth in this space-time continuum; yet I know that he carries his “snailness” with him into the next experience.  His consciousness is inviolate.

I ventured another glance at the sky, but alas, the epic cloud was gone. I kept walking.

It wasn’t long before I strode alongside a huge expanse of white wall, slick from the recent rainfall.  I stopped in amazement.

On the wall slithered dozens of snails, happily crossing paths with each other, traveling the surface with full freedom.

And not one of them had a shell.

Was I a killer?

The drill sergeant, perched at my right shoulder, whispered to me, “You assumed the worst.”

Let infinite possibilities exist

I assumed that a footstep on a shell meant immediate death to a snail.  More gently this time, she added, “Let the snail decide. By not knowing, you leave it up to the Universe.”

I understood that if I had stopped with the worst assumption in mind, I would solidify that possibility and choose it as my reality.  I don’t even know if there was a snail in the shell.  Or if so, perhaps he was thankful for my breaking it, so he could travel uninhibited like the others on the wall.  Perhaps my unfortunate misstep wasn’t unfortunate at all.

And so as I continued down the hill, my frequency on the rise again, I left it up to the Universe. I left it up to the snail, and I forgave myself for the experience. And I realized that each event needs to be addressed in accordance with its conditions.  No, of course we would never flee a hit-and-run situation with a human.  We have laws about it to ensure that everyone is given the vital attention needed in such situations.  Yet is it necessary to assume that every fender bender will be a lethal one?  Could we look at what we think of as “unfortunate missteps” as synchronistic serendipity instead, in which no one gets hurt?

It’s possible…as all things are.

The best is all that we can do, and sometimes it might seem like the best isn’t good enough. Yet by embracing the unknown, we allow ourselves a little bit of slack, and the understanding that the universe knows exactly what it’s doing.

 

Kimberly

author: Kimberly

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