My Tiny Little Pet Caterpillar
Sometimes it's the little things in life that can be the most fulfilling. Every so often I have the pleasure of meeting a tiny little magical creature that warms my heart. I am speaking of insects! I typically attract bees, hornets, moths, ants, spiders, flies and beetles to name a few. Ofcourse I am extra careful with anything that stings! But somehow none of the stinging insects I encounter ever sting me! They know my intentions are good. If they are injured I usually give them some reiki energy healing. If they are dying I may even keep them with me in my apartment until they pass away so that they don't die alone. It all depends on the feeling I get from the little creature.
Usually if the insect is healthy, I will just take him back outside and place him on some dirt or grass... or I will allow him to fly away when he is ready to! However, there are some unique times when I wish to build more of a connection with the little fella. Perhaps it's a past life thing... or just my personal desire to express compassion for something so tiny, yet so full of life. Whatever the case may be... I find connecting with insects to be rewarding. I believe that God is in everything,.. especially the smallest of things. Therefore insects are very special to me. FYI I also feel this way about connecting with animals! But for the sake of this article, I am talking about insects.
A few days ago I was grabbing vegetables and greens out of my fridge to prepare for dinner. I spotted a tiny piece of dirt on my hand. I was about to flick it into the trash, however I stopped myself. Upon closer inspection it appeared that this piece of dirt may have been alive. I tried tapping on it but it wouldn't move. So I decided to wait a few seconds. Perhaps if this were some type of insect it may feel safer if I didn't tap on it. All of a sudden a tiny little caterpillar unraveled from the ball it had rolled itself into. It started crawling on my hand. And when I say tiny... I mean this caterpillar was the length of my pinkie nail! He was so small... I don't know how I managed to see him! But I'm sure glad I did... as he almost ended up in the trash!
I thought to myself, “What a lucky little cutie pie! Perhaps I should make him a home?” So I grabbed a little plastic tupperware container, placed some spinach, arugula and cabbage inside... and then placed my new little buddy on top of one of the leaves. I noticed that he was really loving the cabbage. He found a tiny little hiding place in the crevice of a piece of cabbage I had placed in his container. He spent the first night in this container. I didn't place a lid on top of it because I didn't want him to feel trapped. He could leave if he wanted to... although what could be better than a container full of greens? “Why would he want to leave?”, I thought. The next morning, to my astonishment, he was still inside his container! “He must like it”, I thought. However I noticed that he was slowly climbing to the top. I wondered what he was thinking. Perhaps he wanted to leave? So I started to talk to him.
I asked him why he was climbing to the top of his container? Was he not happy? I told him I would take good care of him. I would give him fresh greens daily and he would be safe with me. I asked him if he wanted to be released in the wild or if he wanted to stay with me? I gave him some reiki and felt that he wanted to go outside to get fresh air and sunlight. So I carried him in his little container and placed him in a shady spot on my balcony. I didn't want to put him in direct sunlight. I was told that the sun could be harmful to caterpillars... especially on a super hot day, which it was! Plus, I placed my last rescue caterpillar in a potted plant on my balcony and the next day he was gone. Sadly, I think the sun got him! So back to the story... As soon as I took his container outside, my caterpillar immediately started crawling back down into his container, so I must've read his mind correctly. He didn't want to leave after all. He just wanted to be outside. Or, he was concerned about the heat outside and wanted to go back down to the greens for protection. Regardless... he didn't leave!
I decided that having a container with just greens in it was not enough for my little man. I did some research on google and found out that some caterpillars should have a paper towel on the bottom of their container that gets replaced daily to remove their excrement. This can be harmful to them. Other caterpillars need dirt. I couldn't figure out what he needed, but dirt seemed more natural to me. Twigs were also recommended. So I went outside and got my little guy some dirt and twigs. I made him a real nice apartment. He seemed to like it too.
Every time I would check on him, he seemed to be examining a new part of his living quarters. I was so excited when I found him climbing on a new piece of broccoli I placed in his container. He also seemed interested in a piece of strawberry I placed near him. He was moving closer to inspect it. Another time he was hiding in a little hole he created in the dirt under a piece of tree bark. I started adding some drops of water on the leaves and in the dirt as one article suggested, so that my caterpillar would stay hydrated. I was very careful not to get any water on him. I became so fascinated with this little fella that I kept talking about him to my friend... My friend, however, was not quite amused and told me several times to please stop talking about the caterpillar. lol
To my surprise, I soon found out that there was other life existing in this container with my caterpillar. Some tiny little bug seemed to really like him. Then all of sudden I saw an even tinier caterpillar. It was microscopic and climbing all over a bok choy flower I had placed in the container. I was so delighted. I was beaming with joy! Every so often though, my little caterpillar would look lifeless and I would get concerned and start poking at him with leaves. I'm embarrassed to say, I even used a twig a few times to poke at him. But then I realized that poking him with a twig was really not acceptable. How would I like to be poked with a twig? So I apologized to him and promised never to poke him with a twig again. But I was concerned. A few times I had feared the worst. But then I read that caterpillars sleep during the day. I felt even worse now for poking at him. I was disturbing his sleep. So I decided no more pokings at all.
I spoke to my farmer friend at my local neighborhood farmer's market and excitedly told him that I had adopted a tiny caterpillar. He immediately suspected that it was a cabbage eating caterpillar. How did he know? I told him that my caterpillar was all over the cabbage initially. Then he told me that these caterpillars also love broccoli! Again, yes my little guy was crawling all over the broccoli! My farmer friend told me that sooner or later my little caterpillar was going to climb up to the highest twig in his container, pupate and turn into a moth. He said that if I wanted this to happen faster that I should feed the little guy some kale. So I started placing baby kale in his container. He immediately seemed interested.
Sadly, it never got to the point of my little caterpillar turning into a moth. After about 3 days, my worst fear was realized. My poor little guy was no longer just sleeping... He had passed away... or so it appeared! And yes, I was poking at him with leaves yet again just to be certain. And I felt bad about that. I placed him under a small leaf of cabbage as I feel he would have appreciated that. There's still a part of me that's waiting for him to come back to life... like surprise... I wasn't dead after all! Maybe he is pupating? I don't understand the life cycle of a caterpillar well enough to really determine his state of being right now. I just know that he hasn't moved in days and that doesn't seem normal. Who knows? Perhaps he is alive somewhere grateful for the special time we shared together. But regardless of his untimely demise, I feel that there's always a lesson to be learned from these short, yet meaningful, experiences with insects.
To me these small creatures are a reminder that life need not be so complicated. There is a beauty to simplicity. If we all slow down for just a moment, we may actually get a chance to witness this beauty... to become one with this beauty. Watching my little caterpillar was actually becoming a meditation for me. I was watching God at work in one of his tiniest physical bodies. There is a higher power that exists in everything both big and small. There is a perfect order to this physical matrix. And although insects may seem small and insignificant at times, and may even annoy us, sting us or get in our way, every being has its purpose on this planet. I'd like to think that by taking care of a fellow being, such as my caterpillar, I am helping them to live out their purpose... and in a certain respect, they are helping me to live out mine. For I am here on this planet to be of service to humanity, animals, plants and insects alike. We are all in this together.
Perhaps this relationship, between myself and the caterpillar, exhibits what one may consider to be true unconditional love. For I expected nothing from this caterpillar in return for the food and home I provided it with. And I'm sure that the caterpillar never expected anything from me. But somehow we connected. This, my friend, is the essence of pure God energy. Do you wish to evolve consciously? Do you wish to experience unconditional love? Then be generous and give freely of your love to all beings... especially those that you know cannot provide you with anything in return... except perhaps that good feeling you get from connecting with another soul! Peace and Blessings!
Jennie Haiman is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!