It’s spring. Time to shed the old to make way for new growth. Reminds me of this Scandinavian story told by dear friend and master storyteller Daniel Deardorff.
The Lindworm Prince is the first born son, but he’s a worm. He’s thrown out of the castle and grows into a fierce dragon. By rights he gets to marry first, except he keeps eating all the eligible maidens.
The woodsman’s daughter is smart. She visits a wise woman for some tips before meeting the dragon. She cleverly tricks him into taking off his skins and scrubs him down until a handsome prince is revealed beneath seven black crusty layers. They marry and all is well!
Notice that nobody killed this dragon. Instead, a shining price emerged after shedding those layers.
The day after I heard this story, I couldn’t get the image of layers out of my head. What were my hidden layers? Could I wash them away?
I’m visual. Need to see things. So I pulled out big paper and fat pastels, and drew a rough human shape in purple, with six more colored layers inside. Each one whispered to me.
Purple layer said, “Look good. Always.”
Blue layer said, “Be good. Always.”
Gold layer said, “Be numb. Be dumb.”
Green layer said, “Do, do, do.”
Orange layer said, “Never enough.”
Red layer said, “Get control.”
The black layer had X’s, like barbed wire. It said: “I hate weakness.”
Oh yeah. I knew those dragon layers, very well. They had been bossing me around for years.
With tears of recognition on my face, I drew the center. Light yellow, glowing. My shining real Self, my spark, the one who all the other layers had to protect. The Self I invite each day to guide me.
Those outer layers are still here. Here in the real world it’s not so easy to wash them away. But since I befriended them, when they show up I say, “Hi! I know you, old friend. Thanks for your advice, but I’m listening to that one in the middle. The One who knows.”
Tell me: do you recognize any of these layers? Do they boss you around? Love your comments.
P.S. If you’d like to uncover some hidden layers that tell you what to do, and you’re near Bainbridge Island, WA, I invite you to check out my new group class, S.H.I.F.T.