Recently, a young friend wrote to me and described a former relationship. Much to his credit, upon reflection, he acknowledged the warning signs he missed or chose to overlook at the time. Although his "inner Toreador" served him well, he ignored the red flags in his path. He allowed the bullish relationship to overpower him and leave him broken and confused. Yet, in his present review of the relationship as well as his choices, the young man admitted his apprehensions and committed to trusting his intuitions - the moment they appear - in the future. When we allow and trust the process of life to alert us, we respond with growth and insight, and a renewed appreciation for the presence of spirit in our life.
Fighting with Life
Traditionally, the spectacle of bullfighting (tauromachy) occured primarily in Spain, Portugal and Mexico. The Toreador (Matador) ritually performs various prescribed maneuvers to distract, anger or agitate the bull. The bull then reacts in his own bullish nature, by charging at the Toreador repeatedly, in response to the many antagonizing gestures. In short, the bull behaves as a bull, and the Matador ingratiates himself into the bull's environment.
In life, we act as our own Toreador, by imposing our will on life itself. We put ourselves in the ring with our fears. Voluntarily, we enter the playing field, armed with our own red issues, to seek indescribable satisfaction or revenge against the unseen which we interpret as the cause of our human angst. We dare and tease life to be something it is not. Then, life finally gives us what we ask for, charging at us full force in response to our deliberate machinations. Forgetting our involvement of conscious choices, we then get angry at life for appearing exactly as we orchestrated.
The folklore of bullfighting specifically indicates that a bull gets angry when it sees red. In fact, a bull's biological makeup mirrors canines, in that their vision is strictly black and white. Perhaps the configuration of the arena demanded a bright color so the spectators could track the antics of the Toreador, nonetheless, the red cape or flag symbolizes danger, warning and impending demise in most cultures today.
When we see the world in black and white, our options limit us. Using "either/or" conditions, our colorless lives appear rigid and closed off from opportunities. Whether we "see red" or look at the world "through rose-colored glasses," our perception of the truth remains colored by the filters of our own limitations. Spirit waits for us to view our life in the full spectrum of possibilities and embrace each nuance as it shines through the prism of our life experience. You can bring the "red" with you to the fight or choose to confront life with a rainbow of options.
Many times, we choose to disengage from life - not walk into the arena. In moments of self-lulling, or detachment, we separate our observations from our intuition. In times like this, when risks appear to shatter our spiritual cohesion, our inner matador steps in to deflect the negative impact. Like my young friend, we see signs of caution, but our will to remove ourselves appropriately, wanes due to our inattention or lack of self-honor to acknowledge the situation exactly as it is.
When we notice and obey the signs of life, new paths open up for us. Our thoughts and choices submit to our control. Remembering that we alone hold the ability to change our thoughts when they no longer serve us, and change our choices, as well, shines on the open arena of life in full Technicolor.
Life gives us symbols, signs, and sometimes blatant messages. I lovingly refer to this as life "ordering me around," when I know it's truly an intervention of spirit. Like traffic signals and directional signage, we follow the suggestions life offers, or suffer the consequences. Paying attention and listening intently to our own inner matador, we see that the daring parts of an amazing life are protected by the deflection of negativity.
Leave your red cape at home, and never intentionally invite the bull to your picnic!