The mighty flea…not Tiger, or Elephant or Whale, but Flea! Fleas are minuscule from where we are standing, so they may seem as inconsequential as stars flickering dimly in the night sky. Yet, this diminution comes from the perspective of an onlooker standing billion of miles, or light years, away: up close, stars become suns, those gargantuan infernos of explosive energy. Likewise, a flea is a powerhouse of life force and glowing determination.
The soul of a flea burns as brightly as a sun, but the little ones have the advantage of quick mobility (they can jump up to 200 times their body weight) and even invisibility, as their 1/16-1/8 inch small bodies are often undetectable to far-sighted predators. In Plato’s Apology, Socrates compared himself to a flea that buzzed in the ears of Athenians to prompt them out of their complacency and stand up for justice and truth. In Asian folklore, there are tales of monkeys that shape shift into the form of fleas to escape from demons or to elude detection. Flea teeth are as sharp as Chinese throwing stars; these tiny ninjas also have compressible bodies that make them “smush” and “scratch” resistant. Flea shows those of us who have felt victimized or powerless that we really do have tremendous influence, agility, self-preservation and protection abilities.
Flea reminds us of our resilience. The harsh criticism of others may scratch away at our self-esteem, but nothing can crush our spirits if we define ourselves from within. By seeing how big we are inside, instead of focusing on small-minded insults or transgressions from without, we harness our inner strength and can fly even without wings.
Cultivate your psychological faith and the door to your imagination will be open. Trust yourself and do not underestimate your own ability to bring about change or action. In the play Prometheus Bound by the Greek tragedian Aeschylus, the Goddess Hera changed the maiden Io into a cow for having an affair with her husband, Zeus, and then sent a gadfly to drive the creature all across the world. What issue or problem needs to be driven out of your psyche, your life, or your community this year? While others may swat at you, consider how your tenacious buzzing can move a whole stubborn herd of cattle; embody the mighty Flea!