I have been been going through some deep, emotional lessons in my life over the last couple of months. I have, at times, felt powerless, hopeless, and overwhelmed by what has been happening around me. I have taken on the heaviness and volatility of the situations at hand, as if it has everything to do with me. At those times, I always feel compelled to do SOMETHING, because I feel so powerless about the circumstances that are impacting my world, or a loved one. Anything that would assist in relieving my sense of helplessness. I have found myself being angry, judgmental, and feeling like a victim. I have focused on the actions or experiences of others. And, through much of it, I have not always focused on my own needs and what feeds me.
What I have come to understand about myself, actually, what I believe to be true about all human beings, is that we cannot truly be there for another person, love them as they are, unless we are first caring for ourselves in a deep, intimate way. Much of the time, that just means for me to remind myself to eat balanced, regular meals; to get good, restful sleep at night; and making sure I get my body moving. When those are sacrificed by me, in the name of compassion or care for others, I have nothing left to care for them with. In addition, if I don’t “feed” myself, with the activities and time that I need in my soul, I feel empty. I feel like I could fall into a hole of self pity and have a hard time crawling out.
So, I have been more diligent. I write every day, even working on a novel that I have been talking to myself about for years but have been putting off continuing. I have beaten on a drum a bit. Taken some walks around town. And yesterday, when I woke up in a “funk”, feeling deeply raw and emotional, I knew that I had to get into nature. I had to go out into the woods and feel connected. Believe me, there was a part of me that did not want to, that wanted to wallow in some self created misery. But I knew that it was deeply important. So I headed to a trail that I had never been to before. I was on the verge of tears. I wanted to believe how lonely and isolated I felt from others. How hopeless everything was. But, I reminded myself to stay present, open and willing to be with myself.
I am always amazed and inspired by what I notice when I really get present in my world. When I first arrived at the trail, I was distracted. I was in my mind and my incessant thoughts. However, I consciously shifted that; and realized that any circumstance, no matter how difficult it seems to be, brings beautiful lessons to my life. And, that when I see others, and myself, as capable, open and completely perfect, magic happens. When I shifted my awareness, to just be present, I found myself hearing and seeing the most amazing things. The sound of the water nearby running over rocks. The rustle of the leaves under my feet and on the hills along the path. A sound that seemed to be a person hammering, but when I stopped, and gently looked up, it was a woodpecker, looking for insects on a tree. As I looked up, I saw at least two other woodpeckers swooping overhead, easily recognized with their red heads.
The rustling on the hillsides were many chipmunks, scurrying from logs and trees to gather nuts, to chase one another. They are so tiny, so playful and so timid. I love catching them with the corner of my eye as they run by. One of them was sitting on a fallen tree, just looking at me, his cheeks bulging with some treasure. He kept eye contact, and it filled me with peace and wonder.
In that hour of time, I was reminded yet again of the necessity and gift of Presence in my life, of Gratitude and Peace. When I am in my world, present to it, willing to accept all that comes my way, and ready to let go of my own need to control or guide, the beauty of the world pours in. When I trust that I am right where I need to be, I know I need to do nothing. And I find the deepest Peace that I have ever known.