The other night at work, I was struggling with fear and uncertainty. Whether it was hormones or being un-medicated and insane, I will probably never know. There I was, literally shaking inside and out, convinced that nothing would ever be alright in the world (or, more importantly, my life) again. I wanted to run, to hide, to disappear into the night and never have to deal with any of this ever again.
I went out the front door at work and lit a cig, praying a little that I would make it through the night. Somewhere in the anxiety, a little voice in my mind started to speak. Just one word: "Listen.....listen......listen".
So I did. I took a deep breath and I listened. I looked up to the stars, and somehow they seemed closer. I could have sworn in that moment that all I would have to do is reach my hand to the sky, and a star would have landed in my hand. The bare tree branches were starkly outlined against the night sky.
I took another deep breath, and listened some more. I heard frogs peeping in the distance, and a pair of owls hooted on the other side of the yard. A small critter, probably our resident skunk, rustled through the dried leaves in the woods. I could hear cars rushing by on the road about a mile away, and just a little further off something startled the geese at the lake and set off a rush of honking and splashing water.
I took yet another deep breath, and suddenly I could smell the earth around me. The wet, decaying leaves with their sweet scent so strong that it almost had a flavor. The fresh wind with it's faint trace of rain. The musty smell of newly disturbed dirt and rock. The scent of the lake just across the road.
In that moment, I knew that I was a part of all of it. I knew that I was a small part, but a part all the same. In that moment, everything was more real, somehow.
And it was okay.
God, Goddess, Great Spirit, or just the workings of a deranged mind..... it doesn't matter what spoke to me in that moment. I heard. For that one moment in time, I understood that my fears don't really matter in the big picture. I found comfort in my insignificance to the greater pattern of life.
Things are so simple when you let them be. I am no different than the birds and beasts I share this Earth with. I am no different than the goose, the owl, the skunk, the tree, or even the star. My victories ~ and my failures ~ make just the tiniest ripples in the patterns of life. Our needs are the same. We need food, shelter, to raise our young. We need clean water to drink, air to breathe. We will all exist for a time, and then leave this life.
All I need to have a good life is provided by the land around me. I have within me the skills I need to raise my Sprouts well. Everything else is complication. Everything else is clutter. Everything else, though some of it is fun, is unnecessary.
It was a relief to be reminded that life is about the LIVING. Too often I get caught up in thinking about what I can do, what I should do, what I can get away with doing (that maybe I shouldn't be), what I would do if things were different, what others want me to do.... I forget that all that thinking isn't what life is all about. It's about the experience. It's about being.