4:00 AM: Up to check emails that filtered in overnight and to hammer away at a few writing projects while not a creature was stirring. 5:30 AM: Ready to give my laptop and phone a whip off the deck into the wild black yonder. Reality and my plans had not been collaborating for the past several days and it wasn’t looking good for today either.
Leaving my neighborhood to take my boys to school, I noticed my “For Sale by Owner” sign on the side of the highway was missing. That was the last straw. I couldn’t contain myself any longer. The gasket blew. My 11 year-old piped softly from behind, “It’s OK, Mom. Let it out.” Piping very loudly inside of my head was the voice, “What’s the flippin’ message now?” “What lesson am I up for now?” “Can’t I just get a break from this shit?” “Stop the world and let me off, preferably somewhere in the Rocky Mountains near Bozeman!”
I didn’t walk my kids into the school building, they understood. I looked like I just lost everything I ever had…and maybe that’s exactly what was happening. The old practices were dying, yet struggling to hold onto familiar ground, not completely ready to let go. After all, they’ve gotten pretty comfortable (though unproductive) here over the years.
Driving to my favorite secluded running trail, I started wailing and screaming like a child, “What gives?” My heart fires right back at me, “Why do you keep trying so hard to push the river?” “Good one,” I say to myself, and think, “I’m burning myself out trying to push against obstructions and currents.” Again, the heart speaks, “Give yourself a break and just flow with it, obstacles and all. You’ll handle it.”
I hopped on that trail leaving a barrage of rubbish as I disappeared into the woods. The more I lightened the load in my mind, the more sensitive I became to my surroundings. I began to notice how many more birds were chirping, the emerging buds on the ends of branches, and the soil and waters peaking through winter’s vanishing veil. The subtle indications of spring forthcoming were transpiring right before me and in my pushing to try to make things happen, I lost sight of the signs of growth beneath my own veils.
As I neared the trail’s end, I walked down to a segment of the river still covered with ice. I lay down on top of it, my ear flush with the surface, listening while absorbing the energy of the moving water; my body relaxing and loosening its grip. As I allowed more rubbish to ride away with the river, I focused on the sounds of its movement and the voice of the river amplified. Good Medicine!
When you quiet the mind and listen with your heart, everything begins to become clearer and louder. And when the shit comes at you faster than you think you can handle it, acknowledge and accept the obstacles, drop your guns, and ride it out.
The river may be frozen on the surface, but the energy beneath is constant. Like nature, the heart is constantly speaking. Sometimes you just have to stop focusing on what you see so you can hear what’s being spoken. Sometimes you just have to shut up and listen. And other times, you just have to throw your guts up on the pavement so you can.