Anxiety is living life in the periphery a mind afraid to focus on direct experience like eyes left straining into the blurry images produced from the outer angles of sight Endlessly missing the opportunity to see what's right in front of me distracted by the desperation to see it all before making my next move Walking blindly into the future while believing there is some safety in focusing all attention on the sidelines absorbed by unclear, obscured visions Mastering the practice of mindfulness the ever evolving effort to stare straight ahead being present with what's before me rather than apparitions hovering just out of view Keep walking faithfully forward syncing each breath with firm steps resting in the reality of perpetual uncertainty softly savoring all the surprises of life Allowing myself to become engrossed in the ever unfolding mirage of right now releasing all tight tendrils of assumed control to be submerged in this moment
Shedding the crackling layers of thought the busy hum inside that separates us from the splendid simplicity of the moment embracing boredom as a sacred rest Letting go of the desperate clinging the endless search for answers and meaning this life doesn't have to be anything besides exactly what it is as we breathe here now You're doing enough, you are enough whether or not you've made a masterpiece out of every second of your day sip in inner stillness with the stale air All tension comes from the stories we tell our insistence that we should be somewhere else when did it become so scary to nestle into silence to spend hours watching the rain come and go When did I begin to rely on the things outside myself to be a signal for if I'm doing okay, if I'm allowed to be happy hushing my internal guide to subscribe to other influences surrendering my deep knowing for doubt Even my sad days have their own worth it's the struggle to escape them that becomes suffering sitting with myself in the darkness is okay being a friend to this form instead of abandoning her I still don't know if unconditional love can be taught or if it's already there beneath all the noise but if this life is just spent searching and learning what a beautiful experience it will be regardless
This body is not an ornament or a toy to break and replace it is the holy vessel that holds me and tethers me to this world A useful container that houses the soul perfect and precious because it is uniquely mine the one thing I fully own, my true home the most important gift I could be given How ungrateful I've been for the mortal flesh that supports me my personal window into reality an unconscious effort that keeps me living Belittling all that this body does based only on shallow self judgement centered around outward appearance as if that even matters The frightened animal form my consciousness has been assigned to protect and take care of offering only criticism and neglect May I be a better steward to this living temporary temple and learn to speak to it with gratitude and soft caresses of loving kindness
Waking to the sound of rain a song of rest outside my window sanctuary of subdued sunshine a signal to soften and slow down Dewey refuge from frantic movement rejuvenation released from the sky deflating this bloated baggage of worry replaced with soothing streams of surrender Tender tones of grey and blue wrapping me in sacred stillness permission to let go and listen the soft drumbeat of water on leaves Muffled birdsongs through the mist relentless ethereal cadence of crickets full bodied accompaniment to life's chorus syncopated splashes contributed by clouds Damp doves drying in tree branches the whole world holding it's breath absorbing this gift of liquid life relinquished awe-inspiring cycle of earth's abundance Savoring the simple gifts of nature the last few decades of clean water overcome with sheer gratitude for deep exhales punctuated by raindrops
I go back and forth every single day. The clarity it comes to me in choppy waves.Aloha Ke Akua – Nahko Bear (Medicine for the People)
Last month, for perhaps the first time, I truly felt like I was receiving messages from the universe. I was open to little nudges, unseen hands guiding me toward the correct path in life. I’m not usually one to believe in “signs” or “universal messages” but the way they began to pile up and manifest themselves in exactly the right moments really had me paying attention. I was in awe at the way the small suggestions and confirmations I was noticing in my daily life seemed to be telling me exactly what to do, encouraging me to make the decisions I was making. My doubt was at an all time low when it came to this type of thing. I followed with confidence, trust, and a heart open to new experiences despite the fear. The universe was on my side.
Then suddenly this past Monday, just as it appeared I had reached the pinnacle of where the universe was leading me, all the signs started to shift. Why were they saying the opposite of what they seemed to be saying a week or even a few days earlier? Had I misunderstood then? Or was I misinterpreting them now? Or had I been kidding myself the whole time, just seeing what I wanted to see? I still don’t know. I’ll never really know. All I know for sure is that I followed them both times. Even though they started to shift in the opposite direction, perhaps contradicting all I had just put so much effort into doing, I continued to follow with curiosity and faith.
To be more specific, the “signs” I thought I was seeing were all pointing me toward a new career path, telling me it was time to break out of my comfort zone and make big changes in my life. Absolutely bizarre coincidences began appearing all around me, unbelievable opportunities suddenly manifested themselves. I was seeing synchronicities everywhere. There was an electric static feeling in the air. It felt impossible to ignore.
Like I said, on Monday of this week, it all came to a head. I had an interview to be an English teacher at a local high school, and they offered me the job. I couldn’t believe it. It had all happened so fast, so miraculously. Somehow I had applied before they even posted the job online. They were so pressed to find someone before the impending school year that they were willing to work with my unconventional licensure situation. I even had exactly the right amount of time to give two weeks notice at my current job. This was the path I had been pursuing before I found myself where I am now. It seemed too perfect, too good to be true. I had to take it. Didn’t I?
That night, my excitement slowly began to wane and turn into a tangible fear. Was I really going to do this? Was this really still something I wanted? Would I be happier somewhere else simply because it offered a bit more money and the potential for more future security? I was so flooded with conflicting emotions and I felt smothered under an impossibly short deadline to decide. I didn’t like the way this pressure was affecting my ability to make a calm, informed, confident decision. It didn’t help that all the signs I looked to to reaffirm the messages I had been receiving now seemed to do a complete 180.
At the final hour, when I had accepted and told my beloved coworkers, but hadn’t yet signed a binding contract for the position, I experienced a physical sensation I had never before experienced. The only way I can describe it is utter dread. My skin was cold and clammy. There was a strange, disgusting, static pressure on the back of my neck. I couldn’t eat that evening. I could barely sleep and woke up at 3am in a complete panic attack.
That morning I let everyone know I was having second thoughts. Somehow I found myself online investigating for the millionth time the steps I’d have to move toward for complete licensure once I accepted this position. Somehow I had never noticed until then what a convoluted, expensive, intensive, seemingly impossible process I was about to commit myself to at the risk of losing everything. That was the tipping point. I decided to back out.
The sense of relief and certainty that washed over me when I changed my decision was immense. I could finally breathe again. I was so unimaginably grateful for where I am right now, the people I get to spend my days with, the work I do, the incredible, supportive family I have. I was also so grateful that I had listened to that palpable force of intuition inside of me that began screaming for my attention.
So what happened? I thought the universe was telling me to do it, but then just before I could, it told me not to. Why? Feel free to think this explanation is completely nuts, I’m sure I would have a few years ago myself. But I still think I heard the messages correctly the entire time. The universe was guiding me toward that interview and that job. I was just getting a bit ahead of myself as to the reasons why. I was not being guided there to accept the offer, or to completely change course. I was guided there to show me something important about the life I have now.
The last few months had left me feeling very unsatisfied and frankly ungrateful for where I am in life. I felt trapped in a shitty situation, doomed to a life I had never foreseen or chosen for myself. This whole experience gave me something so much more valuable than a new job, it gave me a wake up call. I LOVE the life I have now. I’m not stuck here. I WANT to be here. The universe showed me that I have other paths open to me. I can choose a different life whenever I want to. But I don’t want to.
It’s not just complacency or fear of change. It’s because I have everything I could have ever asked for, everything I never even knew was possible for me. I have a job I adore. I get to work with people I not only get along with, but who I love as dearly as my own family. For the first time in my life, I enjoy, even look forward to going to work every day. It doesn’t even feel like work. It feels like spending time with my friends. I get to laugh everyday, feel genuine joy and connection, be my true, authentic self, have lots of downtime and flexibility, caring, understanding superiors, and even beautiful rolling fields with cows and a little pond to take walks to every day. I might not be paid a lot, but it’s enough to live, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted anyway. This job gives me the only kind of wealth that truly matters: community, love, and happiness.
After this harrowing ordeal, I’ve come out of it trusting in the universe, synchronicities, and signs more than ever. I’ve learned to trust myself and the universe a lot more. If I had just kept going, ignored the new messages I was receiving in favor of continuing to follow the old ones, I would have completely destroyed my life. Not only would I have lost everything I have now, I’m certain I would have crumbled under the pressure of everything I hadn’t realized I would be taking on.
Thankfully I listened to the new, seemingly contradictory, guidance and feel happier than I have in a long time. I’m closer than ever to my friends at work. It was beyond touching to see how sad, yet supportive they were about my initial decision, and then how overjoyed they were when I changed my mind. Now more than ever I see the true value and importance of the genuine connections I’ve made here. I got to fully realize the support and love I have from my family, particularly my mother as well. My boyfriend’s mom yelled at him when he said he wanted to turn back from the career path he had chosen. My mom embraced fully whatever path I wanted to choose, assuring me that she loved and supported me no matter what. I hadn’t understood what a rare and special blessing that I had.
Now I know I’m exactly where I need to be. No matter what happens, I am so grateful for all that I have been given and get to continue to enjoy for the time being. I feel refreshed, refocused, and invigorated to be the very best I can be and emboldened to show my undying love and appreciation for the people that give my life purpose and meaning. What a journey these last few weeks have been. Everything I’ve experienced so far in life has been necessary to bring me to where I am. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Raincloud of relief the sky opening like my heart to soak in the cool tranquil, feeling of overwhelming gratitude I am exactly where I need to be I don't need to change my surroundings to bloom into my highest self the fertile soil of love surrounds me Utter bliss, staring out past the rolling fields and softly drifting cloud formations of home there is no future to fear, there is only right now and I am so happy and filled with peace and purpose Nothing can strip me of this joy the essence of my soul revealed no longer burdened by the looming pressure to sacrifice what I hold so dear Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this perfect, though impermanent gift all fear has fled from the recesses of my heart I've made the right decision
Savoring the empty shell of the structure I've called my second home Today I took pictures of all the vacant, silent rooms so I can always remember I felt them catch in my heart as I cradled my camera with sentimental arms Whether I turn away or decide to stay I am so grateful For the way this place has held me and helped me to embody someone new I find so much pleasure in running my fingers over these tender memories No matter what happens nothing can take away what I've gained here
The warm, thick water at the edge of the river guides me along the texture of the rocky shore the soft rhythm of the waves against my bare legs and feet sand sticks to me as I reemerge through the trees along the road the humid air clings to my lungs in an oppressive cloud of heat storms slowly accumulating above the distant horizon ripe black raspberries beckon from the wild hillside bramble the heat is dissolved by cool droplets as I begin to collect my bounty enjoying my palmful of sweet fruit letting the rain soak my hair and paint dewy beads against my skin the swell of sweet music in my ears I laugh at the sheer delight of being alive overcome by gratitude for all my senses overwhelmed with love for this world savoring the childlike joy of simplicity each present moment can be populated with precious miracles like these may my mind remain still to witness my heart always open, ready to receive
the smallest dose of ancient medicine breaks down the walls I build around myself letting the world in once again a reminder of what is the tether of the present moment pulling me along through time the curiosity of the child inside waking to a wonderful world that's been here all along the sheer beauty of bird calls as I add my own joyous song the deep knowing of connection that binds me to all beings in this mysterious adventure of unlikely existence the realization that I am here a vessel to fill up with love and awe by witnessing the miracle of reality gratitude spills from my eyes in salty streams of sacred serenity thank you, thank you, thank you
Yesterday I felt abundant because I was handed a ball of unexpected money. How blessed I felt by the universe for the arrival of a few marked bills. My heart rejoiced at my well-deserved reward. Then the same day, my refrigerator broke. I saw my small surprise fortune plummet back into the red. $300 is not enough to buy a new fridge. What a cruel joke! What had I done wrong in the time between this radiant morning and this evening so thick with humidity? I felt all the safety and abundance stripped away from me in an instant. I had not even gotten to enjoy it for a full day. I was frantic, frightened, confused.
I called my mother in a hysterical state, as I had done many times in my short life. She was calm and walked me through the options I had. She waited with me as we tried to unplug it and plug it back in. No luck. She advised me to call my grandmother who lives just minutes away and see what I could bring to her house and to try to freeze or forfeit everything else. At first I was inconsolable. I apologized to her for always putting her in the position to fix things for me when I knew she couldn’t truly do anything. I thanked her, told her I loved her, called my grandma, and started my unfortunate late-night work.
As I opened the door to see my grandma’s smiling face, we laughed as I handed her half a watermelon and a huge container of freshly made soup. She made space for me. Both she and my mother made space for my overblown emotion just as they always had. They provided me a safe place to land with level-headedness and love. I gave my grandma a hug and felt better. I stayed and talked for an hour or so before leaving to let her get to bed. I told them both I would let them know how things were in the morning.
I returned home to my lovely house, my darling fur children, and my soft pillow. I read a little bit of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step. I realized that I had been so wrong. The abundance of the morning had not been taken away. It had been redoubled. My true wealth was revealed in the night. Abundance is not a stack of bills given to us by a generous student. Abundance is a broken fridge. Abundance is the outstretched hands of those we love, offering us refuge in hard times. Abundance is family, community, and compassion. It is these things that are my true gift. I am so grateful.