When I look closely at my small life I get caught up in the details of its constrictions. I see pitfalls and turn little disturbances into high drama. When I look around at the people and places I see every day, it can feel closed in and predictive. But if I look up at the expansive blueness of the sky above me, or out upon the grandeur of a cityscape I fine myself breathing more deeply. The dirt of a trail and a green canopy above invert the smallness of my life into an expansiveness that is freeing. If I draw my eye away from the close aspects and out to the wider view I don’t feel smaller. I feel I have grown bigger and become more connected to what is vast and beautiful. What is eternal dissipates my constrictions and my fear of sameness. A few moments of a night breeze through the bedroom window shows me my life is not small. Only my perspective is.
For my fortieth birthday my colleagues at work gave me a party with black balloons and a wheelchair. I’m normally a person with a sense of humor, but I had watched this parade with colleagues before me. I work with mostly women. We have a habit of telling each other stories of how our time is past as we age. The best years behind us. We’re used up and lost our sex appeal. Men don’t do this to us and they don’t do it to each other. We do it to ourselves. I smiled and thanked everyone, but I knew in that moment, that I would live differently. That I would not see aging as a cross to bear, but an immense opportunity.
I look at this leaf dead, fragile, used up and am filled with its beauty and grace. Even dead, passed its season and it’s still showing the world what it can do. What it has to give. Aging isn’t about years, it’s about perspective. It’s seeing beauty where no one else would think to look. That isn’t weakness, that’s power. In that power is the possibility to transform. To embrace death when it comes and know you are about to pull out your best work yet.
In the coming of night I feel the day slip away. In the last rays that crest the hill, I forget what disturbed my midday and nagged my afternoon. No monk am I, but there is a vesper in my heart at this hour. As if the monastery bell had rung and in the reeds of the lake I knelt. Swallows catch the last flies, before the chill descends with the night. I ache to follow the rays across the horizon, yet, there is peace in this twilight I fear to miss. The passing of my day, its light and its dark, not to be walked again.
My heart thunders
Hooves of mustangs
An exquisite joy
At the simplest
Whether positive or negative both images have their own beauty. Such is true of us, as well. If we let go of the concepts of good and bad, and embrace whether the moment we are in has something to offer us, in terms of growth, we would know true freedom. Look closely. Inside your darkest moments, worst behaviors, and sickening fears is a treasure of such beauty it could change your life forever.
“Spirituality is… the awareness that survival is the savage fight between you and yourself.” -Anonymous