This image was so rich and profound for me I had to share. It is a National Geographic “Photo of the Day”. Please click on the link to read more. He is a shepherd from Iran. His face, his effort, his beauty – completely affected me.
Vacant were the eyes that stared back at me from rotting sills. A wave of isolation and loneliness pervaded my thinking and I pulled back a bit from the train window. I felt the desertion like oil seeping from toxic barrels sinking into my chest. Small town death, I mused and the end of the family farm.
Then the briefest flutter of something at the top window of a grain elevator caught my eye and the thought of a barn owl nesting in the eaves came to mind. How easily this lead to the sound of mice squeaking below the warped floor boards and the pondering of a raccoon sleeping atop an air vent. Bees work to winter in a broken tractor engine, as geese munched on the grasses growing from past year’s feed. My inner vision shifted, just a hair, and I looked more closely as the peeling paint rusting pipes. Something about the decay creating a curious beauty that was consuming all that passed before me.
I see now it was my own isolation and loneliness that I saw in the darkened windows. It was my own decay that pervaded my thoughts. As the pigeons left the rooftop of the silo and squirrels darted along the fence of the abandoned feed lot, I saw it was not life that was missing from these places, it was fear of death that was haunting me.
What if it is all to get us to let go of the cliff ledge? What if we’re all being shaken off our belief we must have security, predictability and knowledge? Every hardship a challenge to the internal structures we create to define who we are, how everything works and what is true and real?
What if all of this is for our awakening? To encourage our understanding of freedom, rather than a lesson on imprisonment. To forget everything we think we know and let go of the ledge. Free fall and trust we will fly. What if it’s the reason we chose to live? We wanted every single moment to happen, because our spirit already knew it could soar.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
When I was married, I was asleep
This was no fault of my husband’s
I was waiting for my life
I blamed this on my husband
Wisely, he ignored me
So I stewed
Small things like paint and paper
Make a big difference
Glue and art classes
Masterpieces on walls
Plaster and glass
I saw a path and it grew
Which led to my divorce
And my friendship with my
Sometimes goodness comes
Not from demanding something
Be something else
But rather awakening to what is
Really feeling and touching its
This is how you grow, waking up
And the end of the day was upon me, yet still I waited in the field. So many moments allowed to pass without reverence or awe. What life have I been living, to have slept so long?
I opened up the suitcase I packed carefully before I left. On the road it had been tossed about and now irritation, which I’d packed next to fear was sticking out the side. That’s always how it happens. You think you’ve got it all together and then life tosses you around, and the next thing you know, melancholy is covered with eczema ointment, whose cap has come undone. Every journey requires a little clean up if it’s a good one. Anxiety has mixed in with anticipation and it’ll take a wet towel to get it all back in order. I’ll confess, I’m like most people. I like happy folded perfectly on top. That way, when I open up, it’s the first thing everybody sees. Sometimes, though, you open with exacerbation or dumb shock and your scrambling to get the wrinkles out and cover that glaring stain of shame. I tuck irritation back in, closer to disappointment than fear, but whatever. I’m not planning on wearing it anywhere if I can help it.
We come into life with a full kit bag. It has the entire emotional scale packed neatly within it. We can pull out any and all of it whenever we choose. We are never free of it, because that suitcase is our free will. It’s just part of the road gear. It’s what we all take with us when we step out onto Earth’s mantle. We meet a lot of people, see different things and experience a traveling circus of life, but no one else decides what we’ll put on. That is our choice. Someone can be holding a black tie hate party, but I get to decide if I’ll show up in my flower child, wild ass, love suit. You feel comfortable in that hat of indignation? That’s cool, no judgment, but I hope you don’t mind if I throw on this baseball cap with foolishness written all over it.
I take out my makeup bag filled with curiosity, intrigue and imagination and leave it in the hotel bathroom. I change into hopeful and dab a little wonderment on my neck and head out to dinner. No telling what I’ll run into, but I’ve packed a full case. I’m ready for any eventuality. Besides, what’s the worse that can happen? I have to pull on blissed out. I always look good in that.