Funny thing about Spiritual Travelings…you don’t have to go far.
Last night I was feeling the weight of it all on me. I’ve had a lot going on at work. Sometimes it feels like too much. It crowds my mind, gets me obsessed. Having thoughts come at me from left, right, front and center...questioning whether I’m doing enough or whether I’ve done too much, am I talking too much or not enough, am I listening, am I paying attention?!? I have both the blessing and the curse to have just enough awareness to know that’s not where I want to be. So, I realized I needed a time out…from myself. But what’s a girl to do when she needs to get away from all of this but still has to be to work at 8am the next morning?
I realized I needed a mini-vacation. No, a micro-vacation. But where could I go in a short time and be back in a jiff to give my full attention to all the nonsensical babysitting required of a manager? It turns out my backyard with a hot tub was just the thing to get me rebooted. But what I didn’t expect was kicking things up a notch.
The night was cool…after all, it IS technically winter. Being from Southern California, cool to me five years ago would have been 69F degrees. Nowadays, I’m developing a thicker skin in Northern California, which means it’s more like 40F degrees. Behind our house is a valley of oak trees on rolling foothills. Our nearest neighbor is about a mile away…VERY different from Los Angeles, where the only place you get privacy is in your bathroom, and that’s if you’re lucky. Moving to the country was a big change, which 20 years ago I wouldn’t have done. Shoot, even 10 years ago, I probably would have scoffed at the idea. However, 5 years ago, I was ready. And now I’m recognizing what *cool* really is.
But because the hot tub IS hot, the contrast with cool night air was noticeable. From my chest down I was warm and toasty. But from the water line to my crown, it was brisk to put it politely. I needed to calm down and mellow myself the F out. I realized it was a good time to chill out, maybe try to meditate a bit. So I took a few deep breaths and put my hands together with the fingers from each hand touching the other yet spread apart, almost in gasho but as if I were holding an imaginary ball in my palms. And I just sat.
And then something happened. It was like I had just prayed for some sort of intervention, and it came. I suddenly had this clarity that brought everything around me into focus. I started noticing the wind. It helped that the wind chimes hanging from the big beautiful oak tree, which have the most beautiful deep tones, not those dime store versions that make you want to rip the damn things down, were calling to me. But I saw the wind dancing. It was dancing with the water from the pool. They were swirling together, like a waltz in a grand palace. I thought about the movement and imagined the two elements coming together. With the swirling motion, for a moment, I imagined a small tornado. And then I remembered that I knew what that felt like. I knew that because in high school, we did a production of “The Wizard of Oz” and one of the four roles I had in it was the tornado. Yep, you read that right. I actually played the tornado. And the thing that got me that role was the passion I showed when I imagined what a dancing tornado looked like. And I became it. And now I was seeing a small version of it with the mist of the night air. It was so beautiful, it brought me to tears.
Just like that, I witnessed true beauty right in front of me. It was so small. It was so mundane. And yet, it was so real. It moved me. It brought me the purest moment of bliss. I had to sit for a while, not only to enjoy the moment, but to truly appreciate it as well. The funny thing was that my husband Scott and I were just that morning talking about enlightenment and whether it comes in bits and pieces or whether it encompasses your entire being. From some of the Zen Buddhist readings we’ve done, it sounds like it could come either or both ways. But for me, last night, it came in that small experience…just hanging out by myself…and being truly present…in my own backyard.
Where will your experience be?