A couple of weeks ago, I started a blog entry about how magical my life was feeling. Everything felt very rich and serendipidous, even though the truth is, I have been living with less income this year and constantly wondering how to pay for the things I need.
Despite the financial constraints, however, my life felt as if everywhere I turned, I just saw bounty and generosity, kindness, appreciation and acknowledgement. I found it startling and beautiful. I felt honored and cared for, protected by unseen benevolent forces. I felt as if nothing could go wrong.
Then, suddenly, the money got tighter and the expenses became greater. I was beginning to feel the pinch. I felt like I was the brunt of that joke a friend of mine tells about the fool who jumps off a steep cliff, and as he springs from the edge and begins his descent, he thinks to himself: well, this isn’t so bad.
The magic of early May hadn’t endured, and I felt like I was about to do a face plant into the bottom of a deep crevasse.
(I still feel a little that way.)
Out my window, I observe my nimble squirrel friend who repeatedly seeks out the source of the sunflower seeds, while ignoring the ones that have fallen around the bottom of the feeder. He continues to scale the pole of the feeder, though it is awkward and slippery to climb, though the feeding trough shuts whenever he touches it, and though he falls off on his head again and again and again. Perhaps, what he’s thinking each time he hangs upside down from the trough is: well, this isn’t so bad.
Sometimes I wonder when I watch the determination of that squirrel: is it the reward of the seeds that inspire him—because he actually garners so few—or the thrill of those heights? Maybe he is ruled by his gut instinct or Einstein’s definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.
There’s wisdom here somewhere. One message I derive is to focus on the source, no matter how little it reaps. After all, it is for the sake of the work, that I took up this path. Another message here is about trusting in one’s own resourcefulness and creativity—a kind of blind ambition, or the failure to take in the obvious obstacles.
Yesterday, I taught a workshop entitled Sky. It was the third in a series of workshops that examine the Celtic paradigm of a world comprised of three realms: Land, Sea, and Sky. In Sky, we all took a journey where we learned how to fly. It was interesting to share the impediments each one of us encountered: a fear of heights, trying too hard, carrying too much baggage, ignoring the guidance that was being offered, not following our instincts, and hanging onto the edge. We all had a good laugh at ourselves and each other.
Flying, after all, is about trust, and these metaphors point to how each one of us is unable to let go and simply glide through life. I was the one who tried too hard, endeavoring to control every outcome. I flapped my arms too much, exhausted myself and fell to earth–repeatedly. The wind took pity on me and showed me how to ride the thermals and achieve greater altitude without expending energy. This is such a good reminder for me.
Try this journey yourself. Ask for a flight instructor and an ally going in, to help you with your own particular handicap, whatever it may be, and then look at how that impediment is one that holds you down in your own life.
Me, I try to spend a little time flying each time I journey now. You can't keep a good shaman down. I find that riding the thermals feels a little like riding a magic carpet.
Wait, did someone say magic?