Every now and then, I find myself caught in the tunnel of doom scrolling. Today was one of those now moments when the world’s issues carried my soul into dark places that presented themselves in the form of anxious cleaning around the house. Knowing me well, my husband walked around the edges of my storm trying to forecast the direction I was heading: stopping and standing still and steady like a lighthouse, -letting my gales flow around him while prompting my son to get ready to go outside to guide us all to clearer waters.
As I walked out of the house I heard the spluttering of an engine and saw him bumping down our driveway in a red jeep borrowed from a neighbor, with the top down. I begrudgingly lifted a corner of my mouth, upset that he was trying to lift me out of my self-imposed haze, and also psyched to get out of the house and on an adventure. The traffic was thick and he shifted to the service roads where we skirted around the melee to finally arrive at the canal. Despite these profound measures to shake the dust I was still walking pretty heavy, unable to ‘let go’ of the unwanted feeling of despair. As we crunched along the shells and towards the jetty, I slowed my gait and looked ahead to my husband walking ahead with my son who was chittering happily about the sea lions, people fishing, and seals along the path. My eyes shifted down and then to the other side of our path lined with a story walk about the animals of the sea. I registered the beautiful illustrations and then began to notice the wildflowers lining our walk and the bees and butterflies lazily circling about seemingly random but always notably with us. My nose perked to the salty smell of the sea. My ears opened to the jagged sound of my breath against the rhythmic lapping of the waves against the rocks and the gentle burble of voices murmuring around us. I suddenly found myself very much awake and aware of just how much beauty was surrounding me. We set up our chairs and watched our son look for crabs and periwinkles among the stones. As I looked north one degree, I found myself in a staring contest with a seal whose head was bobbing effortlessly in the waves, seemingly unmoving in the motion of the waves. Its eyes were soft and glassy while its mouth seemed almost to be set in a smile. My head swiveled to the right to see two hazel eyes watching me and without a word, my husband squeezed my hand acknowledging that I had come back home.
Life is pretty messy right now. Hanging on to any order is a tall order and letting go seems a laughable request to make upon anyone. While it is important to understand what is going on in the world, it is also equally important to understand and engage with the feelings that arise with equal tempers of courage, empathy, curiosity, levity and non-judgement. Next Thursday, August 19th, the TYC Book Club offers Pema Chodron’s book, Start Where You Are, as its point of focus. It is the perfect companion for times like these as it offers with candor and humility, the constant work of finding our way back from any storm without fighting the rising tide. Rather, Pema calls us to sit with the discomfort, let it be, find the levity and lessons, and then reawaken in the moment to what is present to take the next best step. The first line sets the tone of the book, “We already have everything we need.” Sometimes we just need a guide or lighthouse to steer us from the rocks, remind us of where we are, and help us to follow the lit path. We warmly welcome you to join us on the mat, at book club and out in the world so that we may each practice finding our way back home.
Sharon & Your TYC Tribe