We crave happy news, but it seems that every time we feel hope coming there are big events that pull the proverbial carpet out from under us. We are almost at the other side of COVID, and Omicron hits. We are almost at the point of containing Omicron, and Russia invades the Ukraine. Then there’s the little daily things, like ordering the dog’s food and it’s delayed three days so we buy something cheap and he has diarrhea everywhere.
Here’s the good news – we only have to deal with the diarrhea. I mean, that’s right in front of us and something we really could step right into. But the rest, the rest we can let go. But only if we want to. We wonder why we’re so stressed out, and getting sick more, and ruining that great statistic of living to 100. Perhaps it’s because we are taking on things we can’t control.
I spoke to my very young neighbor yesterday (I believe he is around 5 or 6), and not once did war come up. Nor did Omicron. We did talk about Lynyrd Skynyrd and Punxsutawney Phil, which was impressive, but it was all fueled by the fascination with learning about new things. When he taught me one word in Russian, I briefly thought about the invasion again. My heart rate went up. But then he told me the word he taught me was Russian for “bear.” He talked about how much he loves bears and smiled gloriously. His heart rate was fine.
After he told me that he is learning three languages, I asked if he was ever going to learn a fourth language. He responded, “Well, I have to save some things for when I’m nine.” Reasonable answer, no stress. Just a celebration of life, over our fence, in the moment.
What I realized, in retrospect, was how grounded that moment was with him. We didn’t float off to fear, we just stood in our conversation and bloomed. But there are times that we do get sucked in by fear, and we panic, and our bodies respond, and we wear ourselves down. When we panic, our brain is hijacked and the part of the brain dealing with logic and reason loses blood-flow. We are ready to run, but we’re not reasonable.
We need to sometimes remember where our feet are planted. If we close our eyes and imagine our feet are growing roots, deep to the middle of the earth, we can leave the fear and settle back into our truth. We need to remember who we are, where we are, and what we can control. There’s also research that reveals when we engage the vocal cords or facial muscles during times of anxiety, we can quiet the nervous system.
So, today, we don’t have to stand, rooted to our patio while singing Black Eyed Peas to be happy, but know that there are tools that can bring our heart rate back to normal and get that blood flowing to the parts of our brain that keep us from running into walls. Because there is nothing we can do to change the past, and the future is still waiting to be written. But this day, this morning, this exact space we’re inhabiting, this is the place from which our power flows.
When you think about it, the fact that our heart beats and our brain talks to our gut and our blood flows and our fingers move and our lungs breathe – that is a lot of amazing. And the fact that our very young neighbor is sharing information and smiling and we’re connecting through conversation and birds are flying by and dogs are playing – that’s a lot of miraculous going on.
When I walked inside after that conversation, I was at peace. I was inspired. I felt there is never a moment that we are alone as long as we tune into the incredible energy within us and outside of us. Life is a dance of molecules and a song of the soul, always moving, always dynamic. No matter what is going on in our lives, the miraculous is just a quiet recognition away.
I hope you feel it today, if only in a conversation with a small being who has learned more in six years than you have learned in sixty-one years, something realized when you’re teaching him Pig Latin while he speaks Russian and French. But no matter what the level of knowledge, the delight is in the connection, in making each other laugh.
In the joy of realizing life can throw some big events our way, but it’s always the little moments that save us.