“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.” ~C.S. Lewis
I’ve run away from home. My vacation had officially started last Wednesday, yet weirdly enough my work colleagues and clients didn’t take me seriously when I said I didn’t want to be bothered. My inbox and voicemail kept exploding with demands, pushing my poor frayed sanity levels well beyond last straw status.
So I decided to take myself off to the mountains and unplug for a bit in a place with spotty cell reception and where getting on line requires effort. Especially if I forget to turn on my phone, whoops! No ding, ding, ding notifications on a hiking trail, only crisp, clean air, the crunch of ground beneath my boots and breathtaking scenery accompanied by a symphony of birds songs and squirrels doing whatever it is they do so intently.
It’s a funny thing all the nonsense thoughts I allow to take control of my brain, which only becomes obvious once I start trying to squash them. Life holds many details, some of which are important, many of which are not and none of which we are meant to obsessively dwell on.
Work demands, the stupid things politicians do, a perceived irritated tone in a spouse’s voice, a waiter’s snotty attitude; all potential rabbit holes of stress and drama should you choose to let your mind hold on to such things beyond what they deserve, say 30 seconds.
I call this banging gongs of superciliousness and getting beyond them takes real effort. Once the noise subsides and the stillness kicks in though, clarity on life and its purpose begins to take focus. Ironically, it’s only by slowing things down like this that the extraordinary energy of creation comes alive and we begin to see and hear what we are meant to.
A forest can reveal many things, not least of which is the on going process of renewal by pushing out what no longer works to make room for what does. Shedding off old, dead parts so new growth can occur is a fact of life out there and something to be taken to heart.
Most of us hold on to things that keep us stuck. Bad relationships, obsessive worrying, addictions, close mindedness, toxic thoughts, searching for value in all the wrong places; these things can lay deep roots in our hearts, and imprison the mind.
The pain of even acknowledging this, let alone cutting out such deadwood can be great, but it is essential to move from a life based on fear and lack to one motivated by love and abundance.
Some events of course are just soul crushing and almost too much to bear; Illness, abuse, the death of a loved one, depression, financial hardship; such things can cause so much emotional trauma that escape seems impossible. A super human effort is needed here to shift thoughts away from misery and towards the unquestionable love that surrounds us; one that can make the impossible possible.
This type of love burrows deep in to the small cracks of the heart and brings hope, revealing a path of healing and growth. Think of the tiny seed of a pine tree that lays in the darkness until touched by bits of sun and nutrients seeping through the dirt. Just as that seed will eventually transform in to a new, more extraordinary form of itself, so can a person dealt a crappy hand become a better, more resilient version of themselves. Still the same, yet different.
Running away from home to find peace of mind is not usually an option for most of us. Luckily, it’s not the distance from problems that counts, but how we perceive and choose to react to them that does. Empty platitudes will never win the game, but (to paraphrase), keeping the mind fixed on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable will keep you connected to what really matters.
“Keep your face in the sun and you will never see the shadows.”~Helen Keller