Monday, March 5, 2012
A Sky Full of Thoughts
Some days are more thoughtful than others. I think this is true. In this case "thoughtful" doesn't mean "kind" or "sweet." I'm not speaking of days where we consciously behave with the interest of other beings in mind (although those days are equally precious). I'm being literal here. Days when we are Full. Of Thought.
Thoughts are complicated. What does she think of me? What is he thinking? Are my thoughts stupid? Why am I wasting time thinking about this? I'm sure we've all had these "thoughts" once in a while. It's hard to move past these ideas that feel relevant in the moment, but really, they just prevent us from moving forward. It's like we're digging and digging for answers, but we get nowhere. We don't break ground.
I like a different kind of thought. You know those moments when a thought crosses your mind and you are equally touched and surprised that you thought it at all? It's not really "the what" that even matters. It's the fact that we are catching these thoughts at all, that they are not clouded by distraction, by worry, or by anxiety. Think of stars. How often do we city-folk see a sky full of them?
Not nearly as often as if we were always staring at an unadulterated sky. Since I live in the city (and especially because I don't get the pleasure of spending most nights outside, staring up at the sky) I rarely get to see their multitude - or better yet, a shooting star. On the other hand, if I lived out in the wild, far from the lights and bustle of the city, I wouldn't have to wait for shooting stars. They would be all over the place.
I believe my thoughts are like stars. They are there, I just need to make some room to see them. I started thinking about making room for the positive, awakening thoughts when I was in Point Reyes last weekend, on my solo adventure. I stayed in a little cottage in Olema, just a few miles away from the park. When I first unlocked the door, my first thought was:
WOW. I could get used to this.
I'll just...unpack my things and...you know...
make myself at home...and NEVER leave please.
This was the property. I was in the little cottage on the left (not the red farmhouse). I think that one belongs to the owner, but I'm still not sure because I was completely isolated on this land and didn't see a person in sight the whole time I was there. I felt completely alone and completely fulfilled. Then came the thoughts...
How am I going to sleep at night with all of this silence? What if I get so lonely and I start going down dark paths in my head. Why this? Why that? Let's just say: thoughts didn't come easy at first. Another thing was weighing on me. I had to overcome a big fear to get through my weekend.
A simple hiking trail? you might ask. I've shared in this space before my fear of snakes. It's kind of a serious phobia. I've never hiked alone because of it (I've done the casual urban hike, but nothing in nature, in the wild, in the grasssssssss.) I usually ask my hiking buddy to walk in front of me to basically make sure the coast is clear (Thank You All, by the way, You know who You are). Anyway, as I embarked on my 7.5 mile hike on Saturday (by myself) I felt my fear and thought of snakes.
It's funny but did you know that once you face your fear you get over it pretty fast? I'm sure it's not always the case, but I sure got over it fast. I was there, on the trail, hiking through grasslands that most definitely were inhabited by at least one (or two) of my most loathed reptile. But as I hiked along, making progress on the trail, I got over it. I really did move on. That's not to say that I wouldn't have freaked out if I saw a snake (which I didn't by the way) but I realized that if I saw one I would be OK. I really would be OK. Because I wasn't here for the snakes. I here for this:
Once I stopped obsessing about my fear of seeing a snake, my mind became open and welcoming to other, more meaningful, thoughts. I was free of thoughts of fear and awake to thoughts of happiness. It's a simple thought, but not easy to access. I understand this. But just that one moment of openness gave a promise of more. The more and more it happens the surer I'll be of clarity. Or of the potential of it, at least!
Coming back to my cottage in the evenings, I felt happy to be quiet and thoughtful, as I reminisced about my special, fearless days.
As my journey was coming to a close, I remembered another thought: I have to go back to the city at some point. I have to go back to reality. In my mind reality was something to fear, something slithering behind the bushes. The snake in the nature of my life.
How did it come to be that thoughts like these came into my mind? Life is wonderful, a gift, a beauty. The fear is just a negative thought really. A why this and why that kinda thought. I'm thinking: if only I can push these negative thoughts away, I will then be able to walk without shaky legs through the grasslands of my days. I can push those thoughts away and invite those more surprising, delightful thoughts in. I can see the stars at night. And it's the city. So I know it's real.
***all pics taken in Point Reyes, California***