Do you know of this children's book? It's one of my favorites and ranks up there with classics like Miss Rumphius and The Giving Tree. It's about a little boy growing up in the mountains of Tibet. He likes to fly kites and dreams of travel, of different lands, and of adventure. Alas, he grows up to be a woodcutter, gets married, has children, and never leaves his valley. He grows old, and one day, he dies. The Great Spirit offers him a choice about how he should like to continue. His soul chooses the Milky Way, and then chooses a star which happens to be our Sun. The story progresses as the little boy's soul makes choices on his next life lived until he ultimately chooses to return back to the same valley that he grew up in. Full circle.
We all suffer and we are all broken in variable cases of severity. Oftentimes, over the course of my life, I've grieved over situations that seemed incomprehensible: abandonment by my father, infertility, an on-going struggle with worry and anxiety. Sometimes, I've internally lamented why my soul was plopped down in the dirty South when I had such wanderlust for other lands and experiences. I have not always been at peace with my story.
It is a constant battle to remember to embrace the imperfections in ourselves and our histories. I must always remember that I am here for good reason.
We spent a few days last week in sublime, magical New Mexico. Something about that place deeply speaks to my soul. Seemingly, I belong there. I could live in an adobe cabin or a yurt in a high desert mesa valley. I could hunt for rocks and explore trails and get lost and kiss the sky and take pictures of the sunset and sunrise every single day. I could get use to the a new kind of quiet and stillness that can't be touched in small town suburbia... the coyotes howling in the night and the call of ravens from precarious rocks atop mountains. I could stargaze and find myself befuddled by the sight of the Milky Way, completely lost and entirely found. How could all this be? How could it not be?
Instead, my magic brews in this ordinary place. And for now, there must be peace and gratitude.
Yes, I protect my dreamy far-flung soul like a mama bear. Never do I not want to be amazed. Never do I not want to do my humble part to share the profound beauty of this existence. This is, afterall, my one wild and precious life! I do not take it lightly! But I know enough to realize it serves me not to turn that awe and curiosity and wonder into anything that resembles discontentment or bitterness. Oh is it ever a fine line to walk between honoring the stirrings of the heart and finding peace in the present.
I am here for a reason. Maybe it isn't for the climate or the geography. Perhaps it's my task to look more closely for the inconspicuous sublime. To pay attention. Where could it be hiding? In the face of the limestone riverbeds that run through our town, the blazing mulhy grass seed heads, or a rare thundering downpour that arrives in the middle of the night?
All of those places and more.
It comes to me in real life supportive connections with kind, smart, creative souls I have the pleasure to surround myself with each and every day. It booms with exuberance and passion as it pours out of my daughter's every cell of being. Without here, none of this would grace my days. I am so grateful for this ordinary life. Of small town grocery stores and librarians who know you by name. Of flat land and gentle rolling hills, of our little blue cottage and our slow to realize gardening attempts. Of the priviledge to currate a childhood worth savoring. Of a life abundant in love and simple gifts.
There is meaning in all of it and I know my story will make perfect sense one day.