The stars sparkled in the black sky overhead tonight as I stood on my little patio. Even though my subdivision is mostly filled in with houses now, and there is much more light pollution than even a couple of years ago, it is still darker here in this part of Colorado than it ever was in New York.
I remember when I first moved here, being awed by actually being able to see the Milky Way sprawling its glory across the sky on a warm summer night from my vantage point on the deck of our country house. I had, after all, spent the majority of my life in or on the edge of one of the largest cities in the world. The Milky Way was something to be seen in pictures, or in the Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, not overhead. It is much fainter from my patio, but still visible. A simple journey up into the nearby mountains turns the night as dark as a voyage out to sea.
The darkness connects me to a more primal way of being and wakens some wilder soul I never would have known had I not moved here. On nights when the moon is full and the ground is bathed in that liquid white, my senses seem to sharpen and my awareness spreads out as far as my eyes can see. It is a magical experience for someone trained to live within the boundaries of all that is man-made, and the limits of surviving within constant swarms of fellow human beings.
I am not exactly at home in this natural world, but it has helped me connect to a sense of mystery and certainty that our lives are watched over and guided by a benevolent Universe. I am grateful for the calm and peace that affords me, since I am a person who suffered from panic anxiety for years. Something about the wide horizons and the glory of the Rocky Mountains to the west pulls me out of myself and into a far more meditative space.
It was almost 70 degrees yesterday, and it is only the beginning of February. While the poor Northeast, which I once called home, lies under assault from continuing winter storms, I got to sit on the step in front of my house and watch my kids wash and detail their cars. They have a sweet relationship, just as I had always hoped, even though they are almost five years apart.
My relationship with my older brother was a life-saver for a big chunk of my life, so it makes me feel happy to see my kids bond so well, too. They chat amicably, even making room for the occasional comment from me. Mostly I sit in silence, soaking in the sun, grateful for the cooling breeze and the presence of two people I love more than life itself.
The outer stillness has allowed me to find the gifts within that only flourish in that space of inner listening. I have been blessed to find all kinds of training that nourish that part of me; shamanic healing, Reiki, Healing Touch, crystal grids, psychic mediumship, so many beautiful modalities and friends that once I would have snorted with derision at. The best part is that I get to share these things with people who come to me for healing help. I know I am not the “healer,” but I am absolutely certain there is One who works through me. It is a gentle presence called by many names around the world, but whom I choose to call God.
The shrink I once went to for help with my anxiety diagnosed me with PTSD from growing up in my family of origin. Oh yeah, that and many things that happened long after I left my “family of origin,” have forced me to grow and evolve into a person with a deep, deep spiritual connection.
It is a presence that sometimes arrests my attention in the middle of a hectic day, forces me to stop and notice the flutter of leaves on the trees outside my window, or absorb the play of light on the snow-capped mountains and their reflection against a pristine blue sky. Not much can defy the inner joy that touches, and the healing that comes from a few seconds of absolute peace.
Last week, on a miserably dank and blizzard –ridden morning my son took my car to work in Denver. An hour or so after he left, he called to tell me he had had an accident. On an ice-covered hill he had been unable to stop, and hit the trailer hitch on a truck stopped in front of him. It punched in my bumper significantly, but he was okay. It’s the second accident my poor new car has suffered in the four months I’ve owned it.
Shortly after that my daughter called. Her little dog, bane of my existence in many ways since he stirs up the two dogs I already live with to the point of driving me nuts, was flipping out as she tried to go to work and leave him in her new apartment. I had been celebrating the fact that the dog was finally out of my house and back with my daughter.
“Can you take him to work with you?” I asked.
“No. Do you think I should call in and stay home from work with him today?” she asked.
I sighed. “Call in and say you’ll be a couple of hours late and bring him back to me,” I said, with a surprising chuckle.
What could I do but surrender to the day’s events? The dog is a sweetie pie except for his high-strung nature. I’d already lived with him for three months. A bit more time with the dog wouldn’t kill me.
Money would fix my car, and my lack of distress would help my son’s guilt.
These events were irritations, not the end of the world. Not something the old me would have been able to see.
To my many friends, teachers, sponsors, the great state of Colorado, and most especially my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, I give blessings and thanks.