“Keep your feet on the ground.”
That’s all that came to me when I quieted my mind before placing my fingers on the keyboard to write to you today.
I started off with the question that I always ask before I begin to write: “What, exactly, do I need to share with you all today?”
And that was it.
My mind – ever wanting to produce more and more and more – grapples with the fact that I might even dare to suggest that six words is “enough” to complete my task of “write missive for online publication.”
My inner child is giggling with delight at the simplicity of it and wants to go get a candy bar and sit on the chair and spin around until my next appointment starts. Free time! Hooray!
But my body? How does it respond to this message?
My body releases a massive sigh as salty water leaks from the corners of my eyes. I uncross my legs, and sit up a bit straighter, allowing my feet to rest, finally, firmly upon the ground beneath me.
And when I do, I feel a rush of grief. I see before my eyes the wildfires raging in Australia…the devastation in Puerto Rico. I see bodies being lowered into the Earth – bodies of those senselessly killed, and deeply loved, who were aboard a doomed flight from Iran. It seems I am connected to every sadness that is being released into the Earth from the billions of others who share it with me.
It is (almost) too much to bear.
And just at that moment when I feel I cannot possibly take it any longer, that the grief threatens to overwhelm every aspect of my being, I hear the cry of an eagle. And I look up. And there she is, soaring in the clear blue sky above me. I see her there, circling, calling out to me.
“You should see it from up here,” she calls.
In my grief-stricken state, I am confused by her words, and a little annoyed, to be honest. I have grief to process! I am busy! I am “doing my part” in mourning all the freakin’ “crazy” that’s going on in our world at the moment, thank you very much! I do not have time for riddles!
She scoffs and I swear, if eagles could roll their eyes, she just did. I feel her shaking her head. “Dude! Listen to me, would ya? I am telling you that you should see it from up here!!!!” She’s shouting now. Exasperated. And I, like a pouty toddler, turn my attention from that overwhelming and all-consuming sadness, and I look up.
Magically (because, well, this is all in my imagination after all), a ladder appears before me. I chuckle at this. Ordinarily I would have thought that my imagination would have me wave my arms and fly into the air to see what that eagle is gawping about, but no, even my imagination is pragmatic. I’ve torn my rotator cuff, you see, and cannot flap my arms to fly! A ladder, I suppose, will have to do!
And so I climb to meet that pesky eagle who thinks she has something to tell me, something that I need to see, something that’s far more important than what I was doing.
And when I reach the top, I see.
I see that, with my body still firmly attached to the Earth via this ladder, and my head up as high as the clouds, things look a little different.
My body releases another sigh, and with that, the grief begins to subside.
Oh, I don’t lose sight of the fact that Australia is burning. I don’t forget that my fellow humans are mourning. But the grief is not as stunning, not as over-powering. And I can think beyond the pain of it. I can “see” more from up here. And I find myself nodding with some deep sense of understanding that I cannot even quite explain. I just feel, somehow, like I “get it.”
I expect that each of us would “get it” in different ways…and “get” different things should we each climb that ladder and take the perspective of the eagle.
And I think that there’s magic in that.
I begin to climb back down the ladder but the eagle calls out to me once more: “Keep your feet on the ground,” she says with a nod, “but stick your head in the clouds from time to time, too.”
Just eighteen words.
Eighteen words to share with you today.