Morning is barely here.
It's still dark outside.
My eyes aren't even open yet; I can feel my breath quicken. My heart thumps in my chest. I feel what I can only describe as mild irritation, one that will not allow me to wake gently. It propels me from my bed to find relief--from what, I don't know.
I reach endlessly for distractions to rid myself of this nagging discomfort.
It's not too bad today, I tell myself. I know I should meditate before the momentum builds, so I sit and close my eyes.
I feel that all-too-familiar vibration in my body. The restlessness makes me want to run and never stop.
I quickly decide that this isn't going to work. I stop trying to force myself to sit in pain and discomfort, and I look for another solution. My thoughts are fragmented, switching from one track to another: searching for answers, searching for solutions, searching for reasons why my mind sometimes feels like it's working against me.
I recall how I love the park near my house. I need to exercise today, anyway.
A walk it is!
I head off, find a parking spot, and pull in.
I am disappointed with the greeting I receive, as there are workers in the parking lot with huge metal machines, clanking loudly.
It smells like tar.
This is an additional assault on my already-stressed nervous system. The sounds and smells and external stimulation are hard to endure, but I try to stay focused and keep moving forward with my walk. (That's what they tell you to do, right? Keep moving forward?) I decide my usual walking music, which generally brings me peace, would be too much, so no earbuds for now.
I keep walking.
I think of many things.
I think of anxiety and traumas of the past, and their effects on animals, on plants, on human beings. I always thought if you loved someone enough, no matter how traumatic their history, that love would fix anything. I thought a trust would form and that over time, all would be well. It seems it isn't that simple.
I didn't realize how deep trauma can cut. So deep that the scars sometimes never fade from view. Always a reminder of not feeling safe, of being abandoned. Sort of like a toddler who wanders a few feet from her mother in a store, then quickly dashes back to the safety of her mother's leg the instant she realizes the distance and finds comfort in the grasping on.
(Is that what we do to each other? Grasp on for dear life, for comfort, in a desperate attempt to make the unsafe feeling go away?)
I keep walking and eventually stumble upon my favorite spot, nestled deeper in the woods. There is a small waterfall that trickles over the edge of the wall. It makes the most delicious sound as it meets the water below.
I take in all the beauty around me.
My senses ease up a bit.
The sounds are soothing--a welcome respite from the endless chatter of my inner critic and the usual grating noise of TV, complaints, and the gloomy news of the day.
The trees are changing colors. It's early in the fall, but it's still a magnificent display.
I spot a bee on a small white flower just a few feet in front of me. I know he will land on me, and he does just that. I remain as still as a statue so that I don't scare him. I am thankful for his trust.
Then in the next moment, a tree I am sitting underneath drops a leaf on my head.
It startles me a bit, but it feels almost playful. I look up and take in her beauty.
I listen to the soft rustle of her leaves in the breeze, and it comforts me.
I close my eyes for a long minute.
Ahh, there it is.
That feeling I was searching for.
I breathe in as if I have been underwater for hours and have finally surfaced for air. I feel the strength of the rock I'm sitting on and can identify a deep hum of serenity coming over me. It's like the bass has been turned all the way up and the chant of the holy Om is residing inside my chest.
Connection to all that ever was and all that will ever be.
Not a physical place, but a place inside myself where I can go to find comfort for my soul. There is no blaming here, no figuring out. There is no need to let go or hold on. It just is.
I decide to sit here a while and allow this feeling of connection to swell in my chest. It's warm and soft, but powerful. Powerful like sleeping safely in a den of lions who would die to protect you, or like sleeping in the arms of your guardian angel, if you believe there is such a being.
I rest here a while.
My heartbeat slows, my breath is steady. It is good...
After several minutes, I notice someone else has come to this beautiful place as well. I welcome him and decide to give him the opportunity to be alone here. Maybe he needs it as much as I do.
I get up and continue my walk.
I need to make changes in my life.
But not today.
Today I will enjoy the beauty that is all around me.
The rest will fall into place.
I know it.
From here, I keep moving forward.