Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Cast Adrift


Cast Adrift.  That's how we feel sometimes.  It's as if we don't know where we are going, or even why.  But often the soup just has to cook.  Time spent not knowing, just simmering has proven, in the past, for me, to be extremely beneficial.

The clouds of not knowing can settle down around us with a damp chill, closing in about our bodies and minds, leaving us feeling directionless, purposeless.  Sometimes, it's illness, sometimes it's financial devastation.  It can be social or environmental injustice, or simply a lack of connection with others and their support.  But if we hang in there, give it a little time, and our consideration, let the flavors, ideas and feelings meld together, our way forward gradually comes clear. 

I like to use affirmations and gratitude practices during those darker days to help me keep hope and trust alive.  All of the spiritual practices that we have learned can give us some direction.  Prayer, mantras, along with inspirational stories, poetry, music and art, these are the tools I turn to, to help me find the light ahead.

I remember years ago, while I was healing from a major injury, wondering day-after-day, why this devastating thing had happened to me.  What was to become of my life after so many changes had occurred, flipping everything I trusted and knew on its head?  I had gotten a degree in horticulture, had been running my own landscape business, had employees, had just bought a home and was planning to remodel and then everything stopped. I had to let the business go.  My financial situation shifted drastically.  I became sincerely dependent with no guarantee that I'd ever recover.

In that dim light of life, with the heat turned way down low, I simmered and grabbed what ingredients I could and tossed them into the stew pot of my days.  Meditation, dream-work, time spent musing quietly, alone with my thoughts, taking what small steps I could to help restore my peace of mind and my physicality.  It can be a slow process marinating in transformation.  The egg in the nest takes time to change and open.  The seed doesn't sprout overnight.  Dismal news can come.  We just have to let it go and keep focusing on the next one or two possible steps that we can see for the way ahead.

Peace Pilgrim used to say, "Stay in the present moment.  Do what needs to be done.  Do all of the good you can each day.  And the future will unfold."  This is a lovely prescription for finding one's way.  It has helped me greatly over the years.  It's the little steps that matter.  One at a time.  There is no rush.  It's a long life, and from my perspective, there are plenty of them.  So, we don't need to hurry.  We can take our time and go slow.

So, there I was, all those years ago, stuck in bed, doing next to nothing except visiting my chiropractor once a week, and slowly, incrementally, finding my balance again.  And that's when my empathy, my clairvoyance, my ability to see and know what was going on in the health and well being of others, started to emerge.  It certainly wasn't anything I had expected to have happen.  I had guided the ship of my life in a totally different direction.  But there it was, arising quietly and consistently from within me.  It took a process of many years to refine and smooth off the rough edges of my psychic skills.  But, as sure as the lady bug transforms from the larvae, a new me emerged.  When we trust ourselves and let our lives flow, riding the hills and valleys as gracefully as we can, our path eventually comes clear.

I remember hearing the story of a young man in Great Britain who had gotten off on 'a wrong foot,' and began his early adulthood stealing things.  He wound up in jail, got out, took on a small job that at first he didn't know how to do, but learned.  Then he found himself helping others, newly out of prison, in finding work and learning how to do those small jobs as well.  In time he had founded a nationwide service providing support for others who had walked a similar path and his purpose in life was revealed.  

We never know where these roads will take us, but if we hang in there, and do what we can to stay present and work daily to hold our heads above water, and help others whenever we can, the way before us will unfold.  We find that we were never really cast adrift, we just needed an unexpected course correction, to set us on the good and right road that was always before us.  From there we can look back, at the end of our lives, and see that the way was really always clear.  We just needed to simmer a little, let all of the ingredients meld and blend and create the true sustenance of our beings.

So, hang in there.  Trust yourself and the Universe.  Stay in the moment.  Stay the course and expect the best.  A deeper part of you already knows the way.  We just need to let it all gradually and gratefully unfold before us.

I will leave you with a little haiku-like poem that I wrote years ago.  It came to me after I awoke from a dream where I saw three of my footsteps in front of me, in a forest, in the deep snow.  Just three footprints.  On a clear bright sunny winter's day.

My feet are always falling - steadfastly - on my path before me.

© Josephine Laing 2024


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