“I remember once running near Mombasa on the Eastern Indian Ocean.  The weather suddenly changed, and it began to pour so heavily that I had to seek shelter in a cave on the beach.  To my surprise, sitting on his heels in that cave was a young Kenyan man.  He smiled at my shock at seeing him sitting there so quietly.The man said his name was Amani, which means “peace” in Swahili.  Amani’s parents had named him after the Africans took Kenya from the British twenty-some years ago.   Amani said that I and most white people had a more difficult time than the Africans because most white people are always striving for something, going somewhere, needing something.  He said that the Africans had learned to be absolutely happy over long periods of time with almost nothing.”

‘The Shaman’s Body’, by Arnold Mindell

 

For the last couple of months, I have found myself in the trance of worrying, struggling and striving. I believed, if I did not do all of these things the future of my whole family would be in trouble. I believed, my children’s future was totally in my hands and I’d better sort out a perfect education, a perfect home and be a perfect parent otherwise they would be doomed. I believed I’d better make a career out of my creativity and be quick about it as I turned 40 this year. “Bloody hell!“, I thought, “Ten more years and I’ll be 50 and who would ever employ me then, it will all be too late and I will have failed everyone and myself.”

I started to compare myself to other people, people who I considered successful, people who seemed to have smoothly drifted in to their destiny with their God given talents, their lives mapped out since the moment they were born. Others who had pushed, willed and strived to make their destiny happen and had succeeded.

But, all the worrying, struggling and striving felt so exhausting. I realised, I was not feeling connected with the present, but living in the future. I was also, judging myself for worrying, struggling and striving.

All this, finally came to an end when I had to spend a couple of days in bed with a migraine. As I sat, alone and in pain an image came to my mind. It was of Buddha, sat crossed legged and smiling at me, then I saw an image of Jesus with the same smile on his face. Their message was clear…..”You are okay, all parts of yourself are welcome here”. Suddenly, all the tension left my body. I no longer felt any need to worry, struggle or strive for anything because the birds were singing outside my window after another April rain shower, the grass was lush green and being methodically munched by the cows and the flowers in the garden bloomed with vivid colour. Nature, and life, continued in the present moment even if I wasn’t in it. And, when I do lose myself in the trance of Worrying, Struggling and Striving as many of us human beings tend to do so often, it is reassuring to know that nature is always there in the present moment to welcome us home. Wow, what a joyful thought.

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