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Solitude, Crossing Paths, and Adaptability
Angela created this lovely audio meditation during a recent walk, which you can listen to here:
(Listening time at 1x speed: ~13 minutes)
Alternatively, the text of the audio is reprinted below, if you wish to read instead of listen (or in addition).
I found myself in this world yesterday, and knowing myself as I do, I knew that the best medicine for me was to get out by myself and into nature.
Solitude is where I finally have a chance to check in with myself, to really center and listen to what I need, what the Divine is trying to bring through in me. The walk itself, while full of solitude, also had me crossing paths with quite a few different people. In this day of social distancing — although I like to call it physical distancing rather than social distancing — I noticed that as I came upon people on the trail walking the other way, that we gave each other more distance than might be normal walking along a trail here in Oregon. And… this breaks my heart, because of how that felt in that moment, and I knew it was what was needed and what was necessary now to alleviate fears, and it also hurt in some ways as well.
What I really wanted to share today, that came from that walk in the woods, is the spectrum of humanity and the people that I passed and the way they were dealing with and coping with our realities today. It was a beautiful spectrum, and it was also saddening in some ways as well.
One of the most beautiful things I saw was walking along the trail. I had been walking along, and hadn’t really passed anyone in 5-10 minutes. And there was a man and woman with their dog, and they were stopped at a trail at an intersection and all of a sudden, as I’m getting closer, the man throws out his hands and says, “She said yes!” And it stopped me, of course, because I was walking slowly in my solitude, and I stopped and said, “Excuse me?” and he said, “She said yes! I just proposed, and you’re the first person who knows besides us.”
It was such a beautiful, magical moment. Here were two people, they said they’d been together about four and a half years, and now was just the right time. She jokingly said, “Even the dog kept the secret.” I took from that that maybe the pack the dog had on was where the ring was hiding. I wished them good wishes and happiness together, and it was a really sweet and beautiful moment, and my heart just expanded in love for them and happiness for them.
I needed that, actually, because about 20 minutes before, I had been poking along on the trail. (This was a very slow hike for me, normally I’m moving at a brisk pace but I knew that I needed solitude as well as the quiet movement.) So I stopped and looked at some moss growing on the trees and where the sunlight was hitting it, and I heard a man and woman coming along the trail behind me. And I was over on the side of the trail, just watching the trees and thinking, and unfortunately what I heard was a lot of fear and panic in the woman’s voice as they were coming along. She was talking to her partner about good hygiene, and really trying to share with him what she thought he needed to be doing to take care of himself and to keep her safe as well, and measures he needs to be taking with gloves and touching things and what not.
I’m a 2 [Helper/Caregiver] on the Enneagram, and I’m also very much an empath, so before seeing I could hear and sense from her the fear and the panic that was in her voice, and my heart hurt. But also I knew that there was more coming, unfortunately.
As they came around the corner, I — just like I had with everyone else on the trail — gave them their distance and smiled and said, “Hello,” and “Good afternoon.” And... this makes my heart hurt… this woman snapped and said, “Don’t talk to us!” and rushed on along with her partner. I was taken aback and shocked, and quickly understood that it was from a place of fear. But it also hurt.
As they were walking away, her partner, I could tell he was a little shocked as well, and he slowed but continued to walk and I heard him say, “What is wrong with you?” in a way shaming her, which I understood as his reaction, he was surprised. He said to her as he was walking away, “You can’t catch this by someone talking to you.” They continued on the trail, and she was speaking back to him, and I was left there in the wake of that, with my heart hurt.
But quickly I realized that my heart hurt for myself in that moment, but it also ached and hurt so deeply for her and her partner as well. It was very clear that she was afraid and very scared, and I really understood. There’s just so much uncertainty and so much fear, and seeing that her partner was really shocked by her, her lashing out and her fright. So I think and imagine that, in that moment, that interaction took all three of us by surprise. I don’t think that’s her normal state. And so I have a lot of compassion and love and understanding there, and I also recognized that in the moment it just kind of pierced my heart.
It was this interesting juxtaposition. Almost twenty minutes apart, feeling kind of this terror and kind of the worst that people are going through right now, and then kind of seeing the best and the hope, and looking towards the future in a different set of people. It really brought home to me that every one of us is on this journey, and we're all coping with it in very different ways, and it’s affecting us all in very different ways. But no matter how it’s affecting us, our reaction to it and our behavior affects those around us as well.
I just want to share that what you say and what you do matters. It matters to you, it matters to your heart and your soul. It matters to the hearts and the souls and the spirits around you. Have compassion first for yourself and then for others that are around you. Understand and know that we may not all be coming from our best place right now. In fact, I’d be surprised if any of us are. There’s a lot of unknown, there's a lot of fear, there’s a lot of uncertainty, but we also all — whether we’re in touch with it or not — have a lot of love in our hearts. (Tweet this.)
So I encourage you to tap into that love, firstly for yourself, to have kindness and love and compassion for yourself, and understanding that when the fear arises it’s okay. You’re okay. Don't try to squash it — welcome it, say hello, ask it what it needs. Our fear is there for a reason, and it’s us who allows it to get to an unhealthy place. But fear does come up for a reason. So I just want to ask you to welcome it. See what it needs from you. Honor it. And then, in whatever way you can, carry on.
Lastly, I just want to share with you this picture of this tree that I came across while on my hike. I just was blown away by this tree, and the adaptability. Adaptability is what came to mind for me, as well as perseverance, stunning grace, and growth. This tree was hundreds of feet tall, a huge tree in a beautiful forest. And its roots... you wouldn’t think it would have been able to grow as tall or as strongly as it had, because of the roots and the structure. But this tree was adaptable to its environment.
So what I took from this in the moment was a recognition of my own adaptability. My life now is completely different than what it was one week ago, two weeks ago. But I am able to adapt.
So what I’ll leave with you is, what are the adaptations that you’re needing to make in your life right now in order to come at your life from a place of strength, a place of fierce love, and also adaptability?
Be well, be safe, and love yourself and one another.