As a person who helps others get and stay connected to their inner wisdom, you’d probably guess I’m always calm and serene myself. Well, much of the time I am. What throws me off, though, is my habit of drastically underestimating how long something will take to accomplish. I’m just a lousy estimator, even when I multiply by three. Feeling late and rushed is not my strong suit. Cue stress and worry… and there goes my calm, along with my intuitive guidance.
Beating myself up while I’m on the run and feeling cranky doesn’t solve anything, but sometimes it feels uncontrollable. That makes my annoyance snowball into full-on pissed-off-ness. Like, yelling at the car radio mad. (A Frank Zappa jam is not helpful right now!) Then I spiral right down into loserville… What is wrong with me that I am so squirrely right now?! My whole vocation revolves around inner peace… WTF! And yeah, that’s when I’m about as far from my sweet spot as a gal can get.
I was in that place on the day of the special elections this past November. Who was running? No freakin’ idea – judges, clerks of something maybe – but I was damned sure I was going to vote (fear not: I used the sample ballot sent to me in the mail as a cheat sheet). On that morning, I had so many things to do at specific times and in a particular sequence so I could get to my mom (now in assisted living) during her afternoon window (between PT, OT, naps, lunch, dinner, more naps). I was running about an hour behind schedule before I even left my house; still, there was no way I wasn’t voting.
I love to vote. I mean really love it. I’m ridiculously lucky that my polling place is the sublime St. Martin in the Fields church. After I vote in the Parrish house, I sneak into the sanctuary for a few reverent moments. The first time I did this, the organist was practicing: music wafted through the cavernous sacred space and sunlight radiated through vibrant stained glass. It felt transcendent. I said a prayer for our country, our leaders, our citizens and my loved ones.
So, every time I’ve gone to this church to vote – it’s been many years now – I’ve had a spiritual experience. The beauty of the building itself moves my soul, and on that day when so many are participating in a single act of expressing themselves at the ballet box, I feel part of something greater.
Till this last time. It was a cold, grey day – the first one we’d had in an unseasonably mild and sunny fall – and I was wearing only a flimsy jacket. So, not only was I super busy, I was also cold. Worse, I hadn’t taken the time to do my morning ritual, the one that always gets me off to a good start. Oh no, I didn’t have time for that stuff today (mistake #1).
I was cranky as I drove to the church (usually I walk over) and I parked badly before running into the Parrish house. No line (I did take a moment to appreciate that). After I cast my ballot, I walked past the sanctuary – I longed to go in but had to keep on schedule. Denying my desire felt lousy and I got even more annoyed as I walked through the churchyard back to my car.
Suddenly, a grey hawk swooped right in front of me – I mean merely feet away. It scared the hell out of me. I watched it soar up to perch on a spire of the church. I stood frozen, mouth agape.
Now, if you knew my history with grey hawks, you’d be slack-jawed too. There’s a beautiful story in my book (out soon!) about my first meeting with one, but I’ve had so many awe-inspiring encounters I’ve lost count. Suffice to say for now, grey hawks appear to me when I need them: as a wake-up call, a cheerleader, a connection to those who’ve transitioned, and as a symbol of getting into my natural flow.
On that day, even in the bluster of my bad mood, I knew this was a huge opportunity for me to turn my day around. I just stood and watched him. It was like my time-bound schedule just melted away, along with my stress. There was nowhere or nothing more important in that moment than watching this grey hawk perched, still and calm.
For ten minutes I talked to the hawk and snapped some pics. I took in the moment and let it transform me. I voiced appreciation for him, my life, my rituals. I thanked him for coming to me and showing me that even though I felt so far away from my center just moments before, I was actually so close to regaining that place of calm, intuitive guidance that feels so good and makes my day run smoothly.
When you’re aware of all of the things conspiring to help you get and stay connected to your authentic self, life feels like a game. As delight builds, your connection strengthens. And so on… you’re in the flow of your best life.
Fly free, baby.