My friend Celina took a break from the frigid Chicago weather to spend the week with me in Arizona. She’s enjoying our warm temperatures so much I’ll probably have to drag her kicking and screaming to the airport today to catch her flight home. Celina and I are different in many ways. While I am edging up on 61, Celina is 34 years old. I wake before dawn and she sleeps in. I crawl to bed about the time she is ready to party. She likes to dress up; I dress down. She is fond of chunky platforms while I prefer flats or sneakers. She’s a city girl while I’ve shed that skin in favor of more rural roots. The most noticeable difference is height: she’s the size of an Olympic gymnast and I am a robust 5’8”.
As we meandered through the outdoor mall yesterday, I noticed something. Tiny Celina hauled an oversize black leather bag over her shoulder while I carried my simple, small leather wallet. I pointed this out to her and said, “You’re living large in a small body while I’m trying to live small in a large body.” We both erupted in laughter. As I looked at her, I realized the truth of what I’d said. She exudes an attitude of self confidence and puts herself out there every single day.
During my daily trek with my three dogs through the desert, that snippet of conversation floated through my brain. Celina was still buried deep in sleep while the dogs and I gloried in the sunrise. The morning light draped the mountains in a mist of gold and the cholla and palo verdes glowed with pleasure and dog fur gleamed. As I pushed my hair away from my face, I glimpsed the reflection of sunlight in the strands and it hit me: it’s all about perspective. Some folks live large by doing things: travel, theater, fine dining and concerts. I enjoy those things immensely but what fills me more is my daily walk in the desert. My aura expands and connects with the mountains, the towering saguaros, the coyotes and lizards scrabbling past, and even the stones beneath my feet. I mingle with the Earth and Sky and become one with all that is. I breathe deep and take it all in until there is no separation between the physical and spiritual realm. Dressed in my worn sneakers, dusty jeans and faded sweatshirt, I put myself out there and glow in the morning light and I know this: I, too, am living large.
Okay, I admit it. Some days I get overwhelmed and get a little wacky. I notice that it’s at those times I have lost touch with Spirit a little bit and, after mini-meltdown, I come back down to earth and realize I’ve been shirking my practice. In a way, though, it’s a good thing. For it makes me think about what I had been doing as far as morning prayers and such. At those times I realize I’ve been “calling it in”. I take it for granted that simply because I am saying the words, by rote, that Spirit will be accepting. The problem with that thinking is that I don’t accept it! My soul is the one that rebels, hence the mini-meltdown.
Why is it a good thing? Because it makes me reflect and re-evaluate; it prompts me to search for true meaning. I try new things. Lately, I discovered a simple practice that for me has been especially powerful: Surrender. Did you catch that capital “S”? When faced with issues before, I’ve asked Spirit to take the burden, figure it out, and then get back to me with a solution. Now this works pretty well as long as I trust my intuition (which, after all, is nothing more than guidance from within), but it is not the whole enchilada. When I surrender body, mind, and soul problems and challenges become stones in the river. Have you ever taken time to sit next to a running creek or stream and notice the soothing sound of the water? Think about it for a moment. It’s not the water creating that sound. It’s the combination of the water and the stones. The water doesn’t allow the stones in its path to impede its progress, rather it surrenders to them. The water embraces them, bouncing and splashing over and around them. The water recognizes the stones for what they are: opportunities to create a little soul-stirring music.
Each day I sit for fifteen minutes. I begin by placing the Reiki symbols in each hand. If you are not a Reiki practitioner, simply hold your hands in prayer position over your heart for a few moments. Then, with focused intention, I surrender my entire life to the loving care of Spirit. I surrender my aches and pains. I surrender conflicts both internal and external. I surrender financial burdens. I surrender worries and concerns. I surrender my ego. I surrender my heart to the guidance of Spirit. Then I place my hands palm up on my thighs, close my eyes and allow the energy to flow. When I open my eyes, I feel light and grounded at the same time. My mind is at peace.