The sun above us was a blessing and a curse. For me, freckled and pale, the sun had been a foe since childhood. For my children, it was the promise of another long day at the beach. We were here- feet in the wet sand, wind blowing hard as it does on the Bruce Peninsula. My boyfriend flinging my son into the warm water, both laughing hard with mischief.

My bikini-clad daughter sat pensively assessing her castles in the sand. She had built an empire only to have it come crashing down beneath the careless paws of a rogue Golden Retriever. She pouted for a moment, shrugged and then ran off to join her brother.

I leaned back in my bright green lawn chair and turned to my friend beside me. My hat and sunglasses hid my face, but damn- they were necessary. I was grateful for the private moment with her. There was something I wanted to address and talk out- a chasm I wanted to cross.

“We both know I’m sensitive…” I began.

My friend nearly spit out her beer.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” I said. “Seriously, though.”

She tucked flailing brown locks behind her ears and smiled wide. “I’m listening,” she urged.

“My skin, my stomach, my emotions, but also my empathy- all sensitive. It’s getting harder to navigate these days.” I paused to spy my loved ones diving into the waves. “I take on too much. I immerse myself in their pain.”

My friend drew an elastic from her beach bag and tied her hair back. “Tell me more about that,” she said.

“I don’t know how it is for other people, but for me, I cannot simply listen to someone. I feel them. I feel what they’re feeling. Often words aren’t even necessary.” I grabbed a towel and placed it over my feet. They always got burned first. “People will ask me how I can possibly give readings over the phone, but it’s all energy. That’s the thing. I only need to focus on you…on your energy.”

“OK, so you’re having trouble giving readings now?” she asked.

I shook my head. “No, no. I open up the minute I start a reading and close the second we stop. I was trained for that. The problem is loved ones…or even things I read online. I’m having trouble applying the same standard of practice. It’s as if my awareness opens like flood gates. It all hits me and it can be overwhelming. And I just sit there, stuck in the overwhelm…wishing I could change things, but knowing I can’t.”

My friend looked out onto the lake. “Hmm…” And then she turned back to me: “What’s different now? What’s going on with you?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve been praying more and have really amped up my forgiveness practice.”

She took a sip of her drink and said decidedly: “You’re outgrowing it.”

“What?”

“This dive into other people’s problems to distract from your own soul’s work…it’s not serving you anymore. You’ve always done it, Danielle, but now it’s not giving you the ego high it once did. You don’t want to be a rescuer. You want to be a miracle worker. There’s a huge difference.”

She was right. There was. One implied I could save another person because he or she lacked something. The other was the Truth:

“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. They are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.” ~ A Course in Miracles

No separate interests…

Something clicked. “It’s the meaning I give it…” I muttered.

She nodded. “Yes.”

“If I use their sadness to see separation, I get sad too. I get stuck in the story. But if I am willing to see beyond, to see our oneness, to take it all to Spirit and let it fly….”

“Peace…” She said the word like a sigh, like a lean into Love.

My boyfriend lumbered toward us just then, my son attached to his ankle dragging along joyfully in the sand. The sight made us both laugh out loud.

“He gives new meaning to the saying ‘Let go or be dragged’,” laughed my friend.

I smiled wide in agreement. “Yes, right now being dragged is the best thing in the world to him.”

I reached my hands up high into the air, stretching out this new point of view. It amazed me sometimes, this surrender of all I thought I knew to be right. I used to hold so tight to my intelligence, but Love was showing me so much more. And right now, for me, letting go felt right. It felt like the best thing in the world.

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