The day was misty and slightly cool leaving a light spray on our skin. On each tree a scant few leaves were dead, but remained- dangling atop branches that swayed. I wore a thick wool sweater on my back and a heaviness in my chest. The ellipse of human existence had brought me down and in. I had been riding a high that had recently taken a dip, but I was watching it- trying my best not to latch onto it.
My friend walked beside me talking about her recent knitting project. I wanted to immerse myself in the simplicity of her story. I wanted to take it on as my own and let go of these fearsome fables in my head. I was beginning to believe that peace was a lost cause, something that would have to wait for another lifetime. In my mind, I was lamenting my uncanny habit to break down and cry in the face of too much. Overwhelm- I was the poster child.
“So what’s going on?” she asked. And all of a sudden I realized I had completely tuned her out and fallen into my fable again. I looked over at her knowing smile behind pink lipgloss. She wore the same sweater as I, hers blue and mine grey.
“So much…” I said softly, my voice trailing off.
“OK, Miss Doom and Gloom. Expand on that.”
I laughed and felt mild surprise at how good that felt. And just then a thought came: “What if all of this is just utterly absurd?”
Smiling to myself I continued, “I’ve taken on a lot. Between the kids, my two jobs and this conference we’re planning, I’m feeling stretched. Not to mention spending time with my boyfriend or…” I gasped in mock shock, “…time to myself!”.
My friend pushed her sleeves up and shook with laughter. “Sarcasm is good, Danielle. Laughter is good.”
I ran my fingers through my hair, feeling a little lighter already. “Yes…” I said softly.
She continued, “It’s not all going to be perfect. You know that. You will be pulled here and then there, but you can’t do it all perfectly all the time. I’ll even go a step further and suggest that the imperfect times are more helpful.”
My skin tingled from the mist and from a soul recognition. I had an inkling where she was going with this. “My reaction to imperfection, you mean?”
“Yes,” she said. “If things don’t go as planned, you get to look at how you receive that. What happens in your head? How do you feel?” She spotted a worm on the sidewalk- stopped, picked it up and gently placed it in the grass. “Then you take those thoughts to Spirit. Share it all. This is not about being the best mother/girlfriend/spiritual teacher. This is about peace and recognizing it is all a process.”
I took in her words and as I did, my heart joined my head. “I want to do it all. There is nothing in this life I would withdraw from. It’s all perfect already and I was led here! I didn’t force any of it.”
She smiled, listening- looking straight ahead. She already knew what I was going to say next. I could feel it.
“So all I have to do is keep going. I don’t have to plan or analyze or make excuses. I just have to keep going. Open-hearted.”
“Exactly,” she said.
I pulled at the neck of my sweater and tapped my collarbone gently. “No spreading thin, no exhausting my resources…just following the pull and trusting that everything I need will be there to help me through.”
“Yes, and recognizing that people will help you. You don’t have to be “the one”. You don’t have to be the saviour. Let yourself be saved sometimes, you know?”
Oooh. That one hit home. I would have to let that simmer a bit. My mind said “But I love being the one…” while my heart whispered “This is letting go…”.
For now, I felt better. Another worry said aloud. Another burden lifted.
I looked over at my happy companion. “Thank you,” I said.