Spring is almost here and for the first time in a long time I'm sitting next to an open window in my office listening to the birds chirp, feeling a cool, gentle breeze on my skin, marveling at how much I love the return of sunshine to our little corner of the world. It's not been a wicked winter weather-wise, but it has been a long, dark one, so I'm thankful for any opportunity to let nature into the house once more. Every year by early March, I'm tired of being trapped inside, trapped in the car, trapped at the gym or the library or any place else that keeps me restricted to four walls and a furnace.
Still, an open window invites more than just the sights and sounds of nature to permeate my senses. My next-door neighbors walk by on occasion and if I'm not working on a project, we'll catch up while my little cat, Aditi, makes eyes at Rhett, the Basset Hound/Labrador mix who romps in the driveway. It's a great opportunity to stay connected to others while I write in my quiet little space here in the Heartland. Living and spending most of my work day alone narrows my focus to what's right in front of me, and while that's all well and good, I also need the broader perspective of the bigger picture.
Just now I met a friendly fella who will be subletting the duplex upstairs. After my former neighbor introduced us, Steve asked about my yoga classes. "I hear you're an instructor. Just watching that stuff hurts me...I'm not flexible enough to do it."
I smiled. "I always say if you can breathe and climb the stairs to my studio, you can practice yoga."
"If you have a flexible body, you've got a flexible mind," I added. "So the reverse is true, too...flexible mind, flexible body. But it's all a process, right?"
"Yep...thanks for the wisdom," Steve smiled.
"Oh, I'm full of it," I laughed.
"That's what I hear," he shot back.
See? Spring isn't even officially here yet, but already the fun's begun.
Over the weekend I revisited The History of the Eagles just for fun, too. I first wrote about the documentary in the blog "Mysterious Ways". Since then, we've lost Glenn Frey and it was surprising how sad I was when I heard of his passing. It's more than the fact that I'll never get to see the original Eagles in concert. More than missing yet another American icon who died too soon. After watching the 1978 concert on DVD, I realized that ever since I was little, The Eagles have been on the radio, providing a broad, beautiful soundtrack for the endless, quiet moments of my life -- Take it to the Limit being a song that has inspired me in so many ways, I cannot begin to describe them all.
A friend recently wrote me saying she wished she could embody my courage. Over the years I've heard how brave I must have been to quit my job. Move to California. Move back with no prospects on the horizon. Stand up and speak when others would sit down and cower. Walk away from toxic relationships even though that meant walking into the unknown. When I was in the midst of any of those things, I didn't think it was courage that allowed me to change my life. I simply felt pigeon-holed into a place too small, too narrow, too constricting, too negative.
I was more afraid of what would happen to me if I stayed in it.
Time and again whenever I was in the midst of upheaval, Take it to the Limit was on the radio. Just a couple of weeks ago I drove home to find my house permeated by the scent of skunk and when I walked in the door, Randy Meisner's voice was on Pandora belting out:
So put me on a highway and show me a sign
Take it to the limit one more time
Yet again I was reminded to stand in my center, honor my path, say what I needed to say and move on, no matter what might happen next. My limits have been stretched over the years and while I may not always like the opportunities for expansion, I think of what a very wise woman said to me when I lived in Big Sur: You be you...you keep going.
And so I do.
These days it's not enough to stay hyper-focused on my own little world. Sure it's important to do what I need to do in the moment, but I've come to more fully appreciate the grand scope of the forest outside of the little tree of my life. I just got back from a long hike at Wildwood where I softened my eyes and looked as deeply into the forest as possible. The horizon line was a host of tall, bare trunks and branches, not quite ready for springtime, but not fully frozen either. That's been a metaphor for my life lately: I'm ready for change, but it's not all that forthcoming just yet. That's when I wish I could fly like an eagle, surveying the territory from a higher perspective.
While meditating last night I could clearly imagine being high above the earth, looking down on the whole of my life...the past, the present, the fuzzy, unformed future. In doing so I realized that experiences I've had since the New Year have not-so-gently revealed that my childhood and my young adulthood and the year I spent in California are all gone.
It's about time.
I've come to a place where I'm tired of playing the same records over and over again. Tired of the same old lessons coming into my life in new, yet very familiar packages. I'm finally ready to let go of walking through the world via a revolving door that doesn't lead anywhere, just an endless circle of recognizable, yet very limiting circumstances. I'm done taking it to the limit.
Now I want to be unlimited, and to do that, I'll need to shift my perspective. Thank God for the Steve Miller Band. Time does indeed keep slipping into the future. As I move into the second half of my life, I'll be broadening my horizons to include more than what I can see in my home, in my neighborhood, in my little corner of the world.
As winter melts into spring, I'll unfurl my wings and see how high I can let my spirit carry me as I fly like an eagle into the future.
|"Fly Like an Eagle" by The Steve Miller Band|