I have a story that I just have to share with you.
A couple months ago, right after my girls went back to school, after a very full, nonstop-busy (but mostly very good) summer, I was home in the middle of the day cleaning. Scrubbing toilets and sinks, vacuuming dust balls off the long-neglected wood floors. Washing and folding and washing and folding. After hours of what felt like the worst kind of grind, I started feeling completely depleted/frustrated/angry at someone I couldn't identify. Actually, truthfully - after hours of this, I put my entire life up for question. Doubt crept in a little bit at a time. What started as thoughts like:
What the hell am I doing in the middle of the day on a Tuesday cleaning?
Quickly went to:
What the hell am I doing with my life? I have nothing going for me. I'm a loser.
You know, the typical stuff the mind loves to throw at us when we're on the ground and when we give it permission to run free and wild. Minds are so not unique in the way that they love to throw shit at us.
After a little while of thinking these kinds of thoughts, I became so heavy in my body, I could hardly move. But I knew I had to move. That very-hard-to-hear voice inside me was insistently whispering:
Go for a walk. Go for a walk. Get outside and breathe.
So, quickly - before I ended up paralyzed on the couch for the day, I grabbed some water, my good walking shoes, my good dog, and my heavy-with-blah self, and heading out the door to my favorite forested walking spot.
Once in the woods, I started saying urgent prayers. Prayers that went something like this:
Please, please guide me, show me the way, show me how to serve. Use me. Show me that my being here has purpose.
Since there was no one anywhere near me, I said these prayers out loud to the trees, to the cushion of pine needles beneath my feet, to the big sky above me, to the oblivious-to-my-pain singing birds.
After a few minutes of this, my cell phone, which was in my back pocket, made its little chiming sound (indicating an email). I don't always check email in the middle of the forest (usually I make a point not to do this) but, in this moment, I knew I needed to. As I stood there with all that beauty around me, all the heavy-questioning inside me, this is what I read:
I wanted to let you know that I have been reading every poem on your blog and each one has moved me deeply.
I'm a rabbi in the midst of preparing for the Jewish New Year, a time of deep reflection and transformation, and I am always looking for poetry to open up the hearts of those who come to my services, as well as my own. My favorites have been Hafiz, Mary Oliver, Kim Rosen, David Whyte, etc. This year I may be using your poetry exclusively, with your permission.
I want to thank you for being so bold and generous and vulnerable. It is truly an inspiration--a deep and healing breath for the spirit.
I hope our paths cross someday.
(Shared with permission from this beautiful man)