I was sitting on the deck writing this morning, in a small corner still blanketed by shade, when I looked up just in time to see two Great Blue Herons take flight from a nearby oak tree. As I watched their long, flowy wings carry them over the house, I heard myself say out loud: God, I’m so glad I looked up!
I’m so glad I looked up.
Funny, I thought as they passed out of sight, this is my focus during these turbulent times. Looking up. Not in the “be optimistic” kind of way – although I believe that’s important. But more in a spiritual sense – raising my consciousness so I operate from a higher state of mind.
For the time that we’ve been sheltered-in-place, I’ve maintained a disciplined meditation practice in order to listen to and act from my higher self rather than my ego. The ego is so quick to judge, to focus on what’s right or wrong with the world and the people in it. It has an opinion about everyone and everything. And it believes it’s always right.
Every time I catch myself judging a post someone places on social media, for instance, or the views of a person who sees things differently than I do, I remind myself to aim higher. To look up.
This means noticing when I get triggered by something or someone and refusing to do anything from an emotionally reactive place.
It means bringing my attention back inside to the present moment. That’s when I often wiggle my toes, focus on my breathing, or name what I see in front of me.
It means closing my eyes and following my breath in and out long enough to feel calm, clear-minded, and compassionate toward the person or situation that I’m judging.
And it means learning to sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of pointing fingers or blaming others (which is something the ego loves to do).
These are emotionally challenging times and the minute anxiety and fear take hold, the ego rises. Nearly every day I have to keep reminding myself to breathe, to get centered again, and to carefully think things through before I act.
This morning, I’m grateful for the medicine offered from the Great Blue Heron…
Keep looking up.