Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Back before I ever had coaching tools, Nature was my guide. She's helped me find my center more times than a hummingbird returns to a flower to feed. When I'm confused or feeling stuck, she gives me answers and a path forward. It may not be the answer I want, but it's always the answer I need. And the direction forward may not be comfortable, yet it's full of truth.
I'll admit I've been feeling uncertain about the direction of my business and stuck on what unique offering I can give those who I can be of service to. As an Acheiver, I'm not immune to the mental chatter that compares my offerings to others and judges mine to be stagnant and unoriginal. And while I recognize these thoughts as dirty pain to do The Work on, I also accept that the world is changing right now and it may not be the time for external growth.
Last week, my husband and I vacationed at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Aside from hiking, one of my favorite activities in remote locations like this is stargazing. Away from the light pollution of cities, I can stand in awe of the cosmos and remember what it feels like to be insignificant and infinite all at once. The Milky Way paints a faint pink cloud across a zillion stars scattered and blinking. The brightest lights, aside from a waxing moon, are Jupiter and Saturn -- only about 500 million miles away. I pick out Scorpio and Ursa Major, where I spy the faint flair of the Neowise Comet nearby. A comet that the Earth won't see for an estimated 6,800 years.
So enamoured with this view and full of excitement, midnight felt like midday. Who could sleep inside with this expansiveness right above me?
As a hobby photographer, I was delighted to practice shooting the stars. With my wide angle lens's aperture set to 2.8, focus set to infinite, ISO set to 1,000 and my handheld remote shutter ready to play with timing, I started shooting. Sometimes I left the shutter open for a full minute, other times 30-40 seconds, and some only 10 seconds.
When I post-processed the photos and zoomed in to see the stars, I realized that even after 10 seconds, the camera picked them up as short lines in the sky. What felt like no time at all for me was actually enough time to capture the movement of the Earth spinning. And then the lesson hit me.
Just because it feels like we're not moving or progressing doesn't make that true. Growth can feel insignificant in the moment, but if we take a wide view, we can see that we are indeed progressing along our path.
In the words of Lao Tzu, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
One of Nature's greatest strengths is patience. Seeds sprout beneath the earth well before they reach air, and it's still a long process before a plant ever produces fruit. We never expect to harvest directly after planting seeds, so why do we hold ourselves to that standard?
I believe one of the greatest lessons from our COVID-19 shelter-in-place will be learning patience and presence. That only comes when we can first become still. When we can put away distractions, set down our mental chatter and feel into the moment -- like this one, right now -- we move into the awareness of our spirit. If we quiet our minds, we can find that center of wise knowing. In that space there is peace, love and purpose. In that place, we are perfect and safe.
It's from there we can make decisions (or decide to make none at all) that chart our course toward whatever life we're intended to live. One. Step. At. A. Time.