Putting aside my fervent wish to enjoy a lazy morning after this morning’s practice, I got moving early to head to the store to pick up the final ingredients for a day-long cooking project. It doesn’t exist in any tradition I know of, but I say forget about bitter greens or lentils or black-eyed peas. If sticky toffee pudding can’t bring in good luck for the new year, I don’t know what can. So despite the desire to hang out by the fire, I got myself together and headed out.
The driveway here drops down to the road, which descends into the valley. Two miles from the house, it was so foggy I couldn’t see across the field to the trees. It wasn’t a heavy, dark fog, but fog that seemed illuminated from within. With little hesitation, I pulled into the turnout and headed down into the field on foot. Sticky toffee pudding could wait. Everything could wait.
With every step, the light changed. The view changed. It was so beautiful. And I realized there was something crucial for me to see in that moment, on this one morning, other than the stunning view. In fact, it wasn’t really a view at all, as the usual “view” was completely obscured. It was the lack of view that was so compelling. I couldn’t quite put words to it, but I knew there was something vitally important about the beauty of not being able to see what was right in front of me that was relevant to my life. There was something about the view unfolding, shifting from the hidden to the seen and back again that was a mirror to the process of my own being and becoming.
This morning’s impromptu hike contained a lesson or reminder about holding the open, unseen space before me with awe and wonder. As my own next steps feel even more uncertain than ever, I need to change my approach. I need to remember that even when I can’t see what’s coming, there’s a light beyond the shadow, beyond the fog, beckoning. That light takes many forms. Sometimes it whispers: stop your car, stop what you’re doing, stop everything. Sometimes it calls you to turn and wait: wait for the clouds to part or the fog to lift; pause until your vision becomes more clear. Sometimes it says close your eyes and jump.
There is more in every moment than the conscious mind can hold. There is as much or more in the unseen realm as in the arena of the seen and known. The light, the lesson, the one next step is always just right there.
And so I made my way across the field and the river. Climbed over the fence and scrambled up the hill. By the time I reached the top, the fog hadn’t cleared or lifted, rather, I’d actually risen above it. Below the clouds. Above the fog. Another layer of liminal space. It took my breath away.
As I walked back to my car, I was struck with the irony that I’d had the idea of getting up extra early to do this particular walk and watch the sunrise on the first day of the year from the hilltop. With a house full of people and all the associated activities, it wasn’t practical. And yet, there I was. Where I had wanted to be. There I’d arrived without an extensive, well thought-out plan, hardly a path, and was offered an experience far surpassing what I would have seen at sunrise. The magic of the moment. Of being available to hear the call and the wisdom to stop the damn car and pull over.
I’m reminded a bit of the lesson of India 2020: You don’t have to know; you don’t need to know; you don’t get to know. And while all that is true, still we are moving forward. Good things are happening. The light is there, and we don’t have to wait until the entire path has been revealed in order to see the beauty around us in every moment.
I needed to be reminded. Maybe you did, too.
With love and all the blessings for the year ahead.