If you want to fly, simplify
I have had a fear and distrust of ordinary kinds of days for a very long time. I have created an epic life for myself, filled with dazzling highs and dramatic lows. With the work/play that I do in the world, peak experiences are quite commonplace. Often, though, a view from the peak is followed by a descent to the valley, and such extremes can weigh heavy in my heart. Like a tree trying to reach the sky without growing its roots, I grabbed for the highs of life, sputtered in mid-air, and then came crashing down. I justified this turbulent flight pattern by fancying myself to be one of those creative, artistic people who must live close to the edge to get fresh material, yet I've also been asking myself some questions about my pendulum-swinging lifestyle. Does my creativity come from my willingness to court drama or in spite of it?
Could there be a sweeter, more lasting romance available through the consciousness of peace and balance? In this world, rest in peace is a blessing for the departed. Is a lasting peace possible while here on classroom earth? Would I continue to learn, grow and be creative if I gave up my fascination with high intensity living? Such soul-searching questions have led me to some soul-satisfying experiences and answers.
There was one day when I was feeling unusually calm and balanced. I was taking a walk in a quiet neighborhood, enjoying a free afternoon while attending a spiritual retreat in Canada. The one-week retreat was helping me get into present time and release my stresses and worries. As I peacefully strolled, a deep, abiding contentment was interrupted by a slippery serpent of a suggestion. The tempting thought went something like this: "This peace is a drag. If we don't create some exciting drama soon, surely we will die of boredom!" I saw this as a test, an opportunity to resist eating another apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Pain and Drama. I decided not to take the bite.
"Universe," I prayed with conviction, "I know you are a place of infinite beauty and harmony. I want to live my life aligned with the ways of peace. I know that the birds and dolphins aren't bored singing and swimming your praises each day. They don't need pain and drama to glorify you, and neither do I. Teach me to see the miracles in ordinary life."
I released my request and continued to sink into a gentle peace. Suddenly I heard the sounds of an agitated, little cat and a large, angry dog. The dog had chased the cat up a fence. The dog was barking, the cat was trembling, and I was at peace. Within that peace my inner voice guided me into action. I approached carefully, made eye contact with the cat, and started beaming love to this precious creature. Slowly I climbed the fence, pausing at times to stay connected to the cat with my eyes and my heart. When I got close it came into my arms as if we were old buddies. I climbed back down the safe (dogless) side of the fence and placed my friend on the sidewalk.
Walking away, I realized that my prayer had just been answered, and I was being shown how the consciousness of peace can never be boring. When we are at peace we are literally on call for the universe, attuned and open to the numerous opportunities that become available to share our peace. Peaceful vibrations are highly contagious, and being a vehicle for their spreading is one of the greatest joys of living.
It occurred to me that if I had not already been in a place of peace while that incident unfolded, I might not have thought of helping. Or I might have tried to act without sensitivity to the cat, who I sensed was open to my help because of my state of mind. Then I remembered how often I had tried to get close to an attractive member of the opposite sex when my mind and body were broadcasting anything but balance and peace. The adrenal glands, useful and appropriate at times of possible physical danger, were being activated in my romantic life.
Fight or flight, the choices presented by the adrenals, are not very helpful for building a foundation of trust and love in a relationship. Fear can be exciting, and can be confused with passion, but it has nothing to do with the energy currents of real love. In fact, I had gotten so used to that heart thumping energy, I thought it was love I was feeling. In romance, I had played out the roles of both the aggressive dog on the prowl and the trembling cat staying just out of reach. It's no wonder so many of my relationships ended up on the fence!
So here I am now, going through a typical day in my life. Before sitting down to write this I did my laundry. Before that I went shopping, made lunch, and took a quiet walk in my neighborhood. And the kind of day I once feared was boring, I am now cherishing. I saved no cats, nor did I lose the soft strum of my heartbeat to the adrenaline rush of meeting yet another potential soulmate. What I did do was stay attuned to the peaceful center inside me. Within that center there is a sweetness, a feeling of wholeness that does not crave recognition or search hungrily for its completion. Within that center there is a sense of contentment that is far more soul-satisfying than all of my mystical, peak experiences put together. Yes, it's just another ordinary day, here on the ground. And for that I am extraordinarily grateful!
The Flight Of The Tree
Ever since I was a little boy my heart would dream of flight
From the tears I shed I would take my jet
Trying to soar into the light
Well I made it to the sky most times
Taking in the view I found
But the tears would come back to my eyes
When I crashed back on the ground.
At the point of being on my knees with no runway left to turn
I came face to face with an oak tree
And a mighty truth to learn.
I said, "Oak tree, my how high you've grown
What a point of view you've found"
It said, "What sustains my soaring heights
Are my roots deep in the ground."
Out of my mouth there came a prayer like I never prayed before
For my words had power from my pain
And it shook me to my core
I said, "Mother earth and Father sky
There's a lesson here for me
For from birth I've dreamed that I can fly
without rooting like this tree."
Plant my feet in soil firm and high, to the ground I must return
For although I might be born to fly
There's some groundwork here to learn
So I let my spirit sink back in
To the soil I feared would hurt
And I found my soul could really grow
In the middle of the dirt.
As for the rest, you know it well, for it's what all life's about
As my roots grew stronger in the ground
I began my branching out
Tall and thick and full of heart
How I'm growing like a tree
But I won't forget how I got my start
Being wounded on my knees.
And when heaven's winds blow through my leaves
I give thanks for my rebirth
For the flight I yearned for was conceived
The day I came back to earth.
Scott Kalechstein is an inspirational speaker, writer, modern day troubadour, recording artist and a leader of workshops in the United States and Europe. He is also a frequent guest minister and singer at the Religious Science and Unity Churches. He will be giving a workshop entitled "Say Yes to Your Dreams" on Sunday, July 27 at the San Juan Capistrano Church of Religious Science at 1:00 p.m. For details, inquiries about bookings, or to order recordings, please call (619) 492-8726.
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