On our walk this morning, we saw a heron standing in the middle of the river. Eric took this picture of it, barely visible against the dark water. Even though we stood there for a long time, the dogs didn’t even see it until it started to move, slowly lifting one leg and then the other, its neck and head gliding as if its whole body were underwater, so slow that the place it started was barely different from where it rested, where it stopped and was still again.
I’ve been contemplating the ways in which we move and stay stuck. I’m considering how I might change the way things are for me, shift my approach, alter my experience, transform my perspective, because much of what I do and think doesn’t work, but is also deeply habitual. I’ve been feeling like there is a weight on my chest, a heaviness holding me down. Every time I try to figure out what it might be, I come back to the awareness that it’s me. I am like a bird so used to being captive that even when the door is open, I stay inside the cage.
What I know is that change begins with one tiny step, movement that might be so slow and so small it would look to someone watching like nothing at all. I’ve been wondering what small step I might take, to move towards living fully the life I want, into wellness and sanity.
I consider this knowing that in a real, fundamental way, I don’t need to change. I am already whole and well, innately wise and compassionate, sane. As Pema Chödrön says,
We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves — the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds — never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.