Yesterday, I took advantage of an unseasonably warm day and headed over to the park with the dog. While I do love wintertime, I also thrive in light and try to access it as much as possible during shorter days.
At this particular location, I like taking the nature trail and old road that border tomato fields–fewer people offers me opportunity for focused meditation or reflection And while I walk at a decent clip, I do like taking the time to stop and observe bits of nature as part of this prayer practice.
One of my favorite spots is mid-field–an area where there is enough water flowing from the creek that wildflowers have become a row of their own among tomato stakes and black plastic. At this time of year, it is lovely to watch the light dance among the feathery seedheads of goldenrod and ironweed. Chula Grace appreciates the opportunity to sniff about for small rodents as I close my eyes and listen to the wind weave its way through dried grasses.
Yesterday, however, this peaceful moment was suddenly interrupted by shrieking and screeching. A murder of crows spotted a hawk perched formidably in a tree, and they were not having it. They surrounded him on various branches and made sure he knew that he was not welcome. They cawed and they demanded, but Hawk rested calmly on his branch. The scene brought to mind that quote about maintaining peace in the midst of chaos, and Hawk appeared to be the Zen master.
As I continued walking along the road, I realized that this moment symbolized how I feel when I experience anxiety. It’s often hard to put it into words for others, but Nature seemed to capture it perfectly for me yesterday. As someone who has spent her life learning to sit with her anxious feelings, I looked to Hawk for guidance. As the voices and chaos swirled around him, Hawk sat in sacred space. Maybe he was focused on finding his mid-day meal or perhaps taking a break from flight. Either way, as the crows continued their banter and beckoning, Hawk settled into the moment, head high.
My prayer that day was of gratitude for the lesson learned from Hawk and a visual I can draw on in times of worry or stress. Rather than letting the anxiety pull me in multiple directions or distract me from my task at hand (which could literally be just breathing through the moment), I can settle into the moment, using the focus and intention of my practices to guide me through.
Thank you, Hawk. Namaste-