I recently went on a road trip along the Pacific Coast. I was awed by the majestic Redwoods that stood like proud titans protecting our nation’s sacred lands and wildlife. While driving along the highway with towering trees on either side of the road, CB, my nature-loving spouse, remarked it was like driving through a church. In fact, the light filtering through the trees was reminiscent of pictures I saw in an illustrated storybook of Bible stories that I enjoyed as a young girl.
Admiring the magnificence of the California and Oregon coast, I contemplated the vastness of the ocean and what my role might be in protecting and preserving the beauty and sanctity of our planet. The world seemed vast, yet while enveloped in this wondrous terrain, I also felt empowered to embark on a life mission to do something truly great.
Then reality set in.
We stopped for the night in an RV park and an angry young man was screaming such violent obscenities at his wife that the police were called in. I feared for the safety of the woman and her baby. However, the mere presence of the police car was enough to quiet the man down and restore peace to the park. I doubt it had a lasting effect, but for the time, things were quiet again.
Unfortunately, I no longer felt as empowered as I had earlier. This violent scene temporarily sucked the courage to make a difference in the world right out of me. I can only imagine how this angry man’s wife and baby felt.
It occurred to me that anger and fear can have a shrinking effect. At least it does for me. It seems that all one’s attention is on something very narrow and confining. I once heard that we need to have an expansive outlook so that we can embrace the surrounding area – the planet – and even the galaxy.
At times, my mentor, Akiko, would ask how big was my world? Not THE world, but MY world. When I’m angry, hurt or fearful, my world is so small. What I’m angry about is all I can think about. It’s like when you have a toothache. You may be in expansive, even beautiful surroundings, but all you can think about is that nasty, throbbing ache in your mouth. Your world has infinite possibilities, but the reality is it becomes the size of a tooth.
During our travels, the confined physical conditions of my sleeping arrangements that I share with my spouse, a bunny, his cage, and a plethora of camping equipment that encompasses our Ford 150 truck and camper, is quite small. CB arranges it nicely, but it can be hard to maneuver. CB calls our little camper shell, Casa Bonka, because the likelihood we will bonk our heads is almost inevitable.
But I don’t have to live in a camper shell. I temporarily sleep in one, but at any time I can step or crawl out of our vehicle, look at the glistening starts and feel the infinite universe and possibilities that await me.