Have you ever noticed that there are moments that feed the soul?
I’m not talking about things that make us happy, or even just make us feel good. Not walking into the office first thing in the morning and seeing a clean desk (not that I ever get to do that!) or being told that you have done a good job, or even a hug from a friend or loved one. Those are great moments, and I hope that you have many of them every day, but that’s not what I mean.
I take the interstate every day to work, and I take the same exit every morning. Usually, I am stopped by a red light at the same spot on the exit ramp. Now, if you had told me that sitting in traffic could be a soul-feeding moment, I’d have laughed at you – I HATE sitting in traffic. Not the kind of food I want my soul to have, thanks! But this time – a couple of days ago – it was different.
Stopped in this particular spot on the exit ramp, I happened to glance a little to the right and noticed something amazing. Something so beautiful and perfect that it literally took my breath away – made me stop, swallow hard, and simply gaze in awe. And yet, it was something that had, most probably, been there every day (or at least most days) and I had simply never noticed. This time, perhaps because I particularly needed it, I noticed.
There is a river that runs alongside the interstate at this point, and trees on the bank between the city street and the river. A particularly large tree branches over the river, and in the space formed between the branch, the river and the other bank, there was light. Just that; sunlight. Dappling the river through the branches of the tree in a thousand moving, sparkling points of diamond fire…a masterpiece of light, shadow and movement. A living, moving portrait of peace and power and beauty.
I will never be capable of adequately describing this scene. I saw it again today, though, and it had the same effect. There was a sudden cessation of movement within me – an absence of worry and thought and toil and the constant flow of stuff that is always moving in what I can only describe as my soul. In its place was a feeling of breathlessness, of being simultaneously at rest and vastly, wildly uplifted. Something within me was released; something was comforted; something was, I can only say, fed. I was given something that I did not understand and did not need to understand – it did what it was supposed to do without requiring anything from me other than a moment’s glance and acknowledgement that here was something special, something out of the ordinary.
These moments, when it appears that the universe is arranging itself just for your benefit, creating a picture or a sound or an event for the sole purpose of giving you something that you need, are so rare and so precious. I wonder how many of them go unheeded every day? I am sure that I am guilty of missing many, perhaps even most, of them, and that saddens me, because they are incredible and irreplaceable.
A few years ago, when I was going through a truly shattering experience, I was given a profound insight. I won’t go into it here – not in this post – but it involved the process of metamorphosis. That summer, it seemed there were more butterflies in the air than I had ever seen before – they are not common where I live. But not a day went by that I didn’t see one, and I knew that I was being given a message. It sustained me, and the message turned out to be completely true. I came through the experience not only changed, but stronger and more beautiful and more free than I could have ever imagined. That message – those butterflies – were part of one of those moments; a soul-feeding experience.
Call it God, if you like. Call it the Goddess…or Allah…or nirvana…you can, if you don’t believe in any of these things or the myriad others that apply, think of it as a simple and meaningless coincidence born of wind and water and sun. But if you have experienced one of these moments, I don’t believe you can ever deny the power of it. And I don’t think it matters what you call it, as long as you let yourself feel it. Let yourself be fed. If the universe is speaking to you, in whatever voice you recognize, listen to it. Open that innermost part of yourself that defies definition, and let the universe give you what it has to offer. You will be enriched. And my hope for you, this day, is that you encounter one of these moments, and know it for what it is.