NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

Deeper, Wider, Higher

August 19, 2018

 "We owe the world our real presence."

- Michael Meade -

 

August 1st. July had come and gone while preparing the truck and camper for the camping leg of our adventure.

 

Driving from western Colorado and across Utah the skies were filled with smoke, the usual desert colors muted to eerie tones of gray. It was 100 degrees outside, with strong gusty winds. The descent over the winding steep pass down into the Great Salt Lake basin made my body tighten with anxiety—speed and heights are not my friends. Then we hit rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City.

 

We were on the road to calm, and we'd made a wrong turn. 

 

Finally the traffic thinned, the air cleared, storm clouds hovered over the far mountains. The white glare of the salt flats stretched to the western and northern horizons. Barry pulled over at a rest stop, and then announced he was going to drive out onto the lake bed. "Do you want to come with me?" 

 

 It was surreal out on the salt. Wind whipped around us. Barry took photographs. Though solid, the white crusted surface felt like thin ice, as if we and the truck and camper would fall into watery depths. 

 

Standing there, my body gave in to the long day. Plop! My knees folded under me, my hands opened to the wind. In that meditative pose, I felt connected to the terra firma under the layer of salt, the fact of my anxiousness and fears, the rain falling from dark gray thunderheads in the distance, my intrepid husband, the wonder of sitting with the beauty of each grain of salty white wrought by forces beyond my imagining. 

 

And I finally understood, through this messenger called my body. What felt like a wrong turn was the reality of being on the road to calm. Which wouldn't be complete without the worries and stress, the magic moments. A road that takes us deeper, wider, higher into our real presence. 

 

 

 

Photographs © Barry Shapiro 

 

 

 

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Calming Practice: Sit

 

Feeling anxious?

Sit down.

Stop moving.

Let your body relax so it can find its center,

so your thoughts can step off the hamster wheel.

Sit. 

 

 

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