On Sunday, I heard this poem in church and it stirred something deep in me.
KEY DROPPER, by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Landinsky
The small man
For everyone he knows
While the sage
Who must duck his head
When the moon is low
Keeps dropping keys
All night long
For all the beautiful, rowdy
I wondered why the poem intrigued me. Surely I'm the one dropping keys. Yet, later in the afternoon, when I examined myself, I found a cage around my soul and pliers in my hands. I'm imprisoned and I'm also the cage builder!
All week I struggled with the compulsion to fill in the gap that Jay's recovery leaves on the farm. During the service, I realized I'm simply putting myself in prison. Old perfectionistic thought processes had taken over. Thoughts that if I couldn't keep up with all the weeding, trimming, planting, transplanting, watering and the thousand other things this place needs, people will be disappointed. Then, they wouldn't share my love for the land; they wouldn't fall in love with the earth at all and wouldn't care about honoring it. They wouldn't come again, and those who ventured in would leave grouchy. They'd go home to yell at their children and send their dogs to bed without toys. Everything would fall apart.
As if I controlled the fuzz in a fawn's ear, painted the yarrow flowers red, and squeezed the clouds for rain. It's laughable, isn't it, how I, and probably you, think and spiral and want control. In my defense, the world can be ugly and I need this spot to be wonderful!
So much is just crazy out there. Fear, famines, floods, accidents, mass shooters, the loss of family farms, sea animals choking on plastic, lack of compassion, cancer, global warming, tornadoes, lack of rain, too much rain, on and on. If I can keep my corner of the world beautiful then things won't seem desperate. The trouble with compulsion is it slowly moves from managing, inviting, and offering to forcing things, often with a clenched heart.
I'm not judging myself here, as many of my concerns are valid and I do need to work more to manage the farm in Jay's recovery. I'm inviting myself to refind balance by listening to my body and soul. I want to encourage myself and others to know what is ours to do, when to ask for help and receive it, and when to sense that we're out of balance. And for me, specifically, it's letting go of perfection. Freeing myself from that cage is the beginning of world peace. :)
In order to find balance, I took myself on a walk around the farm. I laughed with the rushing of the creek water, sang to the wildflowers, snapped picture after picture of beauty. I saw plants needing water, thistles to be dug and I simply told the breeze I'd get to it someday, but not today. Weeds never killed anyone. I felt truly free, tall enough to have to duck my head the next time the moon is low.
Photos in this blog post are from around Starry Meadows