One of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that there are no accidents. Everything that comes into our awareness is there for a reason and a purpose. In my life, it has become my great pleasure to figure out those reasons and purposes. I feel my most connected when I allow myself the time to reflect on the things that cross my path and I want to share a recent exchange that was both a literal and figurative crossing of paths.
In a previous article, I shared my challenges with snakes. Because my acceptance of my harmonious relationship with snakes is a work-in-progress, I keep getting opportunities to see snakes from different perspectives so it was no great surprise that my eye was instinctively drawn to this small movement on the pavement just ahead of me as I rounded the corner on the east end of my neighborhood during my morning walk. I had just greeted my neighbor, Luke and his person as I more sensed than saw the presence on the sidewalk. If you had stretched it straight from end-to-end, he/she might have been 10 inches long and maybe the diameter of a thick ink pen but it may as well have been an anaconda in my eyes. And it was not stretched out straight – it was curling up into a strike position that says (in all languages), “This way you shall not pass!” I understood that very clearly even as my rational self wanted to reason that I’m a lot bigger than that snake and I shouldn’t be afraid and I can get around it. It still took about 2 seconds for me to “get” that I was the only one present who was considering an alternate route and so I took it.
As I turned to look at my fierce little neighbor – while I passed from the safety of the street – the snake had uncurled and was resuming its original trek toward the curb. I wanted to think that we both felt relief that this encounter hadn’t gotten ugly, but I suspect I may have been the only one who experienced that sensation.
As part of the Practical Mysticism class, I have been practicing really thinking about the things that happen to me and around me as they are happening or very soon after so I considered this meeting as I continued my walk. I knew God was showing up for me as this diminutive but fierce reptile – my symbol of fear and loathing. Here it was! I had this amazing opportunity to see this challenge of mine in a whole new light – and then something really great happened!
Initially, I was thinking about how very insistent the snake was on getting its own way – not backing down – not compromising – and I saw where sometimes it is necessary in our lives to do that very thing. As we pay attention and hear the song of our calling, we have to listen – we are compelled to listen – and if we are willing, we are also compelled to act. Compromise has a time and a place but it’s not here. We have to act against all our fears and all our doubts and step out in faith and do what our hearts call us to do – what the Universe calls us to do.
As I appreciated the snake’s commitment to his calling, my imagination went to a place where I tried to see what this encounter looked like from the snake’s point of view. I thought of the brave little snake in the face of this enormous, gangly interloper – challenging it on its mission to fulfill its destiny. I must have looked like the most awful, ugly thing: aggressively tall with wispy fur at the very tippy, top, wobbling and bobbling up the sidewalk with these horrible, wagging appendages – teetering this way and that, all wrinkly and rippled – then making stammering noises and more wobbling and teetering, and yet – it still held its ground. And as impressed as I was with the bravery, the amazing thing that happened was experiencing the splendor of being a snake from what I imagined was the snake’s perspective. I could feel how beautiful and smooth and strong and balanced the snake was. I could sense its deep physical and spiritual connection to the earth and how easy it is to move when you have such a profound state of connectedness. I could feel its confidence and its Joy in simply being and I could appreciate being a snake.
Then I knew I’d seen God on my walk this morning. In a few seconds, in a brief exchange where much information was exchanged but no words were said – two manifestations of the divine came face to face and what needed to be said was said and what needed to be heard was heard. And it happens all day long, every single day – all we have to do is listen and watch.
I invite you to do just that: listen and watch for God in your life, along your path. Think about the things that happen to you. Think about the seemingly insignificant things that come into your awareness and ponder on them. See if you don’t start to hear and see the divine in your one precious and big life. It is there!