When I leave the hospital I work at in Vermont to go home, I step outside and the first thing I do is look up. I scan the sky, looking for the moon.If I am lucky, there will be a full moon and a clear night.
I get in my car and drive until I get to my spot, a rising curve in the road that gives onto an amazing vista on my left, fields and woods and farmhouses and barns stretching until the mountains in the distance.
I pull over. I put on my flashing lights and I get out of my car and just look. I see the moon lighting the view before me, a cold white silvery light that is picks out details; a rusted tractor, a collapsing barn, a silo.
Sometimes there is a brief flash of yellow eyes, a coyote I think, another nocturnal wanderer.
I stand and watch. I close my eyes and feel. I feel my world vibrating with a significance I had not known before. I feel alive, I feel tingly, like my skin is giving off sparks.
The life I lead now is so different than the one I led before. The life I led before moving up here shouted lifelessness, there was a void filled with boredom and despair.
I worked and I came home and watched TV and ate. I was sucked into the whirlpool of my own depression.
I was living, but I wasn’t alive.
I almost had to die to come alive, to feel alive and be part of this planet, this life.
I believe there are ways to reach this heightened feeling. Love is one. Seeing your lover’s face, cherishing every nuance and expression. Being known to each other in your own private space.Seeing yourself in their eyes.
Creativity is another. Seeing the possibilities in the expansion of your creative self. They are endless and infinite.I write a line that I know is real, I take a photograph that is the result of using my inner creative eye and I feel alive.
Warmth and empathy for our fellow humans has to be a direct route to feeling.
I try to extend my soul beyond the parameters of my self and remember how much we humans have in common, rather than dwell on what divides us.
I have made a conscious choice to affirm my humanity by being aware of others and paying attention.
My good friend commits small acts of kindness every day. I like this idea and it doesn’t take much. It is in fact really easy.
Things like holding a door open or smiling at someone for no reason. They might think you’re loony, but at least sometimes you get a smile back. These little acts help me to feel grounded and in touch with my world. They force me to interact in a positive way with my fellow humans. They prevent me from becoming numb and jaded to the suffering of the world.
There are a few things that I do that take no time or very little effort and make me happy. I volunteer to work Christmas so my co workers with family can have the day off. I take the mail in for my neighbor when I see she hasn’t been home for a couple of days. Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at McDonald’s for coffee and paid the bill of the car behind me, just because I was in a good mood.
These little acts remind me that I am alive in this world and part of it in real time. That I fought hard to be here. I am realizing that what I get back is a whole lot of love. Nothing wrong with that.