The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel.
This past summer, I was kayaking down the Tenney River in the early morning hours. This is when nature is at its best. There was a lot of activity going on out there. First, I passed the still, painted turtles with outstretched legs, sunning themselves on a fallen tree in the river. I noticed a brilliant white duck feather floating on the surface. The June bugs were buzzing, as were the cicadas. It was warm and muggy, albeit the start of an August summer day in Maine. There was nobody on the river except me, so I had the whole place to myself.
I rested my legs on top of the kayak and placed the paddle close to my ribs as a resting place so that I could close my eyes and not worry about letting it go. It was quiet for some time. Then, an impulse told me to look up. There I saw the most beautiful Great Horned Owl. It was just sitting there, head slowly rotating. He didn’t pay any mind to me at all. I took note of how he was so still way up there in the tree. All of a sudden, a barrage of crows tried to ambush him. They were squealing and cawing something fierce! I thought that the owl might react in some defensive way, but it didn’t. It just sat there as still and unaffected as ever.
I thought to myself, then. The owl represented the inner self or the soul self, which is quiet and calm—which isn’t affected by anything because it has a knowing. This knowing is that peace always resides within us and that there is nothing that can harm us. The crows represented the noise of the external world. I thought of the crows as the unrelenting thoughts that always spin like a mouse on a wheel, often unrelenting if one remains unconscious of them.
When my life gets busy and thoughts, start to spin, I think back to the quiet and still barred owl. How beautiful it was. How centered it was. Unaffected by the noise and totally content with what is. We can learn so much by observing the beasts in nature. They hold the true meaning of being. They don’t worry about anything because they know they are taken care of.
It brings to mind a verse from the New Testament written by Matthew 6:25-34. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
In other words, stay grounded in presence, for that is our point of power. Our personality’s ego is only concerned with the exterior (material) portion of our life. Journey more in-depth into the stillness within, like the Great Horned Owl. Remain centered and tap into that part of you that reaches beyond the external circumstances. There, you will find ultimate peace and joy.