I talked with a friend the other day who is one of the most optimistic people I know. Even in circumstances that I would not call promising, he usually believes everything will turn out all right.
But this week, when I talked to him, he seemed uncharacteristically down. And who wouldn’t be, really?
We’re in the middle of a pandemic, millions of people are out of work, the flames of racial injustices are roaring-- all while the environment throws us wildfires, hurricanes, and flash floods.
It’s overwhelming. Who wouldn’t be down?
You’d have to be living on a different planet to not be affected by all that is swirling around. It’s like a toddler decided to take over and we are now living on a burning island in Lord of the Flies.
Finding the One Silver Strand
The conversation reminded me of a particularly glum period of my life after an epic adventure that went sour. A series of unfortunate events forced me to reframe how I viewed myself, the world, and myself in the world.
It wasn’t an easy passage to the other side. But things had gotten stirred up.
After the dust of misadventure had settled and the immediate crisis had stabilized, there was a period where I felt as though I was in a cocoon of darkness.
In the midst of seemingly endless darkness around me, when I couldn’t see how things would ever improve, I had a sense that I was connected to something larger than myself.
I saw it in my mind's eye as a tiny silver thread that connected me to the larger universe.
That tiny strand of silver was my signal line.
A signal line is the one thread that connects the spider to the web she has built. When something gets caught in the web, she can easily climb the line back to the web to collect her meal.
In the fog of darkness, I had a signal line.
When you’re hanging on by that thread, it isn’t time to push, to do, or even to try and climb out of the hole you’re in. It’s time to let the darkness cover you like a blanket, to rest, restore, and renew.
As much as our culture wants us to keep doing, (to stay open during a pandemic at all costs!), when you’re feeling like you are hanging on by a thread… it’s time to retreat.
This is how the new gets born.
When I eventually had the strength to climb out of my cocoon, I was forever changed. I wasn’t the same person I had been before the series of unfortunate events.
It was time to weave a new path, a new web, a new life.
We are collectively all hanging on by a thread. And when the storm passes and we have the strength to pull ourselves out of the cocoon, we will need to weave a new future.
Looking at the world from above the fray. Houkje writes about following her intuition, observerations on the magic of the natural world, and navigating creativity and chaos in an uncertain world.