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Looking Up

Last week I was walking across our venue area with two of our dogs early in the morning when it was still dark. I was so focused on looking at the light on my path, trying not to stumble, that I didn’t stop to look up at the sky. I’m not even sure why I eventually did look up. But I did. And what I saw was incredible. The inky black sky, with twinkling stars and crescent moon, was awe inspiring.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been living at the farm for over a year now. I’ve seen the brilliant night sky more times than I can count. But for over a month I’ve been in a real funk. Maybe you can relate. The combination of the heat, a creative slump and working through business issues has weighed heavily on me. And I’ve not taken the time to look up. Instead, much like Eyore, from Winnie the Pooh (can you tell I have a three year old granddaughter?), I’ve had a negative outlook - just trudging wearily through one day after another. 

My early morning walk was a reminder to stop and look up at my surroundings. Whether it’s actively naming aloud or writing in a journal about the people and things that I’m grateful for, or even  just taking in the details around me, I think it’s so important to do whatever is necessary to break the cycle of negative thoughts.

Some months back I wrote about living in the interim, and that’s coming back to me now. I need to take my own advice:

I wrote: 

“I feel very unsettled. How do I function when I’m not exactly where I want to be - physically or mentally - when everything seems to be in a state of flux? While I’m making plans for the future, how do I find contentment in the present?

What I’m realizing is that while I’m in this nebulous space of the interim, it’s important for me to build routines. Practicing good self-care and making my temporary home more “homey” are just two things I’m trying to focus on.”

As I was reading those words today, I was reminded of how easy it is to give others advice. But when it comes to myself, I can get so caught up in just muscling through the in between times that I forget to look up and see the beauty and the possibilities all around me. 

Does that make everything better? No. But it does give me hope. There are some other things that are important as well. It’s vital to be vulnerable about how I’m feeling with those who love me. Spending time with people who challenge me to look at my situation through a different lens can offer fresh perspective. And choosing to work through difficulties is one of the best ways I can take care of myself. 

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the August 19, 2023 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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