Conversations with the Universe

Have you ever had a moment where the universe seems to grind to a halt, and stand before you like a bemused but slightly impatient best friend, tapping her foot and pointing to a path? She's beautiful, and her eyes are so sincere and so completely full of truth that for the first few steps, it doesn't even bother you that you have no idea whatsoever what you're doing. You can even ignore that it feels oh so slightly like being sent to bed by your mother.

That's what this month is turning into for me. I've had the divine 'aha' moment, began walking down the path, and then ground to a halt with the realisation I have no idea what I'm doing. I can hear her foot tapping behind me. I want to turn around, argue. I want to say I don't have the vaguest clue how to get from here to there, that I don't know how to do what she's telling me to do. I want to run (possibly shrieking) back to my safe, boring, soul wearying path, because this one?

This is, without doubt, the sort of path that millions of cartoons have taught us should be avoided at all cost. It's dark and foreboding. There are creepy trees with patterns shaped like faces, with arms that seem to reach out to catch clothing and hair, arms that seem to move without wind. There are creepy noises that stop whenever I turn around to investigate, and it makes my overactive imagination conjure up all sorts of evil just waiting to attack. The only constant sound is the tapping of an impatient foot, the occasional huff of frustration.

A wolf howls nearby, and just as I'm about to start running (screaming), there's a slap to the back of my head, Gibbs style.

"You like wolves, dork." She presses her lips tightly together, struggling not to grin. "You really are odd, aren't you?" She takes my hand, leads me back to the start of the path. When she turns us back around, the wolf is sitting there, tilting its head quizzically at us. "You like wolves, I thought you could use some company. And speaking of company, stop being rude to the trees."

"They're trying to rip my hair out!"

I'm pretty sure she's just insulted me in a language I don't even know. "All of the trees wanted to hug you, to wish you well on your trip."

"But they kept catching at my hair..."

"They're trees, love. They don't exactly get much practise moving around like that. And it's not dark and foreboding, dammit. It's easier to walk when it's cooler. Unless you want sun heating up your trip, your choice was twilight or driving rain." She sighs, the sort of long suffering sigh that only mothers ever seem able to pull off. "You're scared. I get that. But did you fall and die before you stopped? Did some horrible creature rip off a leg and beat you to death with it?"


"Then why is it scary?"

It takes me a while to figure that one out, and I'm pretty sure she's itching to smack me upside the head again when I mumble out a reply and she makes me repeat it.

"Because I don't know if I'm ready to be that, yet. I'm not sure I know enough to make it work. I'm not sure I'm enough to make it work." She looks like she's torn between hugging me and slapping me.

"This is a path, not a teleporter. You don't need to know right now what you'll know at the end of the path; you have plenty of time to learn as you go, to find stuff out and explore on your way. And who says you need to be ready to arrive before you've even started? Didn't you study hero journeys in school? Maybe you aren't enough right this second. But through the journey, you learn what you need to learn, you grow and change and become the person you want or need to be. Wouldn't literature be dull if all the heroes went 'I'm not enough' and stayed home? How many imaginary worlds would be destroyed because the people who could save them doubted themselves? This path can't hurt you. It can grow you, it can change you, but it cannot hurt you. Only you can. If you try and run the path in an hour, you'll hurt yourself. If you spend your time walking backwards, trying to see the path you left, you'll hurt yourself. But if you throw yourself into the journey, if you embrace the chance, seek out the beauty, and believe you're right where you're meant to be, doing exactly what you're meant to be doing? What bad can come from that?"

She smiles softly. "There's one last thing you need to know."


"These woods are filled with fireflies, but they're shy little things. They'll light the path but only so long as they think it's safe. If you're panicking around, thinking there's death behind every rock or tree, they'll think there is danger and stay hidden. But if you believe it's safe (it is), and ask them nicely, they'll light your path. There's magic all over, happy to help you along your way. The problem is, you are the only one who can be open enough to receive it. So open up your heart and start walking."

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Grammy said...

That was amazing, full of wisdom and creative.
Thank you for sharing this. E :)

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