When I look up into the night sky – which I often do – I am awed by the magnitude of it all. The stars rise and set and the planets all continue to make their journeys around the sun without me having to direct traffic.
The moon and the sun rise and set every day, and it all has absolutely nothing to do with me. At. All.
That thought is really humbling, and it’s also a relief. When life gets to be too much, the night sky helps me put everything into perspective. There’s a scene in the original Star Wars movie when Obi-Wan Kenobi powers down a tractor beam that captures it perfectly. It’s as if in that moment, when I get out of the car and look up, nothing else matters.
In a recent episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday, she interviewed author and psychoanalyst Thomas Moore about his new book, A Religion of One’s Own, and when talking about spirituality, he descrbed that feeling perfectly. “I would say go outside at night where there are no lights and just look up into the dark sky and look at what’s going on up there. And notice what you feel. Notice what’s happening to you as you look. And notice where your thoughts go. And discover what wonder means. That you begin to feel wonder.”
It got me to thinking about the saying in the recovery world about the importance of being “right sized.” The way I like to think of it, I’m not a piece of shit and I’m not the greatest things since sliced bread. I’m just human. We all have strengths and we all have growing edges. We all have histories that include some shameful moments and some traumatic ones, and the difference between being right sized or not is about how you respond to them and how you let them affect you.
When I’ve been in that place of shame and feeling small – and trust me, I’ve been there more than once – I took it as a cue to dive deeper into my spiritual work or to go to an intensive psychodrama workshop to clear away what was blocking me. Despite my best efforts, my shame had me behind a barrier that I couldn’t get past without help, and so I took a leap of faith and trusted. And on the other side of that workshop, or that spiritual intensivity, when I got back that sense of hope that I’d been missing, I found that it was easier to come back to being “right sized,” and remember that I was simply a spiritual being having a human experience.
Staring at the night sky helps…but sometimes it takes more. If you’re feeling stuck, what might it take to help you make a shift?
Are you willing?