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Blog by Alan Seale, March 14, 2022,  Staying Centered and Grounded

Uncertainty is unsettling. Navigating life is harder when the ground keeps shifting. Frustration comes more easily. Maintaining focus requires more diligence and concentration. Mental and emotional attention spans gets shorter. There is an uneasy feeling inside as we wonder what will happen next. Finding reassurance and trust gets harder. We long for “normal,” things we can count on, and feeling like we have some control over our own lives. 

Yet there are things we can count on that we sometimes forget. And there are things that, in fact, we can control in our own lives. Often, they are simple things, yet they are powerful in their simplicity. Things that bring us back to ourselves and help us remember who we are. Things that help us find balance and stability once again. 

In the poem below, I share my story of a particularly challenging day that began with feeling disempowered and manipulated by a particular situation. It took me on a 24-hour journey from frustration to rage to love to trust. To my surprise, it was the Big Dipper that guided me back home to me. 

Rage, Love, Trust, and the Big Dipper
by Alan Seale

I’ve been missing it for months–the Big Dipper.                                                             
It’s been there, of course, yet the winter Earth rotation meant that
I hadn’t been able to see it from my house for quite a while.

It’s been over someone else’s house or over the woods or over the river.
Yet last night, there it was in the sky right over my house,
twinkling so gently and quietly as it edged out from behind the trees. 

When I first saw it, a gentle smile came across my face. 
My heart breathed an audible sigh of relief. 
You see, for me, the Big Dipper has always represented constancy and home. 
It’s been there since the beginning of time
and it will surely still be there for thousands of years to come.  
It gives me an unexplainable sense of trust that all is right with the world, 
and that I’m okay in it, even when I don’t understand how.  

I don’t remember when that association first began,
but it’s been since childhood. 
All these years later, I still look up to the sky every single night to find it.
It’s part of my last walk with the dogs before bed. 

It had been a frustrating day.
I found myself caught in the trap of a human-made system—
a system that seemed to be intentionally designed to limit possibilities and choices—
intentionally designed to make people pay high fees for more services than they want or need. 
The system in question has a monopoly over these services where I live,
and seems to know that it can do as it pleases. 

After spending way too much time during the day trying to navigate the system’s online
service change protocol with no success, 
I woke up in the night in a rage. I felt trapped and powerless.
I had no trust in anyone representing the system.

And then I remembered that the Big Dipper was here, right over my house. 
I can’t say why, but that made me pause and question:
What if my rage is not really about what happened today? What if what happened was just a trigger?

I sensed that there was a bigger invitation—something else trying to get my attention.

Within minutes, my rage calmed and I could remember to breathe into my bones and 
choose Love.
My thoughts got clearer and I could remember what I know about how the world works—
things I just forgot while I was raging.

I could remember that the world is a matrix of relationships.
The human-made system in which I was feeling trapped is also a matrix of relationships.

And there was the invitation. Instead of raging, I could ask:  

What kinds of systems are we creating? 
What kinds of relationships are we encouraging?
Is our intention to empower and serve one another? 
Or is it to control and manipulate people’s choices
so that the system is served more than the people?   
And where do I fit in this picture? 

Lying in bed, feeling the Big Dipper,
breathing into my bones, choosing Love,
I accepted that I don’t have the power to change the system.
Yet I do have the power to make my own clear choices.
My choices become energy infused into the system.
So my choices, even if only in some small way, make a difference.

I can choose how I show up.
I can choose to communicate and engage from an open heart.
I can choose to foster trust.
I can choose to lift people up.
I can choose to create and hold space for real and authentic connection,
even in the briefest encounters.
I can choose what I feed into the system.
Every day.

This morning, I can still feel the reassurance and constancy of the Big Dipper. 
And tonight, as I walk the dogs before bed,
I’ll gaze up into the black sky and greet the Big Dipper once again.
I’ll welcome it back to my house,
and I’ll rest in the deeper knowing that even if I can’t always see it,  
it’s still up there somewhere in the sky.
And that somehow in the grand scheme of things,
all is right with the world, 
and I’m okay in it. 
Even if I don’t understand how.