Plupff!

Have you ever watched a bubble rise to the surface of something thicker and heavier, like Mississippi River mud or Christmas fudge on your stove? That bubble has been working its way to the surface for some time before you could see it and then, there it is, full, clear, warm and perfectly shaped for just a second and then “Plupff!!” it bursts. It leaves a ring long enough for you to reflect on what you saw and then disappears again into the mud (or fudge or…).  As the raindrop journey percolates in my system, I’ve been watching bubbles surface in my consciousness, sensing their coming, feeling the surface swell with their inexorable rise and then marveling at their perfection, beauty and clarity. Then, “Plupff!” – they can only be watched, appreciated and released.

 This morning a bubble broke the surface that seems to want to be shared with you. The journey of a raindrop was a shared experience. Hundreds of people participated, each in their own unique way. Some provided lodging, meals, opportunities or contacts. Some opened their hearts and shared themselves in ways that touched our hearts deeply. Some followed the blog, supporting the project with time and attention. Some dear friends and one person I had only just met sent me off with gifts of cash for travel expenses. My experience, again and again, was that people went out of their way to be of help and then were sincerely grateful for the opportunity to participate. We all know it feels good to be helpful, but there seemed to be something more going on here. What was the magic of this little raindrop that drew us all to it like a magnet?

There was a wonderful photo in my hometown newspaper yesterday showing the organizing power of a magnet. Click here if you’d like to see it. In perfect symmetry, everything with the capacity to respond, does so. That’s how it seemed with our raindrop. Situations, opportunities, experiences, people all seemed drawn into perfect alignment. What is at the heart of all that movement? What was drawing us together in this way? How is it possible that every single moment was perfect? What is different about my life here at home?

Again, it seems surrender is the secret. Nature is perfect – always, without exception.  When we are not interjecting our judgments, demands and expectations, we are able to experience that perfection. Then, however the moment looks – happy, lonely, excited, tired, vibrantly healthy or sniffly and stuffy, it can be appreciated as perfect, because nothing else is actually possible. Surrender to “what is” is so freeing – it is a relief from the self-imposed burden of thinking we are in charge of it all. When we lay that burden down, there is only perfection.

That was easy to do on the road. It came so naturally that it simply happened that way, without any thought or intention.  I knew, as I mentioned in a previous post, that my challenge now is to live at home with that level of surrender.  On the surface, I was. But underneath I was only talking the talk. I found myself feeling uncomfortable. I told my husband I felt “awkward in my own life”, like I was wearing someone else’s clothes that didn’t quite fit. (Thankfully, he only listened without taking it personally or trying to fix it!) The source of the discomfort wasn’t clear, so I just let it be. I surrendered to it. It didn’t magically shift or disappear. When nothing changed in a few days, there was an opportunity to surrender my time frame for feeling better. Then there were opportunities to surrender “finding the lesson in all this”.  Then there were the rationalizations, the positive spins on it all, the attempts to distract myself with whatever – all opportunities to surrender. But, if I looked deeply enough, I was still there trying to grab the wheel and make things go as I thought they should. This imagined responsibility to control and direct our lives is the ultimate source of all discomfort and it is deeply imbedded in our conditioning.

On some level, my life at home seemed to require that I manage it. A lifetime of conditioning said, “OK, figure out what is next and figure out how to do it.” That’s what was running beneath all the surface surrendering. But, as long as our attention is wrapped up in arguing with what already is (in this case, feeling off), then we are not available to see or take the next step.

 The truth is we are like the little kids you see at the grocery store in the toy cars in front of the grocery cart. We can crank that wheel and make all the road noises we like, but the cart is going where Mama wants it to – all our gyrations have no effect. So it is with life. The only thing affected is how we experience it – it’s going to go where it’s going to go. By thinking, however subtly, that I know what’s best, I create my own discomfort. There is nothing different about living here at home than living on the road. The same choice is available in every moment – to surrender to what is and then move with the natural flow of life, without holding onto any conditions (I’ll surrender to this, but not this…), or to struggle against it. Then, in the next moment, that same choice is available in a new context.  It is, however, always the same choice with always the same result. Flow or struggle; flow or struggle.  When I looked deeply enough, I could see myself struggling, cranking that wheel and making those noises. 

The Power that kept drawing me to look deeper is the same Power that drew us toward each other and drew all “the arrangements” of life into perfect symmetry on the journey of the raindrop. People expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity to participate because we were all given the opportunity to surrender our judgments and resistances and experience the natural perfection of life. In so doing, we saw and felt our Oneness. Alejandra in Argentina felt her connection with Randy, the sugar cane farmer in Louisiana.  Judy, the tour guide at Houmas Plantation, poured out her heart in words and song to my daughter, Natalie, whom she has never met. Ruben and Tina in Tiptonville, Tennessee, were drawn to connect with Jim Johnson to help effect change at Reelfoot Lake. It may have helped us all to let down our defenses that the Power appeared as a tiny raindrop in this instance. The raindrop seemed to wash away our resistance and let us experience the perfection of the moment. We felt our connection, our Oneness. That is why people said “Thank you!” 

On the last day of the raindrop journey, when I met the 90th sunrise on the levee, it was glorious. I told myself it was because I was so rushed for time that I didn’t post the photo of that sunrise. In truth, there was some judgment involved. I didn’t like the power lines at the horizon. Below a conscious level, I interjected my assessment of what perfection was and what distracted from it. That moment on the levee, like every other moment, wherever we each are, can be nothing other than perfection. We may decide from our human perspective that “this would be better if…”, but in so doing we are blocking the full expression of ourselves in that moment. Everything in the Universe is in its perfect order, whether we can see that or not. The Power pushing the cart has a much higher perspective. Once we truly accept where we are, then the next step comes naturally.

 Plupff!        

 Here is that beautiful sunrise from the levee, complete with power lines.

 May your day be filled with rising bubbles!

 Peace,   Gayle

About Gayle Harper

Travel Photographer and Writer
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7 Responses to Plupff!

  1. Mike Jungers says:

    How interesting. The “Power” lines that I immediately noticed and was drawn to were those radiating from the clouds. For me, they were a representation of that “Power,” which we also refer to as “The Source.” I now recall that you said that raindrop would not end its journey when it joined the Gulf, and I now see more clearly what you meant.

    Namaste

  2. Jaretta Beard says:

    Beautiful, dear friend.
    Jaretta

  3. Stephen Marshall says:

    Amazing way to have your journey come to an end with God showing all His might and glory, Amen.

    Stephen.

  4. Terry Larson-51463 Wolf Ridge Dr. Cass Lake Mn. 56633 says:

    Plupff, our raindrops, our dreams become one. Thanks again Gayle for giving such a clear perspective, on what it truly means to surrender. As a traveler myself, who loves the unknown about places, it’s people and culture, the awareness I have gotten from being open and vulnerable to whatever happens next, truly made my travels rewarding.
    And in my life, at the source of the Mississippi River, the one constant thing I hold onto, is the perfection of nature. When I’m on the infant river in the summer and it’s too hot, windy, rainy or cold, for my customers, I prod them on with encouagement, knowing they will look back at it with pride at their accomplishment. Now in the winter, when I’m out in 20 below zero on the ice, and my clients are afraid of the cold, and wonder if they are sane being out with me, I tell them this is natural, and look at the beauty of the sun-dogs, as the sun rises, or the Northern Lights as they fish after dark. These are the things they will remember, more than the fish they catch.
    We all need to surrender. To see nature as it really is, perfect in every way, as Gayle said so well. Stay in awe of all that is around you, pause, listen , look, feel , close you eyes and see the world in a new way, and then share that wonder with someone else. See you downriver, Terry Larson

  5. Jim W. Johnson says:

    Hi, Gayle!

    The sunrise … what a fitting ending for the beginning of the story. Serendipity, again, wasn’t it? I saw only a gorgeous sunrise.

    Jim J.

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