When we don’t have our “go-to” tools, what do we awaken?

The other day, I left my house to drive to my first eye exam in many years. I typed the ophthalmologist’s office address into my phone GPS and 20 minute later, Google Maps informed me I’d “reached my destination,” although, in fact, I had not because I was facing an empty grass field :) I called the office and tried to explain where I was.

“Do you think I am close?” I asked. “No” she said.

The woman on the phone gave me another address to try, I entered it, then my GPS konked out altogether. Suddenly I remembered something Toshi Silver said in one of her books, that her friend “felt her way around Paris” without using a map. I was reminded that a tool is just a tool and sometimes tools break. Could I find the doctor’s office without my GPS?

I wasn’t sure but it seemed a strange coincidence that on my way to obtaining a tool (eyeglasses) to “see more clearly,” I would get lost.

I decided to look at the street signs and start reading the address numbers until my GPS starting working again.

It reminded me of a creative project I’m working on now and how sometimes I have to feel my way around in the creative dark because my mind always wants to organize and see the big picture. It wants to know everything IMMEDIATELY.

My mind constantly needs to be reminded that it’s only in the service of my spirit, my soul, the greater creative impulse. My mind is not in charge, it’s there to serve the thing that wants to be born and what wants to be born is usually (read: always) BIGGER than what my mind can initially grasp.

But, time and time again, I look to my “tool” (my mind, my reason) for answers. Only when it doesn’t have them, do I remember to surrender, to tune in, to feel my way and let my reason be in service.

I’ve also often wondered what would happen if I stopped wearing my glasses or contact lenses. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to safely drive a car(!) and I wouldn’t be able to recognize friends’ faces further than 20 feet away. Not good, right?

However, one thing I have enjoyed when I don’t have my glasses on first thing in the morning is the sound of my children’s voices. I hear them differently: They seem higher, sweeter, kinder, full of purity. Maybe it’s just that I’m really hearing them. I also see colors differently – they are vibrant and beautifully blurred  –everything in my world is like a Monet painting.

In addition, because I can’t see very far, I’m not constantly assessing what needs to be done, evaluating my surroundings (a dirty dish, crumbs to sweep up). And because I’m feeling slightly vulnerable about walking around, I proceed slowly, humbly, more fully in my body. I feel my heart beat. I feel good.

So in losing my tool to see clearly, I, in fact, see more clearly in other ways.

Can you relate? If so, what are some ways that losing your go-to tools (even just temporarily) help you see what you didn’t before?

Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Anne

a few of my tools…. :)   


17 thoughts on “When we don’t have our “go-to” tools, what do we awaken?

  1. Anne your reflections touched my heart. I could literally feel my heart as I read and since you asked the question, I realized that my heart is one of my tools. When my mind is engaged to the point of bullying my other ‘tools’, my heart waits. Practicing listening every morning through meditation, breathing and moving my body, I get to notice sooner while in my moments.
    And when I write or speak, I realize in this moment that I have developed the pause; that lovely moment when I choose what to think, what to feel, what to say based on the information from my heart.
    Thanks for asking this question. My heart just gave my mouth permission to smile – broadly.
    All Love to you.

    • Liz,
      Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, the heart can lead, it’s so good to be reminded. Thank for sharing about your heart and about the pause. And choosing.
      I’m smiling now too :)
      Grateful for you Liz!

  2. I loved this piece Anne. Such truth in here. It lead me to reflect on a few things, and one of those I will share here. I was thinking of my phone, my camera on it. I Love photography. I love to take pictures. Sometimes I forget to just be with the beauty I am seeing and/or hearing and feeling. When my camera won’t work, or my battery dies, I’m quite sure the universe is saying “just be child”. I think the world child comes to me here because often times it is in these moments that I feel most child like. I am now able to hear that. See that this, as all things, are for a reason. I am no longer spending time trying to fix a thing or moment nor becoming annoyed and irriatble or panicky. Slowly I feel myself finding the ability to just be. And really know and trust in what is and what is not currently working/ happening.

    • Oh yes Kristen! Thank you for sharing about just being and being childlike. It’s so true. Following our childlike (not childish) impulses can bring us joy and I love what you wrote about trusting what is and what is not currently working/happening. A sweet surrender.

  3. when I ised noise cancellation headphones and walk around NYC subways-I can feel the city, and music (drumbeats, subway approaching, footsteps) in deep vibrations inside my chest.

  4. My almost 6 year old has a rare chronic disease that is unfortunately causing her to go blind. As her eyesight deteriorates her other senses are becoming so much more astute. While the rest of us mourn her loss of sight and contemplate how to stumble through this new diagnosis she instead lives life with such joy and wild abandon that you cant help but stand back and grin. It doesn’t stop her for a second. We often say that despite her lack of vision she sees life so much clearer than the rest of us.

  5. HI Anne…we met on the “wolverine”..returning from IL end of Sept..I was touched by your warmth and generous spirit as you were concerned about. my welfare .(.found you with the help of an Ark employee with nothing more to go on than “Anne”and date of the Oct concert) Your songs/blogs\observations of life are impressive, as I imagined they would be.. Hope you are that Anne…and that we might keep in touch. Claire

    • Claire!
      Hello, yes it’s me, the same Anne. I SO enjoyed visiting with you on the train and you were so kind with my alternating rambunctious and then sleeping littles. I’m so glad you reached out. Thank you for the kind words and please keep in touch. I’m impressed you found me. I hope all is well in your world!

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