Several years ago, I was having a particularly acim youtube day. My mother had recently passed away and I missed her physical presence terribly. On top of all that, bills were starting to pile up, and I was beginning to wonder if the struggle would ever end. And then, someone called out of the blue and said some very disturbing things to me. After the call, all that I can remember is that I hung up the phone and wept. To this day, I don’t even remember who was on the other end of that phone call, or even what they said to me. I only remember wondering how I would go on.
And then, I did what any self-respecting woman would do, when her life was falling apart. I turned on my answering machine, closed my office door, and I went to the zoo.
The minute I made this decision, I felt better immediately, like a child with a mission, and in under 1/2 hour I was there. I paid my admission fee and walked inside the zoo gates. Instantly, it all came flooding back to me….that feeling. That feeling of aliveness, excitement and wonder, of what lay ahead for me in this delightful place. It was the exact same feeling I had as a child when my father took me to Belmont Park in Montreal. Belmont Park was a very large and magical amusement park and I loved it.
I remember feeling this same feeling right after my dad bought the entrance tickets and we stepped inside together. That feeling of childhood innocence and glee in anticipation of what was to come.
And so, I spent the afternoon re-living those childhood moments once again. I sat with the beautiful, white, polar bears and watched them frolic together with wild abandon, until I was transported back in time to a place I had visited several years ago, called Little Cornwallis Island, in the North West Territories, very close to the North Pole. I was sitting in a red jeep at twilight. Right in front of the engine stood a magnificent, majestic, polar bear. I remember the feeling of absolute dread at being so close to such a potentially dangerous beast as it lumbered towards me, and at the same time, I felt the exhilaration of seeing such a splendid being in the wild, right before my very eyes.
I was jolted back to reality with the sound of a wolf howling, and I scurried over to get a closer look. I sat down on the ground, next to a group of wolves, and watched them very closely and intently as they howled. I had never actually seen a wolf howl before and I was captivated. They raised their heads upwards, as if offering themselves to something higher, and then released the most beautiful sound, as if it were a song, their song, out into the world. It was a truly delightful sight to behold.
I spent the rest of the afternoon just experiencing all the different animals. I was touched by a tiny, baby monkey, nestled inside her mothers breast, and the absolute sweetness of their bonding. I was mesmerized by the deepest and wisest eyes I had ever encountered, in the body of the most beautiful owl I had ever seen. But the “piece de resistance” were the butterflies. I wasn’t prepared for what I was to find there, and when I opened the door and hundreds of glorious, iridescent butterflies descended upon me, tickling my face, I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven.
I returned home from the zoo that evening, a new woman. And a delightful surprise was waiting for me in my mail box. A letter advising me that a cheque for $31,000.00 was on its way. And no, I wasn’t expecting it. All my troubles were over, at least for a little while.
Looking back now all those years ago, I can understand what happened at the time. I was overwhelmed and I just let go. I surrendered to allowing the joy back into my life, and from that place of allowing, a miracle happened.
Where is your joy, your place of allowing? It doesn’t have to be at the zoo. Perhaps for you, it is looking into the eyes of your beautiful, golden retriever, as you caress her soft, fur lined body; or sneaking out to an afternoon matinee and giggling in the back seat, in the dark, with your best friend and a tub of buttered popcorn; or just working in your garden, and letting the sweet smell of the earth transport you, and the flowers caress your soul.