Star Light, Star Bright

Go out and look at the stars to put things in perspective.

You know those moments when you stop and look up at the night sky?  The deep rich blue-black blanket winks back diamond sparkles.  Your eyes widen to draw in the depths of space.  There’s a tickle in the back of your throat.  Your lips fall open a tiny bit and a small gasp escapes.

The awe we feel when presented with the vastness of space often leaves us feeling small.  Inconsequential even.

I think that’s a good thing.

Our inflated egos often lead us around by the nose, allowing us to think we control everything.  We get morose when presented with the incontrovertible truth that we control very little beyond our own thoughts and actions.

Conversely, moments arrive when we feel overwhelmed by all the things we need to do, or think we need to do (or be).  Life seems complicated, the tunnel long and dark, no light in sight.  Problems seem huge.  Perspective is lost.

These are the times when tilting our heads back to star gaze can center us, ground us.

When I was still living in my home state and found myself feeling too big for my britches, or swamped by my perceived problems, I’d visit the beach at night.  I called it my church.

I’d gaze out to sea, my eyes tracking along the moonlit path laid out from shore to horizon.  The rhythmic pounding of the surf, God’s heartbeat, had a hypnotic effect.  The ocean was greater than I could ever hope to be and it always reminded me that I am only a tiny part of something much, much greater.  The message that came through, loud and clear, was that my tininess was essential to the greatness.

I don’t live near the ocean anymore.  But I still hear the heartbeat when I close my eyes and listen.  Then I open them to look at the stars.

What have you found that helps you put things in perspective?