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.
You will find the poem below in both audio and text versions.
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
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
I woke up in the night
in a rage. I felt
trapped and powerless.
I had no trust in
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
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
My thoughts got clearer and
I could remember what I know about
how the world works—
things I just forgot while I was
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
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
Lying in bed,
feeling the Big Dipper,
breathing into my bones,
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.
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.
~ ~ ~
Related Blog Posts:
- The things you can count on, but may have forgotten to notice
- Learning to Trust Again
- “Faithfully Letting Go”—Finding the Path from What Has Been to What Could Be