The Magic Portal Along Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge West
Lately I’m intrigued by the idea that my thoughts and anxiety about past or future events regularly blinds me to the most meaningful aspects of my life – the present moments. I started a daily course of study (based on the work of Columbia professors Dr. Helen Schucman and Dr. William Thetford) through The Foundation For Inner Peace with a few friends from the East Coast. Each day we read a lesson, practice the single mind task, and post reflections on ways in which our thoughts work to sabotage or support our lives. I usually arrive at school around 6:30am to avoid Bay Area traffic, sit in my car, read the lesson, practice the meditation, then post my thoughts on our group text thread. The quiet time in the morning has definitely reframed my priorities and focus. Problems and irritations at work are minimized, while oddly meaningful things rise in importance. One evening while driving home I noticed flocks of California clapper rails alongside the bridge in the shallow waters of Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge West. As I passed a short turn-off from the freeway leading to a parking area along the bridge to view the wetlands, I thought, “Some day, when I have time, I will explore that turnoff.” The following afternoon during my prep I decided to make that time and headed to the Dumbarton Bridge expecting to have to cross and pay the toll back to pull into the parking vista area and get back to school for my Flex period supervision. I decided that it was worth the roundabout effort. What I discovered was a magic tunnel on the west side that takes you along slim shorelines beneath the bridge for bird-watching,…and allows you to drive under the bridge and back around to the main road without crossing the bridge – for free! There were no clapper rails, only plovers and avocets feeding in the low tide mudflats, but what I discovered was the magic portal that takes me to extraordinary joy right in the moment – but only when I make the Now a priority. Suddenly I’m not willing to allow “lack of time” to be a barrier to my experience and enjoyment. I’m living in the abundance of the magic portals and everyday miracles in the moments,…when I make the time to notice.