It was yet another morning I woke up in the dark valley. Have you ever woke up with a sinking feeling at the reminder of what had happened the night before? I woke up like that. I know there are many tragic events out there right now. I can’t even bring up my matter without feeling petty but it was an event that completely threw me off balance. And as it is my habit whenever I feel distressed, upset, unsettled, and lost in confusion, I started to practice Danshari.
By definition, Danshari is simply put, to declutter. It’s a Japanese term for minimalism and its philosophy is to seek happiness by simplifying life. And the first step to do that is to dispose of any material things that do not bring you a happy feeling. I spent a whole day going through my things. Ten bags of trash and donation piles and a bucket of tears later I felt much better. I felt that I could climb up the journey I faced up ahead from this pit of dark valley. For surely, there is a new view at the next mountain top awaiting me.
While I was cleaning, I accidentally tore up the corner of a paper butterfly wing. My daughter made it a few weeks ago during her virtual art class. I was immediately taken back to the mountain top of Our lady of the Angels in Crozet, Virginia. I had just expressed my final wish to join their Trapist order and was turned down. No fault of the monastery, I know. It was just not the call of God. Leaving the monastery door, I was faced with a sweeping panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fresh spring air filled the air. I took a big gulp of it. I had just lost the dream that had kept me going for the past few years. What will I live for now?
It was then that I noticed a beautiful butterfly sitting on a flower just by the front steps of the monastery. The butterfly had a small tear in the corner of her wing. My heart ached for the butterfly and I took a careful step to take a closer look. As I was bending my back to stoop down to get closer, the butterfly took off, taking her beautiful flight. She could still fly.
‘She could still fly’.
I whispered to myself.
And I got it.
I got the message from God. He was telling me that my life is far from over, that I am not completely broken. Instead, I could fly. Even with a broken wing. I could still soar like a beautiful butterfly.
My life after I came down from the mountain was not a joy ride. Far from it. But through the countless damages and repairs, my clumsy walk of this human journey rewarded me countless times as well. I hurt too much and lose another piece of my wing every day but I could still fly.
So that day, I did just that. I finished my Danshari, and took a big leap for yet another flight. And then the next morning, I woke up feeling like it was the first day of my life. So many possibilities were about to blossom.