My absolute favorite quote of all time is “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” If I had to choose something to tattoo to my body, this would be it. It is from The Little Prince which we are currently reading to Audrey.
Tonight I read the following passage:
“For millions of years flowers have been producing thorns. For millions of years sheep have been eating them all the same. And it’s not serious, trying to understand why flowers go to such trouble to produce thorns that are good for nothing? It’s not important, the war between sheep and flowers? It’s no more serious and more important than the numbers that fat red gentleman is adding up? Suppose I have to know a unique flower, one that exists nowhere in the world except on my planet, one that a little sheep can wipe out in a single bite one morning, just like that, without even realizing what he’s doing - that isn’t important? If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of stars, that’s enough to make him happy when he looks at the stars. He tells himself ‘My flower’s up there somewhere…’ But if the sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went out. And that isn’t important?”
This monologue happens in the context of the pilot, who is busy trying to fix his plane, simply answering the Little Prince in order to get back to his work. The Little Prince knows exactly what is being done to him and proceeds to say all of this to the pilot.
As I was reading it to Audrey tonight, I couldn’t help but think about all of the times we dismiss the seemingly little and unimportant things while caught up in our focus on the bigger picture. How often do we zoom out and stress and worry about all of the things that are piled on our lists of things to do, where we are going and what it will eventually look like, feel like, be like?
It comes at quite a cost, this incessant zoomed out perspective. We miss what is essential and so often forsake the wisdom of the moment we are currently living in.
I am guilty of this. It’s likely that we all are. Even after months and months of living a much more zoomed in life, no pun intended, I still find myself in the struggle and worry of the bigger picture. And it’s not so much that the bigger picture doesn’t matter. It’s a good touch point to check in with, perhaps even often. But when the balance is being thrown and what is lost is the realization that there are smaller, much more important concerns in the moment...like the war between sheep and flowers, it matters. These are the concerns that we can actually go to work on. Solutions can actually be found in order to protect and tend to that which matters most in our lives.
The passage right before the one about sheep and flowers goes like this:
“I know a planet inhabited by a red-faced gentleman. He’s never smelled a flower. He’s never looked at a star. He’s never loved anyone. He’s never done anything except add up numbers. And all day long he says over and over, just like you, ‘I’m a serious man! I’m a serious man!’ And that puffs him up with pride. But he’s not a man at all - he’s a mushroom!”
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye. I am reminding us all to zoom in. And when we find ourselves fixated and puffed up with the pride of being serious and busy, step back, take a breath and tend to the small moments. Tend to this moment. This one right here, right now. The bigger picture is made up of moments just like these. The one’s where our children are describing to us their most important parts of their universe, where our spouses are asking for our attention because they simply want our company. The one’s where your own heart is speaking out and begging you to spend some time with it, away from the headiness and heaviness of the world. Do not take these small and simple moments for granted. Do not forsake their wisdom.
This is a reminder to myself and anyone else who needs it. What is essential to this life is in fact, invisible to the eye. May we remember that today and always.
Join me for GATHER this weekend. We will focus on all of this and how to do it. How do we see ourselves and the moment more clearly so that we value our own presence and healing and how it resonates beyond what we can see.
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.