Sometimes, I feel small and alone. My mind is a vast labyrinth of landscapes, and even with my left hand on the wall to keep me steady, I can find myself tangled in the dense underbrush of my thoughts and feelings and the canopy hides the sun and the sky and casts ominous shadows.

It’s easy to panic in those moments. In all directions there are roots, vines of all thicknesses woven together, fallen logs, thorn bushes. I know that if I let go of the wall, I might lose my way again in the maze of my mind, and the temptation is to sit still and let the wilderness engulf me.

Today, I climbed. Sometimes the best thing to do when I feel small is to climb a small tower on a small mountain to remind myself: we are all small. Even in the microcosm of a mountain path, the greatest love and sorrow are only small units of energy; ripples in brooks riddled with rocks and sticks.

At the top of the tower I see my small community spread before me. I breathe; I breathe again. I wonder how many others, like me, are feeling small and alone in their own tangled labyrinth and I sing softly to myself; close my eyes; breathe some more. As my heart leaks from my eyelids, I feel the scale of the universe like flashes from this video.

I feel my heartbeat align with the cold wind stinging my tears, with the sacred movement of tectonic plates under this tower, with the revolution of the earth; with the spiralling Milky Way. With the exchange of electrons between my body and my clothing and the air. I imagine my thoughts traveling along my neurosynapses like so much debris moving through the universe and I wiggle my toes in my boots and remind myself to put my hand back on the wall of my metaphorical labyrinth.

I am small. I am beautifully small and without my too-much heart and my too-much mind and my vast internal labyrinth, the universe would be less. I am one water molecule in a river of water molecules that needs each atom to exist. I am alone like each molecule is alone, and yet I am exchanging energy continuously with the world around me, like every other person feeling small and alone.

frozen river

I have tried to cast aside my heart many times; I have worked for years to shrink myself and my mind. Some call it a Rainforest Mind; others call it intensity or hyperwiredness; some call it C-PTSD. It can be exhausting, wandering this maze of my own making.

I am small beside this mountain, but I am large outside the the cells that make up my body. I am almost nothing inside this universe, and yet never fully alone, because I am standing with you following the currents of time in a world that needs us both to exist in this moment. I am reaching for your hand with one hand on the wall of the labyrinth.

We are small and we are alone, but we are small and alone together.

Stream in winter