I’ve never felt as little as I did swimming chin-deep in the icy cavern of navy water at the bottom of Hanakapi’ai Falls in Kauai, Hawaii. The water roared and tumbled over the cliff face from 300 feet above, drenching us with its powerful and spectacular spray, pushing us firmly toward the black lava rocks at the perimeter of the swimming hole.
I’ve never felt as big as I did at that same moment.
I was exhilarated and invigorated. I felt wild and free. So big, and so little. So little, and so big. Little, because I’m such a tiny part of this world, and big, because I’m a part of it.
I think most people have had the experience of feeling so little and even insignificant. Maybe it was when you were exploring the ocean for the first time, peering up at a massive mountain range, or looking up at a black sky full of thousands of stars. There is a sense of wonder and intimidation in face of the “bigness” of the world around us. The enormity of nature and wind and clouds and various forms of life can be overwhelming.
It can make me feel very, very little. I’ve sometimes wondered why I bother caring about the color of my curtains when there are such bigger and more important things out there. Why, for example, would I stress about one upcoming conference call, or wonder what one friend said about me to another friend, when I myself am just one human on this one planet in this one galaxy of this infinite universe?
I get so wound up and anxious over various aspects of my life. I wonder if I’m a good enough mom, wife, sister, friend, coworker, or neighbor. I get involved in tiny details of life and worry about things like clothes, interior design and snacks for my kids. Do we watch too much TV? Does this breakfast have too much sugar in it? Can I wear white before Memorial Day?
Does any of it matter?
Do I matter?
What’s the point?
And then I remember. The course of history and evolution of life has all come together to this moment, where now my individual life is possible.
My life, my body, my mind, my soul – all of me was put here, or born here of these massive volcanos and thunderous oceans. I am here because I am a part of this, and I am important because of my inclusion in the greater world.
I am a small part of this massive universe, but I am a part of this massive universe. Not apart, a part. Therefore, I matter a great deal.
It’s easy to feel insignificant – almost as easy as it is to let truly insignificant things like neighborhood gossip consume our lives. With a focus on the bigger things in life, such as health and human connection, we can truly feel our individual worth.
I’m little, but I’m big.
And so are you.