Awake in the World

There seems to be an order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, and even in the cycle of human life. The cicadas know it. They’ve come out of their thirteen year slumber to gather in large numbers, hum, mate and die. Throughout a number of Southeastern and Midwest states, they’re making their brief appearance. Cicadas with red bug eyes and heavy bodies hum in a droning “Om” from the trees as I walk through the Greenway. The sound is deafening. They’re living their brief lives in a communal chorus of bug song.

I remember them when they appeared one summer when I was in high school. Their shells stuck to tree trunks as they metamorphosed out of their crawly bug phase into the winged, singing creatures that fly around in trees hunting for mates. According to studies they are so well timed that it’s very rare to find any of the thirteen year variety showing up outside of their cycle. If anyone arrives too early or too late, they’ll miss the party. It’s as if Mother Nature has sent out an invitation to all of them and then all know to arrive on time as a way to fulfill their life purpose – and they don’t even have to try. They just know when to emerge.

In life, if we listen deep and trust, this is the way things come together for us too. When I look back at all that I’ve wanted and worked towards, my impatience often left me feeling irritated and wishing that success or money or a mate had come sooner. But any moment sooner would not have been the right time. When the effort is made (and sometimes even if it’s not) things arrive in the appropriate timing. Even the events that have been most painful, like losing a job, my mate and health, have all happened at times and in ways to tell me, “Pay attention. It’s time to grow.”

Do the cicadas speak to you from the wisdom of their waiting? What cycles do you notice in your life?

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011) She’s a world traveler and longtime student of the world’s oldest spiritual traditions. An instructor at the Sophia Institute, Debra leads workshops on spirituality in the U.S. and Europe, writes for publications around the world. Visit her at: and

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