Jeff declared at me with hilarious grandiosity two days ago, "It's an onslaught of the universe, but don't worry! It's only a test!"
Walkabouts are not promenades. This is what we are learning.
Today I returned from a much needed camping trip with Jay and Brit and our new friends Chynna, Nick and Hannah. I was struggling with something of an energy drain when we left...emotionally exhausted and not so inspired. I left behind a Kaley that was in a similar spot, and those in my company said today, retrospectively, that they had been dealing with similar lows.
The pain we've been feeling, in our own ways and for whatever individual reason, corresponds to immense growth that is taking place. When I am in it, it feels so bad, and I often forget to look for the lesson I am learning and suspect instead that I am regressing into old habits, cycles, issues. It feels dark, and is hard to see clearly, and impaired vision is frustrating. (How to appreciate and recognize clarity without occasional confusion?) But then, at some point, I feel the warmth from the sun seep in, watch it illuminate a beautiful spiraling pattern of moss ringing the circumference of a stump, and let the moment reflect inward. We remember, in the moments that we feel love for a person or a place, love for ourselves. It is something very good within us that allows us to absorb and appreciate the good outside of us.
Then what of the times we feel cut off from the good outside ourselves? If I cannot break through my own nearsightedness to fully take in the intensity of the blue of the mountain horizon, or feel the love of a warm community sharing and laughing a room with me, or find energy to leave my blankets in the morning though I am awake and can see that the morning is sunny, am I not worthy of these things? Have I become someone different? Am I a negative impact on the good around me? Maybe temporarily so, to the last question, but I think these times signify necessary exorcisms, or as Kaley put it today, purges, of the stuff that is not allowing us our full potential of love, perception, strength, courage, or positive intentions. Exorcisms are painful, as is any test of our education. When we are presented with a circumstance that forces us to choose a path, we become aware of all the options, not only the one that is truest to who we want to be or where we want to go. Often, we find our gaze lingering upon a path that no longer serves our best intentions; this can be an ugly reminder of past selves or experiences, bad habits, anything familiar because it doesn't scare us as much as the thing we haven't tried yet that all signs point to...kind of like not wanting to get out of bed in the morning because the covers at least promise warmth. But eventually, when we decide to stop making ourselves nauseous dwelling on what we already know doesn't work, and take the leap of faith onto the right path, we find light there. And our present, living self--one deserving of love--rather than the ghostly selves we knew to let go.
When we returned to the bus, woodsmoke still ripe in our clothes, Kaley and Jeff and our good friend visiting from home emerged, mirroring our smiles and newfound energy. Everyone did the work they needed to do in the past twenty-four hours, and radiated fresh energy, self-doubt, ego, pessimism, exhaustion gone for the time being. Creative energy flowed as a testament to the progress. When I finish this post, I will go absorb some local bluegrass music to celebrate. Perhaps the bus crew will converge there, though we have not planned beyond what we all need this evening for ourselves.
Jay reminded me a few days ago that the answers, the positivity, is not in a place or a thing or another person. He said the place or thing or person are there to remind us of, to reflect, the answers we possess in ourselves. I emerged from a feeling of weakness while I was climbing a ridge, looking at sunlit, growing things, but the strength that I affirmed through physical exercise, the beauty I woke to in the textures and life around me, and the love for that space and that moment, all existed inside all along.
Love yourself! Especially when you hurt! It means you're learning, and why would you want to stop learning?