Monday, April 18, 2011

Going Undercover

This quote is one I sent to a friend years ago.  I did not write out the attribution, nor do I have any idea where I stumbled upon it.  This friend, however, sent it back to me recently.  We haven't talked in years.  But the message was a timely one for me:

Go outside.
Go away.
It's all the people making you lonely.
Pick a spot on the horizon and head straight for it.
Weave your way through a stand of redwoods.
Kayak an ocean chain.
Peer over your toes at the edge of a canyon.
Go to your favorite place...Again and again.
This is what you need to do.
Not just because it fuels your independence.
But because it reminds you you're a part of something bigger.

I have spent the past months reconnecting, asking for support, asking for time and energy from others.  I have loved being in touch with so many people from different facets of my life whom I love.  I have appreciated every single moment and every single word of kindness.  And, obviously, I'm still sharing in a public way how I'm moving through and thinking about life and the world.

This being said, however, it is time for me to return to the "wilderness."  My "wilderness" not only includes where, but how I operate in my days.  I have sought too much solace from others instead of owning the fact that I need to tend to myself--there comes a place and time when you have to hold your own hand, pull yourself up (or let yourself crash to the ground, whatever the case may be).  I simply need to quiet and be.  To listen carefully.  It is time for paper letters sent out into the universe with no expectation of a speedy reply.  It is time for dark, starry nights with only my dog as company.  It is time for me to shake the fears that are showing up in my nightmares recurrently.  It is time to shake the dust.  It is time to reclaim what I believe and what I need.  It is time to acknowledge that sometimes, truly, things can go on too long.  And the toll is too much.  And too much is too much no matter who you are.  

Gretel Ehrlich, in The Solace of Open Spaces says, "We fill up space as if it were a pie shell, with things whose opacity further obstructs our ability to see what is already there" (p. 15).  

The desert has provided me with an unobscured landscape to dwell in for the past twelve years.  I do not like the desert.  I am not cozy and comfortable here, but apparently, there is more for me to learn before I leave.  I have committed myself to this space for another year.  I have resisted the urge to cut and run many times.  This particular wilderness is one that forces me to shift my perspective on a regular basis--as the lighting and time of year shifts, so does my appreciation for my surroundings.  It is a good place to recognize, without anything to sugar-coat the experience, that you are there no matter where you go, and until you sort that out, well, no lush landscape will do it for you.  We are each moving through alone, no matter how much love surrounds us (or how little).  I hope to go back to the idea of simply doing no harm as I move through.  That's a valiant enough goal for me right now.

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