My whirlwind month (and why I haven’t written lately)
Hello beloved readers! I am going to do something I have not done really on this blog. I am going to write about my life. Not my life in a bigger context, or an antidote about my life that helps illustrate an idea, but just my life.
I have not written for a while– over a month! I was blessed to spend most of August amidst wild places, in the Eastern Sierras and Carson National Forest of New Mexico, and had an unrealistic idea that I would be able to write in between my comings and goings. As you all know, I did not. Woops. Here is an account of the last month for me:
For the first 10 days of August I was leading a backpacking trip with teen girls through GirlVentures (which I mentioned in my previous post about hope and my work with youth). We hiked in the eastern Sierras, outside of Bishop, CA, trekking through verdant high alpine meadows, pristine vernal ponds and streams fed by chilly snow melt. I could not even tell you how many wildflowers and marmots we saw, or the incredible courage, perseverance and compassion the girls exhibited. They are brave and miraculous young women. We all summited Mt. Langely, which at 14,052 is just 450 feet shy of the largest peak in the lower 48.
I cannot say enough how essential this work is, especially in the times we are living. We need to give our youth as many opportunities to step forward, understand their own gifts and courage and brilliance, and be held in a group where they know they belong. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to be that for them.
I was then home for a few days, washing filthy clothes, trying to scrape the dirt off of me and reorienting to flush toilets. After these trips, it always takes a few days of loafing around in my pajamas and watching Netflix before I feel like myself again.
After a few days, I then packed up again, this time boarding a plane for New Mexico. After a series of shuttles, I landed at Vallecitos, a retreat center in the Carson National Forest outside of Taos. I attended a 7-day silent insight meditation retreat. Essentially, I spent 7 days not talking, counting my breaths, and walking very slowly. It was fabulous.
There is an unexpected freedom in silence. When we talk, we are always reinventing ourselves, making up stories about who we think we should be and conveying that to those around us. Whether we know it or not, we are always posturing and competing and challenging. In silence, we loose those opportunities. We are stripped of the ability to compete or be something other than what we are and, if we are lucky, even stripped of the notion that anyone cares who we are. We get to just be, letting mindfulness and silence gently wear away the edges of our rigid identities of self. More to come on this topic soon.
Then I came home. The coming home from these experiences is always a little jarring and magical at the same time. I ended up spending five hours in the Albuqurque airport, in my deeply sensitive state of mindfulness. My experience of the world was so slow and so profound. I wept at the compassion and beauty of a father using his teeshirt to cover his sleeping son’s feet and delighted as I slowly brought spoonful after plastic spoonful of coffee ice cream to my mouth.
Then I returned home, doing my best to continue to practice slowness and mindfulness, but watching those edges slowly fade, be slowly eroded by social media and cars in traffic and people who annoyingly push their grocery carts in the middle of the aisle, in the exact places that denies you the ability to go around them. I watched my patience and equanimity fade, and tried to remember it and forgave myself a hundred times for forgetting, and reminded myself that this is why mindfulness is always a practice.
And then finally, after a few days in what was my home of Santa Cruz, CA, my boyfriend and I packed up all of my things. We loaded them into a borrowed white minivan and my small Honda fit and, through Labor Day traffic, drove it up to Davis, CA.
I have moved up here to start a fantastic Master’s program in Community Development. I could not be more thrilled to be back in school, and to have found such a unique program.
At the same time, I am so sad. This is not the place I am used to. I miss the ocean and the redwoods and all of my sit spots and my community, both of which I have been cultivating relationships for a long time. I miss what is familiar and knowing where things are and who to call for what. It is a beautiful reminder that all of life, even the things we love the most, is impermanent.
And here I am now, settling into a wonderful house in N Street Co-Housing, meeting new people and place. Once again, I am adjusting.
This is all really my long way of saying: Apologies that I haven’t written for a while! My life has been a whirlwind lately, the forces of changing disorienting and grounding and moving through me.
But, I am back to writing now. So please please please! Stay tuned!! Stay tuned for more Voices from the Great Turning, more stories of change-makers and inspirerers, more insights into our world in a time of transition, more exploration into what it is to be a heartfelt being living in a time of upheaval.
If you enjoyed this post, please like it and share it on social media. Also leave me a comment below! How did you like hearing about my personal life? Would you like to hear more of that?