I won’t tell you all the details of my entire month of June– which was packed from the first day to the last.
You don’t really need to know much about the nine days that my husband’s Swedish family came to stay with us. Nor do you really need to know about how, a few days later, I came far too close to missing my flight on my way to a pilgrimage I’ve been planning for about nine months.
It’s too much to start telling the rest of that story either– about how I met up with my mother (with whom I have a challenging relationship) in Arkansas to see where I was born and where my father died (14 hours before my birth) and how we drove over an hour on unpaved country roads to find a lone dirt road which was cut off by a creek, and how we had to hike up our pants, abandon our car, and carry everything on our backs, wading through the creek to get to the other side of the road– a one-way path that ended at a cemetery where I visited my father’s grave for the first time in my 40 years of life. That would definitely be a can of worms not suited to a blog post.
I won’t go into detail about how, immediately after that journey, we flew to Dallas together for a big family reunion, which included family members I hadn’t seen in several years as well as new ones I’d yet to meet. I should probably also leave out the subsequent trip to Austin, where I struggled with the sense of melancholy that going home can bring, while trying to keep a lid on my building wave of emotion.
I could tell you about how, after a single, exhausted, laundry-filled day back at home, I jumped in the car for six hours of solitude on the road and headed to a five day training and retreat at an off-the-grid retreat center in Oregon. Or how by the end of that drive, my suppressed and unprocessed emotions, longing for a release valve, had turned themselves into a full-blown and tenacious cold which persisted through the entire retreat.
I could tell you about how I camped in a tent in a grove of trees and woke up at 3am and stumbled outside into the neighboring meadow to see the most humbling and beautiful tapestry of stars on black velvet I’ve ever seen. Or how I woke up again at 6am to see a sleek, gentle, and calm doe walking around the campground, foraging for breakfast. I could even tell you how I bathed naked in a pool of hot spring water, overlooking a most beautiful vista of hills, trees, and meadows. Or how I practiced yoga silently after dark in a room with a high ceiling and a skylight and watched the impossibly quick movements of a bat who’d flown inside as I lie in savasana. Or how I sat alone in a tiny, isolated cob house, where I meditated, journaled, and finally– carefully– began to remove the lid from the container of emotion.
Where would I begin? How would I begin to make sense of such a laundry list of emotional experiences absorbed in such a short period of time? How would I begin to share that outside of myself in a meaningful way?
The truth is, I don’t yet know what to say about all of the experiences of the past month. I have barely begun to unpack any of what transpired, what was learned, or even what may be ready to let go of. The truth is, though I tried to be yogic about challenging situations and intense emotions, sometimes I was just human. The truth is that while I know I freed myself just a little bit by doing something so challenging, I am not yet sure how that freedom looks, where it is, or what to do with it.
This is the path. It is all the path– the not knowing, the acknowledgement, the discernment, the long road of sorting, letting-go and integrating. As we walk this path, we are constantly moving into the wild. Into the unknown. Into ever unexplored territory in the search for a more whole experience in life.
We move into the wild to feel freer, to feel more connected, to feel a sense of purpose and place, despite the vastness of that wild. We go there to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that we are living this gift of a life with its due passion, curiosity, and tender human awareness.
But the ironic truth about that wild unknown is that it is our own true nature– known before birth, but slowly, gradually forgotten over the years of our lives. We must come to this realization again and again through the constant exploration outside of our comfort zones and the constant processing of that exploration. Each time, we come to this with more awareness, understanding, and courage. But it is always new, always different, always a unique experience that has its own mystery, its own questions, its own timeline.
The choice to live the path of the seeker, the yogi, the mystic, the creative, the artist, “the fool” some might say– is a choice to be constantly moving into the wild unknown. To seek to return, again and again, to our most natural state of being– however familiar and unfamiliar at the same time– a state that is at once open, peaceful, radical, and– by comparison to all that we break away from– Wild.
Here’s to our wild beauty, and to our mindful and beautiful unfolding, friend.
Thanks for reading! Share your thoughts and replies in the comments below. – xo
*photo credit: Mom