Could you Please just throw me a piece of fruit! Even if it’s just a Blueberry!

It has taken me a week to be able to sit down and write this post, not completely sure that I am comfortable sharing such a raw moment in my life. However, to anyone who chooses to read this, I hope that you will draw some inspiration and comfort from my experience.

Last week I hit a spiritual low. Snake’s belly low. Crisis of faith low. Pitch dark, sobbing, img_2110-001not able to catch my breath low. Clutching a pillow to my chest as if it were a life vest low.

A few words from a text, that in my heart I knew were false, sent me in a downward spiral to a place so dark. A place I’ve only ever been once before, about a year ago.

For hours I sat on the floor, death grip on the pillow, paralyzed by fear and doubt, desperately counting my gratitude amidst audible sobs and pleas for help. Questioning what I’m missing, what I’m not seeing. Am I a fool? Who do I think I am? Doubts, doubts, doubts and more doubts. Fear at its ugliest. Asking… no, pleading really… for awareness and clarity. Just hit me over the head if you must! What the #*@& am I missing?

Sitting with such pain and fear is necessary, according to Buddhist practice, for pain and fear are our teachers. And so I sat….and sat….and sat, clinging to what minute ember of faith I could feel, until I was at least able to begin to breathe normally again.

While clarity and strength took days to resurface, I managed to pull myself together to run a necessary errand. If I could have put it off a day, believe me I would have. But it was meant for me to do that day, and at that specific moment, no matter the emotional wreck I was at the time.

Still red-eyed from crying, and disheveled, I drove down the road toward my destination, and in the perfect timing that is Universe, I looked up into the trees along the side of the road and saw my spirit animal. A Red-Tailed Hawk.

red_tailed_hawk
My Spirit Animal – Aumakua
  • Digression – These hawks are very prevalent in my area, however, I never noticed them with any level of awareness until after my mother died, nearly 11 years now. Since then, I am aware of their presence and see them when I am in most need of reassurance and comfort. Just the day before I had seen three! The first was on my way to a meeting and two more on the way home from the meeting! Needless to say, it was a great meeting. Sometimes their presence is a surprise beacon, like just yesterday, and then I know that I am on the correct path.

Once home, I spent the remainder of the day perilously reaffirming my blessings, meditating, and focusing on my breathing, struggling to remain only in the present moment, mantras running through my mind, as if on auto-pilot.

Feeling completely shattered, fiercely wanting to retreat into hermit mode, I was mulling over canceling my training for the week. However, when morning dawned, I decided it might be beneficial to go and throw some heavy weight around. I did and it was exactly what I needed, add in some poignant therapy from the best trainer in the world!

peaceMore clarity came from sharing my breakdown with her, perilously keeping the tears at bay as best I could. At the end of our session, she summed up part of the crisis by revealing that I have not yet received any fruit from my arduous toil along this journey. That, and my spiritual fruit was less than fresh!

Aha, yes, I need a piece of fruit! Any piece of fruit. Even if it’s just a blueberry! A cherry! A raspberry! Could you please just throw me a piece of fruit! While I am waiting on the watermelon (I know to expect miracles) 😉 I am starving for any piece of fruit to sustain me until the harvest.

And now a week later, I am stronger in faith, yet still expecting a watermelon but asking for a blueberry, cherry, or raspberry while enlightened enough to know that anotherRood-fruit-framboos-braam-en-blauwe-bes-SXC crisis is inevitable. For each crisis is necessary to break down the ego a little more in order to strengthen our spiritual connection.

This I must do alone. I retreat into the darkness. I sit with the pain and the fear. I beg, plead, scream, and cry until exhausted, when finally silence then speaks its truth. Expect the watermelon, but here’s a blueberry for now.

A friend with whom I shared this experience asked why I hadn’t called her, or anyone. My answer is simply that I must sit with this alone. It is my journey. My path. My growth. My test. My awakening.

We all will experience times like this in our lives, but we must not expect, nor allow, someone to rescue us from it. They are incapable and it isn’t their responsibility. Some may benefit from comfort from a friend, and that is fine. But we all must push through the darkness and emerge on our own efforts, spiritually stronger than before.

Expect the watermelon but be grateful for the blueberry, cherry, or raspberry to sustain you until harvest. 

 

 

 

Into the Woods

Several weekends ago I headed into the woods on what was to be the first stop on a local excursion to snap photos for the WPC Local (WordPress Photo Challenge), but I ended up into-the-woodsspending hours alone, exploring the trails; immersed in nature; in solitude; in quiet.

There are three marked trails in this forested area and all three cross over and co-mingle with each other in various locations. Some are well groomed while others are more rugged. Some are even unmarked!

As I travailed through the forest all up in my head, I began to contemplate why an outing as this brings me such solace. I know myself well enough to understand that nature is a very healing place for me regardless of the season or the milieu. I am just as much a zen baby in the woods as I am at the beach. I prefer the beach in the off seasons than in summer and in early morning or evening (during the summer) as opposed to during the day. It is impossible for me to truly hear the ocean’s voice when it is drowning in the cacophony of human jabbering.

In the woods, it tends to be quieter no matter what the season. On this particular trek, I barely encountered a soul despite the beautiful day in Fall. What continued to bubble up in my mind was the sense of adventure that the forest gifts us. While many paths were manicured and marked, I tended to be attracted to the more rugged and unmarked trails I discovered. Why is this? Why do I gravitate to the path less traveled? The path unknown? unmarked2What is it that I am searching for?

I’m not sure I fully understand why the more difficult trail appeals to me, but it probably has something to do with my love of solitude, and maybe even a need to prove to myself that I can navigate successfully on my own. At 54 one would think I should have this ingrained, but I guess I don’t completely, and I’m ok with that. Sometimes I actually do choose an easier route, especially so when visiting the quarry where I rock climb, but I digress.

The other realization and insight I gleaned from this hours long ambling through the wooded wonderland was the multitude of occasions upon which I ended at a crossroads. Which way did I want to go? Which path did I want to take? Which one looked less traveled? But yet, I didn’t want to miss anything hidden within the paths I chose to ignore. Now in this small forest, I can easily revisit and opt to explore the other pathways, even though they wind back around on each other. Not always so in life.

What have I missed by choosing the paths I have walked? Was there a lesson I missed? I don’t have any regrets on where I am in life or of the paths I have taken thus far. I am very decisionsgrateful for what I have, what I have accomplished thus far, and for where I am headed. I like to believe that if I missed a treasure on a path I chose to ignore that maybe either I didn’t need to discover it or that it will appear on a path yet to be chosen.

So I will continue to find nuggets of inspiration and insight as I traipse through the forest, through life, and dare to go deeper into the woods. For there is where the real treasures are hidden, and maybe that is why I am so drawn to the darker, more rugged path less traveled.

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Drought

The leaves in my area have been slow to turn, and the colors not all as vivid this autumn due to a lack of rain. We are in a drought. Not a severe drought, but a drought nonetheless. When I heard this from my trainer, several weeks ago, something clicked within me.

Drought. A lack of water, of sustenance, of cleansing. Drought. Physical, emotional, spiritual.  3 That is how I have been feeling. Spiritually in a drought. In need of an emotional and spiritual storm to clear out and cleanse. Wash away the dirt, the grime, the pain, the sadness. Clear away the clouds.

It has taken me a few weeks to write on this. Last week’s storm derailed me.

Several weeks ago I committed to attending a beach retreat scheduled for last weekend. I was so excited to be going to the beach. It had been almost two decades since I had buried my feet in the sand, listened to the waves crashing on the shore, felt the cold water splash my legs, rinse my feet.feet

I was so excited. 20 years since I felt the pull of the water raking the sand from under my feet; jostling my steadiness, sinking me deeper into the shore. It seemed to be just what I needed to correct my drought. A good cry on the beach to jar loose the dirt, the grime, dead debris. I was so ready for this trip. Heading into the weekend with a loose plan, but open to what experiences would come to me.

Alas, a storm came a few days before leaving for the beach. I almost backed out of the trip. Nevertheless, I went. Heavy hearted and wanting so desperately for my internal storm to rage up and vent upon first sight of the mighty waves crashing upon the shore. It didn’t. Maybe tomorrow, I hoped.

The weekend weather was summer’s final appearance; sunny, 70-80 degrees. I was happy. I felt peaceful. I posted photos, sharing my contented moments via social media. I met new people.

I allowed myself to open up a bit yet never manifesting the internal storm continuing to churn within me. I tried so fervently to bring it to a head in my solitude, as I stood in the sand, waves lapping my legs. Epic fail. No tears. No sobbing. No rain. Just endless waves rhythmically bathing the shore.

Feelings of peace, of bliss, of gratitude immersing my soul. Yet deep down, the storm churned, precluding eruption, denying the purge. Nourishing further my drought, or so I thought.

4I felt guilty. Allowing myself to have fun, to be happy; yet remaining aware of the storm within me; the storm taking place 150 miles back home. I felt torn. Sending comforting and consoling texts back home, amidst posting happy photos on Facebook. Grateful for the opportunity to fill my soul, realign with the rhythms of the ocean, yet conscious of the grief harboring in my soul, conscious of those languishing back home.

For two days, I embraced the healing spirit of the tides; cuddled in the arms of Rehoboth’s quaintness, snuggled in my solitude, and acquiesced to the cessation of my drought; albeit not in the expression I preferred.

I wanted a tempest, a mighty monsoon, a deluge, a ravaging hurricane of tears. Instead, wavesmy drought doused with summer warmth, sun-filled heavens, cool sea breezes, and refreshing ocean tides.

Home a week now, the churning storm has subsided; blown out to sea no doubt. My drought is waning with each word I write, each post I share, and each visit with the ones I hold dear. My gratitude is stronger. My blessings are more vivid. Faith and belief are ever growing clearer.

The torrential downpour that never manifested may rear up later down the road. For now, 5my soul, nourished by the ocean, not entirely sated, but no longer parched, can begin once again to flow, maybe not as mighty waves in an ocean, but  at least as a few ripples in a pond.