For the first time in a couple of decades, I went camping. Tent camping. In the woods. Like, real, no showering, fire-building, squat to pee, flashlight camping. There were hatchets. And wool socks. I wore a hat to bed.
I’ll admit there was some desperation involved. Things have been happening personally and culturally that had me leaning in to anxiety. It was getting murky around my brain. And around my hipster neighborhood. The compelling graphic design, relentlessly demanding my attention and admiration, the ubiquitous eccentricities, artisanal ice cream, and self congratulatory, overly caffeinated ennui was crushing my soul.
Sorry, Portland. But sometimes, we need some time apart.
Decisions were on the table waiting to be made and committed to. Deep healing was on the agenda.
I desperately needed trees, moss, and to sit in the kind of light that slips sideways through a forest canopy. God light. I needed to hear water and wings and eight thousand shades of green. I needed to remember how a combination of soil over bedrock can support a spine. I was starving for silence and heartswell and catharsis.
So I went to Crater Lake – a big, blue, holy, deep-ass body of ancient water in the mouth of a napping volcano. It’s an elemental extravaganza and I’d highly recommend it.
Anyway, the tent was assembled, a fire was built, gear was organized, blueberry pancakes were made. OVER AN OPEN FIRE. AHEM. Aggressive birds tried to steal them. I spent hours talking, more hours not talking (introverts rule), hours watching fire, and so many hours watching the water and sky trade faces and places. Water, sky, water, sky, water…
I woke up.
It was breath taking and breath giving.
Which is all to say that I am currently zen as shit and have many wisdoms to impart.
So, buckle up for the wisdoms, you guys.
Here they are:
- Heat dispersion is a wonderful invention.
- Brains need clarity because evolution is fucking exhausting.
- Patience is hard but necessary for any endeavor worth doing.
- Birds are assholes.
- Having a coffee mug made out of a canning jar will make you popular with the locals.
- A pocket full of rocks can help hold you down. (not news)
- Unplugging sometimes to recover your basic humanity is more important than ever.
Sitting in patches of sun all warm on my skin, with my back against the thick bark of trees that have probably been around since before my great grandparents were born, one leg dangling towards the water, the other pulled up to my chest, hearing only the occasional bug buzz or pine cone dropping onto the forest floor, I was overcome with the kind of gratitude that shook my core. It was the moments that I live for, that make it all worthwhile. The kind of moments where I really recognize that this beautiful, sweaty, twisted, hilarious, blessed mess is my cool life, and my solar plexus expands a thousand times and the crazy things seem so much less crazy, the impossible things become manageable, and the concentric circles of love and support around me become amplified and polychromatic and I realize that I’m brimming with hope and legitimate fulfillment, despite whatever diluted that to begin with.
It makes me think of what make and keeps all of us hopeful and fulfilled, and how we can all be in this feeling more than not.
Because less stress is better for this whole earth outfit.
We already know that the answer is consistently less, not more. Less stuff, less noise, less striving, chasing, wanting, right?
But saying is easier than doing. What if we start with semantics? What if our “pursuit of happiness” comes to a screeching halt? (That we have a scenario where “happiness” and “pursuit” are even in the same sentence is a mind blowing oxymoron.)
Instead we can recognize enoughness, cultivate peace, maintain normalcy and the quiet, measured stacking of practice and experience.
Can I talk you into some of that action?
Apparently the Dutch have a saying that includes the phrase, Normal is crazy enough. Amen, The Netherlands, just one more way you’re winning at life. Also: That is now my new mantra.
Your daily self care, staying strong and flexible, the way you nourish your body, all of the food, information, relationships, news and art you choose to consume, the things you do to keep your house, your work and your life in order can become the routines that set your stage for success. Even though they seem insignificant, it’s the little things on repeat that build the foundation that supports you when it’s time for you to make the bold, brave, epic movements, that, hopefully, move you closer to your own stability and ability to be in service.
It can start with a shift in the way you articulate or conceptualize things. Or some days spent with the trees.
Think about it. And, trust me when I say that taking some time to unplug, disconnect and reinvigorate your ability to engage in a deeper, and more purposeful way is well worth it.
In the meantime, I am wishing for you all of the hope, all of the fulfillment, and all of the normalcy. Stat.
images by me.