Today I went to Sylvan Lake…It’s been just over three years since I went last. I had a different boyfriend then…before Chris. Bah. No matter how much I’ve changed, I still hate that reference to the past…to the me that couldn’t be alone. The Plan B girl. The jumper.
“Have you ever felt so fantastic that it hinged on sad? So fucking fantastical that you fought back tears because you feared that somehow the downright admittance of it may jinx it? So fantastic that you ache for all of the sadness that ever occurred in your life, even when you didn’t know that it was sad? Not aches for as in, Can I please have more? But, ache as in, You poor, poor soul. Then you tell yourself, STOP- that’s enough! It’s over now. The sadness is gone. Be fantastic. Feel fantastic. Weep for fantastic.”
I wrote that, stopped on the trail back to the car. The trail that’s all public, with people staring at the barefoot, sunburnt, girl with a piece of birch bark wrapped around her wrist, crying and texting…herself? Yes. That’s me. The revealed me.
I read in Women Who Run With Wolves, something about barefoot women and their soles of their feet being their souls…That’s a horrible paraphrase, but basically, I read it and then left the house intent upon spending the day barefoot because if I kept my soles on the ground, I’d be grounded in my soul. It worked. I did 3.5 miles today, barefoot. The path was not paved. It was rocky and sharp. It was steep, both up and down. It was sticky and pokey and smooth and perfect and oh, so, grounded. Most of that reflects my life…right up to smooth part, and then that and those other adjectives elude me…but I stumble upon them more often now…sometimes grounded is just walking barefoot. Sometimes it’s crawling on hands and knees- sometimes it’s just sitting down on your ass- or falling there. Either way- you get to the ground- viola! Grounded. Just get there. That’s my advice-
Get grounded. Get dirty, poked, sticky, bruised, bumped, rolled, tossed, and for God’s sake, learn when to stay down…Sometimes getting grounded- voluntary or not, is really the easy part. Have some humble pie. On the ground. It’s knowing when to stay down that’s hard. If you find yourself saying things like, I just keep getting knocked back down, or, If it’s not one setback, it’s another…or, It just seems like every time I get back on my feet….
Just sit back down. Duck. Get low. Get dirtier. You want a divine sign? Pay attention to what you keep running into that keeps knocking you on your ass. Sit down. Sit still. If you can’t figure out what direction to go- if you feel lost, take the best advice given to anyone who wonders around anywhere dangerous- mountains, forests, life…
When you’re lost, stay still and wait for someone to find you. Like the authentic you. Or a life Ranger….Get it? Park Ranger, Life Ranger…Whatever you call it, don’t wander around lost. Want an example of lost?
On my hands, directly below my thumbs, are the words, Gratitude on my right and Presence on my left. On my left forearm are the four laws of success from the God Memo by Og Mandino. On my right wrist it says, I am, God Is, Now. On my left inner arm it says, As if today were without tomorrow. On my chest is the Buddhist philosophy of Abandon Hope- see Pema Chodron- I also have a Compass on my left hand and a tortoise on my right. The irony? The lost factor? Today I was driving down the road saying over and over again,
“What’s my message?” “What do I want to say to the world?” “What are my values?” “What do I want people to get?”
Seriously- it’s like that…
So, you want to be what? Magic… Right. I thought that’s what you said.
I want to be magic. I mean, I am magic, just like you, but I want to be like glitter magic. I want to be like, BAM magic. I want to be like, wait! You’re magic too! Magic. I love magic. I read a book by…well, by any of the life coaches in my library really, and they all say the same thing; Whatever you loved as a child, that’s your calling. Whatever you loved doing when you were six or seven, that’s a clue to your calling….
Oh Christ, I thought…I want to be? Magic? Hell yes! I want to be magic!
How in the hell do you make magic a career?
Great. I want to be…magic. Now what?
Now, I don’t mean magician magic. No bunnies, or sawing you in half, or top hats, or walking on water…though that Cris Angel guy…He’s on to something there…I mean a different magic. Like the opposite of, Now you see it, now you don’t! More like, Wait a minute, you don’t see that? TADA! There it is and it was there all along you silly goose! The kind of magic that makes you go, I don’t believe in signs and then suddenly there’s a butterfly sitting on your shoulder…The kind of magic that makes you want to search out your own magic, your own big reveal…The kind of magic that makes you want to climb into the box and saw yourself in half! That kind of magic. The “I am, God is, Now, Gratitude, Presence, Today is all you have, Count your blessings, Proclaim your rarity, Extra mile walking, sole bearing soul, In the name of love” magic. YOU magic.
Let me leave you with this little epiphany that I had today on Road 277 in the Black Hills Forest, a road aptly named, Hells Canyon Road…No lie. I walked out on that road a ways and sat on a log. The entire area has been decimated by fire and is covered now by burned out trees, logs and grass…and bugs. Lots of bugs. Lots. Of. Bugs. I sat on that on that log and waited. I’ve been looking for my inner animal guide for two days…no avail. Unless it’s birds. Or chipmunks. Or woodchucks. Or bugs? I waited for something, mostly my inner me, the Universe, the Big Guy- all one in the same really- to say something earth shattering and soul shaking…or just to just send me a beautiful doe…ah, my inner animal…but nothing. More birds. More rodents. More bugs. Damn it. How can I go where I’m guided if you won’t give me my damn guide!!! This was all before the “What’s my message?” irony… So I gave up. Fine, I said. Have it your way. It’s hot out here in the sun and it could just be my heart, yearning to burn…or to melt and seep straight into the earth until the rains come…
I got up. I walked back…I’m walking and I’m talking- out loud, yes- and I’m saying something about how heavy things are…I’m maybe whining a little. I stop and talk to three birds,
Are you my inner guide? I ask…
This is dumb…we’re right back to, are you my mother? For God’s sake on high!
But I keep talking to them…
Just give me a sign. Land on me. Poop on me. I don’t care. Is this normal? Do other people stop and talk to you, or just me? Great, I’m talking to birds…on a road in the middle of nowhere…This is so heavy…
I continue the conversation with the powers that be- and it suddenly it feels like we are all gathered around the boardroom table in my brain, me, God, The Universe, the Queen popping her gum and rolling her eyes, doodling the three of us in nooses…I’m at the head of the table- that’s the first problem probably, and I’m still just repeating my complaints…
This is so heavy! It’s crushing me! I just want a sign! A direct and definitive course of action in a specific direction because seriously, this waiting thing is so damn heavy!
Something in the road catches my eye as I hear, clear as day, (here’s the magic!) a question;
Are you waiting, or weighting? Is it heavy because you’ve made it heavy?
Picking up the thing in the road…what the hell is this? It’s so, heavy…it’s a weight?
Oh God. It’s a weight in the road. It’s so heavy. I heft it up in the air and let its weight settle back into my hand. Toss, land. Toss, land. Heavy. Heavy like a weight. Not waiting. I’m weighting. I’m taking what’s light- what’s magic and light…like glitter, and I’m making it heavy. I’m making it heavy. I’m weighting.
And I laugh. Because it’s funny. It’s so funny, and I am funny and I am SO done weighting…but I’m okay with waiting…like the butterfly. Like patience. Like breathing in…and breathing out. It’s so practical…and magical.
One more final note. From atop the mountain path that I hiked today, barefoot so that my soles could touch the ground and ground my soul…I turned around and looked down, and then I wrote;
“I came through there. Somewhere, buried down in the canyons of our lives, our souls- are those, “can’t see from the surface, are you sure it’s down there? there’s no way I’m going in there, I’ll never get out of here, oh good Lord, look where I came up from and out of” path through this moment called Life. But it’s the next moment that matters- The one where you look down and say, Huh. I guess that wasn’t so bad. And then the next moment- the bigger one than the one that you thought for sure could and indeed, HAD consumed you…But then you turn and look down on that one too…and life becomes moments of turning away from the past and walking into the now right in front of you.”
Find your soles on the ground
And find your soul, grounded.