Almost There

In one of my earlier writings I spoke of learning that the journey is what is important not the getting to a “there” that we are aiming for.  Yet last week I found myself with a driving need to get to a “there”.  I was out in a wilderness area with my soulcraft sisters taking time to be in nature and allowing space to let my soul speak through the natural world of what it wishes to bring forth into the world.  As we arrived in the area we were to stay in I saw a small, prominent peak that drew my eye and heart.  I have always been drawn to the heights, love to get up there and see what there is to see from there.  Both of my vision quests I ended up with my site high up on a ridge or cliff.  So here I was with this peak calling to me to come yet knowing I probably couldn’t go there as I had injured my left ankle 10 days earlier and it was still feeling sore and weakened as well as feeling my body in a weaker state than it has been in many years.  It left me feeling vulnerable and bereft in some way that I couldn’t do what I had always done.

For the first three or four days there I listened to my ankle and stayed in the lowlands.  One day though we had more time to wander, my ankle had been feeling a bit better and I was feeling good physically.  So I decided to head up the peak slowly and carefully, stopping to check in with myself as I went to see how my body was feeling.  It was a slow journey but I carefully made my way up, picking my route so that I didn’t have to travel on scree that could be difficult for my ankle to handle.  I reached a place where there was only a final push up the steepest part to where the top was.  I could see that it would get more difficult and I would have to pick my route with great care.  I told myself to take a moment to check in and make sure my body felt up to it.  So I went over to a lovely rock outcropping that had a great view of the Golden Doe valley below and the cliffs to the south.  I stood there for a moment asking myself “is it necessary to go any further today, right now”?  I turned towards the peak top and all I could think was “I’m almost there, I can’t stop now, the top is right there.”  Without really checking in with my body I headed up the steep slope towards the top.  It didn’t take very long before I was feeling my ankle twinging often and my tiredness beginning to catch up with me.  All along the way I had told myself that if I ended up having to travel any distance through scree that would be unstable I needed to turn back.  I found myself at this point in scree, big rock scree that I told myself I could handle okay.  I traveled on, determined to not stop but to make it to the top, to make it “there”.  I must have gone 30 or 40 steps with no end of the scree in sight before a rock under my left foot moved in an unexpected way and I felt my ankle screech as it tried to stabilize me.  I finally woke up and realized that I needed to stop right there and go no further.  I sat down and spent a few minutes crying over a sense of limitation and inability to do what had always come easily.  After a bit though I realized that the tears were more about how hard I push myself sometimes to get someplace other than where I am without really taking enough time and space to let my soul and body tell me if it is necessary or not.  I had been learning over the previous months much about being gentle with myself yet here I was driving myself to go further for no reason that was truly necessary.

I stood up and slowly made my way back down to the lovely rock outcropping that I had stopped at earlier.  As I arrived there and truly looked at the spot, I found a lovely space that I could sit where I felt tucked in, held by the rock surrounding me as I looked out at the beauty around me.  Warm sun and a gentle breeze caressed me as I let myself sit and be where I was, letting all feelings of disappointment in not making it “there” blow away on the breeze.    I sank into a numinous state, feeling that right here is where the holy abides, here is where the Divine meets me.  Right here when I stop long enough to let the earth hold me, to let the sun gently warm me, to let the wind caress my skin, to let the beauty of the valley and cliffs around me enter my soul.  No need to go anywhere else only needing to allow here to speak to me.  In my mind I now call this my “almost there” place.  It is a place of great beauty, peace, aliveness and a sense of connection to all life.  I will hold it as a touchstone when I find myself driving again to get to a “there”.  Perhaps allowing myself a little more time and space to truly feel into whether getting there is necessary or if being “almost there” might possibly be where the mystery is waiting for me.

Whether drifting through life on a boat or climbing toward old age leading a horse, each day is a journey and the journey itself is home.

– Basho

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