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I drove off.
I left. I said goodbye to who I was. I shed misunderstandings I didn’t know were wrong.
For months, maybe more than a year, I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life. A heart wrenching feeling of lostness filled my soul. I wanted to go back, but it was too late. That life was gone, never to be again. I felt like I was floating in an abyss by myself, drifting to who knows where with no one who cares. Even with some who cared, it wasn’t enough. Alone in a world of strangers, with nothing. Nights of tears, days of regret.
It was as if I was walking into the darkness of a huge empty windy tunnel and with each step pieces of my self were being blown away like red maple leaves during the first fall storm. Cold, wet and alone I was being stripped. It was lonely. I was becoming more naked and less and less me. I was left empty and bare.
There has been heart wrenching struggle. Early on the struggle was between me and misunderstandings about Life: loneliness, regret, scarcity and resistance. I felt like a tree gasping for my autumn colored leaves that were being ripped from my branches. It was a personal struggle of letting go of beliefs and rules, and how I thought life was supposed to be. I was stuck in an internal storm between what was and what truly is.
The struggle was one sided and Life kept showing the way. It seemed as if nature was gently breathing truth into itself, sharing lessons in the sweetest ways, whispering through silent knowings and jumbled thoughts, and unveiling the simplicity that we all unknowingly bathe in every moment of every day. Over and over, the message pointed to what Is. Nothing else. The more my heart cracked open, the more surfing the waves of what Is became the way. As I got glimpses of seeing through the illusion of “this is how it is supposed to be”, struggle became as fleeting as the sight of an exhaled breath on a cold winter’s day.
Something happened. I saw the rawness and perfect motion of life. Nature helped me see itself. Nature took me to a place of wonder, a space full of the beauty of not knowing and sweet knowing. Life nudged me to feel, let go and love.
Love. A word I could not speak for decades. A feeling I promised not to feel and an empty space I lived in for more than 25 years: A place of experiencing no love, no hugs, no feeling. It was all made up in a muddled child’s mind that worked well for so long… until it didn’t. I only knew living without love, but it was all I knew. Like being color blind and having no idea the vibrancy of a summer blue sky on green trees, or the soft pastels of a sunrise. I did not know, and I still might not.
I drove off. I left everything and found love and gratitude so rich, friends I couldn’t have imagined, an ease so light and an appreciation so full that it often bubbles up through my chest and runs down my cheeks. Freedom to feel is what I found.
There has been a softening, a slowing, and an opening.
Instead of pushing, striving and working hard, more and more I am lead to just being, experiencing and sharing. Morning walks that drift into all day sojourns in nature have happened seemingly by accident: heading out on foot in the stillness of morning fog and then getting lost in being. Returning to my trailer as the horizon meets the sun’s soft orange farewell with a belly full of hunger, legs wonderfully sore and my soul full of Life. Allowing myself to do nothing and experience everything all at once has been a journey all its own. Exploring, being and resting feels like destiny meeting itself.
This opened up another gift: intimately experiencing soul warming love with apparent strangers. Witnessing humans living in our natural space of care, connection and love keeps pointing me back to what we share. Each time human kindness warms our soul, the miracle of our humanity pokes a hole in the belief there is such a thing as a stranger.
It seems we are all remembering. It seems we are kind beings and being kind is our nature. It seems kindness is the innate return to knowing our true self. And then knowing that under the veil of what we’ve been taught: we all know this, and we all forget this, and then we remember… and repeat, over and over again.
I drove off so much for so long. I drove off people, I pushed life away. I lived only from my head, not knowing how to feel or what it was like to cry and love and feel a sadness so beautiful and full that my heart filled with pure love. I am still seeing, still feeling, still opening, still slowing and on an endless walk in understanding. Open to seeing and open to being knocked in the gut each time I realize what I thought was true wasn’t.
Oblivious to the actual journey I was embarking on: I drove off to see it all and go beyond the walls of make-believe, even if just for a moment… I drove off to find home, to realize home is here now, nowhere and everywhere. I drove off to see you, to know you in that special way.
I drove off to become more and more open to realizing I don’t know. I wonder, and realize I might not ever know, and that’s ok… for now, and for always.
Photo: “Almost Bare” captured by Kristy during the first mile of an all-day wander in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Floyd, Virginia on November 8, 2020
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