Deep fog, anguished spirit …
I wrote this years ago, before marriage, children… And today I bring it back, because it may help someone who is feeling stuck
I crossed the terrace and disappeared into the Rilke, a path between the forest and a cliff that ends in the sea. For some reason, seeing the silent Adriatic ocean always calmed my soul. In my hands, I held a sacred drum and tobacco, which were part of the dispute I had just been in. On the narrow trail, the fog was thick. I could not see beyond a couple meters. It was January, I think, and I still didn’t know what to do with my life after May, when my Italian volunteer position ended. It was January, it was cold and I was miserable. I walked a few steps, breathing anger through my tears. I thought “and to top it off, this damn fog doesn’t let me see the sea … everything you see is white down there …”
Then as I walked, hoping that the trees would help me calm down, I don’t know why I remembered that there was a time when I liked the mist.
I saw a light breeze moving the white mist, making it go softly over the road, and I noticed how the clouds moved among the trees.
I felt I was stepping into the past. I felt like a traveller on lost roads, with only two weapons or tools on my hands. My old medieval spirit cleared my mind and I said to myself … “how many of my Chilean friends would kill to be here…” and once again those distant friends helped me without knowing that they were doing so. Of course, thinking about them made me feel more nostalgic and lonelier, AND my anger was going no where.
I sat on a rock where from most days, except for that one, you could see the sea. I lit a sacred tobacco and asked its forgiveness for the misuse I had given it a little while before. I breathed easier. I started to cry. I ahad been invited to a comparative religions day, given 40 minutes and been interrupted after 20, by the organizers, who needed the room. I had to stop mid prayer, and had gotten upset. I felt that I had totally ruined what I was trying to do.
Down below, tens of meters away, I heard the distant sound of paddles … a rowboat that was also moving like me, among the mist. I remembered the words of a Chilean shaman: “And we have to do so much to connect … meditation, prayer, forest bathing… so much work to reach a state of connection that our ancestors had without thinking about it because they were part of nature …” I also remembered the ideas of a book that I had stolen from a library: In their vision quest, Native American tribesmen could spend days fasting and in ritual preparation, to have a vision that could be as simple as watching an eagle fly. The point was not only the vision, but the meaning that one was able to give it ina favourable soul state.
I kept listening to the paddles, and I told myself that although I was crazy for being alone in a misty forest path, there were others humans out there, crazier than me, going out to row blindly in the fog. And although I was not able to see it the sea was there, calm and silent as always, below me. Now, as I write this, it also occurs to me that the sea found a way to be present and to calm me down without leaving its perennial silent state; it has found a messenger to carry the sound of its waters to me.
I used to think that those times when I was stuck, unwilling or unable to make things happen were like that foggy day in Italy; I could not see where I ought to go, thus I remained still. It made sense to believe that, to go along with the methaphor, those times in which I thought I had everything clear, and I could work my ass off towards a goal were like the days with clear skyes, free of dangers and full of friendly traveller companions. As I remembered that day on the Rilke trail though, it dawned on me that maybe a clear day and path head is really meant to recharge batteries, that those productive periods allow us to make the friends, networks and experience that enable us to take a leap of faith when we cannot see beyond our nose. “I know the sea is there because I saw it on a sunny day and it doesn’t matter if now I’m lost in fog. I know that I am able to continue along this path safely cause i have WALKED it on a sunny day and if I really get lost, I trust that a sound of paddles will tell me where the sea is.”
I’m working on believing that everything is perfect and has a reason for being; that we always do the best we can and when we don’t, we learn from it. Those years outside of Chile helped to remember what faith is. I have jumped into the void more than once and I’m proud of it. Sometimes, like when I rented a house to make a meditation centre, with no money and no job, I wondered if the jump had not been too high. Everything was SO difficult. And so expensive! THere was a day (the day in which this article originally came into being) in which I was so disrought. But then I reminded myself that there are no jumps too high, only legs that are too shot. (And mine are VERY short!) And that for cases of long distances jumps against weak muscles, well that is why certain characters we call angels have wings. I remember I left my budget hysteria go, decided to move the opening date and take the time pressure off. I looked at Kantares House and saw all the hands that had left their mark on it, making it beatiful out of love for me and the project. How different it looked from when I had moved in, just a month before.
So now, on foggy times like this pandemic, when new crossroads are right ahead of me, I see the path traveled and it comforts me, although the path to move onwards is uncertain. “Sometimes you have to look back to know where to go, not forward” I tell myself. I see myself sitting on that rock at the Rilke, next to the sea, waiting for the fog to lift (while praying and playing the sacred drum).
I know I’m on a foggy patch right now, and that I need to ask guidance from heigher beings, the Earth, and my inner wisdom. And then, take another proverbial leap of faith. But I feel no anguish. Cause I now know that the sea is down there.
Om Nama Shivaya (may you be all you can be)
Idiel, Walker of the Pagan Southern Path.
La bellisima imagen de este post es de Evgeni Dinev