-Kay Redfield Jamison.
Greetings to the 3 people who read my posts. It definitely has been a while. While many people fall off on blogging because they get extremely busy, it has been quite the opposite for me. I had fallen into an easy-going and monotonous routine. Even with occasional splashes of highs and low here and there, I haven’t been compelled to blog in a while. But, my heart has been so incredibly full and my soul’s been overflowing with happiness these past few days that I would be doing myself an injustice to not etch it in somewhere else other than my own mind.
I’ve always ben intrigued by the idea of meditation. Having been infatuated by the hard sciences since forever, I’ve always been about learning facts about the outside world (and loving it for the most part). When folks shared their experiences with meditation and clearing their minds, I often wondered, why? for what? I never felt the need to do this, and I would probably live an OK life without ever.
But, man. Nature has a way with sucking you into another world. I appreciate beautiful weather and post-rain green rolling hills and trickling creeks. Coupled together, you get an inspiring sanctuary. We veered off the trail to find the gems. Balancing across rickety logs, traversing on slabs next to a questionable lake, scraping through tight cool spaces between rocks, and up into sturdy branches to reach the shady nooks overlooking gentles ripples in the creek. We kept our conversations quiet as if our voices would disturb the balance of nature. We supported each other along the way, calm and focused, especially when we set up anchors to send climbing projects together. And when the shade got a little too cool, we left this safe nook and set out for a completely shadeless, tough 5.11 wall baked by the sun all afternoon. Shirts came off, music started jamming, we wiped our sweat and gritted our teeth through a much different kind of zen. Our muscles pumped, we cheered for big moves and shouted out beta at the crux. Only when the wall started to shade did we realize how long we had been out there, our clothes dusty, our bodies grimy with sweat. We forgot how hungry we were. As the sun started to sleep behind the hills, we trekked on back, once agains lost in the rolling hills, huge rock walls tinted a fiery red, then a purpling pink with the sunset, all reflecting in the forever moving creek.
Then the next a day, a little nick in the good vibes. I encountered the rudest person I had ever met during my shift, and to my surprise, I couldn’t hold it together. The tears just came. Maybe I had been lucky enough to never run into overwhelmingly rude people in my life, or maybe I was being emotional that day. Who knows; even though it wasn’t personal, his bitter energy was hurtful, and I felt it begin to ruin the rest of my day. But then, with the right people, we went back out into the green to an archery range. Tucked away within trees and dirt roads, it was a truly meditative experience, breathing to the bow and arrow, clearing my mind to focus on the target, being conscientious of my body down to my fingertips, and feeling strong and calm before sending the arrow, many times completely missing the target. That didn’t matter. We focused on how we felt, our form, and our mind instead of the target. Strangely enough, the target didn’t matter as much. When I felt calm, 100% present, and aware of every inch of my body, the arrow flew to the target. Other times, it would fly into the trees. It was quiet and all-giving to each person. When it was time to pack up and go back into the bustling city, we drove under another colorful fiery sky towards the skylines of downtown LA cast in a purplish light. The night ended with some delicious samosas and an after-hour kickback at the gym with some of the most genuine, funny, and chill humans ever. When it’s open, the gym can be a whirlwind of kids running around, phone endlessly ringing, and for someone reason, someone always being unsatisfied. But that night, we closed the doors and climbed, drank beer, projected a movie up on our glorious rock walls, and relaxed on very comfy climbing mats. A year ago, I would have never imagined myself to have met this family. It has truly been one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
I may still not know what it means to meditate, what it’s “supposed” to feel like; but, there is something so magical and intangible about being outside in the branches, amongst the rocks, shooting arrows in a forest that makes me almost hypnotically aware of every inch of my body while the purity of the outside nearly brings me to tears. I have always been an introverted person, but never deeply aware of my mind and body. Once in a while, I get an uplifting sensation of knowing I am where I am supposed to be, and I am who I am supposed to be. These past few days gave me that. I felt my mind and body were two perfectly fitted puzzle pieces, moving to my breath, focused on being one unit. Climbing has become a more mental and meditative sport for me recently. I can’t remember the last time I was at more peace than at the archery range. My goal is to be able to come back to this feeling wherever I am, whenever. In reality, I’m constantly thinking about other places I should be, other tasks I should be completing, and other personas I should try to build. It’s hard to be present in the moment in this day and age, but something one of my mentors said was so intriguing. We are all born and we all die, but the “in-between” is what is fascinating — not only the everyday outside human interactions and tasks but also the intangible, invisible, and sometimes inconceivable potential of our minds to control our own emotional and physical state of being. I am eternally grateful for these special few people who can crack my introverted shell to connect with me and expand my perspective.