I like to live in the sound of water, in the feel of the mountain air. A sharp reminder hits me: this world still is alive; it stretches out there shivering towards in own creation, and I’m a part of it. Even my breathing enters into this elaborate give-and-take, this bowing to sun and moon, day or night, winter, summer, storm, still – this tranquil chaos that seems to be going somewhere. This wilderness with great peacefulness in it. This motionless turmoil, this everything dance. ~ William Stafford
Limping across the finish line, I will not finish strong. There is no victory here. No gold medal around my neck. I am barely holding on.
I lead yoga and Freya, a German girl who lives in Barcelona, joins us. I break the rules and eat breakfast with them. They invite me to sit with them, and though it is frowned upon, I join them. I am lonely.
We end up walking down the mountain the 2 miles into San Pablo. It’s a super hot day and I am dripping sweat. We stop at a Soda and order cold, delicious fruity drinks.
We walk to the square and find a bank for Kelly. It is Saturday and there are people out and about. There is a farmer’s market of sorts…a truck with all sorts of fruits and veggies available for sale. The vendor gives us each a lechee. Delicious.
We were told there would be taxis along the park. There are not. I’m supposed to be back in time to help with lunch. That is not going to happen. But all of the guests are with me, and don’t seem to care. We’re all having too much fun.
We finally get a ride and return to quesadillas and salad with avocado accompanied by lemongrass ginger tea. My favorite. It makes me think of Rachel, and I miss her. I eat lunch with the guests. Two meals in a row. I almost feel human again.
I watched Shawshank Redemption the other night and have been contemplating the notion of solitary confinement. As I watch, I think that it would be challenging but tolerable. I could handle it. I would meditate. Have time to reflect. But what I have found is that I can’t even do it here, in “paradise”. Social isolation is torture. And I’m generally a lone wolf. I like my down time. I crave it. I need it. But this…this has been hard. Perhaps the hardest part.
After lunch we all chat. I have bonded easily with these amazing women. Then it rains. In fact, it pours and the temperature has dropped a good 10 degrees. This is becoming a lot more common as we near the end of August. July, I find, was much warmer, dryer.
5:30pm meditation. I have the honor of leading, which I enjoy. I return to a meditation that I used at the beginning of this trip from Jack Kornfield’s, A Path With Heart.
In beginning a genuine spiritual journey, we have to stay much closer to home, to focus directly on what is right here in front of us, to make sure that our path is connected with our deepest love. Don Juan, in his teachings to Carlos Casteneda, put it this way:
Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question. The question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is: Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.
When we ask, “Am I following a path with heart?” we discover that no one can define for us exactly what our path should be. Instead, we must allow the mystery and beauty of this question to resonate within our being. Then somewhere within us an answer will come and understanding will arrive. If we are still and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart.
I invite my new friends to meditate on this…for if we are still, and listen deeply, even for a moment, we will know if we are following a path with heart. I am still…I listen…I wait…waiting for the treasure.
Michelle from Florida leaves after dinner, and Mary leaves at 5am the next day. Our posse is breaking up, and it will be the last of its kind here for me. Freya, Kelly and I stay up chatting. They both leave tomorrow after lunch. I am grateful for their companionship, for their wisdom, and their ability to see what I cannot; in me, in life, in general.