I spent six months in Australia for work from July 2008 to February 2009. Having just figured out how much better hiking is than walking in the city I spent every free moment between assignments trying to experience the world in new ways.
I expanded who I was and what I knew I was capable of by sleeping in a swag in the Flinders Ranges, staring up into the swirls of the Milky Way from a beach off of Brisbane, backpacking Maria Island off of Tasmania, coasting over Canberra in a hot-air balloon, sunburning while walking around the Swan River in Perth, and trekking around Uluru before celebrating the new year in Darwin.
What I most appreciate about everything is that while backpacking Maria Island I looked up at the gum trees and prison ruins and said to myself “Holy crap I’m in Australia!” I had already been in the country for months but this is the moment that is tattooed on my heart because I was in that moment.
In the documentary Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago there was a woman whose life appeared to be falling apart. No job, no love, no idea of what to do next so she went on this journey. During her pilgrimage she was confided in a companion that she didn’t know what was going to happen next. He kindly noted that the pilgrimage she was on in the moment was also uncertain, yet she had been able to navigate it just fine.
In this moment I could see the pilgrimage as a metaphor for life. We come in with nothing, relying on the kindness of strangers, and we are able to survive and thrive as best we can. For me it is when life goes back to being uncertain that I can have a tendency to freak out…for a moment. The first leg of zip lining in Belize I panicked and I wasn’t even the one afraid of heights! The first time I tried to snorkel I panicked and choked and grabbed a hold of my husband. I’ve come to realize that’s my first response to circumstances that are seemingly out of control. I panic. I freak out. Now I know that when I feel the need to panic circumstances are shifting and I can lean back in the adventure of not knowing…
I think it is important to look up and recognize where you are in this moment because it allows you to let go of needing to know what happens next. You can address that, when you take the next step.
When you look around you right now, what can you acknowledge about this moment in your life?