Tag Archives: life

Muck Stuck

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Many words of wisdom have reached my ears, and unfortunately many have become lost in the fog that is my memory. One phrase, however, has faithfully popped back in my mind during times of increased stress and trouble.

Claire, sometimes when you’re stuck in the muck, you just gotta sit in it.

I still remember my reaction when I heard those words.

What?!

That can’t be right.

That doesn’t make sense…does it? Just sitting there?

How will I get out?!

Wait….

And then, a sense of overwhelming peace and reassurance.

Wow, it’s so true. THANK YOU.

I didn’t know who I was thanking, and I still don’t. I do know, however, that meditating on this concept has brought me an exuberant (yes, exuberant) amount of confidence and inner peace.

Whether we want to believe it or not, we can’t possibly control every situation in our life. The amount of control we do have is based solely on our actions and reactions to what we experience. For instance, I may not be able to control the fact that our car is now completely useless. I can, however, control how I choose to see the situation.

Honestly, the situation has been pretty stressful to me. The whole reason we (my partner Raven and I) came back to Vermont was to pay off the car so we could travel without financial obligations. We’ve been having an unusually hard time finding means to make money, and not for lack of trying – I’ve diligently scoured craigslist, asked everyone I know (and don’t know) for any job opportunities they may know of, written a new resume, applied for jobs…you name it. Still, it didn’t matter. Weeks after weeks of searching to find pretty much nothing.

Then, three days ago, the entire car pretty much stopped working. The transmission went kaput, the alternator fell out, the belt wore down, the brakes were about to fail, and the supposedly “new” battery was about dead. The car went from working to useless in a matter of hours.

We were angry, we were scared, we were stressed, we were confused. There was plenty of yelling and crying to go around.

My first thought when encountering a breakdown (car, life, or otherwise) like this is almost always the same:

How can I get out of this situation?

I kind of see the situation as a puzzle to figure out, or a challenge to complete. Get things “back to normal”, and you’ll win.

Win what?

The answer was never clear.

Then, I realized that I was asking the wrong question entirely. The situation didn’t happen simply for me to try to escape it – like the good times, the bad times also exist for me to experience. Struggling in the muck will only further entrap me, bogging me down as I sink deeper into filth. But if I can just let it be and simply sit, focusing on my own inner peace instead of the outside stressors, it’ll be much easier to see the way out. Also, just throwing it out there – mud is not a bad or negative substance. It pulls the toxins out of our bodies, and even supports certain forms of life.

As Thich Naht Hahn said:

 

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Today’s meditation:

How has “the muck” enriched your life?

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the unknown

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Do you still

notice the way it moves –

trembling, like a breath

yet to be released

whispering

ever-softly

sacred words, both terrifying

and tantalizing.

What power it has!

Many have become blind

after years of vigorous avoidance,

falling

instead for the comfort of

what is.

But I

hear the whispers shivering in my soul

come closer,

just one step….

and I know

by my racing heart

that I must accept whatever

challenge will slowly

unravel, a mystical yarn

made out of dancing stars,

shrouded in the billowing clouds

of obscurity.

I can’t move, I can’t wait.

I must move,

I must wait

as it unfolds

before me

 

With Different Eyes

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It always happens this way.

Everything’s the same, but nothing is familiar. Vermont’s no different than when I left (as stunningly picturesque as always), but everything in my life is so radically different that it feels I am covering new ground.

And I guess in a way, I am.

Part of the reason why it’s so different probably has to do with my housing situation. Sure, I have a place to sleep, but it’s not the most practical location. Also, the thought of being there alone gives me the jeebies. It’s not that there’s bad energy – the place is brand new – but everything echoes, and it’s so silent…but with a dog to care for, stability can be key. It’s much harder to couch surf with an 8 month old pup.

Man, I’m not used to this. I’ve always been surrounded by peers, friends, people I could just be around without having to face my own inner turmoil. Things are a bit different now that I’m a “floater”, I guess. I feel estranged, disconnected, unsure of what to do with myself.

[To top it all off, I might add, I’m sitting in a McDonald’s of all places. Don’t fret – I’m merely leeching off of their free WiFi (I didn’t even buy the usual obligatory $1 coffee) – but just being in here is kinda depressing.]

Divine guidance has been on my mind a lot lately.

I know there’s something out there for me, but it’s all so damn elusive lately.

It’s all a test, it’s all a quest,

but just a little something tangible to hold onto would be nice.

 

 

I pray for the gentle rains of spiritual enlightenment

and self-compassion to nourish the

parched roots of faith within my soul.

what happens –

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when you run out of cool things to say?

when you’re overwhelmed with sensations of mediocrity?

when you feel like your life has reached a lull, even though

you know it’s all in your head?

when nothing’s enough anymore?

I know this pattern well –

restlessness, frustration,

invisible glass walls that muffle the 

annoyed ranting inside my head

(for no one else must know!)

should should should

hammering through my skull

why why why

the question that always haunts…

why can’t I?

why aren’t I?

most importantly, though,

what is enough to satisfy?

though I know the answer, my soul

is less than settled.

THIS. is enough. THIS. is everything.

it’s all in the moment, none more precious than the next

(says my head)

BUT NO! There’s always MORE!

(says my everything else)

I can’t wait…but

then again, i have no choice.

because, in reality,

there’s just no way to completely control

what happens. 

 

Rubber Trampin’

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I gotta say, it feels good to have wheels again. Don’t get me wrong, hitchhiking is a cool experience – but spend 4 months doing it in Florida and you’d probably feel the same. Between the Bible thumpers, judgmental a-holes, and prickly everything, I was ready to pull my hair out by the time we finally got out of the state.

Traveling with a car definitely has its downsides, though.

1) Our little whip isn’t exactly in tip-top shape; we’re going to have to do a pretty fair amount of work to it once we make it to Vermont if we want it to last for a while. Luckily, the only trouble we’ve had so far is a tire blown from dry rot. It was scary at first, but – as always – the universe serendipitously provided!

2) In addition, we now have to come up with cash constantly in order to keep the car fueled and oiled. When we were hitchhiking, it was okay if we ran out of money for a while because we could find other ways to get by. Now, having enough money to travel is a constant concern.

3) It’s also a little harder to find a place to stay on the road. Luckily, crashing in a Wal-Mart parking lot is almost always a surefire option, but it’s still more risky than dipping into the woods on the side of the road.

4) Lastly, we’ve sadly steered away from the responsibility-free lifestyle. We have to find a way to pay off the car, and there’s insurance to worry about every month. A big part of our plan to stay in Vermont this summer stems from our need to make money (sadface) to take care of these responsibilities.

Even though traveling this way is a little harder, I find the positives to outweigh any perceived negatives.

–  We can now be more picky about where and what we eat – instead of being dropped off at a Wal-Mart for ease of hitching, we can sniff out farmer’s markets and natural springs to stock up on REAL food and water.

–  We can also camp at any national forest across the country without a problem. Instead of sticking to highways and highly populated roads, we can take our time exploring the countryside and scenic drives. I feel a lot less restricted traveling in a car of our own; during our hitching months, I struggled to let go my prized sense of independence. It was hard for me to travel on other peoples’ terms – and strangers at that! It was definitely a learning and growing experience.

–  Having a permanent shelter is also kinda comforting. We’ve learned to love the rain, but it’s nice to know that we can keep our backpacks dry without having to run for cover.

–  One of my favorite pros, however, is that we can now be the hitchees instead of the hitchers! Our teeny car is a little full right now with some extra stuff we have to get rid of, but we’ve already been able to give a guy a ride down the road. After having so much trouble hitching, I gotta say it felt pretty good to be able to help someone out in that way!

 

All in all, I’m a pretty happy travelin’ camper (see what I did there?) We’ve made it about halfway to Vermont so far, and have been able to spend time with friends and family along the way. Our drive from southern Mississippi to central North Carolina has been full of adventure – with so much more to come! As usual, I’m pretty excited about what new, wonderful experiences our journey will unfold :) being in a constant state of excitement is so ecstatic…I really do love it. <3

meet Natalia (aka Nat Geo), our little turtle car! She's full of personality and pretty badass. I'm glad to be able to include her on our adventures :)

meet Natalia (aka Nat Geo), our little turtle car! She’s full of personality and pretty badass. I’m glad to be able to include her on our adventures :) also, Raven’s face is pretty priceless.