FAST WISDOM™ NEWSLETTER
By Lonner Holden
Storm Solace: Crossing the Rubicon to a New Peace
It is the fiercest storm of winter. The rain so heavy, windshield wipers are only a silly distraction from being able to see. A roaring wind tugs heavily at ancient oaks and redwoods that hug the edge of the county road, which is obscured by the sheen of black water pouring off the pavement. The road is festooned with small branches and leaves floating on the ground like holiday garlands. Small chocolate-lipped mudslides are already taking bites out of the asphalt. The sun has just set. In this last light, everyone else is hurrying for home. We are cautiously headed away from our homes, on our way to the most westerly beach that meets the storm, to become the first humans the storm meets as it rushes ashore.
It is that time of year when the animals are stirring towards migration, or if local year-around, are beginning to clean out their nests, make way for new life, new growth. It’s an excellent time to prune trees and bushes in the garden, while the trees are still dormant, before the sap begins to flow. People I know are clearing out their closets, file drawers, garages and storage units, making new space for renewed purpose to be creatively expressed.
For me, some confusions are stubbornly eddying within, not budging or yielding to new insight and clarity. I need a big storm to wash out the jams in this inner flow, and I have a couple of good friends who said “yes” to the short-notice invitation to join me.
Finally, after being turned back by the Highway Patrol on one route and making a white-knuckles-on-the-steering wheel drive on another, we make it out, hours later than expected, to the most western shore in Central California - Point Reyes. We are the only humans present.
The darkness is diluted by half-moon light slipping through the dense filter of cloud cover. With our night-eyes adjusting, we don’t even need to use our headlamps. Kehoe Creek is saturated and cutting away at its sandy banks. Small sand-slides slough in. The tide rises. Breakers roll. The surf-slap hammers like kettle drums. Horizontal wind throws sand across our faces, irritates our eyes. It steals our voices - we have to talk into each other’s ears to be heard. Beach grasses lie down, supplicant to the howl. Even in the dim light, with the sand quickly blowing into our footsteps, I discern fresh Red Fox tracks - we have at least one close wild neighbor.
Stopping to sit, lie down, or stand braced against the heavy hand of the untamed sky, we spread out, instinctively finding a private place between the incoming tide and the dunes. We share listening, feeling, watching, wondering into the mystery of nature. Aware of the hazards, we are cautious of sneaker waves, and to not lose sight of each other. We are alert and alive in shared awe.
The marvel swirls around us. Wild air, water and earth meet the fires of our hearts. The dynamics of the outer meld with our inner worlds. All the elements are alive, complimenting one another. And our bodies stand firm while our spirits yield. Whatever has retained limitation within can move.
When has there been a time when you spontaneously tossed caution of some kind to the wind - literally by rushing out into a storm, or figuratively by leaving the comfort of some habitual perception to see just what might happen, inspired by the risk beyond expectation? Do you remember anticipation, anxiety, uncertainty, maybe even fear? And what was the outcome - embarrassment, physical harm, a near-miss of some kind? Or maybe deep satisfaction, unexpected success, discovery, joy, new connection within yourself or with another person - a more honest sense of the world and relationships?
After a timeless communion with the storm, we feel complete, enveloped by a new peace and return to the road via the rushing of Kehoe Creek along a trail now drowned, leaving us to make our own new path.
Like every leaf and blade of grass, each one of us is the consequence of fourteen billion years of evolution’s trial and error to create the perfect life form. Each one of us is absolutely unique. And each, therefore, knows something in a way no one else understands as well as we understand it in the way we understand it. In this way, every person is fated to a unique loneliness. Yet, our source - nature - always can accept all of us, understand us because nature gave us the unique understanding that we hold.
Crossing the Rubicon of our habitual perceptions by just going for it - whatever that “it” moment of opportunity is - can have the power to transcend old, stagnant limitations born from lack of self-acceptance. The flow of our lives can be renewed sometimes simply, but bravely, by putting on our coat - being aware of the hazards - and stepping out into the dark and the storm. And the storm can be a grueling mutual excursion into life’s tougher questions or exploring new possibilities around a fire in the fireplace or over tea at a cafe. Going with like-spirited friends can be a marvelous way to be taken care of while taking care of them in shared adventure of becoming more of who we are meant to be - self-accepting and accepting of others.
As we got nearer the car, we seriously talked about staying the night, huddling in a sand trough in the dunes, below the fierce wand of the storm sorcerer. Feeling complete with the experience for the time being, we bookmarked the idea for another time. Maybe when the moon was full and the skies calm and clear. We were brave, daring and safe, but also did not know how the road home would go.
A few miles towards home, Sheriff Deputies SUV’s flashing lights blocked the road. A huge tree had fallen where we had, only hours before, made our way west. We had to find another way.
We each found another way in some way that night. We all need a house-cleaning from time-to-time. Maybe your new way is calling.
PICK OF THE MONTH: The Origins of Gratitude in San Bushmen culture: The Origins Project