"Wanderer, your footsteps are the road..."
“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road-- Only wakes upon the sea.” Antonio Machado.
The Earth is burning, literally, politically and socially. The planet is in eruption. We know that we need to do something different and that there is not much time left. Everywhere we see frantic attempts to contain fires, revolutions, upheavals and gas emissions, without addressing the real source of our planet’s distress.
Coming to the end of this year, I feel an urgency around me to solve life issues “quickly”. Being in a hurry is a common state in our busy lives. We want to fix things fast, our car, our divorce, our health issues. There is no time to slow down. We want the end-result, and we forget to enjoy the path.
Lately I hear more questions such as: “How many sessions will I need?” “If I do your training, can I start facilitating straight away?” “Why does it take so long?” “I want to go through this as quickly as possible”.
“The less we ask how long it is going to take, the more we are walking the path”, says Thomas Hübl. As the end of the year approaches, I find it more challenging to stay calm, walk slowly and breathe. I need to keep reminding myself to stop and feel my body. To create that space, within and around me, to drop into the moment. To sit in stillness and allow myself to be impacted by the environment, to receive information through my senses, through my entire being.
Our minds want to go somewhere, we set goals and targets: I want to earn this much, finish this project, undertake that training, learn, heal, acquire. In our eagerness to have more, we miss out on depth. Life wants to be honoured every moment, and when we take the time to witness ourselves, to listen to our soul, the reward is priceless.
I was very fortunate to do a constellation at our peer group in Newcastle this month. I had an issue with “the bush fires”. Since our land started to burn, I had not been able to sleep. My throat and my lungs were sore, I was afraid of breathing and had obsessive thoughts about the consequences that inhaling the smoke for so long would have on our children. I was starting to become paranoid, could not stop talking about the fires and felt as if I was carrying the symptom for the entire community.
In the constellation I was asked to describe my symptoms, to stay connected to my body and the distress I was feeling. Presence, time, space. Then I was asked a question, a moving question: “What do you see?” Presence. Time. Space. I said: “I see death”. More time. “No, I actually see a painful death.” More time. Space. Presence. Then I started to cry, a heartfelt cry, as I was making the connection: my dear brother died of cancer, his latest hours his lungs collapsed. Presence, time, space.
I left the group that day knowing that I was transformed. Something powerful was going on in me. The following days I allowed the new information to reorganise itself in my body, I was feeling a bit confused: I could not smell the smoke anymore, the anxiety had disappeared, my obsessive thoughts went away. I could see the haze, but it did not have the same impact on me, I started to sleep better, my worries dissipated. I am still aware of the fires, but this does not paralyse me anymore. I can connect with the beauty of our land and the magnificence of nature. I can connect through love instead of fear.
Thank you Kelly, for holding that space for me. As Siets Bakker said last week in her beautiful workshop “Moving Questions”, it is not about the question, nor about the answer; it is about the connection we make, and the movement it creates. The quality of your presence as facilitator is more important than the answer. And I would add, the presence of the seeker.
May we all be more present this Christmas season. Allowing our pace to slow down, gently walking on the earth, aligning our breath with the breath of the universe. Connecting to a mindfulness group, a soothing friend, nature.
May we all find our resources to stay connected to the here and now.
I wish you all a fully present Christmas season.
“If I know that I am walking forever, I have time for the now.”
Photo: Pep Gasol