Purple-crowned fairy wren

Writings, reflections, musings of a wandering soul

What if we all just let go?

I’m going to start with that cliché and then continue with the cliché of thoughts that I had when I was walking in the woods. Because that’s what happens when you walk in the woods.

I feel as if I’ve been having the same conversations wherever I go. No matter where, it keeps coming back to the same themes lately. How are we all connected? Do we connect? Can we connect when we connect how we connect? Why do we connect? How many of us are disconnected from ourselves?

I’ll continue along with my clichés as I continued in the woods. Because, as I saw the trees that have been there for longer than I’ve been alive, I looked down to notice beneath my feet the roots on the path I was taking. Creating spaces, rises, twists and turns that guided me.

We look at trees as these massive objects. We see how high they go into the sky, how busy their branches are, how productive their leaves are, how useful they are as homes to the nature that uses them, and then moves on. And while we like to talk about being rooted and grounded and the importance of roots in our growth, we don’t talk about is how those roots create our space and our existence.

Roots form so much more than how long you can stand and against what wind. When a tree begins to spread its roots, its seeking nutrients and water. Sun isn’t the only thing a plant needs to grow. It’s also looking for space. Roots will strangle one another if they’re too tangled. Roots from different types of plants seem to grow next to one another in ways that complement or destroy one another. Roots shape riverbanks, hills, valleys, waterways. Roots are more than just an anchor. They do not exist in isolation. They create form in the world around them.

So I come back to that original theme that keeps popping up in my life lately over and over again. How we connect or disconnect. We often focus on how productive the people around us are or how they come up from the ground that they were planted in. We often look at how they lean against one another, how they move themselves around to survive and fight for whatever sunlight they can get. And while we value their roots for how long they can stand, we don’t pay attention to the world that they are forming.

How does our lack of awareness of where and how we are rooted impact us? More and more of us have just stopped existing here. We exist not only in the world of technology but in worlds of insecurity, fear, anger, paranoia, hatred, isolation. Much of this isn’t new. We’ve always been creatures that focus on our past and our future. We’ve always been creatures that focused on what we lack and how we can get it from another. We’ve always been jealous creatures ready to destroy the world rather than let another live in contentment. We’ve always been creatures who struggle for control.

This is how we felt we needed to create this world in order to feel safe. In doing so we created a world that is completely unsafe for most of us. We somehow created the world in which we don’t exist. We’re trapped inside our minds, living inside of systems that divide and deplete us. We’re trapped inside, always thinking that we need to be better than we are. We’re on a hamster wheel, running towards a goal that is imaginary. In the meantime, we never really stop to look.

I’ll come back to the woods for a moment. There are a lot of times that I go hiking that I pause to observe or wonder about things that are in nature. I have to laugh at the number of times that people think that I’m lost. Because I have no purpose to where I’m heading, except to wonder. I have no focus on destination or no stride to get to the finish of whatever goal I have. I am just taking a moment to enjoy where I am and what I see or hear. It’s really confusing to most people.

Those are the moments that I’m happiest. Those are the moments that time stands still and I remember why we’re here.

When I was younger I misunderstood. I thought that mindfulness would bring me control. That self-awareness would help me control my emotions and my thoughts. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to understand that’s not the point. The point is acceptance and awareness.

To let go.

We’re not here to control this. We’re not here to control each other. We’re not here to do anything , but be aware. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that I don’t want control. I love my mind as my thoughts wander. I love my feelings as they’re big and small. Even when they hurt very, very bad. I love people as they are. I love to wonder, and all of the experiences that we have good or bad never knowing what will come next. I love the journey.

Moving with intention is not about control Mindfulness is not about quieting the mind Peacefulness is not about calming every storm

So I wonder what happens if we just let go. If we let go of our expectations of a world that doesn’t actually exist. If we let go of our expectations of each other, that don’t actually exist. If we allow her roots to weave and bend and grow and have space and find nurturing in whatever way that we need to.

If, as we journey through the path, we feel everything, we see everything, we think all that we need to, and know that the only thing to fear is losing ourself.

What if we just lived, knowing that we could be just as we are today and still find beauty if we just pause to look.

I want this for you. That you see your roots, gnarled, formative, deep, tangled, spread wide or deep, and know that you are a part of shaping this world, my world, as much as I am a part of shaping yours. That you might see the story hidden underground that tells the tales of our connections. Just let go and grow.

Root to Rise

This end of the year seems very haunted. Walking around the city, I feel like I’m traveling through a cloud. It’s almost as if memories of things that have gone, things that I’m living, and dreams I once had are echos in the silence. It’s almost like a map or a puzzle of different steps, different choices, different lessons, different tests. How I’ve navigated things in the past and how I navigate things now. And why.

There are a lot of things that I wish I hadn’t experienced in my life. They were incredibly difficult, and I didn’t know if I would make it. There were a lot of times in my life that I’ve had to make some really difficult choices, and even though I’ve had other people sharing their experiences or giving me their advice, ultimately I had to make the choice that was for me. Sometimes, I handled those choices with grace. More often I went through them kicking, screaming and crying.

It’s difficult to trust yourself no matter how many times you make the right choice.

At least when you’re me. I feel like a lot of you feel the same.

I made the hard choices and learned ultimately, I always have to choose me. That’s not selfish. It is often impossible to find a way to do this and harm none. Including myself. But I try. At times there was no avoiding the hurt. Other times I’ve had to learn, there are people who are not worth protecting.

There were choices that I had to make this year to let go of a life that did not belong to me. No matter how tidy I wanted things to fit into little boxes and how much I wanted to believe that there is good in people, that is not always true. Some people are well beyond redemption. This has been, and continues to be, one of my hardest lessons.

I don’t want to feel like a martyr. I don’t want to feel like Job in the desert. But I will tell you that there are times that I do. I feel like with every gift that I have gained in life, there’s been a great sacrifice. There are a lot easier ways that I could’ve lived my life. I just don’t think I was born to live them. I’ve always struggled with the idea of a calling. I’ve never felt like there’s one thing that I’m supposed to do. Until I started to understand that my calling was actually just a way of existence. Finding ways to connect in the world that make it a better place. Sometimes that has meant being in some difficult places, learning some difficult lessons, and coming out the other side ready to lend a helping hand to others with the same struggles.

In yoga, I’ve heard the phrase “root to rise.” It’s always struck a nerve with me. And I feel like it’s the phrase that best describes this year. There were times I felt safe. That I grounded myself in places I realize now drained me. Or caged me. Hid me from the world. I had to find my own land. I had to find my own nourishment.

I thrive on sunlight, water, and love. In the last part of this year, I found this and so much more. I found people who have brought such brightness to my life. I have found people who have helped me find my flow. And I am so constantly surrounded by love no matter where I go. I only have to look for it.

Which leads me to another lesson that I’ve learned. Can you find what you are look for? If you spend your days revisiting ghosts of the past, instead of learning from them and moving forward, you’ll never find the joy that’s meant for you. You have to just let things go without forgetting. I think it’s ok sometimes to compare where you are now with where you were, so you understand how far you’ve come. Those moments can help you be forgiving if you feel like you haven’t gone far enough. It’s also helpful sometimes to go into the past and show other people that it’s possible to go forward. But they’re going to have to find their own way.

I’ve learned to give my energy, my love, and my time to things and people that bring me joy. We weren’t sent here to suffer. Suffering exists, whether we like it or not or no matter what we do to avoid it. There will always be people who are just bad people. But beyond them, there are infinitely wonderful, beautiful people in this world. Some of the them just don’t know how beautiful they are.

There were times this year that I felt that I was flying without a net. Bad times. Good times. I did things I never thought I could do. I felt like I couldn’t even see the ground. And it was scary. Truthfully. I had to have a lot of faith. Mostly in myself. I wish I had learned in life to trust myself sooner but I don’t think many of us come to that naturally. I think we live in a world that teaches us not to trust our own senses or experiences. I can appreciate the fact that I can finally say, most days, that I do indeed trust myself. Knowing that I am ready to catch myself when I fall. And when I don’t have the strength, I have people around me that love me dearly that will always be there. I’ve learned to ask for help on those days and trust that I know when I need help.

I’ve made a lot of new friends this year. I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences this year. More than anything, I learned that I am worthy of the love and greatness that has come into my life. There are two types of people in this world. Those who dig in, and refuse to grow. And those who are eternally, striving and teaching. Those who “root to rise.” When you learn to listen, you’ll know the difference.

I hope that 2023 brings us peace and comfort. I know that if I’ve learned anything, no matter what is happening, I can find joy somewhere, laughter somewhere, love somewhere, even in the chaos and heartache.

Opening your heart is risky. So many people close themselves up when they’ve been hurt. I’d rather be hurt a million times then ever lose out on the opportunity to let others in. Fall apart. Be kind to yourself. Let hope in again.

I hope you enter 2023 quietly, softly, warmly. Never harden your heart. Find your land, your sunshine, your water, your loving space and root to rise.

-Cameron

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