That familiar sigh of relief that is released when one is full of decision, thought, and action all at once. The plethora of abundant life that exudes from every fiber of your living, breathing body. From the very connectors- the sinew of your soul that holds it all together, like the glue of sanity at its breaking point comes screaming from the backdrop of your consciousness as you lay focus on the fact that "oh, I haven't come up for air. I have been distracted! What am I GOING TO DO - I CAN'T BREATHE AT ALL!!!!" Like an electric heat wave consuming your ability to remain present you must stop, analyze, commit and act - how will you reclaim your sanity after all the responsibilities, travel dates, stress and contracts settle as residual "dust" from a season full-on with running yourself ragged in the space time continuum. Spring, Summer Fall; Spring Summer, Fall - "Self... Where did my Winters go?" Why am I resigned to perpetual Alpine florescence? Why does it become hot with long nights so fast? I see snow, in the summer - only because I go to mountains..." "I leave when the leaves are red, and come back when they are pink, fire-blazed purple and the Amancay glows in the Patagonian Sun." "Self, when will I take a break?"
Like a self-absorbed Magic Eight Ball attempting to both self-actualize (enough to make any Maslownian proud) while simultaneously immersed in deep reflection in a moment so inappropriate because the decision time is now (Don't miss the window of opportunity)... "One more week of work/travel to New York City? ... Or chill in Northern Virginia...?..."
You see, I have been chasing my proverbial (and metaphysical) tail for the past two years in the name of serving others, professional development, fun & excitement, and in seeking for myself what the next steps are supposed to be. I sometimes feel startled and unfound when I pause and absorb the gravity of my situation. "How dramatic Kev," we might say, but really I think I walked to the limit of my wits end and back again, like our friend from The Gods Must Be Crazy attempting to hurl a deviant Coke bottle from the sky; a malevolent gift from the gods. I have discovered the threshold of my ability to travel and bounce and run and scream through time like a comet penetrating the stratosphere. As a result, one could say I have "crash landed" on the terrestrial surface of my own priorities. I have grounded my vessel right in to the very next steps of life - abruptly I have halted. This sounds from the outside a bit dramatic. A bit forced? And the metaphor is so apropos.
I have been traveling at nearly Mach speed from this place to that since February. On the move with students, friends, or family with no time to process what is happening to me, around me, for me and from me. I have been wrapped up in showing up to places so much that it only recently dawned on me it is time for respite. The great "S" word. SUSTAINABILITY.
"What in the heck are you freaking talking about you lunatic!?!"
I am telling you that since February, I have been non-stop only in one place for no more than three weeks, then traveling across the country or globe to my next destination, then the next, and so on -- my wings grew tired and I could not lite. I could not rest on my laurels. I am finally in a resting space.
Self-elected mind you, such that this is no cry for pity. I have done this to myself. Traveling so much for the past three years from South America to North and back again - something I plan to continue... AND I now have a vision of what it looks like to do so sustainably.
I am in North Carolina Course Directing a 21-day course for NCOBS. It feels like an arrival point. I am here for the summer. I have a place to hover and regroup within. I have community here. I have a place to rest.
It took me a while to arrive in this moment where the next 30-seconds aren't the ones that count. There is no bus to catch as it pulling out of the station. No crevasses to analyze. No red flags to mention in my pairs meeting. No airline check-ins too close to my take off flight. No one who will hear "Well, see ya next summer" At least not for a while. I am deposited.
I was just whisked down the river of my own life through a steep gradient, bouncing of rapid after rapid rolling with punches, timelines, deadlines and destinations non-stop for the past 6 months, and finally the madness can stop. For now.
I fix my gaze on the next giant steps I will take. The next sustainable avenue laid before me. The next direction that will give me trajectory in the management of my own life.
Finally, I can stop, take it in and be present because I am calm and stationary - not present because I am running through the moment, needing to listen to which gate change is required to hop on my next plane. There is no next plane for a while. Only family, loved ones, community, and my own health.
I am feeling so healthy. I am feeling present. I am here. Now. Ready.
If none of this makes sense, I will tell you quite literally again:
Since February, I have been traveling non-stop either for work, or some expedition I have committed to. This is great, and - feeling like there is no stop in sight for months to come puts you in a mindset- a rhythm- that I equate to that of a world-championship dodgeball game. You can't stop to breathe it in and be delightfully present. The only form of being "present" is preparing for the next hit. The next commitment. The next place you have to show up. It is a relentless cyclical preparing process. it gains a momentum all of its own - a personality if you will.
Like the silence after a windstorm, my mind only now can absorb my experience of the past 6 months. I can only now make sense of my travels, my shortcomings, my successes and my decisions. it feels good to lite in one spot for a bit. Like a tired eagle, I can dry my wings and, although it is not my ultimate nest, I have respite and shelter among a community of health.
I have been a weary traveler. I had fallen tired. It feels good to be recuperating and ready for my next solid bit of motion. Only this time - this motion is positioning me for the sustainable. New colors present themselves on the horizon of my near future. I can see clearly ahead that I am headed for new things: School, Love, Work, Climbing, Paddling, celebrating unions of friends- being with family. All of my values are singing in unison the chorus of my soul. I can reconnect with the things and people that sustain my spirit. I can connect with the ones I need/want in my life. i am done running ragged, head spinning to make that next flight. I can rest! It feels so good.
I can focus on one thing at a time. I can succeed. I can be a rock for others.
The calm after the whirlwind is good. We all need this sometimes- crazy moments to propel us to our next vision statement. What is your next vision statement?
I will be sustainably pursuing education, relationship, adventure, and the scaffolding of my future this new year for me (I am celebrating 31 years of life!!!). This is the year of solidarity. This is the forged ore that rises from the tempering flame of frenzy and travel from which I have just called "case closed." I sojourn forward with clear eyes, a full spirit, and a brilliant-shining soul. Hold my hand. Walk with me. Let us support one another. My community is a tribe of goodness. My goodness is a tribe of community.
Compassion prevails as the beacon of my own spirit shines through because I am on fire with the presence of my loved ones, my dear friends, and the adventures in the mountains and the ocean that taunt and beckon. I am alive. My inertia finally enables me to recharge. Here I walk forward with eyes fixed on what must be done. I do this with love and courage. I boldly say "I support you." and I prepare for the rest.