Several years ago when my oldest daughter Munay was 2, we began a journey which marked the beginning of our new life. As a single mama, and coming out of a very strong year of upheaval, Munay and I were on our way to Thailand where I would assist a yoga teacher training. On our first stop of the adventure, we joined some dear friends in a retreat in Mount Shasta, and the group we were with had begun to hike up a mountain to a pristine lake, where we would hold a small earth ceremony.
With Munay in a carrier on my back I told the group that we would move at our own pace and meet them at the top.
My steps were slow and laborious and the paths began to split into many as the landscape changed and opened into vast mountainous terrain. We met another fellow hiker and I asked in which direction was the lake, they directed me down a path which began to drop into a valley…my senses told me that this was not right but somehow I kept going, trusting the directions I was given. After a steep descent, there was a small lake, full of reeds which danced in the wind….and yet there was an eerie feeling within me. The wind pulsed through the empty space of the land creating a hollow sound, I called out to my friends and my voice echoed. Munay had fallen asleep on my back and I stood there in fear and aloneness and tears welled up from my depth.
Footstep by footstep
I share this moment in time because it was a profound initiation for me as a mother, a woman and a warrior on the path of LIFE. I recall endless tears washing down my cheeks and the emptiness I felt within and around me and yet I HAD to keep moving forward. There was no possibility of settling into my despair, as I had my little girl with me, the sun would be setting soon and we were almost out of water. So I gathered all my strength and I began to walk up out of the valley. Footstep by footstep. Here is where I truly understood the power and meaning of just that. One step at a time, and I was able to rise. Moment by moment, breath by breath and the situation was bearable. This climb out of that valley was a very powerful symbol for me at that time. The memory still reflects deep teachings and profound insight about resting into the moment and embodying now. Through that willingness, the next moment arises and somehow we find our self breathing, climbing, rising and at one point we are back on top of the mountain, looking down and reflecting on what we have passed through.
The gift of the NOW
In this very intense time, this call to rest in presence and align with NOW is the most simple and yet profound way to face all that we are passing through.
Surrendering to the intensity of life swirling and curling around us, pushing us down, smashing us into a corner and then lifting us up into a vast moment of peace…
What does it really mean to surrender on a daily basis? There are many ways to frame the concept of surrender, but in all simplicity, it is about accepting what is happening, moment by moment, breath by breath and releasing the conflict with the moment.
In that powerful life initiation where I stood in the silence of the valley, alone, tired and lost, I could sense the glimmer of the “Victim” story of the mind. I could feel the fear pulsating in my body, I observed the possibility to physically collapse and give up, and yet when I chose to literally take footstep by footstep, there was no longer a conflict. I watched and felt the feet meeting the earth. I opened the breath and listened to the sounds my body made as I climbed the mountain. I began rising and the fear dissolved into the simplicity of the Now.
Now many years later, I am grateful for this reflection that life gave me, in that very volatile time.
And now again, faced with new and different challenges, I rest into the walking… footstep by footstep….