Life Trek                                                                                                                        Sun, 31st May, 2015

As you start on your way, the way appears.
When you cease to be, real being comes.
- Rumi

This morning I'm reflecting in gratitude for the time spent with my son in South Dakota's Badlands. The French called them "bad lands to travel across." What they didn't understand is that these stark and beautiful landscapes were not meant to be traveled across, passed by on the way to something more productive or more readily reshaped by white human hands. Rather, they were meant to be explored without agenda or timetable. They were meant to be lost in, your being absorbed into the landscape itself.

In reflecting on the experience, I'm enjoying the thought of how this hiking and backpacking trek is a beautiful metaphor for how I'd like to live my life.

Some go to the wilderness to find themselves. I say go to lose yourself. On the vast open plain, below a million miles of sky, what is the meaning of my individuality? Let me be another black spec among the brown-green hills, one with the buffalo or dung beetle.

Part of losing yourself is abandoning the Western desire to plan and control your day, acheive goals, conquer obstacles. As Rumi said, just open yourself and the way will appear. Accept gifts as they come. The early sunrise, the chirping of frogs in an unexpected shallow pond, the grasshopper, the serenity of a distant grazing bison herd, the taste of live-giving water, the quiet companionship of a fellow trekker.

Leave only footprints. That's the wisdom of the wandering buffalo, whose muddy, pitted trails we followed across the soft spring prairie. The herds appear to wander, yet there are clear paths, a network of knowing, that leads them to water and rich grasslands. One with earth and sky, they live life one moment at a time, trusting that the Great Father and Great Mother will provide.

And by giving up nearly everything - my schedule, my expectations, the roof over my head, my desire to control and predict - I became free.

I close with a few more words from Rumi:

...Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now...
- Rumi