Mt. Arthur and The Matrix
Hiking up to Mt Arthur was EXACTLY what I needed. I have been in such a funk, full-on engaging in unhelpful but well-laid paths of numbing out, avoiding, and perfectionistic thinking. I can see and feel weight gain...which I don't want to acknowledge so....yeah. I have all of this time and I'm barely accomplishing anything productive. I could be writing, drawing, exercising, etc. Instead, I am watching myself spiral and collude in my own demise.
Ok, that might be a touch dramatic but I certainly was not expecting to have a lot of emotional crap rear it's ugly head here in sunny Nelson! And yet, I have felt frozen and helpless to stop myself. You can understand why I was relieved when Mel (my flatmate) asked if I wanted to go tramping to Mt Arthur. Please, take me away!
We arrived at our destination close to sunset. In that moment no one could convince me there was a more beautiful place in the world. I stood in wonder, basking in a deep sense of awe and genuine delight. What a contrast to the emotional cesspool I've been wading in the past month!
The sunset soon revealed a glorious field of stars. This place, under the bright Milky Way, is the definition of nourishing. It's sustaining. I'm enough here. I feel belonging out here. I'm not trapped by a prison of my own making.
I stargazed until I couldn't take the cold anymore and then snuggled in my sleeping bag (where I was only slightly less cold). It was about 8:30pm, and I wasn't tired so I started listening to the Rich Roll podcast (a new and welcome discovery--check it out). In this episode, the interviewee shared this quote from the Matrix (which, FYI, I just watched for the first time this year...so nearly 20 years later I'm FINALLY getting all those references)
At one point in the movie, Keanu Reeves' character, Neo, begins to exit a car, intending to return to his life as usual. Another character, Trinity, makes this observation: "You have been down there, Neo. You know that road. You know exactly where it ends. And I know that's not where you want to be."
Well hello shockingly profound pop culture quote! I know exactly the road I've been wandering along the past month....make that roads. Plural. I know where they end. And I know it's not where I want to be. I am trying to practice self compassion in this moment instead of berating myself. I know that these roads have helped me survive. I found them while trying to protect myself. Survival mode is a readily accessible default. I'm just super annoyed and discouraged to be here again. "Practice," I tell myself, "This is practice and you've found a new, redirecting mantra."
The next morning, I was greeted by this sunrise. I felt like a child waking up on Christmas day. I'm certain it is the most BEAUTIFUL sunrise of all time! I don't think I've ever used the word "glee" to describe my own emotional state, but now it's the only word that feels appropriate. I was in pure joy. Again, it's such a contrast to how I've been feeling lately.
My remaining time on the mountain involved some in-depth pondering on the metaphorical roads I frequent and where they've taken me. I've been here so. many. times. I'm sick of it! I want to nurture roads that nourish me, more sunrises and sunsets if you will. Luckily, blessedly, in that moment, I felt a grain of courage to start again.
It wasn't long before I caught the first of many wandering thoughts attempting to go full-Neo. However, when I noticed hopelessness or craving or anxiety, I checked to see what road I was on. Oh, yup that's Not Enough Lane or that's Stuff Your Face With Ice Cream Avenue. You know where those paths lead. It starts as a visit but soon you are living there. As much as you hate sitting with your shit, in the end you hate those destinations more. Listen to Trinity--she's a wise badass lady! Embrace The Matrix Mantra!
People ask me what's next now that my bike ride is over and my time in NZ is coming to an end. Mmmmmm....that's a hard question for me to answer. I'm not sure what my next steps will look like, but I know that I want to explore roads to healing. And when it gets hard, instead of returning to the old road, I want to remind myself of the actual path I want to travel, regardless of inevitable excruciating vulnerability. I pinned a quote on Pinterest a while back that says, "Anything that has power over you is teaching you to take your power back." I want to take my power back.
I'm not sure how long this glimmer of motivation will last but at least today, for the first time in a while, I feel ready to try a new road....and sit with some really uncomfortable shit. If I stick with it....I think the sunrise will be worth it.