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 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.