Now that I am back in Virginia, I am noticing many reactions to not being in a vast wilderness of long lakes, towering mountains, not-so-distant glaciers and amazing people (of British Columbia, Canada).
I am reminded of one young man I met at the co-op in Nelson (BC) who said that he was there from Quebec. I asked him if he was vacationing and he said “No, I am here building a life.” He also had a very loyal black labrador retriever who waited outside the store and then followed him, without his needing to look back. There is a simplicity about most of the Canadiens I met, a refreshing, leisurely, calmer simplicity.
Many of the people I know and many of the people I meet here in Charlottesville Virginia are distracted, and I mean heavily distracted from their true selves. Whether it is a Pokemon game on their phones, spending hours on Facebook (and now that I have been back 24 hours, I am starting to become guilty of this), busily talking about American football formations for long spells or by watching every FC Barcelona (soccer) game they can get their eyes on. Heck, I have a list of shows I have watched (on Netflix or Hulu) in the past year, and I have watched at least 1 whole season of 6 or 7 different shows! Talk about leaning away from my authentic self!
I feel like I have been waiting for something. Of course, nothing is going to move or change me from the outside without some impetus and impulse from within. But I feel as if my trip to Canada was that impulse. I desperately wanted things to change, but I didn’t know how to do it previously. And I’m now afraid I might fall back into that pattern. There were a number of obstacles which arose to block my making it to Canada, but I’m so glad I persevered through my inner resistance!
So how I can stay more heart-centered here? With many responsibilities pulling and tugging at me, how can I get out in nature more often and easily? How can I maintain open-hearted connections with friends here in Va? How can I integrate all the juicy material we covered at the intensive?
These are all vital questions that I need to find answers for.
In the meantime, I am attempting to practice the Dharma – nourishing my heart and soul. I am starting to ask for connections with others here who are connected to the PPN work.
But I miss the land and the mountains and the clean water and the non-venomous wildlife and the lack of ticks. I miss the touch of the cool morning air as I step out of the outdoor shower and rainy mist that said goodbye to us as we parted ways. I miss being able to step out of my tent, take 20 steps and be on a logging road which leads to dozens of serene hiking trails. I miss being around people who are so outdoor oriented – when winter is harsh and piled high with snow, I suspect we tend to appreciate the summer that much more!
Thanks for reading my meandering words!