I was meant to be doing something else this weekend. I was supposed to be on a Way of Council course in Bristol. I booked on to this weekend a long time ago and had been really looking forward to it. A time to learn more about Council; a space to connect in to my own way of being in the world; an opportunity to hear what others have to say about all of this. All held in a most sacred way.
And I didn’t go. Because this week I have been feeling overwhelmed (again).
Overwhelmed with all the options that feel open to us at the moment with regards moving to Wales. Overwhelmed because the girls are at home ALL THE TIME and I can’t often finish a thought process, let alone have a whole conversation about that thought process. Overwhelmed because there’s so much I want to DO in life and how do I choose/prioritise, because obviously I can’t do it all?! And overwhelmed because I feel that with all the different balls I’m juggling – mental/emotional/real/not real – I feel like I’m failing badly at all of them. By Wednesday I’d convinced myself not only that I’d ruined my children’s lives by being such a bad mother, but also that I was never going to be anything of worth in the world because, well, just because I’m basically crap at everything. And besides, the world is f****d anyway so really what’s the point?
Yes… those old chestnuts. (Sigh…)
So, by Thursday I knew that what I really needed was time and space to get all of this CRAP out of my head, and for me, that means removing myself from pretty much everything and everyone. I needed physical space, openness, air, hills, trees, vistas. I needed to walk somewhere wilder than here, because when I do I always feel better – I can just give all of my overwhelmedness to the land and she will always take it. This, I know.
The Malvern Hills are not what I would exactly call ‘wild’, but they are not too far away, and when I got there at dawn yesterday morning and the mist was down, well I could have been anywhere. It was beautiful. The mist gave me an atmospheric feeling of deep, ancient mystery and, other than the paths that criss-cross over the hills, I felt at times I could have been walking not just anywhere but anytime.
I kept smiling to myself as I walked – I had headed to the hills to get height, expansive views, distance, clarity and vision. And it was so misty I could see only 30ft in front of me most of the time! And so the message I received was loud and clear – you need to stop looking to the horizon, to what might be out there, to what you may or may not actually be able to see. You need to look at your feet, at the ground right there in front of you, where you are walking right now. And yes, you need to take small steps – you need to remain mindful of where you’re going, and what you’re doing!
When, at times, the mist did clear, and I was given glimpses of the view, I was immediately distracted by other thoughts. Thoughts that, quite frankly, are really not important in the grand scheme of things. And so I found myself actually inviting the mist back in. To bring myself back to the here and now. To embrace the unknown and to not see it, as I find myself doing at times, as something to fear or worry about, but to see it actually as a gift in reminding me to come back to the present. To myself.
After all, as Eckhart Tolle would quite rightfully remind me:
As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Eckhart Tolle is probably the only person in the world I would actually allow to come along with me on one of these walks. Ah yes, I’d happily allow Eckhart to walk alongside me awhile, speaking words of wisdom in that soft, meditative, inner peace-inducing, German-accented voice of his as we ambled up, down, around, within.
Him and the best dog in the world of course. Now there’s a being who could give a good lesson in enjoying the present moment…
(no that wasn’t taken in the Malverns… I’m way too in the moment to be taking a camera with me on these solo walks in the wild, don’t you know)