Tuesday, August 31, 2010


August 30 -- I woke up feeling pretty down, discouraged, and fearful. It's nothing new really--same old stuff:   worrying about bills, society's opinion of me, and whether all of this has been a big mistake. I tried pacing, but kept stirring up mosquitoes, so I sat at the picnic table. I sat there and just said, "Please help me. I don't know what to do." I soon had the word "trust" going through my mind:  I need to trust the process, trust the universe, trust my instincts. It was one of those moments when you know your prayer has been answered.

Later in the afternoon, I spent a few hours at the library in Waterville, Minnesota. The place was about ready to close, so I packed up all my gear (not an easy task since I have to unpack and repack my pack to get the computer in and out). I had about five minutes left, so I perused the shelves, not wanting to leave the air conditioning and go into the putrid humidity outside.

I found a book full of stories of people working as I have been to live soulful lives. I just opened the book to see where it landed and it opened to a girl asking to have a birthday party with all of her friends. I wasn't too interested, so I looked at the table of contents and saw a story entitled "Trust" and turned to it. It was the very story the book had fallen open to. A girl, for her birthday, asked the creator for snow (it was July in Arizona) and for all her friends to come to her party.

Her parents asked her if she was disappointed when her prayer wasn't answered. She said, "It was answered. He said 'no.'" The whole point being that trusting the Universe or the Creator or whatever means that any outcome is an answer. Ultimately, the writer argues that whatever the Universe does, or is doing, it's in our best interest, that even sadness, fear, and hopelessness can be forces that help us in ways we might not currently understand.

August 31 -- Storms moved into the area early this morning. I put my shoes on and got out to baton down the hatches. I got back into the sweltering tent, waiting for the coming judgment. It started raining with the familiar pelting sounds surrounding me. Almost immediately, I felt a drop on my leg. This seemed strange, so I used my other foot to feel the spot. I felt four slimy feet launch from my leg and a slithery body land on my hand. I nearly freaked. Once I got the flashlight on, I saw the tiny toad sitting on top of my sleeping bag. In my haste to get the rain fly in place, I left the screen unzipped and this little guy made his way into my sleeping space--about the same capacity as a coffin. I freaked. I don't mind toads out in the yard, but I don't want to share such a small space with one.

I tried using the flashlight to scare the toad toward the screen so I could get him to jump out. This jittery little bugger wanted rather to jump toward the light and the hand holding it. After 5 steamy minutes of this in the sauna-like tent with my glasses fogging up on me, I finally got him near the screen. All he had to do was jump out. But he wouldn't. He would go any direction but the one he was supposed to. So, yet again, I'd be left coaxing him toward the unzipped screen. He jumped into my hat. He slithered under the sleeping bag. He jumped right at my face. "You stupid dumb ass," I cried out. "Why don't you jump right there--one inch away, you idiot!"

Right at the moment, I got a clear picture of my life. I've been like this toad, following survival mode and not expecting that the "big guy" up there is actually trying to help me. I think the Universe has made so much possible for me, but I still cling to fear, worry, and desperation. It's gotten better over the years, but I know that I still often fret over things that don't really count. How many times has the way been opened for me, but because of my fears, I jump this way or that, not the way that would take me where I need to go? Well, this toad was obtuse, so I finally grabbed a sock and used it to seize this fellow and toss him out into the rain. I hope the Universe doesn't have to do that with me!

Going forward means trusting that whatever happens is the best to happen. If that means bankruptcy, shame, and failure, then that's what it means. More practically for this trip, if it means sleeping in a ditch by the side of the road, getting lost, or not knowing where to look for help, then that is the situation and I need to understand that perhaps this is the "easy" way. Hopefully these things won't happen, but this perspective gives me a frame through which to understand my circumstances. I am heading out into the rain, though it may be a way that, under my current understanding, seems scary or overwhelming.