Silver Sands State Park: Milford, Connecticut
Give it all up, and receive the world
For my first post since I went away, I thought I would write something relevant to the name of my blog since having faith in the road was a huge theme of the trip. I said before that I wanted to go and face the unknown, and I feel I did, but something else also occurred to me, of equal importance as far as I can see. There seems to be something about surrendering yourself to the natural unfolding of events and giving up your sense of control – loosening your grip, so to speak. Broadly, I think the trip was an attempt to do that, but on many individual occasions it was as if I was being rewarded for taking the leap of faith. When it wavered, and it very much did so, I would be gently (and generously) reminded of the futility of my anxieties and resistance. Maybe I was just lucky, but exactly what I needed fell into my lap, time and time again. When things did go wrong, I tried to stay positive, keep calm and try and enjoy the adventurous challenge of whatever problem I had to solve. The freedom of it all and underlying belief that it would turn out OK bore me through time and time again, and even the days where everything seemed to be going wrong were enjoyable by virtue of their invigorating difficulty.
What was perhaps slightly harder to deal with was when things went from ‘good’ to ‘bad’. It is astonishing how quickly this can happen whilst travelling, and how intense those two extremes usually are. I suppose this is partly why people go on adventures: the highs are the highest and the lows are so intensely low that they manage to astonish. This process was sometimes perfectly mapped out by the shape of the land. There would be really steep, rolling hills, or even on one or two occasions, a series of mountain ridges, one after the other. This meant that I would alternatingly be going up brutal hills and down really steep descents. To begin with, I whooped with joy and relief going down, and railed against going up. After a while, however, I think you learn – purely by necessity – to accept the ascents and find aspects of them that are enjoyable, and conversely not to get too excited about the downhill sections, as they usually entailed another rise at the bottom. In this way, my attitude towards what I would usually consider good and bad became a bit more egalitarian, and I was able to enjoy the entire process more freely. As I said though, it took a while and was not always the case.
In my next post I am going to write about a specific example of being rewarded for giving myself up in general and of how it was one of those times where in the moment my faith wavered and the events that came to pass acted as that gentle and generous reminder to keep calm and trust that things will usually work out for the better. As an aside, when things don’t seem to have worked out for the best, it is up to us to make what we can of them, to accept our situations and work to improve them without an expectation of immediate success, nor indeed of complete satisfaction if success is attained. I strongly believe that you get what you give, and bringing an impenetrable model of how things should be to life is a recipe for disaster, disappointment and unhappiness.