I have this feeling to go, get out, and breathe. I want to run or drive and not stop. Not really from anything in particular, but rather towards something. I find myself driven by a desire for peace and understanding. The search to find this peace has taken me to countless places, both tangible and intangible. But that peace isn't found where I expected. Carl Jung stated, "Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes." I have dreamed many dreams, seen many places, and set foot on countless breathtaking vistas. Yet, all of that would be in vain and amounts to nothing if my heart isn't at peace. Turmoil within leads to an outward struggle evident in my physical health, relationships, peace of mind, work ethic, etc. My motivations become muddled in a drive for something meaningful and I find myself frustrated when beautiful things do not provide what I seek. My ability to paint, photograph, and write diminishes. The nature that once fascinated me begins to frustrate me and seemingly work against me: I get stuck in the snow, or get too cold/hot, I lose my way or find myself in danger.
Such was the place I was in while visiting this beautiful winter vista. As the trees lit up with the fire of the setting sun, and I walked with one dear to me, I found myself on fire within. Incapable of breathing in the breathtaking scene before me. Clouds raced about, wistfully morphing into oblivion as the sun ignited their underbellies. The trees reached ever upward in spite of the consistent battering winds. Song birds could be heard through the tight valley as the river rushed below. A place so beautiful ought to lift a lost soul, calm a troubled heart, and strengthen a feeble mind. Yet that same nature intended rather to connect me to a raw sense of reality. As the sun set and the cold rushed in, I realized my lack of preparation and the need to return to the car. The peace I so desperately yearned for was not found in a hidden valley on the side of the road. That wasn't meant to be. But what I began to understand, and continue to ponder on today, is the dire need for me to disconnect from the rush of life for a moment so I can dive deep within myself and come to terms with my condition. To search for the who, what, when, where, how, and whys of my life. I have felt a hope within me struggling against a darkness so suffocating as to blind my heart and mind from what is truly going to make me happy and fulfilled in this life.
I don't write this as a journal, meant for my ears only, rather as a means to express a struggle. Perhaps a struggle you have experienced or may someday experience. Life is hard. Decisions and choices must be made. Consequences and opposition exist. I don't know a whole lot. The more I learn, the more I realize this. I have had to come to terms with changes happening in my life that I can't control. It is far from easy taking on so much doubt at once. If I could share anything, it is that as much as the darkness, that so easily surrounds us, is real, so is the light! So is the peace, hope, love, forgiveness, and strength that I (and I suspect, you) need! But that peace is found within. You can lose yourself in our vast world, searching for what can be found inside you. You don't have to travel the world or master the world to find it. It is ourselves we are mastering. We are the craft sailing through the stormy seas of life. Let each tree, rooted in place since birth, growing ever upward against overwhelming odds, teach you. Let the raging river, the elegant songbird, the quiet mountains, music, math, children, whatever it is, let them teach you, and I, that true strength, true strength lies within! That peace, love, hope, beauty; all of it is found within!
Sunset at the Tunnel; Waning light in a dark place. Too poignant to ignore.
Pictures from our walk: