th-12After I left urban life, 14 years ago, in which I fully engaged in the play that urban life can offer, I did, indeed, find the different beauty of “taoist surfing” in my wanderings amongst the meadows, hills, rivers and valleys of the rural life I ultimately chose

Though I loved the privileges that my education, experience and professional status offered, I found myself wanting something . . . something more beyond the cement high-rises and pedestrian asphalt that position and prestige had given me.  I lived in the City with all of it’s strengths and class divisions, inside of which I had risen.  Though I loved the status it had given me,  I most often found myself loading my bicycle onto my car and driving out into the wilderness to experience myself truly, outside of the constructed, contrived parameters of position and power that my station afforded me.

I really wanted nothing more than to tour remote places on two wheels at a slow pace.

After years of stating this to my friends and colleagues of similar social/professional stations who, finally said, “Yeah, Amelia, we’ll believe it when we see it . . . ”

I finally did.  I walked out completely and totally . . . and found and began to live my true heart’s desire.

I did, really and truly, abruptly and without previous notice . . . WALK OUT of the contrived atmosphere of ambition, money and all of the accoutrements that “the American Dream” promised.

Except for one fact:  NONE of that was my true dream.  Not for my true self.

So I walked out of a false and illusory dream into a reality of myself I had never known before.

Ripping and renting myself from that contrived notion took a full six years . . . One MUST honor one’s own journey,

After leaving, every few months, I would rip and tear at my own hair and say, “Oh my gosh, what have I done?  What have I done?”  I had, indeed, destroyed the very foundations of what I had previously believed and left them, torn asunder and tattered beneath my feet.

And I had walked on.

Several years later, I called a good, close friend of mine with whom I had worked during those years of cultural/social/economic/professional ambitions and accomplishments and I asked her, “Oh my, what have I done? I have totally ruined my career.”

There was a long pause on her end of the telephone

And, then, very quietly and calmly she said this to me:

“Oh, no, Amelia, you do not understand.  You have done what most of us wish we had the guts to do.  You walked out and those of us left behind wish we had the courage you did to do so ourselves.”

Really?  Really?

Yes, really.

Our courage leads others to their own courage.  And that is a light worth following.

You just never know what you leave behind in your wake.  TRUST your choices intuitively and know that those choices can and are beacons for not just ourselves, but for others to choose themselves as well. . . even if not in this singular lifetime.

Time is irrelevant in spiritual matters.

TRUST YOUR OWN CHOICES.  No matter how crazy they may seem at any given time.  They DO make a difference to you and others and they DO matter.

When we follow the true Tao, we inspire others to themselves and their own Tao.

It may look crazy to others, but the Tao has its own sense and sensibility for each of us as individuals.

THAT is the heart of the Tao.  Follow it.  No disappointment.

th-4In this photo, there is, indeed, the yin/yang of the Tao, the light and the dark moving with each other.

And, in playing in rivers, one finds them there, too.

I “discovered”  River Walking through my own explorations of nature.

I had had a bit of knee problems and wanted to hike up to one of our sacred springs in the valley in which I lived.  I realized that, perhaps, on that day and time, I could not make it, given my physical limitations.

Still, I started the journey.  The path cut up and away from the river and, used to my usual path, I tried to stay on that course.

Even then, the river kept calling to me.  I wanted to be near her, even though my ingrained, intellectual goal told me I should try for the Springs, so far and high away.

I gave in to the river’s call.  I gave in to my own immediate desires:  I just wanted to feel my feet in her waters.

So, I turned around on my goal and gave in to my true heart’s desire.  Her call to life.

I walked into the river.  I felt her cool waters around my feet and ankles.  I reveled in her fingers flowing through my toes.  And I followed . . .

I followed her down her nooks and crannies, slick rocks and sand bars and tall boulders thrown up millennia ago from her caldera.  They all spoke to and carried me as I made my way, knees bent and ankles supple, as I followed her terrain.

Sink down.

Sink down.

Into the sands and various flows of the river – sometimes quiet, sometimes roaring.

I felt my way along her uncertain bottom, bent and turned and twisted as the current picked up and died down and as the sandy bottom gave way to slick rocks that required my tentative explorations to find firm ground and, step by step, find my way toward home.

I balanced, lost my balance, realized my reach had been too far in a single step -sliding well beyond my grasp –  and yielded and retreated re-grouped and re-balanced and worked my way forward again amongst water and stone and boulders and sand until I came to a place I recognized as home.

Great workout, spiritually, mentally and physically.  A day later, I FELT the workout physically – all sore, strong and hurting in a way that only a great workout can give. I was quite startled as to how physically sore I was after such a short river walk.

I also felt the workout at so many other levels:  spiritually honoring my small quest and surrendering to a greater path, emotionally just working my way through each step of doubt and uncertainty and, physically, working every single muscle in my body to traverse the aquatic terrain that was mostly hidden from my view.  I had to feel my way through it.

Such satisfaction when I finally reached the shore after my uncertain adventure.

That is the practice of the Tao:  to follow our intuition and instincts, bring to bear our physical capacities for such an adventure and to walk our way through all of our emotional trepidations in undertaking such a quest.  Even though, in this case, it measured no more than 100 yards.

It doesn’t matter if it is 100 yards, 100 miles, 10,000 footsteps or 10,000 kilometers.  They are all the same experience if we take the time to realize them as such.

Good journeys, all of you.