Occasionally, I suffer from a condition I call the Invincibility Complex. I read too much John Krakauer, drink too much coffee, start attending real estate showings, apply to law school, decide to become a yoga instructor, convert to raw veganism, accept 2 new jewelry orders, plan a trip to Costa Rica, accept a job in Spain. I refuse to slow down. Then something monumental and completely outside of my control occurs and I’m quickly snapped back to the present. This is simultaneously scary and humbling. It reminds me that the plans I have so frantically constructed for my life are vastly different from how life actually works out. And I have to let go.
Such is the case this week with my plans for Costa Rica. 2 days ago I had every intention of spending August immersed in tropical rainforest and scaling mountains. Then I called Brian and the grief was audible in his voice. He’d lost a loved one. They had to close the hostel and were coming back to the US before I even arrived in Central America. Across thousands of miles and a shaky Skype connection I felt deeply for him and my plans suddenly did not seem so grand.
For a fleeting moment, I tried to be stubborn. I’ll arrive in San Jose, find a hostel, and figure it out from there, I thought. I looked up beach hostels and yoga retreats but with 2 days until departure and poco dinero in my pocket I realized: I could push as hard as I wanted against the circumstances but this simply was not the right time.
The trip was sparked by a desire to check out a friend’s project. With that off the table, arriving untethered and without contacts in San Jose seemed less Jack Kerouac and more, well, foolish.
So with a heavy heart, I picked up the phone and transferred my flight to a voucher. The airline representatives were very kind and as I sorted the cancellation details out, my heavy heart began to lift along with the burden of trying to figure everything out on my own.
In the end, I am not going to Costa Rica. However, just as the universe erects obstacles, it also clears them away. I’ve spent most of the past month winding up my life in Portland and while August will not be spent how I had initially hoped, I now have the freedom to visit friends, family and landmarks along the West Coast as a final goodbye before Spain.
After talking with Brian and the loss of my own friend this summer, this seems like a really good idea.
I will climb in my Datsun and take a leisurely 3.5 week journey to Yosemite, stopping at Breitenbush, Bend, Crater Lake, the Redwood Forest and San Francisco, camping in my pickup and staying with friends along the way.
Here’s my mantra, taken from a Gary Snyder’s Kisiabaton:
“Beat-up datsun idling in the road
shreds of fog
almost-vertical hillsides drop away
huge stumps fading into mist
soft warm rain”
I’m going to try to keep it simple. If I’ve learned anything this week it’s that my prescriptive plans are always subject to change. I’ve been brutally reminded to slow down, wayyyyy down and that as much as I try to make the universe conform to MY time, it does not work that way. Honestly, I think that humans’ power does not lie in our ability to control, but instead with our resiliency, our ability to let go and remain vulnerable in the face of change.
This will be in my thoughts, along with Brian and the beautiful friends I look forward to seeing as I drive through the rolling West Coast landscape.
More updates to come.
In Ever Loving Spirit,