I sat on the log under the piñon tree with the grandeur of Bell Mountain looming above and the shadow of Cathedral Mountain casting shade in our direction. The red Sedona rocks almost shimmered with beauty. The sun was out, the sky a perfect cloudless blue, and I could hear the grasshoppers click as they flew from plant to plant.
I had just completed a short silent walk with 20 or so other creative souls in Sedona. We were there for a writing retreat and the goal of our silent and meditative experience was to find our spot on Grandmother Earth, to sit silently, and to beckon answers to the questions, ‘what will you take forward from here’ and ‘what will you leave’.
I settled on to my log and easily dropped into the meditation practice that I gravitate towards. I began to center and ground myself, opening my heart energies, and connecting with the universal source above me. I was comfortably aligned from the crown of my head through the bottom of my feet on the red dirt.
I rolled around the questions we were given and noticed that I was quickly clear on those things I wanted to leave here:
- The idea that creating and writing is hard and that I don’t have it in me to write a book or anything else
- The idea that if I want to create I will need to sacrifice my freedom and intuitive way of life for a structure of hard work that is demanding of me
- The idea that I am alone in this
Yes, I will heartily leave those limiting beliefs behind under this tree so they may seed into something more beautiful than what they are growing in me.
What I wanted to take away from the retreat was not as accessible. But, as I sat in my quiet, deepened, contemplative state I began to sense the presence of others around me. I could feel the energies of other people who had been in this place before. Perhaps I felt the spirit of the native peoples who love this land and call it sacred. Perhaps I felt the happy hikers who have passed before me on this trail. I could feel them. (It’s Sedona for Pete’s sake – it was a vortex!)
Then some noise caused me to open my eyes and because I was so deeply inside myself I was shocked to see real live people! Scattered all around me were my retreat compadres. I could see 4 or 5 right over there, and another was just beyond the sage bush, and yet another was sharing the opposite side of the log with me. And, I also knew there were more behind me that I couldn’t see.
I’m not alone! Really. I’m not alone.
That struck me like a punch in the solar plexus. I’m not a dodo, I KNOW I’m not alone. Yet there’s some part of me that feels like I’m solo sailing across the Pacific as I’m endeavoring to create, and write, and bring my thoughts into the world. I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. And again, even though I KNOW better, I feel like I’m supposed to know how to do this all by myself.
Hello! There are other people here!
I wept. If I hadn’t felt self-conscious about being silent I think I would have sobbed. The tears rolled down my cheeks and I realized that whenever I need it there are people to help me. Some are right here that I could see, some are just behind the bush, some are present yet out of sight, and some are those who have come before me and moved on.
So, what do I take forward with me from this journey?
- I am not a single celled creature
- There are people out there waiting and willing to help me, all I have to do is make the connection and ask
- There are others on my path, or a path that also is walked in red dirt streaked sneakers and a pen in the pocket
- Nature brings me into connection with the whole
I know I’m not the only one to feel I’m on a solo journey. I think that one of the dangers of our digital, suburban, moderness is our tendency to go it alone. Doing it alone is somehow held up as valiant and as having chutzpah. Those who go it alone are seen as strong, and brave, and smart. Of course there are times to go it alone, and then there’s not. In general we are pack animals. We thrive in community and connection is our currency.
I’m writing this because I want to remember it. It is too easy for me to go to sleep and slip painlessly and noiselessly right back into my quiet, introverted, alone ways. I’m comfortable in that calm singular space. I easily forget that I do belong to a large web of like-minded folks who are ready and willing to share, help, and connect.
I’m still going to be me – quiet, introverted, learning voraciously, thinking hard, and creating solo. However, I’m not going to let my natural place of comfort get in the way of reaching out when I need it. My creativity needs a posse. And so do I.
What about you? Do you need a posse for what you want to bring in the world? Do you fall victim to the go it alone mentality?