A few years ago, I took a trip out to Vancouver Island by myself. I packed up my car and I drove, not knowing where I was going. I had a tent, my yoga mat, and a bag of granola bars and canned beans. I spent a week on Long Beach in silence sitting on my mat, swimming in the ocean, eating canned beans and attempting (and failing) to build fires. I didn’t speak to anyone for seven days. I didn’t check my cell phone. It died and I couldn’t charge it. I didn’t bring my computer. I sat in silence.
I would love to say that I found spiritual fulfillment and sat in perfect peace like a mystical guru divine amazon woman. The truth is, it was hard. I fully experienced my own thoughts with nothing to distract me. With nothing going in, everything came out. Good, bad and ugly. I sat. I listened. Thoughts tumbled around themselves in cycles. I experienced the negativity of my own mind when I am alone. The fear. The regret. The blaming and the worrying. The self-loathing. I sat until I couldn’t stand being fully present with myself and then I sat some more. I was learning how to live with myself. Maybe for the first time.
I remember a moment. I had sat for a five hour day. From sunrise. I didn’t read. I just stared at the water flowing in and out across the sand. I was wearing a bathing suit and my sarong and sitting on my mat. And something just dropped in me. Like a weight. From the crown of my head to my pelvic floor, this little ball of energy just dropped. As if my mind gave up its hold on my identity and suddenly became just another part of my body. And I was up. I was running. I tore off my sarong. I left everything else behind and I ran at the water. The beach is 16 kilometres long and I ran and ran down it. You cannot see the end from one side and no one was there and I ran, splashing through freezing water and shallow nesting birds. I ran, and my lungs didn’t hurt like they usually do. I felt nothing. I couldn’t even feel my body running. I crashed through deeper water as I ran into the ocean. It wasn’t cold. I couldn’t feel it. All I could feel was this energy carrying me forward until I ran under the surface of the water. It went over my head and I was still running. I ran until the ocean caught me in her swallow and my legs became meaningless. I ran until my energy was futile and I was caught. Cradled. By the great mother beast of the world.
I floated to the surface and lay there in a starfish on my back and saw the sky. It was blue. A blue I hadn’t seen for so long. I lay there and I felt nothing. I was nothing. I was the ocean and the sky and nothing and everything all at once.