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The Cave

So-called Cali/Arizona Border in the I10 corridor on AZ Land trust and BLM Land, traditional territory of the Cocopah and Kwatáan

We’re stuck. Not like that time in New Mexico where it rained and the water table came up and we sank into our friend’s driveway, but stuck. . . stopped. . . fundamentally broken down. Each morning I wake up and my mind runs the new scenarios of possibilities within our stuckness. This morning, I was reminded of the cave. In shamanic practice this cave can be both comfort and renewal and liberation, and also a place of personal revelation where unconscious and repressed experiences, emotions and patterns can be brought to light.

My reminder came from the creative writing class I’m taking with Rose Wolff, Writing Your Personal Myth. This class combines shamanic journeying with storytelling, self-exploration with personal revelation. The cave, this session, is an encounter with one’s own deepest fears with themes of gifts born out of the storm, and what might be necessary to sacrifice in order to move past lifelong limiting patterns.

My own patterns of avoidance and anxiety around stepping out and stepping up are clear to me. I can look at it in psych terms and understand my attachment styles and look at how I have made excuses for myself in confronting how I continue to make myself small. Yet, the pathway to remediation ‘seems’ so far away. . . just where I like it. . . so that resolution becomes in-actionable. No-thing is required of me.

For the second time in two days I’ve been reminded of the pattern inherent in all manifestation, of how allowing myself to be seen, however frightening, is the pathway to realization of what I need and want in this life. I want for myself, I listen, I follow through with the action necessary to clear old junk. Rinse and repeat. Build on successes, learn from mistakes and failures. The process is unchanging and the mechanism of manifestation isn’t going to change for me.

So, I dove into my cave this morning. I found myself staring out the windshield of an airplane cockpit as it turned to nose dive into the earth while an unsettled feeling took hold of my being. I was then guided to a familiar space where I’ve done much work before, yet I kept pushing the space out and away in an attempt to avoid the inevitable long drink of an unconscious pattern coming forward for release. The pain of stagnation in avoidance is far greater than the pain of actually looking honestly at myself, I know. Yet, I fall back into old patterns that help me to feel safe.

What do I want? I don’t want to face change. I don’t want to have to deal with the fact that my bus has a massive hole in the frame right behind a major suspension component. I don’t want to face the fact that I’m stranded in the desert hundreds of miles from anyone I know that might be a resource. I’m resisting internally and externally. And also I understand that a cold drink from a deep well might just be the exact medicine I need.

How are our internal and external lives linked?

What shows up in our lives when we feel heavy and stuck?

When was the last time we felt light and full of possibility?

When we did find ourselves feeling light, did we trust it. . . . or fall into the weight of expectations born of histories that deny our worth?

Then I walk outside and play with my dog and look again at the broken rear leaf spring on my bus with a gaping hole behind it. We’re watered and well fed for the moment. There is no hurry. We can decide how to move forward and build an actionable plan.

There have been days of anxiety and despair, old triggers of un-safety and insecurity coming to the fore of my mind. Yet, I’m right where I need to be. The universe has given me a break I didn’t know I needed to hunt honey agates while doing some internal house cleaning.

So many times I avoid comparing my values to my actions, my direction to my compass. . . but in this two of swords moment, there is no escape. There are paths forward, the question is, “what lights me up?” and “how can I be in service” instead of how to most easily extricate myself, my kid and fur-babies from the quartz covered shelf of land under our tires.

The motivation, the intent behind our chosen actions is inherently more important than the action or resulting consequences by themselves. What happens when we go into the nose dive of a fear we’ve been avoiding? Do we correct before we hit bottom or are we riding that motherfucker to our death’s? The choice is ours, individually and collectively.

My rig and our home for the past three and a half years runs fine. It still serves the purpose of keeping us off grid for weeks at a time. It is a combination of plastic and wood and steel and aluminum and a kick-ass off-grid solar system. And also, an essential component of its road worthiness has failed and that compromises its ability to function as it was designed. The bus doesn’t have a cave to turn to in self-discovery or release. As conscious, self-aware humans, we do. We can choose to look honestly at ourselves and how we’re moving through the world in a process of self-examination and value adjustment. We can do this individually and collectively.

about author


A dad, a kid, a kelpie and two cat brothers rubbertramping around the country doing our best to live authentic lives while awakening to our birthright. 

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