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Published: November 25th 2014
~When life gives you lemons, make lemon chocolate cheese cake.~
I saw this new rendition of an old cliché on a restaurant's sign and it brought about a good laugh, especially from my inner fat child. But lately I've been mulling it over, thinking about what those sayings mean and something has broken off inside and is rattling around my brain.
To say life has given me lemons is an understatement; it gave me diamonds and I'm just blind to their worth. I'm living in a foreign country and meeting new people, pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to grow spiritually which is more than a lot of people can lay claim to, but all I do is whine about emotional turmoil. I admit this trip, this adventure isn't what I expected it to be. There are few mystical moments, next to nil on the magical sightings, and I worry more about my next paycheck and the growing jiggling in my arms than I do about Love and spiritual transformation. I feel more disconnected from myself than a worm sliced in two and it's like I've reverted back into a scared, shy, pimply teenager crashing
her first high school party. I struggle with words, with connecting to others, and with being alone and the only time I feel most comfortable is in the dark, eyes closed, music so loud in my ears it blasts off any thoughts.
But now and again, through breaks in the storm clouds, I really think about it, about where I am and what I'm doing. It isn't grandiose or epic, no thrill-seeker's idea of a vacation but ultimately, would I want to be anywhere else? Would I want to be stuck in my routine, going through the motions, playing at Love like a child with her dollhouse? I think about it and hear my inner voice, Definitely not
Who, then, makes these changes? What dropped me in the deep end of my emotional cesspool when I wanted to swim in crystal blue waters? What buffets me with the sharp needle-like fingers of the wind when all I wanted was to feel the caress of a summer breeze against my cheek? Why can't I live off those delicious orange chocolate biscuits I've discovered (really, so good) instead of breaking my teeth on old dry, crusty bread? Who makes these
"Who makes these changes? I shoot an arrow right. It lands left. I ride after a deer and find myself chased by a hog. I plot to get what I want and end up in prison. I dig pits to trap others and fall in. I should be suspicious of what I want." -Rumi, "Who Makes These Changes"
Alright fine, I get it Rumi, I get it.
I went on another hike a few weeks ago, across the harbor in Eastbourne which is a world away from the bustle of Wellington life. I thought I was in for an easy day, a national park here nothing like what I've seen back home in the Rocky Mountains, but once again NZ had another life lesson hidden up its sleeve. I turned my back on the ocean and shore and headed into the dark green of the bush. Vegetation grows so closely here, the forest a spider web of vines, trees, flowers, and ferns. Everything is interconnected, magnifying sounds and silence alike, thrusting you easily into a world where no sign of human life exists except for the path beneath your feet. I felt lost, alone, sure that darkness would arrive before I found my way out, even though the sun was hours away from setting. There was only one path and yet I didn't trust it, certain I was being led further and further away from the shore or any sense of security I knew. I still hesitantly enjoyed myself, listening to the birds
in the trees, the rustle of wind in the branches. I saw the trees swaying, dancing as one great body and as their leaves shuddered a wave of green hues passed across the forest, like ripples from a pebble dropped in still water. I followed the rise and fall of the hills, walking in sunlight and feeling the burn on my skin then thrust into the cooling kiss of shade. I was hot, dehydrated, and sore, my lips cracked and salty. I wanted to get out, to go back to the safety of the shore line not because it was home but because it was something I could tangibly understand. I was tired of the oppressive darkness of the jungle.
I climbed another hill, my calves and thighs screaming out in protest. Just this last hill, then you'll be out
, I thought. And as I turned a corner, through a break in the foliage, I caught the sun gleaming off the turquoise waters of the open ocean. I could hear the waves lapping on the rocks, crashing against the sands and the cries of seagulls as they swooped in for their next meal. I ran down the track, dangerously
close to breaking an ankle, pulled towards the water like it had reached out to tear me from the hands of the forest. I stumbled across the black rocks of the beach, the bleached whiteness of beach wood cracking under my shoes and buried my hands in the wet sand, filling them with the cool salty water. I closed my eyes, letting the wind whip my air about my face and the sun paint patterns of light on my eyelids. When I opened them again, the skies were a raging battle of light, wind, ocean, and cloud, moving and dancing like a battle on stage. I watched it for hours, lost in the beauty of something so simple as a rain storm.
And then I started to giggle, and that giggle turned into a belly laugh, and that laugh into tears. I'm sure people passing by thought I was a crazy person, sitting on a beach, staring at the stormy sky with tears streaming down my face. I felt like a shipwrecked sailor who had just learned to make a fire or like a patient taking the first step from their sickbed. Feelings were surging in my chest, too
many to identify and I was overwhelmed with their intensity. I felt like Mother Nature was mocking my doubt with this show of her power, with this beauty playing out before me. I had challenged Her, daring Her to show me something worthwhile and She called my bluff, saying, "This, darling, is merely a sample."
"The sky bears its neck beautifully, but gets no kiss. Only a taste." -Rumi, "Meadowsounds"
In the simplest of terms, that experience was Love. A metaphor of being led from one sunlight, through darkness, and into another, more glorious brightness. I started off with my heart locked up, tramped through feelings of being lost and alone, and was led out again by Love, that need within myself to find the light. I started that trek thinking of what I wanted, what I expected the experience to deliver up and I ended it on my knees in embarrassing humility. Lesson learned? I might have my own expectations, my hopes for what this trip means to me. Mostly those have been shot down with such ferocity I'm left dazed from the whiplash. But that isn't to say I'm failing or this trip is not what it should be. Love, that unknown universal power, knows what I need and although
at times it can be frustratingly vague and misleading, I have to have faith that ultimately it will open my eyes to the Beauty all around.
Lemon chocolate cheese cake out of lemons. Easier said than done. But either way, it's gonna be delicious.
"When the ocean surges, don't let me just hear it. Let it splash inside my chest." -Rumi, "Put This Design in Your Carpet (2)"
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