no forcing and no holding back

4:13 AM



Tory has been talking about how this island will break him. How after almost a month of nothing on the to-do lists, nothing we need to accomplish, nothing for the brain to worry about, that he will finally learn how to relax. For me, I am good at relaxing. But I struggle with focusing on the present and being grateful for the moments in front of me. But the island broke me too.

I didn't see it coming. The best breakthroughs are the unexpected.
I certainly enjoyed myself but I spent a lot of my time on the island in pest-management mode - applying bug spray, avoiding anthills and heavily mosquito-infested areas in the evening, making sure I was getting the least amount of bites possible. And then I found myself on a hike - a hike I should not have been on. We suspect now that our guesthouse owners think that if we're crazy enough to go rock climbing most days, we're hearty enough to hike what appeared to be a 70 degree angle up the side of a mountain for a half hour - and then figure out how to get back down too.

The young guy that works at our bungalow misunderstood one of the other employees who suggested we hike up a path about 30 meters and then look around, and instead he 'guided' us more than 250 meters up dense jungle to an equally dense viewpoint. We kept thinking the hike would pay off, or that it would open up into a path, thinking he knew what he was doing since he moved through the jungle with ease.

For those of you who were afraid at all that we'd get injured rock climbing, we weren't even close to any mishaps. This hike though, led to the closest encounter I've had and ever hope to have with a boulder as big as semi-truck tire. Our guide climbed up on a ledge just off the ground and it cracked off as he jumped up on it. I heard it crash to the ground and start rolling down the mountain a few feet above me as Tory yelled my name. I managed to swivel to the right as it clipped my side and crashed through trees for a half mile down the mountain. That night I laid awake and realized that I believe in angels.

The part that haunted me for a while afterwards was that I was looking right at Tory's face when I heard the crack and I saw the panic and helplessness and immense love grip him. I saw the weight of the situation in his face and I understood the preciousness of life, and of love.

The next day I woke up with a badass bruise on my leg and grating on my arm. The mosquito bites were abundant - over 50 on the leg that got it the worst. I was itchy, but whole.

We went rock climbing that afternoon and for the first time I felt completely at peace. I had been broken in the best way. I couldn't get worse bruises or scrapes by climbing and any additional mosquito bites would barely be noticed. I was free to just be where I was without fear or irritation or worry. I climbed my best, enjoyed Tory’s company, and was happy to just experience whatever came our way.

I wish I could say it lasted longer than a day, but this type of easy contentment does not come naturally for me even though I am trying to make it a habit.


I wrote this poem down that same week and it feels very applicable:

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

- Rilke's Book of Hours

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