I went to a really beautiful, special and peaceful place on my trip to California called Meditation Mount in Ojai. Their motto is, “In service to humanity,” which is pretty awesome.
It really is on the top of a mountain, so big you have to drive up it to get to the meditation center at the top. There’s a path to walk down through a rock and cactus garden, and some different steps and clearings where people saw or laid on the grass with their partners or dogs or both. Then you go out to the edge and it’s really the edge of a big mountain. Views like I’ve never seen before. I first saw a tiny lizard by my feet and then saw the expanse in front of me, awe-inspiring, terrifying and breathtaking all at once. There was a small wooden bench nearby that had words carved on it: “Joy is a special wisdom.” I guess it’s not for you if you’re not a crunchy hippie type like me.
I sat down on the ground and took off my sandals and that’s when I could really feel the earth and the vibrations in the air. The sun was beating down but since it’s winter and still relatively cool, it was nothing but comfortable, warm and welcoming.
I don’t know how long we were there. It could have been hours or just a short time. The time seemed to slip away as I meditated and tried to find peace. I picked up the dirt and let it fall through my hands and realized that ground connected all the way back to my son walking on the same earth back in Ohio. To the same earth my father is buried under. The same earth my Mom was walking on, probably out feeding the neighborhood cats. I felt a part of something and alone at the same time, a not unfamiliar feeling of late. It was a strange feeling. Like I never wanted to move from that spot again, and yet I couldn’t deal with the vastness of everything, it was overwhelming. So I closed my eyes and tried to just be.
I’m finally getting back into my routine here. The kid helped make dinner tonight, did his homework and I gave him a bath. He asked me about us playing baseball or basketball together – it’s been so freakishly warm lately. I made a mental note to see about getting him a wiffle bat thing for the spring, maybe for his birthday, so we can go to the park and mess around with that. I know jack shit about any of that stuff but I’m game to try it. He’s restless with this winter and being inside all the time on evenings and weekends, and I am too. I believe it’s been more than two months now since I had a long run. My foot is beginning to heal (plantar fasciitis) but it has a long way to go before I can walk around without shoes or support tape on it for long stretches, so running is still a ways off. But I can walk and hike now, so I’ll bring that back soon. I can’t help but look at sign-ups that are starting for races and am making myself not commit to anything.
My options stretch before me as my life continues to change. I’m taking on as much change as I can stand but know there is more coming. You can’t really prepare for it. And like the song says, I’ve been afraid of changing, but I’m trying not to be afraid any more. With the trip to Canada over New Year’s Eve/Day and the trip to Los Angeles, I’m working on it. I’m still afraid while it’s happening, but at least I’m letting it happen, pushing for it to happen, running to keep up.
The mountain told me to only look forward. You will retrace your steps when you leave, but when you go back down, you are not the same. And they are not the same steps by the same person, so that is also change, and thus it is also forward.