I had a realization that has taken all this time to become clear for me; and as a result I am at a crossroads. At the moment, I am choosing to be lost, until I put info form a new set of decrees to move forward with. Albuquerque is turning out to be quite the place so far - it is for me a city unlike any other. The city drew me to it, and so far, it has provided me countless opportunities for growth to be more than myself; and with that, comes numerous challenges, each challenge greater than the last one I barely grappled with and processed. Not overcome; not won; not conquered; but became aware of; became engaged and immersed in; some integration of it; some reflection of it; and some introspection of it.
This event happened on June 8th, 2013, the end of my first week in New Mexico.
The Four Agreements
Upon arrival in Albuquerque, I was thinking off-and-on don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements. Towards the end of that week, I went on a hike with several others at Columbine Canyon within the Carson National Forest located in Questa, New Mexico. At some point, I got into a walking trance and got separated from the group. When the trance ended, I was dis-oriented, not knowing where I was and no trails, and nobody around. I had no food packed, no water packed, and no supplies; only wearing a t-shirt and jeans. The canyon has a one way trail that goes on for about 60 miles or so, into the next town south’s ski valley. The only ranger stations are at the endpoints of the trail. Normally one would panic and perhaps try to contact people to find you regardless of the actual situation, and it becomes a stressful situation.
I also didn't take my cell phone with me.
My first thought was:
"I could do the aforementioned things, but there would be no productive value of doing this" - and sat down. I suddenly recalled HeatherAsh Amara’s teaching about embracing and celebrating what is; and took stock. "YAY! I am lost, wow! Where am I, look at all the neat plants and sights I am in. Where can I walk? It is a temperate sunny day with a breeze I know that God has already solved my problem, and that no matter what happens, it is all in good order. It really is not a problem, as the Jamacians say, its just a situation!"
At this point, I am happy that I am lost, that I am in the moment of being in wondrous surroundings and a beautiful day and chose to trust that things will work out, and that I am not aware of everything that goes on around me. I am not aware of what is going on around me in all scheme of things, I cannot make an assessment of what is going to happen, nor can I even make any sort of expectation of what might happen, nor that my train of thought would make sense in ultimate sense of things. I did think though, that the canyon isn’t a plain and at some point I would run into impassable terrain, and be able to get a bearing at some point; and that if I kept walking in one direction, that I will hit something. if it is relatively short time, I hit a canyon wall. If it is a long time, I must be walking along the canyon. The sun will move and that will eventually give me direction if i calmly observe sun movements and my movements in relation to it.
Worst case scenario, I walk those 60 miles and end up at the other trailhead in the ski valley, as the canyon isn't super wide. I started walking; really enjoying the trail as the day progressed; took a few breaks; and crossed cross the river at many points; all the while going uphill steadily. For a moment, I thought how worried or angry the others might be, and also conclude there was not anything I could do about that at the moment, except keep walking.
Hours went by, and there were twists and turns, continuing to cross the river; and establishing that I was walking along the canyon. Eventually I found a trail that was going alongside the canyon as well and followed it. The trails disappear at certain points in large clearings where I see many lightning struck trees and storm clouds were coming in. I had been tracking the sun position throughout the hike and surmised that it was mid-afternoon at that point. I begin to get a little worried as if it gets dark enough due to storm-clouds, I will lose my eyesight, as I have no night vision. I can go without food for about a week at most, so I can camp as necessary, and I keep criss crossing the river, so there is my water supply.
I kept walking. It was getting more windy and gradually colder as two hours pass. I found myself in a bog or swamp of some sort and I felt the first raindrops landing on my head. There was no productive value in worrying or panic, as it would likely result in making mistakes and put myself into an actual situation of risk. I lost the trail in the bog, and walked around in circles for a while trying to figure out where to go next. After making two circuits around the area, and then the raindrops started to get ICY and HARD.
They were no longer raindrops, but big chunks of hail - not little bits that look like big grains of sand; but big chunks the size and diameter of crystals you would wear around your neck - and they STUNG as they struck me. The temperature got down to about 7 degrees C or so; and I was still wearing a t-shirt and jeans with no jacket. If I kept walking in this weather, there was a chance that the hail would cause substantial injury, so I sat in between two trees to wait out the hailstorm.
The hail was coming down really hard and heavy, and within what seemed to be five minutes, it was all white all around, and I could not see anything. I tried to gather a bunch of the hailstones together to create a bit of a dugout to huddle in and act as a windshield, but unlike snow, which has insulating properties, it turned out more like huddling myself in ice. It was definitely colder than the wind whipping around me at this point followed by the desire to generate body heat; that resulted in performing jumping jacks as vigorously as I can manage, for as long as I can manage. Long stretches of time seemed to pass and my fingers were no longer present to my mind, as they went numb. I could no longer feel my legs, so it felt like waving a bunch of dead weight around.
I kept going, and started to try to wiggle my fingers and toes to the jumping jacks I was doing in a desperate effort to generate that body heat. Hunger pangs started to occur as I was expending so much energy doing all this activity.
I kept going, as I had motivation and interest in keeping myself alive and not become a human popsicle.
A thought crossed my mind to just hibernate and be thawed out sometime later, but i dismissed that thought as silly and stupid.
Just as I got completely immersed in the jumping jacks with wriggling fingers and toes; and I was drowning in the sensation of hunger; suddenly the hail just stopped, as if someone flipped the light switch to the OFF position. Within a minute, the storm-clouds broke apart and the sun peeked through, with ferocious intensity.
The millions of hailstones that littered and covered the whole landscape started to melt really quickly, and I noticed that a streak of white remained that was a foot wide, and was winding through the landscape, as parts outside were showing all the colors of nature, orange, green, brown, and various bright flower colors.
THE HAILSTORM MARKED OUT A PATH FOR ME!
I sat there in utter disbelief, sweating and wet, as the sun and jumping jacks got me really warm. I sat there for what must have been a half an hour and the sun was now lower in the sky... I was guessing that I had about 3 hours left before I lose my eyesight. As I observed the white path, I noted there was absolutely no cloud in the visible sky. The clouds similarly disappeared like the hail; again like a flip-switch sent to OFF.
I shook myself awake telling myself, “Hey buddy, better get walking before that white path melts!”; and started to power-walk down that white path. I eventually recognized some landmarks from earlier, but what was different was I was walking down this white path that didn't seem to be melting. I felt the crunch of each hurried step and about what seemed a couple of hours later, I noticed some wooden bridges that spanned the river and crossed them.
The white path gave way to actual and very visible paths.
At sunset, I noticed the trailheads at the very edge of my vision and eventually reached them. A group of rangers, officers, emergency folks were waiting for me. I had apparently made one long, large loop around the canyon and ended up back at the trailhead I started from early that morning
they gave me water and several protein / energy bars.
Everything worked out, and I apparently showed up right before the time requirement that they would have started to use some of the state resources to find me. They had sent one tracker to find me earlier, but the tracker could not find my trail and returned to wait, as he actually had the same thoughts I had about the canyon and where I would end up at either one of the trailheads eventually. A few others from the group were really upset at me; but I ended up having a great time on the hike followed by a few challenges that allowed me to make a decision on how I wanted to ultimately respond as a person. I knew from personal experience that being upset towards the other, most of the time does not really affect the other person, not nearly as much as yourself and that I only hurt myself whenever I got upset.
I didn't respond to the expression of others, knowing that it did indeed all work out in the end. I got a heck of a good hike, and plenty of pretty pictures out of it. I really did enjoy being in the moment during that whole time. Instead of resisting being in that state of being, I celebrated it; celebrated feeling of being human; that I could feel, react, respond; that I do not always need to be my higher self because it is already worked out for me divinely as God knows what I am capable of; how i respond, my quirks, etc.; that I didn't need to, nor know all that was going on. Some things that I was not aware of oftentimes I observe that when I feel down, tunnel vision seems to set in and we see less and less of what is around us, the mental chatter gets worse and overwhelms the senses at times. Yet someone else that is not in your shoes still sees more than you do, and is aware of more and sees a way forward very obviously, but does not always understand that you do not see it because of that tunnel vision and noise. In this case, I was able to see beyond the tunnel vision and had a good time.
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