I am in the Bay area, thanks to a generous friend with extra frequent flyer miles. (Clinical fellowships in Reiki, however cool sounding they might be, don’t pay my bus fare, never mind Rockies-crossing travel).
Yesterday we walked eight miles through Redwood groves and along creeks that carried the smell of northern California: the wormwood and the California bay trees mixed with wildflowers and sage. We ended on a wind-whipped cliff high above the Pacific, having to make ourselves heavy like toddlers who refuse to be picked up and carried off to naps.
Actually, this being the culinary capitol of the United States, we wound up at the Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, eating roasted cauliflower and corn soup and mozzarella salad with basil oil, and sampling a host of delights such as fig preserves with local triple cream, herb-rinded stinky cheese.
My friends are as smart and fun as the amount of water in the ocean is immeasurable and it is impossible not to want to move into Anna & Joe’s Berkeley backyard, complete with its very own creek and Redwood — upon which Joe has placed the word “Hope” in bright lights at its cupola, since unlike me, Joe has no fear of heights.
My fear of heights reached into our walk yesterday, when we descended a narrow rocky path where the creek we had been following made its way to the Immeasurable Ocean, and I knew I couldn’t go any further, even if I slid down on my butt. Cecilia suggested I take a five-minute breather and after about three minutes were up, Jimmy reached out his hand and I hemmed and hawed and kept saying things like “I can just wait for you guys here” and “I know this is ridiculous but” and then I finally took his hand and made it over the narrowest, and therefore scariest part, and we sat and listened to the water rush over rocks and ate Clif Bars and roasted almonds while I waited for my adrenal glands to get over themselves.
Coming up was no problem at all — I was positively Billy Goat-like, truth be told — and for the rest of the walk back (except for the 20 minutes after my brush with the stinging nettle), I wondered how things can seem so terrifying from one angle, and not even cause you to pause from another.
Fear is like that: it emerges when you’re skipping along and reminds you that as immeasurably fabulous your life appears in the present moment, there’s A Way You Used To Be and the biggest fear is of course that this is Who You Really Are: Paralyzed in Big, Beautiful Places, and so maybe you are scared of being too big and beautiful yourself. And then a friend balances being kind and compassionate and patient with reaching his hand toward yours and you get it. Enough. Time to Move Out of Old Ways of Being.
Reiki is like this too. You hold your hands over places and you get them to do the listening, training the rest of you to be patient, but when it’s time to let go or tell truths or take a nice big step over the scary parts, you get on with it. And you do.
May your world be full of small, and big, steps this week!