Taking deep breaths as I look at Waynapicchu in Peru. 

I don't usually quote my own song lyrics in my blogs, but this week I made an exception as I'm trying to listen to my own thoughts and words to guide me. The whole adage of “practice what you preach” is really coming into play for me this week. The whole “do 3 deep breaths”, “have faith in the Universe”, “it will all work out”, and cheerleading spiritual encouragements of the like. I have no problem telling other people about how to calm themselves down, or writing lyrics that inspire in my songs, but when it comes to giving myself advice and actually using the tools that I KNOW work, it’s sometimes a bit of a challenge.

I got back to Canada last week after being in Peru for 3 months, and it’s always a bit of an adjustment for me. Not just with the contrast of culture and language (I'm still answering people in Spanish, which is annoying for those who don't speak it) but it's hard to shift back into the fast-paced lifestyle often based in consumerism and technology, we've adopted here in North America ) However, this time seems even more of an adjustment as I contemplate what’s next for me in the coming year. Usually I have a plan of sorts; last year I knew I’d be walking the Camino trail, so the transition of coming back to Canada was pretty smooth as I prepared for that journey. Now, I am in a place where I sort of have a plan, but have no idea what it’s going to look like. The plan is to head back to Nelson later this month, where I’ll spend some time on my land in Blewett and figure out where I’m going to build another cabin. I’ve reached the point where I need to have my own home base, and although I love my friends and family in Ontario, the skiing just doesn’t cut it. Sorry Mt. St. Louis…I’ve outgrown you. Nelson has always been in my heart even when I’ve been travelling the world for the past 6 years, so it’s time for me to return. That should be exciting right? Well, it is, but for the first time in years, I’m a bit scared. I mean, not scared of the town itself; I know it well and love my peeps there. But I’m scared of the unknown. And having to make some big decisions about what kind of pad to build. I have anxiety choosing coconut ice cream flavours sometimes, so to choose what my actual dwelling will look like scares the pants off of me. I’ve been talking about building on this land since I bought it 12 years ago, and I feel like listening and acting upon my Jewish ancestral proverb: “If not now, when?” 

This phrase became our mantra during my last Wild Women tour in Peru in July; the women were so amazing and inspiring on that trip. Some of them also had big decisions to make in their lives and where their journey would take them. Hiking the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu is always a great catalyst for contemplating, reflecting and making changes in one’s life. Some of the women on the trip had faced some crazy hardships like losing loved ones, separation, depression and other life challenges, and they came through it with grace, perseverance and sheer determination. I often find as a teacher, my “students” or those I work with teach me the greatest lessons.  And so it is with this in mind that I’m trying to be excited versus fearful or nervous about the unknown; the emotions and how they affect the body are pretty much the same. I’m always blabbing about how our nervous systems work and the importance of staying in the present moment, and yet I find I’m forgetting to take my 3 deep breaths every hour, and am getting lost in the future of the unknown. 

I remember our last day at Machu Picchu (which means “Old Mountain) where three of us gals climbed Waynapicchu (“Young Mountain”), which is the amazing steep slope you see in all those pictures of Machu Picchu. It’s not recommended if you have vertigo or are afraid of heights at all. I remember that day talking about how that climb seemed almost insurmountable when we looked at it from afar, but all we had to do was take one step, then another, and before we knew it, we were at the summit. This for me was a metaphor for any task we take in life that seems unattainable. Yogi Bhajan had a great saying with his 3rd Sutra: “When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.” So really, all we had to do was start walking. The same could be said for walking the Camino last year; I just started walking in France and ended at the sea in Spain 2 months later. The same can be said for starting the migration back to the west and building my new pad. I’ll just get in my car, drive out there, and start. One step at a time. One brick (or log) at a time. One breath at a time. I’m starting to practice what I preach.  Man. I feel better already. 

Question for You: When you’re faced with uncertainty and the unknown of the future, how do you stay in the moment and not freak out?

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