Sometimes it just feels like you’re breathing, I mean clearly you are…but you can’t get a breath.
Have you ever felt this way? It’s often the description from some people after they’ve experienced some kind of loss. There’s no depth to the breath, it’s purely functional, yet hardly efficient.
As I began my walk this morning, I noticed it was happening to me.
There was no grief, no huge event that led to this, but after a hugely emotional day yesterday, in which I was crying and struggling and pushing, it seems there was something going on.
When I woke up this morning, I realized that, of late, I’ve written in my journal, but haven’t really written anything to myself. It’s been a series of brags and gratitudes and desires, something that I began as a habit a while ago, but beyond that, nothing really significant or important. Yet here I am, going through the largest transformation of my life, without recording my thoughts.
And so I began. The thoughts and feelings that came out surprised me. There was a part of me that wanted to run and hide, that didn’t want to play this anymore. The pressure had become too great. I honestly looked at my closet and considered crawling inside, turning out the light and staying there for a while. Hell, I may still, it still sounds like a great idea; the desire to just put myself into a dark cocoon where nothing and no one can bother me just sounds heavenly.
I had begun a habit of going for walks at my local park, doing a live video before and after and coming home. When I began walking, it was just to go for a walk, nothing more, then once I created the habit of walking three days a week, I added the lives in an effort to become consistent with my social media postings. Doing this helped me to become more visible, I found myself stronger and less caring of what people thought of my appearance. It was a really really great idea.
But I began to wonder if it had the impact that I thought I wanted. I believed that it would increase my visibility to potential clients and I would see my social media numbers increase. That hasn’t really happened.
What happened was that I gained confidence. I like that.
But I lost connection…to me.
My walks had now become something I was doing for other people, my vision was focused outward. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but not when it becomes unbalanced. And I had become unbalanced…in a big way.
I knew that I needed to go walk in the field next to my house, to get away from people and to hear my own voice.
As I began, I felt the presence of my dear Zuri, my beautiful German Shepherd, who passed away last April. This was our route, she loved walking out there and would often stop and turn to me as if to say “thank you” whenever we began.
I continued down the path, hearing a toddler cry through an open door in one of the houses and hearing their mother yelling “no…I said no!” which led to more wails of protest. Clearly someone wasn’t getting their way.
I turned away from the houses and further down the path. It was then that I noticed I couldn’t get a deep enough breath. A few steps farther down the path, a coyote ran in front of me. I slowed down and watched. She was far enough away that I wasn’t in any danger, but I couldn’t see where she went. She was there, then she was gone.
I realized I was on what I call a “Spirit walk”. Whenever I come to the end of some seeming crisis or drama, I must walk. I let my feet, and Spirit lead the way. I feel my way along the path and I “listen” intently.
My walk today was about listening to silence and quiet; it was about getting a breath and coming home to myself.
I followed the path to a section that I hadn’t gone down before. The trail was still there, but not as worn, it was a place I hadn’t walked much before. I recalled that there had been a time when I was walking Zuri off leash and she got away from me. She had chased a rabbit all the way down here. I remembered the panic I felt as I called and called to her. She eventually came back, but it terrified me so much that I never let her go off leash again.
The trail became overgrown, so I veered off and headed across a patch of desert that would take me to a dirt road 25 yards to my left. An ancestor popped in; my great-grandfather John Robert Collins Piercy. In my mind he said:
“we follow the trail left by others, but then we have to go our own way”.
JRC had done that. He’d traveled across the country from North Carolina, first to Terre Haute Indiana, then to Utah, and finally landing in what would become El Monte California in 1895. I could only imagine what beauty greeted him; how raw the land was; how he “made his own way” with what was available to him and established a farm, built a house and became the manager of the water facilities nearby.
I found the road and stopped for a moment to look at a train sitting on the railroad tracks next to a junkyard. I wondered if it was going to move. Then I turned around and saw the view.
I could see all the way across the valley from the Peacock Mountains to the Hualapais, the sun was peeking through the clouds and rays were shining down. It was stunning. I grabbed for my phone but then heard “no…no pictures, this isn’t for anyone else to see, it’s just for you”
I realized I couldn’t breathe because I had been doing so much for so many, that I had forgotten to get still enough to truly hear my own voice. I can only hear this sure, quiet voice when I am not focused outwardly, not making another video or post for someone else to see.
When I don’t stop to notice and marvel at the world around me, a part of me becomes lost.
This was the voice that wanted to climb into the closet; this was the part of me that craved no other input than my own. I had been ignoring her, I had been pushing and pushing and trying on personas and tactics.
But I hadn’t been listening to my inner wisdom.
Suddenly I could breathe again.
I turned and made my way up the road towards home
I looked behind me at the train on the tracks. It wasn’t moving. I saw a truck way, way down the road and wondered if it was coming my way. I kept walking, turning every once in a while to see the truck and look at the train. Turning back to my walk, I soon I heard an engine behind me. I knew it didn’t sound like a truck, it was the train. It stretched for miles. I stopped and watched it, taking note of the graffiti on the sides and the names on the box cars. I watched it for a bit. Jjust when I thought it went on forever, I realized it was yet another train that had passed the first one, which was still parked next to the junkyard. One train became two. Somehow that seemed important.
I came to a fork in the road and was in familiar territory again. I heard a hawk. I recalled that I had seen one a week ago, but had forgotten about it. This time Hawk got my attention, I stopped and looked around, finally seeing it at the top of a telephone pole, crying out. It seemed to look down at me. We stared at each other for a moment then I continued on, deciding to look up his message when I got home.
I continued on and heard another hawk; not behind me on the telephone but to my right. The one on the phone pole was still there, but another was on a small hill, calling out too. And this one kept calling and calling to drive the point home that I needed to pay attention.
A few feet later, another coyote crossed my path.
I stopped this time and watched her as she faded into the brush.
Two coyotes and two hawks…two trains.
As I continued on, another ancestor popped in, this time, my 2x great grandfather, John Westly Clinton Piercy. He was a surveyor in Burke County, North Carolina, and mapped out the entire region. He wrote a book about it.
His message to me
“we map out the path for others to follow”
The message was clear and I had received the information that I needed.
Coyote Spirit, the unpredictable…“Coyote’s medicine includes understanding that all things are sacred and yet nothing is sacred, only when all masks have fallen will we connect with Source, illumination, intelligence, singing humans into being, childhood trust into truth, teaching us how to raise our young…give one the ability to laugh at one’s own mistakes, shape shifting, teaching balance between risk and safety…”
Hawk’s gifts “clear sightedness, being observant, messages from the universe, guardianship, recalling past lives, courage, wisdom, illumination, seeing the bigger picture, creativity, truth, experience wise use of opportunities, overcoming problems, magic, focus”
“222 is a message of hope, representative of balance, harmony, life choices, commitment, compromise, and trust. It’s a sign you can build on your current situation to achieve your goals and more.”
At long last, I am at peace…it feels like ages since I have been here
And yet I know that every single step I’ve taken has been preparing me for the next.
I wouldn’t have known the messages from my ancestors had I not looked for them in my family tree this weekend. Their stories have inspired me.
I wouldn’t have known to take a walk completely by myself, for myself, had I not spent so much time walking for others.
I wouldn’t have known what the next direction is had I not learned to listen…had I not known that I was breathing…but not taking a breath
For this I am so grateful