It’s early September now, and in Texas summer is still blazing strong. It will be 98, maybe even 99, degrees today. This is the time of year that I begin to long for sweaters and corduroy. I will drive to the coffee shop tomorrow morning wearing a summer dress because the pumpkin spice latte’s are back on the menu at Starbucks. When November rolls around, it will taste even yummier when I’m drinking a latte and wearing a sweater and boots.
This morning, I made a cup of chai coffee and sat on my front porch to absorb the air. The breeze felt like silk on my skin. I listened to the orchestra of birds. They were exceptionally chatty this morning. I heard sounds that seemed to be part of a celebration. A hawk flew across the field preying for it’s breakfast, while all of the birds sang and chirped from miles. It brought me the same delicious feeling I get when I’m snuggled in the bed with a sherpa blanket on a cold night.
I was mesmerized by the sounds that I didn’t notice a white tail buck walked to nearly 100 feet from where I was sitting. He stopped and looked at me. I smiled silently, and felt like we had a connection. I knew that my day was destined for shopping and a movie, and the buck’s was probably going to eat and sleep. But we made eye contact before he turned and slowly walked away.
About 3 years ago, a tremendous restlessness began within myself. There are times that I feel like I’m being carried along the fastest wind storm with nothing to hold onto.
When I step out of my front door and breathe the exquisite air, I start to calmn down and forget about the restlessness. It’s the every day hustle that stirs it around. My curiosity is screaming for attention. It is asking questions when I’m watching tv, when I’m reading a book, when I’m playing with my kids. I hear the questions when I’m driving down the road and when I’m taking a shower. The questions even wake me up at night and long for my attention.
Today I saw my own restlessness, as If I was someone else looking at me. I wonder, “What am I meant to do? What path in life is mine to take? What’s my unique purpose?” All of the restlessness is about these questions. I feel an anxiousness about finding the answers quickly. After all, I don’t want to miss the sign that says “Adrianne Pena Carnes this is your path; turn here!"
Elizabeth Gilbert (author “Eat, Pray, Love”) and Cheryl Strayed (author “Wild) share similar stories. They are women, struggling with the lives they were living, who set out on grand adventurous travel to find their souls. They come from heart ache and found their peace while enduring solitude.
I compared myself to these women as I sat on the porch this morning, and that only led me to feeling even more unimportant. I wondered, “how was I going to find my purpose without hiking the PCT or without flying to India.” I breathed in more peaceful air and drank some more chai coffee. I imagine that it was the birds that sent me the message, but I suddenly felt an incredible calm.
I do have something in common with these women and with many other people. I hear the questions “What am I meant to do? What path in life is mine to take? What’s my unique purpose?” They heard the same questions, and they stayed curious about the answers. Cheryl strapped on a back pack and walked 2,650 miles searching for the answers. Elizabeth ate pasta, prayed with Monks and found love while searing for the same answers.
I’m on the same journey, and I suppose we all are. I’m not leaving my home or family to go on a 4 month walk or travel the East. What I am going to do is spend moments of time each day in silence. I’m going to get to know all of my fears, my shame and my doubt. I’m going to love those parts of me because they are me. I am joyful, fearful, grateful, resentful, proud and shameful. Every moment in my life is part of who I am, and without gratitude for those moments, I won’t be able to continue my own Hero’s Journey.
I don’t know what “my unique purpose” is, but I know that loving myself unconditionally along the way is the only way I’ll find out.