On Fear and Unpaved Paths

Dear Reader,

One week ago I sat at a local Bellingham beach on my lunch break, with my toes buried in the sand and my head buried in my hands.

My body was sore.

My stress levels were sky high.

And my connection to nature and our earth was at an all time low.

This was the first time all week I had actually felt present in my body. After continuous 50 hour work weeks stuck behind a desk, I was starting to feel like I was wasting away. But in this moment, I was finally able to breath in life again.

So, I asked myself...

When do you feel most alive? 

And this is what I came up with:

  1. I feel alive when I am in nature
  2. I feel alive when I am moving, especially dancing!
  3. I feel alive when I am connected to my body
  4. I feel alive when my body is connected to the earth

So then, I started thinking about all the times in my life - present and past - that I've turned away from feeling alive and walked back into the ease of convention, routine and structure (it's worth mentioning that as I attempted to type "routine" I started typing "torture" talk about a Freudian slip).

Recently I chose a job because it was clear and straightforward. Convenient. Consistent. Practical.

In college, I chose to pursue a degree in teaching (which by the way, didn't pan out because it was never truly what I wanted, instead I graduated with a BA in English Lit). I initially chose this degree because it was CLEAR. The path was paved. Go to school. Do you practicum/student teaching. Graduate. Apply for jobs. Work. Follow curriculum.

But those decisions and the many others I've made, simply because the paths were paved, were not fueled by the question: "What makes you feel alive?"

They were fueled by my fear.

My fear of having to walk or worse yet, create my own path. Of things not being laid out for me. No steps to follow. Directions to read. Or warnings to heed.

But the things that make me feel alive are not clear and structured. Not paved and simple. The things that make me feel alive are WILD!

- Ecstatic and Open Floor Dance

- Hiking up Mountains 

- Rolling around in the sand

- Diving into the ocean

- Spending my birthday's in lands I do not call home

- Writing a blog of my own, where I make the rules

- Living out of a van

- Sinking my feet into the dirt

But how the hell am I supposed to base my life around the unstructured, the wild, the free?

And suddenly, with my feet moving through the sand on the beach, it hit me. Humans have not always had paved paths.

We created clear paths by plowing through nature, chopping down trees, killing the wild world.

But left untamed, nature has no clear paths.

We made this world ruly, when it is meant to be wild.

Just as I am meant to be!

So here's what I decided: it's time to let go of my fear of unpaved paths. To live freely, as is the natural way. 

The time has come to take a chance. To walk boldly into the untamed wild, on a path that is not paved, nor clear of obstacles. Rather a path that I create by ducking under branches - as not to disturb them - follow rushing rivers, and learn from the wild animals.

Following my fear down clear, paved paths has never served me. So here's to letting it go!

Here's to:

- Writing my blog

- To living in my van

- To teaching open floor

- To connecting with my body and this earth

And mostly, to feeling alive 100% of the time instead of just 10%. Fear can go suck it, because it's time to LIVE!

With love and light (some sass, and lots of gratitude too),

Annalise