Chocorua Part 1: The Journey There

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Chocorua in early August

Sometimes the spirits of the land study you before you are allowed to study them. Their secrets held inside the membrane of earth and stone until you have proven yourself worthy of receiving.

Before we left that morning, I sealed acceptance into my aura. There was the knowing that I would be given what I needed to receive and perhaps not all that I yearned for. There is no rushing the land and its protectors, but a grateful, open-heart is always accepted.

I had met Chocorua over the winter, when I had turned a bend in the road and found myself faced with its head of stone, balded in patches of white from the snow, looming before me. It was one of those moments when the body defies words. My daughter looked at me, and I at her, with the same knowing. Someday, I would return. There was no discussion.

We drove the rest of the way to her ski meet immersed in our own thoughts, my eyes blinking away the moisture bought on by our encounter with Mt. Chocorua. Why, I wondered, have I not seen you before? 

I have lived in NH since I was nearly five years old. The mountain I had just passed, a mere 1.5 hours from my childhood home. I must have heard of it, even “seen” it in my travels.  I have learned, thought, that we do not truly see until the land is ready to be seen.

And, so I found myself traveling the roads to Chocorua six months later. Now mid-summer, there was no snow, but plenty of heat. We had just over twenty-four hours for our trip, and this would be our first night away without our children, ages 14 and 15, since they were born. A strange way to celebrate a slightly belated 20th wedding anniversary, perhaps, but my husband, like my daughter, understands my desires even if he doesn’t entirely comprehend them. When I found out he had booked us a night in North Conway so we could celebrate two decades of marriage by hiking the legendary mountain, I was deeply touched. My only reservation was that we would not have enough time.

Which was part of the letting go.

The morning began with tension after the release that yoga brings. I had a morning class to teach, and when I returned home, it was to find my husband nowhere near ready to go. I have a long history with time controlled by the minutes that tick by on the clock. I loathe being “late,” in whatever circumstance that involves. It’s not easy for me to let it go. I had breathed acceptance into my body at the start of the day, and it was not going to allow me to forget it.

When finally we got on the road, an hour after I had hoped we would leave, my husband and I found ourselves doing our individual best to release the threads of tension between us. That is until twenty-five minutes into our journey he realized he had forgotten his dress clothes, and, true to his nature, blamed it on my long-battle with time. Once more I found myself breathing into acceptance as we turned the car around.

It was a mostly wordless journey back home. When we arrived our daughter, just recently having woken, greeted us with some surprise as she smiled above the top of the couch. We had now lost about two hours of the day, by my calculations with the clock, but my body knew it was what we needed. This test of letting go of what we tend to hold onto, if we could.

And we did, gradually at first, as we settled back into an uneasy silence. My husband making the first offering of peace by placing his right hand on my thigh as he navigated the road back toward the mountain with his left. I felt the letting go as I met his offering with the wrap of my hand around his. Our journey now officially underway with all we needed packed in the car, even though later we would lament not having brought more. Not in terms of clothing, but in terms of supplies for the long walk ahead of us. In our determination to hike 3.5 thousand footer, we had not given much thought to the long, indirect path we had chosen to get to the top.  Chosen as though it was not a choice, because it was the path walked before the white man had landed on the shores of New England.

To be continued…

Home and the Struggle of the Mind

It’s funny, this struggle of the mind. How it strives, always, to take us over, chattering through the silence and forever searching for the spotlight, when there is a river inside that  waits to flow through the unencumbered space devoid of thoughts. Here the water is warm and healing, it travels upon the air of our breath, reaching the deepest cells inside of our being until it finds home. Peace is a mere pause, yet rarely do we allow its presence.

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Instead we follow the bumpy road of thoughts, tripping along the way. We diverge, often, down paths that are not ours to explore. The prattle of others scatters our focus, and like circus beasts, unable to break free, we cannot realize the inherent freedom to go our own way. That we must, in fact, break free to find home, which is self.

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We are not here to follow orders. Think of the child before she succumbs to reigns. Think of the two year old dancing in all her glory, waving her limbs with abandon. Her emotions spark action. She is anything and everything at once. She is free in the finding of self. You were her, you still are.

Now think of the child, perhaps she is now 9, sitting in a queue of chairs. She is silent, waiting for her chance to speak. If she speaks out of line, she will be punished. This child knows rules that are not her own. When her eyes stray from the lesson she must learn – a template she has not written – they search through the window where life grows free. Her ears perk to the song of the bird. They can’t help it. It sings the lyrics of truth. Her soul knows the verses.

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You are that girl. Or boy. That child waits inside, patiently, for you to come home to self. “Who are you?” she asks. For she knows the answers. She has never forgotten.

“Return to me,” she calls. Her voice is quiet, but strong. There is conviction in her words. There is power. Her call is steady, an echo, repeating until you pause to listen.

And, oh, the moment that you do, the doorway to pure joy opens, as wide as you allow it to. It is not a door that locks shut. It is not a door that opens only once. This door has no limitations, beyond what you give it. For it is the entrance to your soul. When you enter, you find reunion.  “Are you ready,” she is asking. “Are you ready to come home to me.”

“Together we will birth glorious things.”

“Together we are magic.”

The true, aligned self, you see, knows no bounds. The river of truth flows in a continuous heartbeat, aligning to and seeking only joy. Only love. It wants only for you to come home to the gifts of your free soul.

“Who are you?”

Pause. And remember. Return.

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