The Long Ride Home pt. 1

In 2017 I told myself, “When I move to Portland, I’m going skiing after work.”

I moved here one year ago, and for the past 2 months I’ve been gratefully skiing on the Earth’s mirror, scarcely believing this is home now.

It was one of those dreams we all have like building a house, visiting some far-flung land, getting married, working a great job, wanting to be happy. Often the dreams we most want start from a small place of desire without resistance and without knowing how or if it’s all going to come together.

Initial desires seem far-fetched at first, but the mere possibility that a dream could actually come into being has spurred on almost every piece of music, and war, building of homes and skyscrapers, each knitting together of a family that has ever existed.

When you’re young you must depend on another to provide your needs and desires. What if there’s no one there you can trust or depend on to make this happen? What if you grew up without a suitable parent to trust? And those of us who did have that initial trust wish we grew up with a trust fund. As we get older all of the responsibilities lay on our shoulders.

Doubt in our ability to attain goals, and relationships, our states of being, begin at a young age because certain experiences ended in a bad way for us, or we watched it end badly for others, or were told of it in Bible stories and political propaganda.

Or because of dead-end jobs and life in dead-end states or series of failed dates and families have shown us that we don’t get what we want. That dreaming is wasteful. That it is easier to live that life you were born into and the chip on your shoulder you’ve been given. The kids and parents I work with often feel this way and they’re not wrong for feeling so. They’ve been betrayed by family members and country for generations.

When I moved here a year ago, my life had recently devolved into chaos and loss. A published book and traveling adventures came at a huge cost. Mental health issues that had been wading in darkness were finally brought forth into light. That glaring light shone upon the frayed sutures holding my life together. I discovered they weren’t there at all.

Relationships fell apart at seams that seemed unbreakable. Upon reflection I was trying to keep together a life that had not been fulfilling with some relationships where I was pouring into others without much in return. It felt like I was pouring myself into others whose wells were bottomless and insatiable. The water ran dry within myself until there was nothing left to give and finally snapped.

I came up here not knowing what was going to happen or if I was actually going to make it. “What if none of this works out?” I asked myself. I could not handle another devastating blow in any sense of the word.

There was literally nothing physically left in my physical possession save my car and everything I had taken on my cross-country road trip and to Mexico. The plans made and money saved to make a smooth transition from Texas to Portland were unintentionally torn asunder by my own two hands and addled mind.

The first 2 months of 2019, were spent in Texas taking stock of what was left and what had ended. Most of what was still true of my life actually remained. Family and friends still loved me. I still loved to hike and be amongst open-minded kind people.

With the proper diagnoses you can then utilize the tools which can help you live a vibrant and authentic life. Medication, therapy, being enveloped with nature, starting almost completely from scratch were some of the tools in my new wheelhouse.

The West had been calling me forward for a long time. Years before the recent schism. So I asked myself, “What if moving to Portland actually does work out?” Some callings are greater than our circumstances.

Slowly, the same two hands and a properly medicated mind created the life I now find myself living. Everything brought me to Now, and I am happy. What good is it to curse the former difficulties?

I strive to make decisions for the highest good, maintaining boundaries I had so easily let be taken of advantage of in the past, pouring into others while keeping enough in my own well. Positive friendships and relationships have blossomed and have begun to flourish. And as is the way of life New challenges are always on our horizons. Sometimes the horizon itself has literally shifted due to where we find ourselves geographically in the world.

PNW winters challenge the hardiest of souls. To go weeks with cold rain and without sunlight cause many of to withdraw inward. The respite was welcoming at first. But as the perpetual gloom lingered I went into nature less and less. Being in nature was part of my healing process and I stopped going outdoors because of the wet and weary weather. Then I went skiing for one of my roommate’s birthdays and remembered how much I loved this winter activity.

At the end of January, I took new stock of my situation and realized “this life up here is working out and I like it.” When you have recovered from difficult periods you begin really appreciating the reasons that make you live. The shift happens when you begin to seek them out.

So I bought my first ski season pass, skis and gear, and it’s unexpectedly changed parts of my life. Skiing has become a passion and one I often do on my own. Learning new skills help to imbue oneself with confidence that translates into other areas.

I’ll be speeding 40 mph down a black in exhilaration and wondering how the hell I didn’t crash.

Then I tell myself, “I’ve done this before, I know how to ski on piste, and how to talk to this client, and I know how to get out of bed and out of debt. I’ve done each many times before.” And I get out of my own way.

There are times I do bite it, are not as scary as the first time and it happened and now I know how to more easily correct myself when shredding powder or craving on ice.

Skiing is a fluid conversation with the mountain. It’s a mind-body, seasonal and multi-elemental connection. Finding ourselves upon mountains, to ski upon them, is honors the mountain within.

There is nothing more alive than when you feel the thrill of living. It’s as close to flying as we can come. The closest to breaking the bonds of Earth- of our frailties and also of our courage.

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