Tomorrow I'm heading west on the train to the mountains, so the other day I took up finishing this painting: the first thing I started working on last time I got back from Washington just a few months ago in April.
I love traveling solo and have learned a lot since my first (big/sort of scary) solo trip to Peru about what happens to us when we do. We learn a lot about ourselves, and what we can't live without; what we love, what we no longer need that's maybe weighing us down. We get time to reflect and be; we catch glimpses of the best version of our self that, hopefully, we're inspired to keep seeking even after the journey is over.
This, I guess, is what actually turns all of life into a literal adventure. When we're headed somewhere- versus just sort of coasting through life or 'going through the motions,' as it were- an expanse of space opens up before us that no longer looks like impossibility, or drudgery, or monotony- but adventure, opportunity.
I've heard it said that the best journeys answer questions that in the beginning we didn't even think to ask. It's been my experience that this is true: the best journeys- even the metaphorical, more inward ones- often reveal, heal, or resolve something in us that we didn't even realize was broken; they very literally bring us a wholeness that we ourselves could not have imagined. Only after the experience to we see that we have been changed, more profoundly than we could ever change ourselves.
It's a scary realization the first time it happens. But then afterward, strangely addicting, desirable; a lot like being in love. We struggle and suffer through life for a time, for a season- maybe for longer- and then we sort of push ourselves to these new, unknown places; we explore and see new things; we get to see the connection between our inner and outer journeys, between what shapes our hearts are taking and what we're actually doing with our lives. They're connected. Our experiences shape our hearts- but also, our hearts shape our experiences.
When the heart gets bolder, the experiences get better.
Peaks and valleys are part of the game. Ups and downs, lows and highs, and I've learned that beyond simply accepting that that's the case, there's also finding an anchor in those storms: some consistency to uphold you when you can't encourage yourself- and something to be thankful for even when you can. That, at least I have learned, comes in the form of Love.
When I was in Peru, I began to learn that our mistakes, depression, and suffering are more curable than I previously thought. Just by means of doing something with our lives, no matter how small, we gain a courage, a voice, and a transparency- a willingness to be seen- from beginning to imagine that the world has a very specific purpose (and place, and time, and people) just for us, just for our story.
That must be why we're here, I think. That must be part of the plan: to learn that when it comes to life, you can't tell your story unless you first find the courage to live it, and you can't find the courage to live it unless you move yourself out of your way.