I remember being lost in a huddle of Hutongs* in Beijing. I had been circling a spot on the map for an age with little reward, the underground museum still an elusive cache of propaganda I had yet to see. I was where I was meant to be according to directions and yet under very hot sun I was lost and alone with a compass and a map (which on every other occasion had proven useful).
These two items were essentials on my travels. I think I had unconsciously chosen them as amulets to accompany my uncertainty and fears as I made my way through China’s mainland, followed by Vietnam and Thailand. I had a roaring passion for travel, housed in an introverts’ body and though it never stopped me, I do find it funny that my fear and logic chose a map and compass for protection. Little shield against the imagined threat.
I had been wandering through countless alleyways that everything had started to look the same, and this mixed with intolerable heat had me near the point of giving up. I then found myself at the end of another pathway demanding I turn left or right, and It’s interesting that nine years on I remember the next moment as clear as day, like I was there. Out of the blue something came over me and my body was like a tuning fork, calmly providing the answer – I felt a strong pull and a deep knowing.
I just knew which way to turn, which way would take me to where I needed to go. Indecision, exhaustion and a loud mind were silenced. And sure enough the museum followed with ease.
It’s worth noting that there was a significant distinction in how I felt in my body. If I could describe how ‘knowing’ feels I would, but in my abilities absence I would say you go from knowing to believing to doing in quick succession. It makes the way ahead so obvious. I would say it does feel solid and calm, if that’s any help.
A couple of days ago I found myself meandering through the beautiful dunes and sand spilled pathways of Palm Beach, NSW.
And even though wave frolicking dolphins entertained us, and the limestone cliffs brought me the strongest sense of security I’d felt in awhile (truly), it was the pathways that held my attention the most.
I was struck by their beauty, and the way I felt inside them.
Walking along them, inside something that was taking me somewhere. Those tracks of fence line and sand were gently firing off my synapses, connections made that I don’t know about yet. And it was while looking over the photo’s I’d snapped that the memory of nine years earlier sprang into my consciousness.
I find it all rather serendipitous and magical how a series of moments from past and present can knit together and invite you to revisit, look, enquire.
And here I now sit looking at my way ahead, asking myself which path to take. Thinking I know which one I’m resisting, what my options are, how it may look. It’s been SO long on the table and in the run up I could paint this picture by numbers from memory, colour perfect. And there partly in lies the problem, being so chummy with what’s not working, though handy at the beginning has not beared any fruit. And will not.
Truth be told it’s diving into the fear and resistance that surfaces you into knowing. Into following your hearts desire.
So, to Hutongs, pathways, being lost and found, limestone cliffs, hearts desire and friends I say thank you before the dive.
*A narrow lane or alleyway in a traditional residential area of a Chinese city, esp. Beijing.
Photos taken at Palm Beach, NSW.