Today I asked myself: what on earth was I thinking?
For some unexplainable reason, I had the urge to go on a road trip. It didn’t matter where, it didn’t matter with whom, I just knew I had to go.
The feeling came some time yesterday and I summarily dismissed it, but it got stronger and stronger until finally I said, okay, I’ll go. However, as the night wore on, I started to doubt that decision, especially since it was raining on and off all night. When I woke up this morning and saw that the weather wasn’t really “perfect” (which in layman’s terms would be defined as cloudy, but for me has always been considered a “bad weather day”) I told myself that maybe I shouldn’t go. But that stirring inside of me wouldn’t settle and that something inside of me told me to just go. “Just go”, it said, as I struggled with it. “Just go” it urged, even as I walked Bubba around the village this morning, arguing that the walk should be enough already. Finally exasperated I asked myself why do I need to do this. That voice just calmly said: do it just because.
So finally I got in my car and drove. Usually when this stirring comes, I head towards the beaches in Batangas because of all places in this earth I feel most at home in, it’s the beach. However, while I still had no solid plans and as early as last night, I already knew for a fact that it wouldn’t be the beach I would be finding myself in. Why, I don’t know, I just knew.
Surprise, surprise, I ended up in Tagaytay.
I guess anyone who really knows me is aware about how I feel about the rain and cold weather so I really don’t know why that voice in me insisted I go there. It was perhaps the coldest place in the city to I could head to, especially on a gloomy, overcast day such as this. I’ve never really been a fan of that city, no matter how peaceful and beautiful it is, mainly because no matter what time of year you go, you can count on it being, at the very least cool and chilly. And for some reason, the cold always, always manages to get me down for some reason. It makes me sad beyond explanation and it challenges the very core and fiber of who I am. I tried to convince myself to just go to Nuvali or Paseo de Sta. Rosa, after all, it was far enough from the city so if it was just the movement I was looking for, that should be good enough. And, I tried to tell myself, at least it’s kinda warm so I know it won’t be bad. But noooo…..”GO!” said that voice in me, “keep driving” .
As soon as I turned the corner to the city proper, a frightening sight greeted me: thick, heavy fog, so thick I could barely see more than three cars in front of me. With visibility low and an obvious coldness that I was sure I would hate, I felt an impending sense of doom come over me. The logical, cognitive side of me started telling me to pull over, turn back and head to safety. But that little voice inside me kept on insisting I go on. “Just breathe through it”, it said, “don’t be afraid because it will be okay”. “Besides”, it told me, “you know what you’re doing and I promise, this will be good for you”.
As I drove through the fog, I felt myself clam up. I felt the blood rush suddenly to my head and make me feel a wee bit light-headed. I clenched the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles turned white, and I felt my shoulders involuntarily tense. And yes, as I do in any situation that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable, I held my breath.
“Just breathe”, said that something inside of me.
It wasn’t easy, let me tell you, to completely let go to the fear and just breathe through it. Much as I initially wanted to do it, I would involuntarily suck in my breath again and hold on tightly for dear life, as if by holding on to my breath, I stay in control over things around me.
What I failed to realize, as I often do, is that by letting go, I allow myself to see the bigger picture and to make better and wiser choices. By breathing out, I release the tension and the lightheadedness, and the pounding that creeps up at the back of my neck that leads to my heart thumpity-thump-thumping away dissipates.
So I made it to my destination and though I had a lot of plans in my head for what to do while I was there, I ended up doing nothing. I stared at my computer screen for most of the time, watching the fog and nothing else.
As the troubles that were weighing me down and the thoughts that were haunting me faded away, I started to feel myself relax. Much like the fog, all these concerns, feelings and emotions were starting to cloud my head too much. As such, I was not seeing the bigger picture. Because of that cloudiness in my head, my wisdom and inner strength were being overpowered by irrational emotions. And because these emotions were so powerful and painful, I was flailing about, pulling on the wrong strings and making wrong choices that were not helping me, nor were working out for me.
I guess like the fog, these feelings come about to remind me of certain things. The fog reminds us to be careful and to go slow while driving, and so perhaps emotions tell us the same thing. As my wise old sage (well, I wouldn’t call her old, but you know what I mean ) told me just a few days ago: These emotions are neither good nor bad; they arise to tell you to pay heed to the undercurrents of your life. These emotions remind me to pay attention to my needs, my feelings and my actions, which often times I admit, tend to go on autopilot if I don’t take pause.
The voices in my head quieted down but one thing was clear. It was telling me to write my story of sadness and to tell the tale of gifts from darkness.
I didn’t know what that meant or how I would do that, but I said, okay. I will.
When I finally found myself in a place of clarity and feeling somewhat safer than I did earlier in the day, I decided to get up and transfer to another coffee shop where I knew I would be able to finally whip out my pencils and my sketchpad and finally draw. I knew I wanted to do that because that is what centers me the most and in my heart of hearts, I knew that by doing that I would come out of this trip a little bit stronger, a little bit wiser, and yes, a whole lot calmer (or should I say saner?) than I did when set off. Plus, I told myself, this was such an apt way to honor my feelings today. I have always believed I the importance of honoring my feelings, both good and bad, and the little traditions and ceremonies (particularly drawing and writing my thoughts and feelings, then tying them in a pretty bow then sending them to their “home”) that I do honor these well.
As I went back to my car, I stopped in my tracks and was amazed at the message the universe once again sent me: I left Manila with a heavy heart and a cloudy mind and on the way, the sky was heavy and cloudy with fog as well. After I had breathed through it and let it go, and as the cloudiness in my head disappeared and my heart became light, I stepped out of the cafe I saw that fog was gone and though there was a chill in the air, the sun was peeking through.
And so now I know the answer: what on earth was I thinking?
I wasn’t thinking. I just let go and believed, which, for someone like me who always wants a clear, definitive answer, isn’t very often. But I realized by just doing so, just because, with no questions asked and no resistance, things just fall into place.
Oh….and on a somewhat unrelated but kinda related point: (well, I get what I mean, bahala ka na if you don’t hehe) I posted something on Plurk (but said nothing about the voice telling me to write a book) and a dear friend Jane (who admittedly I don’t know very well in person, but we get along great online :-)), who is going through her own little rough patch right now herself said “when you write a book, i will buy your words are comforting Ria… Im glad clouds are out of your way”
That has gotta be a sign, right?!?