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Submitted by Meredith Arena on Thu, 7/5/2012, 11:30am
Going to sleep and waking up in Elwha Valley felt scary. We sat by the fire and the moon hadn’t risen yet. It was dark. The moon came up over the mountain just as we were going to sleep, shedding light into the tent, so that I could see my breath during the cold night. A certain sense of emptiness and despair and feeling cold. The sound of the wild river and the expanse between the mountains in this valley where we pitched a tent for the night.
(I set out to write about an open space and I have chosen a valley because it felt open and big and because I felt small. I might have chosen an endless prairie or an ocean front, but maybe I associate openness with feeling small. This seems like a noteworthy part of the process.)
In the morning everything seemed possible. The cold less sharp, the river more paced. My perception of nature changing its actual nature. Was the river wild? Or was my mind wild? Similarly the expanse of the valley did not feel so deep and wide. The fear wasn't present. Still, when it began to drizzle, we quickly packed up and hiked out because we did not want to be stuck inside the tent all day.
The mind fluctuates from a feeling of spaciousness to feeling narrow and trapped. When this happens to me my view about my relationship, living situation or job might go from loving to hating; embrace to fear. There is wisdom in all of these. The loving is where I am open, the soft parts in my armor. The hating is where I am protected. When I am able to view the hating and loving with a bit of equanimity, I can see the wisdom in each. The hating may be showing me where a certain situation is stuck, but I need the loving to make any changes, or just to see properly.
What is the wisdom of our emotions. Can we experience them without believing them? Is the valley wide or narrow?
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