Good morning family from Bennekom Netherlands! The sun is shining, the birds are singing and there is a sense of happiness all around. I find it wonderful to see how people also change with the seasons and as nature is in full bloom, people, as part of nature, we are also in full bloom. It is time to flower.
I have not been writing much in the past months. I am not sure what the reason for it is exactly. There have been changes and trips and work and being less right next to a computer. However, I am happy to be writing again. It helps me share, connect and express myself, which is probably one of main requirements for self-realization.
I want to write about a concept that I have been ruminating in my head for the past months. A set of words that in capsulate this concept in a nice way are “Take the long way home”. What I am trying to share with this concept is the Paths which we create in our existence are what is important. In these is where all the learning, existence jewels, awakenings and wisdom occur.
For a while I fell in the trap of the instant satisfaction, in the trap of endless pursuit of goals, in the trap of the what’s-next mentality, rather than slowing down and honoring the Path I am treading at the moment.
Some examples of these traps were setting accomplishment expectations for me throughout the day, giving me a sense of urgency to accomplish and always having a mental state in which I needed to rush through what I was doing to be able to get to the next portion. I was completely missing the point. This would look like anxiously waking up, thinking that time was running away from me, quickly preparing and making breakfast, thinking that I needed to get that over with as quick as possible, so I could then take Lupe on a quick walk, so I could then have enough hours to work on some extra-curricular, self-imposed tasks and then just get those done as quickly as possible to then be able to cook a meal and eat it fast to then be able to take Lupe on another walk, so she could go to the bathroom, so I could then get to the desk to start my work day and rush through it to get as many tasks done as possible still finishing at decent hour to then be able to eat dinner, not too late, to make sure I can digest, so I can then get enough hours of sleep to be able to accomplish all the things the next day. This was my mental space. I didn’t like it. Something told me that if was not accomplishing then I was not worth it. But something else was telling me that that was bullshit and that I was missing the point. Yes, I was missing the point. And the point is so beautiful. Take is slow, put my attention in each of the processes, in each of the Paths.
Even though we might set on a path motivated by a goal (this might be the importance of goals, to set us on paths) the Path is where it is a,t soak yourself in the Path. And this is in the state in which I am now. Slowing down to the Path, taking the long way home.
This internal or universal message became apparent on a trip we did with my wife’s family to Galicia. We set to walk the last 113 km of the French Camino de Santiago (the Way). This was a 6 day hike, walking approximately 20 km per day. Since this is already a religious/spiritual pilgrimag I went with the expectation of receiving some realization at the end. However, even though the end was rewarding and comforting because we did not have to keep on walking, the actual walk was where it was at. Maybe not completely evident while going through the path, but in retrospective that was the teaching the path, My Path, gave me. Connect with you Path to its deepest levels. Slow down to it. If we rush through things chasing the carrot then life just flies by.
In this light, this is where my head space is at. Slowing down to the Paths and connecting.
A practice that is helping me stay in this head space is baking bread every morning and to commit myself to this practice and this head and existence space I am starting a 30 day baking challenge with a communitarian twist. I will bake bread for 30 days and give a loaf to someone in my community in token of appreciation to that being for being part of my community and supporting me. That makes me happy.
The bread making process, especially when creating my own starter dough, capturing the wild yeast and bacteria from the environment has really helped me inbody the concept of slowing down to the path. We are living in a society where everything is now, we are missing the processes, the Paths.
Making sourdough break has helped me see what it takes to create a bread, see how yeast and bacteria interact with the flour and water, how I can integrally be part of the process of putting these things together and slow down to experience the magic of nature, the magic and wonder of life. This is not instant, we need to slow down to see the process. Using my entire body to work with the doughj, see it rise, feed the yeast and bacteria, buy local flour (I could even slow the process down further and mill my own flour), sharing the finished loaf with family and friends and not rushing through this process, living it, experiencing it, this is where IT IS at.
I am translating this head space into many other areas of my day, like work, like yoga at night, like walks with Lupe and we are setting the intention to sail across the Atlantic rather than flying over it. I am slowing down to all of these Paths, without rushing to the goal line.
Here is a little poem I wrote about taking the long way home:
Take the long way home
Today I understand
The meaning of the phrase above
Today I understand
That slowing down and living go hand in hand
We are trained or wired to seek the next
While we are blind to see what is under our feet
Life is not a race
But a hike in the woods
Break down everything you are doing
And take every single step
Don’t miss a moment
Harvest your culture
Harvest your food
Plant the seed
Appreciate the seasons
Outside and within
Connect, connect, connect
To the deepest with everything you do
The most important is not getting through
But going through
Enjoy the journey
Goals just give you a direction
They don’t mean anything once you get there
Life is out there and within
Use your hands and your brain
Don’t stay in your brain
Walk your talk
You need it
Take the long way home
There is not rush
And a lot to see.