A warning, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it in the most unexpected of ways.
Clinging to a sheer rock face, barnacle lined and wind scared, thirty meters above a cold, turquoise and volatile Pacific Ocean, I mutter a new found mantra the way the scat-man raps.
“It is only fear.”
I breath the words out as though they’re my last, over and over again as the wind teasers them out and away of the tiny gap between my mouth and the eon-old layers of weather-sharpened granite, which has become my geography of close inspection, a planet of distraction, from the new reality and the universal drop below it.
The noise that the wind replaces my mantra with is a whistling, haunting sound like that of Wile’e coyote, falling from a Grand canyon cliff. The chucking from far above could be Elma Thud (pardon the pun) but I know in-fact that it’s my new good friend and guide, Dr. Marnix.
Silhouetted like a pupil in the blue of an eye-sky, twenty-five meters high above me. Who, when not fixing and patching casualties in A and E, is to be found leading unsuspecting guests on masochistic feeling trips, on thin lines and gravity defying climbs. There is something interestingly reassuring, and a little misleading about a Doctor that encourages you to hold onto a rope the width of a penny-piece and leap off a cliff face. We are, after all, not accustomed to disagreeing with Doctors.
And as I hang there, half way down and thirty meters up, waves thundering white spray high as me, clutching dear, sweet, terrible and vampireous life with the fading power of bleeding fingers, angry toes, and shaking thighs, which grip the vertical rock-rise chimney as tight as Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, I remind myself to be careful for what I ask for in life.
Three weeks before, faced with an imminent return to the world of suits, plastic wrapped sandwiches, and clock-watching, week-wishing-away, is it Friday yet working-weeks, I lit the Bat Signal into the realm of Facebook, stood on the balcony in Melbourne, looked beyond the florescent glow of Sky-sc-Raper crowns, where the Stars and Moon hung, and asked my Spirit guides, the Universe and my old, long gone Cocker-Spaniel, Jack, for three things.
The first two were Courage and Space. It seemed I was hanging in one of them and in quick need of finding the other. It’s scary to write, gazing into an abyss inside, drawing up the bucket of your own sludge and spewing it onto a page. And it’s frighting following your dreams. And like on the cliff wall, I want to lie down and call it a day, at times. And there are all these doubts… Not only was I turning my back on all preconditioned programing of safety-net need. I didn’t want to let imposed responsibility be a disability and I chose to let my heart be the guide, not the fear of not having what we are supposed to greed. That can wait with its good points too. I was also choosing to dedicate a period to writing and nothing else, for if at the least of least, I could say I had honored my ambition, a long required dream and created the possibility and place to see it birthed and grow, nurtured, to give it a go. What if I fail?
And then a friend pulls on a rope, gently reminding me there is a top and I can get there, a bit of hope. I don’t know why it feels so scary to try, and more so, to succeed at your dreams, but it does, so courage is what I asked the sky and also the means.
And of course I did find it, courage, scrapped my way, one toe hold at a time. Because you can only be brave, when you are afraid. So life it seemed was answering my call, with its own cosmic, jokingly, loving way. Giving me in direct and plain terms, a choice, climb or fall. And in each crumbling rock hold, as I felt out the next place to stand or grab with a hand, I began to climb, and enjoy it, love it too.
Dragging myself up the last scratch of grass and stone, wind moaning, pulling and pushing, I felt it infuse my body and soul. Like Popeye fortified with a spinach high, courage and the experiential knowledge, that anything is possible. I can do this.
After Courage came Space, and not the kind you dangle in. Delighted I am to inform you, the bat signal worked. From all across the globe, friendships answered the call. A cabin offered here, a boat house there – the world is full of kindness.
Armed with my bravery, I rolled along in the loll of the car as it bumped its way along the chalk-stone road. Either-side, green hills climbed higher, enveloping us in arms of wildflowers, wooded ridge-lines and luminous green grass and pines. Past fields of cows in pastures, brown bodied with white face masks.
Then along a drive way, through a gate, and into the Magic Farm.