What Price Would You Pay?

For absolute silence?

For total piece of mind?

Apparently the price I needed to pay was the cost of this five day sabbatical in nature. It is a monetary cost that I likely should not have paid in a state where we are trying to improve our family financial situation. It is a price that I needed to pay to prepare the way.

I’ve stepped outside my daily life before. I’ve had remarkable adventures before. I’ve practiced arts that promote peace of mind for over 20 years. Never before have I found such comfort in solitude or so much beauty in simplicity. Every choice I made on this journey was seamless. I trusted the process with such a high level of certainty that everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. Both in the times that I pushed myself to test my fears, and in the times I took a step back and honored my intuition there was a sense of calm. It is a sense of calm that has been developing for some time now. On this journey that sense of calm took a root that will anchor me for all the days ahead. I am at peace.

When I got back to the cabin at about 5:30 p.m. last night I honored my hunger and instead of delving into a glass of wine and starting to write, I made a cup of turmeric tonic tea and I re-heated the leftover curry chicken with potatoes that I didn’t finish the night before. I could have gone out to dinner or made something new. That would have been my old way. In this new way I wanted to use what I had. I wanted to be less wasteful. It is a respect for resources that I have finally come to appreciate.

The leftovers tasted even better than they did on the first night. Part of that might have been that the seasonings had blended more like a good batch of chili on the third day. Another part was because I felt good about my choice. I’m feeling good about a lot of my choices these days. After dinner I cleaned the kitchen and started to pack. I didn’t pack in the frenzied way I sometimes do when the energy of the travel starts to take over. I packed slowly with the sense of knowing that I had plenty of time even if I was growing tired and weary.

I used up that last of my lunch meat and cheeses and the gluten free bread that I bought to make a sandwich for the road for the next day. I cooked two hard boiled eggs for the road as well and saved the last three so I could have scrambled eggs and the last of the potatoes in the morning. On my day or arrival I bought what I thought I would need for the five days. All I had left this morning were the condiments that I could leave for the homeowner, a half a gallon of orange juice, a little almond milk and some hummus. Oh, and the last half of a pint of coconut milk chocolate ice cream that I wished I could take with me, but ice cream doesn’t travel too well even in the snow capped Rockies.

When I was done preparing for the next day,  I wrote for a couple of hours and then took a epsom salt bath and made a cup of chamomile tea. And then I finally slept. I must have dozed off while reading in bed shortly before 10:00 p.m. My physical body finally surrendered to the long sleep I had been craving for the entire journey. I did wake up at 2:45 a.m. and for an instant I thought I had fallen asleep way too early and that I would have to pass five or six restless hours before departing. On this night though I fell back asleep. My bed felt like a cloud. I remained in that state where I was most of the way into the sleep, yet still aware of my dreams. I dreamt about flying. I dreamt about swimming. I saw lights and colors and many old friends and family members who live on the other side of the veil. I had lightness of spirt that kept me at peace and in bed for almost 10 hours until 7:30 a.m. which is by far the longest I have stayed in bed in quite some time.

When I got up I made the final decision that I would eat breakfast and depart at about 9:30 a.m. My intention was to return for a couple of hours to the amazing hot springs I had enjoyed the other day. I would then continue on to the Denver airport. It would mean unnamed-23that I would be in the car for four hours total instead of just two, but I figured that another soak would be the perfect tonic for my physical and energetic self after this journey. Everything was working right on schedule. I loaded the car. I did the final tidying up of the little cabin that had been my home for the last five days. I sent a text message to the homeowner declaring my departure and then I closed the door behind me. I didn’t lock it just in case I forgot anything. There was little need to lock a cabin that was so remote in the hills. As I walked out I looked up one last time at the group of three stately pine trees that had graced the view out my front window for the long weekend. There was a light snow falling. I started my drive and realized that it had begun to snow fairly heavily. I became a bit concerned. I tested the handling of my four wheel drive rental vehicle and it seemed sound. I made my way to the main road.

As I started my drive into the hills that little voice in my head started to speak. It said “Are you sure this is the best idea Jim?” I made my way through the first few hairpin turns very slowly. My mind and heart and energy body really wanted to that soak in the healing waters one more time (more about that later).  The radar indicated that if I could just get about ten miles south that it would clear up a good bit. About ten minutes into the journey I pulled off into a slipway to let a faster moving vehicle get past me. Before I could pull back out the message came to me that I was supposed to turn around. The message was loud and the message was clear. I had not locked the cabin. That act was likely not an accident. I had once again walked on that line between testing my fears and honoring my intuition. My intuition told me that this was not the time to test my fear of driving in the mountains in the snow. My intuition brought me to peace with my decision and a sense of calm. Within ten minutes I was back at the cabin with a couple of extra hours on my plate.

I made another cup of tea and I pulled out my computer and I did more of what I intended to do on this trip. I wrote. I started with a few edits on a chapter I was working on and then I realized that I had once again made a decision about what price I was willing to pay. I was not willing to pay the price of my personal safety to have one more experience on this journey. The awakenings in life come both from the price you are willing to pay and the price you are not willing to pay. I sat in stillness with that sense of knowing for a few minutes, and the I wrote this post.

At one point as I was sitting on the couch writing, I leaned all the way back to stretch and I felt something stick me in the back. I turned around and sticking out from under the couch pillow I saw a blue plastic comb. It was the blue plastic comb that I couldn’t find on my first day of the journey. I knew that I had brought it with me, but I just couldn’t find it anywhere. It must have fallen out of my backpack when I threw the pack on the couch as I walked into the cabin on day one.

Christiana always tells me that I should let my hair go a little wilder. Being the recovering control freak that I am I can only do it once in a while. My hair has a pretty nice wave to it. I’m not so good at riding that wave on a regular basis.

Well anyways, I discover that my comb was missing when I showered the evening that I arrived. When I went to comb my hair the blue comb that I always carry was nowhere to be found. I searched every bag I brought and every corner of the bathroom but had no luck. I went to bed with wild hair and woke up in the morning with the same.

I guess I easily could have gone to the village and bought a new comb in the morning, but instead I decided to try something new. I decide I would go a full five days without combing my hair and see if I could overcome the need to manage something as simple as my hair. Perhaps it could the that the price of buying a new comb was a price that I was not willing to pay?

If it hadn’t started snowing I never would have headed back to the cabin. If I had locked the door I would not have been able to get back into the cabin. If I had not gotten back into the cabin I never would have found the comb that had been there all along. If I hadn’t found the comb I wouldn’t have realized that I could have been combing my hair all weekend if I had only moved a pillow. That was never the intention of the Universe though. In a journey where I have had monumental experiences and powerful revelations, I was once again reminded that it is in something as simple as losing a comb that we truly find our way. When the student surrenders to the current the choices are seamless.

unnamed-24As I packed up my computer and made one final cup of tea I tried to decide if I should take the comb with me or leave it behind. I’m sure I’ll comb my hair again, but I didn’t need to do it right now and I wouldn’t need to do it today. Somehow leaving the comb seemed to me to be the perfect symbol of the surrender that I had experienced on this sabbatical. I slipped on my boots, grabbed my coat, thew my backpack over my shoulder and I left the comb on the ottoman in front of the couch next to the keys to the cabin. This time I locked the door. I would’t be going back. This student had completed his training for the weekend.

Just two weeks ago I made a decision. I listened to that inner voice that told me to go into nature and reflect and to prepare the way for the infinite possibilities that lie ahead. As my travel grew near I struggled with a good bit of guilt about the financial cost of the journey. Even by doing things frugally like staying outside the village and cooking my own meals, I spent more than I would have hoped for.

In the end, the price I paid for this training could never equal the value of the awakenings that I received. I’m at peace. I’m ready. I’m listening. The time has come to forge the new Way…


About Jim Herbert

I've been wanting to write my whole life. By age 45 it had amounted to nothing more than a storage locker of half full journals and a lot of unfulfilled dreams. Then Paris in the fall of 2011 happened. It was the catalyst I needed to consistently blog. At first I had a hard time hitting the publish button, but now two blog sites and over 300 posts later I'm hitting my stride. I'm also a budding speech writer. I've recently been heavily involved in the Chicago Storytelling scene and have also won the Chicago Toastmasters Area 66 International Speech Contest. Check out our website at www.emergingintojoy.com for more details about the amazing things that are happening in my life. A book or two are nearing completion. With another Paris trip on tap for Easter of 2015 I can only imagine that there are Infinite Possibilities on the horizon!!!
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One Response to What Price Would You Pay?

  1. wendydoherty says:

    This was a fun read. You have indicated that you are ready for a new change in your life. I think you gave us a clue in yesterday’s post. It will fun to watch it unfold. My favorite: “When the student surrenders to the current the choices are seamless.”

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