Does it ever feel like the world is conspiring to make you go crazy? To make you question your purpose? To challenge your idea of your Self and your identity?
Thursday I got off work early. I was totally pumped. My plan was to have coffee with a friend, review my new maps for our upcoming Italy trip, and then workout. In November, my buddy suggested we go to Alaska’s Ruth Gorge in June to climb some mountains. I have been gearing up and have started training for the trip already.
What with having the day off, I was overwhelmed with joy to be able to workout without having to rush. My workout started with about 25 minutes in the pool. So as not to walk on the wet pool deck in my cycling cleats, I changed and moved my stuff from the pool locker room to the main locker room. I threw my bag in a locker, put on my cleats and went to pedal and read for 40 minutes.
Feeling totally zenned out from the exercise and my philosophy book, I walked contentedly back to the locker room. Upon arriving, I thought to myself, “Hmph. I’m not sure what locker my stuff is in.”
The locker room has four quadrants, each of which probably has 75 or 100 lockers. I started searching, then realized what I must look like to the guy across the way.
“I’m not just rifling through people’s lockers, I can’t remember where I put my stuff!”
“Ha! I was wondering. Sounds like the perfect cover-up though if you were a thief!”
Hysteria was rising a little bit. Maybe somebody stole my stuff? It’d be easy enough to nick, I suppose. A duffel bag stuffed full of all of my…oh shit. My wallet. With two signed checks. My cell-phone. My puffy jacket! My favorite shoes! My pants with Gram’s coin! NO! NO! NO!
I began to search a little bit more frantically. Another gentleman had come in mid-search and joined me. We searched high and low to no avail.
I went to the front desk. I filled out a report. I searched again. The owner searched the trash cans. I searched again. Hysteria!
They were going to search the security tapes of the entrance. Maybe they would find the guy.
I left, using the spare key hidden in my truck. On the way home, I thought, my God, I’d better go to the bank and stop my debit card.
Over the next hour I proceeded to cancel credit cards and stop checks, which included calling my boss (from my work cell phone) and asking him to put a stop on a paycheck. I called my cell phone. I texted saying something like, “I’ll pay you to return my things. Please. No police involvement.” I began to post a listing on Craigslist when my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize.
“Hi Eric. This is Don at Sandpoint West [Athletic Club]. I think I’ve found your bag. Grey, Chicane brand with red letters?”
“Yeah, that’s it.” Sweet, sweet relief.
“With your permission, I can go through it to make sure everything is there.”
“No, that’s alright. Where was it?”
“In a locker. Sitting upright.”
“Uh…well…thanks. I’ll come by to pick it up here in just a few minutes.”
In a locker. Sitting upright. Just where I had left it.
It would seem I had not searched very thoroughly. With my tail between my legs, I made all the necessary phone calls (again) and went to fetch my bag.
The book I was reading while on the treadmill is entitled The Rock Warrior’s Way. It is the synthesis of years of research and reading about mental training, specifically as it relates to rock climbing.
What I had read on the bike read was practically entirely about learning to get rid of the Ego. How the Ego inhibits our inner growth and limits our abilities, physically, mentally, and every other way. While reading that and spinning, I thought, well, I have a fairly well-developed spiritual practice. I’ve been at it for quite some time. My Ego has definitely been deconstructed.
Apparently, I have a little more deconstruction to do.
Yesterday was no exception either. More challenges, which I won’t go into, affronted me with their difficulty. All day long, one after another. At one point, it felt like the universe was simply mocking me.
In the introduction of The Rock Warrior’s Way, John Long, a climbing legend, author, and editor, writes this:
First, accept that life is hard, and that transforming our life – or our abilities, which amount to much the same thing – is very hard … Second, the work is a process, and that process lasts a lifetime.
These may seem like simple words, but this is something I have struggled with for a long time. In the past few years, I have come to understand this at what I believed to be a visceral level. The events of this weekend (in addition to all of the seeking I have done in the last ten years) have more clearly illustrated to me the fact that I am continually a work in process. Nothing is ever certain.
Finally, this morning I got up early to catch some sunrise shots on the lake. I made coffee and an English muffin, packed my bag, woke the dog with the words, “Wanna go for a walk?” and left for the lakeside trail.
To my disappointment, there was no flashy sunrise. There was be only fog. I took three interesting photos this morning. While setting up for the second shot, the one through the arch, I had another realization:
At any given time, we see only what we need to and have what we need to have. We must trust that everything we will need is in the fog. And when the sun burns the fog off, what we see will be breathtaking.