Picking Wild Blueberries (Oregon Tales)
Chapter One – Waiting at the Station
Once upon a time, when I was very young, I dreamt of Oregon. I can’t remember why exactly but when I try to dial back the cobwebby years, all my mind’s eye can see is the rugged Oregon coast, picking wild blueberries, sunlight filtering through feathered pines, and lush greenery embellished by stories of Lewis and Clark, Sacagawea and a compelling desire to live there amidst all that raw power and explorer energy.
As I grew up, that urge was seemingly pre-empted by my soul’s need for sunshine, Oregon’s reputation for excessive rain and not a little California dreamin’ which ultimately won out in my mid fifties. But having finally traversed many mountains to sink my toes in the SoCal sand where my father grew up seemed to satisfy many indefinable hungers, so after a few years I happily returned to Colorado thinking I was done with my tidal urges. Not so much apparently!
Oddly enough though, when my son moved to Portland some years ago, I wasn’t even mildly interested in exploring his new home. I was (am) living in the ultimate sunshine state (from my perspective), away from humidity, mold, damp and gray skies, and the mountains had somehow convinced me that this was where I belonged. But a couple of years ago, they began to ease their spell and I began to realize I was complete here and change was coming.
Even though I’m pretty at ease with change, this revelation was a bit startling at first. But, the more I allowed it to settle in, the more I became clearly aware that it was an inner call to a life that I had been preparing for while sequestered here in the Rockies, and it was time to live it. Of course I had no real idea what that life was or where it was to begin, so I decided to keep silent (lest the world confirm I was as cray-cray as I was feeling) and sat back, letting the Universe set the course.
Eventually the stars magically aligned making the way abundantly clear. By way of a small baby girl and a profound spiritual awakening in Hawaii, the compass needle pointed directly at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, a lush cradle of nature, rife with rivers, waterfalls, lakes and rain! Without skipping a beat, my heart shouted yes! And here I am six months later, bags packed, seasoned traveler of life’s many unexpected trails, standing on the station platform waiting for the train to take me to my new destination.
But where is it? It’s been three weeks since my original departure date and still no train (meaning I haven’t found a place to live yet and can’t leave until I do)! And, as you might well imagine it’s been quite the challenge to stay calm and trust this decision and myself. Further, not to look at my watch impatiently and wonder at the delay…or worse… question whether it’s coming at all has been torture!
So, being human, of course I caved and looked at my watch. And we all know what that means! I had opened the door wide for every possible insecurity and fear to drop in which they did…all at once! Talk about a buzz kill! NOT the sort of bon voyage I thought I wanted, but as it turns out, just what I needed.
All the times in my life when I’ve joked (Note to self: don’t just be careful about what you ask for, be careful what you joke about too) about being all dressed up with nowhere to go, missing the boat when it finally comes in or being stood up at the altar took turns in the spotlight of my very active imagination. But, while they scared me, I decided to look at them as positive messengers instead of oracles of doom and began to explore this very old and archetypal story line.
And what I found wasn’t what you might expect, nor was it something to hide from. Yes, there were the usual suspects: old abandonment issues, fears of failure and of happiness, “dreams come true” are only for others and of course the blah, blah, blah’s (others’ negative chatter), which in the process of learning to love myself I’ve finally come to ignore.
But I didn’t ignore the forlorn, disenfranchised, underpowered, seemingly small parts of me that were clinging to an all too familiar ledge. Instead, I loved on them deeply, like never before, freeing myself from the last disabling vestiges of the past. And, as I did, I got an even bigger message, which is: “This precious time is for you to breathe your new life into being. You need to see yourself off on this burgeoning new life’s voyage, which you’ve forged out of the light you discovered in the darkness of the old.” Now they had my attention!!!
This isn’t just any old trip and this isn’t a round trip. This isn’t a vacation, a spa week, R&R, a meditation retreat or part of my bucket list. This is my decision to begin a whole new life (as averse to a new chapter) born out of the completion of my old life. This is my chance to live everything I’ve learned and everything I’ve dreamed. This is my chance to live from the inside out, to shine without shame. This is my biggest dream finally coming true because now I love myself enough to live it. Colorado has been my womb and Oregon is my garden.
Up until now, many have believed in lives of quiet desperation and that it is only through death (predominantly the literal kind) that one can start anew with the possibility of doing it all differently. But, even though, this living death that I am experiencing is not for the faint of heart, it is available to all of us now. This kind of death is dying to your past, to quiet desperation and other limiting beliefs, to old programming, to all that is inauthentic to who you really are and to every illusion of separateness. In this death the victim we thought we were dies, and the creator we are is revealed.
So while standing here on the platform for three weeks has sometimes been uncomfortable, it’s also been perfect. It’s given me the time to really allow myself to be present for my death and my birth, to really feel and celebrate them instead of just going through the motions. Until these three weeks I have been focused solely on the minutia of moving, not on the magic. I have been graced by the presence of so many who have lovingly come to see me off but I’ve been missing out, forgetting to live by intention rather than default. So instead of catapulting into my new life, distracted and exhausted, I realized it’s time to pause and do my happy dance and let that carry me.
I need to be and feel as happy for myself as everyone else is! I need to OWN my new life and my PLACE in it! I need to FEEL my creation without apology and allow myself to LIVE it! I need to let it breathe, to realize itself through ME!
I need to acknowledge my new life is me and I AM it. It is my heart’s song waiting to be sung. I need to see every unrealized hope, dream and desire as juicy fruits waiting for me to pick them off the LOW branches in my new life. I need to KNOW the train is coming because it’s my TRAIN and I created it.
Whatever the metaphor that resonates for you, I stand with many others fearful that we’ll be deserted at the altar, jilted before the prom, miss the ship when it comes in or that the train of “dreams come true” will never arrive. But that’s the old me, the inauthentic me, the victim me, the me who played small in order to survive and eventually forgot how big I really am.
Each one of us has played some version of this scenario out in our lives, but the good news is we are now remembering why. From this place of expanded understanding, we will pack our bags with the wisdom and learning gleaned, and consciously choose where and how we will go forward from here. When we do, we’ll know without a doubt that we don’t have to wait on the platform any longer, that the ticket has been in our pocket all along.