Fighting Where You Are

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Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.55.40 AM

I chose this place.

I chose to be here – out west in big sky country.

It really is all sky.

Laid out in front of you is a blanket of gentle hills freckled with yucca; but the land is so vast it’s only a borderline to all that is blue. It takes my breath away and I’m left enchanted. Everytime. Yet in spite of all this beauty, there’s a fiery and heavy part of me fighting back this place I so want to love. The struggle has left me confused and uncomfortable. I wasn’t expecting to feel so untethered and tossed about like the tumbleweed I see rolling down the streets.

I chose this year at Experience Institute to learn more about the power of place. I intentionally sought out individuals who understood how to read the land and used this awareness to create something intuitive and playful. Like a sculptor chipping away at marble to reveal the beauty already there, we’d be crafting a place to reveal the beauty of the land and welcome people into it.

Of all the handcrafted hotels in the world, this one out in Texas’ remote Chihuahuan desert knew how to capture the allure of the landscape. The story and ethos of the place are deeply rooted in the land and in the community, celebrating the spirit of freedom and soulful easy-being. I wanted to learn how they do it.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.55.23 AM

I couldn’t wait for the roadtrip. After three months of demanding city life, I was eager for the seven hour drive to a kinder country existence. I wanted to root myself in the land for a little while, giving myself space for stillness. But from the moment I pulled in to this tiny town as the sun was setting on its one stoplight, I’ve been wrestling. I’m pushing this place away with a fierceness that can overwhelm at moments. It’s like I’m saying no when I signed up to say YES! Something inside is resisting this place. Can I really not handle the solitude? Will the quiet finally reveal the shadows I so happily let distraction cover up? A lot of questions.

So I sit in conflict. I do want to be here and take in the wonder and raw existence. At the same time, I want to run and get away from the emptiness. I don’t want to have anything to do with this place. How do you get to know a place you’re fighting? When the resistance is stronger than curiosity?

To keep from bolting, I HAVE to focus on my learning plan and daily schedule. This routine and reason for being here keeps me from being swept away by the undercurrent of unease and panic. And my people. My cohort is here every week and every day in between. Whether it’s a text, an email or a postcard, my Ei family is looking out for me. I want to stay here long enough to understand where this tension and intensity is coming from. Or if I never reach a place of understanding, I at least want my heart to settle within me. To know all is well no matter where I am. I can see that as long as I’m flailing, I’m not learning. I’m not receiving what this place has to give me. And I’m certainly not giving anything of myself.

Student BlogsOlenka Hand