It never ceases to amaze me how unique and special each week truly feels. Almost moving into that last rush of 2018, I’m sitting here kind of oblivious to the actual date. All I know is that we’re just right here, right now, together. I think that is what is the most awe-inspiring part of this whole Sunday Sessions journey; just here, just now, for a moment, together.
Thank you, as always, for showing up for yourself and for supporting me, and sharing whatever needs to be shared. Ah. What a gift. Okay. If you are not aware of the process of the Sunday session, it is a spontaneous process, wherein I sit down in front of a mic, often times in a different location. Sometimes I’m in my bedroom, sometimes, like right now, I’m in our studio, 11 Past 11 Studio. Sometimes I’m at a desk, but today, I am sitting cross-legged on the floor, chilling, because it is story time.
I really fell in love with stories as a child. Some of my favorite teachers, and some of my favorite humans, still, to this date, who really inspired me to go on and study teaching, and become a teacher, they were storytellers. Very charismatic, quite hilarious, and the books that they would choose to read us were also that playful, fun kind of genre. I like to bring lighthearted humour to my stories, but I feel like this week’s story has a real moral to it. There’s a real depth to it, because it’s about what lies beyond fear. I think you might get a kick out of this one.
It’s a Monday afternoon, and I’m heading off on a little adventure to my Monday night women’s speaking circle, but before that, I have booked in a session with a healer. We’re working on core consciousness, and we’re doing a lot of breathing work together. She invites me to a house that she is doing her sessions from, it’s about an hour away from my home, I float down the highway.
As I’m moving through the winding roads, I have the music up so loud that I kind of feel it pulsing in my cells. I’m really quite attached to my playlists. It’s a very big deal for me to have an ongoing soundtrack that is really connected to my feelings throughout every part of my life, and so I’m so deep in the songs, and the tunes, and really feeling embodied as I’m driving…carefully. When I arrive at the healer’s space I kind of questioned how I got there. At this point, I’m feeling hyperbolic. Vibrating at such a high level. Not only am I in the part of my cycle where I’m ovulating, but I’m feeling creative and expansive. This music has been pulsing through my veins, and now with this woman who is taking me through these practices, so everything is highly stimulated in all parts of my body, and my life, and my perception. As I leave, I remember noticing the sunset, as this incredible, electric pink, and the clouds were kind of scattered across the sky.
I took a few photos, just had to stop my car, just take it all in, because breathtaking does not even describe what I was witnessing. I take off again, and this time I’m heading to the women’s speaking circle, as the sun is setting, and the chill is kind of coming in. Again, I’m floating along, I’m heading kind of inland, into a little town called Mullumbimby, it’s on the east coast of Australia. It is a mecca for healing arts, spirituality, movement, dance, warmth, fun, joy, food. This is where I will meet with the other women. We go into circle. We connect. We share. We celebrate each other. We listen. We speak. The vibrations in my body, they nurture in, they ground down. They don’t come to a screaming halt. They’re still there in this warmth bubble, but there’s definitely more of a softness. As I jump in my car to leave, I’m still in this very daydreamy atmosphere in my mind, in my body, and by now, it’s pitch black outside as I head out on the road knowing that soon I will hit the highway. I can float along, carefully, of course, back home, this time with softer tunes.
You should note that I drive a fairly new car, maybe it’s like one or two years old. It is in perfect working order. The events that are about to happen should not have ever happened.
I’m moving down the highway. Tunes are still up, and suddenly, I look down at the dashboard for the first time in this whole day’s adventure. The electronic dashboard tells me that I am completely out of petrol and that I’m not making it home. There’s no way. In fact, home is about 90 kilometers away, and I have about 30 kilometers left in the tank. As I see the number ticking over, ticking over, going down, down, down, I start to feel this new vibration in the body. I’m going to say it’s panic, because the highway that I’m on, the only other vehicles are big cargo trucks going by. It’s a very dark highway. I’m alone, and yes, I have my phone, but suddenly, I start to realise that this is one of those nightmares that I thought I was trying to avoid.
I call Mas, who doesn’t have a second car, has no way of getting to me. I say, “What am I gonna do? How am I gonna get out of this?” Mas, in his very chilled, relaxed state, says, “I don’t know. Call roadside assistance.” To which I reply, in my panicked state, yet still somehow oddly calm, “Do you have the number? How? Who? I’ve never broken down. I’m not even breaking down. I’m running out of petrol”
This is embarrassing, how could I be such a daydreamer? How could I have let this happen? How could I be almost completely run out of petrol on the side of a dark highway in the middle of the night? I decide to stop, I don’t know where I am, or how far away a gas station is, but I know that I am not going to get there. There are no towns or cities around. I take the next exit. The next exit is called Sleepy Hollow, by the way. At this point, I’m feeling … it’s like a surge of warmth in my body, maybe a quickening in my heart rate.
What do I do? How do I problem solve this? How do I work this out? There is actually no real solution. I can’t think my way out of this. I am stopped on the side of a dark highway. There’s this kind of fog, this haze over the fields, this kind of farmland, and I think to myself, is this it? Is this how I die? Have I just watched too many scary movies? What do I do? I start my car, and I’m just off the side of the highway, and I can see it’s kind of like an off-ramp. It could lead to anywhere, but I don’t want to go down there, because fear tells me, don’t go down there, you don’t know what’s down there. It is the unknown. Actually, your imagination is going to start to cultivate these really negative ideas of what’s down there, so just stay here. Stay just on this edge right here. This way, if something happens, you can run out in front of a truck. Maybe that’s not such a good idea, but you can flag someone down. You’re still visible. Don’t go down that path. Just stay here on the edge.
Next I call a number, and they say, “No, you’re not insured with us. You have to call someone else,” so I call another number, and this whole time, I’m thinking, what if the car actually completely stops, and then I can’t charge my phone? How long am I going to be here? Do I just sleep in the back of the car? I lock the doors.
I’m a scaredy cat, so this kind of stuff is unsettling. Maybe you’re the type of person that camps out on the side of the road all the time, but this is a really foreign thing to me, and I’m alone, and it’s pitch black. There’s no street lights or anything. I am in the darkness. I finally call another number, and he says, “Oh, yeah,” in his laid back, Aussie kind of way. “Yeah, there might be someone around. I don’t know, though, at this time of night” At this time of night? You’re a roadside assistance, 24 hours. I’m a woman alone in her car, who, yes, ran out of petrol. It is my fault, but I need your help. Please send help. He responds with, “Well, do you have cash?” Cash? It’s 2018. Why would I have cash? No, I don’t have cash. I can’t even fill up my petrol tank, so why am I going to have cash in my wallet? He says, “Look, just leave it with me. I’ll get back to you in about an hour”. An hour? I might not have five minutes left. What are you talking about? I need you to send someone. Of course, that is my internal, total scaredy cat talking. On the outside, I’m saying, “Okay, yes, thank you so much for your help.” He calls back, and he says, “Yup. We’ve found someone. I’ll send him out. It’s okay. He’s got a card reader, so you’ll just need to pay 20 bucks, and he’ll give you a bit of petrol to get you home.”
Okay. Great, so I’m sitting there. I’m texting Masa. I’m kind of looking at Instagram, slightly kind of out of the corner of my eye making sure that there’s no serial killers or wild monsters coming to get me.
Then it hits me. It’s the petrol man that’s the serial killer. He’s the one that’s going to kill me. Again, internal fear, craziness. I call Masa, and I say, “What am I gonna do? What about if we turns up, and … ” We talk, and kind of laugh, decide that I don’t need to get out of the car. This man is going to come, give me some petrol. I swipe my card, and away I go.
In the meantime, I’m thinking, what is up ahead? What if I hadn’t just stopped right on the edge? I wonder what’s in the Sleepy Hollow stop? I wonder what’s down there. Why am I stopped here? Where has my curiosity gone when I’m facing fear? Where has my wonder and my courage gone when I’m nervous, and I don’t know what to do?
Cut to 11:11pm, I kid you not. A man that oddly resembles Santa Claus, big belly, big beard, white hair, turns up to my assistance, puts petrol in my tank. When I ask him where he’s come from, he replies with, “From my bed.” He’s not as stoked as me about this situation, but I’m happy. He fills up the tank. He doesn’t do whatever my overactive imagination was thinking that he was going to do to me, and away he goes.
I start my car. I take a huge, deep breath. I thank the angels above, and I head back home, very happily into Masa’s arms, vow to never be such a daydreamer again.
A few days later, we decide to go on a little trip south again. As we’re approaching the Sleepy Hollow, I say to Masa, “Oh, this is the place where I broke down. It was so scary. It was so dark, it was just all farmland.” As we get closer, and closer, we see that the Sleepy Hollow is a full camping kind of truck stop, and there’s a whole bunch of camper vans, and really cool hippie trailers. There are showers, and toilets. But I missed all of that because I was on the edge, because I was so in my fear, and probably rightly so, that I didn’t have the curiosity.
I didn’t have the courage to just go a few meters down the road, and realize that if I had that inspiration, or just dug a little bit deeper, felt the fear and moved down that pathway, just a little bit further, that what I would have actually discovered is that not only was I safe, but I was surrounded by like-minded people. I could have even slept there if no one was coming to rescue. I would not have been in trouble. I would have had the support that I needed. I probably could have even gotten out of my car and had a chat with someone, or woken up with the sunrise and known that everyone around me was also just on their journey, and just stopping over at the Sleepy Hollow to revive, and then move on with the rest of their journey.
The moral of my crazy daydreamy adventure is that it’s really easy when we are confronted with these terrifying moments, these indecisions, this stifling fear to just freeze, and not know what to do, and to reach out erratically for lifelines. Yes, sometimes they turn up, like the Santa Clause at 11:11pm with a little bit of petrol for your car, and you move on your way. But often times, if we just dig that tiny little bit deeper, and we just edge ourselves a little bit further down the path, what we discover is that in fact, there is so much more waiting for us right there. Just beyond fear.
Let this be a lesson to you. a) don’t let your gas tank run out, please. It may have taken years off my life in stress just in that moment. b) if you are faced with a challenging situation where fear is holding you back, just keeping you on that edge, somewhere, even if you need to grab someone else’s hand, or get a little bit more petrol in your tank, have the courage to move just beyond that fear, to discover what’s waiting for you.