a Jekyll agenda

My boss says, “You’ve got to anticipate.”

He, of course, is referring to the formidable mountain of projects sitting on my desk that’s currently making my inner sherpa shudder in fear under the overload.

However when I speak of anticipation, it is usually in direct yet indefinable association with the tingling that dances up the back of my neck, for instance, when my Pilgrim Guide to the Caminos de Santiago in France arrived in the mail from overseas this week.


It’s really not so much a book as it is a pamphlet. And although it’s suggested, I’m not going to bring any additional guidebooks that provide specifics of the path.

My friend Sara said of my last pilgrimage:

“Remember when you were in Portugal, and you didn’t have a map but were just following those blue arrows backwards? Yeah. We didn’t tell you at the time, but now that you’ve come back, I think it’s safe to let you know; We thought you’d totally lost it. We decided you were crazy.”

That makes me the Hyde in my giggle. The Jekyll, however, smirks. Because “crazy” as I may have been, that is exactly where I long to return; onto the edge; walking that fine line between the rational and the magical; where the slightest sigh of silence pushes me right over. Having no idea where I was on a map, nor where I’d been or was going, and surrendering my myth to those silly blue arrows led something inside of me to a timeless and placeless experience of existence that made my heart burn with the excitement of a first crush. I’ve found only one name that comes close to pinning itself on the shirt of that sentiment:


A pure, permeating, and soul-saturating sense of Presence.

I think that because I am not enlightened (nor foresee such in my future) and am yet unable to be entirely present from the inside out, I still seek the environments that force me to surrender to presence from the outside in; salsa dancing, dreaming, scubadiving, first kisses, reading, writing, speaking in another language, meditating, and learning anything new. But what is exciting about being in a place — ANY place — unknown, is that then everything transforms itself into an exercise in presence: eating, walking, sleeping, thinking, speaking, listening, being. And it is my hypothesis that a diligent diet of surrender to environmental unknowns will eventually lead me to the slimness of ill-conceived self-stability necessary for inner stillness.

But back to anticipation, which I have only for the first time recognized as being a balance of both inaction (excited patience) AND action (disciplined preparation). The countdown to my departure turned on about a week ago. Although countdowns, by nature, are disciples of Time, perhaps contrary to their intention, they too, bring me Presence. Those funny little tabs sheets in time mark the beginning of anticipation, the duration of renewed appreciation, and the exciting start date of actualization.

Let me explain; I have exactly 108 (which happens to be the sacred number of beads on a “mala” *mantra counting beads* as well as the final tally of braids on a Tibetan head) days before I leave the States again. And although my heart wants to leap out of my chest in (excited and patient) anticipation of that day, I have also already broken down that 108 days into the following (boss-approving) schedule of disciplined preparation anticipating my upcoming adventure:

72 French lessons. (I’m on lesson 18 right now of Pimsleur’s French Series – which is an incredible language learning method. I can’t give a higher stamp of approval without sounding like a cheesy infomercial.) 12 Fridays of advanced salsa classes (although I’m currently dancing an average of 4 nights a week; which would be the reason why I’ve been slacking on posting recently.) A summer school drawing course (for new visual perspective and recording of my upcoming journey). 12 sunny weekends of prep walking and hiking (a few pics from this Saturday’s adventure). 3 months to finish reading my new photography books & practice shooting (I read the rest of my camera’s manual last weekend, and to my *squealing* delight discovered a secret “super-macro mode” — as demonstrated by the photo above). 108 days of appreciating a super soft bed, a consistently hot shower, access to delicious vegan food options, proper time to foster both old and new friendships, 24-hr access to internet, time and silence to meditate daily, a book shelf to hold all that I like to peruse on a regular basis, organic veggies, mountains within walking distance, water from the tap, a kitchen, and all the blessings of a life that gives ample space for healthy habits and repeated (sacred) rituals.

So much to appreciate. So much to anticipate. So much Presence before, at and after 108 that my heart stutters in indecision over whether to sigh or hold my breath for…



*sol bows her “namaste” and gratitude to World Nomads Travel Insurance, ThinkHost and MercuryFrog for their ever-supporting roles in the realization of her dream.

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