In that room, on that day I lost all the courage I had been so desperately holding onto. And in one defining moment I let it slip from my fingers, like letting go of a feather into the wind. I turned and watched it go, and knew, the path I had been walking would be gone to me.
I knew at 16 I was meant to write. Despite language being my greatest challenge I knew it was on purpose. Been born with dyslexia yet having a burning desire to write wasn’t an accident, it was a burden and a challenge set before me I was meant to rise to.
I grew up surrounded by the splendid gardens my father had cultivated, the perfect conditions for a young writer. I remember the first time I wrote a poem. I was 12 and had begged my mother to allow me to stay home from school. How I loathed the Institution which showed me up every day to be incompetent. Seeing the need in my eyes my mother relented and there I was, free to roam the
garden and paddocks all day. I found a big old gumtree that day with a perfect branch for sitting, and as I sat there in the glory of the sun I wrote a poem about that tree. Scribed with words and spelling so poorly written not even I could understand it once on paper.
On I went over the years scribbling unreadable words into journals and scraps of paper not really understanding this was my Dharma. Longing for stories I couldn’t read, relying on the precious few loved ones who would read to me aloud. Rudyard Kipling’s The jungle book was my prized possession, sitting proudly on my shelves with its green and gold hardcover. My mother found me a copy of the novel on cassette and I played those stories every night of my childhood until I turned 16, forcing myself to stop what I thought such a childish act.
I spent every day after school roaming in the forest over the road, or the paddocks or garden with my dogs by my side. The natural world was my sanctuary. The place I lost and found myself over and over again. So confused about life yet so empowered by the space and beauty around me. I needed
to be alone. I needed the stillness of nature. I needed to be able to hear the rush of words come to me. Without the silence I couldn’t hear them, I couldn’t birth them.
Since that day, in that room, I haven’t stopped turning my back on writing. It’s easy to block out the words in a world full of noise. Yet they come regardless sneaking in on walks, in the garden or sometimes even amongst the chaos of family. At times I rush to find a pencil to get the words down but by the time I find one or somebody stops me to ask me where something is, the words have
gone. Maybe to arrive in someone else’s lap, someone who was listening, or maybe just into the wind to be gone forever. I admire the relentlessness of the words which ignore my neglect and return again and again. I know I would never go back to someone intent on ignoring my existence. Like a cruel lover never truly brave enough to hold hands in public. Never truly making time for love
But I’m here now, still scared, still the same girl who can’t spell, who spends her days lavished in the stillness of nature. Maybe it’s time to hold the hand of that lover shamelessly, to take it down that long lost path. It’s not so far away. In fact it’s been trailing behind me this whole time. Waiting for me to step through the brushes, to stop pretending it’s not there.
How I bring this dharma to life I’m not completely sure, I don’t have all the answers. I do know however, this life is no other than a quest to bring forth all that is within me. That great work can only be accomplished through a series of a small acts. And so I begin now with this small act of sending these words out to you. A pledge to myself, a stepping forward, a stepping up.
My wish is that you will come with me, not down my path but your own path, the one carved out specifically for you. I don’t know what that journey looks like for you. Perhaps there are cliffs and caves with scary eyes glaring out at you from the shadows, frightening you, stopping you in your tracks, trying to block your way. But remember all the great fairytales? When the unsuspecting hero
with sword in hand and courage of heart cuts down the frightening creature. That hero is you, and it’s me. It’s time to step up to our sacred duty. To set all doubts aside. I’m leaving now. I’ve packed my few possessions for the journey but really there wasn’t much to take, everything I need is already within me. So I’ll see you there, I’ll meet you in the woods where our paths come together.
By Loren Barker, mother, wife, yogini, nature lover and writer following her dharma. You can connect with Loren @the_peacefull_place