I realized when confronted by such an emotional minefield that I was deeply immersed in what I call “the battleground of thoughts and feelings”. I turned to my trusty CD that I had created for this type of situation. (www.decisionclarity.com) and began a 24-hour process to make a decision on what to do. The first step is to explore the logical and emotional factors that were causing me some confusion. Logically it made complete sense to get rid of the camper. We had shared an amazing journey of some 18 years but now it was a constant drain on my budget. $1,200 only two weeks ago and who knows how much for this fix. Also I no longer trusted it. For years it was so reliable and we had an agreement ( the van had lived up to) that it would never strand me away from civilization. Despite breakdowns from Whistler to Sault St Marie and Chilliwack to Mammoth Lakes I had always had help close at hand until now. Sitting beside Highway 99 in the pitch black, pouring rain almost seemed like a betrayal.
In addition the purchase of my recreational property on Cortes Island this year had started to shift me away from long camping trips. In addition it is 18 years old, parts are becoming difficult to find, it has definitely lost power and I am at some point facing an engine rebuild. Yet something wanted to stay my hand. I have such a strong emotional bond to my VW. I love the peace of the open road and being able to stop anywhere I wanted for the night. There was a sense that selling the camper represented a major lifestyle shift; perhaps a feeling of letting go of my youth. Then as I explored deeper there was fears on both sides of the ledger. Fear that it would be a huge mistake to keep it and risk perpetual grief. The image of Sisyphus springs to mind a figure of Greek mythology condemned forever pushing a boulder up a mountain, only to see it roll down again. Yet there was equal fear that I would have huge regrets letting go of something that is almost irreplaceable. (Synchro VWs are very rare.)
The second step is to commit to a series of practices to activate the inner landscape. I decided to go for a mindful walk in nature, do some yoga to music, journal the story, do the visualization that is recorded on the CD and draw a rune. This would take up a fair amount of my Sunday. The step that took most of my time was writing about my experience. I found myself taking a detailed trip down memory lane. I started to look for photographs that stimulated even more memories. I realized what a profound part in my life my travels had represented. I felt incredibly grateful for having the time and opportunity to drive as many places as I did. Some of the highlights:
my twin great nieces Hayley and Amanda falling in love with it. They never could quite understand why I would insist on flying to Toronto when I had such a great van. Camping at the Arizona National Monument and experiencing a desert sunset unlike any other. It seemed to stretch almost 360 degrees. Waking up one morning at the end of March and hearing that the rain was going to stop and the sun would emerge; in response I dropped everything and drove to Long Beach and camped in 70F weather overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There I got to observe a hummingbird perform its courtship ritual as though I was a prospective mate. Driving seventeen hours and 1,000 miles to try and get home from Mammoth Lakes in California in one day and falling short by only 60 miles eventually collapsing exhausted at a rest area just outside Bellingham. Seeing a tornado on the plains of Kansas,
pulling into a rest area at the dead of night with no real idea of where I was and waking up to see a magnificent Mt Shasta, sunlit through my windshield window; so many memories and so hard to let go.
The third step, which is conducted just before bed, is the surrender of the decision to your deeper wisdom. It requires recording the events of the day that may have seemed relevant to the decision and than a meditation to surrender and let go of the decision. My activities of the day had not apparently shifted my uncertainty. I decided to draw a rune stone before I completed the second step. Runes are an oracle based on the Runic alphabet, used by early Norse peoples including the Vikings. Their popularity today stems significantly from the work done by Ralph Blum, who dedicated himself to the re-introduction of this “sacred oracle.” He suggests that runes assist “training of sacred Intuition – a new way of listening to the inner voice.” I drew the rune Gateway. I did not need to read it as I knew it meant, “Do not enter yet”. This made sense as I knew that I would not make the decision until the next morning.
The fourth step is checking to know where you are. Hopefully a decision will emerge. It involves a guided meditation into a place of peace and calm and then introduces the question and allows space for a response. The answer I sensed seemed very clear: it’s time, I don’t have to worry, and I will be supported. I sat for a moment not sure how I felt then decided to read the rune Gateway interpretation that I had put off the previous evening. As I read the words I felt this amazing sense of a divine connection. “ Before you pass through the Gateway, pause and review the past, the learnings and the joys, the victories and the sorrows– everything it took to bring you here. Observe it and bless it all. Release it all. For it is in the very act of releasing the past that you reclaim your power. Step through the Gateway now.” How amazing! That was exactly what I had done the previous day and posted on part one of the journey. (http://wp.me/phAyS-4G) Now it all seemed so clear. I felt that sense of clarity and well-being that feels so affirming. I was ready to make the decision.