Wilderness is a word loaded with transforming potential from a personal perspective. Moses and the children of Israel spent 40 years there and Jesus wrenched through 40 days of transformation in that place.
Wilderness is a landscape defined as “the most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with roads, pipelines or other industrial infrastructure http://www.wild.org”
I’m considering how the wilderness is a place, real or imagined, where I am not the one in control. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have any control. There is a difference.
For over a year, I’ve anticipated change; actually more than a year because I anticipated the possibility of change in my professional job and where I live much too soon. To put it simply, I strived and fretted and reworked and retried more than one avenue to get there. I was concerned more about the things I had no control over rather than doing what I could to be whole in the time…Climbing the mountain with blinders on; ignoring the beauty along the way.
What happens if I surrender in the wilderness? Not give up but loosen my grip on what I control and take a look at the vastness around me. Cynthia Bourgeault tells the story of her friend whose car broke down on a remote stretch of highway (before cell phones, so think “no service” in this wilderness). At first she panicked and her mind raced through all the what if’s. Then she decided that this might be as good a time as any to begin practicing surrender. There was literally nothing she could do to fix her car or call a friend.
What happened next was that she found herself caught up in the buzz of activity around her; life stirring itself awake in a nearby pond. She was so caught up in the beauty that she didn’t hear the rumbling of the tow truck that just happened by.
The interesting thing about this story, that Cynthia points out, is not that the tow truck just happened by; that is a side effect of surrender. The real miracle was her friend being able to relax enough to notice the “life force dancing all around her”.
It’s not doing nothing or being anxious about everything. It is being open, noticing, and yielding to make room for possibilities to emerge.
Surrender, from the inside of me, makes it possible to see enough to keep walking even when I’m not sure where I am going. Its the wilderness, the roads aren’t there yet.