WORDS & IMAGES: MARIANA ROJAS
What does it mean to listen to your intuition? This has been the question on my mind for the last two months while I made new friends and faded away from past friendships. Transitions are difficult. Especially, when you are juggling a new job, a new home, and new people. This process dances around nostalgia—where our past becomes heightened by our telescope memories and we begin to feel guilty of perhaps leaving something behind that might have been necessary. Melancholy approaches—unnoticed and at times unforgiving. Before I moved to Utah for a wilderness therapy guide position, I felt change coming. I was fervidly sensing a new wind. I felt the transition happening before it started—or maybe I started it. I was spending all my time in the forest, sometimes hiking 12 to 15 miles a day to spending most of my nights at a climbing gym in New York.
One day I intentionally gave a visit to my intuition. I am moving to the desert, I told myself. I will be surrounded by rock and dry heat and the wind at times will be relentless. Was I ready for this element to turn my life towards new directions, hailstorms, new bonds with people, confusion and displacements of comforts? Yes. So, I moved. I picked up my ukulele, my tarot cards, my journal, and gear. I told myself, “the time has come to devote time to climbing, writing, and waking up to horizons during dawn.” Was I scared? Yes. This fear is always present in some shape or form. It was present when I was teaching in Ghana. It was present when I moved to Dominican Republic. It was present when I was hitchhiking Mexico. And it is still present today every time I throw a harness on ready to climb. This dialogue took place intuitively. I was reading the signs all around my campus. I was picking meditations to clear my vision in all the graduate, theoretical books I was reading. I was gathering energy from backpacking trips that were all pointing towards me. I took a chance and trusted myself. I began to focus on/in my heart—I considered the heartbreak and abandonment. I wanted something different, I needed something different.
I started my journey towards self-compassion when I landed on the desert. Utah’s warm wind and inviting people confirmed that I was in the right place for this spontaneous and small fork in my life. Instead of choosing a direct path towards my long term goals, I trusted the interval, the mid-way, that in-between space, the bridge. And I was right, this is the marker of contemplation for a young, adventurous, intelligent, and beautiful woman. This is where my critical thought will be put into practice. This is where I will begin to shift my long-time rooted ways that need change. And I knew this change was not arriving politely. I will have to harness all of my strength to coexist with divergent winds. I was warned about the spirit of the desert and people were right.
The unapologetic wind came. I currently find myself searching for a new job, healing from a very loving, but confusing energy, familial scars, and past experiences that still find themselves trapped in my dreams and imagination. I am making new connections, not all so stable, but with enough mobility to accept that I might be just passing by. During this transition, I’ve done some crying, solitary-evaluations, reconsiderations of my path, but more than anything my appetite for the outdoors has increased. As a writer and backpacker, the wilderness is a sanctuary, a place where no explanation of who I am is needed. I can hike for hours (with pauses of course) and nurture one subject to its deep potential. This skill has helped me cope, find solutions, see things from more than just my own perspectives, and mostly, I’ve learned to enjoy my silence—listen with intention and care. This keen occupation with my silence is part of my new compassion for my hurting, for my questions. The desert has left a bruise; the winds have come and go so rapidly that I find myself shifting my internal compass everyday. Even my sleep schedule has changed. This is more than the affects of Mountain Time, something told me. I’ve felt a connection with Utah long before I moved here. I felt a calling. I heard my heart saying, “go there, go there, go there.” Sometimes, I would wake up in the middle of the night in New York and start laughing, my cheeks would bleed with blush at the uncontrolled feeling that something filled with love was waiting for me—I just needed to get there. This urged me to ask for an extension on my thesis, pack my bag, and say goodbye to my grandmother whom watched me get in a taxi with an ocean of tears falling at her feet.
This calling was a soulful calling—one that lives in the intuitive spaces of our bodies, this archive of sensuous hearing and vision. The intuitive is a site of imagination, the dwellings of our strongest layers of skin. Sometimes the intuitive gets blurry like the idle rain hovering outside our windows. Sometimes, the intuitive is unintelligible, nebulous in its personality. We could find ourselves questioning every choice we make to doubting every good feeling we surface. It’s okay to reconsider choices. It’s okay to revisit past winds, past deserts, past bruises. The lessons are still there. The messages are still there, waiting to be received. Transitions are crossings, mediums of knowledge, wells of concentrated information that our journeys have registered. Last night, my friend Kevin spoke to me about gravity, how every object in space exerts a gravitational pull on every other—how this force can cause any two objects in the universe to be drawn to one another. Thus, gravity influences the paths taken by everything traveling through space-it keeps the moon in orbit around the earth and it is adhesive to holding together entire galaxies. I find transitions inevitable, like gravity, and this gravitational pull keeps us in orbit with the intuitive. Maybe there is a centerpiece somewhere, like the middle of our galaxy pulling us all in, but this venue of the self and personal and the intimate does find itself alone sometimes. It is difficult to ignore the connections we make and decide to take off like some spaceship on a mission. It hurts to feel like no one is taking off towards you. But is this what we should be mourning? That authentic substance of certain happenings that have no name to its causations.
Whether love with someone takes a different path, it doesn’t mean gravity despises you. Whether you find yourself reorganizing your financial situation because the current one does not fit your long-term goals, it does not mean gravity despises you. With this in mind, I’ve learned to understand that revisiting old sites of hurtings, past experiences, or unexplainable backward [wander]ings, it means that gravity did not neglect you. It means that our north and south poles are going through their cycles. It means that the sun is shedding light on planets in your galaxy that need to be seen when the time comes. So, I am seeing it through now. Yes it is difficult to see a connection disappear in an instant (a love or career connection) and accept that you have nothing to do with it (it would be easier to accept it is your fault because then you can fix it, but gravity does not work that way). Yes it is difficult to accept absences, but the probabilities pay no favors to our struggles, they offer a variety of pullings and tuggings that orbit us. So, yes, I’ve decided in all of my crying to continue to love myself because to do that means to exist in my own flawless state of rotations.
As much as transitions call us to flee and escape all wounds, we must not. We must stay in our rotations, exist in that gravitational pull with the intuitive and trust that though transitions feel very big and incomprehensible, they are very small in the surpassing of size and density—sometimes uncaptured by our telescope eyes. So I have decided to sit here for a small bit of this pull, make conversation with this gravity that holds me together in an odd imbalanced way, and wait for that next shed of light.