Some places pull you in even before you visit them.
You hear about them for years and years... look them up online... talk to people about them... and when you finally are IN them - you are pulled like a magnet, like a piece of puzzle. Some places are a must visit, they're on your bucket list and you will make your way to them sooner or later, but they lack that magnetic pull, that extra something that stays with you long after you left the place.
The day starts early, for a change. After a well rested night, we wake up early knowing what's in store for us, and make our way out of our sauna-like cabin and into the long drive to Yosemite national park. The road is long and the anticipation is high, and when we arrive to the famed 'Tunnel View', the famous image of Yosemite valley is turned into a reality right in front of our eyes.
But no magnet is pulling me in.
Not at the tunnel view, and not in the various other Yosemite attractions we find ourselves throughout the day. It is spectacularly beautiful in Yosmeite, of course, but no matter how epic it gets - it's not a piece of the puzzle for me.
Why do we have emotional bonds with some places, but not with others? Why do some places rock our world even when no one else would ever consider them to be a bucket list must? Why did I get underwhelmed in one of the most considered beautiful places in the world!?
Maybe Day 4 will bring along some answers.
The cabin resembles a sauna with its pine wood walls and ceilings.
But it's cosy, and well maintained, and I would take a small cabin in the wilderness over camping or glamping any day.
We wake up refreshed and excited and I begin the day with a pour-over coffee. The cabin offers instructions on how to use their pour over kettle, and I give them extra points to that. (Make a note Airbnb hosts!) Caffeinated, I make my way to the Subaru and we head straight to a hike to a waterfall.
Thing about spontaneous road trips - is that there's not much time to research properly, so mishaps can happen, wrong turns can be made, and trails can be reached to from the backside. The BACKside can be a pleasant surprise, sure, but when it includes hundreds of burnt, cut or fallen trees, it becomes... the BADside.
But where there is a sign of death, there is also always a sign of life, and we see countless of new bushes, plants and flowers growing where they normally wouldn't because of the shaded towering trees. Nestled on one such plant, is a chocolate brown and yellow butterfly. A BIG one, one that is so gorgeous and big - it must be on its last day on earth. (I heard once that butterflies are most beautiful right before they die. This may be entirely untrue, but I appreciate the poetic notion of it.) The butterfly knows its being watched, being celebrated. Enjoying the attention, the butterfly rests and lets the subtle wind carry its wings back and forth. We are so close to it now, snapping out photos and videos, whispering to each other so we don't disturb it, and admiring its beauty. It looks like its whole little frail body is breathing in its repetitive movement. The butterfly breathes, and we are watching it simply being. We are transfixed. We are... breathless watching the breathtaking butterfly breathing peacefully on a new plant in a dying forest.
The butterfly flies away, and so do we continue on our journey.
The hike isn't too long and it's isn't too difficult, but it IS too hot which makes it too long and too difficult... But we pull through, reach the waterfall, swim in the water to refresh ourselves, and make our way back to the Subaru with hopefully not too much sunburns.
Soaking in the A/C in the car, we make our way to a local lake we heard about, but we are underwhelmed by it (um, okay - it's a lake. Not ALL lakes are created equal) and cut the visit short.
We go back to our sauna-like cabin with more muscles AND more joint pain, and begin preparing our next day... the goal of this visit, the highlight of this road trip: tomorrow we'll enter YOSEMITE.
Morning starts with packing the car with more than we need.
MUCH more than we need.
It continues with coffee and a stop at the local grocery store, you know, to get MORE stuff. The ole' Subaru is packed full, and off the road we go:
We start our glorious road trip on a busy highway in America. The I-5 North.
It isn't glorious in the slightest, and the crowded traffic on a Sunday afternoon isn't adding much charm. But we play 90s rock music on high, sing out loud butchering ALL the lyrics, and hold on to our excitement nonetheless: Where will the road take us? What will we discover? What will unravel? How will we be changed?
Some hours later, we are in a small town up in the high desert, seeing rabbits and chipmunks in every corner, chatting with locals to get the lay of the land, and grabbing dinner in a less-than-average roadside joint.
As we enter our little cabin in the woods to end the day, the stars are greeting us city folks 'hello' with their shiny glare. It's only day 1 and we are already changed, we are already trippin'. We didn't see any magnificent views, or gone on luscious hikes yet, but we took the plunge. We hit the gas. We left our little city in favor of an adventure in the wilderness, of an opportunity to connect, to trip, to get lost. And of course... to butcher our favorite song lyrics.
What will Day 2 bring...? Stay tuned...
'If you want to know
Who you were
Before you were an OTHER --
ASK YOUR MOTHER.'
Is the womb the promised land? Is it hell? Is it purgatory? It is the first world we enter. Or is it our last? What is it like in that noisy pool of water we are in? What do we hear? What does it feel like, smell like? When do we start sensing things? And what do we sense? DO we sense? Will we even know if we sense!? With a brain undeveloped, do we think at all? What do we think about in the womb? Do we wonder about the light at the end of the tunnel? The world beyond? The afterlife? Do we ever stop wondering all that...? EVER?!? Maybe we do - in the womb.
Oof. You feel good floating down my veins, lighting me on fire, getting me primed and ready. You fit to me like a pea in a pod. You stick to me like superglue. SuperSUPERglue. You spoon me like the best of lovers. You comfort me like the best of friends.
I have always enjoyed your presence.
In fact, it was in your presence that I made some of my most important life decisions; when I left my hometown in search of a bigger pool to swim in, when I knocked on opportunities' door, believing the world is my oyster, when I hustled, and worked hard, and SURVIVED month to month because I believed in the future I set up to have.
It was YOU that knocked on an agent's door as a tween, announcing 'I'm here!'
It was YOU that flew across the world to NYC without a shred of worry about not having enough money, and not knowing anyone, and having a foreigner's accent and mentality.
It was YOU that showed up to auditions, day after day, facing the inevitable NO with open arms. It was YOU that saw opportunities and possibilities in the seemingly smallest avenues - an unpaid student film, a music video, a passion project.
But it was also YOU that was hurting when things didn't go your way.
It was also YOU that grew bitter, and irritated, and angry.
It was also YOU that reached milestones just to see they didn't feel all that great.
Ambition, dear, you exist in the gathering of something. In the chase. In the quest. In the hunger. Intertwined with Desire and sometimes touching on greed - you don't exist without wanting something so much that you spring into action. And sometimes - that action causes you to fall flat on your face.
In the buddhist belief, desire is the root of human suffering.
I get that, really do, but I also think that suffering is an integral part of the human experience. And so is desire. And YOU, Ambition, are an integral part of MY human experience. For better or worse.
In my life, there are many things I have yet to experience, but I have had the experience of living and/or leaving a broken home. I was a child when that reality entered my life, and it lives with me still, all these years later. So when I saw this work by Paul Klee - I immediately connected to it. It rang as... familiar.
In Klee's piece - the home isn't broken. At least not literally. But it is revolving, it is shifting yet stays in the center of the world it lives in. Its lines are mostly sharply defined, and its walls and roof are firm. But the foundation is faded, and the windows and doors are sideways or flat on the ground. When I turn my head to look at the piece from the side - I see the home again. Even upside down - I see the home again. But this home isn't set in stone, it isn't firm. This home is ever-changing, always evolving, and as Klee defined it : always 'revolving.' Much like another 'home' we all know: the home WITHIN us.
*'Revolving House' by Paul Klee
Have you ever thought of your dreams, as little nesting dolls, little 'babushkas' stored on inside the other? Say you have a dream, a goal, a tangible one, and you achieve it. Or sort of achieve it. Achieve it enough to 'check that box', to mark that goal.
What do you do next?
Do you say... 'I'm done with dreams! I retire from dreaming!'
No. I imagine you do not.
Well, then you may suddenly realize that that dream you had? That goal achieved? It was only the first layer you have to peel, the first babushka to open, to see what other dreams are stored in you. See, the FIRST babushka - is all you really see from the outside. The outer shell of the onion is the only one visible to the eye. It's when you OPEN it - that you discover that the first layer was only the entry point, the introduction to a whole world INSIDE.
I have always been lucky to have had clarity about my dreams, my goals, my aspirations. I was a mere three year old when I announced to the world around me that I WILL be an actress. When grown ups would smile at the ambitious little girl, and say:
'Oh, you want to be an actress when you grow up?'
I frowned and corrected them:
'No, I don't WANT to be. I WILL be.'
That level of determination is in a way only the gift of the very young, or perhaps some will say it is wasted on the very young... but alas, it took me some years to take that initial goal and make it my actual profession. And along the path I found out that being an actress, was only the first shell of an artistic pursuit of storytelling, of creating, of reflecting to humanity what it is. Art shows people who they are, what they are, why they are. It is the soul's dance; an homage to the human soul. But when I wanted to perform, I wanted TO DO, and I didn't know of the journey within that my first goal would take me on. I only had clarity on what I was able to see. And the more I get to know myself - the more layers of Identity I shed off or peel on - and more desires and wishes are introduced to me.
There may be infinite nesting dolls inside a human's soul and its potential. To uncover them... all we have to do is start with the first one. Open it, and see what else awaits there.
Sometimes, one just needs to cheat.
When I started writing this daily blog (one year and four months ago) the only promise I made to myself was to write every day. I didn't care WHAT I'd write, as long as it would be something that I could type in and post to this page you are reading right now.
I quickly found my happy places in the writing which tend to be in melancholic yet sweet poetry, short stories that reveal some aspect of a dreamy inner world, a collection of letters to aspects of myself (there's that 'inner world' again!) and a bunch of other creative writing shenanigans.
But some days... well, some days one just needs to cheat. And so I found my niche for 'cheat days' with my blog; whenever I am too exhausted to get any type of inspirational creative writing going, and it's already the middle of the night - my 'go to' is the 'Word of the day' type posts. I pick a word, look up the meaning of it... and like magic - I instantly wake up a little, just enough to write a little blurb about that word I chose for that day and why I chose it.
So my little 'cheat trick' ended up being a reliable gateway to my inner life.
So go on! Find your cheat day or cheat trick - it may lead you somewhere unexpected. It may lead you closer to yourself.
The man who knew it all woke up one day in a new world.
This world was nothing like the one he was born in:
There were no boundaries in this world. No bad weather. No haters. No police officers to enforce rules. No rules! No money! No debt. No debt collectors. No bills to pay. No machines to break. No dreams to shatter. No nay sayers. No one to stop him from achieving his goals. No one to stop him. No one.
In this heavenly new world, the man who knew it all could know it all fully, totally, freely.
Utopia. Promised Land. Zion.
But there was something missing in this world:
This world had no LOVE.
The man who knew it all woke up one day in a new world:
A world without love.
And the man who knew it all, would now rather know nothing at all.
Because without love -
Heaven is a prison.
The Promised land is barren.
And Zion is buried down under.
Love is the only thing a man oughta know.
Ah, we meet again.
The red face, the frown on my forehead, the invisible fumes coming out of my ears and nose... yup - that's YOU, all right, gracing me in your presence. Again.
I was expecting you, actually.
Not just because I'm on my period this week and my hormonal changes often bring you along, but also because some events this week have taken me straight to times in my life when I felt your presence, Anger, but wouldn't express you.
The child I was did not know how to hold space for you, Anger. The child I was used to slam doors, or walk away with a frown, or lash out and then run to hide in my shell. All normal practices, sure, but I'd say not the healthiest ways to experience and/or express Anger.
The woman I am now is much more ready to take you on.
I do that by:
A. Acknowledge your presence.
B. Dissect why is it that you arrived.
C. Call you out. 'You name it - you tame it.'
D. Observe my body when you hop over for a visit - Breathing deeply and shaking help navigating around your intense energy.
E. Unravel what is under the hood of your car, if anything at all. Is it pain you are protecting? Hurt? Sadness?
F. Not shame you for coming up. You are a human trait, a needed trait to move through something. And if you are not expressed - that something will grow bigger and bigger... until your next level Rage comes by and tosses you aside.
I am not angry of you for coming by again, Anger. Being angry at YOU would be counter productive... a vicious cycle, right? No, on the contrary - I am happy you show up to remind me where I stand on things, where my boundaries are at, when my ego is wounded, when I am triggered by something or someone, or when I am on that time of the month.
I am human, and you are an essential part of the human experience.
I don't know why it is like that, but I know IT IS.
You are seen, Anger. You are heard.
You are SEEN and HEARD, Anger.
No need to slam any more doors to get my attention.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman