‘Testing, testing, 1-2-3 testing…’ goads the Universe on the beginning of my 3 days holiday away from my family. I have so been looking forward to this time away but here I am, morning of Day 1, my patience and sanity being tested.
‘Oh sure, you can escape your husband and kids, the ones I chose as your soul mates for the very fact that they push your buttons in all the right places for you to learn and grow, but aha, I have multitudes of ways to guide your growth (aka- push your buttons to the brink of insanity.)’
Though I hear mwahahahaha evil laughter at the time, looking back the Universe was probably more maternal than that. A knowing smile, unconditionally given, as she wraps me in a blanket of what I need rather than what I want.
Apparently what I need, more than anything in this life, is to get lost. With GPS and mapping technology, I arrogantly assume that my getting lost tendencies are beat.
The Universe, with her motherly squeeze, then gentle push, is here to remind me that this assumption is false. Plus, I’m pretty sure she recruited the GPS mapping systems for the sole purpose of testing my issues some of which include impatience, short temper and negative tendencies.
‘Though it is true you are on a getaway from the routine of daily mamma life, your issues lady, they’re still you’re issues.’
To which I ignore the damn Universe.
Punching in ‘Kettle Valley Railway’ into my phone maps, I assume it will direct me to the main tourist destination and trustingly set off.
Only I find myself suddenly on a single lane gravel road fit only for a 4X4 (I do not have a 4X4) until the giant rivets and overgrown bushes force me to stop. Desperately, I look at my maps app again only to find I have arrived at a no cell service destination.
Fortunately, just up ahead I spot an elderly hiker (note no vehicle) and her 2 rambunctious dogs. She stares blankly at me as I describe how my GPS on my iPhone has led me here then ignores this foreign language for a simple “Honey, I think you’re going the wrong way.”
After precariously turning the car around and crawling back down the mountain in first gear, I follow the hikers directions 8km up another gravel road, passable, though still not easy, to find myself on the opposite end of the Kettle Valley Trail I had set out for. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal as I could just bike it backwards, only on this day, there has been an avalanche, and this end of the trail is closed.
Bloody bleeping hell.
I wish I could say I merely sigh and move on but reality is not so pretty. Instead there is cursing, lamenting and moaning of the ‘why me?’ and ‘how could I have been so dumb?’ variety. My brain is doing a fine job of beating myself up, of taking the bad and rolling it into a full blown catastrophe.
But for a tiny speck of space interrupting my internal rant.
‘Um, sweetie, you are alone, only an hour off track, driving through stunning orchards, with no expectations or schedules for the entire day. Chill the hell out!’
Body-checking its way back in however, Negativity takes hold.
‘If the kids were here you’d have to cancel the whole day! What a waste of time! Why couldn’t you have paid attention to the directions? You know better! Gawd, why do you ALWAYS get yourself lost?’
Segued and interlaced with cursing all the while.
But again, a moment of space comes knocking,
‘You are making something out of nothing. The kids are not here and even if they were, they’d be fine but for your needless vents. Look at these views! Laugh at yourself! Marvel at the unexpected gifts getting lost brings!’
Taking a deep breath, I begin to see my surroundings, not for being ‘wrong’ but for being what they are. In a word, beautiful.
Proud of myself for having fought off the demons and ‘chilling the hell out’, I am full of energy and enthusiasm arriving at the trail head. I gather my water and snacks and make sure to lock the car up tight as there have been numerous reports of theft in this parking lot, use the outhouse and set off for the 20km return bike along trestles and through tunnels.
Which means, of course, it’s about time for a test…
At about 4km in to the 12km one way trail, a little thought pops into my brain “Kari, where are your keys?”
At the next trestle I stop to look in my backpack. Nothing. I search with a little more purpose. Nothing. I frantically toss everything about. Nothing. I panickly dump out my backpack. NOTHING.
Which is when my brain flashes game-show style “ON THE CAR. ON THE CAR. ON THE CAR.”
Bloody bleeping hell.
Heeded the warnings, locked the car up good and tight, only to LEAVE THE KEYS ON THE CAR!
“You have got to be kidding me!!” But it is not a yell or a curse or a vent. It is a laugh.
I continue laughing and shaking my head for 4km back to where I hope is still a car.
Okay, here we go again. What’s another 8km detour? I have surrendered at this point. Acknowledging my issues, I surrender and just keep laughing.
Moments that would not have happened had my regimented plan upheld.
Slowly I am catching on. This time away for me is not about getting away from it all, it is about getting closer to it all. Not escaping, but seeing. Awareness to see myself, my triggers, my passions. So that yes, dear Universe, I can learn and grow.
Getting lost to find my way. A lesson I am continually learning.