Our journey into the wilderness to sleep under the stars provided me an opportunity to learn about myself and how I relate to other living things and the environment. While we were there, we were provided solo time with personal journals that included some poems, quotes, and questions to guide our solo time if needed. The poem, The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer was in the journal and this poem stood out to me.
The wilderness challenged my physical and mental status. It challenged my copying skills and brought to light how I deal with others during difficult times. On the second day struggling from the combination of the heat, pain medication, and physical distress I wanted to do what I usually do in time of stress and pain but I could not. Isolating and staying still with my misery would have validated what I felt and given me the time to move away from it when I was ready. Instead, I had to be around people, I had to continue hiking, and keep going no matter what I felt. I struggled to hold my tears in as they continuously flowed down my face. I continued to hike with no words to anyone. At that moment I realized the privilege I have had to be able to isolate when needed but realized in life taking a moment for yourself may not always be realistic and asked myself, how do you cope around other people?
What had come up for me that night was how much I hated and feared asking for help from others and even when offered how I continuously dismissed my peers help as I had believed accepting help would have made me a burden. So, I suffered by myself and this validated my feelings that I was alone.
But that is not what I want from life or from others? How do I create change within myself to create change in my environment? How do I work with others and ask them to reach out when I couldn’t myself? Asking for help or depending on others was a risk that I was not used to taking. Taking risks like that could lead to great moments or disappointments I told myself. I had a choice. I could not accept any help that day but took some time to process my memories, relationships, distrust, pain, my needs, and dreams.
What do I want from others, I asked myself? I want to know that I could trust others to be there for me. But how is that possible when I do not let others get close or be there for me. I made a commitment to myself and to my social work practice that I would daily assess and challenge my fears like this one.
“ ..I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventures of being alive. … I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayal or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!” The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer