This post is a long time coming; March of 2015 to be accurate. Unfortunately, life got busy and there were a lot of posts that I've worked on in the meanwhile, while this one simmered at the recesses of my mind. Some posts, I've thought about and forgotten. This post is interesting because it's one that kept returning to me. What do I mean by that? In life, a certain event may trigger me to write a post. Maybe meeting a friend or going through the stresses of the office or a trip, or just something. I would think about writing it and then maybe write parts of it and leave it as a draft. Sometimes, I'll completely forget about it. Yesterday, I was driving and had the most amazing post and title on my mind. Posts narrate themselves to me and that post just narrated itself and once the narration was done, the post dissolved magically as it had appeared. I've lost a lot of posts that way. Sometimes, I'll get it back in a different form. Sometimes, I won't.
So, this post about finding God, is one that never left me. It would narrate itself to me, in different forms, many random times, but it never left me. It's one of those posts that persisted past what I could control. Someone once asked me why I write. I replied, "Because I don't have a choice." This is one such post. I do not have a choice. I've considered not writing it several times. I've thought about how presumptuous I may sound writing about finding God. What makes me so special? Or the alternative, that I was being sacrilegious. The post itself, has fallacies. I make a hypothesis about finding God, but then I don't know how to bridge this idea for everyone, because of life and how it's structured.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this now is because I get these three day left sided headaches. Yesterday, was day one. Sadly, day one was far worse than any first day of this headache I can remember and today, day two as I was driving back from clinic, holding on to the left side of my face, I was seeking answers to why my day two felt like a day one and how I would feel tomorrow at my cousin's engagement. So, I go back to the days I found God.
When I was 18, one of my biology lectures was about the Galapagos Islands - Darwin's finches, the survival of the fittest, the unique birds indigenous only to the islands and it's been a dream of mine for years since to visit. Years. I would constantly look at tours and information about the islands and due to circumstances in life, both personal and financial, I couldn't make it there until March of 2015.
The tickets and the tour was all booked and I was ready. This was going to be phenomenal. I imagined beauty and wonder that would blow my mind. I imaged a world more beautiful than the mountains near Machu Picchu - my most breathtaking experience so far. I'm going to skip my first day in Quito; I'm moving ahead to the day we got off the plane after it landed on one of the Islands of the Galapagos archipelago.
We had to take a bus to the boat that would lead us to another island that would lead us to another boat to our final boat, the Anahi. On the way, if I were being totally honest, I wondered why this was my dream place to visit. It wasn't as green as I expected. It wasn't as beautiful as I had imagined. There was vegetation, there were sea lions on the port, but nothing to captivate me beyond wonder. I thought to myself that I was just tired from traveling.
A little about myself. I do not like schedules because I feel restricted. However, our tour was based on a schedule. We were hiking or snorkeling at certain times, every morning and every afternoon and breakfast, lunch and dinner were also planned and that was it. That was life on the Anahi. There was no wifi, so we weren't connected to the outside world, and the only thing we had was a schedule of events.
I don't know when it hit me. One day, I realized that despite hiking in desert type volcanic terrain, I looked around at 360 degrees of nothingness but nature. I didn't think about the 'schedule'. This was hiking time. Time dilation became a strange experience. I let myself go and I think the day we walked on sharp volcanic rocks, and Galo, our tour guide, pointed to the first signs of life, the first cactus that made its way through, I looked around at the black heated sharp edged rocks beneath me and around me. I felt the heat of the island drain my energy as I tried to hydrate myself with the water bottle I carried at all times. I turned and looked at the other guests trying to make their way behind me, in a designated path as the wrong footing could cause a serious injury. I looked ahead at our tour guide and the others following him. I wondered. What would happen if the boat that left us at the dock, never returned? We were the only ones there. 16 guests, one tour guide, 17 bottles of water, one per person. The water wouldn't last us another hour, it was that hot. I think it was somewhere there, I was finding myself in relation to the Universe. I am a part of this Universe as all other creatures are. We all have our place and at that moment, my place was just to be there. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was to appreciate one of God's creations. I dotted the landscape for that morning.
Somewhere, I was losing what I have always considered as normal and grounding factors. I think I was finding God in those Islands. One of the first few days of snorkeling, I lost track of the time. I didn't realize that most of the other guests had already made it back up to the boat. I was just floating there on the ocean and a few feet from me a flightless cormorant was swimming. It dove into the water and I immediately put my head in to watch this bird swim deep and peck at the rocks. A few minutes later, the bird was bobbing back up to the surface. It was so close to me. I noticed one other guest there and we both smiled wide as we eyed this bird, that can only be seen in the Galapagos dive again and again. Time. What is that? Schedule? Where was anyone? My only grounding force here, the guest, made me realize that I wasn't lost. I think we had to be called back onto the boat.
Through the hikes and the snorkeling, I forgot my entire existence. Who was I? What was I? Did I have a job or home? Where was I from? What was my life like before this? I know this all sounds surreal and almost existential but it was crazy. See, I wasn't finding extraordinary physical beauty although, some of the birds were gorgeous. Swimming with the turtles and the sea lion cubs and the marine iguanas, I think I was finding a sense of myself and my connection to this world. The moment it all came together was one of our last days of snorkeling. I was in the water, floating and beneath me, a shark swam the other way, a penguin swam towards me and I found myself surrounded by a school of fish and that was the moment it clicked. This was the moment I found God, because through him, I found myself. I found my place in this world. I lost my struggles from back home; the struggles to work and make a living and to live life in a complicated world. Here I was, and I lost every thought of my being. I felt connected to God and it hit me. My place in this Universe - our place in this universe is to just be. We struggle everyday in this life and I know in those islands I found God and He made me realize that my place was just my place. I am not meant to struggle. I'm meant to float and meant to be and be part of the great Universe that He created. My place is not to make something of myself with a degree or to show off my new car or to build a new home bigger and better than my friends. It's not about comparison. It's about living and being. I had to go to the equator to find that. I know I left a part of myself there permanently because my heart seeks those islands again.
I travel to all inclusive resorts every year and every thing is taken care of, but I am constantly looking for my heart that I left back at the Galapagos. That sense of complete stillness. The sense of being cradled in God's arms and to just be. Recently I spent a week down in Arizona, horseback riding everyday - finding the quiet. It was nice, but my eyes look out into the horizon. Oh Galapagos Islands, you have stolen from me. You have stolen my stillness, my heart and my Healer.
The miracles of life are not what we imagine it to be. We put boundaries on ourselves. This country builds walls between ourselves and God. It's all about how we dress and what we look like and how much money we make or the other person makes. Really? Is it all about that? How can we be so much further from the truth, but alas if we push it aside and throw God out of our lives, how can we expect Him to be with us?
The fallacy of this post? How can we afford to visit the islands to find God without making money, and saving money as a priority to be fortunate enough to experience this. I have to work everyday and keep ploughing on. I can't just be as is our purpose. Perhaps, somewhere I will find the balance. For now, I seek "being" in this complicated world and I seek the truth in the simple uncomplicated world somewhere near the equator.
Best to you all,
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