I got lucky a few years ago. Really, really lucky.
I lived in Western Australia briefly, and when I decided to move on, I flew to Broome for a weekend with a friend, and said goodbye to him in the sunset. From Broome, I took a tour through the Kimberley to Darwin. It was the last tour before the wet season, and it was an astounding, hot, beautiful tour. I got to go places that few humans go, I went skinny dipping in pools in the middle of the desert, slept under an indescribable sky. I even got to see Purnululu National Park, a place that we have all seen in photos, but few ever get to see in person (mainly because it’s a pain in the ass to get to, super sacred and protected, not to mention again a huge pain in the ass to get to). At the end, I ended up in Darwin, in the Northern Territory. I never meant to go there, at least, I never planned on it before I left Canada. It’s funny where life takes you, sometimes.
Anyways. Darwin is beautiful in its own way. It’s advised that you don’t go in the water (think deadly jellyfish and sharks, plus saltwater crocodiles), it’s wildly hot and humid, but it’s beautiful. Really unique and diverse. One night, I decided to take myself on a date – I went on a sunset cruise on a pearl lugger. We had bubbles, tried some raw clam meat, watched the city slowly change as night fell. When we arrived back to the harbour, however, a storm started to brew.
This storm – it was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. I could feel it surrounding me. My hair, naturally wavy, was already a mass of curls from the sea and the wind – but the electric power of this storm was almost lifting my hair away from my head, like I was standing in a giant plasma globe. I was about two kilometers away from my hostel (and the street of bars and restaurants that the hostel was located on), and I was wearing an antique silk skirt – something I didn’t want to get wet. So I started walking quickly, and then running, to escape the storm. Night had fallen, and I couldn’t see the stars. The storm had surrounded Darwin, and I literally managed to get to the street, a few doors away from the hostel, and I ducked into a bar just as the sky opened. The rain fell heavily, like Zeus had just kicked over all of the buckets of heaven in a drunken rage. There wasn’t a slow start – there was electricity, and then the sky literally opened. I just made it! I congratulated myself, and turned to go to the bar for a drink. Only every single person who was working there, was headed out the door. They pushed past me, eager to get into the storm, fighting to stand in the pouring rain.
So what do the people of Darwin do when the rain comes? They race into it, falling over their feet to get into the torrential downpour. They scream at the sky, exalting in the cool relief of the water. They dance, they laugh, they worship the feeling of the rain on their hands, and fall to their knees with faces upturned. They haven’t seen rain in months, you bet your ass that whatever they were doing – remember, I was in the entrance of a bar! – can wait. Tourists gaped at first, looking out windows that had been left open, or doors where we had hidden from the rain. We didn’t wait very long to join in the celebration, though. Antique skirt be damned – I danced too. (Sidenote- I still have the skirt. It lasted the night, although it didn’t dry out for a few days)
That night was one of the most elemental of my life, and something that I remember all of the details of. I’d never witnessed a celebration so ancient, so cathartic. It’s definitely one of the moments in my life that I believe, with my whole self, that God (or Buddha or Allah or Shihva – take your deity, because they are all one and the same in my book) was present as we danced in the rain.
There have been a few moments like that – where I’m certain that I’m supposed to be in that particular moment. Reflecting right now – a lot of those moments have included dancing. But, one of the most freeing and cathartic experiences of my life has just finished. I am so certain that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.
8 weeks. 56 days of eating clean, with minimal gluten, sugar, dairy, caffeine, and meat. 5 days a week in the kiva, turning into 40 yoga classes, spanning from really traditional to Western, from nidra to dance temple. I have spent over 56 hours meditating, sitting in silence with just myself. I have opened myself to the universe, and wrestled with all manner of demons. JM, and how much I miss him, and how much I hate missing him. My inner mean girl. My irrational worry about being judged, and how people view me. My fears and struggles, my joys and highs – all have been faced. I have written more than I have in years, both by hand and on this computer. But most of all – I feel joyous. I feel light, and blissed right out, and energetic. I’m still surprised that my need to weep is from sheer happiness. I don’t remember being this happy. Strangers are commenting on how I glow, my friends are proud of this accomplishment. This challenge has been one of the greatest experiences of my life – I cannot express how happy I am that I have been forced to look at my demons, head on. I am thrilled to have sat in silence and fought with myself, forced to love all of the parts of myself – parts I am not proud of, parts that I am ashamed of, and scared of.
I spent the last 2 years of my life running. Running from my broken heart, running from my anxiety, running from feeling alone and lonely. I was running from a storm I felt all of the time, one that threatened to drown me. This challenge…. man.
I am no longer running from the storm. I am dancing in the rain.