Monday, April 24, 2017

Divine Timing, or Apathy?

Hello Invisible Audience,

I am writing to you from atop a mountain, in the cloud forest of Panama. I am here until the end of June, watching over the finca – specifically, the coffee plantation – of some good friends while they’re away on their own adventure, walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I am in Boquete, the town where I lived for nearly two years – a town I left almost three years ago.

My favorite viewpoint of Boquete, from the bridge in town looking up valley.

Although much has changed since I left, enough has stayed the same for it to feel surreal to be here. It’s like slipping my feet into some comfortable, well-worn shoes that I’d forgotten I owned. At the same time, there is a foreignness to the place as well. Although I am no longer surprised by the way of life in Panama after having lived here, I experience small bits of shock when I realize that I knew something about living in a foreign place and forgot it. I suppose it’s similar to getting on a bike after not having ridden in years and realizing I still know exactly how to balance and shift gears.

The trip down was brutal. It was multiple days of flights and buses, and I shouldn’t be surprised that I ended up with a pretty nasty cold and cough. It’s likely a lot of the reason I’m finding it hard to connect with what was once my sacred place, but that can’t be the whole reason.
Ghost Kitty (left) and Biggie (right)
I came here once because I was lost and seeking a place to find myself. To say I did is an understatement. Although many of the people I’ve seen since I returned to Boquete tell me I look exactly the same as when I left – a compliment I will gladly accept – I do not at all feel the same on the inside.

Charlie the Dog
It’s more than just being tired, or suffering a cold. I am wrung out. Much has improved for me since I left Boquete, but most of it was not easy. If I am a different person, it is because I have fought battles and collected scars that I didn’t have before.

Before I left the States, Washington State was still somewhat in the grips of one of the longest, deepest and heaviest winters we’ve had in a long time. I welcomed it: I was living really remotely, and hunkered in for the winter. Perhaps I haven’t come out of that yet, but there is something missing from this time in Panama, Invisible Audience. I am missing that spark of excitement I usually feel when I’m abroad. I fear that I will not be able to find it again – that the passion and creativity I have enjoyed in the past will not come back. I realize that sounds dramatic, but underneath the drama is a very real awareness: I have not felt empowered to be myself lately. I have not felt a desire to create, to write, or to pursue things that feel close to my heart. Instead, I have found I have leaned into the mundane and everyday; I have distracted myself through books, TV shows and work that doesn’t really fulfill me in the hopes of keeping the pain at bay. It is not sustainable, Invisible Audience. And I don’t want it to be.
My view for the next several months, looking out toward the Pacific Ocean.

Oftentimes in the past, I have felt what I call divine timing. I know when it’s time to wait for something, and when it’s time to push forward. My sense of divine timing has not been clear lately. Instead, I wonder if I am floating in a sea of apathy because it is a safer place to be than striking out across the ocean with clear, clean strokes – not knowing where I’m going necessarily, but at least moving forward.

I have wondered if my chance to be back in Boquete will change anything. I have wondered if, once again, it is a place where I can heal, even if the method and people are different than last time. I don’t know, but there are small signs that that could be the case, if I want it to be. After all, I’m writing to you, aren’t I? That in itself is no small feat.

Love and divine kisses