My cousin from South Florida drove up with a friend from Puerto Rico to surprise me this past week. They went horseback riding the next day and somewhere on the mountain trail her car keys fell out of his pocket and got lost. She’s got one of those cars that uses an electronic key. So the only key available is now somewhere in the mountains of Western North Carolina. We checked the miles of trails over and over and nothing. This man was beside himself. He was wound up pretty tightly. A city boy stuck in “deliverance” land didn’t go well with him. What was to be a short three day visit was going to turn into something much longer. The angrier he got the more I saw parts of me. I know the drill with city folks since I was one myself. It is truly difficult to let go when you have never been taught to do so.
“Hey, perfect time to smell the roses!” I say this as we are standing in a field full of horse crap. “What roses?” He asked with such exasperation after hours of carefully going up and down the mountain moving leaves and tediously searching pathways. “I mean, smell the horse shit!” He looked at me as if I was nuts. In his constant sarcasm and arrogance I explained to him that there was a reason for losing the keys. Everything happens for a higher purpose. He is in gorgeous country land, 360 degrees of mountain views. He is in a place of artistic explosion. For miles the only thing the eyes can witness is pure beauty and divinity. And, yet, not once did could he stop and stare out to intake the magic.
It took him a while but he did begin to let go with lots of hesitation. I love these types of personalities (since I was one in the worst way). I get to witness firsthand the walls slowly crumbling and the affirmation of childlike-playfulness taking over. It is marvelous! His city arrogance began to unfold. I had to hold my breath at times as he not only felt guilty for losing the keys but now having to find a way to fly out of here to be at work on Monday. His anxiety was painful to experience. And, then something happened. He allowed himself to get lost in the moments of this country side.
“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” Every turn and trail we took allowed us to move inward. If the worst possible scenario was that the keys were lost in the woods, then I knew it wasn’t the end of the world. I understand completely why people have to go through drastic measures to break down. It is in those moments that we regain clarity through simplicity. The only thing that matters is the present moment (in his case was finding the darn keys). Things get put in perspective. Moments get highlighted. You can’t solve anything, yet everything gets diluted and distributed to a place of peace. This wasn’t easy for this poor guy. So many emotions came up and outward. As we walked my cousin and I began to take pictures. His type “A” personality couldn’t believe we weren’t looking for the keys every single second. He kept pulling out his phone so we could see the picture and remember what the key looked like.
Being lost is sometimes the only way to find oneself. This trip wasn’t planned. He ended up here because my cousin asked him to join her since he was in Orlando visiting. But, he needed this right now in his life. He needed to surrender all control. In a moment of frustration he looked at me and said, “You don’t understand I am a control freak. I need to control everything. I feel out of my element.”
I smiled and said, “You? No way…a control freak! I hadn’t noticed. Very little to control here, huh?” It was hard for him to release and last night when he finally did it was therapeutic. There are moments in life that bring clarity into our lives. I believe he had quite a few of them while here. Because there was nothing he could do until he could leave today the many issues that had been bottled up came out. And, it was there that a window to peace arrived. His personality was able to relax. Oh…how grateful I become when I witness what this place instills in others. What a blessing! This man went home torn between wanting to stay and the duties back home. I think had he spent a few more days he would’ve experience the gifts of serenity. When he hugged me to say goodbye he thanked me for “putting up with his neurosis.” Little does he comprehend that we all have pieces of neurosis and evolving. After all we are spiritual beings having human experiences.