Places That Scare You
These paintings are inspired by a hike I took in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
This was one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever taken. What is not pictured is my anxiety. I was hiking with my husband and two children along a riverside that led to the ocean. The trees sheltered us from the sun and occasional shower. The sounds of the river alongside us was glorious. We kept our eye out for (and made noise to avoid) moose and bear (we did see one moose). After 6 kilometers, we settled into one of the most gorgeous oceanside backpacking sites I've ever seen. As I put my backpack down, I felt a heaviness settle in my gut. We were hours from the car, alone, no cell service. What had I been thinking? I felt completely vulnerable. I had backpacked many times in my life before kids. But with kids I realized my vulnerability to a new degree.
As the night slowly moved along. I remember that Pema Chodron's monastery, Gampo Abbey was literally 15 kilometers away. I considered what Pema would say to me in this headspace of anxiety I inhabited. I breathed. Just this one breath. I continued this meditation for 6 hours.
After a sleepless night, the sun rose and we packed up camp. As we hiked back, each step brought me back closer to my car, closer to community, closer to a sense of safety. Reaching the car I felt relief. And yet, I reflected that whether I'm off the grid 1765 kilometers from home or safe in my bed at home. I am vulnerable. We are all vulnerable.
Remembering that vulnerability, remembering the places tha scare us, is a reminder that life is fragile, that we must fully inhabit this very moment, that gratitude for this breathe is all there is.
A Prayer for Feeling Vulnerable
Dear God of the wind, God of the egg shell, God of the infant, God of the hummingbird, God of the spiderweb, God of the delicate poppy flower,
You know vulnerability. You create such beauty in such delicate fragile places. You know our hearts and our longing for certainty. Our longing for comfort. You walk gently with us as we stumble along searching for someway to know that there is tomorrow. When the whole time you've been that soft warm summer breeze reminding us that today, this moment contains it all.
May we breathe in knowing beauty, knowing presence, knowing full awareness and wakefulness. May we breathe out letting go of beauty, knowing loss, aware of our uncertainty and unknowing. May we go to the places that scare us and be most gentle there. May we let the warmth of your love, that moves through all spaces, places, and time be a comfort to us. And empower us to comfort others. Amen.
Places That Scare You No. 1 48" x 36" (c) Bronwen Mayer Henry (Acrylic on Canvas) SOLD
Places That Scare You No. 2 48" x 36" (c) Bronwen Mayer Henry (Acrylic on Canvas) Available (Contact Artist for Details)
“A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid.” Pema Chodron