Pondering in a Solo experience can be powerfull. The following extract has been shared by a participant of the I Wilderness Therapy Training provided by Asociación Experientia.
Dear reader, be kind. I’m not an English native speaker and you might find some mistakes in my writing. I wrote it trying to look after idiomatic expressions but even with that you’d find some. I’m sure of it.
I’ll try to do something difficult. Maybe it’ll be more than that. I’ll try to present you my experience in a training hosted by Experientia. I was so lucky to have Alexander Rose and Natalia Ruiz de Cortázar Gracia facilitating the course. This was an international experiential training to Wilderness Therapy. Just because of it being experiential it’s so difficult to express myself using proper words. When experiencing something so powerful, words can’t reach where your whole body does. I can’t help to feel emotional while recalling those days with such beautiful people. There we were 13 participants from Belgium, Denmark and Spain. I’d say that the solo experience was extraordinary for all of us, let me tell you how special was mine:
All started with fear, fear to not finding my spot, the one I was supposed to be. I didn’t know how to use the basic tools and maybe for that reason I couldn’t recognize most of the turns I was supposed to read on the map. Sometimes, I thought I could distinguish some of them but as my doubts rose, also did my fear to be lost with nobody at hand.
Long was the journey and I finally, relieved, found my spot. I happened to think of the best place to have dinner and reflect the rest of the evening. I also found what would be a good place to sleep at night. There I was having dinner, a little early form my taste, but I wanted to be ready as soon as possible to reflect. That was the reason why I was there after all, right?
As I finished to eat, a little bit anxious to get to the point of opening the letter that Natalia and Alex had given to me, and just when I was about to open it, to my amazement, I found someone in the very spot I thought I could set my sleeping bag. Damn! I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Is this Martine’s spot? Or is she the one misplaced here? I can’t talk to her, that one is the very one important rule along with not setting fire, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to break it. Now, remorse feelings on the way, great. Not the amazing solo experience I had in mind. After all, my high expectations to trash, again. I’m not in my place. At least that’s what our maps seemed to show. I tried to read it. Would it be that my spot is down that little path that goes down to the lake? Damn! I can’t understand this silly map so I must be the one misplaced.
I tried several locations and while doing it, I found I wasn’t the only one trying to decide its site. Laura was going down and up the lake, kind of in a hurry, seeming somehow not very at ease. There were others exploring the lake, and someone I couldn’t tell, up at the mountain, setting up and getting ready to enjoy its experience. And there I was, seated in a beautiful spot with the lake before me surrounded by those magnificent mountains. That’s when occurred to me. Would I be visible also for others? I can’t say that it was the feeling of not feeling alone as all kind of flies tormented me to the point that I wouldn’t be able to focus on my reflections, those that the thoughtful letter I had in my hands gently proposed, but I felt deep inside that this wasn’t my place at all so packed and went off again.
And that is how I broke another rule. This one wasn’t said per se but I could feel my remorse instincts advising me against it. I knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do but I couldn’t help to think: ‘go anywhere but with all these damn flies and mosquitoes’. That’s how I went off limits to find, not far away at right hand side of the road, a place to stay. There wouldn’t be much but some low bushes, but seemed far enough from the lake and its flying fauna. This might be the best place I can find given that I couldn’t expect for the sun to stay much longer. So I explored a little bit and found a large stone not far from there. It resembled of a bed carved in the rock seeming good enough to accommodate my resting body.
But destiny had a different play in mind: not long after I set up my tarp, mattress and sleeping bag. Nor long after I placed my food bag up in a tree where no animals could steal or feed, and took my notebook to write down my reflections, was that the first flies did their part. I couldn’t blame them for doing their job, and they were doing it damn well. Frustrated, I got my notebook packed again and surrendered to reality, thinking that the best thing to do might be to enjoy the open sky view I had before me. At least I might stare at some beauty in my solo after all. And in that precise moment, me being inside the sleeping bag and wearing the bare minimum, that those flies went and called some moths to flutter all over my head. I was so closed in my sleeping bag that only a little space was left to enjoy the view but they were so applied in their efforts that one of them managed to enter to my sacred refuge, that that was preventing them to reach me. I couldn’t bear more frustration and closed entirely the bag, preventing any of them to enter but, sadly, not letting me to look at the sky.
There I was, suffocated by the hot inside the sleeping bag, the day drawing back and giving some space to the night, but safe from those stubborn flying beasts. All I wanted in that moment was to rest and wake up at the sunrise to enjoy some beautiful scenery. I was just about to give up to my sleep when something whoosed over my sleeping bag. It was so quickly that couldn’t be the air. I will never know what that was as I were so scared that I wouldn’t dare to peep out to search for any flying friend. I just convinced myself that it was the wind that, in a dash, blew there.
There I was, just about to fall asleep, sweating and without being able to get rid of the frustration and discomfort that was keeping me from enjoying that beautiful experience-to-be. I won’t tell you I wouldn’t stare at the stars at some moments while waking up during the night and thinking how I was looking at the entire universe from a privileged place, imagining myself in a colossal rock spinning around the flaming sun. If I started sweating, I ended up being damn cold, putting on all my clothes I had at hand and cursing the experience by not being what I expected of it. There I was regretting some thoughts that crossed my mind while being so upset for stealing the place to Martine and making it much better by blaming Natalia and Alex for placing us so close, or assuming that I might find the right spot, or that I would be the best of the participants by not spoiling the experience to others by speaking to them. All of these thoughts crossed my mind in less than a second and was then where a big slap crossed my face, with all its words and all its letters in it: internal locus of control.
It burned so much that I couldn’t help to cry for a while. There it was when I remembered something I wrote just before going to find the spot I was in:
Keep walking, you wanderer,
without looking back.
It’s that light in the distance
what makes you dream tonight.
Now, I was pretty much uncomfortable with stones making my bed a hell of a night, humidity soaking up my bones but feeling in my spot, where all really fitted, in the wilderness.
Román Rodríguez Sebastián