A Saturday Drive
Last Saturday morning, my husband and I woke and began discussing our priorities and desires for the day. He started the conversation off with, “let’s take a drive.” For a little backstory, my husband doesn’t take drives. These are a childhood past-time of mine – long Sunday afternoon drives through the backroads of Idaho, stopping for a light picnic, a leisurely walk, but mostly exploring our world from the inside of the car. These are trips of rich conversation; deep questions about the universe discussed. They were times of laughter. There were squabbles between my brother and I over backseat domain. And, I still hold dear the journey, the leisurely drive at the whim of the magic steering wheel and the opportunity to take in the beauty and diversity of the world. My husband, on the other hand, believes drives inherently have destinations. He has a similar theory about hikes: hikes lead to fishing holes, hunting destinations. An amazing view is sometimes enough of a draw. Now, don’t get me wrong. He is an avid outdoorsman, critically observant of the nuances of life and nature at all times. He loves beauty and wild spaces. But, drives for the sake of a drive do not usually suit him.
So, when he brought up a drive; an opportunity to orient ourselves with where we now live, a chance to explore, and a day together to talk and share without the distraction of computer, phone, or household chores; I said yes! And, within an hour, we were off!
What transpired was a day of presence, of deep conversation, of connecting with one another on this journey of orientation, of grounding.
An incredible blessing! A delightful day!
As most of you know, we moved from Alaska to California within the last three months. My husband was born and raised in Alaska. I have lived there for 20 years, minus a few to complete medical school. We have incredible stories, experiences, and a history of days well-lived in Alaska. As with all history, we also have struggle, difficulty and pain. We left Alaska because we were offered an invitation to be here in San Diego, and it was time: time for transition, change, growth and potential in a new environment.
The invitation to take this drive was really about orientation. There are days we both feel as if we’ve been teleported to a new planet. And, the first order of business when on a new planet is to get a lay of the land. So we did! With orientation comes an ability to ground, to settle in and to create from our very center. It is often easy to get caught up in the immediate routines of daily life and not take the time to do this necessary exploration.
When my patients are given a new diagnosis, whether it be hypertension, cancer, allergies, anxiety or diabetes, or they go through a life transition such as adolescence or childbirth or menopause, or they lose someone they love; they are transported to a new planet. Nothing is familiar. There are recommendations for new medications, advice from many well-meaning people on how to navigate this new space, many directions given and google searches conducted. But, until we accept the invitation to truly explore our terrain, to look at our own physiology, to explore our own place in this new terrain, we can spend exorbitant and valuable energy and time floundering. The terms are new. The languaging is all new. There are new relationships to navigate. Oftentimes a diagnosis or a new phase of life, invite us to explore our past as well. We are asked to look at what is new, and at what messes and less than skillful patterns we have carried with us into our new space.
In “taking a drive” through our new terrain, taking time to explore what it means to be in our own bodies, experiencing whatever it is we are experiencing, recognizing what is familiar and what is new, what is comfortable and what is uncomfortable; we can begin to orient and find the patterns that serve us best. This may be new food choices, new lifestyle activities, finding a new routine, cleaning house and detoxing. It also invites us to heal the past wounds and struggles so that we may truly move through each day with grace and full presence in this body we call home. And we are asked to be present with the full range of experience before us, be it frustration, sadness, joy, grief, elation, excitement, fatigue, or peace.
It is my privilege to offer a roadmap to my patients, to hear their stories and help them orient to their place of being. Endobiogenic medicine, in looking at our terrain and how we manage our physiology, can give a roadmap to why we have developed symptoms or why we are moving more or less smoothly through the major transitions of life. With understanding, with orientation, with a centered perspective, we can embrace the tools that work best for us as individuals to heal.
On our San Diego county drive, I was reminded that I need wild spaces. I need to get out of the city occasionally, or to the beach. I need to move, breathe and explore. My husband needed to know his landmarks. He needed to have familiarity with towns, roads and terrains so that when he speaks to people he meets, he doesn’t feel such a stranger in a strange land.
In our health journeys, we may need information so that we have better understanding of our physiology, our imbalance, and can adopt new patterns that lead to health. We may need specific nutrition plans to heal our structure. We may need herbs and plant medicine to bring us back to a place of balance. We may need medication to address a symptom or a lesion while we continue to get our bearings and heal our deeper wounds.
I could have said no to a drive that day, that I had work to do that I could not do on the road. I could have hesitated because I had been sitting all week and needed motion and activity more than sitting over the weekend. I could have asked him why he would suddenly want to take a drive when he is generally not a “drive” person. I could have trapped him in the way he has been without allowing for who he is right now, for what he is offering. I could have not seen the sparkle in his eye, the desire to orient himself and ground into our new home.
Instead, I chose to say yes and the reward was great! Moving from Alaska to California has not been all sunshine and beauty. We left comfortable careers and familiar places to both start something new in a completely different terrain. We are both following dreams, and both questioning at times the wisdom of the leap. And, yet, in saying yes to our place, to our new home, to the beauty surrounding us, we also are embracing the change and finding a new rhythm. We are given the opportunity to explore our fears, our expectations, our stuck places, our gifts and our strengths.
It is an honor to watch my patients who also express a wholehearted yes to the invitations before them. The invitation to heal. The invitation to delve into and explore their own terrain, their past and the places they have been stuck. The invitation to visit and digest the difficult emotions, the physical pain, the traumas, and to experience new ways of being, new journeys. This commitment to life: to life lived fully, engaged, honoring each moment no matter what it brings, this is incredibly honorable and speaks to a life well lived!