A Tale of Two Yearnings

Travel and transit is conducive to seeing fortuitous opportunities open up. Perhaps if we “had eyes to see,” we could see these openings in the regular workings of mundane life; but my life has been in transit for the last few years, so I am certainly more keen to appreciate the connections that open for me than I have been in the past.

Certainly I am more open to allowing life to open rather than needing to have it all planned.

I met a fellow couchsurfer today, from the couchsurfing.org network. We had talked via email. Its a long story, but the immediately relevant connection is that we both love Alaska. She traveled around this past summer and felt, like myself, a significant connection to the land, its wild and grand landscapes and animal life.

I really appreciate the beauty of this area of southern California, thank God for it! I don’t know if I could last long in an urban area without it! However, I look out over the wide ocean and I sometimes feel the ache of missing Alaska. My soul associates the ocean with wilderness and the particular majestic wilderness that is Alaska.

So why am I here and not in Alaska? That’s where the other yearning comes in: for mentorship in the contemplative tradition. I’ve been quiff immersed in study and contemplative practice for the last few years, and I’ve felt drawn more and more to be near someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about the path. Someone who has journeyed the contemplative journey.

There’s a story about an ancient Chinese sage who was coming to town, and there was a man who walked many many miles to see this guru, yet strangely, the man did not attend any of the guru’s speaking or teaching forums. Naturally, people were curious and asked the man why he had traveled so far and yet did not make the effort to hear the sage teach. The man replied that he did not come to hear the sage speak but to watch him walk.

There is something deeper about our walk, something more subtle and genuine comes through in the tone of our voice or the flickers in our eyes.

So what does one do when there are two yearnings, two equally valid pulls on the heart?

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Yearnings”

  1. Vesper,

    Thank you. I have definitely found that to be the case. Though there are decisions I would certainly have made differently in the past, I do not regret the decisions I’ve made…oddly….because there is much to be said of making the absolute most of where you are and then letting things open.


Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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