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  • teresatowey21

This phase of my life is called: descent

Updated: Jan 5

It feels like my whole life up until this point has been one long ascent. Like I’ve been climbing and climbing and climbing up the mountain, going just a little bit further around the next bend, up the next incline, weaving through every switchback, trying to get the best view. A view from which I can see in all directions with perfect clarity. 

woman in wind river range

There have been some beautiful views and sights along the way, but I have not been fully present with them, because I have just been trying so hard to get to THE view. The one that will offer clarity and answers…about what? About everything. About how to live a happy life in this human world of right angles and tiny boxes. About how to feel worthy of love without giving all of myself to others. About how not to be lonely when I don’t like other people and I don't like myself. About how to control my body less and love the fleshy, juicy parts of it. About what the point of this whole living thing is. About how not to care what others think about me.

In all of my ascending and searching for answers to my metaphysical questions, I have missed so much of the physical. Sometimes I am moving so quickly on my ascent that all I catch of the physical world are mere impressions of colors - pine green, azalea red, poppy yellow - the colors flying by in my periphery, never in full focus. And the textures? They all seem flat. I know I am passing by fuzzy, bumpy, gooey, soft, bristly, feathery, slippery, silky things but I do not slow down enough to touch them. Tastes are even more elusive for the only things I taste come out of packaged plastic and are pumped full of chemicals and salt and sugar. Smells are hard to come by too because to smell requires slowing down and breathing and there is simply no time for that if I am going to make it to the top and find all the answers. The sounds of the physical world are even more nebulous for there is often a conversation in my head being blasted on a loudspeaker. You’re going to slow. Move faster. The top is going to be so worth it. Stop complaining about your foot. You dont have time to smell the roses and swim in the lakes. Faster, faster, faster, higher, higher, higher. It’ll be worth it. 

Loneliness also begets me, the ascender, for in my ascent I am traveling away from the many toward the one - the one truth, the one view, the one answer for my many questions. Of course I am not the only one on this journey. There are many other ascenders on their own peaks searching for their own views and their own answers to the same questions. So here we each are, ascending our own mountains, alone and isolated, which is ironic because we are all seeking similar things - belonging, acceptance, connection, love - so, why then do we think we will find these things alone on our own mountain top? 

I have been climbing with the belief that something is waiting for me at the end of my ascent. I’ve even tried to expedite the process by not only ascending but also transcending. Maybe If I can just get high enough off this mountain, deprive myself of enough oxygen, take enough psychedelics, then I can skip this whole material, corporeal experience and transcend beyond the mountain, beyond my body, to the truth. “I wanna see nirvana, but don’t want to die yet”, so instead I just keep ascending and transcending. 

But wait…I am tired of the ascent. I am no longer convinced that there are answers waiting for me up there, or out there. In fact, I’m not even concerned with finding answers at all anymore. I want to live the questions. And the questions are right here. In me. In the poppy and the pine and the azalea and the lake and the scree and the dirt and the sap. The physical world is oozing not with answers but with a full sensory, enlightening experience and I don't want to miss it anymore. I am ready to descend back down the mountain. Back into the depths of my body. Down into the darkness of my womb. I am tired of working against gravity, and am ready to acquiesce to it. I am tired of the separation between me and the physical world…the tiny box I live in that protects me from the elements and keeps me six stories off the ground, the menstrual cup I insert into my uterus every month to protect my blood from falling to the ground, the chairs I sit on to keep me up off the floor, the packaged food I eat that bears no resemblance to the earth that produced it…

woman at waterfall in Yosemite

I am going down. Down the mountain. Toward home. On my descent, I will take in all the sights, sounds, scents, tastes and textures. I will do so with no sense of urgency, and while knowing that there are no answers up there, out there, or over there. There is only this. The mountain and me. I am ready to step into my role of descendent. I want to know my ancestors and the way in which I descended from them. What I mean is what part of them is in me? What wisdom? What truth? What fears? 

I am descending back to the horizon, where the sun sets, where the sky meets the water, where all roads lead. Will you join me?



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