it’s been more than a year and half since i’ve participated in my first vision quest. undoubtedly, one of the more brave things i did not because it physically scare me to go into the desert whilst on a fast and without any shelter or distractions. i’ve done enough meditation retreats where solitude and silent was cherished by my soul. only in hindsight did i understand why it was a brave thing to stare into my original wound and coms to terms with it in very visceral and conscious manner. meanwhile, 10 other strangers came to share their stories. the stories stirred my well of compassion violently. It was such a precious week to witness the power of vulnerability to connect our lost souls. even now, the pain and joy of this experience remains fresh in my heart and soul. even though i have lost connection with most of these people, i am grateful for the chance to have done a portrait of them in the desert. it’s such a rare privilege to photograph humans in these states of vulnerability and intimacy.
in my typical fashion, i didn’t think too much about the implication of signing up for 120 mile race at high elevation when in reality i was wholly unprepared for such a physical feat. As I spoke to other participants on how they prepare for the adventure, my suspicion was confirmed that I was mostly out of my league. Which is not to say that there weren’t other less prepared racers and when compared to them, i would have done fine. of course in hindsight, i did pretty good considering how little i train. pretty good meaning i was able to finish all the stages within a pretty reasonable amount of time without being super injured or wiped out. Also considering how sore I was from the SF Marathon a week prior to the race, i didn’t come into the race believing that i could be ‘successful’ in just a rigoius physical feat. still, i can’t say that i didn’t wholly believe in myself as i view the challenge as mostly a mental grit exercise and i was mostly correct in that assumption. physically, i may not have been as well train but i felt that mentally I ‘should’ be able to complete the challenge. for the most part. the scenario played out naturally and there were many moments that my mental toughness overcame my physical weakness.
i love these types of challenges and as i get older/more successful, they come more rare in my daily experience. previously, life just threw these mental/character challenges at you and nowadays, i have to seek it out. not to suggest that my life is so easy these days but the daily challenges are fairly minor and doesn’t build much character for the most part. intense challenges that consume your mind/body for short periods of time have a much more powerful impression on your character psyche. which is to say, after an experience such as this, my confident level went up considerably. the question becomes how will i apply that new level of confident. it’s been tempting to keep using this confident in the same channel but i am not sure that’s how i want to apply it. I think it’s fairly easy for me to fall into the idea of upping my running game into longer races and etc. Not that it’s a super bad thing as the health benefits are awesome, there’s just so much on my plate that i want to do and all preparing for ultra distances requires more time commitment than i am prepare to give at this point. for now, i suspect i will continue to do a few more races this year to close out a great year of running but not sure what the future holds.
i went to visit chris on his 15 acre plot down in big sur. i asked him why he need that much space and the short answer was he wanted the hill on the next plot to watch the sunset from. Chris is one of the few people who i think is creating their own path. most of us follow fairly scripted revolution stories from young kid to habitual adults.
it was super nice to witness her going to holding on to my leg ever so tightly to dad, leave me alone. all within an hour, i saw how fear transformed into joy. i hope i was able to help that transformation!