I see now how much I was afraid of before discovering the Balanced View Training. What would or could happen that I didn’t want to, that I’d have to do things I didn’t feel like doing, social anxiety, confusion and sadness. Life felt like it was more about actively avoiding things I didn’t want to experience than anything else; constantly categorizing everything into good/bad/indifferent like a robot on autopilot.
My partner Max and I had attended a number of in-person Balanced View trainings, mostly in California, and we decided I would attend the next California gathering alone for the first time. I’d be journeying there from Vancouver, Canada; ~16 hours of driving taking the fastest highway, and 25+ hours taking the coast. We have a hybrid car that makes driving a good money-saving option, so this is usually how we get there.
At first it seemed okay that I’d be driving there alone, but as time crept closer to leave, the fears got wild: What if someone rapes and kills me at a rest stop? What if I run out of gas in the middle of nowhere and my phone is dead? What if I’m driving perfectly but someone suddenly swerves into me from oncoming traffic? All the absolute worst scenarios were raging in my head, and I found their intensity very convincing! I wrote my trainer Mia about it, and that was a good move. Fear kept arising, but something in me knew I should still go for it regardless of how intense and relentless the stories were.
The trip began with a perfect opportunity to relax when I was sent to secondary inspection at the border, standing in what looked like a snaking amusement park line for more than two hours before speaking to a border guard who was to interview me. I ended up showing him my website on his computer and talking about art I make, nothing heavy about the situation or talking to him. The thoughts of where I should be by now or all the time wasted standing in line amazingly wasn’t the focus or what I related from.
When I was free to go, I just felt happy to finally be on my way. I listened to Balanced View talks most of the time, and that was immensely helpful. If fears or frustrations arose while driving the busy highway 5, listening to the talks naturally reminded me that I didn’t need to go with that data, and in fact there was nothing wrong with the data itself or experiencing it.
The training was beautiful, and a new experience to be there without Max and see all was well. Driving home went just as smoothly as getting there. The border guard on the way back gave me a bit of a hard time, but luckily not to the point of sending me to secondary again! I made it home safely and was greeted by my sweethearts Max and Sprout.
A year later when the training was offered once more, Max couldn’t get the time off work, but I was again in a position where I could go. This time, I looked forward to the journey by car and was excited to take the scenic route along the coast; taking my time over a few days driving only 7-9 hours per day, sleep in my little makeshift bed in the back of the car, and enjoy the many incredible state parks and beaches along the coast of Oregon and California. My only vivid resistance was crossing the boarder, given my experience there and back last time. But I knew I was going even if they sent me to secondary inspection both times, so just planned ahead for that and left a bit earlier than I usually would.
The morning I was to leave, I felt so tired and lazy about it, and thought over and over that it would be so much easier to not go at all or have to deal with cold border guards and waiting in giant lineups. Max assured me I’d have a good time once I was out on the road, and he always seems to be right when he makes proclamations like that. I let my heart lead the way and drove into the unknown.
I was in a car lineup to the border for about an hour and a half; the perfect amount of time for all the worries to intensify! Imagining all the time I’ve waited in the border line plus if they send me to secondary, that would officially be too much and would affect the rest of my trip and where/when I can stop and that is not good, etc. Once it was finally my turn though, I breezed right through without issue. Yet another potent example that intensity of data or what has happened in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what will happen now.
Once I reached the 101, as Max had assured, I was happy to be there. I listened to Balanced View talks, music, podcasts; enjoying the more easygoing flow of traffic compared to the busier interior highway while surrounded by trees and awe-inspiring beaches along the way. Sleeping soundly in rest areas, I’d wake up and go for little morning hikes on nearby trails before finding coffee and driving to the next nature spot. Every moment of the way I felt so fortunate to be in the position to enjoy the drive and its nature, and be heading to a gathering that has powerfully exposed and opened me to so much with every attendance.
At one point on rustic highway 1, I noticed there were more miles to the nearest gas station than I had left in fuel. I remembered our car goes into pure electric mode if it’s driven under a certain speed and not going uphill, so I kept under that speed and watched the little “EV” letters light up whenever possible. Eventually, the amount of gas I had left slowly surpassed how many miles were left to the station! As it did, I was relaxed but alert, not knowing if the EV plan would work, but again remaining open and responsive without panicking. Such a nicer way to face whatever arises.
The San Rafael training was perfect. Each time I attend, I see how far I’ve come. To no longer be afraid of feeling or experiencing anything, this is what I’m doing this for, and why I keep participating. Every direct result never fades or is forgotten once recognized, with nothing to memorize or struggle to keep in place.
On my way home, it was still sunny when I reached my designated rest stop, so I spontaneously felt like driving more. I drove until about 11:30pm and happened upon a quiet moonlit campground parking lot with a washroom. Waking at 7am, I drove until I reached home at around 9pm that night. Crossing the border was again a breeze, and no lineup! The highway heading home from the border has a huge open area where you can see so much of the sky at once, and I feel like every time I’ve come home from the training, the sun is piercing through the most immense and beautiful clouds.
I was greeted by Sprout, our new kitty Boo, and later my sweet Max when he got home. And oh, the best shower ever! The surreal feeling of being home after a trip always elicits deeper gratitude. Gratitude for the trip, gratitude for home and everything in it, and most of all gratitude to see fundamentally I’m always home even if the scenery changes.
Thank you dearest Candice for offering the California teachings, and great gratitude to my trainer Mia and partner Max for their kind support and encouragement to dive (/drive) into the abysses that seem too scary. I am forever grateful to keep discovering fearlessness in fear with the easeful support and encouragement offered in Balanced View.