When one door closes...
Imagine breaking into a random house in your neighborhood to steal something you need (yes, I realize you would never do such a thing, but just play along with me here!). It's 2am. You've just entered the house and closed the door behind you. It's dark and you have no idea if anyone is home. Suddenly you hear a voice down the hallway: "Honey?... I think I hear something... do you have your gun?"
This situation approximates the fright that flooded my system four days before I was to depart on a 3-month summer trip to study qigong and work organic farms in France, Norway, and Spain. The fear was inexplicable. It had no reason, no apparent origin, and yet there it was. The feeling intensified as the departure date drew closer.
"What if you didn't go to Europe?" my friend Rebecca asked me in a phone call two days before my scheduled flight to Paris. Abandon my long-standing plan? Lose all that money? Was she crazy? And yet, only when I opened to this question did the fright begin to fade. As I seriously considered the option my system gradually quieted. It became clear that this trip was not meant to take place.
The next morning, I canceled my airline tickets and unpacked my bags in the spare bedroom of the home of my brother Sean and his wife Janet. I was at a loss. In preparation for my trip, I had stopped teaching, vacated my 2-bedroom rental house in east central Austin, and stashed my few possessions in a small storage unit on South Congress. I now had more than 3 months of entirely unplanned, completely uncommitted time in front of me.