Sometimes mindful travel takes us on journeys we would never have expected. Sometimes it takes us back home.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my plan for this blog was to visit interesting places that offer wisdom in one guise or another. I started with my own circle, hoping to spiral out from there. (Spiral in a good way, mind you!) With 2020, I saw the places that I wanted to share with you close their doors and turn inward, one after another.
My family turned inward, too. We had already faced several battles with cancer, and after my dad’s passing at the end of 2019, my mom was the victim of trespass, harassment, and elder abuse. This woke the family up to all that she had been quietly facing.
She was isolated on our family property, which my dad had littered with years of good intentions in the form of broken-down cars, buses, and various other machines. To him, they were projects that could be restored and sold to make some extra money. But none of us had inherited his love of all things mechanical, so to us, most of it’s just junk. That we did inherit, and we have to find a way to deal with it.
This problem was years in the making and probably contributed to my flight from Susanville as soon as I was able. I remember being teased about the “Jordan Junkyard” and being embarrassed to have friends over to my house. I fled, and quite literally never looked back, preferring my family to visit me.
If you had asked me how I felt about returning to Susanville just a couple of years ago, I probably would have likened it to a nightmare. But finally looking back and seeing what my mom was dealing with, I decided it was time. The fact that I’m actually excited for a new beginning and a chance to heal the land and my family’s patterns and trauma shows how much healing has already taken place. And you’ve been a part of it!
The first two posts that I wrote for you actually ended up changing my life! (Which seems strange because I wrote about people that I had already learned from and admired.) But introducing you to them forced me to ask questions that I had never taken the time to ask. Writing of OdaBe gave me confidence and reminded me what it is to be a steward of the land and its history, not just owning property and wringing all of the resources that you can out of it. Telling you of Mountain Eagle School, I was confronted by how much the focus on putting aside distractions and listening to nature, others, and that voice within is similar to my own childhood. (But to this child, playing alone in nature seemed a special kind of torture when all I wanted was someone to play alongside me.) Only in sitting and talking with Dahlak did I appreciate how blessed I’ve been and how those experiences helped shape me into the woman I am today.
Now here I stand, tasked with reclaiming the beauty of this place from the carcasses of broken-down vehicles my father left behind. This is my family’s legacy, and that legacy was built on land that the local Maidu tribe was pushed off of during settlers’ push west.
So here I go, trusting myself to find a way to heal so much painful history and misuse. I will find a way to be a steward for our small part of this beautiful river valley, and with the help of my family, we’re honoring it one step, one clean-up, and one prayer at a time.
More on mindful travel:
What is mindful travel?
Smoke the People’s Prayers: OdaBe (Northern Nevada)
Wisdom in the Silence: Mountain Eagle School
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Learn more about Laureen at:
phone: (530) 395-5550