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Confusion, Double Rainbows and the Power of Committing

Double Rainbow

Photo courtesy of Yosemitebear Vasquez. All Rights Reserved.

I’m sitting on a porch swing in Yosemite.

The warm wind blows through the pines, my bare feet are dusty, and my path is clear for now.

Twenty-four days ago I was lost.  I had just returned to the United States and had no future plans but plenty of anxiety.

Worried about money, I promptly applied for seasonal jobs in Alaska. I got one response – a potential offer for a position as a janitor.  But not just any janitor – a night-shift janitor.  Oh God. Is this what it’s come to?

I realized that at my age and with a resumé akin to a clown-car, I have become virtually unemployable on paper.  It was a sobering realization.  And one that made me realize that it’s time to stop looking outside of myself for opportunities.

I have to create my own.

I decided to do what I’ve never done before – to pour myself into my art with faith that “starving artist” was just one possible version of my future reality.  Why couldn’t “satiated artist” be possible too?  Why can’t I make a living doing what I love?  For once.

If not me, who else?

With that commitment, plans clicked into place like a well-oiled machine.

I needed to find a place to go and envisioned a place where I would be inspired by natural beauty, where I could work in exchange for accommodation and food and where I would be surrounded by supportive people and creativity.  With this intention in mind, I cast my net.

I began a search on Helpx.com, a site that matches potential workers with potential hosts all over the world.  Quickly, I found a listing in Yosemite National Park, a place I worked in the Summer of 1989.  Memories from those days still sparkle with magic in my mind.

The listing sounded just right:

Mountainside farm close to Yosemite National Park with 100 mile views. It’s complete solitude here that hundreds of millions of people have seen. I have Queensland Heeler dogs, raise chickens for eggs, grow fruit trees, veggies, herbs, spices and medicinal plants. I take volunteers year round.
I have lived in the Yosemite area since 1985, I married into the Yosemite Indian Tribe and have Yosemite Indian children. Yosemite is a big part of my life and my farm. We have a living culture that is year round and I regularly take my volunteers to the ceremonies.

The host also happened to be the exuberant guy behind the Double Rainbow video which became a viral phenomenon in 2010 and has been seen by over 40 million people.

Like two wrestling cobras, this opportunity and my more prudent “get a job” idea wrestled in my mind.  Even though I had made a commitment to my art, I was scared.  Scared I would become a bag lady.  Scared that I was delusional.  Scared to think that I deserved better than working graveyard shift on a train. Scared that I would be wrong.

Then one day, I felt mentally worn-down by the wrestling cobras and decided to act.

I wrote to the host, stated my intentions, what I needed, and what I could offer in exchange.  And he wrote back within five minutes and said:

“How can I say no to that?!”

He couldn’t say no.  Because the universe was on my side.

How do you get the universe on your side? 

You commit. 

Scottish mountaineer and writer, W. H. Murray (and Goethe) said it best:

This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
-W. H. Murray

It’s true.  It’s really true. This magic of committing is powerful.

I’m sitting on a porch swing in Yosemite.

Bear Vasquez, my host in Yosemite.

Bear Vasquez, my host in Yosemite.

Picking mulberries.

Picking mulberries.

The view from the porch-swing.

The view from the porch-swing.

9 Comments

  1. I saw you in Yosmitebear’s videos so I checked out your website. Very cool photos!

    • Thanks Alex! Welcome.

  2. Right on! Nothing like a post like this to get me going on this jobless Friday. Thank for sharing and if the winds blow you up to Portland, Oregon, holler.

    • Thanks Peter! I was just in Portland but will likely be back sometime in the Fall. Would love to meet you guys.

  3. You look so happy and clearly this is the place you need to be right now. . . .
    beautiful and poignant summary of your mental struggles of the last month and very
    hopeful and inspirational for anyone at any age.

  4. Fantastic post L. Love hearing you’ve got the universe working for you again!

  5. “How do you get the Universe on your side? You commit.” I needed to hear this today. I’ve been stuck in the perpetuating circle of fear and indecision. My net will be / has to be cast into the universe soon or I will continue to slowly die an agonizing, nameless death. Thank you for sharing your journeys, physical and mental. And watch out for those mulberries. They stain anything within a 5 foot radius 😉

    • Thank you for reading Jess. Glad it came at a good time. 🙂

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