Jameson Hubbs (trail name: Coyote) shares how his experience in the wilderness has changed his relationship to self:
It's fascinating to shiver and sweat in the same day. From cloudless desert heat waves to relentless thunderstorms, the weather of the Domelands expresses the spontaneity, the intensity, the sheer spectacle of California. In our temporary homeland, nestled on a desert river between stony mountain ridges, my own intuition becomes impossible to ignore. My outer environment is as still as the beaver-dammed creek; my inner wilderness becomes simply irrepressible.
Decade-old insecurities buried in my subconscious resurface as my ego is drained of external stimulation, an inevitable healing process unique to the backcountry. My normal craze of the intensities of bohemian UCSC life is absent in the inward journey as the Domelands quiet my external cravings.
Here, I just be. I be with my true self, my natural environment, and be with my psychological vulnerabilities instead of being consumed by thoughts. Pure self-compassion. Fears of inner weakness, poor decision making, and the issues of the 21st century surface in my mind, but I learn to listen and release. Some of these insecurities would previously spiral me into depression, but I now master the art of knowing that I am more than the thoughts that fly through my head. It's interesting how I must let go in order to grow. As William Everson- whose esoteric poems we read throughout this trip- puts it, "it is the ancient paradox: you have to lose your life in order to gain it."
This life I've gained throughout the journey of the inner-wilderness is best described by Joseph Campbell's idea to follow your bliss. My intuition grows enormously and ecstatic experiences present themselves more and more as I continue to let go of the ego. To name a few:
-Impulsively going on a solo hike to watch a mountain sunrise with deep-violet skies, rainbows, and distant lightning flashes complemented by the song of coyotes
-Climbing high up the stone mountain peaks with a few other friends
-Starting a moonlit drum circle dance party on our festival day
While sad thoughts of the imminent end of my experience with my amazing Sierra Institute tribe continually resurface, negative emotions decrease more and more as I proceed to master the art of being my self, here, and now. This practice is the greatest gift I will ever receive, and is the infinite value I'm getting from this experience.