In my previous post I talked about “moving” within the Catastrophe. In this post I will talk about moving with a Purpose … in other words “navigating” — adding Intention to movement.
Let me begin by corrupting an old saying, and declare that “Nothing makes Mother Nature laugh so hard as when she sees a person in the wilderness with a plan”. When I bushwack (move through the wilderness without the use of human-made trails) I often get the sense that I am providing Mother Nature with great entertainment and amusement. She chuckles softly in the wind and laughs heartily in the thunder.
To navigate I must start with a Purpose. I must know where I want to get to, and Why I want to get there. In the wilderness (esp. bushwacking) there are often several different ways to get to a geographical objective, so knowing Why helps to select the most appropriate route.
As an adventurer and an explorer I have come to realize (and sometimes to relish) the fact that occasionally “getting lost” is simply the price of admission to the game. In wilderness navigation I expect mastery (a high level of skill), but I do not expect perfection.
If I never get lost, then I am not really “exploring”. To truly explore, I have to occasionally make mistakes. I have to take genuine risks, and sometimes those risks will “go against me”. That is inherent in the game. I stumble, Mother Nature laughs, and I move on. And in all of this, Sisyphus-Steve smiles (even in the midst of his mistakes) because he knows: “I am in the game!”
And then there are the moments when I actually find what I am looking for. Wilderness navigation can be full of internal goods of practice — little “yeses” that can build into bigger “yeses”. With an application of skill, and a certain relationship to the Catastrophe (i.e. demanding mastery and yet not expecting perfection) … things can begin to make sense, intentions can gambol into achievements.
The Catastrophe is filled with mistakes and disappointments, sub-optimal situations and adversity. And in spite of all this, the Catastrophe also harbours a lot of joy, a lot of YES.
I may have to work really hard to find that joy and that YES, but I think that’s what adventure is all about.