"I was, in fact, homesick for wildness, and when I found it I knew how intimately - how resonantly - I belonged there. We are charged with this - all of us. For the human spirit has a primal allegiance to wildness, to really live, to snatch the fruit and suck it, to spill the juice." - Jay Griffiths, Wild: an Elemental Journey

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wild Tao #2 - Wilderness First Responder

Speaking of flowing with the Tao, some Tao just flowed right into my office.  Actually, it called on the phone.

Since I decided to move west and possibly pursue a new career in outdoor education, I have been considering getting my Wilderness First Responder certification (WFR).  I had heard vaguely along my way that this would be necessary as an outdoor educator, and I thought it would probably be helpful information for my life as a backpacker / rock climber / mountain biker (yeah that one's new) anyway.

I'd learn crazy resourceful stuff like how to make a litter out of sleeping bags and trees.

But although I decided I should take this course nine months ago, I still haven't registered.  Every time I moved towards registering for a WFR course somewhere, I got that feeling that I now recognize as opposing the flow of the Tao.

First I thought I'd take it over spring break in Colorado, but I didn't want to pay for a plane ticket that I couldn't afford, take 2 days off of work that I couldn't afford, or leave my new love, Oldman, for a whole week.  So that plan flowed right down the toilet.

Then I thought I'd take the course with Oldman at the beginning of our journey this summer.  But we couldn't find the right place to do it at the right time in our "schedule" (I use that word very loosely), and neither of us really felt comfortable parting with $600 right off the bat when food and gas might be more important for the first few months of our nomadic existence.


Every time I've brought up the WFR course ("Babe, we gotta figure out where we're doing this WFR thang before I spend all my money on bikes and ridiculously-expensive-but-totally-worth-it merino wool underwear."), I've gotten that Tao-opposition feeling.  It feels like tightness in my stomach and a clenched jaw.  I hear myself get almost a whine to my voice as I push a little harder for something that's obviously not naturally flowing.

So in exasperation, I said to myself, "Damn.  I wish I could just talk to some unbiased person who works in outdoor ed and see if I really need this WFR thing right now, or if I could wait until I'm hired and hope that the company will pay for it."

And then, in the only ten minutes of downtime I had at work yesterday, I got a phone call out of the blue:

Erin, from the front office: "Melanie, do you have a minute to take a phone call from some guy from Outward Bound?"  (Which is only the most well-known, well-reputed outdoor ed company in the country.)

Me: "Um, well yes.  Yes I do.  Please put him through."

Apparently, he was calling to let me know about some of the student leadership opportunities in our area. After I listened to his schpeel, he was only too willing to answer my questions about getting into the outdoor ed field.

Me: "So, what credentials will I need to get into the field?"

Dude: "The most important thing is experience working with kids."

(Me? Experience working with kids?  Pshaw.  I've been babysitting since I was 12, teaching since I was 14, and am the head of a middle school now. Gimme something hard.)

Dude: "And some basic outdoor experience would help.  Do you have that?"

Me: "Well I've backpacked in over 13 states all over the East and West coast.  I also rock climb, and know how to snowshoe, ice climb, kayak, and am learning to mountain bike."

Dude: "Uh yeah.  Your'e pretty much set."

So long story short, he tells me that Outward Bound goes halfsies on the WFR course for its employees once they're hired.  He said I should not worry about paying for and taking the course before I go for an interview.  Bonus!!

Immediately, my shoulders dropped and I got a huge smile on my face.  All the pressure about planning our trip around this damn WFR certification flowed right down the drain with that un-Tao-y plan.

Sometimes we have to let go of our plans without any assurance that we're making a sound decision.  I certainly could have paid more attention to my bodily clues and recognized on my own that my plan needed to be dropped.

But apparently, the Tao uses the telephone.

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