The Only Way Out is Through

For a warrior, to be harmonious is to flow, not to stop in the middle of the current and try to make a space of artificial and impossible peace. He knows that he can only give the very best of himself under conditions of maximum tension. For that reason, he seeks out his opponent the way a fighting rooster does – with avidity, with delight, knowing that the next step is decisive. His opponent is not his fellow man, but his own attachments and weaknesses, and his grand challenge is to compress the layers of his energy until they won’t expand when his life ceases, so that his awareness does not die.– Carlos Castaneda, Encounters with the Nagual

I always love a good epiphany. That moment when you stare into the abyss and find it staring back at you. The flash of illumination that reminds you that everything is okay and that life will continue to go forward with or without your consent or approval. Such a realization happened the other day when I was walking along the river. I was reflecting upon all of the anger that I’ve had for the past year in the face of what seems like insurmountable global issues that affect us all, many of which I’ve written about. I watched the calm water move with fluidity over rocks, creating little eddies in the shallows, and random fish jumping up creating beautiful ripples across the surface.

A close friend asked what I was afraid of and I told him I wasn’t afraid, I was angry. I sat with anger at the river and realized that the root of anger is fear. I admitted to myself that I have been living in fear for far too long and had a good laugh about it because I don’t think of myself as a fearful person, I think of myself as a warrior of freedom who has made death an advisor. The laugh’s on me.

I came across this quote by Eckhart Tolle, “Don’t look for peace. Don’t look for any other state than the one you are in now; otherwise, you will set up inner conflict and unconscious resistance. Forgive yourself for not being at peace. The moment you completely accept your non-peace, your non-peace becomes transmuted into peace. Anything you accept fully will get you there, will take you into peace. This is the miracle of surrender.”

This quote provided me with redemption, I suppose, that I was able to withstand my own mental distress and agitation for so long which I viewed as strength, rather than weakness. The river guided me to accepting my “non-peace” which did, indeed become transmuted into peace. The only way out is through. And so, I move into the deeper universal states of trust and surrender because it is in this state that I am truly free.

I have since purchased a kayak and plan to spend many days on the river. I’m turning off the TV, the radio, and putting the phone down to connect to the earth, take in the beauty, and experience fluidity again.

Thank you everyone for reading, relating, commenting, supporting, and rejecting what I say, especially Jack Daws-Corwin, for pushing me when the mountain seemed immovable. In the craziness of the world and in all things, keep dancing!

I am already given to the power that rules my fate.
And I cling to nothing, so I will have nothing to defend.
I have no thoughts, so I will see.
I fear nothing, so I will remember myself.
Detached and at ease,
I will dart past the Eagle to be free.
~ Carlos Castaneda, The Eagle’s Gift

20 thoughts on “The Only Way Out is Through

  1. Thank you, Lorraine for sharing your beautiful epiphany! I so appreciated the conversations between you and Jack Daws-Corwin in the last two posts. I felt your passions, your fears, your courage, your hopelessness in the loss of your freedoms, and your anger. I sat here on the banks of this” river”, contemplating everything going on in this world, wondering HOW we are going to make things right, how we are going to fight this, while at the same time being grateful for the quite flowing wisdom that so clearly presented itself through Jack’s reminders. Jack being the river, you being the agitation.
    It brings tears to me, a swelling and swirling of emotions to read your words today. Your insights are beautiful. thank you, to both of you! I join you on the river of life, whether in a float, a kayak, or just my body, as we allow the river to show us LIFE.

    I go with my family to the river every year and spend a week, just floating, just contemplating, just enjoying the beauty of Nature, your experience validates the importance of this experience, the healing, the calming, and the opportunity for awakening to new insights, to having epiphanies!


    • Thanks so much, Kara. I have appreciated the depth of your emotion in this and all of your responses and I take great joy in your humanness. So often I have found myself giving people advice on how to get through this and realized that I was ignoring my own advice. I guess that’s where the expression “blinded by anger” comes from. Thank you for being a part of this beautiful dance of life, you are an amazing woman and I’m happy to “know” you.


  2. The first quote is from Armando Torres’ book, correct? Does anyone know what happened with that guy? He got involved with some sorcerers in Mexico and wrote a couple of excellent books and haven’t heard from him since.


  3. Enjoy the river and the freedom and peace that it offers. I learned
    (the hard way) not to spend your resources or assets on things that you cannot change. That leads to frustration, anger, and depletion of self if not out right illness. It is important to care, but not to be consumed.


  4. You had me worried that you were becoming too attached to what Carlos called “endless folly” (like what goes on in Washington, DC). A couple of maybe relevant Quotes by Carlos Castaneda; “A warrior never worries about his fear. Instead he thinks about the wonders of seeing the flow of energy!” Sitting by the river you got back into the flow of energy. Now remember; “The Eagles gift of freedom is not a bestowal, but a chance to have a chance.” Happy paddling in the flow.


    • Thanks, Steve, I began to worry about myself too. The position of my assemblage point became super fixated. I don’t have any regrets about what I stated in anything I wrote, my only regret was that I had lost my fluidity and therefore any sense of vision. Being in the flow is my happy place.


  5. you might want to look into “the narrow road to the deep north” by Basho, translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa. “The poems of Rumi” translated by Coleman Barks. “Zen flesh, zen bones” compiled by Paul Reps. “The forest and the sea” by Marston Bates. and nicely weaving into your delightful post, “Don’t push the river”, though my copy has traveled away, a very helpful text, but i can’t recall the authors name now. thank you for your inner resolve, and dedication to your inner journey. it is an inspiration to us in many different places.


    • Thanks for the references, Jack. I have been thinking about the Tao a lot lately, revisiting the simple truths within it. I used to have a copy of it posted on my site, maybe time to put it back up as a reminder to me. You shared a lot of great things in your comments but the one that hit home was about Grandfather Wallace. As a butterfly, it’s time to spread those wings and fly. In humble appreciation.


  6. Lorraine, your blog is refreshing in that you bare your soul for us readers! Since I consider myself a spiritual warrior (or warrior in training, haha), I appreciate knowing that I am not alone in occasionally (and always surprisingly) experiencing OVERWHELM at the sheer amount of dark projections created by the black magicians at the behest of the predator. I’m glad to know that you quickly regained footing after an “episode,” and again, it’s great for us readers to follow your journey and offer support when we can. I always have room to grow as I dance!


    • Thanks for your understanding and commitment to your path. I used to think I knew a lot of things and finally came to the conclusion that I know nothing. It’s a more comfortable place to live, to be able to face each day in wonder and as a student yearning to learn more about the unfathomable mystery that know one will ever understand. And I believe that we are that unfathomable mystery with so much potential once we clear our minds of the limitations that have been imposed upon us along with those which we have created for ourselves. My “disclipline” is to not become consumed by the world’s darkness that I have railed against for so long. It’s not an easy task.


  7. Hi Lorraine. Many thanks for sharing your frustrations with us . I’m glad you have found your inner peace and strength again. I’m a bit confused about the art of doing and non doing. Where is the border ? we go with the flow and let life lead us to a certain point. I’m quite happy ( again to a certain point) living in the country and creating my own reality but …. what happens to our fellow people? Do we surrender and let the planet fall under dictatorship? I had a trip into the city yesterday and was horrified to see everyone wearing masks outside in the hot sun. My hairdresser was very proud to tell me she was getting vaccinated next week and most of her clients had done so. I bit my lip and sat silently . It’s so hard to see people being consumed by lies and poisoning their bodies . I just couldn’t wait to get back home to nature.
    I too love Eckhart Tolle and love his quotes …. there is a guy on YouTube I’ve been listening to as well . Here is a link of anyone is interested

    So keep dancing and kayaking now !


    • You bring up such a good point, Sarah, and the one that sits in the forefront of my mind and to which I have no answer. Don Juan says that the act of not-doing allows you to gather power; an avenue for learning new ways to perceive the world. My takeaway from that practice was that honing perception enables us to “see” things that are often overlooked by ordinary man. I was content to live in an “unplugged” state of existence for decades and recommended in my articles that others unplug too. I kept up with the news of the world, so to speak, as a means of maintaining some modicum of first attention awareness but rarely discussed it or took action until this past year. I do not feel as though we should stand by and watch as the world moves into a totalitarianism regime. Not at all. We have to stay apprised of all of the impositions being placed upon us and spread awareness. We have to be ready to take a stand when the time comes. There are way too many people who are going to fight against everything that is happening right now, there are books getting published to reveal the truth and to expose the bullshit. I am not walking away from the issues at hand, I am trying to learn how to best navigate these avenues of awareness without compromising my sense of self and overall well-being in the process. This rolled around in my head all last night. How to write in a manner that addresses these issues without doing it from a place of anger. I don’t have that answer yet, I’m hoping that kayaking down the river will bring me the much-needed balance.

      I enjoyed the Ride the Wind video. This stood out and I question it and ask for shared insights:

      “When you arrive at non-action, nothing will be left undone.
      Mastery of the world is achieved by letting things take their natural course. You cannot master the world by changing the natural way.”

      I fail to see how a totalitarian regime is in anyway natural which brings us back to your original question, “where is the border between the art of doing and non-doing?”

      Stay strong and thank you.


  8. More Great conversation going on here Lorraine, Sharine, Sarah, because these are the struggles we face, not giving up, not giving in to tyranny/evil/the predator.. but standing in our Truth and our Creator Given abilities to navigate this life. Lorraine you talked again about your assemblage point, so important, it’s like that rudder under the boat. if it’s misaligned then the boat will be hard to control on this river of life.
    I particularly valued the reminder of The Tao, which brought me to the old zen story about the farmer.

    There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied.

    The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man.

    The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer.

    The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “May be,” said the farmer.

    As always, I so appreciate the wisdom that comes forth in your writings Lorraine, and as Sharine mentioned, your bearing your soul and honestly presenting your journey helps all of us that come to your pages to learn and grow. And Sarah, I can relate to the experiences you described as many of as can, do we speak out, or do we stay silent? If you are staying heart/love centered, you will know what to do.

    It is in the stillness, and the heart of the Silent Observer that we come to KNOW right action.


  9. the wheel, which itself is not natural, has a hole in its center which is natural, being full of nothing, and around which the wheel revolves. without that nothing in its center, the wheel is useless. to live in the Tao, be like the center of the wheel. that center is the not doing of the wheel. the axel which does not roll, stays in one place, but without it, the cart goes nowhere. the axel is the not doing of the cart. to live in the Tao, be like the axel. in this way the sage does nothing, but nothing is left undone around her. dance with love, hang onto the wind, and trust.


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