Submitted by Emily Smela
Touching down at Denver International Airport, the first thing that struck me was the vast and infinite Colorado sky. Back in the city, my eyes would trace the smog-covered ceiling and constantly be intercepted by skyscrapers trying desperately to prod unsuspecting clouds. But the Colorado I witnessed when I first arrived unrolled its landscape like a blue and brown carpet that had no end, and it left me in total awe.
It seems to me that the place I reside in has always fit my spiritual and internal journey. Growing up in a city of bustling ants, all stacked one on top of the other led me to a life on compartmentalization. When I was told be smarter, I would add some of those spiritual juices to an acquisition of knowledge. When I was told to be social, I would once again tip the scales and pour a tall glass of energy into a frenzy of friends and family. This need to fluctuate certain aspects of ourselves can always be felt by a person susceptible to the people around them, For a good part of ourselves is made up of the people with which we surround ourselves.
So the list of tinkering and re-evaluating went on and on. I took on the roles of a daughter, and sister, a student, a friend, a joker, a lover, an environmentalist, an intellectual, a college student, a “mature, grown, and productive member of society”. The years of running around trying to find the exact formula for fitting all the requirements to make a person left me looking like one of those run-down three floor tenements on the lower east side, with the floors falling in and a contract to turn it into a nice condo in the coming years.
This constant need to satisfy the requirements society puts on you, lead to the question I think many may ask themselves; “Am I solely a product and compilation of my outside influences?” Or to simplify further; “Is there any part of me that is an individual?”
Before coming to Sunrise ranch, and witnessing that deep blue Colorado sky, I would have said “yes.” I had spent years satisfying what others needed me to be, compartmentalizing myself into sections that were at the ready to unveil whenever the moment needed it. I was the skyscraper that constantly blocked my view, and inside were thousands of tiny workers, all trying to make a living off their individual specialties.
Now my answer has drastically changed. After filing out of my crowded plane and following the sea of people, all parting and joining like waves in an ocean, to an oversized Super Shuttle bus, I found myself entrenched in the unfolding landscape once again. I realized looking out upon the land that the sky, the earth, the passing blurs of cactus, the cattle and the red barn doors, had no beginning and no end. They all conjoined into a picture captured in my eyes and reflected in my heart. Without water there could be no land, and without man there could be no city. Everything that seemed finite became infinite, because the spirit in every living, and non-living, thing on earth is stitched together in the collective unconscious. Nobody is an independent being. We all live in a painted masterpiece viewed as a whole. It dawned upon me on that stuffy bus ride, with my crumpled plane ticket in hand, that to shape and mold different areas of your being is superfluous, when all one needs to do is emanate love into the universe.
No one is defined by their characteristics or the roles they choose to play. We all transcend the lines and limitations in which we categorize ourselves. For the sea does not end when it touches the sand, and the sky will stretch far past our lines of vision.