Bringing it all back home
I was determined to walk 100 miles across England. So determined that I stood outside the Passport Agency at five in the morning. So determined that, for six months, I worked out my body with walking, jogging and weights so that I might withstand and have the stamina for hours and hours of walking in the rain and mud, up and down dale. So determined that I put everything else aside, allowed the world to stand still outside the walking space, and focused only on that.
I was determined in a way that let me know it was more than just the walk. It actually did not have to do with whether I could make it it or not. It had to do with something deeply emotional inside me. A culmination of self-alteration and reflection work these past four or five years or so.
All the way there, during the long days of walking, and in the nights as I fell into a deep, fitful, dream-filled sleep, I knew I was preparing to say goodbye.
These past few days back home in Philadelphia, walking and jogging on my treadmill, doing my daily house chores, writing, preparing for work, visiting friends, or going to movies, I sense a lightness of being, that has nothing to do with the physical 5 pounds I lost during the walk. Nor is it connected to not having the daypack on my back this past week.
It has to do with shedding baggage.
Bidding farewell to the past. I left behind, up in the hills by Hadrian’s Wall, pain and anger that I held onto for so long. Just as, one day during the walk, a necklace of sentimental value to me, was lost in the hail storm – left behind in the little copse up there near the sky at the highest point of Hadrian’s Wall – so too did I leave my past pain behind – in the wind, hail, and rain.
Ancient demons and nemeses shrunk down to a manageable size, and I realize now through the lightness: I no longer fear them. Their actions or in-sensitivities have no relevance for me any more. All of them have as vulnerable, complicated, complex, mysterious beings as me. Mostly they haven’t the emotional space or energy to know what they are or are not doing. Their descriptions, labels, stories about me have nothing to do with who I am. I stopped trying to dispel their image of me or prove my worthiness.
On the train from Carlisle to London, I noted in my journal:
I am no longer connected. It is not that I need to disconnect. I am, already, dis-connected. Free. Beyond all that. It has taken place. I just don’t care any more. The exclusion of me has been so complete that I am now, by choice, dis-connected. No need for major decisions or acts of re-action. It is done. I have, in fact, moved on. No need for big decisions, dramatic actions. It is done … I came to say goodbye – but that, too, was done. In March. Between January and March. Six months after fifty seven and a half years of learning how I came to be who I am. Gathering strength, validation, knowledge, support along the way, growing and maturing, analyzing, redefining, self altering. A struggle, at times excruciatingly painful – just like the walk – full of moments of tremendous fear. But, at the end – a great and uplifting experience. One full of a feeling of achievement. Emancipation. Individuation. Discrimination between I and thou. My brain and heart is my own. Dis-connected. De-(a)ttaching. De-(a)ttached. It is done.
"And in the end, so much of it doesn’t even matter," says the Meryl Streep character in Evening.
e.e. cummings, i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Behind bars