Consecutive Days Riding: 80 Consecutive Days Blogging: 81
Today’s Mileage: 4 Total Trip Mileage: 671
Do you ever have one of those mornings when you wake early and feel the need to take a walk to help clear you mind, still the swirl of voices, the struggle of feelings? I had one of those this morning.
I got up, threw on my jacket and gloves and retrieved my Dictaphone from the car. As I walked up the street I found the swirling struggle of thoughts and feelings did not diminish! The Dictaphone would not record and produced only a loud whine. I pocketed it, deciding that perhaps I was meant to walk and just “be with” nature. While the stars twinkled overhead, a biting north wind chilled me to the bone. I chastised myself, as someone who had survived delivering papers in Dakota winters, the howling Alaskan winds and Antarctic storms, I could certainly put up with a chilly breeze. This idea of a walk, was just not working! I turned around, picked up my pace and a short time later I had returned to the warmth of my studio.
As I ride the bike this morning I have no clear idea of what to blog about. Yesterday I spoke about the need to sometimes just “be” in the moment. I can do “just being” quite well when I’m surrounded by nature, standing in front of a fire, or walking in the woods. I have heard the call of nature as it is the source of much of my creativity (e.g. my nature poems, wall hangings, and artwork) and provides a calming and peaceful respite. It is a pull that can become so strong it leads people to becoming hermits and mountain men to retreat from human contact.
I have heard the call and pull toward relationships with other people. I have found great joy and pride as a parent watching their child explore, grow and become their own person. I have felt the intense passion shared by lovers, felt the intense need to seek out friends for conversation during both moments of great joy and deep despair. I have felt the joy and satisfaction of guiding and mentoring others through “rough times.” I have also seen and felt the costs of relationships with others. I have experienced the heart wrenching pain of a parent watching a child “crash and burn.” I felt frustration as I watched friends and patients make poor choices that destroyed and damaged their lives, their health, and the lives of their loved ones. I have looked into pained and pleading eyes with little to offer.
I have heard the call of the divine, experienced its presence in the world around me, in the people I meet and deep within my being. I have met people who live their faith in positive life affirming ways and act as models for the rest of us. I have met people who appear to have no relationship with the divine but find meaning in their possessions and accomplishments. I have known people whose relationship with the divine fed their sense of importance and self-righteousness but acted as a wedge between them and others.
I truly believe for me, the best route is the middle way, a balance between the moment-to-moment gifts of nature and the sometimes joyful dance and often frustrating struggle with human relationships. I have come to realize that relationships should never be easy or at least not all the time. Good relationships (e.g. child, parent, teacher, lover, and friend) should challenge us to grow. Growth should be the underlying process, such that good parents should grow with their parenting, good teachers should grow with their teaching, good bloggers should grow with their blogging.
As we approach the New Year, it is customary to take stock of the outgoing year, to congratulate ourselves for our accomplishments, and resolve to work on our short comings. It is a good time to think about growth! I will in the coming week steer my bike back onto our virtual path across Florida. I will be unveiling a “retooled” pilgrimage site page and map for my blog. I look forward to our continuing journey into 2010 and the growth it offers!
The Taoist Walking Sticks are wall hangings I construct out of material and items I find on my nature hikes. The examples shown included: stick, roots, feathers, deer bones, turtle bones and shell fragments, and remenants of a tattered flag.