13 January 2013

There's No Place Like Hell

Early in November, I hosted Alan Bounville who is walking across the U.S. for gender equality.  (Read more about him and the journey here at the Into the Light website.) He was battling a cold and I was happy to provide two nights of lodging.

Tonight I learned that he is still walking. He won't reach DC until 23 February. It's been two months since I dropped him at the on ramp to 78W on his way to Memphis. Based on nothing, I assumed he'd have completed the journey by now.

Browsing his journal entries, I have a heightened awareness of the importance and impact of his walk, for himself and the thousands of people involved with this project -- the hosts and donors, other artist activists, the audiences who attended the performances and workshops he gave along the way.

As I read, I moved closer into his experience and, fully cognizant of the pointlessness of comparison, I began to compare his life to mine. Of course, my life came up short. What have I ever done, in my whole life, that mattered this much?

As a token of encouragement, in lieu of a monetary contribution, I gave him my copy of Tolle's "Practicing the Power of Now." He emailed me a couple of weeks later expressing profound gratitude for the book. I felt from our conversations that it would be a timely gift.

I could use the book myself tonight. To read Tolle's clear language on Ego's relentless mission to maintain a stressed problem-laden perspective. I am looking at Alan's life and seeing it as better than mine. I am feeling hopeless about possibilities in Holly Springs. I am dreading seeing uncommunicative New Orleans friends later this week. I am anticipating not fitting in with the crowd of performers at the MicroFest conference...

I want to be "about" something and don't feel that I am. I want to feel connected to people and ideas and projects that matter -- and I don't. I want to be in love -- and I am not.

I am disappointed in myself and my friends and the world. I am afraid of growing old. I regret...so much.

This is how it is sometimes. I know it will pass.

The assignment tonight is the same as the assignment in every moment. To be where I am (tonight it's Hell) without trying to fix something or escape to somewhere. To be in this Now, to look at it and feel it without comment or judgment. Like looking at the sky...