10.05.2007

A Journey For The Ages

I just wanted to share a few of the pictures and videos from the end of the trip...just in case you thought it was all fun and games...I have more inspirational words to come in the near future.

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10.02.2007

Day 30: The Sun Always Rises

For the past few days, I have been trying to write the final entry culminating my trip. I have been trying to force closure on this fantastic experience, but I was stuck. And it was not until this past weekend that I realized it was because my trip was not over. My experience at Tim and Ashley’s wedding this past weekend back in Boston was what truly tied my trip together.

I left Boston over a month ago in the hope of fulfilling a personal vision that I discovered earlier this year: teaching other people how to build relationships, how to show compassion for others, and ultimately, how to use compassionate relationships to create a better world. I drove across the country, traveling 5300 miles in 85 hours of driving, stopping in 14 cities and 18 states, and in the end, I only had to travel 35 minutes north of the city to Manchester by the Sea to experience more love than I could have ever imagined between two people. This was the embodiment of a compassionate relationship! I spoke to many attendees (though some biased, including the parents of the bride and groom), but everyone felt that this connection was something very special. The love between Tim and Ashley was palpable. They radiated unconditional love for all of us to experience. It was fantastic!

On Sunday morning, I stood quietly on the edge of the water watching the sun rise over the Atlantic. As the sun slowly rose into the pink and purple sky, the yellow orb of light turned the sky red and orange. Not a day and a half before, I had stood quietly on the edge of the water watching the sun set over the Pacific. Peace and serenity had filled me at this moment, just as it filled me once again watching the sun rise over the Atlantic. The end of my trip on one coast was reborn anew on the other.

Although my trip has officially come to a close, the lessons that I have learned will last a lifetime. I was able to see so many different people in so many different places, and experience so many different cultures in so many different walks of life. And despite all of these differences, the beauty of the sunrise and sunset exists each and every day in every single place that I visited. The sun is a symbol of our connection to each other, the natural world, and in its own special way the magic of life.

So what did I learn, you ask…

  1. Everyone loves the place that they call home and will seek to show you why they love it. As long as you let them know that you are coming with sufficient notice, they will embrace you with open arms, offer to do your laundry, try to force feed you a meal, and show you how much they love their pets.
  2. Homelessness is prevalent everywhere. But what most of these individuals want, no matter how crass their proposition may be, is to be recognized and acknowledged. They want you to know that they exist as human beings, although their means may not be as comfortable or ideal as your own.
  3. Unconditional compassion has the ability to overcome blind judgment. Blind judgment can be manifested as naivety, irrational hatred, or prejudice, and by letting go to the vibrational energy between individuals we can all overcome our own blindness. If you are confused or want to see with the right kind of eyes, try watching the interaction between wedding guests on a dance floor, attendees of a good musical performance, or hikers on a trail in nature. Do not try driving below the speed limit behind a big truck, playing miniature golf with heavy betting, or drinking to excess while playing cards.
  4. Living is our destiny, and it is our destiny to be alive. Watching a sunrise or a sunset, breathing deeply in a forest, hugging someone that you love, or looking into a baby’s innocent eyes, will help you get in touch with the magic of life. Nature and humanity have a strong intrinsic connection that must be experienced on a physical level. Your mind has the ability to cloud your vision at times, but ultimately, your destiny is to rise through this cloud and experience whatever you find above it!

I would like to leave you with the following image that encapsulates my trip. I know that words cannot recreate this feeling, nor should it, but I challenge you (as I have myself) to generate your own personal experience of this moment. When you find yourself at an impasse or moment of frustration, just remember that life is all about the journey!

Are you familiar with the feeling when a joyful tear forms in your eye? As a bead of salt water gently collects in the corner of your eye, it sends chills running through your body and down your spine. As you well up with joy, it slowly grows larger and larger, until finally, the teardrop slowly begins to slide down the side of your face. After it reaches your cheek bone, it picks up speed and slides all the way down your face leaving a cool wake on your skin. As you sigh and smile, you are warmed from the inside out by the feeling of inexorable and ineffable happiness. Some call this love, some call this God, some call this happiness, and I call this the acknowledgement of compassion between individuals. This is your quiet personal realization of beauty and perfection in a sometimes cruel, heartless world. And in that fleeting moment, you know how special our collective aliveness can be. Most babies know this feeling all the time, most children know this feeling most of the time, and most adults forget that this feeling is even a possibility. This indescribable feeling of aliveness is our bodies telling us who we are and why we are here. So let’s embrace the smile from the person across from you on the subway. Let’s not shy away from eye contact with the stranger on the street. Let’s not get lost in the subjective realities of our mind and let’s remember that we are living collectively in this great place we call home!