“The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.”
– John Locke
The more we learn about the world in which we live, the more we tear that which holds us back from truly experiencing life to the fullest for what it is: a gift.
“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry. ”
– Jack Kerouac
I came across this quote from the great Beat Poet of the 50s Jack Kerouac and what struck me first was the final call to “don’t be sorry.” How often do we apologize to others for things we really don’t need to be sorry about? And, why do we do that? Is it that we’re terrified of disappointing someone or not living up to their expectations? Are we afraid to truly be ourselves?
“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth.”
Truth is like light. When are living in truth, saturated by its fruit of goodness, compassion, peace and enjoyment, all else naturally fades away like dispersing illusions.
It may well be said that we are always communicating something. Whether verbally, through our body language, or even with our thoughts, communication is something happening all the time and unless we have completely abandoned humanity and wandered to a cave away from all people (which sounds tempting at times), we can’t escape communication.
But what is communication truly for? What is it about? Many of us would like to be skilled communicators yet in the social media world of today it seems many of us are saying what we want to say and wondering if anyone is hearing us among the masses of content.
Communication, I believe, is actually about connection, and it should start with connecting with someone before truly taking place. If there is no connection, communication likely won’t happen. Many of us might say what we want to say hoping it will attract others to connect with us, but much more likely to be successful communication is if we go where others are and ask them about themselves to first form connection.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Our minds can be dominated by thoughts of past and future, regrets and anxieties and fear. Walking in itself has tremendous benefits for reducing stress. It’s an activity that in essence calls us to become present with what we are doing. We may walk with the intention of getting to a particular place, but we can receive the full power of walking when we do it without a destination in mind, fully into with the present moment and using our thoughts as tools for peace.
Walk as if you kissing the Earth with your feet, and cultivate deeper compassion for all life into your daily life. Your world – our world – will change.
What is it that inspires us to worry? What are the issues you worry about? Are they things you have some level of control over or can take action about; or are they things you have no control over at all?
On the surface it might seem like the reasonable choice to worry about life when we observe what is happening in the world. As individuals, there are also the pressures of finances, bills, debt, relationships and social groups, work, and so on. We may look at our circumstances and think we have every right to be worried. And so we worry.
Does our worrying serve any useful function for overcoming the issues we worry about? It may seem obvious to most of us that the answer to that question is no. It may seem equally as obvious that worrying actually diminishes our capacity for taking action in the way we need to in order to grow and overcome challenges in our life. Which makes me wonder, if at least on a subconscious level, do we think that worrying is a way of doing something about our problems by not doing anything? Is the activity of worrying a lie we believe that we need to let go?
I was diagnosed with keratoconus, an eye-disease that misshapen the cornea within the eye, in 2003 when I attempted to get my driver’s license. Being home-educated, I was never really in a “chalkboard” kind of environment and didn’t realize there was something off about the way my eyes worked.
I went to the DMV and during the eye test, the instructor said to look in the view finder and tell her what letters I saw. My response was “what letters?” and we knew something wasn’t quite right.
After several back and forth trips to eye doctors and one failed attempt at prescription glasses, I was diagnosed with keratoconus. Because of the way keratoconus shapes the cornea, glasses and regular contact lenses do not provide any correction. However, I was initially prescribed gas-permeable lenses (the materially-hard kind of contact lenses), which did correct my vision pretty drastically. I was able to get my driver’s license, however, several months later due to the progression of the disease my corneas were scratched and scarred by the lenses, rendering me incapable of wearing them any longer.
Still, I had a license and continued to drive to where I needed to be for life and work into my mid-twenties. Probably not the wisest activity, but what are you gonna do in our world where most employers require reliable transportation and a license? In my mind, I had to drive if I wanted to survive. Fortunately, I was never involved in an accident and felt pretty comfortable driving. I could see objects, but couldn’t make out any details or words on signs. I would decipher signs based upon their shape and often rely on friends who were riding with me to let me know what a sign might say. This always seemed to put them at ease with me driving (sarcasm, ha!).
In 2010 I moved from Oklahoma to Olympia, WA., a city with a transit system voted best in the nation in 2009. With my license to drive about to expire, I decided it was time to let it do so and simply get a State ID. My driving days, at least for then, were over.
Initially, I started using the bus to get to where I needed to be. I would spend nearly every day going downtown, about 6 miles from where I lived, to go to a coffee shop and work from my laptop for the day. One morning I decided instead of taking the 15 minute bus ride, I would walk.
In walking those 6 miles there, and 6 miles back home in the evening, I discovered a sense of freedom and joy I had not experienced before. I saw so many details (although physically blurry) of all the activity happening around my town that I had always passed by moving in cars or buses. I noticed the squirrels gathering nuts beneath the trees; the songs of the birds; to morning joggers out for a run; the intricacies of architecture of the buildings. I was seeing life in the present moment with each step, slowly witnessing life around me with a new sense of clarity and peace.
I noticed how I would see streetlights as though they were wondrous stars bursting their light like a kaleidoscope. I saw people not based upon their appearances (which I lacked the capability to do), but simply as a collected mass of cells forming the marvelous miracle that is a human begin, for it is this miracle of life which we each truly are. I felt that I began to see people not based on their facial expressions, but with a greater spiritual sense of their current state. When someone was angry or depressed, I could feel it.
I wondered if my vision was teaching me to see life differently, in a way that I needed to see.
In 2012 I flew to Los Angeles to begin an adventure of travel in step with the wind. I had no plan other than walking, serving and connecting with as many people as possible. I walked much of the California coast and all of the Oregon Coast. I feel it would be impossible to write about everything that happened with each new person I would meet each day. I found a trust in my fellow human beings that was not dependent nor conditional, but a way of life that is free as we each help each other along the way.
I believe that the truth of life is that we are all in relationship together as the human family. The more we uncover that truth, the more we are set free from so many enslaving burdens and pressures of a survival-of-the-fittest, “every man for himself” society.
It is exceptionally difficult for me to view my eyes having keratoconus as a disability, as I’ve traveled more than ever since I gave up driving. I have seen more than I ever imagined I would. I have learned to rely on others to see for me in certain ways, as others have come to rely on the way I see to help them in different ways.
Perhaps one day I will have my vision restored to 20/20 through surgeries or some other form of “cure.” Perhaps I will drive a car again one day (preferably, this car), but for now I am immensely thankful for the way that I see and what it has taught. It is something I will carry for the rest of my life.
MILAN — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte says travel restrictions and other strict public health measures will be imposed nationwide starting Tuesday to try to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Conte said Monday night that a new government decree will require people throughout the country of 60 million people to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.
The restrictions will take effect on Tuesday and like those in northern Italy will last until April 3, he said.
Read more of this story and see what people are saying below.
*BREAKING: Italy's PM Conte just put ALL of ITALY UNDER the same LOCKDOWN rules as the north. He calls it the "I STAY HOME" decree. People can only move around for work reasons (transport of essential goods), for other pressing needs, or for health reasons. Effective tomoro a.m.
— Rachel Donadio (@RachelDonadio) March 9, 2020
Coronavirus live updates: all of Italy to be placed under lockdown conditions https://t.co/VhGSEFdaOg
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 9, 2020
Breaking: Italian PM says lockdown now applies to ALL of Italy.
Movement only for emergencies and with clearance.
Unprecedented in modern times.
— Richard Chambers (@newschambers) March 9, 2020
This is nuts.
I wonder how Americans will respond if/when it happens here?https://t.co/8m2ce69ogV
— Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) March 9, 2020
Holy Macaroni! All of Italy is in lock down now. 9000 cases reported there. 463 Italians have died. The Prime Minister extended the lockdown which began in the Lombardy region to the whole country. #coronavirus continues to take its dreaded toll.
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) March 9, 2020