I came out to the PAR TR for a weekend of fun, to shuck off a couple of difficult weeks and to just relax. What I’ve experienced turned out to be much more.
In a world that grows more expansive each day via the Internet, people seem to be growing more isolated and lost feeling; or only gathering with others like themselves, leading to narrower and narrower views of the world. I’ve watched people near and dear to me succumb to fear of almost everyone and everything. I’ve watched others turn aside from people and tuck into safe pockets, locking themselves into defined spaces. I, too, got on some of those rides. Each one proved unsatisfactory to me, but not before narrowing my own vision and limiting my own interactions. Change is hard, and fear can be a huge road block. Since the physical roadblocks are gone from my life now, I can spread my internal wings.
Part of my journey out here is to know myself better. Part of it is to experience people again, in all of their variableness. I’ve received knowledge of those things in spades and I’m not unhappy with the revelations. It will be a continuing journey in both areas though,I expect.
I’m learning to take risks simply by being myself and expressing who I am without fear or worry. By some there will be acceptance; by others, not so much. That’s okay. I’m learning to better find balance, and to listen to what it is that I want. At times, it is still solitude and quiet reverie. At other times, the energy of other people is what I want. On the road, you can just move camp and respond to your internal needs. Sometimes, like now, you have to balance what you want with real life delimiters. The van threw an engine code and so I need to sit still and plan among a highly peopled camp, until I can provide the resources I need to safely move forward. Thankfully, the environment here is not draining at all. I’m far enough away from the main camp to withdraw into somewhat quiet just by closing the van door, yet there are newly made connections that are nearby as well.
And the people I’ve met…
Potters, fire-eaters, mimes, digeridoo makers, musicians, programmers, tattoo artists, photographers and writers, ‘Nam vets and Iraq vets, nurses,TBI victims, cancer survivors and people living with cancer. I’ve met people who’ve never traveled outside of North America and people who have traveled to over ninety countries. Each person has a story, which they share easily. It shows me how they define themselves and what they value. I’ve heard fears and shortcomings, desires and dreams, goals accomplished and failures experienced, pour forth from perfect strangers. Perhaps it is because I have taken in so many stories that I forget to worry about my own unfolding story and the minutia that makes up my current internal struggles. My mind is not overthinking, because it is outwardly focused. This type of absorption used to drain me; right now it enlivens me and reinforces the wonder in me that among so much diversity is found so much commonality – the desire to be seen and heard for who we are and accepted. It is, I believe, the driving desire of humans to have community – a tribe.
So while I may be Empress of the Misfits for a night(another story for another time), I am part of humanity at large. A humanity that continues to move and learn, to express themselves in the way they find authentic, and to engage with others in meaningful ways if we but allow them to do so. In this, there is great beauty.
Dance. Listen. Touch. Express. And be prepared to be enchanted by your fellow globe riders. It will change you.
~SE, grounded, but making the best of it.