Well friends, I made it to my third state. I had meant to celebrate my entry into Wisconsin (my second state) with a silly little video, but my phone wouldn’t post it. So instead here I am enjoying a delicious breakfast just across the river from Main Street in Galena.
It’s been two weeks since Sarah drove me up to Itasca State Park, and I’m both more and less changed than I might have expected to be. No grand flashes of insight on the meaning of life – in general or my own particular existence – yet. No red carpet unfolding of my future path. But I have discovered edges in myself to lean against or push beyond as the circumstance demands. More importantly, I am beginning to believe that I am Enough.
The particular framing of Enough had not entered my mind until my breakfast at Otto’s Place this morning, a lovely little place recommended by my gracious Couch Surfing host, David. Each table at Otto’s Place has a card explaining how the restaurant came to be, and their philosophy of Enough:
“That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.”
I am Enough. I have Enough. It is Enough to ride 60 miles through the hills of Southern Wisconsin and stay at a hotel in Prairie du Chien. It is Enough to know that I have a good thing going with Sarah, and that we need some room to breathe and grow. It is Enough to witness all my chakras and layers of self, and to be in them as they are. Simply Enough.
May you find and know and be Enough, for this moment and day and terrifying, wondrous life.
2013, I do believe, shall perhaps be written about and remembered as my most momentous year yet. In fact, it certainly will be, and not just because of circumstance, chance, and a failed marriage. I have taken it upon myself to make some amount of momentousness self-created, rather than imposed, and as such am taking on one of my Seven Wanders of My World: biking the Mississippi River Trail. Most importantly, I’m doing it solo.
It is my deepest intention to make this a whole person trip, to take note of my therapist’s suggested meditation and notice body, mind, emotion, and core self, without judgement. In preparation I am planning and packing, preserving food (for the trip and for the winter, for I will miss the peak canning season while I’m on the road this autumn), tying up loose ends at my blessedly flexible job, and trying to let go. Releasing expectation is both paramount and persistently difficult.
Despite the demands of a regiment of camping and 60 miles of bicycling a day, the body is easiest to care and prepare for. New lightweight long underwear. Camping cookware, including the indulgence of a solo french press coffee pot. Home dehydrated vegetables. Keens. There will be moments and hours and even days of exhaustion, strained muscles, a sore back. But also skin rich from Vitamin D. More strength and tenacity that I’ve known before. And daily morning yoga to keep me moving.
The mind is trickier, as I have learned that my constant analysis of self and surroundings pervades my other spheres of being. Choosing books to accompany me is critical and impossible. Good Poems for Hard Times is a certainty. Novels and spiritual nonfiction are more difficult to choose from. Knowing I will have to leave finished books behind is tantamount to abandoning a pet, even if I have never read the book before. My tarot cards and book will join me as well, another indulgence of sorts, at least as far as weight is concerned, but what is the weight of a book to the body when its content can spark the mind to discovery?
Attending to emotion is more complex still. There is much excitement of course, but equally as much, if not more, worry. Not so much for myself, or even for the trip itself, because in spite of my mother’s rampant concerns for my safety, I believe that the universe provides, through my intuition and more compassionate strangers than potentially harmful ones. No, my worry is for what I am leaving behind. My still new relationship with Sarah, growing in depth and loveliness yet strained by my attempted internal re-alignment after the divorce. The chickens. The garden. My housemates. My family. In my current life I am so very external, leaving little room for self care, a pattern that I dearly hope this adventure will shake up and recreate. So with mint tea dried from the yard, my journal, a box of crayons, and plans for letters and collages and exchanges with friends found on the road, I make space for my emotional self to grow and expand while I explore the Mississippi.
The last, but of course most essential, layer that is my core self I do not yet know how to best attend to. She is there. She is being rediscovered, reshaped, unearthed as nutrients in tilled soil. But I cannot yet place her, in my being or in the world. In time. Beginning September 5th.
I am getting more involved with Couch Surfing. We’ve had three surfers already in the last month, with a fourth arriving today. I love this project because connectedness and authentic conversation are two of the most important things to me (and the former happens to be my number one strength on Strengths Finder), and meeting new people who will share their experiences and delve into the meat of life is a joy. I also don’t believe that travel should be expensive, and that to truly see and know a place you need to experience it with the people that live there. I am still processing the trust and safety issues that emerge with this practice, especially the residue from my upbringing that tells me to not trust anyone, at least at first, but I do believe that people as individuals are good, and want to be open to the world rather than closed off as my parents sometimes seem to be.