…At The Grindstones

{September 30, 2010}   Burning Man Wednesday Vlog

{September 29, 2010}   Acting: Sir Michael Caine

{September 28, 2010}   How Do You Do

I just finished reading I’m Off Then, by Hape Kerkeling.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot in combination with the fact that my father is walking the Camino right now (what the book is about).

In the book, first of all it’s essentially about a month-long hike across Spain, the main character challenges himself to do this walk/ hike/ journey, and skips a bunch of the first part, but does all of the last bit, which you have to do to get credit and a certificate for having completed it.

In it, he meets a lot of other people going on the same journey, in the same part of the world, same weather, same terrain.. so there’s some what of a family there with you even if they aren’t walking with you all of  the time, like Burning Man, which I just got back from.

On a side rant, Burning Man happens in a place on earth where nothing living goes- nothing grows there. So it’s already a challenge to be there on you physically and emotionally and can be exhausting. Not everyone who goes gets it. Like Burning Man you don’t get phone or internet access on the Camino really, it’s not the focus and in fact even better for you to ignore all of that and look within.

People open up to you in both cases because they are their raw self.. faced with nothing but what they are and could change, generally in these situs the more you surrender yourself to them, the more you get out of them. Let things come to you. I’m not saying you should be passive or lazy, you still absolutely need to do everything to keep yourself alive and well, and so does everyone else.. and it’s odd that even with that being the case, rarely do others steal for you or try to hurt you on these kinds of journeys, even if there are limited resources.

I’m wondering if it’s because it is such a difficult thing to do and something you do on your own, self-reliant… and puts you in a place where you are staring at a mirror of yourself and thinking of your place on the earth, much like being terminally ill  (though not the same), or recently handicapped in some way ( as in, not quite used to it, not at the acceptance phase).. a new challenge. I realize I didn’t finish that phrase, keep following me here. I’m wondering if it’s because everything is so easy these days, that we take so many basic things for granted, that we’ve lost this tribal, human thing where we could care about a stranger, want to help and give to another person, want to learn from someone else, something that could help us- but not financially..

In the book the journeyman has a friend who is a Buddhist, who speaks a lot about her journey as suffering, and the value of suffering. I couldn’t find the paragraph that dealt with it unfortunately (lost my place in it) but I don’t think that matters so much as different ways you could take that statement. How life must be over come, how it’s a struggle and a fight, do we know what we are fighting for? How life is suffering…I guess it reminds us that we are alive an human however.

I forget which blog it was, maybe one on love, but I do believe that the intense emotions in our existence are a gift. Can you imagine never having felt that tug in your chest… of love or sadness, when you meet or lose someone very dear to you? That whole, tis better to have “loved” and lost than to have never business I mean…

Suffering brings people together. It’s unfortunate that there are so many people suffering needlessly, but I think that we all need to suffer to appreciate what we do have at some point in time.

Many of you know that my recent trip was a result of a very serious injury that I will probably never recover from. I can’t take back that moment and I probably shouldn’t. It was a very lengthy recovery to get to a point where I could get my own groceries. As a result of the amount of time I was out, people got weird. By weird I mean scarce. There were many many people who didnt speak a word to me because they didn’t know what to say, and because they didn’t want to help me, they “didn’t” have time. I find it very hard to ask for help at all so, asking for help and getting a hell of a lot more nos than I felt I deserved was a very very difficult lesson for me to learn- that no matter who is around in our lives .. we are all alone, always. No matter what we give, we can never expect to receive, that giving should be done because we want to, and we should never assume that someone might want to give back someday.

Many of you have probably learned that already but it was pretty new for me. REALLY lonely, REALLY frightening. This trip that I took, I surrendered to. I went once I could feed myself and walk on my own for hours without having to sit down, once I could read again and once I could speak without tripping up so much.. I said to myself, well, this might be as good as it gets, get over it. I went through the same stages as someone being told they had a terminal illness, because for all I knew, I was going to be a veggie with brain  and nerve damage. It’s a miracle that I am not, and I feel blessed.

Anyway, I surrendered to what other people wanted to give. Not in a selfish way, in a way that didn’t take the joy of giving away from the people I found, who wanted to give and share- who are so amazing- so, if i hadn’t been hurt, I would not have found these people, who I made deep connections with, and I wouldn’t take that back for ANYTHING. The suffering was worth being able to move beyond the suffering. The old rules were gone, how did I want to rebuild? I think that the pain of injuries or, suffering in terrible climates can have major rewards… like the people who fight so hard to dive into the Mariana Trench- think of the wonders they found there that so many people will never see!!

Think of how our hearts open after these periods of suffering…

Did you know that the earliest Christian women were the most hardcore? They gave away all their money, ate very little and drank little, helping people, slept on hard mats … having come from rich families… to open themselves up to God and to understand and connect with others who were suffering. I’m not one to support people starving themselves to get to a woozy state where they think they are talking to God, but I am very supportive of people helping one another WITHIN REASON. There is a fine line where you hurt people by helping them too much and I have been guilty of that many times. This trip helped me see that line a little more clearly, rather, my injury did. People were angry with me for being hurt! They were angry with me for suffering! I was shocked- but these were people who had become dependent on me for my help, and when I wasn’t there, I was being an asshole.

I also saw this anger towards me when I announced my journey. Could have been out of jealousy that I was taking all this time off of work (after being forced to for 5 months), people interpreted it as a vacation, as a want, not a NEED. I think when people choose to go on these journeys, yes, due to jealousy or what have you, a lot of people will start to treat you differently. They see it as a selfish act, and maybe it is, but maybe it’s time for those people who take off, to focus on their own pain rather than that of others.. even for a moment. I found it brought me back around to helping people, but not in the same way. More in a heightened awareness of the general suffering of being alive, and yet appreciation of all that we get out of it, it’s not a worthless journey, life….

Every time I go on one of these (by the way, I’m a badass journeyer in the body of a sick person), I become more of a Yes man. I try to say yes more instead of.. hmm I don’t know… because who knows when you last day could be… because I can learn more form others than sitting at home, because I can meet people who can expose me to experiences and passions that I would have never otherwise known….etc etc.. By the way I loved that movie.  Burning Man made me more of a Yes person again, being a self-employed hustler or adult life in general can really beat the life out of a person. I’m really lucky that I actually like my job(s). I think that happens to most people, we lose trust in others, use others piggy back, dog eat dog.We are so disconnected from the actual struggle and suffering of living and being human that we create more garbage to wade through and unnecessary drama to make things more intense when they actually already are. Maybe we don’t want to admit to weakness over something little like, a new mate (they’re great but I don’t know.. they eat oranges in bed and don’t own a car- what?) Why do we jump to negative so quickly instead of telling it like it is?

Do I ever know where I am going with these things? This is way too long already. I guess I’m saying that we all need a little journey on the side now and then. At Burning Man some people can’t handle it and leave. They think it’s all a party. I’m sure it’s the same with the Camino, they think it’s all scenery. Why do we have to go away to be near ourselves? I don’t even need to ask that. Disconnecting to reconnect makes so much sense I shouldn’t have to say it. Stepping out of what is familiar for me, helps me instantly pink up on people who I would click with as well, from a crowd.. that’s a different topic altogether but it happened en masse while on the road.

I think that’s about all I wanted to share today, the book was a decent read but in the end it just gave me dreams about hiking and sandwiches, well wishes for my Dad who is still hiking the thing, and made me curious about how his journey will gift to him after and during his suffering, and what he will come away with. I’m so excited to speak with him once he gets back and share our stories of suffering and joy together. Life I guess 🙂


{September 26, 2010}   Up Up and “A-Scared”

I did it.

More here:



{September 25, 2010}   Thankful…

With all of my recent adventures and experiences, there was one place that I had to go. I spent a few moments of silence in front of this, in Halifax, NS. Even though she was missing her accessories I focused my mind on the good that had come in the year, though there had been “much badness” and suffering and fear prior to and braided in there with it..  the end result was some amazing clarity, love, learning… so much that I can’t even begin to think of how to write out or describe any part of my journey and had to take that break and post videos that I didn’t make to be able to process it all, not that I’ve finished by any means.

So today, if you feel it…. go out and say thank you.. or drop a message to someone to say thank you or give thanks in general to whatever you believe in, especially YOURSELF.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Circus party to attend to and need to find my crazy glasses.

{September 25, 2010}   Zombies in Plain English

{September 24, 2010}   RIP Jackie Burroughs…

{September 24, 2010}   Suicide Jumper

{September 23, 2010}   Harder

et cetera