How Can We Help?
Life is a Journey Best Lived With Regular Self-Examination: My Year in Review
One thing we say and hear often is that life is a Journey, and not a Destination, and I believe that with all my heart. I think what that saying means is that life must be lived in the present moment, because honestly, that’s all there really is. The past is just a memory, and the future is an illusion; only this present moment truly exists. I believe that saying means that a life constantly lived for a future destination at the expense of the present moment is a failed life. It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings:
Living with one foot in the future, and one foot in the past, pissing all over today.
However, on every journey there must be times where you stop and look back to see where you came from, and then look forward to where you are going. Without that, you are at great risk of totally losing your way and slowly becoming so disoriented you are hopelessly lost. Life is constantly changing and without a “North Star,” something that never changes, we become bewildered and confused.
For example, I am an avid walker, especially in the desert. But I can assure you that one of the things I do when I head off into the desert is to pick a point on the horizon and use it as a guide so that I walk in a straight line. And as I walk I often stop and look back to see where I came from. Those two points become my “North Star.” The scenery around me constantly changes and becomes different, but those points do not. By staying in touch with them, I can maintain my balance and know where I am, and where I want to go.
The most important–and difficult–thing about self-examination is to do it with self-love and no sense of judgment or punishment. It’s a kind of navigation, and there is no room for judgment or punishment in navigation. It’s a simple matter of finding your location and making corrections, if need be. In the same way, there is no room for condemnation or judgment in my self-examination. But most of us find that nearly impossible; our first attempts at a personal inventory are filled with self-hate and condemnation instead of self-love and acceptance; because that’s what society teaches us. For that reason my first few attempts at it were made with a trusted advisor who helped me through the mine-field of self-hatred and punishment it can become. He was able to do that, because he was living a life of continual self-examination himself. I never would have done it without him, or the guidance and help of a Higher Power.
December is a time for me to stop and exam this last year and determine if my journey is all I want it to be. That self-examination is so deeply intimate and personal that I can’t possibly share it in a public forum like this, so instead I’ll just share my 2013 in photos and some of the many lessons I learned along the way.
As always January is all about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) so I spent it in Quartzsite, AZ. The attendance was high and it went very well; we all had a great time. For the very first time I had behavior problems with people and actually had to ask them to leave. That was very hard for me, because I am not a confrontational person; but it had to be done. I guess it’s just part of hosting a large gathering. It doesn’t deter me from holding the RTR, but I sure hope it doesn’t happen again!
I guess the lesson for me is that sometimes you have to do hard things and hurt people for the greater good. My goal is to be loving and kind toward all and telling someone they are banned from the RTR does not appear to be loving and kind. But in reality it is, because it is the most loving and kind thing I could do for the most people. I knew that philosophically, but that was the first time I actually experienced it.
February was mostly spent in Yuma going to Algodones, Mexico for eyeglasses and prescription medications. A group of us stayed together after the RTR and drove to Yuma as a caravan, then camped together. After a few weeks they decided they wanted to move over to Mittry Lake so they left together. Part of me wanted to feel abandoned and unappreciated: “Don’t they know who I am!” But when I was really honest I had to admit that I am fairly unsocial and for the group to move on was better for everybody. My job is to bring people together, not be everybody’s friend because I am not really very good at being a friend. Most people want much more time from their friends than I am willing to give them. I can only have a very few close friends who I share myself with, and that’s perfectly okay as long as I am as loving and kind towards all as I can be.
Something else that happened in February was I had gotten involved with a romantic relationship that ended badly. That required a lot of self-examination and honesty with myself. The first thing I had to admit was that I was really bad at relationships!! The next thing I decided was that I could never be in another relationship again if it left the other person hurt. That’s simply not how I can live my life. I will be alone forever before I will hurt someone else. (I’m speaking only for myself and not for anyone else. I’m so bad at relationships that I could never tell anyone else how to do it!!!!).
That meant that I couldn’t be in a normal girlfriend-boyfriend relationship again, because they almost always end with one or both parties being hurt. All my future relationships had to be something else. As I write this I’m in such a non-traditional relationship that is so odd I can’t even begin to describe it for you. I can only say that I think there is no chance either of us will be hurt and for the first time in my life I’m close and intimate with a female person and happy—in the past those two never went together before. But, we are not boyfiend-girlfriend!
Okay, that’s enough for now. In the next post I’ll continue to go through a Review of 2013.