Sunday, January 27, 2008

To Live Without Fear

To live without fear is to really live. What are our biggest fears? The biggest for most people is death. Like other animals, we run from death as fast as we can. Poverty, illness and failure all are potent worries that seemingly bring us closer to death. It follows that if we can come to terms with death, then we can also negotiate our emotions regarding everything else.
Death does not particularly bother me, which means I can live audaciously and with abandon. When I travel, I think what will bother me is the nagging feeling that I must always be productive and earning a living. Something inside might say that if I simply live as an observer and philosopher, I am not keeping up with the American Jones family, and after all, the professionals say that a million dollars in the bank is necessary during the senior years. But really, I want to be sure I have what is priceless—the memories from a life fully lived. So I plan to leisurely travel the world, and smell all the roses along the way. Friday, February 1, 2008 is the beginning of the journey.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Homestretch

I am in the homestretch now. Only two weeks until I begin living without an address. Today I had a sale of my household and personal belongings. People were lined up outside in the cold when I opened the front door at 10 AM. Almost everything is being sold now, and I feel pretty good although I cried a little inside—selling my fine books at a fraction of their value. On the other hand, someone else was shouting with glee at the bargain.
Whatever is left when it is time to leave will be donated to worthy causes. I find it amazing how every day, all my moments are spent simply trying to divest of belongings and make arrangements for leaving. See how possessions can bind us? Anyway, glorious days are ahead. The itinerary is being written now.

Here are some passages from the the writings of the medieval Persian poet, Rumi (September 30, 1207–December 17, 1273):

When what you own can vanish, it's only a dream, a vanity.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

We are pain and what cures pain, both.

The soul is here for its own joy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Cloud And The Sun

A cloud has come between the sun and my usually cheery life. I know it will pass, but I feel stranded with a heavy heart. This change came about suddenly and is unexpected. Friday, I left early to catch a flight to Raleigh, NC where I am the featured artist of a one-man show this weekend. The paintings being exhibited are works from my last sojourn in Europe. The gallery owner and his wife are hosting me and I am staying at their house. I did not realize it, but Friday was Naomi’s birthday (A Heart Traced in Sand). I have been feeling pressed by all the details which I have to grapple with before leaving the USA and beginning my extended travels. Getting on a plane for a long flight brought home to me what I am facing in the days ahead: rootless solitude. Then, I remembered my loss of Naomi and the huge hole her absence creates.
After Raleigh this weekend, I continue on to Washington DC where my brother lives. He is 52 and recently wed a lovely young Vietnamese woman who bore his first child nine months ago. My daughter Sarah is flying in and together we will see Wade, Huong, and Henry, our new family member.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

So Much Room In A Life

Every day, as the time of my homelessness approaches, I feel incredulity, anticipation, wonder and a little bit of healthy fear. Will I have all my affairs in order before going solo in the world? Possessions can take so much room in a life and I have my share to get rid of. Furthermore, some of them, like my auto and bed, I need to keep as long as possible, but in the end, come February 1, they too will be gone.
I received my vaccinations. There is a physician in Santa Fe who does nothing but travel medicine. When I arrived, his office was quite busy with people preparing for travel. I talked with the doctor and told him of my plans, also explaining that I will be gone a year and cannot predict all the places I will visit. In the end, the medicines I received are: polio booster injection (India), hepatitus A vaccine injection (Central & South America, Africa, Asia), typhoid Oral Vaccine capsules (Central & South America, Africa, Asia) a prescription for malaria pills to be taken as I depart, (Central & South America, Africa, Asia), and a prescription for Ciprofloxacin, in case I get diarrhea with blood and fever. The clinic was out of yellow fever vaccine (Africa) so I have to return this week to get injected. Whew!
I found a great video to share with you:
Also, this one is great:
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