Dublin: Dreams & Deliberations

Tonight is definitely one of those nights when the only place I want to be is: HOME. It’s just been a really long day, and Kara and I are back to having absolutely nothing planned. So we’re left to stumble into random, smelly hostels and try to find a place to stay. I definitely had these days while on my Americana trip, as well, and they were never fun. Those were the days I ended up being hungry and tired and sleeping in my car. Here, however, in another country, and with another person, it’s a different story.

Yet here we are, at Paddy Wagon Hostel, in Dublin, Ireland. I may be hungry and tired, but at least I’m clean and safe. Of course, all I wanted was a hot shower, but instead I got the type of shower that you have to press down on a button for water to run, so it’s more of a battle of wit and skill rather than a relaxing time to unwind.

And I miss Bill and Katie- I’m not going to lie. I even miss our sketchy little cabin in the woods, because we were all together, and we were happy. I don’t know whether I have ever known such camaraderie and kindness.

I guess now all I really want is a week straight in a lovely cottage in County Clare. For some reason, Kara gets really annoyed when I mention John O’Donohue, but I have to admit, he is definitely one of the reasons I am still believing in anything beautiful in this world. And the thought of being in the land he loved… it means the world to me. If I really get to visit his grave site (we found the location), I will be beyond honored. However, simply to be in County Clare and West Ireland – it will mean so very much to me, and I am anxious to be on its soil. A place that cultivated such a soul, heart, and mind as that man – is undoubtedly a place of palpable power and purity.

Even though he has passed, the fact that John O’Donohue even lived gives me hope. The idea that there are people out there who understand and revere the concepts I have secretly clung to – is so beautiful to me. To find someone, perhaps one day – even one person – who can speak of the landscape and the language of a place, and pull poetry out of the earth – oh… it makes the trek worth trekking.

I can’t imagine returning home. It’s very hard for me to accept, even while simultaneously I am eager for it. It is quite the contradiction.

And I miss love. At the same time, I am terrified and desensitized by it.  I suppose it is O’Donohue’s talk of the ‘anam cara’ that calls to me – that person whose presence in one’s life breaks boundaries and conventions, and transcends this world. I know it is possible – and I have certainly tasted it briefly before; however, in a world so numb and devoid of passion, it is hard to still believe in.

Writing this has made me feel a bit better. Perhaps I can sleep now. I will talk to God for a while, since I have been very silent with Him this past month. And then I will clutch Panda to my side and fall into the world of recovery and Dreams.

Homecoming

Occasionally I get the feeling like I want to cry and cry and cry.

Sometimes it’s when I glance at a picture I took, and suddenly I’m transported right back to that spot, feeling and breathing and being there. Sometimes it’s just an image in my mind, or a random impulse. The whole world is different now. Yes, I am back home… but my entire world has been changed.

I don’t want to cry because I’m sad, though, because I’m not. I’m actually very happy. Today was one of the best days of my life. I went over to my Dad’s house in Charlton, and we had a fantastic day. All the kids were there (Joel, Govie, Candice, and I) and we haven’t all been together like that in years and years. We sat outside by the pool and we laughed, and then we ate steamers and lobsters, and even Dad, while he was saying Grace, had to cut the prayer short because it was all so beautiful. I almost cried myself, sitting there, being happy.

Today assuaged so many of my fears of coming home. I was so nervous that I would be depressed, or that I would feel more distant than ever from my family and the people who matter. I am overjoyed to learn that this trip has only brought me closer to the authentic self I was always hoping to express and to be, and that now I move more fluidly through moments. I am more settled in the Present, and I am more confident of my place within it.

But occasionally I just want to sob. I am unaware of where this impulse is originating from, but I know it is partly from a deep appreciation of the Road, and of the Silence, and of the Solitude I experienced there.

I was always one who thrived in solitude rather than feared it, but now it is more than that. Now it is an awareness of my strength, of my profound nature, my grace, my gifts, and my place on this earth. I am honored to have had the opportunity to learn this things, and at such a young age. I have an entire life now to impress myself upon the world, and leave marks of beauty and grace, and poetry.

Carlsbad & Roswell, NM & James Dean as he pulls her close by her scarf…

There are no words to describe where I am right now. Other than on the side of the road in the middle of New Mexico, 50 miles away from any town or gas station… and my tank is empty. Everywhere I look, the mesquite, cactus-covered desert plains are illuminated by the light of the full moon.

I started crying a little while back, but realized the futility of this, and started praying, instead. I know many of you would argue the futility of such an act, as well, but I have been shown otherwise in these past few months.

I started crying because my gas gauge was on empty, and my cell phone was receiving absolutely no service. I was driving at exactly 55 miles per hour, since my mother, as well as others, have told me recently that this is the exact best rate to be driving to get the best mileage (I thought it was 60). I figured they told me this for a reason, so I followed their advice. I started crying, however, when I realized that there was no gas stations for 50-70 miles in ANY direction, and that my cell phone had ZERO service. To top it all off, I’d like to add that it’s 2:45 in the A.M.

How I find myself in this predicament is a long, complicated, and useless story, so I’ll save myself the embarrassment, and you the time and pity.

If I have posted this entry, it means, however, that I have survived. So bully for that.

I hear the crickets, or whatever they are, outside my window, and a light, cool breeze is flowing into my car. Approximately a handful of cars have passed by in either direction. I couldn’t be much further away from civilization. Yet after a few prayers, my cell phone got service and I connected with AAA. I pulled over quickly to the side of the road and shut off my car, just as the gauge was dropping dangerously below the red line. I’ve kept driving forward for the past ten minutes, even though I knew that I would never make it to a gas station.

AAA should be here within the half hour, she said. I told her I was scared, and she sounded sincerely concerned. And then we lost service, so perhaps that will help her speed up the process.

A met a man in Roswell, New Mexico a few hours ago. I would like to blame him for the predicament I’m in, but it’s not really true. The truth is I’m an idiot. And even if I hadn’t spent hours talking with him, I probably still would have left Roswell without filling up. And after passing Roswell, the next station is around over 100 miles away. I’ve never experienced anything like that.

Earlier in our conversation, Scott (that was his name) had me hold out my hands, and he held his out above them, doing some sort of shakra-something thing. Then he looked at me, and said, “You’re more non-human than I thought.”

Which I suppose isn’t the strangest thing to hear in Roswell, NM.

He continued on to say I was an intuitive person, and we did end up having some fantastic conversation. The sort of conversation I needed – profound, soulful, and metaphysical. We talked about the things that matter, and how I should go after them. We talked about personal strength, and the ability to determine our own future and do what needs to be done to heal our souls.

On the other hand, he really freaked me out.

And now I’m abandoned on the side of an empty highway somewhere in the desert plains of New Mexico. In a way, none of that metaphysical stuff matters at this moment, but on the other hand, as the bluish tint of the sky twinkles and the haunting melody of the moon sing downs to me, that metaphysical stuff seems to be everything.

I’m not a normal person; I’m never going to be. I’m never going to be fulfilled by a good job and an even tan. I need to accept that, embrace that – no matter how people judge me for it. I need to live the life I was destined the live – the life that God gave me all the gifts to make a reality.

I thought typing might make the wait seem shorter, but I feel like I’ve been waiting a while now. I didn’t even check the time when she gave me the estimate.

Okay, it’s been about 20 minutes. Everything is still fine.

This really isn’t how I saw my day ending. I really had a fantastic day, up until the past couple hours. And even they weren’t that bad. I woke up in the Walmart parking lot (in my car, at least) actually refreshed, having gotten about 8 hours of sleep in my back seat. I bought some tasty goods from the local Cheerleaders outside the store, and I headed over to Carlsbad Caverns.

They were amazing.

What disturbed me greatly for about the first 30 minutes of my self-guided tour through the caverns was the fact that I couldn’t take it in. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how I looked at it, I was unmoved. Yes, I could admire its beauty, and the wow factor, but I couldn’t feel it. It disgusted me – about the world. That we are so bombarded with the fantastic – with the melodrama and hoopla of the entertainment world, predominately television/movies. Seriously, The Dark Knight had felt more awe-inspiring, and instilled a deeper sense of appreciation in me than million-years-old caverns whose beauty could devastate the unsuspecting. It made me sick, but mostly it made me terribly frustrated – I felt as one does when you are being adored by someone you can not feel anything back for – trying desperately to bring up the feelings, but they refuse to rise to the surface.

And I thought to myself – if I feel this way, and I am a very sensitive person, aware of the nuances of light and color and beauty – imagine how the rest of the world must be, especially the younger generation. Imagine how desensitized they must be from the air around them.

Randomly, I just smelled the scent of bat guano. The smell was almost overwhelming as you entered the cave entrance. Weird that it should come back to me right now. Perhaps I should have stayed in Carlsbad, but the local clientele worried me a little. Currently I’m hundreds of miles away from anyone, so that should relieve me. ::sigh::

I don’t know what I’m going to do. Between you and me, I still consider the futility of this life, and my wish that I did not have to continue it. The thoughts are few and far between, but they worry me, since I don’t want a future filled with such thoughts. I feel closer to making the decisions necessary (even if they are merely shiftings inside my soul) to change the course of my life, yet still I am not quite there yet. I am still too affected by other people’s opinions and feelings towards me. I still do not have the power necessary to be the person I know I can, and should, be. I could be… something great. I know this, and God whispers it to me, but my false sense of humility and fear barricades me.

30 minutes.

I’m getting tired. It’s 3 AM. I talked to grandpa around 6:00 mountain time, and he told me to get a hotel room. I should have listened to him.

One should always listen to Grandpa.

I’m going to watch Rebel Without A Cause while we wait.

Panda’s pissed.

* * *

Now it’s been an hour and a half. They called and said I can expect them in another hour and a half. I gave them my exact location – mile marker and all, and somehow that wasn’t good enough. They tried calling me, but I have no service. It only goes through every now and then. Some guy is driving from Santa Rosa to bring me gas. But that means he won’t be here until around 5 in the morning. I really can’t believe I’m in this situation. Strangely enough, however, I don’t feel anxious. I feel… calm. I’ve been watching Rebel Without A Cause. I’ve never seen it before. It sort of annoys me.

Anyways.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about my life. I want to go home, but as the girl in the movie just shouted, it “isn’t my home anymore.” I know I might have to become the black sheep of the family, since no one really understands me. But maybe that’s okay. Maybe being the black sheep will… allow me to breathe. I just need to get to the point where I’m comfortable doing that, without needing people’s approval. Even though I know that deep down I’ll always be waiting… waiting for people to be proud of me. Waiting for the people I love to recognize my talents, and say they are good. That I am good.

I wonder if I could have made it to Vaughn, NM with what’s left in my gas tank. Gosh, that would make me feel stupid. But I guess I’m supposed to be doing this. I’m sure there’s a reason.

I feel a cold coming on, too. My throat is really sore. I don’t know what I would do if I got sick on top of everything. I sort of want to go home – go to my bed, and sleep for a few days. Read a book. Take a walk. While at the same time, I can’t imagine being back there, driving those same streets, with all those memories… all that history.

I want to leave the history behind.

I’m surprised I’m not more tired. I woke up at 8:30, and spent about four hours walking through the caverns. My legs hurt, but I should be exhausted. I know this is going to catch up with me in the morning. I think I’m going to find a hotel and stay there for a couple days – recuperate. Try to figure out what the hell is going on.

2-month anniversary!

So yes, today marks my two months on the road. In a way, I find that hard to believe, yet at the same time, I feel like this has been my life forever now. When I think about my life before I left, it feels like another person, living that way.

And I never want to go back.

I don’t mean that I’m not willing to return to my home, in Massachusetts. But I never want to go back to life the way I knew it.

A week ago, my dad told me over the phone that he hoped that I could “come back home and return to reality.” This statement stuck in my craw then, and it has embedded itself like a sliver. At the time, I merely asked him whose reality he wanted me to return to – because my priorities and goals had changed. However, the more I thought about it, the more my mind expanded around the subject. There are a million ways to live – on this trip alone, I have met dozens of people who have taken me into their lives and showed me different ways to look at the world. I haven’t gone around fully embracing everybody else’s beliefs and ideas, but I certainly respect them. I listen to them, I learn from them, and I take what applies to me, and what helps make me become a better person. I embrace the concepts and beliefs that bring me closer to the person I want to be, every day of my life.

I told my mother today that out of all the people I’ve met so far, my cousin Lisa (whom I had never really known before this trip) has been the most influential for me. She has also been the most grounded, the most accepting, and the most spiritual of everyone I’ve met. She embraces each moment individually, and out of everyone I’ve met so far, lives with the least judgment in her heart and the least anxiety in her life. I truly believe that I will be able to use her as a model for the type of life I wish to lead – one that is peaceful, yet successful – selfless, and yet maintaining a beautiful balance of personal care of the soul.

Anyways, the point of that digression was not only to highlight Lisa, but also to highlight the fact that there are so many ways to live that can still lead me to not only live well, but also to fully thrive as a soulful human being. Never again do I want to allow myself to get caught up in the “daily grind” of materialistic, egocentric ways. Back home, it was as though everyone was merely trying to keep up with what society told them they should do and be – and I was beginning to fall for it. Beginning to believe that all that mattered was my education, and my paycheck, and the way I looked, not only physically, but also on paper.

What really matters is that when people look into my eyes, I want them to see my soul – and I want it to bring them peace, and offer them the inspiration to follow the clandestine, beautiful dreams in their heart, as well. This life is far too short for us to believe, for even a second, that power and money and possessions really plays even the most minuscule of parts. True, they allow us to survive and they allow us to move about in our society, but when they replace the parts of the soul that make us whole and authentic and beautiful, then it is not a worthwhile trade.

Anyways, the point of this entry is to herald in the third month of my trip. I have been on the road for 62 days now, and they have been 62 days that will have forever changed my life, whether or not I fully realize their impact now.