Fortified by a night in a bed, and all the lovely kindness I’d found in Port Macquarie, I moved on feeling optimistic and strong.
I was pretty much in-the-groove of it, living in the moment, at this point. I’d had emotional epiphanies, I’d let go of a lot of unnecessary baggage I’d carried along (in some cases for most of my life), and I’d learned to cope with the separation from my family.
Despite all of these gains as a human being, I would sometimes catch a glimpse of myself in a reflective surface and think, “mate .. oh … jeez .. mate …. what the eff is wrong with you ?! … mate … what are you doing ?!”
Haha, but for the most part I was learning to accept myself, my place in the world, and celebrate the fact that people were getting something from my Quest, from seeing a concrete example that a broken life CAN be fixed.
Human suffering tends to happen in repetitive cycles, in my experience. I think that imprints on us, and on some level we sort of half-accept it .. we’ll never get better, we’ll always relapse, we are fated to struggle. The world is there to crush us, all that stuff.
I reject it utterly. Yes, it’s all true, but at the same time it’s all WRONG. We can blaze with light, we can inspire each other.
The fact that it’s not consistent and takes work just makes it all the more precious.
It’s funny how a life can so easily be spent, and at the end of your days you have nothing much to show for it. Unmarked by history, no real dent in the world. Sure, we made friends, we had a little fun, a few giggles.
But how much of our life was dedicated to finding and unlocking our finer selves ? How much was just caught up in the churn of daily living ?
I was realising that the inner me, who I was inside, was burningly important. Sure, not to the world, but to the meaning of my existence.
I was learning something that might be an elementary truth to most people: it’s on me to define the terms of my life
I’d lived so much of my life reacting. It’s a story being told by someone else (and they don’t like me much).
But we get to grab the pen and take control of the narrative. Turn it into a superhero story, a comedy, a soul searching drama. The meaning in our lives comes from the inside.
I dressed up as a superhero.
I walked through Port Macquarie.
That’s what happened. But what was happening to me was beyond the simple facts of it.
I was tearing myself down and rebuilding, looking at the world with new eyes.
And I have to tell you, I need you to understand: what I saw was abundant beauty everywhere
A year ago, I was a ghost. A dead man walking. The hope in my life was the tiniest flickering ember, I saw only a slow decline and imminent suffering, grief and loss.
And yet here, a year later, overwhelmed by beauty. Beauty in the places I was visiting. Beauty in the people that I was meeting on the road. Beauty inside myself.
I celebrate that, but I’m not writing this in celebration. I’m amazed by that, but I’m not writing to share my amazement. The reason I’m trying to hard to nail the point home is because it may help you, and one day, perhaps sometime in the future, it may help my sons. Or their children.
Because the darker side is – the world we’ve made doesn’t love us.
In fact, the societies we’ve created, the groups and many of the relationships we’ve formed are outright toxic and dangerous to our health and wellbeing.
That can mask the beautiful kindness that is out there (and in us), making it harder to see. It’s like life is a ying-yang symbol, and we can spiral around in-between, or start making mindful, deliberate choices.
Anyway, I headed south to Lake Cathi (which is gorgeous), paused for a little stream and continued on to Bonny Hills.
I’d been invited by this lovely young woman I met on the road, Kim, to stop in for a meal and a chat, and when I got there I explained my outstanding daily donor dares of doom – “demand a free beer” and “dye your beard pink”
“I got you”, she said. (Her daughter was visiting nanna, but they had pink dye in the bathroom).
After some tremendous spaghetti, she invited me to sleep on a blow-up mattress in the spare room, and since I was officially at my evening stop, the ‘local travel on wheels’ rule became a bit flexi, so she drove me to a pub back near Port Macquarie to deal with the other dare.
Oh .. it was *so* hard.
I’m a shy person by nature, it may not seem it, but I truly am. Shy and quite reserved. I was tied up in knots when I approached that bar, young blokes having a beer and playing pool pausing to stare.
Sorry for the awful sound in the video, I’ve done all I can to amp it up. I amble up to the bar, ask for a beer and then insist that superheroes don’t pay for beer.
Haha, thing is the lovely bloke (Andrew) behind the bar was “jeez mate, I wasn’t going to ask you to pay, what you’re doing is wonderful”
So all that stress for nothing.
Had a truly great chat with Kim at the pub. I was learning to open up and share more of my story, talking about childhood stuff that I’d kept close to my chest for years. What a kind, lovely person. I absolutely loved (and was grateful) that she knew I was safe, you know, not a danger ? We are so scared these days – and she was by herself, but invited this old boofhead to sleep. I said to her head on that if she felt in any way iffy, no worries, I’d hit the road, please don’t feel bad – but she was cool (as two cucumbers).
Back at Bonny Hills, I had a deep, comfortable sleep (maybe deeper still with a beer in my belly), woke in the morning and snuck around like a ninja not wanting to wake my new friend and put the pink dye into my beard – but we’ll cover that next time 🙂