Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sorting Through Stuff - Of Objects and People

Yesterday, I numbered all of my file boxes and containers in my storage unit, taking inventory, to figure out how many I need to sort through per day over the next month (or so), in order to get all of this work done before I go on my bike trip. I noticed that once I did this, once these boxes and containers became "merely numbers" to me, my emotional attachment immediately started to shift, as in dissipate.

Don't know why, but my mind went immediately to the "numbering" of the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps, and the dehumanization/objectification of people wherever they are identified with numbers. I also couldn't help but recognize that I tend to have a lot of "emotional attachment" to "things". That is partly why I have hung on to so many of my "things" for so long. In contrast, I've had to learn to "let go of" people, over and over again in my life.

Clearly, it is not as easy to hold on to people. They do not simply sit on shelves like things do. They have their own will, their own volition, and their own life-spans, and these may not always coincide with "me" and "my desires." I learned this lesson fairly early in my life. The reason why my "turtle" is "blue" is because of Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles album, and, specifically, the song "If You Love Someone, Set Them Free." Now I'm wondering if I I should learn to relate the same way to my "things" - i.e. if I "love someThing" I should also "set it free". Gonna have to think about that a little more. : )

Although, another scene comes to mind from the movie "Harold and Maude" with Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort. They are sitting next to a body of water and Harold gives Maude a coin he has mechanically impressed at a carnival with the words "Harold Loves Maude". She receives the coin graciously saying it is "One of the nicest gifts [she's ever been given]" (or something like that : )). And then, she tosses it into the water, much to Harold's surprise. She turns to him and says: "That way, I'll always know where it is."

I don't think I'm quite there yet, but ever since I first saw this movie, I have admired the spirit of the "Old Crone" embodied in the character of "Maude", and hope that, as I continue to grow older myself, I will become more like her..."in my own, individual way."

In the end - as in - when we die - we have to be ready to "let go of Everything" anyway. I can see it as a wise discipline to "practice" that "letting go" throughout our lives so when that day comes, we'll be more ready for it.

And who knows? Maybe those "connections" we share with people through-out our lives do persist, on some level, beyond our physical lives and awareness, whereas, our connections with "things"...not so much. So why invest so much love and energy into "things", when we really should be making those investments with the people/souls with whom we may be sharing multiple lifetimes?


  1. I think I held on to all of my things for so long as a way to keep a tangible reminder of the good times, that were often outnumbered by the bad. Or maybe because I had to let go of people, which was out of my control, I then held on to things as a way to control my own environment? Either way, once I got Happy from Within, and stopped looking so much for "Happiness" from Without, I found it was a lot easier to let go of my Stuff. I've been going through my things and being more honest about what I really need and what I really don't. I have also recently (in the past few years) done the same with some of the people in my life. Not everything you've had for a long time is something you need to keep. By the way, I'm proud of you!

  2. Thanks, Erika. I appreciate your honest feedback and thoughtfulness. I suspect, given the various challenges people are facing now with the economic and political climate, more and more of them are having to figure out what is really Most Important to them. In a way, the situation could be understood as a very necessary evolutionary pressure, and we are all being affected by it in different ways and we are being called upon more gently in some cases and forced in others to adapt and grow. It will be interesting to see where we are as a society and a species in the next decade or so...?