Confronting my inner hobbit …

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

When does a journey truly begin? Is there a specific beginning? Or are all journeys just a continuation, the journey endless though the participants are ever-changing? Does the journey pick the path, or does the path define the journey? Does the destination matter? Or is the quality of the journey what is truly important? Perhaps it is neither, but rather how the travelers choose to approach the journey.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Does staying still mean the journey has ended? Or just changed speed? Is a journey defined by the distance traveled? By the places visited? Or is it defined by its effects on the traveler? Who defines which is the correct definition? If the destination changes, does that mean the journey has changed? Or is it still the same journey?

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

If the journey seems to end, is it truly an end or just a paradigm shift? If the road appears to end, does that mean the journey has ended? Are endings truly endings, or just changes in direction? Are endings … or beginnings … just a matter of perspective? If so, whose perspective?

Is there only one answer to any of these questions? Or ANY answers for that matter? If we find an (the?) answer, how will we know it is the correct one? Do the questions even matter? Does the journey?

My walkabout continues, though the journey has stalled. Or has it?

Rex Chestworthy is in da house!!

Those who have been following these wanderings for a while know that this journey was ultimately initiated by the collision of two bloggers. The whole idea started when one wise idiot had a world-changing idea. The world that was about to change may have been limited to a world of two, and the changes ended up completely different from what had been planned … but such is life. Every once in a while, I give an update on what the founder of this whole project is up to, even though our paths have gone in slightly different directions.

Mark, despite many speed bumps on the road of his life (some might even call the speed bumps mountains), keeps showing us the power of perseverance and a positive attitude. Like many who jump into the blogging world, for him blogging was a method of self-healing. His ability to turn difficulty into humor quickly gathered a large following for his blog, and he turned being an Idiot into a rather enviable status. However, his path changed, and he slipped away from blogging to become a master painter, with an equally avid following. Recently, he has decided that the world could once again benefit from his humorous yet insightful take n life, so has rejoined the world of blogging … sort of. He has sadly been forced to step away from the persona of The Idiot, because others far less worthy (insert the name of your favorite Tea Party Republican here), have claimed, and totally tarnished, the title. So he has instead brought another of his alter egos out, one Rex Chestworthy, to regale us with wisdom and the healing power of laughter. Those of you who are his friends may already have encountered his new page on FB, but for others who may be interested, or who may just need a good dose of eye-opening thoughts, take a wander over to The Ramblings of Rex Chestworthy. You may not agree with everything he says, but you will definitely not be disappointed for visiting.

Rex

What are the rules again?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

-Lao Tzu

I have probably used this quote before, especially because it is a simple yet profound truth. But I also have recently realized that it is not completely accurate. No journey really begins with the first step. Rather it begins with the decision to take that first step.

For those of us who seek meaning, the soul searchers and the questioners … I am coming to truly understand that the answer to these profound questions may actually be less important than the search itself. I have come to the conclusion that there may not be a definitive answer at all, but rather an answer we each create for ourselves. For how can an answer that gives us peace of mind and purpose be a WRONG answer? Unless of course peace of mind and purpose are not something we should be seeking. And there is the basic problem with the search. How will we ever know we have found what we are seeking?

What is out there? Guess I best go and find out ...

What is out there? Guess I best go and find out …

Every destination is ultimately also a new beginning. For if we consider it an end, what more is there to live for? Is the goal of life to find and end to life? Those who value the afterlife more than life itself would basically say yes. Yet I think that even in an afterlife there would be goals to aim for, otherwise it is just stagnation. Perfection is a destination with no further goals. Is that something we really seek? Sounds kind of boring to me.

Basically this is a long-winded and rather flighty way to say that it seems to me the journey is much more important than the destination. I need to stop thinking that I have somehow failed because I have not reached a certain goal, or because I am not even certain what those goals may be, and simply appreciate the journey that I am on. Sure it is not always be exciting, or even enjoyable … but what journey ever is? I may not be physically exploring the world at the moment, but sometimes my imagination makes for much more exciting places to visit. So for now I explore THOSE realms. My walkabout is mostly metaphysical at the moment.

Yet I do still want to explore this physical world of ours before we make a complete mess of it. Guess I need to sill figure out some purpose after all.

Conclusion … life has whatever meaning we want it to have. But sometimes we have to play the game by other people’s rules.

Walking in place

What exactly IS adventure? A dictionary definition is “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity”, but does that really give us the full meaning? Adventure falls into the same category as other, life changing yet often sought after mysteries, such as love, happiness, and hope. Each of these concepts is ultimately defined by the individual. Concepts that, when found, often turn out far from what we expect. Not everyone seeks adventure. Adventure is for those who like to push boundaries. Those content with comfort and safety are not likely to go out of their way to seek adventure.

I am definitely not one of the latter. My life has really been defined by a search for adventure. But like so many, I truly did not know what I have been searching for. Adventure is the province of the imagination. And because of this, much is left vague or undefined. Part of my starting this journey was to once again chase after that mysterious entity called adventure.

It has taken a few hard moments and a LOT of boredom for me to realize that adventure is not really something I ever needed to seek out. For life itself is an adventure.

Is that adventure over there?

Is that adventure over there?

The truth about any of these most sought out concepts is that when we find them, we will realize that the exciting parts, the parts that we think we are looking for, are actually only a small part of the picture. We are trained by the Tale Tellers of the world that adventure is all about excitement and constant activity. But the tales tend to gloss over the mundane, sometimes even negative, aspects that fill up all the time in between the exciting moments.

Sounds like a fair description of life to me.

I am once again in my cave, with a very limited and often boring routine. And yet I truly understand that my adventure is far from over. Even as I sit typing on the computer, my mind explores the ‘what were’s and the ‘what could be’s. I am in the process of completing ALL the manuscripts I started over the years. Ironically, the two fiction ones may be the easiest to finish, because I control the outcome. But my real life manuscript, the one that is based on what has actually happened to me … I have no idea how THAT one will turn out. I will never lack for material in THAT story, for my life is full of experiences. Whereas in the fiction, I need to create what is not already there.

So my walkabout continues, though to some it seems that I am not moving at all.

Brown Dog teaches …

“Not yet Brown Dog! It’s too early! Go back to bed!”

This is my equivalent to hitting the snooze button on an alarm clock. Every morning Brown Dog enthusiastically and urgently prances about, essentially saying “Gottagogottagogotaago!!,” while her mean and unfeeling companion hasn’t the energy to crawl out of bed yet. This has become part of the routine. On some levels, there is resentment in these actions: I went on this grand adventure, and all I have to show for it is a dog I did not ask for. Yeah me!

Don’t get me wrong. I love Brown Dog. Precisely because of that, she is often the target of my frustrations with life in general … and with myself. She has an exuberant energy that drives me crazy … mostly because I envy it. The irony being that my NOT having it is essentially my own fault. And any resentment is really just my inherent allergy to responsibility. Truth be told … once I actually get the walkies project started … it usually turns into a moment of peace (if often slightly agitated peace thanks to B. D.), reflection, and … believe it or not … learning. I take these moments to appreciate: appreciate what is around me; appreciate what I DO have and what I don’t; appreciate the simple fact of living. These moments are also good for letting the mind wander in nomadic bliss. My thoughts are often random, but I will explore that randomness to its very edges.

SQUIRREL!!!!

SQUIRREL!!!!

This morning, as I admired the early morning light on the autumn colors, the chill, brisk air instilled some nifty thoughts in my head. One that I may actually pursue (let my inner inventor run for a change) is the concept of a treadmill for dogs. As seems to be the norm for this time of year, Brown Dog’s focus was torn between the desperate need to GO NOW!!, the finicky need to GO HERE!!, and the distracting need to  CHASE SQUIRREL!! Basically a typical morning’s walk. Nearing the end of the walk, our slightly frayed, “ghetto” rope of a leash once again burned my fingers as B. D. once again decided THAT squirrel was Public Enemy Number One. So I said to her: “They are everywhere, girl. If you chase them all, we’ll never get anywhere.”

With an eye awakening smack, the cold air put its fingers to my cheek and I suddenly GOT IT!

I was talking about squirrels to a dog, but there was a profound lesson in what I had just said for myself (and maybe others). This simple statement so well applies to many other things … but most applicably in MY life to dreams and … causes. Dreams are everywhere. So are battles to be fought. One of the temptations an Idealistic Thinker faces is the need to follow ALL the dreams; the need to fight ALL the battles.

THAT way lays eternal frustration.

Maybe part of the reason I feel so adrift these days is because I have CAST myself adrift. If I keep chasing everything that catches my attention, my own personal squirrels, I will never get anywhere. To reinforce this message, B. D. suddenly got another scent, and started towing me at the cost of her own breathing … again. This time I said, “Stop choking yourself chasing after something you will never catch!!”

The cold air slapped me in the face again as soon as I said this.

Yep. Brown Dog is one fine teacher!