This photograph shows Nancy alongside our faithful Subaru Outback which is packed to its limits with our possessions. It sits at the bottom of the driveway to the house in Mount Shasta that we have enjoyed renting for the past three years. When I get back in the car, start the engine, and turn right out of the driveway we will be entering unexplored territory.
It has not been an easy few weeks. A couple of days ago I completely fell apart. Overwhelmed by an attack from my internal chorus of critics who informed me that I was irresponsible; that I always had been irresponsible; that I was ignorant of what I was doing; that I could not succeed at this transition; and that, in general, I was a complete idiot. I sat and sobbed harder than I can remember ever doing. Nancy sat with her hand on my back while I let all this venom pass through me.
On the other side of the intense pain, life began to open up again as we remembered all the authentic energy and flow that has been guiding us along this path for so many years. We realized that most of our difficulty arose from the unconscious attempt to continue to carry assumptions about what we needed to have and what images of ourselves we needed to retain in order to be, “OK.”
We have dear friends who live in Portugal and have often invited us to travel and visit them. They are establishing a life in a culture that is completely foreign to them and we often think, “Wouldn’t that be something!” As I recovered from my mini-breakdown, Nancy had the image, “What if we were actually going to Portugal to start our new life, entirely from scratch in an unfamiliar culture? What would we take with us?”
This insight led us to rearrange our “stuff” and lighten the load considerably. Some went to a small storage room that we are using for keepsakes that we will revisit next spring. Some went to the thrift store. Some joined the furniture and other useful items we left for the evacuee family who is moving in. Suddenly it all fit. We felt “good to go.”
I am reminded of the classic scene from Peter Jackson’s wonderful film presentation of Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring. At the beginning of the film, Bilbo has to leave the “Ring” behind and he is extremely reluctant to do so, even though he knows he must. He stands in the doorway and lets the Ring slowly slide from his palm. It hits the floor with an unnatural, “Thud!” Bilbo goes out the door and stands in a moment of pain, then his face clears and he realizes that a great burden has been lifted. Down the road he goes with his pack on his back, lightness and freedom in his step, and a song on his lips – “The road goes ever on and on …”
If you have similar “voices of judgment” ingrained within your mind, and I’ll wager you do, you understand just how powerful their full-on assaults can be. It helps to remember that, the more intense the assault, the more desperate the fear these voices have that they will lose their hold on your life. Don’t give in to them. Freedom may be just a good cry away.
So, my friends, Will and Nancy are, “on the road.” Our first stop will be a few days with some good friends in the Chico area. Then we will make our way slowly to southern Arizona to join our son and his family for the holidays – to relax and to begin the search for our “home on wheels.” Our load is light, our destination is a mystery, and our song is one of freedom and joy. I am glad you are sharing the road with us and I will keep you posted on the thoughts that arise in me.