Life is not in the understanding, it’s in the experience. Teachings and words and others’ thoughts are a signpost, they are the finger pointing at the moon. We must step out and walk on the moon – we’ve already got an amazing spacesuit to use. Our job is not to wake up to life, it’s to wake life up to us, to this spacewalk we’re taking. All we need to do is relentlessly remember that we are a pack of powerful and beautiful astro-creatures.
For me right now that is transforming my viewpoint from a goal of weight loss and escape from back pain, into a fully fledged big power dream of a fully active life. Activity that enables me to live out what I have now realized what I am and why I’m here.
Over the past year or so especially I have been taking more and more spacewalks out in this beautiful galaxy we live in. I’ve been training (meditating, journalling, experimenting) on gaining clarity on what I want next, and what’s coming up over and over is the outdoors. I didn’t dare let myself dream of that – an active outdoor life – for the past 19 years.
I have struggled with weight loss for a very long time. I used to be a huge fitness freak, and with my very best friend that I loved so much we would train together and shared a huge depth of knowledge and heart energy. We were set to share our lives together as friends, and move from Ireland to California to engage in expansive intellectual and fitness pursuits. I moved here, 19 years ago, and he was planning to move a few months later. Then I got the news that he had been killed, his neck snapped instantly flying into a telephone pole. It completely devastated me. It shifted the course of my life and within about a year I had gone from 165lbs, at 6’4”, to 300 lbs. I literally put on another whole person, a grief-body.
Since then, “struggle” is far too small a word for the past 19 years. The shame of being this size has run my life to a very great extent. It has stopped me from engaging in pursuing experiences almost completely. I stuffed my dreams down so far in the basement because I did not deserve to be happy. I was not “one of you”, I was a shameful disgusting being that nobody should be forced to look at. I could not go kayaking because I can’t fit in the boat. I could not go hiking because I might sweat on a hot day and a sweating fat man is a disgusting sight that nobody should have to see. I could not go to a restaurant because fat people don’t have the right to eat.
Through an amazing set of twists and turns I have come to fully love myself today. And over the past few months I have stepped completely into the possibility that I actually am allowed my dream of being fit and active. This is so high risk and so beautiful. It’s truly a dream being let out of its cage. I feel its feeble pulse; it is dazed and confused, looking around now in the bright of day. Unfolding its wings, looking at them like – what are these, what are they for, wait, am I really out of that basement I have been kept in for so long? Can I really fly now, is it ok, no you’re trying to trick me again; wait, I can see the sky, hey now what is going on, really really can I fly now?
Over this time since I learned to love myself, I was really resisting a focus on “weight loss”, because I have spent most of my life focusing on that. I really didn’t want to any more, it didn’t feel right. After reaching deep inside and being willing to crack open the deepest spots where I have hidden my dreams a very long time ago, I had an experience a while ago where I instantly broke into tears and continued to constantly randomly break into tears all morning. Big sobbing fits, of relief.
What came up in that first sobbing was a massive sense of freedom, of recognition of what I am. And I could barely believe it, it was so freeing I wasn’t sure that it could possibly be real, and that’s what the sobbing was. Like a child receiving a gift that is everything they wanted bursting into tears.
In that moment of sobbing I stepped into a place of deep clarity of what I am. I see joy and magic in everything – a few days ago for example there was a fly in my bathroom and I literally jumped for joy and started running around after it to gain an experience of what it would be like to be a fly and fly up and down and left and right through a room just for the fun of it. That is my natural state that I am remembering, finding it again. I finally fully accepted that my purpose here is to have experiences – go on adventures, experience joy and sorrow, and find others to play with.
It felt like the whole world shifted sideways somehow. I accepted myself to be completely outside this consumer culture that’s been built. I appreciate beautiful things, I love great design, I love when beautiful form meets great function. And I love using things for their utility. But I have no need to own, to collect, to have. My heart cleaves instead to a completely different way of being, which is to explore and to experience. And so I have begun to release my possessions, joyfully.
This is a fundamental shift in the form I take, it felt like I shape shifted, a wriggling and growing of the parts underneath resulting in a new outer form, like would happen with a set of dragon wings unfurling inside an egg.
The following is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read, I had it printed on canvas for my wall.
And I thought over againInuit Song
My small adventures
As with a shore wind I drifted out
In my kayak
And thought I was in danger
Those small ones
that I thought so big
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach
And yet, there is only
One great thing;
The only thing:
To live in huts and on journeys see
The great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.