I am back in New Hampshire, ended a 6-week road trip and tour of Authentic Relating (A/R) communities in the US. The trip was a triumph in every way. I did New Culture Camp East, Asheville, Austin, a wilderness trip in Big Bend National Park, and Boulder. I connected strongly everywhere, and I am full of expansive plans which I will share another time.
I ended the trip early however (skipped Burning Man) because of some very shocking news. My younger brother had a major stroke about 10 days ago at Newark airport, on his way back from China. He is only 56 years old, and a full professor of Italian at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He is actually very lucky to be alive, according to the doctors.
We are all completely shocked, of course. He is receiving good care but recovery is slow. I honestly can’t discern the full impact on me yet. I have been feeling completely “flat” last few days, no motivation at all. It’s a reminder to me of the fragility of life, and that I may have less time than I previously imagined to complete my mission, the legacy that I want to leave. On the upside, it seems to be making me more focused and less interested in “sweating the small stuff”. I am feeling a great clarity about that, but in combination with a kind of emotional emptiness, a “lostness”. It is a very strange feeling.
But regardless, my plan is clear. Now that I have proof-of-concept of the traveling lifestyle, I want to live on the road for a while. Maybe a long while. I call it the “Jesus lifestyle”: travel, evangelize, live simply and in community, loving my brothers and sisters. Aside from the psychological benefits of living a life dedicated to public service (which I have been obsessed about for 25 years), there is something very trippy about living on the road in the US. It is very cheap, for one. A $20 tank of gas takes me 300 miles, $12 buys me a campsite at a State Park (and municipal campgrounds even cheaper). I eat rice and beans and eggs, and the car has been some kind of dream-machine. And all this in the midst of some extraordinary natural beauty.
My next destination is Chicago. A good place for me to start for a number of reasons, the first one being my friend Rossi Mel’s Connection Festival in mid-September, which also happens to be an unofficial reunion of all my closest online circling buddies. Chicago is also a fairly “virgin” A/R city (lots opportunities for leadership), and also cheap rent.
Work is continuing through all this, of course. I have a lot on my plate, especially having seriously neglected my bread-and-butter business for some time now. This now needs to get handled in parallel with my A/R leadership, book marketing, and intentional community plans. I actually kind of imagine this is the lifestyle I have always wanted. I only wish I had started sooner.
But who knew? And isn’t this the challenge of life, that we just don’t know, that most of us just bumble through, doing our best to make sense of the madness, and lucky if we can get any real joy or accomplish anything worth while?
Well, forgive my philosophical ramblings. It’s the effect of my brother’s condition. Perhaps my next mail will be happier…