A Friend has suggested that although travel is one way to ‘deepen life experience,’ attempting to live simply may be a better choice. These thoughtful ideas deserve a thoughtful reply.
I have experienced frequent internal struggle between my climate activism, living simply (as a Quaker), and my desire to explore the world. Last week, I was interviewed with two other Quaker climate activists about our ‘leadings,’ the internal call or pull to do this work.
In preparation, as I considered the questions, I recognized that my superficial expectations did not match my reality. Superficially, my expectation was that a true leading would be constant, unchanging, steady, and fearless. In fact, my inclination to be active in climate action and protests, although alive for many years, wavers, depending on my changing physical, mental, and emotional energy levels. My decisions to take part (or not) in a particular action are not uniform, but affected by both my energy levels and expected demands.
The simplest explanation is probably simply that I am human. The images that I carry of a hero or heroine are not realistic, but imagined. Another of the activists interviewed with me also expressed his dramatically changed perspective on his activism, that he is not likely to continue in his leadership role. In a later conversation with him, he assured me that if I called on him to stand with me in front of another coal train, he’d be there.
This may sound as if I’m going in circles. What I want to say is that we are each individuals who fluctuate in intention, ability, and desire. Furthermore, we must each be attentive and receptive to our own internal calling. This is especially true in light of the multitudes of external forces constantly demanding our attention.
I am not suggesting that travel is a necessary component of a good life. However, if it is one that speaks to you, it can be a powerful, effective way to both touch other lives and to be expanded in our own. We live on a astonishing planet with many magnificent creatures and cultures. If you are pulled to explore other parts of the globe, then, please, do it and do it consciously. If you choose to stay at home, please don’t make that choice from fear. Rather, do it consciously, choosing internal inspiration over external. Either choice may be the right choice for you.
Possibly because my bed is next to a window where birds are currently nesting, I awoke this morning with a strange thought: wondering about the experience of a worm being fed to a bird. I want to be fully conscious of my experiences, aware, and I want to consciously choose experiences. The opportunity to be alive on this planet today should not be wasted.
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2 thoughts on “Not Only Travel”
As we ate what is known as the Hillel Sandwich, bitter horse radish, and sweet apple, nut, and wine charoset between 2 pieces of matzo, at our seder last night, was struck with what it represented. To be able to hold opposites, differing opinions, overt ironies, within the loving realm of our actions, understandings, and relationships is much of what being a grown-up is. Your writing this week echoed that.
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Judith, it is often difficult to be a grown-up! Having you as a friend makes it easier. 💕