I am sitting, not in a beautiful Polynesian bungalow, but in the less dramatic (but still beautiful) sitting room of our home in Toronto, contemplating one key question: Can I take what I learned from our extraordinary journey, and apply it to my life, in ways that help me to live a healthy and happy life? Can I even survive, (let alone thrive), in this new/old world -- (the world I left just one year ago, but which now feels so foreign, and mainly unwelcome?) And, with insomnia and fuzzy headedness and back pain already "back" -- (before I have even formally returned to work!) -- can I live that "old life" in new ways, with new tools, that allow me to not only survive (as I just barely did, one year ago) but hopefully to actually thrive? I don't know the answers to these questions yet, but am going to try to find out.
The end of our journey was marked first by great joy, and (a surprising!) feeling of both great love, and protection; followed by great sadness and vulnerability (more on both of those, later). Despite the dizzying swing between those two seemingly opposite states, when I found a moment to breathe and finally take it all in, I decided that the one, singular conclusion of the journey remains true, (at least for me), namely -- that we must make our way delicately, but with great purpose, and with a deep respect for the world and all that is in it; and, (especially), with great Love, which is, in the end, all that is.
My sister gave me a card with a (beautiful!) poem by William Stafford, that says: "Starting here, what do you want to remember?/How sunlight creeps across a shining floor?/What scent of old wood hovers, what softened sound from outside fills the air?/....Will you ever bring a greater gift for the world/than the breathing respect that you carry/wherever you go, right now?/What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, in this room, when you turn around?"
Here's to starting a new journey, that brings fresh insights and sees with new eyes; that carries a breathing respect for the world, and lives fully (and joyfully!) in each moment; that recognizes that there is no greater gift than now, starting right here, in this room, when we turn around.