A week into the journey, many miles my tires and soles have seen. I love the transformation that takes place on journeys like these- something happens to the brain. Whether it’s from living outdoors, stripping down to bare necessities, encountering novel places, people, and things daily, oftentimes being in such beautiful places, or perhaps a combination of all of these, the brain forms a spaciousness. Thought patterns necessarily change, the worries fall away or shift, and some ephemeral joy takes their place.

It is a joy in experience, what Joseph Campbell says all humans are seeking, namely the experience of being alive. I have stumbled on it when I travel in this way- with openness, acceptance- it shines in the strangest of times, perhaps when I am most tired after many hills in Big Sur and the fog sets in and a peculiar beauty pervades the atmosphere and no matter how tired, the beauty fills some place in me and enlivens me. Many times on the trip I have thought of guarding my money sack, and, in these moments, this thought falls away and there is the feeling of needing nothing. Even the practical concerns fall away and I feel I could just be and am forever.

Many times I am moving through countless emotional states in a day from joy to sorrow, exhilaration to pain and many in-between. What Rumi says is true, this being human is a guesthouse… Welcome them all for they are preparing your insides for something.

One morning as I was passing through San Simeon on my way north, I was feeling very physically and emotionally tired. I found a pull out with a one-way cattle door and no signs of No Trespassing. I followed the trail a short walk to the shoreline, which consisted of an abrupt cliff covered in wildflowers. I sat there and an uncontrollable sadness crept out of me and I wailed there on the cliff edge, feeling thankful, broken, empty. Earlier that morning, I had pulled over to gaze amazed at the rolling hills with auburn wheat at their base in which 3 cranes stood eyeing prey. I remembered simple beauty then, in their angular legs, stillness in the hunt, the contrast of their white on the textured wheat.

Such moments are for the emptied. For I am realizing in myself if I am full of plans, desired outcomes, thoughts other than the present, worries, even imaginings, then I am too full for such moments.

I continually seek to empty.
To leave room for… I never know until it’s here.