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2003-11-02

Hello nurse! I am traveling around the US and writing about it, and there seems to be no end in sight.

I am looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights and feed me and pay my way (since I am broke) and show me a good time (since I like good times). If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me at justingrace AT mac DOT com. Please make sure to include your address and phone number. I am especially looking for places to stay in the southeast USA and the East Coast.

I will be traveling all over the USA, though, so email me no matter what! Here are the places I will be in the next few weeks that I am still looking for a place to stay at:

• Louisiana
• Mississippi
• Alabama
• Florida
• Tennessee
• North/South Carolina
• Georgia


I am in New Orleans right now and will be here for a few more days now. Please contact me ASAP if you are in or around New Orleans and want to hang out!



US Tour Day 47: Email to a Friend


Sign at corner of the street where I've been living. And I didn't even modify this one!

Taken from an email to a friend...her words are in blue, mine are in black.
Sorry. I guess I am not really sure about what details you want, so I am just going to tell you what's on my mind now. Which may not be a good idea, since I am feeling verbally incontinent (so let me apologize in advance), but then again maybe it's not so bad of an idea since you'll get to see what I hide from everyone else, including family and my closest friends.

Why do we choose to hide these things from our closest friends and family? Let's not allow this question to fall into the dark and endless abyss where all our other rhetorical questions disappear from our attention forever. Let's tackle it head on.

I believe that we are unable to reveal these difficult or shameful parts to others for two reasons.

First, we may not be fully aware of the issues ourselves. We may not have formulated the ideas or the words to represent them. So, how could we possibly communicate that which we do not yet even grasp? Alternately, if we have achieved an understanding of our issues then we hide things from our loved ones because we want to maintain a reputation of strength—a façade of invulnerability—in our own mind and the minds of others.

I am sure that for me it is a combination of the two. What about you?
I'm not really sure what's going on with me; you keep saying I am on the cusp of something great, but I keep feeling I am at the edge of an abyss. Maybe not even on the edge, but falling. But anyway something has definitely changed, but I am not sure if it is for better or for worse.

Better or worse. I never know, either. So, when given the two choices about how to view the situation it seems like all we can really do is pick one and go with it. And, why not just decide that what is happening is for the better?

If you have a choice—which I believe we always do—then why not choose the positive, hopeful one?
Since you left it's been strange; I feel different, but everything is the same. The sun is still warm, the sky is still the same shade of blue, I still hate chemistry...etc. But it seems like everything is just amplified more. Sometimes I feel great, but most of the time I feel down. But not my usual gloomy self down...I can't really explain. Empty, I guess. And I don't know why. Or maybe it's more like my equilibrium has been upset. Or maybe it's all of the above. I don't know. I'm not making sense. Not even to myself.

I've been talking with some friends lately about this sort of emptiness. I think we pretty much all go through it. It's this feeling like, "Why I am here and what am I doing with my life?"

The problem is that even if there is an answer the answer is always fleeting, changing, evaporating. Then we look for a new answer.

My reason for living used to be my band. Then it was my friend Tollef. Then it was my relationship with Andie. Then it was this trip and my work to help and love the world. But, right now I feel I am in an in between time. And it feels very scary and empty and NOT FUN AT ALL.

My equilibrium has been upset, too. I'm lonely, and I long for an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual peer—someone who can help me to new heights and kick my ass in a way that I have not yet experienced. I think my relationships have been too one–sided my whole life.

But, simply knowing that I need that person is not enough. Because, knowledge does not necessarily bring the thing—whatever it is—into one's life.

But, by knowing and asking more questions we start to be more open to this thing we have a hunch we need.

Based on this, does it sound like we are—at least in the abstract—experiencing similar situations?
It's like I am thinking too fast, kind of like Charlie in Perks. But everything just all comes at once and I feel like I just need to keep moving somehow to keep myself ffrom being swallowed by all my thoughts. or keep myself from bursting into loud baby-sobs.

Let me be very clear:

1) It is of the utmost importance that you remain in control of your thoughts. Clinging to them will only allow you to fall into the suffering and inaction that comes with over–thinking. Instead, let each thought pass by like the trees do when you are driving in a car. Observe each one for what it is—beautiful, ugly, scary—and then move on.

2) It is of the utmost importance that you allow yourself to sob when you are compelled to do so. Clean that stuff out. It's in there and trying to get out. Why are you constipating your soul by trying to maintain a façade of pleasance? It's OK to cry. In fact, it's probably just what the doctor ordered.
I don't know why I am telling you all this since I don't even really know you that well. or maybe that's what makes it easier to tell you than it is to tell people i am more familiar with.

Can you take the leap of faith and start to let the people you have known for your whole life know the true depths of your person?

How can you really love one another and be friends if you won't let them be close to you and hold you when you are down?
but I wish I knew why this is all happening or even what it is.

It's happening because you opened your eyes. You are seeing more than before. You'll see much more pain now. Look around, though. You should also notice more beauty and goodness.
I just feel like i am going crazy. or maybe I really am.

We all feel like we are going crazy sometimes. You're not unique in that one, sorry.
I don' t know. its' like I am losing control and sometimes I can hardly bear the thought of even the next minute.

Who can?

Thinking about the next minute is only problematic—except in the case of contraception and the foresight to catch a cab if you are drunk. As for everything else, thinking about the next minute will make you insane and unhappy.

Instead, stop thinking. Start feeling more and observing more, start focusing on what IS good around you in this moment, right now. NOW. Observe the moment that is now.

Look how beautiful now is.

Let the next moment worry about itself.
I think maybe you give me more credit than i deserve,

NO. WRONG. I disagree.

I think the issue is that you give yourself LESS credit than you deserve.
I don't think I am ready for these challenges. i'm not mature enough.

Your beliefs govern your thoughts, and therefore your actions. Believe that you are not ready or not mature enough and you will live a life that follows that path.

I think that would be a horrible waste of your mind and spirit.

Nobody can complete a task to 100% perfection. You think because you can't do this all perfect the first time that you "aren't ready". I think that is just insane. If you give up simply because you can't reach 100% on your first try then you rob yourself of the opportunity to achieve 5% or 50% or 80% of your goal.

Being ready means being up to the challenge. You may not get 100 out of 100 ever, not in a whole life of trying. In my observation, nobody ever does. But, give it your best shot. You might just surprise yourself.
Where you say you see a beautiful person i see a person who i s scared and sad and lonely. and i don't know what to do or how to fix it.

You are beautiful because of the intents of your heart and the energy that is within you that is within all people and all things and every molecule of matter. You are beautiful because of the questions you ask and the way you treat others. You are beautiful because you smile and are generous. And, even though the times can be so confusing to you when they are happening, you are beautiful because you are sad and lonely. Those times make you human, real, and beautiful.

If you are never in need then how can someone truly love you in a reciprocal way?
and i don't expect you to pity me or anything and I am not really feeling sorry for myself, just scared, and I feel ashamed because I feel like maybe i led you to believe I was something else. that I was someone capable of handling things.

I never believed you were anything but what you presented and continue to present to me. And, I don't pity you. Your challenges and this place in your life are the very things that make you amazing. That is the beauty of being on the cusp—the majestic (and often fantastically challenging) transformation that takes place.

You are in touch with things which I am only just discovering—especially during my very lonely and challenging time here in Austin. For example, I wish I could be more in touch with my scared side, the understanding of which is so underdeveloped in me. I wish I could learn to admit more when I am in need. I'm only just now recognizing how much I long to be loved and how much I long to love. It is only in the past few days that I have realized how weak and dependent I am upon others.

And let me tell you—these may be the most important discoveries I have made in years.
I'm sorry this is so long and I am rambling so much and not making sense and these probably aren't even the kind of details you wanted anyway, but there they are anyway.

These are the exact sort of details I want. I wish I could establish a way to communicate with more people life this, so that we could work together to support one another, to hold one another's heads against our breasts and remind each other of the beauty of moments like this.
I just feel so overwhelmed and alone.

You and me both. Maybe we should start a club or something?

Have compassion for where you are in your life. Understand that it is a crucial step on the path to becoming the next and even more beautiful and actualized version of you. Hopefully I can do the same. And, maybe we can help others during these times as well?

-Justin



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