Several weeks ago, Andrew, a recent college graduate, decided to move against the grain of our listening-impaired society and set out on a journey he calls "walking to listen". We at The Light Within Yoga Studio see profound value in his path, and the lessons he will learn along the way. As supporters of connectedness and unity, we are eager to follow Andrew's journey with him, and hope you will as well! We have included his first e-mail below, and will continue to add his e-mails as they become available so you, too, may follow his venture.
Andrew does not have to walk alone. He would love your support and encouragement, so please feel free to e-mail him: email@example.com.
Below is Andrew's first e-mail (click "Read More" to see the rest). Check back soon for more updates!
Hello wonderful family and friends,
I’m writing to let you all know that for the next chapter in my life, I’m going to be embarking on an American walkabout of sorts. Next Friday, October 14th, I’ll get on the train tracks that run through my backyard and follow them to Maryland, taking local highways southwest and west from there. The purpose for this cross country walk is to learn more about this land, its people, and myself by listening, especially to stories of transformation....
I can’t do this alone! If you have time in the fullness of your day to remember me, I’d so appreciate it. I want to walk with all of you, and hope to do so by connecting via email and the heart. Without community, I have no grounding, so it’s with deep sincerity that I ask you for your thoughts when you can spare them.
An important motivation for this project is my conviction that there’s no such thing as the Average Joe. I spent much of my four years at Middlebury interviewing all sorts of people about their lives, from tenured professors to recovering heroin addicts. The notion that only a select few have stories worth hearing while the rest of us lead unremarkable lives is a bunch of BS, as I was shown by the folks I met. I think this is why it's such a gift to be truly heard and fully seen by another, for it’s in being heard and seen that our story is recognized as a great one, and that all its chapters of tragedy and triumph are the components of some ineffable but undeniable miracle, every bit of it beautiful, every bit of it us. To forget someone's extraordinariness seems heartbreaking. And to put stock in a celebrity instead of my neighbor, a sitcom instead of myself? Disaster.
I want to be attuned to the extraordinary in everyone I meet, a mission I sometimes find difficult when it’s not my designated priority. On this walk, my sole tasks will be to walk and to listen (and to write). It’s my hope that with this slowness and simplicity will come a hyperawareness to every inch of ground I pass and each person I meet. My priority will not be to get from point A to point B (which is why I’m not driving), but rather to know the places and people in the space between these points. Walking, I’ll be forced to meet people, to ask for help, and then, of course, to ask them about them. I’ll also probably get pretty bored, so I’ll be craving conversation. It’ll be: “Hey, let’s talk! Yes, you have some time, and you’re interested and trusting enough to shoot the breeze with a friendly-looking-but-somewhat-dirty-and-more-than-somewhat-smelly stranger? Great!” No doubt it’ll also be: “Hey, let’s talk! Oh, okay, the middle finger’s good, too!”
Upon completion of this project, I have the goal of putting together a portrait that will both tell the story of my own journey, but more importantly give readers/listeners/viewers a sense of the mood of America in these times. The stories I hear and conversations I have will, I hope, paint this picture in a compelling way, and add an experiential layer of truth to questions about who we are and where we’re going. Given that my overarching goal is to listen, I also need to add that I want to hold my agenda (“Must… reach…Pacific…or fail…”) loosely. I want to go where the flow takes me, and while I now envision walking the whole of this place, I’m staying fluid.
In the initial stages of this plan several months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to take no money, no computer, no cell phone, nothing but the necessities. Yeah, that was dumb. I want to be able to sustain myself and to document this work for my own process, for you, and for anyone who might get something out of it. It’d also be nice to take a shower every once in a while. I’ll always have a place to stay (my tent), but one of my greatest hopes is to meet people along the way, both by fate/spontaneity and by planning. If you have any friends or family along my general route who’d be open to taking me in and maybe telling a story or two, please let me know! (Oh yeah, I’ll be heading through Baltimore, DC, Charlottesville, and down to New Orleans, as it stands now). Any address or contact info can be sent to this email address.
Thank you all for your love and support, and pray for my feet!