2015 is the year I took my pain for a walk. Physical pain related to my sciatic nerve, lower back, psoas, SI joint and hip. I also started a morning yoga and meditation practice in March of 2015, and I think these practices led to me taking a fair amount of emotional pain for a walk as well. Meditation isn’t all roses. You deal with your shit, eventually.
2015 was a good year. I lost more than 100 pounds. At last weigh in, I was at 240 pounds. My starting weight was around 360. Now, my back pain is gone. My hip pain is gone. I have a bit of the SI joint issue, but a quick stretch cures it, and then I keep on going. Last Sunday I walked 3 miles before my SI joint started bugging me. I was with a friend, so I think the conversation was distracting. I think that is why I got so far before the pain set in. Usually, I’m hyper-aware of it. Maybe now is the time to stop looking for the pain.
Not all the beautiful things were about walking and weight loss. I reconnected with many beautiful people, embraced my morning-person-ness, became mostly a pescatarian (no red meat, pork, dairy, recently stopped eating chicken, and mostly stay away from bread and such too), gave up everything to drink but tea and water, reconnected with myself and everything.
One of the biggest boons was reconnecting with my family. My sisters stepped up this year and came to Austin when I had my surgery in February. I think that broke my heart, in a good way. My stolid, too solid heart was cracked when my sisters cared enough to drive and be with me. That was the start of many great things. They were the midwives to my good year.
I spent a lot of time in Houston being with my sisters and their families this year. I also reconnected with my Aunt Cherie, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Kenny and Uncle Roe. So wonderful. They are the sweet ambassadors to my mom, dad and grandparents, who I miss dearly.
That’s a pretty stellar year. Yet, oddly, I’m not satisfied.
I’m thankful. Supremely thankful, don’t get me wrong. I was morbidly obese, depressed and hiding. The way my body feels now is wonderful. I don’t think my body has seen this weight since, maybe, my late twenties, or early thirties. I move. I have energy. I can climb down a river valley and up the other side, and it all fun, and joy. The work of it is a pleasure. I get out and photograph more. I meet more people. It is the sunrise of my life. I feel blessed.
Lastly, before I begin the wrap up to this wrap up, I started a practice of loving my self. It is modeled after the way I learned to father myself. Well, this is one way I can get a fatherly perspective, since my parents and grandparents are no longer with me. So when trouble or a decision is presented, I’ll think about what I would say to my son if he were in this situation. My counsel is often quite different whether it is for me, or him. His is much better. It helped a lot when I started doing this, a long time ago. Now, this year, I’ve had many beautiful moments where my love for my family, friends, the Earth, and life, and everything was just overwhelming. One time, while looking out over an Autumn sunset, I thought, my God, it is all so beautiful and wonderful. Thank you for this! Then the thought came, yeah, and you are a part of this. You are every part as weird, wonderful, beautiful and exciting as what you see that way. You are part of this amazing universe. Seems simple, but it hit me hard. A realization. The world is beautiful, and you match it. You are part of that. Sure that dark side, and pain and struggle, and hurt, but beauty, family, friends, you are just as special as you see the world. Then I asked myself, the way you love your son, can you love you like that? Right there where he is. As he is. Open to the adventure that is his life. Can you look at yourself with that same love? The way your mom loved you, can you look at your actions, deeds, mistakes and bad days the same way your mom loved you? This has become the practice of self love that has also been good. When I fall in love with sunrises, or bobcats, or a new grove of cypress trees, I remember that I am part of that same thing. Tat Tvam Asi. I try to see me the way those who love me see me. I’m perfecting my love for me, and for everyone. Even those I hate. Good times. It’s working.
So, why the unsatisfaction. I’m human, that’s why the unsatisfaction, I guess. Plus, there are things I hoped would happen in 2015 that did not, and I have plans. What’s in store for 2016? Here are my intentions:
1. Keep on keeping on. I eat a lot of raw fruit and some vegetables. I still eat some cooked meals as well. I love fruit. I love vegetables. Eating this way rocks. Why stop? Meditating rocks, why stop, etc.
2. Writing. Soon I’ll release a book (PDF) on photography. There are also other big plans in the works. This is why I haven’t been making as many blog posts, or even posting photographs. Focus. Getting it done.
3. Service. 2016 will be the year of service. Volunteering and helping others. Eat well, live a wilder life, be helpful; those are the three pillars. Time to engage my community more, now that my body isn’t holding me back.
4. Travel. My focus is always on discovering home. Learning to have adventures and to find beauty at home. You shouldn’t need to travel to feel wonder. You don’t. I’ve had a great time hiking this year already. This has been the best winter. I’ve discovered new creeks, new cypress groves, and there is much more to do around here. But, as far as travelling, this year I want to see friends in the Northwest, California, Florida, Alabama and I hope to make it to Big Bend, the Guadalupe Mountains, and some sand dunes out in the West Texas desert.
Finally, Wayfarer Photography and a Wilder Life will become a much bigger focus. I have plans I haven’t mentioned. We’ll discuss camera options, design, photography, walking, nature, life, and everything. Lots in the works. Stay tuned. Happy belated New Year.