Walking 400+ miles of Palawan island wasn’t an easy trek. For starters, I am the most out of shape that I have ever been in my life. An irregular and more likely non-existent exercise routine plus my newly aging “late twenties” body has left me gaining 15 pounds and unsure how to get used to the changes both inside and out. By the first three hours of the first day, I was already limping. My feet were sore and getting blisters from my flip flops digging into the space between my big toe. At the end of the first week, my right knee was inflamed and I had a lame limp.
Before I started the walk, I had already told myself the theme would be “letting go”. Letting go of fears. Letting go of physical pain. Letting go of attachments. I knew that for the walk to be successful, I had to be able to let things be, and be open to opportunities. Try to stay present in flow.
This whole year has been about letting go. The walk was just a culmination of all these things into a literal metaphor. For 27 days, I was walking the metaphor.
Being a nomad and traveler is the perfect lesson on Buddhist impermanence. I’m letting go of possessions and stuff in exchange for experiences. I’m letting go of emotional baggage and toxic people in my life, in exchange for single serving friends (a la Fight Club), constantly in dynamic flux within the world as their playground. I’m learning how to let go of them, too. I cycle through people, wondering if I’ll ever see them again, yet knowing that the decision is entirely in my making. Europeans pass through and teach me about life through their perspective. We have a moment. A connection. Maybe many moments, and many connections. Will I ever see them again? We add eachother on Facebook or Couchsurfing or our social media profile of choice. Our friendship is reduced to the ‘like’ button and I wonder when my life will ever be less fragmented, or if I should just get used to this 21st century communication breakdown.
Meditating on impermanence isn’t about detaching yourself from people. It’s about observing the world we live in and staying focused on the inhalation and exhalation of life. Inhale observe. Exhale let go. There’s such a thing as attachment to detachment. The world isn’t so serious that you have to be spiritually disciplined and emotionally robotic. Impermanence is the balance of the pendulum swing from attachment and detachment. Too much on one way and you’re not there. Impermanence is here. Now. In the present.
Impermanence is letting things be. Going with the flow. Realizing you can create your own reality, but also realizing that you can’t hold on to it, because reality is constantly shifting. Moving. Changing. And becoming.
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