Wednesday, November 09, 2011
TROUBLED MAN INVENTS HIS OWN THERAPY--- WILDERNESS SOLITUDE
I'm camped at a remote picnic area south of Phoenix.
I notice a guy apparantly living in one of the shelters.
I engage --get to know him a bit---walk with him a few times and invite him to my trailer.
He's amazingly open as I go for the gold (a meaningful insight)
He calls himself social misfit ---though he managed to serve in the navy and afterwards work for years in electronics. He saved a stash of money and then, inexplicably retreated to a dark room in a small town and for years----just let life drift by----An extreme example of the "quiet desperation" described by Thoreau. Then one day he mustered the courage to go camping and eventually to leave his dark room altogether for the open road----making his way to Arizona. His self-described problem is anger---a huge and fierce ---near uncontrollable anger arising from an abused childhood. (I evoked a few stories and revenge fantasies to get a feel for the depth of his anger) Wow! I was frightened just listening. He understands that his fierceness frightens others away---leaving him alone---and lonely. He has pondered how to "fix" himself and find peace-----and he thinks he knows how: He is morphing into a wandering loner losing himself in the Arizona wilderness---drifting from summer high country to winter warm lowlands-----simplifying radically---getting rid of his car---walking everywhere----pulling a specially designed---lightweight cart with his supplies.I showed him my most treasured book----Walden Pond ---reading the paragraph beginning: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."----showing him he was in good company. I also told him about the Slabs---a place where even mavericks can live comfortably. (he seemed interested)
I also told him about this guy----Bill,--from New Zealand that I met last week. He had walked the Arizona trail---from north to south---across the Grand Canyon and down to Mexico---reporting that the experience was transformative---and joyful.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: I like Lee's idea---It just may be theraputic to wander alone in the wilderness. His anger is child abuse come to bloom. I believe we all embody the effects of our childhood---developing a strategy to cope with painful feelings----and paradoxically---it is that strategy that is most likely to bless the world. Opra's response to her abuse is a positive example.
I look at my life strategy---wandering about---noticing things----asking questions---brazenly speculating and ask myself what motivates me to do this. And I honestly don't know. I seem to have always been ,in essence, this way. Hopefully I refine my "game" as time goes by and it may prove useful to someone somewhere,