Paul's Journey to Where He's At!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Friday, October 12, 2007

"It was a Dark and Dreary Thursday Morning driving through Vermont. The bright fall colours of days past were nowhere to be found. The driver, a man traveling solo on a Journey of Discovery. His mood matched his environment. He sensed a foreboding event was waiting in the wings of the theater from which this story was being played out. This story...His Life! "
I have just driven through Vermont on my way to the southern coast of Maine. As I write this, in another KOA, in the State of New Hampshire, I muse over the past week since I last wrote to you all. Last week I was on an emotional high. Having watched Nick complete his RMC obstacle course and being officially initiated into the Military College. A Proud father. Over the Thanksgiving weekend my daughter Katrine was curling in the Autumn Gold Bonspiel at the Calgary Curling Club. Lucky for us they were posting scores on their website. For those of you who don't follow curling, the Autumn Gold is Calgary's stop on the Women's Curling Tour. All the top women curlers show up...even the Russian, Suisse and Japanese Teams. To make a long story short, the girl's (OK-Young Women) beat most of the top teams they played in the qualifying round to be the "B" division winners and then became eligible to play in the playoffs. They lost their first playoff game in an extra  end. But came home with a lot of accolades from everybody. Check out the articles in the Calgary Herald. More Proud Dad!
I entered the U.S. for 6 months (maybe less...but definitely not more since they'll be looking for me after that-plus car insurance issues will also arise). Drove to Lake Placid the first day, spent an extra day there, then today, drove to Twin Mountain, NH. Took a ferry to cross Lake Champlain between New York and Vermont. Drove the back roads of Vermont for a while...with some slight detours as I wasn't following the directions from my GPS as I wanted to stay off the interstate. Took a few pictures, but the weather wasn't cooperating, so they're very dreary....just like my mood.
"To Practice Buddhism is to Wage a Struggle Between the Negative and Positive Forces in your Mind." - The Dalai Lama
The realization that I was going to be gone for a while finally hit me this week. I said goodbye to Nick on Monday night. We've chatted on MSN each day since and even talked on Skype (an internet phone line-free long distance). I've text messaged Katrine most days to resolve issues back home (even called her on Skype-though that connection wasn't very good and she missed half of what I said). But the reality of things is that I will be gone from home for a long time...well at least in my reality. So, even for an optimist like me...this has been a depressing week. Today was really bad. Throughout the day I was worried because my truck didn't seem to be running like it should. Was there problems with the transmission? Or the engine? Or something else? During one stop I realized that I had a leak by one of the rear tires. It seemed to be coming from the axle seal. At the campground I checked and that's what it seems to be. Something to get fixed before traveling much further.
I also received an email today. ..then I had an emotional meltdown. Most of you do not know the details of how I came to be where I am now. I've warned you all about "me" coming out. Two years ago, this week actually, I was in a car accident. For car accidents it was very minor. But because of where I was in my life at that time, emotionally, things happened in the weeks following that had a deep impact on me, physically. There were some extreme highs (being chosen as the Volunteer of the Year for the Air Cadets in the Province of Alberta) to....having a major blow-out with someone I once considered a friend. I was off work for 6 months, went back full time for a few months, had a relapse in my physical condition and tried working part-time for a while. Was diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome....diseases for when the doctors can't really find anything wrong with you. Worked a while longer...then hit the wall and ended up with no energy at all. I've been off work since May because of that. Throughout this ordeal I've had to fight with the Long-Term Disability Insurance Company to get the benefits that I'm entitled to. I've seen every specialist that my physician has sent me to...seen psychologists and therapists for weeks on end. They all arrive at the same conclusion. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm extremely healthy for my age group (and even younger age groups). The psychologists find me extremely well adjusted emotionally. So then...why do I feel so crappy? So that's how my journey started. I read. I research.
"Study is like the light that illuminates the darkness of ignorance, and the resulting knowledge is the supreme possession because it cannot be taken by even the greatest of thieves. Study is the weapon that eliminates the enemy of ignorance." - The Dalai Lama
A few years ago I did one of these on-line IQ tests. The results came back that I was "almost a genius". Looking at the test scores it looked like I scored 100% in all the categories. So what did I have to do to be classified a genius? They did indicate that I did score over the 99th percentile. So I have an IQ that's higher than 99.5% of the people who have taken this test or similar ones. But I can't be that smart. In 2 years I still can't figure out what's wrong with me. And what about artists and poets and the others who are artistically brilliant. A friend of mine indicated that she was classified as learning disabled as a child. She's very talented artistically. She's read some very interesting books and has related the topics to me. I find her very intelligent. How do you classify a Picasso, a Rembrandt,  a Wayne Gretzky or Tiger Woods? They might all score low on IQ tests, but  artistically or physical abilities exceed anything I would be capable of. Oh...and the results also compared me to Plato...they describe me as a  Visionary Philosopher.
So now I'm reading and thinking...trying to solve my dilemma. My spiritual knowledge has grown exponentially due to my readings. I've always been a very logical, calculating kind of guy...I am an accountant. Last year my friend Monique, who is also on her own spiritual journey, suggested I write a book to put all my ideas down. I had indicated that verbally I "suck" at getting my ideas out. So that's more or less where I'm at now...on a Journey to write a book. But I'm not writing. Or am I?
Maybe my purpose in life is to help all of you realize that we are all "screwed up"! One of the quotes I included in one of my emails was just what one of you required on the day you received my email. Others find my writings "inspirational"... and that I have a gift for writing. Who would have thought! Also that I'm living other people's dreams. Travelling without a care in the world. Some of the writings I've read used the "we are all screwed up" phrase. I would much rather put it, that we all have a "tickle trunk" of emotional baggage that we carry around with us.
So I had a meltdown today. Yes, a grown man can cry uncontrollably . But it did me some good and forced me to do what I use to do in similar situations. I went for a bike ride. Oh yes. The email I received was from the Long term disability insurance company. Yes, I did tell them of my plans to be gone for the winter so they knew to contact me by email. Before leaving Calgary they made me do a "Functional  Capacity Evaluation" and had me see an "Independent Medical Evaluator".  The email/letter indicated that they would approve my claim from May till the end of October but the evaluations indicated that I could work 6 hours per day or 2 days on, a day off, then 2 more days per week. So my employer will be contacting me stating I should be reporting back to work November 1. That creates a big problem. I've rented out 2 bedrooms in my house to two University students until the end of April and it's too cold in the winter in Calgary to stay in my trailer. I have a decision to make.
My bike ride. While having my emotional meltdown I was listening to some music. Alison Krause's version of "Whiskey Lullaby" played. A song of a guy taking the easy way out because of a failed love, then the girl doing the same because she blamed herself for what the guy had done.  It was a reminder that "I " never take the "easy way out".  So here I am on my bike ride. It's still miserable out. The clouds remind me of "Mordor" in "Lord of the Rings". Check out my picture (attached-though it's just me playing with my camera settings at the Lower Kananaskis Lakes). Get to the top of the hill where it says "Scenic Lookout". It could be scenic if it wasn't so dreary out. Turn around and head back. Then I notice the clouds breaking up.  A bright white cloud and a hint of pink brightening up the horizon. Isn't that how life is? Dark days and a sliver of hope!
Music is still playing. Willie Nelson is singing "What a Wonderful World". I also hear "White Christmas". I'm too lazy to get up and skip the song as I do in the truck when I'm driving. My iPod is on shuffle.
My Journey will continue. Life is no longer about me. It's about everyone else. I will find a way to deal with my employer and the insurance company. Remember...I'm almost a genius. My weekly, bi-weekly or whenever I get around to writing stuff for all of you to read is my purpose. A quote I find might lift your spirits at just the right time. One of my anecdotes might make you laugh and forget about your boss who has just screamed at you. I do have a book to write and it will get written. Neale Donald Walsch wrote "Conversations with God" or as he indicated in the introduction "This book was not written by me, it happened to me."
I titled this email , "Paul's Journey to Where He's At!" because this is where I am. We all have setbacks in life. They are just speed bumps to slow us down for a while to allow us to regroup our thoughts before speeding down the off-ramp of life.
PS. I've attached just a few of my pictures. Writing was the therapy I required tonight.
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