Saturday, December 10, 2005

Embraced


hug
Originally uploaded by jeremysullivan.

Since returning home I have felt embraced by the people around me...both figuratively and literally. A reality of being transient is that hugs are few and far between. So when I came home I soaked up the loving from everyone around me, especially the unexpected ones.

One of the "Old Timers" in the neighborhood who hangs out in front of our house was in jail when I left back in May. So it had been almost a year since I had seen him. When I saw him the first morning I was back he hugged me dead on, then stepped back saying "Ahh man" and hugged me again about 5 times.

When I walked into work on Monday morning, my boss got up from his chair embraced me and said, "Glad to have you back."

I even noticed a difference in the way my loved ones hugged me. It seemed like everyone held me for an extra second, as if to internalize the reality that I've physically returned and I'm in one piece.

Don't tell my brother and sisters, but I noticed my grandma gave me a bigger hug than them when I went home for Thanksgiving.

The Little Things


baby
Originally uploaded by jeremysullivan.

Since I've been back from my journey, a few people have said something to the effect of, "I enjoyed reading your blog, you did a nice job of extracting the details of everyday life and making them interesting." I appreciate the compliment but it wasn't something that I was consciously doing. Now that I've returned to a "normal" over-stimulated lifestyle, I realize that such writing was really just a product of living a simple life. The simplicity of my life boiled down to two major categories: 1. Surviving 2. Pushing the pedals of my bike for 8 hours a day over the course of 6 months.

Thankfully I found great meaning in these 2 tasks. Such a life allowed me time to notice people...their actions, their weird patterns, and their words. For me, these acute observations are what help me make sense of humanity and provide a source of peace. Today I realized that since returning to Camden one month ago, I haven't allowed myself the time to do these things.

When I got out of bed this morning, my mission was simple: To walk alone through the streets of Camden and Philadelphia with a spirit of mindfulness and reflection.

My soul was filled by the little things that I was able to experience...A young mother in the train station putting her nose on her baby's head and taking a wiff. I could practically smell the 'new baby smell' as I watched from 10 feet away. I took the time to pick up trash on the street as I waited for the walk signal at an intersection. I sat in unofficial 'homeless section' of the Philadelphia Free Library and was serenated by a chorus of snoring. These are the things that remind me of the beauty of being human. I need more days like today.