The original Peace Pilgrim stated that she walked without pain, discomfort, or even a headache for the almost 30 years of pilgrimage. Another man, who walked as she did however, had to have both hips replaced. Scaughdt, in his 40 days of walking got a stress fracture in his foot.

Every year as people try and attempt to crisscross the United States by walking or running there are those who make it and those who for some reason don’t. Another man named Tellman, tried to run across the US barefoot…he didn’t make it. There is a complete website of all the people that cross—and those that tried.

http://www.usacrossers.com/

This trip has been great, and hard. It has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and the easiest. But yesterday, my shin (Tibialis Anterior) caused me so much pain—excruciating pain, that I almost quit. On a scale from 1 to 10, each step was a 7, and a few occasional 9’s. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, but there were a couple of times when I cried out in pain. But, I didn’t want to give up.

I almost dialed. I almost called in the cavalry. But I don’t want to quit. How did she do it?

It was humbling. It asked me to be real with myself. What was I willing to do for love? What was I willing to endure for peace? For art?

Questions floated in my mind; honest questions; the questions I don’t know if anyone wants to face. What would I do if I were not doing this? I’ve given so much to this idea, was I wrong in the first place? Was all of this a mistake?

In the end, I came to the realization, however slowly, that I am not here to run/walk/hobble across the US like so many others are/have done. That really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I go 30 miles, 3, or 10,000. It really doesn’t matter which direction I go, if I do it in a year or 20. That is a sideshow of a sideshow.

The other Forest Gumps out there can crisscross the US with their as equally important missions: Teen Homelessness, Veteran Homelessness, Cancer, Diabetes, and some just to break records.

I am not here on this earth to continue support the fertility cult that is our true national pastime. To make children, build the illusion of wealth and security, to dominate the Earth, and die happy.

I am here to love. I am here to give art away. To create peace wherever I am. If I can’t walk/run for a day/week/or month, I can love every moment. This is my purpose.

I can do that anywhere, at anytime. I was able to do that when I was in Eugene for a month, and I just went out and loved those whom I encountered on a daily basis. There, I was just running in circles, but still I tried to love all that I met, and all that I was able.

My good friend Tom gave me the advice at the beginning of this trip, which I think I finally understand. “The worst thing to take on a sailboat is a schedule.” I’ve been cranking out the miles with the determination of younger man, which I frankly am not. But, I can love.

I was so worried about stopping…quitting. I was worried, “What would I do now?” I was still thinking black and white. To run/not run, walk/don’t walk, pilgrim/no pilgrim for me turn out to be all false-dichotomies.

I finally see that this isn’t a preoccupation or even an occupation. This is the choice of all our lives. It is the choice to love everyone I can. Whether that is moving at 30 miles a day or zero.

My perspective…or rather understanding is now (and it may change again) I believe more in line with the universe. I am happy, and hopefully my tibialis will be too.

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