Daddy!

I ventured into YouTube this afternoon, intending to feed my addiction to the song “Shallow”, sung by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.  I went in search of a clip showing their singing embrace at the Academy Awards.  I melted when she rested her head against his at the end.  Today, I never got there.

I was waylaid by a video showing a US serviceman’s greeting to his family on the big screen at a football game.  There was his wife, teenaged son and maybe 10-year-old daughter, all decked out in their finery.  As they stared longingly at the screen, and as his message completed, the announcer asked them to turn around.  Walking across the field, wearing his uniform, was their husband and father.  The little girl’s eyed exploded and hands came to her face.  “Daddy!”  Then she sprinted to her dad, throwing her body up against his.  Arms holding tight around his neck, tears falling.  I cried too.

I kept watching homecoming videos – reunions with parents, spouses, kids and friends.  At graduation ceremonies, jumping out of boxes in living rooms, a special visitor coming into the kindergarten class.  Some soldiers talked a lot.  Some just silently held their loved ones.  Love wrapped itself around all of them.

I did this for my mom and dad once, flying back to Ontario from Alberta for a surprise.  I was hiding away in a little space off the living room of the farm where mom grew up.  Mom, dad, Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Orville had just come into the driveway.  And now they were sitting down.  Through the door, I heard the voices of the people I loved.  And then the door opened.  Hugs, tears, holding each other in all the ways possible.

I just spent an hour or more immersed in this depth of love.  I don’t have any kids.  My dear wife Jody has died.  But this love, given and received, is available to me.  In those moments of contact, there is nothing but the beloved.  It’s beyond happy.  It’s so beyond the usual rhythms of the day.  May we embrace it.

Beatrice and Bruce

Beatrice Bruteau was a philosopher, a mathematician and an evolutionist.  She stood in the present, learned from the past, and most especially leaned into the mystery of the future.  So much of my spiritual practice has been about being in the moment.  “Becoming” seemed like a poor sister to the deepening of what’s now.  But there’s a new flow inside, and Beatrice has helped me access it.

Here are some Bruteau quotations, with my take following:

We cannot wait for the world to turn, for times to change that we might change with them, for the revolution to come and carry us around in its new course.  We are the future.  We are the revolution.

I remember attending an evening meeting at the University of Toronto in the late 60’s.  Our plan was to travel to Ottawa and protest the war-induced starvation in the Biafra region of Nigeria.  As I walked in the door, I looked around for the “big people”, the ones who would lead us, the smartest ones.  I never gave a thought to the idea that I could be one of those leaders.  They would speak, I would follow.  Beatrice would have pursed her lips at me.

Somewhere deep down we are all filled with a mystical longing, with a longing for ultimate meaningfulness, and therefore we need to see all of our world in that context.

It’s far beyond “My life has meaning.”  Together, you and you and me … we have meaning, and we long for a world where no one is left out.  We see the economic disparities, the suffering, and still we feel pulled forward by some unknown magnet towards a future which is curling its finger at us in welcome.  The image that comes again and again to me is standing on the moving walkway in an airport and magically being brought forward, with no trying on my part.

There is a basic urgency in life to grow, to expand, to become new and renewed.  We might even say that the very meaning of being alive is to be constantly in the process of becoming a new creation.

New, as in never here before.  Not just a quality improvement of the old model but a radically new design.  And maybe it’s not even a car anymore!  Plus it is urgent … no messin’ around.  There’s work to be done to have everyone feel at home.

The individual animal doesn’t get to choose how it’s going to evolve.  But the individual human being can, and we, by our concerted intention, can make something that hasn’t existed before.

“I’m not an inventor,” I protest.  “It’s only the big people who do amazing things.”  But wait a minute … last I looked I was a healthy 5’10”.  That’s plenty big enough.

Okay, Bruce.  How high can you jump?  Can you teach a Mutual Awakening Practice course for kids and have them open to a love they may never have experienced before?  Who’s to say not?

Deep reality is that place in the center of our being where we experience our existence in an unlimited way.  The deep self is not defined, not described by any of the qualities of our bodies or personalities, by our histories or social positions, our jobs, or our religions.  This is fairly hard to realize.  We tend to think of ourselves, introduce ourselves to others, believe others are seeing us in terms of these qualities.  In meditation and its associated practices, we try to center ourselves in our sense of existing without identifying with these descriptors.  To the extent that we become accustomed to this, we may spontaneously behave in a new way.

You can see from this how our energy is affected.  When we define ourselves in terms of our qualities, we have to devote energy to protecting them and trying to gain more valuable ones – more beauty, personality, wealth, power, social status.  But if we liberate ourselves from such identity, then all that energy becomes available for the radiation of goodwill to others.  We have realized ourselves as the Self that says only I AM, with no predicate following, not “I am a this” or “I have that quality.”  Only unlimited, absolute I AM.

And the interesting thing is that as soon as you experience yourself this way, you at once find that you also are saying toward the whole world, “Let it be!”  It seems to be the nature of that which is I AM to say, “Let it be.”  [Or, as Beatrice later expressed it, “May you be.”]

This is the love that is called “agape”.  Agape is the love that seeks the being, well-being, full being, ever-fuller being, of the beloved.  It is a love that is not a reaction to the beloved but rather a first action, an action beginning in you, coming out from the center of your being because of the nature of your being.  This energy of love is inexhaustible.  It doesn’t have to be reserved or apportioned or used economically.  It is plentiful, bountiful, enormous.  It is a dynamic out-flowing activity, energy.  It’s constantly in motion and radiant, like a star is radiant.  It streams out from us in every way. The True Self in us is constantly radiating this willed goodness.  [Beatrice later referred to this as “spondic” love.]

Not defined by my story
Instead a vibrant spiritual being
With infinite energy pouring into you
Until I am no more

Mitch and Jonas

What do I love about sports? It’s the individuals who play them. What do I love about those men and women? What’s so special about them?

There’s the incredible artistry of brilliant players. I’m in wonder when Mitch Marner floats down the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, twisting and turning and slipping a soft pass to a teammate. But there’s far more. I want my heroes to be full human beings, people who see beyond winning and losing, beyond personal glory … to a life of service. Mitch knows his fame is a tool, and he uses it to impact the lives of children, especially six-year-old Hayden Foulon. She’s in the middle of leukemia, and Mitch is with her. “His impact reaches all the way down to her heart, a beacon of hope in a young life that has experienced far too much pain.”

Mitch isn’t the only athlete who has seeped his way into the smiles of Toronto fans. Up until a few days ago, Jonas Valanciunas played centre for the Toronto Raptors basketball team. Then he was traded to Memphis. Whether or not it’s a good move on the court, it’s hard for the fans, including the journalists who cover the team.

(Steve Simmons)

You get lucky once in a while in this business. You get to cover someone like Valanciunas. Someone real. Someone unpretentious. Someone with great pride, little ego and a sense of humour. It was our pleasure.

(Eric Koreen)

[Years ago, a rookie reporter was interviewing a rookie basketball player, a fellow who was learning English]

In hindsight, though, the only moment that mattered was that momentarily frightened look he gave when he saw my notebook. It was a clear moment of humanity. Journalists live for those. More than really explaining the cap mechanics of a trade, more than speaking truth to power in a thundering column, more than getting a scoop, we want to capture those moments.

…..

Of all the players I’ve covered, Valanciunas is right near the top on the list of those who were transparent about their emotions and humanity.

“He gave me the start. He gave me that boost,” Valanciunas told me in October about his relationship with former coach Dwane Casey, who was part of the reason Valanciunas’ goals and role were always being re-defined. “He gave me something that let me still be here. If I’d started with a different coach, maybe I’d be out of the league or playing in Europe or being the third big somewhere. He gave me something that kept me here. He had that trust in me. I can only say good things about that. There was so much talk: minutes, touches, likes, dislikes. Over those six years, he had some feelings, I had some feelings. But the end of the story, I can just say thank you to him because he gave me a big boost, big confidence. He had big trust in me.”

…..

One moment stands out the most. Last year, veteran Toronto Star beat writer Doug Smith was hospitalized shortly before the playoffs started. Doug is always around the team, and it is profoundly strange when he is not. I was walking away from the court before Game 6 of the Raptors-Wizards series began, through a tunnel toward the visitors locker room at the Capitol One Arena. Valanciunas had just finished his warmup, and was headed in the same direction. He put his massive left arm around me, and inquired about my colleague. I told him what I knew, and he expressed hope that Doug could return before the playoff run was over.

“That’s what matters,” Valanciunas said of Doug’s health. “Not all this stuff.”

(The man and woman on the street)

The worst part of being a fan is seeing the guys we grow to love and see as family get traded.

You made us cry, man.

If you’ve ever met him, the first thought that pops into one’s head is “What a nice man.” An absolute natural in making people smile. There’s good things ahead in life for Jonas Valanciunas.

***

Waydago, Jonas
Waydago, Mitch
You done good

Spondic Love

 

I was on an internet call tonight with members of the Evolutionary Collective Global community.  I revelled in the experience of beaming love at a partner and then receiving it in return.  The topic for the evening was spondic love.

Beatrice Bruteau coined this term.  It’s not about what typically suffices for love in our society, where often it’s “I’ll be tender to you if you keep doing what I want you to do.”  It’s not about a couple turning inward in their devotion, shutting off the world.  It’s not about picking and choosing whom you love.  Here are some quotes from smart people to help us all see what spondic love actually is:

(Ilio Delio)

Bruteau indicates that a “person” is not an individual being.  Rather, a “person” is the unbounded activity of freely projecting energies, or what she calls “spondic” energy, a Greek word that means “libation” [pouring into].  Spondic energy does not originate out of thought or will.  It is not the act of an individual.  Rather, it comes from a deep, transcendent center, the still point where we are being held by Omega [“a final point of divine unification”].  It originates spontaneously, arising only from itself.  It is always free.  A “person” is one who acts out of a spondic, self-giving center.  Anything other than a spontaneous energy center of relatedness is not fully reflective of a person … Bruteau indicates that only “persons” can enter into communion consciousness.  “Individuals” remain external to one another.

(Patricia Albere)

Spondic love is the experience of “I am.  May you be.”  In the way we practice, there’s this experience of love, and when you love someone it comes from some place that’s deeper than your personality loving them.  There’s almost this cosmic energy that wants to just go “Ha!  I want you to have everything.  You know … like I love you.  I love you!”  You just want to imbue them with everything.  We feel that for our children.  Sometimes our heart bursts open into this kind of empowerment that is deeper than just human love.

You can feel it when you’re on the other end of spondic love.  It is palpable.  You actually feel like part of your life just got made because this person loves you from a place where they’re in and for you in a way that’s real.  This mutual spondic love is part of the consciousness that we’re working with, and the consciousness that I think is next.  I think that the next place of innovation will be that kind of love – instead of being separate, instead of not being even neutral towards each other and just surviving on our own, or competing or actively using each other and stomping on each other.

This spondic quality of love and connectivity will be the foundation for a ridiculous amount of miracles, innovation, creativity, coming together, working together, doing things that can’t be done, et cetera, et cetera, that’s going to be the next explosion of where evolution is going to be working.

(Brian Wilcox)

Life becomes libation, libation-ing.  Intimacy with Spirit, being one with True Self, from which flows this spondicity, flows into intimacy with the other.  To have this intimacy, we do not have to like the person, as defined by “personality”.  We do not even have to share a physical space with him or her … This libational kindness is non-local.  This loving can reach into the past, into the present, or into the future.  This love is boundless.

***

I asked myself tonight what my life would be like if I projected spondic love to people who come my way?  If such love was present in my thoughts for most of the day?  If it didn’t matter at all whether the love was returned?

Wouldn’t that be a recipe for freedom?

Day Nine: Homeward

What I hadn’t yet experienced was a real New York bagel.  One local guy suggested Tompkins Square Bagels, about six blocks from my room.  So I went, on my last morning.  There were laughing guys behind the counter, smiling patrons in front of it.  Just a wee place but it felt like I was entering the hall of gastronomic fame.

Sourdough looked good and so did blueberry cream cheese.  I guarantee you that the taste was far better.  How can bagels be this soft and yummy?  I sat at my little table, watching people and savouring my breakie.  Even the coffee was good.

I thought ahead to the Newark Liberty International Airport, waiting for my flight to be called, hungry.  How about a bagel to go?  In an instant the choice was clear … pumpernickel with bacon cream cheese.  Decadence of the delayed gratification genre.

Back on the street, I talked to myself.  “You’re tired.  You have this big suitcase.  Subway stations don’t have elevators from the surface to the bowels > > > Get a cab!”  My adventurous spirit was fading away as I raised my arm, beckoning to a whizzing yellow object passing by on the opposite side of the street.  “He’ll turn around for me.”  He didn’t.  So I waited for maybe ten minutes, arm at the ready.  No cabs.

I glanced over to the familiar bus stop and my insides shifted.  “No cab indeed.”  Three minutes later, I was hauling my local world onto the public beast.  “One more time … I can do this.  It’ll just take a transfer or two.”  Later, as I soared through the air en route to Toronto, I added up the vehicles of my day – it came to eleven.  M14A bus > 4 subway > 7 subway > 2 subway > New Jersey Transit train to the Newark Airport > Skytrain to Terminal B > Porter Flight PD 130 to Toronto > Billy Bishop Airport shuttle bus to Union Station > UP Express to Pearson Airport > Skyway Park shuttle van to Scarlet > two hour drive home.  Piece of cake.  I handled the luggaged stairs, I found elevators, I balanced on escalators, I had fun.  Dear taxi, you’re just not needed today.

Even though I was in airplane mode above New York State, I could still compose a blog post about Thursday.  I wrote and wrote about the 911 Museum.  It was difficult writing, since my heart had entered my fingers.  Upon arrival in Toronto, I sat in the airport lounge, did some editing, and prepared to click “Post”.  Click.  Then I copied my message to Facebook.  I also use that platform to post some photos.  I came to the one which showed Bruce’s name, one of the 911 victims, carved into a long metal plate.  I looked more closely.  Above “Bruce Douglas Boehm” was another, and my breath ceased.  It was “Brooke Alexandra Jackman”, the woman whose “missing” poster I had spied the day before, the woman whom I had adopted in love.  The metal plates encircled the two reflecting pools which were the locations of the twin towers.  The number of names inscribed was 2977.  And still, it was Bruce and Brooke.

Love lives

Day Three (and Four!): In Love

I’ve been totally absorbed in supporting the members of the Evolutionary Collective as they meet in New York. So I haven’t blogged since Friday. I’ll make up for it over the next few days!

***

(Saturday) Usually when we hear that someone is in love, we think of a couple. Yesterday, I was “within love” with thirty other people. The eastern part of the Evolutionary Collective Core is meeting in New York for three days. And I get to assist. Although it’s not appropriate for me to share the specific practices we do, I can give you the flavour of our togetherness.

In this work, we make contact with other human beings. We “see” each other. Maybe that’s where the word “core” comes from. And we also go far beyond the relationship between two or three people. We’re participating in the evolution of consciousness in the world towards a place where no one is left out. Someone walks into a room and the group’s response is “Super! Another person to be with, to learn from, to love.” I sense a yearning in the world to touch – physically and spiritually. May love evolve through all of us.

(Monday) I’m in Scotty’s Diner on Lexington Avenue, waiting for my friend “Terry” to join me for breakfast. Yesterday late afternoon, we two assistants sat in the lobby of the Affinia Shelburne Hotel, realizing that all our EC friends had left for airports, trains … for home. I felt a momentary loneliness but then it came through clearly – neither distance nor time can separate us. They’re all with me as I sit here tapping away.

Before our meeting was to start yesterday at 10:00 am, the room manager “Denise” realized that the candle at the front of the room had burned out. The hotel didn’t have any appropriate replacement so I volunteered to find one downtown somewhere. Mr. Google told me about Diptyque a few blocks away, and it was open! The candle shop was down some corridor in an office building. Even with the shortness of time, I trusted that all would be revealed to me in moments. It turned out to be many moments. And when I got there, the store was dark. Ahh … truth in advertising.

I looked inside and wondered at my calm. 9:35. Clearly it was time to discover the glories of riding a cab in NYC. Bed Bath and Beyond was about ten blocks away. The cabbie was friendly and efficient. He commented that traffic was so light this morning. Okay, not exactly my perspective.

Into the store I rushed and asked for candles. “Downstairs, turn left, way down the aisle past pet supplies.” Sure, I can do that. I found a lovely round candle in a clear glass container … looked kind of elegant. I paid for my treasure and was soon back on the street, arm up, flagging down a cab like a local. 9:48. The driver heard the hotel address and headed for a freeway ramp. Yay for local knowledge.

9:57. Therough the door of the meeting room. Candle placed on the round table at the front, accompanied by a lovely bouquet of floors. A box of matches sat there, invitingly. Done deal.

This morning, in the darkness of my mind, I stubbed my toe on the two-inch rise from the kitchen to the bathroom. Oww! And now, after breakie, it still hurts a lot. Strangely and miraculously, though, I’m not adding anything to the pain. No “Ain’t it awful?” No angst about how life is treating me unfairly. Clearly the human beings I’ve just spent three days with are having their effect. Once Terry leaves on his bus for New Hampshire, I’m off to explore Central Park … slowly.

There, I’m back on track with you. Wonders of New York are ready to welcome me. Please walk with me over the next four days.

Wonders of the World

I saw two inspiring sights today: one was a huge orange moon. The other was a human face.

As I drove home from London a couple of hours ago, the moon hung low over the highway. All was black around, and it shone like a beacon in the sky. My breath slowed and the beauty came home.

Other beauties of the world have come my way, and I have been blessed to be in their presence. A few weeks ago, there were the thousand-year-old buildings of Ghent, Belgium, glowing with Christmas lights. Many years past, I climbed a sandy ridge on the west coast of Vancouver Island to see at the summit miles of Long Beach, the waves from Japan crashing onto the sand below.

I have stood atop Mount Lineham in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park, a sea of peaks spread before me. I have seen the golden harbour of Toubacouta, Senegal at sunset, with fishing boats lying at rest. I have sat within a hollowed-out cave on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, gazing at the sky above.

All these reminders of transcendence, and more, have graced my life. The land, the sea and the structures of man have made me happy.

But the best and brightest of wonders reside in the human face:

My eight-year-old friend Ali in Senegal, smiling into my eyes
as he shook my hand “Bonjour”

My dear wife Jodiette gazing deep into me
as we shared a window table
in Chez Temporel
a sweet restaurant on Quebec City’s Rue Couillard

My friend Sharyn being with me
in a mutual awakening practice this afternoon
the space between us glowing with love

***

No need to travel to the far corners of the world for beauty
although you will also find it there
Just look, really look, at the person beside you

Kenosis

In Christian theology, kenosis is the self- emptying of Jesus’ own will and becoming entirely receptive to God’s divine will.

Google

Over and over, Jesus lays this path before us.  There is nothing to be renounced or resisted.  Everything can be embraced, but the catch is to cling to nothing.  You let it go.  You go through life like a knife goes through a done cake, picking up nothing, clinging to nothing, sticking to nothing.  And grounded in that fundamental chastity of your being, you can then throw yourself out, being able to give it all back, even giving back life itself.  That’s the kenotic path in a nutshell.  Very, very simple.  It only costs everything.

Cynthia Bourgeault

***

Alrighty then … I’ll just fall into a life of contribution with no thought for the reward, no need to achieve anything or to be adored.  “Just give, Bruce, moment after moment, until your breathing stops.  Have your life be a symphony, with all those marvelous folks flowing beside you, playing with you, creating magic together.”  And no need to have them live in your house, to be enclosed by the constraints of your mind.  Enjoy them, and let them go.  Over and over.

***

What am I willing to let float away?

Being in Senegal
Being loved by Ali and Mariama
Being loved by my Belgian friend Lydia
Being healthy
Being in the Evolutionary Collective
Living a long time
Listening to concerts from the front row
Eating pesto pasta
Volunteering with 11-year-olds
Watching Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again for the umpteenth time
Picking up garbage on my way to the Belmont Diner
Sitting at the counter or at “the women’s table” at the Diner
Travelling … anywhere
Making people laugh
Writing these blog posts
Having another life partner
Living past tomorrow

***

Quite the list of things to let go of
Quite the opportunity to give without restraint or expectation
Quite the smile on my face

The Gift of Illness

It’s a strange life, with the body sometimes just zipping along and at other times dragging its feet.  My feet are low right now and it’s such a opportunity to see what life is really all about.

What’s possible in the moment when you’re hurting physically?  To what extent can we move beyond the yuckiness to truly be with people?  These are good questions because I intend to contribute to my fellow travellers no matter what life is serving up.

I’ve discovered that I often cough when I’m moved by other folks, when I’m feeling love.  That started happening in Belgium when I was enjoying the presence of Lydia and Jo and their family and friends.  Then we went to Senegal and the openness of the people touched me deeply.  “I’m glad you’re here” came up to me again and again.

Other parts of Senegal were not so kind, especially to my lungs. Toubacouta is in a very dry area and the town has dirt streets.  Dust floated everywhere, including into me.

A lot of people moved about on motos – small motorcycles.  They not only stirred up the dust, their tailpipes spewed out exhuast fumes without any pollution controls.  I spent a lot of time on the back of a moto.  When we travelled on the highway, passing cars and trucks fed me more poisonous gas.

Finally, some folks near me smoked.  I often moved away when they were lighting up.

Given all these inputs, what to do?  Certainly not hide out in my room.  The beauty of the Senegalese people far outweighed my breathing problems.  I continued to interact with the kids and adults, to joy in their joy, to revel in a deep level of personal contact with each other.  And I’ll do exactly that when I come back in December.

In Senegal, I coughed a lot and Lydia worried about me.  Back home in Canada, the doctor says I have bronchitis and penicillin will fix me up fine over the next few days.

I got home last night and soon had a two-hour internet call with about forty members of the Evolutionary Collective.  This was a call we had all agreed to be on and there’s great power in keeping your word.  But the coughing was out of hand and I felt myself contract.  “These people shouldn’t be exposed to all this noise you’re making.”  Well, that is an opinion but it wasn’t going to hold sway with me.

Soon into the session, we were paired up.  “Jessica” spoke for the first five minutes.  I worked hard on suppressing the cough instead of totally being with her.  Then it was my turn.  Speak, cough, speak, cough … My eyes kept leaving Jessica’s, and then returning.  She just was with me, all of me.  I felt so naked and yet so loved.  Everything was fine, even my body’s loud reactions to congestion.  Thank you, Jessica.

Later seven of us did an exercise together.  Part of the experience was to have each person read the agreements we were entering into.  When it was my turn, I couldn’t get the words out so others took turns picking up the slack.  One more time I felt included.

Yes, these moments are gifts if I have the eyes to see.  And I intend to keep looking.

Day Twenty-Three: To Toronto

It was a 6:00 am rising for the trip home. Lore and Baziel promised they’d get up at 7:00 to say goodbye. They kept their word. I hugged each of them and told them that I loved them. Such wonderful teenagers who will be great adults, ones with big hearts and huge contributions to make in our wide world. As we loaded the car, Baziel stood at the window for a few minutes, staying in touch.

Jo and Lydia drove me the hour to Brussels Airport. Sometimes she was sniffling in the front seat in the darkness.

We sat in a café having a coffee and croissant but the time was soon for parting. They walked me to the gate. Jo and I hugged and I told him that I loved him.

And then … Lydia. We turned to each other and started crying. We held each other with Jo smiling beside. She messed my hair and we said what was oh so very true.

As we walked in Belgium and Senegal, Lydia would often grab my arm. Sometimes it was her linked with Jo on one side and me on the other. A great joie de vivre as we strolled along.

If in August, 2017 on a hiking trail in Alberta Lydia Dutrieue hadn’t said “Would you like to come with us?” I wouldn’t be crying right now. I wouldn’t have held hands with Senegalese kids and kissed the cheeks of many adults. I wouldn’t now have Mareama and Youssoupha in my life. (I’ve been spelling his name wrong.) Thank you, Lydia, for moving right into my life and calling it home. You are my friend.

***

It’s four-and-a-half hours into the sky. I’ve had a delicious meal of penne pasta with a tomato sauce; a multi-flavoured salad full of greens, reds, little cheese balls and walnuts; a warm bun; an almond tart … and definitely the red wine. Wow. And that’s not even the best. I just finished watching Les Misérables for the first time. So much human communion there – love, sadness, loneliness, death – all wrapped in a blanket of song. Stunning.

***

I wonder what’s next in this life of mine. I know it’ll be about friends – in Belmont, in the Evolutionary Collective, in London, in Toronto and most definitely in Belgium and Senegal. I am blessed.

***

Okay, that was a very long flight. I am quite perfectly pooped and very glad to be staying with Anne and Ihor in Toronto tonight. I need to be good to myself and stay off the 401 in the dark when I’m this tired.

Belgium and Senegal were marvels in my world. I loved and was loved. Can you think of anything better? No, I can’t either. I’m going back in 2019 to both places … with bells on.

Thank you for sharing these twenty-three days with me. I’ve loved writing to you.