A continuous question throughout the several months before the Retreat has been, “Why?” Quite honestly, the answer varies most every time I am asked, and even now it is difficult to narrow it down to a single reason, however here’s to attempting to be succinct!
Perhaps the most practical reason for the Street Retreat is that I read about others doing it and it sounded like something worth trying. I’m a big fan of trying things out, because really, how you ever know how about it unless you’ve actually experienced it? Certainly we can talk to other impoverished people, but really what my brother and I will experience is not poverty, but voluntary poverty, and the few people who I know who have undergone such an experience are priests. Even so, priests are great to talk to and are always full of wisdom, yet I tend to place a higher value on individual experience rather than taking someone’s word about it. For now, I at least draw the line for testing at heroin and other narcotics, except even then…you can never really know.
Aside from the reason for knowing about it and wanting to try it, I’m also a believer in the ascetic ideal, essentially meaning that when you have the least, you have the most. This ideal is scattered throughout the Bible and probably 80% of religious texts. I’m also a believer in God, understanding God as a sort of all-pervading, ever-present Love that we can experience whenever we choose to be aware of God, and I find more and more that as my life is cluttered with technology, clothes, and mass media, I lose touch with the Love that is always there for us to experience. Even writing this, it is difficult to experience God’s Love – so I guess I should make this quick!
Why else are we choosing to Street Retreat? Nothing like conquering fear than by staring it square in the face! The last thing I want is for fear to ever hold me back from being the best person I can be. I plan to overcome many fears during this Retreat, but even more important than the overcoming fear is experiencing trust. Trust in my brother, in all the people walking amongst us, and trust in God. With trust, like love, I do not think fear can live. When there is no fear, I believe we are all empowered to be our true selves, and when we are our true selves – well who the heck knows what happens then!
It will be a journey, undoubtedly. All of life is a journey. And, in particular, this journey will allow for a freedom of time that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced. With no obligations other than the survival of myself and my brother, we are free to spend time with as many homeless or homed folks that cross our paths – so long as the desire to exchange time is mutual J We do not want to harass anyone, but rather commune with them, learn from them, and share some love, maybe a dab of peace too. Peace and Love is how it all boils down. Not quite sure how an ideal of World Peace and Unconditional Love for our fellow man has not yet consumed the thoughts of every person alive, but hey – I guess there is some pretty good television. Here’s to avoiding vicarious living and instead embracing this creation as one full of boundless exploration, and, more importantly – Love.
p.s. MedMob in Time Square this Friday, the 15th, at 3 PM. Hope to see you there! Either way – love ya, and hope to see and hear from you soon.
p.p.s. All thanks to God, my loving family and friends, and all those who I don’t even know who have in more ways than one allowed me to do what I do and move through this world in peace.