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#michaelswalk week five: you can outsmART your pain

a few years ago I wrote a similar blog to the one you’re about to read. that’s because learning a lesson is one thing, but exercising what you learned, exploring different applications, in quite another. ‘make something with it’, I said then, and say again now as I’m finding that expressing pain, channeling it from within you into something else, is still the best way.

“Take your broken heart, make it into art” Carrie Fisher once said to Meryl Streep. “We have to out-create the destructiveness that is all around us” Tori Amos said.

The journey from Cape Cod to Woodstock up to Toronto and now into the Midwest has been the most tumultuous emotional stretch thus far. No surprise for Cancer season. We arrived in Woodstock as shells – although a visit to the Edward Gorey Museum in Yarmouth was incredibly inspiring to see an artist commit to their oddities and idiosyncracies. With the help of an extended Jewish family gathered together to celebrate their matriarch, we found ourselves rejuvenated and very much charmed by a little mystical hippie town in the middle of New York state. Although I ventured off on my own lusty adventure which left me unsatisfied in many ways, I was able to appreciate the revival of our energies that took us to Toronto, where we were further nourished by our hosts incredible culinary skills and hearth-fire.

I truly think our engagement with the sexual marketplace will be our biggest regret of this trip. A constant distraction from genuinely important experiences, a drain on energy and self-esteem, and yet our best opportunity to address a desire we feel to enjoy our rambling trip and scratch insistent itches.

We got to see Niagara Falls on our way out of Canada, and the glory of being soaked under these epic natural wonders was an experience I’ll treasure and seek as a source for inspiration forever. It set an optimistic course for Buffalo which would soon be completely shattered when I lost the car key and things went downhill from there. Five hours stranded, a lot of money and hope lost. We rolled into Ohio feeling defeated. But a great many miracles took place overnight, where a great deal of support was received from treasured friends the world across who believe in what we’re doing, what we’re learning and what we’re offering.

I figure now may be the right time to talk about what I’m making here, what I’m choosing to do with my hurt and heartache. I am shaping my second collection of poetry around the themes Tori Amos established in her album ‘Scarlet’s Walk’, the concept of which we are trekking a rendition of across America, aligning each track to my own memories and observations, whilst also telling stories about America as it appears to use through this epic sampler. Abortion, gun control, climate inaction, attacks on transgender young people and healthcare, political manipulation of the working classes, femicide, racism and missing Indigenous women, police corruption, this country is riddled with social disease. I’m picking up books and newspapers, noting down references and artists to watch, read, learn when I come home to Australia.

My aim is to allow a space for personal pain and community pain to coalesce and resolve one another by looking outward in one direction, healing via empathy, and in the other direction looking inward, healing via compassion and intimate support. I recently learned about healing in relationship. Like kink can safely express sexual trauma, personal trauma can be re-simulated healthily and to safer more fulfilling results. It takes time and trust, but the power of creativity to run-off the toxins is significant.

It’s not about poetry or painting or singing, for all that those may help. It’s in cooking, exercising, crafting, laughing, studying. It could be decorating, coding, re-organising, gaming, praying, raving, origami, cards, train journeys, learning conversational Japanese. You might find what you seek in pottery, horseback riding, chess, axe-throwing, nude hikes, brewery, foreign film festivals, early morning ice-cold swims, bird-watching, yoga retreats, weekly dinners with your grandparents, catching up on your health checks.

create a focus. create a criteria for knowing when you’ll feel “healed”or “resolved” from something you’re struggling with. create a series of first steps toward meeting that criteria. do those. then note some next steps to try after those first ones. have a go at those.

and then it’s all an adventure from there.

Our adventure takes us to Chicago tomorrow, then to St Louis. Fly to Dallas, drive to Kansas City, fly to Denver, then commence the drive to Seattle. Somewhere in there I’ll check in.

Meanwhile all help is needed and appreciated on the gofund me as we try to make sure we can make it home properly fed and fueled.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/michaels-walk-travelwriting-memoir-project

big love,
B

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