27 January 2008

Prep # 5 -- What about Casey?

Well, I'm quirky. I'm industrious and I like long walks (less on beaches more in the woods - HA). On a more practical note, I awoke nearly every morning for 18.5 years in NW OHIO at my parents home. I honed my skills as a plumber under Master Plumber Tony (my dad). I went to college to learn and my studies didn't infer with this goal. I drifted from a Music major to and Economics major, completing college with that as a BA and minors in math and music. My favorite theme of college was that most people didn't know I was econ. major, especially each new class. Many of my peers and acquaintances thought I was computer science (I was doing some research getting press), religion (I was involved in various groups), philosophy (I think and talk a length), music or other. Only my closest friends could correctly bubble in my area of focus (plus the 6 other econ majors).

I chose to graduate early to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2004. (more on my outdoor experience in another post). The AT experience was immense. I'm not certain I've ever been as depressed a the half way point. Sure I had joyful moments, but pain some times crystallizes in my mind. Then again, I did want to leave nearly every day for the last 440 miles. Oh, well. I stuck with it, meet wonderful people and had my life changed.

Now four years later, I have language to understand the results of my hike. See before hiking, I was sometimes called a "robot," or heartless, even a relative of Spock or Commander Data and worse. But the winter after the AT, I teared up to Jerry McGuire on television. Yep, my rational mind had ran out of fuel to chew on during my 7 month hike and my heart filled in the gaps, finally getting some space to breath.

The fall of 2005 I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corp (JVC) . I moved to Seattle, WA. to spend time with individuals most of society ignores, the homeless. I signed up for additional year, and was placed in Portland, OR. My second year in JVC, is when I worked at the Men's Residential Center and learned about the Al Forthan Scholarship Fund.

August 2007 my service year ended and I road-tripped back to Ohio. Three weeks later, I entered a 6-week silent meditation retreat with the Insight Meditation Society. Again, my heart-mind has changed forever as I spent time in great stillness listening to my God. I was on retreat when serendipity placed the notion to raise funds specially for Al Scholarship. In all actuality, I'd find it more convenient to not raise money at all. However, I listen and respond to the movement of my God's Spirit and this is what's going on for me now. Bummer -- obedience (note: in Latin, obedience root is Listening-- sweet huh!!?!?).

Six days of discernment (Jesuit Style- fool) prayer, and I decided to prepare for the PCT hike 2008. I'm excited for now. I find it easy to be excited when I'm not actually 'experiencing' my questions but only researching them. Certainly the first few days, weeks, miles and months on the trail will be trying my nerves. "did I bring enough, too much. Why am I doing this...." "shut up mind, relax and have fun." " you know you're not going to do that..."
Hopefully my lessons from the AT won't direct too much of my decisions. Number one lesson: POOR DECISIONS MAKE BETTER STORIES

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