June 30, 2012 — Cheyney to Thornton, PA (6 miles)

Post Camino Blog 1

Today I go out the front door of my Cheyney home once again to walk. How I miss it! Although temperatures are already in the low 90s, the road beckons and the body responds. My feet quickly recognize the pattern of putting one foot in front of the other as a way to move forward. I have walked on other days since the rally in Christopher Columbus Park in Boston on June 7th, but today’s walk feels different, and I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps my body is saying that if I want greater clarity about what’s next in my life, then I have to hit the road to discover the answer.

Today’s path is an old favorite from my winter-training days. I go out Creek Road, turn right at Locksley, and head to the tiny village of Thornton by a circuitous route. Judy’s at Barefoot Yoga for class and I’ll meet her there 90 minutes from now, just enough time for the route. I don’t rely on the GPS, as my feet already know the way. One hundred steps down the road and it all comes back: the sense of purposefulness, the great outdoors, the fresh air, the hard exercise, and the inner voice that says that all will be right even when much is unknown.

So what about the Finish Line in Boston? Did I notice how the tape resisted my passing through it? I sure did. Interesting! Thankfully Judy and Carrie held it tightly. It took some doing, yet that breakthrough had anything but a sense of finality to it. OK, OK, I get it…it’s the beginning line, not the finish line. The beginning of what exactly? Walking with Nathaniel 2? Like Hollywood film favorites, sequels often lack what make the originals successful: imagination and creativity. They dwell too much on what worked in the past and ignore new possibilities. I’ll keep that in mind.

Thornton looms in the distance, and I still haven’t got the answer to my vocational question—what is calling out to me now? BDD advocacy work? I do know that the answer isn’t going to pop up in the half mile that remains before I reach today’s destination. The annual OCD Conference is in Chicago at the end of July. Judy and I (and maybe Carrie, too) will attend. Perhaps something more concrete will emerge by then. I’m reminded of the glass snowball ornament my Grandma Bilodeau had in her upstairs bathroom. Whenever I visited her, I would run to the bathroom, whether I needed to go or not. Once there, I grabbed the snowball, shook it, then watched the flakes come falling down, furiously at first, then more gently. Even when I thought the flakes had finished falling, there were always several more that came down. And then a few more still. That’s what happening now in my Post-Camino-de-Nathaniel life—the impact of the walk is slowly settling, one flake at a time. Maybe eventually clarity will happen.

I now see Judy in the near distance standing by the car. Before I get to her, let me share some good news. We just learned that the walk has already brought in $25,000. I had hoped to break the $24,000 mark, and voilà! And the best news of all: people are talking about BDD in the various arenas of their lives, as sufferers, as parents, as spouses, friends, caregivers, etc. The butterfly effect is growing. That makes me happiest of all, because we have cracked open the door of this closeted disorder. Check out the more than 100 entries under the “Contact” tab on the website and some new press articles. Word is getting out and new connections are being forged.

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One Response to June 30, 2012 — Cheyney to Thornton, PA (6 miles)

  1. Jeff Szymanski says:

    Denis,

    We have an idea we are kicking around here. What about we all try to organize a number of different walks all around the country next year. All participants estimate their steps. We will combine all of the steps to reach (or exceed) the one million steps you took this past spring. What do you think?

    “A Million Steps Towards Raising Awareness and Understanding of BDD”

    Jeff

    P.S. See you in chicago soon!

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