Not Enough Just To Stand and Stare

Inspired by my extremely clever sister-in-law, I've begun a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela this week. No, I'm not writing from a wifi-equipped Starbucks at the border of France and Spain; I'm trekking along a virtual pilgrimage where I get to move forward one stop for each pound I lose for a total of 30 pounds. Mere's journeying to Mordor where she gets to destroy the One Ring to Bind Them when she loses the final pound - how cool is that?!?

I've chosen the pilgrimage to Compostela because it's "one of those things I want to do before I die." I don't know why, just do. Doing it virtually may be the only way I'm able to take the four+ months it requires. As an added bonus, I wanted to lose 30 pounds and Shannon and I found a map that breaks the journey down into 30 stops (the map below has fewer than 30 stops - I chose it for my blog because of it's stunning ORANGE!! color). I had to lose 7 pounds just to start my journey at St. Jean Pied du Port and I've already made it to Roncesvalles.

Yesterday I read about Zainab Salbi who founded Women for Women International in 1993 after she read about rape camps in Bosnia and wanted to do something about it, wanted to help. The goal of her organization is to make women in conflict go from being victims to being survivors to being active citizens in their communities.

So.....how does this tie in with my pilgrimage....? Every week I fail to move forward to meet my weight loss goal (1 pound/week), I'm going to make another donation to Women to Women International and Planned Parenthood. I only wish I could do more than send a check. Anyway, though my intention is to lose one pound per week and I'm off to an excellent start (thanks to the inspiration and support of Shannon and my fabulous trainer, Karen at Galter!), if I do fail to go forward a dot on my virtual journey, I won't be able to beat myself up and feel too badly about myself.

This morning, instead of listening to my morning-commute podcasts, I switched my iPod to Pink Floyd, and one of the most moving rock songs ever written: "On the Turning Away." The declaration at the beginning of the last stanza, "No more turning away," always makes me ache with a desire to DO SOMETHING!!! Somewhere between reading about Salbi yesterday afternoon and listening to Pink Floyd's album, A Momentary Lapse of Reason this morning, I decided to make turn my failure to lose a pound from a personal failure to a positive action. Mind you, I will donate to these organizations whether I lose or not, I'll just have to fork over my "mocha/book/zine cash" if I don't.

I realize Radiohead is the band of the hour, but nobody's surpassed Pink Floyd since 1982 in my opinion.

Here are the lyrics to On the Turning Away. Though I love the song, the lyrics do stand alone:

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night
As the daytime is stirring
Where the speechless unite
In a silent accord
Using words you will find are strange
And mesmerized as they light the flame
Feel the new wind of change
On the wings of the night

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

I've also included a video someone had made for the song. The creator of this video chose to open with Carl Sagan (bless him! I miss Cosmos!) talking about how very isolated we are on this planet.

I like to think that means we should take care of eachother.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Yeah...every time I hear "On the Turning Away" I feel vaguely scummy, because I certainly don't do as much as I could to help others. I'm working on that, though...