Symbols and Perception

Peyton Foley - Ecuador

September 7, 2012

Symbols are good at filling the mind and preventing an open flow of perception. The most powerful ones nestle deep in my head and distort the way I experience the world. Home is a very powerful symbol. It is subjective but I feel forced to adapt or to struggle with the concept and how it makes me feel.  I look down at the rocky California landscape running along the horizon and I know it isn’t home but I have lived there for the last ten days. My view of people has changed, my identity has changed, and everything is up in the air. 

I am a traveler now, far from home and officially off the ground. My life as an individual and the beginning of my life lived intentionally and with passion is just beginning to quiver, the first sign of life in blossom. A good friend tells me to live day by day and I take his word to heart. Each day in my life in Ecuador for the next eight months may be a bite too large to digest easily. I’ll do my best to chew on my experiences one bite at a time. I hope then I can benefit and remember as much as possible and learn something worth a leap of faith.  My world is flipping upside down and when I stand on the bottom of the Earth, I think it may seem like another planet.

 It feels right to me to fly across the States coast to coast for a second time before we take off for Quito. In a disconnected way it represents my recognition of the country in which I’ve lived my whole life. I wonder if I would have made the same decision to leave my past experiences and understandings if I could lie on the bubbling paper clouds below. Instead I’ll attempt to sit on the ground and learn from it if only for a little while.

Home isn’t limited to a physical place. I’ve taken a leap from concept and perhaps I’ll build the core for my own experience in a way I can’t afford to neglect. I don’t have any long-term goals, but maybe if I offer my service and exercise kindness towards my Ecuadorian family and friends they will in turn help me to help myself. It makes me smile and cry that time is such an irrelevant factor of existence and yet so widely used to categorize experience. I hope that this deep breathe of life will focus my ambiguous grander picture and broader perspective.

Peyton Foley