Here's what struck me:
First. Beliveau just got going. There was no real purpose, just a sense that he needed to change something and so with the minimum amount of preparation (good shoes, a three wheel stroller filled with sleeping bag, clothes and a few other items, including a map) he headed out the door. Question: In what ways am I waiting for a green light, when I could just get going now? Interestingly enough, along the way he was given a purpose for his walk, when his wife, Luce suggested he raise awareness of young victims of violence and seek to promote peace.
Second. Beliveau had a great support team. His kids and longtime partner were supportive and kept in touch during the trip, replacing the 4,000.00 he lived on each year. Question: Who is my support team? Are they behind me, to the point of sacrifice? 11 years is a long time to be gone from home, but the team never flagged. In fact, they started a website to chronicle his travels and help to broaden the group of people invested in his live.
Third. Although the walk took 11 years of his life, Jean Beliveau gained a life's worth of experience that he now has the rest of his life to unpack. Question: How much of my life am I willing to invest for the future? Am I unpacking what I've learned along the way to enrich my life now?
Fourth. By embracing a vision that was larger than he could imagine, Believeau has learned to live in the moment. It seems to me one large obstacle to living in the presence is the need to have control of one's life, to know how and what and when and where. Not surprisingly, Jean learned that many of the people he met were open and welcoming. Not everything was clear sailing; he had at points to sleep in homeless shelters and under bridges, he was detained for political reasons in Ethopia, and mugged in Africa. Still, by and large his experiences were positive. His openness invited openness. Question: Do I believe that I will be able to successfully navigate life as it comes my way? Am I willing to take risks, or does the need for safety and manageability dominate my life?
The photo above is of a sculpture by Zenos Frudakis. It popped up on my Facebook feed this morning with the following quote: "The moment you can visualize being free from the things that hold you back, you have indeed begun to set yourself free."---Unknown
Jean Beliveau didn't really know everything that would set him free, but that didn't stop him from literally taking the first step on the road to discovery. And I find that, along with his amazing perseverance, inspiring.
(For a more complete set of photos of the Freedom sculpture, check out this site. The background detail makes it even more powerful)