"As my father stretches to understand my journey I realize that maybe you can't change the world by your actions alone, but you can change yourself. And when you do, the world around you may change by attempting to understand you, as we all try to understand each other" writes John Francis reflecting on his choice experiment with not driving and eventually remaining silent as well in "PlanetWalker: How to Change Your World One Step at a Time, The journey Across America of an Environmental Activist, 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of Silence"
My answer as to why I will move from Boston to Detroit this summer by walking there has evolved several times in just the last month. It has shifted from trying to raise consciousness about environmental destruction (which I still certainly hope to do), to more listening and learning about how the people I meet are experiencing and understanding these things. I don't want to preach, or argue; I don't find those methods effective, nor enjoyable.
I do hope to change myself - to grow my muscles, literally, but also in many more ways. To learn how to be with myself and silence, more. To grow my will and willfulness - society tries to mold and often break that in us. To get to know the soil, my soles, and soul, more. To push myself to understand the ecology that is our home better, to see and know with my own hands more of what others are doing, to take my own convictions more seriously. I don't control the rest of the world, but I think Francis's reflection is extraordinarily true - when I take the next step in living up to my convictions and change my own behavior, especially in large ways, the people around me change in their attempts to understand. How they change is not for me to control, nor even steer (unless asked to), but to appreciate with humility and kindness.