Love is the ability

Shonnie, Brad Brown & me at WOW

Shonnie, Brad Brown & me at Way of a Warrior

The other day, I apologized to my wife Shonnie three or four times for various instances of inconsiderate behavior, including speaking disrespectfully to her. I’d certainly recognized and owned up to what I’d done, however, after the final apology, I was reminded of a quotation from my mentor, Brad Brown: “I’m sorry,” said often, easily, and without tears, is a sure sign that we will do the same thing again soon.”

Ken & Loyd at their mountaintop home

Ken & Loyd at their mountaintop home

I first met Ken Kinnett and his wife Loyd in 1987 at Way of a Warrior, an intensive weeklong workshop that took place outside of Dahlonega, Georgia near the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. During the week, we went whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River (where Deliverance was filmed), participated in a ropes course, and on the final night, camped solo with just a plastic tarp, water bottle and sleeping bag.

As I settled all alone into my makeshift shelter, listening to the solitary sound of the nearby river as the last rays of sunlight filtered through the forest canopy, I was momentarily overwhelmed by what some Eastern mystics refer to as an ecstasy of unity—a feeling of connectedness, as if I, all humans, all living things, the entire universe was connected by some invisible web. And I realized in that moment that the southern Appalachian Mountains were where I was destined to be.

Before we left the workshop for home (home being a relative term for me at this point in my life since I’d just been fired from my job in Orlando and was still separated from my wife in Texas), Loyd suggested that I visit her and Ken at their mountaintop home near Hendersonville, North Carolina. I went for a weekend and stayed almost three weeks. (more…)

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