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The Live Unbound blog exists to inspire anyone who strives to discover what they are truly capable of achieving. 

Shapeless Future

Wrote this during the last 4 months of traveling »  

We create the path where our minds wander.

Where they go, our actions follow. What our actions create, or don’t create, is what our lives become. So I try to take the time to explore my landscape. To walk inside the boundaries that I built for myself.

I pass hill after hill of easily accomplished goals, built on shiny rewards that never seem to satisfy. I pass should haves holding hands with the perfect excuse for why they must remain in this land of missed opportunities. I follow them towards a landfill of ideas that were never executed and watch as they fall in like lemmings.

Staring at what might have worked turn into you’ll never know, I get a new type of worry – am I just moseying through my story without ever reaching the climax? The unfolding plot of my life is feeling a bit boring. Maybe I should stop reading this book and start a more interesting one.

I feel like my brain has no reception here. It can't receive the messages my heart is trying to send to it. I need to find a place with a better signal.

This thought sparks a flame casting just enough light to reveal a new trail. One that ends at the massive walls that surround this entire landscape.

The first step feels like a relief.

I don’t hate this place, it just got old. Like the repeat button got stuck on a song I used to like. I hear it all day everyday and now I’m just numb to it. I think of it as the familiar melody that protects me from the countless horrible songs that could play next if I hit shuffle.

As I get closer to the edge, I hear the echos of a new tune in the distance. I feel my curiosity taking over and a frenzied desire to go to the other side of the wall. To reach for something that I’m not sure I can grasp. To live where I’m breakable. Where I have less control, less comfort, less support but more passion, more surprise and more possibility.

Standing face to face with the wall I can see it’s made out of doubts, fears and insecurities. Held together by a need to preserve this psychological dome that protects me from having to feel these emotions.

This need is fading. And the more vulnerable I am, the weaker the wall becomes.

I lean down to read a tiny sticker on the edge of the wall – “Break in case of emergency”. A nice little reminder that I created these boundaries and therefor I have the ability to destroy them.

As this awareness sinks in, the walls begin to crumble. I can see lifes endless possibilities emerging on the other side. I know that it’s time to leave the hills behind and head for the mountains. It’s time to go beyond my will.

As I step over what was once an impenetrable wall, the pain in my stomach turns into a tingle. My entire being is awakened. I feel like I’m in the heart of a wild but surprisingly pleasant storm. Like unexpected torrential downpour on an unbearably hot day.

Looking at the mountains in the distance, I feel like I’m staring deep into someone’s eyes. It feels intimate and intense. Like behind the horizon there is something living and that something is staring back at me.

I can sense there is risk ahead. I wonder why am I here? Why not relax in the comfortable life that I built? I guess it’s because I know that what lies ahead holds the answers to much more important questions. Questions like, “what do I want to become?” and “am I capable of becoming that?”

My only plan is to avoid the urge to make a plan. I threw away my to-do list. I loosened my grip on life. I'm letting go of what I don’t believe in and grabbed a hold of what feels right. What makes my heart race and my eyes light up. I no longer feel guilty when I do nothing. And the tired notion that I’m falling short of something has finally left the forefront of my thinking.

My future is now shapeless.

Life is beginning to feel like a long boat ride in the middle of the ocean with no compass. Unanchored, always in movement, always in transition, completely detached from the invulnerability of a shore.

As answers slowly break into the locked portals in my mind, I feel certain about one thing – the quintessential future I’ve always been after would have never been as radiant and exciting as my current life.

Photos » @iamyali

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Blown away by The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows written by John Koenig. Can't remember the last time I've been this inspired! 

Liberosis

n. The desire to care less about things. To hold your life loosely and playfully, like a volleyball, keeping it in the air, with only quick fleeting interventions, bouncing freely in the hands of trusted friends, always in play.

Mahpiohanzia

n. The disappointment of being unable to fly, unable to stretch out your arms and vault into the air igniting the fuel tank of unfulfilled desires you’ve been storing up since you were born.

Silience

n. The kind of unnoticed excellence that carries on around you every day, unremarkably—the hidden talents of friends and coworkers, the unseen portfolios of aspiring artists—which would be renowned as masterpieces if only they’d been appraised by the cartel of popular taste, who assume that brilliance is a rare and precious quality, accidentally overlooking buried jewels that may not be flawless but are still somehow perfect.

Photo by Josh Terada

Photo by Josh Terada

Quotes Of The Month

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you."

- Anne Lamott

"My challenge to you here, is to journey into a deeper intimacy with the world and your life without any promise of safety or guarantee of reward beyond the intrinsic value of full participation."

- Oriah Mountain Dreamer

"It’s easy to paint a picture in your head of what you think you want in life, but life most of the time never gives you the materials you need to create the masterpiece that you’ve created in your head. The best thing you can do is surround yourself with great people and good vibes. So, while you may not yet have a brush, you already have a palate full of brilliant and vibrant colors to paint with."

- Miguel Aguilar

New Live Unbound Film!

We believe in pushing yourself to be greater through what you love and doing whatever it takes to overcome mental and physical constraints. Once in awhile I come across a real life story that embodies this message. A story of falling madly in love with your dream. Then using that passion to overcome the massive obstacles that appear in the journey of realizing it. This is that story.

Based on Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld's book "Above All Else". 

This documentary was made possible by Frank Casares who believed in us and funded the project. We had a small crew of 5 people and shot on a RED epic, RED dragon, 5D Mark ii and the Inspire Copter. The biggest challenge was the slow motion skydiving scene which was filmed by Craig O’Brien. Those were shot on the RED dragon at 200 fps. Due to wind, we only had 4 jumps to make it happen but Craig and skydivers Brad Patterson and Dalten Kadow nailed it. Check out this nice review from Short of the Week for more info on the process :) 

Currently we’re searching for the next great story to tell. We encourage people to reach out to us if they have one or know somebody who does. 

Thanks for watching!

-Yali

July 2015

There's been a couple of exciting developments in Live Unbound world this month included a possible book deal with NationBuilder. After my TEDx talk I was approached by them to write my story and the first thing that popped into my head was – really?? But it’s not all that exciting. I mean maybe I got a good beginning but that’s about it. The second thought was – okay why don’t I make it more exciting by going out and living the story I’d want to write. Definitely an inspiring thought that is now steering me in the right direction.

The old me would have stuck with that first thought. I would have held on as tight as I could so I would feel okay with saying no to a potential opportunity. Nowadays I’m fully aware that I create the path where my mind wanders. I try to stay conscious of where it goes because once it finds the perfect limiting thought then I'll remember it forever. I re-visit it every time I need an excuse not to do something I know I must do. I have a lot of these types of thoughts that I can’t seem to let go of. You’d think it would be easy to move past them but they become a part of you. So needless to say I’m not trying to create new ones.

I think Cormac McCarthy said it best – “You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”

Other than that I’ve been taking on lots of client work (how we fund LU vids) and adventuring on weekends (documented with my mediocre photography skills on instagram: @iamyali).

Follow your fears & respect the dash!

- Yali

Quotes of the month

"Our growth depends not on how many experiences we devour but on how many we digest."

- Ralph W. Sockman

And then there's the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.

- Randy Komisar

"Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. I promise you, something great will come of it."

- Benjamin Mee

"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

- E.B. White

Our New Video » 'Go Seek'

Here it is! Please share it!

-Yali

Myself, Eric Gillespie, Kylor Melton and Harmon Clarke took a road trip through Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Oljato Monument Valley and Lake Powell to shoot this. Shot on a RED epic, 5D mark iii, Inspire Copter and an iPhone (battery ran out on those graveyard shots...). Also we had a crazy moment in the middle of nowhere, deep inside the slots of Labyrinth Canyon we ran into Jay-Z!

Making these videos is always a challenge because we're operating at a bare minimum budget but we were lucky to have the support of Nectar Sunglasses and Forsake so make sure you check them out and show them some love :)

I got inspired to write the voice over in the video after visiting Da Poetry Lounge in West Hollywood and hearing some legendary spoken word pieces by people like Shane Koyczan. So I decided to give it a shot… Here is the transcript »

I want to go on a road trip with no plans

Play with my inner child

Take my heart off the leash and let it run wild

 

Have you ever drove past a hill on the side of the road

and had an urge to just stop and run up it?

Break the routine and just do something different

 

But instead you just keep on driving

looking back at your rear view at what could have been

I’m so tired of this feeling that the best is yet to come

the best is right here, right now

yes there’s what you need to do to make a living

but there’s also what you must do to feel alive

 

Go seek

because life is hidden and in adventure it can be found

because these pursuits are triggers for self-actualization, releasing my potential

because my body can only feel rested after it’s pushed, stretched and tested

because sometimes I feel like something is sleeping inside of me

deprived, just waiting to be revived

 

I need to be revitalized

I think that if I can spark this fire I can find the strength to reach higher

challenge myself in experiences I’ll never forget

and when I’m 80 years old on my rocking chair I’ll have no regrets

this is my calling, I’m all in

 

but it’s not just a desire, it’s my responsibility

because these places open up my eyes to  possibility

giving access to the limitless nature of our existence

distance from that voice in my head that says stop when I struggle to stay persistent

 

So I chase the version of me I want to be

stay on track by following the fear that holds me back

climbing up a setback, deep inside of what I lack

I’m stalling, running as fast as I can but feel like I’m crawling

I tell myself to take a break, relax

let what you lack be an empty crack

you don’t have to be whole to be intact

but I’m not very good at lying to myself

I know I need to catch that uncatchable self

I know that trying to be more than I am is who I am

I know that I’m in love with the never ending search

it’s my drive, my passion, my thirst

and it’s not because I’m never satisfied, it’s because I’m always satisfied

learning how to glide in this bumpy ride

this is my life commute

it’s not the pursuit of happiness

it’s the happiness of pursuit

 

I know that this trip will be over in a flash so I respect the dash

the gravestone dash between birth and death is my time

my time to explore, my time to live unbound.

MAY 2015

May has been one of the most incredible months of my life. I gave a TEDx talk then set off on an intense road trip to shoot Go Seek. There were many ups and downs but it's not an adventure until things start going wrong, you ditch the plan and go with the flow of wherever life wants to take you. 

Here is an excerpt from the video which will be out in a couple weeks » 

Chase the version of me I want to be, stay on track by following the fear that holds me back.

Climbing up a setback, deep inside of what I lack, I’m stalling, running as fast as I can but feel like I’m crawling.

I tell myself take a break, relax, let what you lack be an empty crack, you don’t have to be whole to be intact.

But I’m not very good at lying to myself, I know I need to catch that uncatchable self.

I know that trying to be more than I am is who I am, I know that I’m in love with the never ending search.

It’s my drive, my passion, my thirst.

And it’s not because I’m never satisfied, it’s because I’m always satisfied.

Untied, fully amplified, learning how to glide in this bumpy ride.

This is my life commute.

It’s not the pursuit of happiness it’s the happiness of pursuit.

Home

Once in a while I'll get an email that seems to communicate something incommunicable. Thanks Pierce Hunsaker for letting me share it!

For the past two years I have had no address, and the only four walls I owned were made of nylon. People called me a homeless man. They equate a home with a house, with microwave ovens and plumbing and television. But I never felt more at home than I did when I ended the eight years I spent in the city, living paycheck to paycheck, building a little security. Always desperate and not even knowing it. It took all those years of treading water to realize it and just one tiny step outside to break it. There was so much fear, paralyzing amounts of it, leading up to that first step. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever done but only in looking from the other side of it can I see now how simple it really was.

I took my rent deposit, sold my things and fell off the map. I was terrified and alone and colder and wetter than I'd planned, but still happier than I'd ever been.

Photo by Pierce Hunsaker

Photo by Pierce Hunsaker

Real home is the world and the only way to own the world is to be truly and fully in it. I climbed thousands of pitches of trad, bathed in mountain creeks, built bonfires and highlines and found the most fantastical, radiant friendships; as if discovering human beings for the first time.

Then everything changed.

I fell rock climbing and decked from 40 feet, shattering my spine. That day I happened to be wearing a Live Unbound shirt, one of three shirts I had to my name. I remember the irony of it clearly as EMTs cut it to shreds off my body. Sometimes the things that bind us don't just come from the inside. Sometimes it seems like the world reaches out and tries to steal what little freedom we manage to carve for ourselves.

There is a Mexican proverb I read over and over again – "Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvidó que somos semillas." – They tried to bury us but they forgot we were seeds.


I spent the following week in and out of consciousness, in and out of surgery, unable to eat or drink or even sit up. I am very lucky. By the thickness of a dime I wasn't paralyzed and doctors say I'll walk again. I have lived the majority of the months since flat on my back and all of it indoors. But despite the ceiling I've stared at every day and the bed and food and television, I have never felt more homeless.

I am going to find a way back home. 

Photo by Pierce Hunsaker

Photo by Pierce Hunsaker

ALWAYS take the scenic route

On May 1st we'll be taking a road trip to shoot "Go Seek" which is all about seeking experiences that challenge us, inspire us and remind us why life is so incredible. Email me if you have ideas on epic locations which are off the beaten path!

Also on April 19th I'll be speaking at TEDxUIUC about the Live Unbound journey. Never spoke in front of a large crowd before but it's a pretty good first to have. 

Last but not least if you're an adventure photographer and want to connect with fellow creators and share your images then join our LU photographers group. 

-Yali

Photo by Dylan Furst

Sphere Skydiving Formation

While shooting our next short Doc on skydiver Dan BC we met Brad Patterson who told us about his idea to re-create Paul Bonds 1980 human sphere painting (the poster in the beginning of the video). Brad came up with an execution plan and assembled an incredible team that nailed it on the 2nd attempt. Welcome to the world of 3D Formations! The options are limitless and the team will be experimenting with new techniques at Skydive Perris.