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 » @whereisyali
I’m sitting at a TEDx event unsuccessfully trying to pay attention to what the speaker before me is saying. I’m a couple minutes away from giving a very personal talk and my irrational fears are in the forefront of my thinking.
Ironically the talk is titled “Follow Your Fears” and the main message is that fear serves as an internal compass towards growth and opportunity. Even though I fully believe in this message it’s really not comforting me right now. My knees feel weak, I’m developing a strange pain in my stomach and my mind is acting like a worst-case scenario generator.
It’s no wonder that I’m nervous; I didn’t quite follow the typical TEDx formula. For example I was advised to validate that I’m an expert in my field and instead I wrote lines like, “The most exciting part about what I do is that I really have no idea what I’m doing.”
I try to calm my nerves by thinking about the times I overcame fear. Like when I used to go off 100 foot gap jumps on my snowboard. I recall feeling a similar tension right before committing and then an unshakable certainty that ‘I got this’ right after dropping in. I really hope it will be the same in this case but my doubts are fighting harder than usual.
I know that this anxiety can slip out of control rather easily so I figure that reciting parts of the talk in my head will help. This plan fails when I can’t recall the closing sentence, which happens to be my favorite part. The words have mysteriously vanished from my memory but what I do remember is that I have a cheat sheet in my pocket. With a fast, swift movement that startles the program organizer who is sitting right next to me, I grab the cheat sheet and read the closing line. She looks over at me concerned and whispers, “Are you okay?” “Yes, I’m fine” I tell her with a forced smile as she gives me some coconut water claiming that it cures anxiety.
The speaker is now delivering his closing line, which I vividly remember – “See the impact that you have on your own world.” The sentence reminded me of something very important I once heard – “You are not the victim of your thoughts.” Perfect timing for this memory to have popped into my head.
I’m staring at the lights, cameras and 700 quiet people sitting in the audience as the announcer calls me up to the stage. I drop in and feel an immediate shift in my thinking. The pain in my stomach turns into a tingle, I feel focused and in control. This doesn’t surprises me; I’m always fine while I do the things that I think I won’t be fine doing. I think it’s because my anxiety is fueled by what could happen and never from what is happening. Either that or I just drank some pretty magical coconut water.
Sometimes I wish I was 10 years old without a care in the world. Sometimes I wish I was 40 with everything all figured out. And sometimes I wish I would just stop wishing all the time.
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.
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.
The sheer cliff wall or snowy, wind-blasted peak of an icy mountain is a rough place to create large-scale photographic works of art, but that’s exactly what Swiss photographer Robert Bösch does. His photos can involve hundreds of mountain climbers braving difficult conditions to get the perfect shot.
To make money is easy. To make money in a way that aligns with the truth of who you are is hard.
In the pursuit of a life less ordinary we may encounter a raised eyebrow, cynical question or more intrusive line of criticism along the way — the insinuation of self-indulgence or whimsy, lack of commitment or direction.
For someone whose priority is a sense of freedom, whatever that means to them, this may easily sow seeds of doubt in the mind. What say we to the naysayers?
Yesterday I walked past a bookstore and saw this sign. It reminded me of how much I loved the simple yet infinite wisdom of Dr Seuss as a kid — a wisdom that still resonates today.
Written by guest blogger Wendy Millyard.
Dig deep and you’ll see your path but you’ll never be able to see where it leads. That’s what makes the first step so exciting.
Everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten and encouraged to let their imagination run wild. The crayons quickly get replaced with uninspiring textbooks, numbing routines and implanted goals. After all the efforts of shaping us have ceased we start to retreat back to who we really are and listen to that voice in our heads telling us, 'I'd like my crayons back, please.’
Inspired by a quote by Hugh MacLeod.
Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
Ever feel like you’re living two lives? The one you’re living and the one you're not living but constantly think about.
Wanted to share an article that really got me thinking. It's written by a nurse who reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds.
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.
I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Manydeveloped illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way,you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness
By Sina Anvari
Lets pretend it’s new years 2020 and you’re living a life similar to the one you’re living today. Will you be happy? For most people the answer is no because we are always in pursuit of something bigger. It can be financial success, build a family, to make our mark on the world or to be well traveled.
Luckily, as human beings, we are all creators. We create the bridge between where we are and where we want to be. We create the opportunities we don’t have. We create the courage we’re lacking. We create our own happiness, fulfillment and freedoms.
I hope that you’ll use 2014 to build your desired future. Let the creator in you work miracles.
“The resistance” is that voice inside your head that says “stop!” whenever you're about to do something challenging and important. This results in indecision, procrastination, or paralyzing doubt. In other words an impenetrable wall. When we’re standing face to face with the wall it’s easy to come up with a long list of excuses as to why we should walk in the other direction. But when we choose to walk away we quickly encounter another wall. Until one day we find ourselves in a confined, hopeless place; far away from the freedom we were capable of creating.
So how do you break through an impenetrable wall? By understanding that the wall is a figment of your fear and doubt; it does not exist. You created it by listening to that voice inside your head that said “don’t do this!”. But that voice is often a sign that you MUST do it. The resistance is a green light disguised as a stop sign. When you feel doubt, fear or vulnerability it often means that what you’re thinking about doing holds meaning and must be explored.
So instead of fighting the resistance, you should seek it. If you never feel it then maybe you’re living too safe and consequently below your potential. Maybe you’ve found contentment in mediocrity and staying within the boundaries of your comfort zone has become acceptable. The problem with living this way is that if you abide by the walls, they’ll slowly start closing in. Living too safe is dangerous.
To live a life that is truly unbound, we must commit to the frightening act of exploring our capabilities and shining a light on what makes us unique.