Monday, December 10, 2012

Letting Go

Every fall the leaves transform into shades of yellow, orange, and red in one grand finale before taking a bow and twirling slowly to the ground. It is their fate. As the seasons change and winter begins to blow in on the wind, the trees have to let go of the leaves. If they don't, there will be no room for new growth in the spring. It's not that the trees want to lose their leaves, but those leaves have surved their purpose and the trees have faith that by letting go of the things they can no longer support, new and healthy leaves will come back in the spring when the conditions are right and the tree will be stronger and more beautiful than ever.

People change with the seasons. Emotions tied to relationships, goals, activities, challenges, and past events change in accordance to what season it is. When those emotions become painful and confusing they have to be let go of to find peace with in. Letting go doesn't mean that those things don't mean anything anymore, it just means that holding on to something sometimes takes more energy than letting go. The only way to grow is to let go of the painful and confusing and make room for new and positive changes to occur. The things that really mean something will come back in some form or another when the timing is right.

Friday, November 30, 2012

If you had the option, would you choose to see the end of your story?

A few weeks ago I was asked the question, “If you had the option, would you choose to see the end of your story?" My immediate response was no, I would rather not know. Knowing the ending would confine me to a single state of living with an out of context view of where my life is going to end up.  I want to live my life in faith that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

After digging into the question a little deeper, I came to the conclusion that I've never been one to read the end of a book first, so why would that be any different for my life. The suspense that occurs in the plot is what keeps me reading a book, not the ending. The story could have the perfect ending; the princess gets the prince, the good guy wins the fight, or the expedition team reaches the summit, but none of that matters if the plot isn’t interesting. If there is no learning, conflict or struggle, the ending has no depth and it’s just an event that occurs.

I get bored with stories about a character where everything just magically happens to them and they never have to challenge themselves; the stories where a girl meets a boy and they live happily ever after or a person walks up Mt. Everest with no training or difficulty or where a millionaire wins the lottery. Those aren’t stories I want to read. The stories that keep me reading are those with conflict; the stories where the main character is faced with challenges and makes some sort of transformation while overcoming those challenges.

The conflicts and challenges I’ve faced haven’t been my favorite parts of my story, but they have given my life more depth and meaning. When I reach the end of my story, whether the ending is tragic or happy, I want the story to mean something and be worth reading. If we choose to accept life’s challenges, we will evolve and our story will be meaningful. It’s like we live our lives in a spectrum of light. Life without challenge only allows for learning and movement in a few colors, but those who are faced with challenges and overcome those challenges move between all of the colors and have a deeper understanding of the spectrum of life. Life's meaning can’t be understood by seeing the ending of the story first, it must be experienced and challenges must be overcome.



Friday, October 26, 2012

For the wanderers, the dreamers, and the searchers

Adventure fuels the fire in my soul. I thrive off of constant motion and new experiences and I have an uncontrollable urge to wander and to search for life’s ultimate secrets. Every new experience provides an opportunity to discover something new about myself or the mysterious inner workings of how the world works. I live for the search. I have at least a hundred dreams all scribbled down on scraps of paper contained in an old painted jam jar that I take with me where ever I go to remind me of all the things I want to get out of life. I also grab on to any opportunity to experience new things and new places with other searchers. There is always something to be learned from other people who feel that same fire in their soul. My own mind is only capable of formulating one perspective of thoughts and ideas, so having the right people to share an experience with can make it so much more enjoyable and can give it more depth.

I let the wind be my guide. I go whatever direction there is passion or curiosity, whether it’s alone or with others. I’m not committed to a single direction because when I’m not attached to where I want to end up, I’m not limited by my imagination and anything can, and always will, happen. I move quickly. I get what I need out of an experience and then continue the search, finding a new place to explore and new people to learn from and share experiences with.

As much as I thrive off of adventure, making progress in the search is about having experiences and then taking time to reflect on what was learned from those experiences. In the moment of all the action it’s hard to define what you’re learning. The mind is focused on other things. In most circumstances that knowledge is brewing but doesn’t become solid until after the experience has past. To get something more than superficial knowledge from the experience, there has to be some sort of processing time. Sometimes I get so caught up in the adventure side of life I forget to pause and take that time.

When they first occur, I dread the pauses. They’re usually unplanned and hit me like a brick in the face. They knock me to the ground and leave me with the anxiety of getting stuck and I feel unproductive. It takes time before I realize that this period of non-motion is the reflection time I need to gain the most out of life and the experiences I’ve had. It turns out that I learn the most during the pauses. Just because I’m not exploring the world doesn’t mean I’m not exploring something. For me, life is more than just having tons of experiences and sometimes I forget that because the adventures are so exciting. They fuel me, but when I don’t take time to reflect, I feel as though I’m wandering aimlessly and I’m not completely content with that. The experiences need to be significant and not just a check off the list. I need to live life and search for a deeper meaning. The pauses help me do that.

So for the wanderers, the dreamers, and the searchers, let passion and curiosity be your guide. Explore life, keep other searchers close, and juice the pauses. When movement isn’t an option, read, journal, reflect, research and start blowing those embers in all direction until the wind picks up and the fire starts again. The wind will eventually pick up and take you where you need to go. Although the pauses can be the hardest times to settle in to, they are so beneficial. Wandering is the way we discover the world, but getting lost in thought is how we discover ourselves. Both are needed to make progress in the search to understand life. Don’t ever give up the search.

Friday, September 21, 2012

“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But hey are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they are there.” –Paulo Coelho

Wet rock. Slipping. Rolling. Caught. Alive? I couldn’t feel my arm. It was just dangling there lifeless, wedged between my heavy backpack and a huge granite boulder. Was it still attached? 127 hours immediately flashed into my mind. I started to scream. How did this happen?

An Alaska adventure had been brewing for months between Nick and I, and it finally became a reality when we boarded a ferry in Bellingham that was Juneau bound. Little planning had gone into the trip, but things kept working out in our favor. 2 days later after an amazing trip filled with whale sightings and beautiful scenery the ferry docked in Juneau. We made a quick decision to board the ferry leaving in 15 min for Skagway where Tink was working with SAGA on the Chilkoot Trail, a scenic 33 mile epic former gold rush trail into British Columbia. The trail seemed like a must do while we were in SE Alaska and since Tink was already up there it was a great excuse to see her and to hike the trail.

Upon our arrival in Skagway, we headed straight for the trails office in hopes that there would be some permits left for the next day (they only give 50 out a day). I was our lucky day. No permits were required for the trail in September. The down side was that the train was no longer running from BC back to Skagway. That gave us a couple of options; the first was we could hitch hike back to Skagway and the second was we could hike the trail out and back. We decided to go with the later. The guy working in the office was super helpful and told us that when he did the radio check in with SAGA that evening he would let them know that we would be making our way up the trail the following day so Tink would know to expect us.

After picking up a map, we took a shuttle to the Dyea campground at the trailhead. The views from the campground were amazing, so I was anxious to get on the trail and see the scenery to come because I knew it was going to get even better. The next morning we stashed our extra stuff (food, clothes, phone, ect) in a bear box and started our 13 mile hike in to Sheep Camp. At mile 8 we found Tink and stopped for a couple of hours to hang out with her. We tried to convince her to come with us, but unfortunately she had to stay and work so we made our way on without her. After our night at Sheep Camp, we made our way to the golden staircase. From Sheep Camp it was 4 miles to the top of the staircase and then another 4 to Happy Camp. The trail to the staircase wasn’t bad, but the staircase itself was intense. It was neither golden nor a staircase. It was a scramble up a practically vertical boulder field. Basically the entire 3000 ft of elevation that the trail gained was in that ¼ mile.

The difficulty was totally worth it once we reached the top and got a view of BC. There were high snow capped peaks surrounding us and glacial lakes splashed across the tundra. It was breathtaking. The hike from the top of the pass to Happy Camp was my favorite part of the trail. It was so beautiful. To make the experience even better, Nick and I decided to jump into one of the lakes. It was raining out and it was so cold, but it so worth it. At Happy Camp, it rained hard all night, but finally by morning it started to let up. I was a little anxious as we were leaving because we were turning around and heading back down the golden staircase. I wasn’t sure how that was going to be with a pack on.

By 10:30 am we had made it the 4 miles to the top of the pass and were making our way past the warming hut to the staircase. When we were about 5 minutes away from the hut the accident happened. The combination of slippery rocks from all of the rain the night before and my disturbed depth perception caused me to lose my footing. I slipped and rolled until my pack caught me face down in between 2 larger boulders. I was only a few feet away from my entire body smacking against the granite. There was an immediate feeling of relief that I was alive, but then I saw my left arm dangling there with no feeling in it, shock overcame me. I started to panic. Nick, who was a few yards ahead of me, heard my calls of distress and rushed over.

I started crying and apologizing for ruining our trip. I felt horrible. He immediately tried to calm me down and I was able to pull myself together and somehow get out from where I was stuck. Nick began to examine me and it was clear that I was conscious, I hadn’t hit my head and I wasn’t bleeding, but my arm was in bad shape. Any time I moved it I could feel the bone in my upper arm move accompanied by gruesome crunching and popping. It was the most intense pain I have ever felt. My arm was unmistakably broken.

Nick helped me get my pack off and then put my arm in a sling with some of his extra clothes. He was staying completely calm and had already come up with a plan of action. He told me that he would help walk me to the warming hut, he would come back for our packs, and then hopefully there would be a radio in the hut that we could use to call for help. It was a slow and painful walk to the hut, but thankfully we we’re too far away.

Once we were in the hut, I sat down and Nick went to go get our packs. He was only gone for about 10 minutes, but it felt like hours. Still slightly in shock from the accident, I was freaking out. All of these scenarios of something bad happening to him while he was away kept flashing through my mind and I noticed that there was no radio. I forced some crackers down in hopes that it would help calm me down and finally he returned. Although there was no radio in the warming hut, there was a ranger cabin only a few hundred yards away, so we were hopeful that there was a radio there.

Nick went to check it out and when he returned he told me that there had been an interesting development… the cabin was locked. He told me not to worry because it was on his bucket list to break into a building and this was a great legitimate reason to do so. A few minutes later, after he had pried the window of the ranger cabin open with a shovel, he came back with a sat phone and used it to cal for help. He was having a hard time getting through so he moved outside and then eventually lost the call. He came back in and explained the situation to me and said that he was going to go to the ranger cabin to try the radio instead. I asked him to take me with him (there was no way I was going to wait by myself) and we moved to the ranger hut.

It was a good move. There were lawn chairs and a propane heater. Nick set me up with my sleeping bag in a lawn chair next to the heater and then got on the radio and gave dispatch our information. They said that they sent a ranger from Sheep Camp up to us and he would be there shortly. Then we waited. Nick made me tea and I ate a PB & J tortilla. I was still scared, but at least I was warm, fed, and had shelter.

We had just settled in and we heard rustling outside. It was way too soon for the ranger to be there, so I was confused as to who it could be. With a burst of cold air the door swung open and a Canadian couple walked in. The warming hut had been too cold for them so they decided to come to the ranger cabin to see if it was any better. When they walked in and felt how warm it was, they didn’t want to leave. They asked what we were doing hiding out in the cabin and we explained the situation to them. It didn’t even phase them. They brought out their lunch and went on about how they had been heli-evaced once after a car accident. It was a little awkward, but a distraction from our situation. Before they left, they did give me some extra strength Advil for the pain and assured me that the ranger coming up was “a handsome young man with a beard” who would be able to “carry me out on one shoulder.”

Only an hour and a half after they sent him, the ranger from Sheep Camp arrived. He immediately apologized because he had wanted to get on the radio and introduce himself (Kyle) and let us know he was coming rather than us hearing about the mysterious “213” heading up the mountain via radio chat. He got all of my information and made a more official sling for me and then worked on trying to get a helicopter up to the pass to get me out and .made it his mission to make sure I was as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, the fog was settling in even more thickly. There were helicopters from both the US side and the Canada side attempting to fly in to the pass, but the visibility wouldn’t allow for them to get too close. It even started to snow, which really made it look like we weren’t going anywhere. By 4 pm it was clear that we were going to have to stay the night.

I was so scared about what was going to happen to my arm and being trapped in the cabin, but Kyle assured me that there were plenty of options and they would get me out the next day. Dispatch had also passed on the message that there were 2 doctors hiking the trail and they would be making their way over the pass early the next day, which was a comfort. Since we weren’t going anywhere that night, we decided to make the best out of a bad situation. While scavenging the cupboards Kyle had found packets of Indian food and Nick had found the ingredients to make Naan bread, so we decided to make an Indian feast. Even though I was in a lot of pain, the evening ended up being really fun. Kyle was a great guy to be around and an awesome person to talk to. I was really glad that it was him that they had sent to help because he made what could have been a horrifying experience, an enjoyable one.

After eating our delicious Indian meal, I finally felt like lying down and trying to sleep. Kyle had made me a nice bed in one of the bunks in the back. It took both Nick and Kyle to help me lie down, but once I did I was so much more comfortable than when I was sitting. To put me to sleep, Nick volunteered to read my book to me (Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac). He read for a while and then got tired and was going to stop, but then Kyle volunteered to take over. They alternated reading to me until I fell asleep.

After the longest night ever with barely sleeping at all, morning finally came. I heard Kyle get up and get on the radio. The conditions for getting a helicopter in were looking good and by 8:30 they were able to land at the pass. I was getting out! Nick packed our bags and Kyle put on my shoes (giving me a foot rub in the process). They wrapped me up in some blankets and then we made our way to the helicopter. Kyle told us that even though it wasn’t under the best circumstances, he was glad it was us he got to hang out with. He also said that if we were ever in Skagway we had a place to stay and he would take us out to dinner. It was sad saying goodbye to him.

Once I got in the helicopter, the experience from there on out was chaotic and stressful. The helicopter ride was less than fun. The fog was setting in again and the visibility was horrible. I was terrified the entire ride that we were going to crash and then when we landed I was immediately loaded in the ambulance and had no idea where I would be going. Kyle had seemed to think they would take me to Whitehorse in Canada, so I got really freaked out because Nick wasn’t in the ambulance and I didn’t know where he was or when I would see him again.

It was a short freak out because about 2 minutes later they unloaded me at the Skagway Clinic. Right away they took X-rays. All of the paramedics from the ambulance as well as the nurses had to get a look. They were all really impressed by the break, but at that point I couldn’t look at it. The doctor, Lynne, decided that since the break was so intense I needed to see a specialist and because she was so worried about the swelling, I needed to be flow out immediately. Her reaction really freaked me out. By the way she was acting I was sure I was going to lose my arm if I didn’t get help immediately, which made the rest of the day even more stressful.

At that point, I was finally reunited with Nick. He looked at the X-rays for me and told me that it was broken in multiple pieces and then called my mom (the only number I knew was my home phone and luckily she happened to be there) and explained the situation to her. I was in no state to try and explain things to her. He did such an amazing job of calmly laying out the situation for her. The doctors were so impressed that they wanted to hire him on to make all of those kinds of calls.

Lynne then began to work on trying to get me med-evaced out. Unfortunately, no med aircrafts were leaving with the weather, so she decided we would have to fly commercially to Juneau. The nurse dropped us off at the airport, we checked in, and the lady at the counter took our backpacks. We waited for a while and then realized that the plane had left without us. They loaded our packs and while we finished checking in the plane flew off. The next fight wasn’t for another couple of hours and at that point time we didn’t want to waste any more time. Nick flipped out on them and told them it was a medical emergency and it was not OK that they had left us. He called Lynne and she worked on another option.

In the mean time, a park service law enforcement ranger had tracked down our stuff that we had left in the bear box, so now I had my phone. Lynne was able to charter us a helicopter and we flew out a half hour later.

Juneau was hands down the most horrible part of the experience. When we got to the hospital, they had no clue that they were suppose to be expecting me. Two different people had to get my information and then we were informed that no rooms were available so we would have to wait in the waiting room. I lost it and started to go into shock again. I was in so much pain and was under the impression that I needed to go into surgery immediately or I would suffer permanent damage in my arm and the fact that none of that mattered to them sent me over the edge. Nick tried to comfort me and then finally after waiting for about half an hour a room opened up. The nurse felt horrible for me and immediately stuck me on hardcore pain killers. It was then that the doctor came in and told us that it would be better if I went back home for surgery because it would be easier to be in a place that I could keep going back to for follow-ups. He said he had gotten a hold of my doctor in Flagstaff and I could just show up Monday morning and they would figure out what would happen next (so not true… my doctor had no idea I was coming).

After all the stress we had been through that day about getting me immediate care, they were just going to send me home and then it would be another couple of days until I would find out what they were going to do about my arm. It was a little aggravating. All I wanted was answers and I felt like I was being passed off to be someone else’s problem

After that Nick and my mom worked on getting our flights changed from the 18th to the next morning. We had booked flights a few weeks earlier from Juneau to Seattle where the plan was to pick up my car which was parked at Naomi’s apartment and since that wasn’t going to happen they were able to switch our tickets if we upgraded to first class. We decided that Nick and I would both fly to Seattle and then he would stay and pick up my car (which contained all of my personal belongings) and drive it to Portland where it would sit at my cousins apartment until we figured out a way to get it back to me and I would continue on to AZ.

That we stayed the night in this “hotel” that was attached to the hospital. I was an emotional wreck. I felt like I was being a burden on everyone and I was so mad at myself for ruining our trip and guilty that Nick had to take care of me rather than be out having adventures. Neither of us slept well that night. The next morning Nick called a cab and we made our way to the airport. When we got there Nick made me sit while he tracked down our backpacks from the previous day and got our boarding pass. He got me a wheel chair, which I was reluctant to use, but it ended up getting us to the front of the security line.

The plan was that once we got to Seattle, during my layover, Naomi would bring me a backpack with some of my stuff in it. Unfortunately, our flight had been delayed in Juneau so there wouldn’t be time for me to get through security and back in to catch my flight. Nick was going to wait with me, but Naomi was waiting to pick him up so he couldn’t stay. I don’t think he wanted to leave me, but he couldn’t keep Naomi waiting so we had to say goodbye. The second he left I burst into tears. How do you say goodbye to someone that you’ve spent almost every day for the past 8 months with and then are a huge part of this intense experience you’ve just gone through? I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. He had done so much for me and I couldn’t ask him to do anything else. I knew he had a life to start in Portland and I couldn’t keep him from that, but I really didn’t want him to leave me. I called my mom the second after he left to lessen the blow. While I was on the phone, Nick came back with chocolate, and that of coarse made me break down even more.

On the plane from Seattle to Phoenix I was a total wreck (I’m sure the guy sitting next to me was extremely uncomfortable). It wasn’t until I saw my parents at baggage claim that everything felt like it was going to be OK. I knew that the worst was over and I was finally able to relax. My doctors would take it from there.

Looking back at everything that happened I can’t help but think that this all happened to me for a reason. Too many things were in my favor that day and it was like I needed this to happen to push me in a certain direction or teach me something. Even though this was a traumatic experience and I did get an intense break in my humorous, there are no feelings of regret, pity, fear or anger. All I can express is gratitude because I’m alive and so many things went right- my pack caught me before my whole body smashed into the rocks, I didn’t hit my head, I broke an arm rather than a leg, we were close to shelter and a radio, NPS was still patrolling the trail (crazy enough it was their last day up there), both Nick and I had Wilderness First Aid training, and most importantly, I was with Nick. I have hiked by myself countless times and luckily this time I was with someone. What was even better was I was with someone who knew me well and knew how to respond to the situation. There were moments where I was so scared and he would make a funny face at me and make me laugh or I would be listening to the doctors and freaking out about the severity of the situation and I would look over at him and he would give me a nod that it was all going to be OK. He also took care of me. He held my wallet, insurance card, and passport, so I didn’t have to worry about anything. I can’t imagine going through this experience with out him. I don’t know what my next step is going to be after I’ve healed, but I plan on taking advantage of this down time to reflect on everything that happened to help decide which direction I want to go next. I do know that this experience won’t stop me from having more adventures and as soon as I’m able I will be back out exploring.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Right Pieces Just Fit

Life is a puzzle being completed sequencially from the outside in. Each experience is a puzzle piece and as time goes on the pieces gradually join together to form a complete picture. Sometimes it's obvious when pieces are missing so we go searching for them and they fall right into place. Other times we think we know what our puzzle should look like, but we end up searching for the wrong piece and when we find a piece that looks remotely like it will fit, we force it into the puzzle to try to fill some of the empty space.
It's funny how you think you need something but you really don't. There are times in my life when I'm so sure that a relationship is the missing piece I need to fill the void in my puzzleor connect all the pieces. I get antsy, wondering if I'm ever going to find that piece and end up forcing someone into the puzzle, who only patially fits. I convince myself that I need them to complete the puzzle and then get frustrated and resentful when things don't work out. I feel like if I don't have that guy the empty space will never be filled because there is no other piece that will fit.
After I stop convincing myself that I need to fill that space, I realize that a relationship is not the piece I'm looking for. The truth of the matter is my puzzle isn't even close to being complete and that void won't be filled by that one puzzle piece. That piece doesn't even have to be in place for me to be happy or complete. The feeling of being incomplete is just something that I have created in my mind. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to be gained and there are pieces that need to be put in place before that one will fit. I have my whole life to find where that one goes.
Meaningful relationships come when it's the right time, not when I think that's the piece that's missing from my life and convince myself to fall in love to fill the empty space. I think half of the time when I like some guy I am really looking for some kind of validation that I matter and that I'm needed. I want to be an essential piece to their puzzle that holds the other pieces together. It's painful wanting to matter to someone and not mattering, as well as exhausting trying to convince them they need me, when it's obvious that I don't fit into their puzzle. When it comes down to it, I shouldn't have to fight for love or convince anyone to love me. The right person won't need convincing. They will fit without force into my puzzle and me into theirs. When the timing is right, that puzzle piece will no longer be missing and there will be a puzzle I fit in to.

Balancing Opposites

Life is a constant battle between opposing forces. For every poitive experience there is a negative experience acting as a counterbalance. Love doesn't occur without heartbreak, happiness without saddness, strength without pain, resolution without conflict and success without failure. No one would chose heartbreak or failure because they don't feel good, but they are nessesary aspects of life. Without those experiences, life is only being lived to half of it's potential and a superficial understanding of the world develops. In the moment, it's natural to feel frustration, disappointment or even anger from a negative experience, but the mind is stronger than any physical force in the universe, so when peace can be found with the reality of the positive and negative experiences in life, all dimentions of the world can be discovered and a balanced life can be lived.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When the Sky Transforms

There is something magical about the early hours of morning when the sky shifts from darkness to light. After seemingly endless hours of darkness, the sun awakes from it's slumber and begins to creep up over the horizon, bringing light, warmth and life to the world and forcing darkness into hiding. During this brief moment in time, the sky is a beautiful explosion of color. Red, pink, and orange stain the sky as a gift for enduring the cold, dark hours of the night and offer a sign of hope for the sun lit hours to come. Everything begins to change after that moment; the stillness of the air begins to stir, birds begin to chirp, the frost begins to thaw and plump beads of dew begin to drip slowly off of the foilage and plop onto the soil. An instant ago the world was a lifeless and confusing place, now life and beauty have been restored to the world.

The sky shifts again in the evening. As the sun sinks behind the horizon, it says farwell by painting the canvas of the sky with deep shades of purple, orange and blue, leaving beams of light shining out through the clouds as a reminder of all the good moments that occurred during the day. Life begins to slow down and a chill in the air develops and tickles any exposed skin as the last traces of sun beams slowly retreat into darkness. In that instant, there is a feeling of peace and contentment for the day that has just drawn to a close.

Life is cyclical. Every period of darkness is followed by a period of light in the same way that periods of light will always be replaced by periods of darkness. For those who understand the cycle, life is filled with just the right mixture of light and darkness to prod us towards taking the path of self discovery. In darkness there is no light to guide us, so we are forced to look internally to highten our other senses and limit blindless scrambling. When the light returns, a new perspective on life and ourselves and a desire to soke in all the warmth and beauty of the day lit hours will have developed. Although both darkness and light are important to self discovery, the most beautiful moments in life are when the sky transforms. These moments are easily missed if time isn't taken to see them, but it is so important to take the time to embrace these wow moments. Those sudden, short lived bursts of color make life so much sweeter.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?" -Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

Everyone has to leave the place they grew up. The place that was home for so long can only provide the nutrients to support so much growth before the resources are used up, growth stops, and the spirit dries up. For some people that day comes quicker than for others, but in the end, everyone has to leave to develop themself.

Leaving is a rebirthing process. It's a chance to break free from the image people have created and to create themselves. Each new experience creates the individual and staying in the same location limits the amount of experiences a person can have, therefore limiting the development and depth an individual can attain. The repetetivness of having the same experiences over and over again dulls the sences. Changing the scenery forces life to be experienced in a whole new way, sharpening the feelings of joy or beauty experienced.

Staying in the same place provides a one sided perspective of the world. There is only so much of the world that is visible from home. To get an expanded picture, leaving has to occur. Leaving home turns ideas of the outside world into reality by revealing how things really are rather than how they are imagined to be. False perceptions of the world are then shattered and replaced with real knowledge.

Roots will always be in the place that a person grew up, and home will always be there to come back to, but to grow, change, and shine out, new places have to be discovered. The hardest part is making that first move of getting up and going. There are so many options and sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to pick which path to take. The thing to remember is that taking an unintended path will always take the follower to the place that they intended to be. In some weird and unexpected way, things will always work out, it's just a matter of taking that first step and leaving.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tripping and Not Falling

Tripping is an inevitable part of life. We all do it no matter how careful we're watching our step. A few months ago, I was chasing after a grandiose dream. The dream was ahead of me on a path that was long and full of obstacles, but I was focused, watching each step carefully, and I was able to hurdle over each obstacle that crossed my path. I was slowly but surely getting closer to the dream, but out of no where an obstacle came that was too big for me to hurdle over. I tripped over it and fell hard face first. I layed on the ground in shock for a while and when I finally shook off the fall, the dream was so far ahead of me I couldn't see it anymore. I tried get up and keep running after it, but I was like a deer in the headlights just standing there with no idea which direction to go and no idea where I was. It was devistating, because all I thought I had was catching this dream. Finally after a couple of weeks of feeling blind and panicked, I recovered, regained composure and got back on track. It wasn't the path I was originally on, but it was a temporary path that would keep me occupied until I found the dream again or another one came in sight. What I learned from the experience was that we have to train our reflexes to act quickly so that when we trip, we just stumble and catch ourselves before we fall, that way we can keep going, even if it's in a different direction than where we were going before. Quickening our reflexes will save us from a full on fall, which will limit the time spent in the panicked state. There will always be unexpected challenges and obstacles in life that we will have to face, but it is our reaction to the situation that will change the outcome. We can trip, fall on our face, and spend time motionless in the panicked state or we can train our reflexes to react quickly. This will transform a full on fall into a stumble that we can recover from quickly and keep going. Just because we trip doesn't mean that we have to fall.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012, The Year of Transitions

At the beginning of last year, I wrote in my journal that 2011 was going to be the year of exploration; exploration of self, exploration of love, exploration of foreign places, exploration of my limits and exploration of life. As it turns out, I was right in my prediction and 2011 was the year of exploration. I connected with myself and finally liked the person that was there, I was in a good relationship for most of the year, I went to Alaska and Hawaii, I pushed my comfort zone on many different occasions, and I found yoga and became completely immersed in the practice and philosophy as a way to better my life to understand life. After reflecting on the accuracy of this prediction, I wondered what 2012 should be termed as. I thought maybe movement, change or self discovery, but none of those seemed quite right. Then, it hit me. Transitions. 2012 is going to be the year of transitions; transitioning from my home town to new places, transitioning jobs to figure out where I want to be, transitioning away from the college life, and transitioning from plans to taking things as they come. Transitions are sometimes hard. They don't feel important. They feel like they're just a stepping stone to the next monumental segment of life and nothing can be gained from them. In actuality, even though transitions feel insignificant, they are some of the most important times in life. They are the times when we can reflect on the past and set up for the future. Transitions also connect our life's events to create a continuous sequence. Without them, life would be random events with no correlation to each other. It's easy to forget that every event builds upon what we have gained in previous events to create our lives, so it's important to be present in all the parts of it and not just the events we see as "monumental" to live a full life and gain everything that we can from it. Going into this year of transitions, I can expect that it will be difficult, but I don't want it to be a year wasted. I want to learn all that I can from every event, no matter how insignificant it seems at the time and fully embrace everything that is thrown in front of me. Life is too short to write off the transitions.