Almost a week ago, I posted this picture to my social networking profile.
It’s caption read: “Post-work commute anyone?”
Barely more than a week before I took this photo, I relocated to Colorado to work at a mountain resort for the winter – not something I would’ve guessed was in the cards just a few months ago. But why not?
After riding the GDMBR and then taking part in the Mototaxi Junket, this move seems tame by comparison. But I still consider it to be an adventure. This was the first time I had moved to a different state, and to a place where I knew no one. Why not? That’s the spirit of adventure.
One of the people who commented on the photo said they loved that I was out there “looking for adventure while looking for [my]self … “
Yes, I am looking for adventure … that has become something of my modus operandi. However, this adventuring has nothing to do with “finding myself.” That was something I got out of my system some time ago.
See, finding yourself implies that you’re searching for something within yourself. Searching feels like an eliminatory process … a limiting process. And the word itself — “search” — has such a passivity to it, a desperation — like a failed attempt.
If the search was successful, people would speak in the past tense and say “found” or “discovered.” To search is just to continue the failure. This is why I’m not searching, but creating …
For me, adventuring has become the means by which I create myself. Intentionally doing something I’m not comfortable with is how I ensure I’m taking an an active role in my own personal development – thereby creating myself (and — I’d like to think — a pretty interesting life at the same time).
So … my recommendation: forget looking, searching, discovering (etc.) yourself. Just envision what you want to be and start creating yourself. You are an artist and your life has the potential to be your greatest work of art.
So yes, this winter is my current adventure … but instead of it being a way to find myself, it is instead the way in which I am creating myself.
Change … that’s the key.
I sat amidst some ruins — adjacent to the Inca trail —looking out over Machu Picchu, and hoping for a change. The cool stones pressed against my back provided some relief from the hot sun as my shade continued to shrink. My camera stood on the wall above me, with a bird’s-eye view. I was creating a time-lapse of the scenery and though the view was incredible, I didn’t have high hopes for the time-lapse — there just wasn’t enough change. The sun was too bright, the clouds moving too slowly. There was no change, the element that drives the time-lapse — if nothing in the frame changes, you’re just staring at a picture …
It occurred to me that life is the same. Our memory isn’t perfect, so all we’re left with at the end of our life is just single frames … single frames aligned in a sequence, just like a time-lapse. Think of looking back over your life though. If the single frames are all the same, wouldn’t you get bored with the video?
Change is what makes things interesting. Change is dynamic … Change is different … Change encourages growth … Change is adventurous … Change adds more interesting frames to our time-lapse.
This isn’t to say we should – or have to – make drastic changes. The whole appeal of time-lapse is seeing subtle changes sped up, presented to us more obviously, more noticeable. So if you think you can’t change, you’re wrong. A gradual change today might look like an immense change 20 years from now.
It’s all about your perspective and what you want your personal time-lapse to look like. So what kind of frames do you want to see in your time-lapse?
Destiny is not a matter of chance — it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for — it is a thing to be achieved. — William Jennings Bryan
We learn wisdom from failure much more that from success. We often discover what sill do by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery. — Samuel Smiles
I’m beginning to notice that Fear is a common thread in my writing. This isn’t because I feel I’m somehow above it… rather, it’s because I contend with it everyday. Addressing it directly is how I fight it and reading my own writing has revealed to me just how often Fear and I come to blows.
I’ve only just now realized my perception of fear might be a bit strange. When I think of Fear, I see a dark figure – featureless, faceless. But still it manages to communicate its standoffishness. It reminds me of Peter Pan and his shadow: separate but the same, apart but undivided. But my dark shadow isn’t friendly… and certainly not as rambunctious. It stalks my every step and darkens all that it glides across.
I hadn’t realized how anthropomorphic my perception of fear had become until writing this.
So today, I want to explore Fear from a different perspective. I want to put aside this dualistic view I’ve constructed and try to remember that Fear is a part of me. It originates from me… it presents itself within me… it is within me that I experience it. Fear is just one of my faces.
Accepting this gives me an added power over it. Instead of constantly having to battle with it, I can turn my back on it. How?
You can either live reactively or proactively.
If you’re living reactively, you’re only ever responding. You receive a stimulus… you react. Another stimulus… another reaction. You aren’t really in control – it’s the stimulus that’s in control; it’s the one that determines what you do.
This is a part of our nature. The fight-or-flight response is deeply engrained and way past the bounds of conscious control. And our fear response – pupils dilated, heart and respiratory rates increased, blood redirected toward the muscles – that is best for these situation because it puts us on the defensive. It makes us ready to react. So living reactively is really embracing fear and telling it to take the reins.
But, you can also live proactively. You can be the stimulus to which you react. This puts you in the driver’s seat, this gives you some amount of control over your situation. From this side of living, it’s hard to be fearful… it’s hard for the fight-or-flight response to take over… that is not the reaction your body has to itself. When you live proactively, you put fear aside.
I’m not saying you can have complete control. But I think you can get a handle on your fear… just enough of a grip to not let it control you. You just need to be proactive.