Two years ago, I would not have thought that my life would take me where I am now. I am nursing, not as a career, but as a volunteer, writing professionally and creatively, living in Honduras, speaking in Spanish more than English, and all together, living a more fulfilling and enjoyable life. Want to learn how to quit your own job and travel the world for a year while pursuing your dreams? Check out the first of a series of my articles on traveling the world for a year without a job at Endless Trek Magazine.
I have been doing a lot of thinking about my travels this past year as it is almost my one year anniversary after leaving my job in the states to start a new path within my life journey. I wrote this poem before my travels contemplating the duality and complexity we create as humans that makes everything so muddy. Clarity seems to come when we finally decide to sit still and let the mud settle to the bottom, an image I will always remember from meditations at Dzogchen Beara in Ireland. I have come back to daily yoga and meditation practice, and it is amazing how much it helps me focus myself in such a way that life just flows easier allowing me to see things as they come together instead of separate. In life, humans are constantly defining and categorizing things, myself included, all in an attempt to better understand them, but it is interesting how this black and white way of looking at the world that is supposed to provide clarity only actually does if things fit into the black and white mold. When they don’t, people get upset because they don’t feel they have the tools to understand these foreign models of life that don’t mirror what life is supposed to look like. As a result, instead of reaching beyond the black and white, people have a tendency to dismiss what they can’t understand based on their standards of right and wrong. Whether the standards of black and white and right or wrong are religious, race related, familial, cultural, political, or superstitious, they very apparently separate people from understanding the truth and beauty in those people and things they cannot understand or define. It becomes very clear to me that desire to have everything fit into a mold is one of the biggest factors in our suffering as human beings.
The Obvious Choice
“He was unacceptable to the infinite bright blankness, the clarity without edge which only selfishness fears.” ~ Lanark
Restless in calm stability
Confused amongst endless possibility
Is freedom to choose
Only a barrier to simple truth
Is the obvious choice
Really the right one
What makes it obvious?
If I am restless,
It is obvious I must free myself from that which holds me back.
If I am confused,
It is obvious I must ground myself.
Perhaps, I should do the opposite
Obvious choice is subjective to situation
Will going against the flow
Choosing what appears less obvious
Will the less obvious become obvious once the path is chosen?
Perhaps, I am restless because I am confused
I am confused because I am restless
The dissatisfaction comes from the desire to be satisfied
Are they not all one
How do I choose an obvious path when indeed it is not obvious?
Laughable this life we try to lead
The complexity we create out of simplicity
The grass is always greener.
The beauty will be found when it can be seen in the ugly
Peace will find us when we can see it waiting amongst the war within
Destiny is found when choice becomes fate
The obvious choice becomes the less obvious.
A man running, a gun shot, life stops for a moment, then starts again. A new shirt, the blood stained one discarded in another life, he keeps running, only to be shot again. Will he ever get where he is trying to go? Is he running away from something or towards something? It seems that his efforts are futile. History continues to repeat itself. Is this not the sad story of all humans? Our past is always chasing us and our future is always leaving us behind. It is only when he stops and emotion takes over that the now becomes the key to this madness. Anger, sadness, joy, passion. The animal within lets loose, a cacaphony of colorful sound vibrates through the floor. A desire to reach out to honest beauty raises timid fingers to feel connection. She touches my hand through a water barrier, but her eyes tell me we are closer than I have ever been with another human being. Her heart speaks to mine and I am free to dance, to embrace life and explore without inhibition.
I am intrigued at how much changes and yet is the same. We have four seasons of change, but they repeat themselves. We fight wars; we make peace, and then we do it all over again. In the book When the Past is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships, which is by David Richo, life is described as a spiral. We are either spiraling down, spiraling up, or circling the drain. We relive past experiences in current ones to try to fix what we could not in the last. Sometimes we just repeat, never seeing the pattern or perhaps ignoring it. In other cases, we may see but can spend a whole life-time trying to change.
I am about to embark on a travel adventure to see if a different environment can help me gain perspective. People can get so caught up in the routines of life that they are oblivious as they circle the drain or spiral down. The routine allows for a numbing of the conscience that does not require much thought or self-reflection. I was so stuck in a life of “what I should be doing” instead of really living. But it is never too late to follow childhood dreams.
When I was little, I used to tell my parents I was going to be a traveling missionary and ride a donkey around the world. Although the dream has transformed as I have, it is still there. Today, it takes the shape of living a minimalist existence while exchanging life’s lessons with strangers, using nursing skills to help other’s find beauty in suffering, and sharing what I have learned through writing. Life is too short not to follow my dream, not the medias’, not my families’ or friends’, and not even “the dream” that comes from my own expectations of self and society, but my own dream, without expectations and knowing that it is mine.