For 12+ years, I had the idea and vision in the back of my mind to travel the world. Back in high school, I took on as many languages that I could because the study of the languages and cultures fascinated me – people that lived very differently than I was familiar with and spoke just as differently, too.
Ever since I can remember, I have had a fascination with understanding people. It’s a big reason I ask so many questions to anyone around me – I thoroughly enjoy exploring to understand. And, most, if not all of the time, people respond pleasantly – who doesn’t want to feel valued and talk about themselves and their thoughts, desires, and why they do what they do?
Taking the plunge into travel last year was exhilarating. With just a backpack full of what I’d hoped would be enough resources and clothing to last me 2 weeks while trekking around a bit of the country, I ventured out. Solo. Well, I had help. This was a pilot test. And I have some good friends that moved to the country about a year ago, so, I had assistance in getting acclimated before venturing out.
The timing, although I am usually an instant-action person, was perfect. Had I taken this trip just one year earlier, I would not have appreciated the value of it as I had. Much of my learning over the past year entailed unlearning a lot of prejudices that I adopted throughout my 20s. Books like Paolo Coehlo’s The Alchemist, and Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and The Five Levels of Attachment facilitated much of that. I left the US just days after what seems to be the biggest dissention within the country since the Civil War – the 2016 presidential election. I saw the attachments that people on both sides of politics, and I decided that I would rather keep my peace and my friends regardless of what they voted for or not. I’ve applied the same principle in my spiritual or religious beliefs. Not everyone needs to believe what I believe, and I don’t, really, either. Life is rather fluid, and what serves a person at one time may not serve them at another. Life evolves. Needs evolve. Finally, it’s not my job to tell someone else what they need or need to be doing or not doing.
I’d rather help guide others into trusting themselves and finding their own solutions – a type of facilitator of such things. I’ve experienced that we, as individuals, generally know much more than we give ourselves credit for, and if we trusted that beautiful inner guidance that we feel from time to time, untouched by external societal rules and regulations or the need to perform or please anyone but our own peace of mind, perhaps the entire world would be a better place.
In terms of the division and contention within the US, I think that everyone can agree that the tension shouldn’t be quite so .. relationally destructive. . That goes for the smallest units of relationship, say, a partner/spouse, to the largest ones, like, the entire world.
I’ve had a lot of fun evolving the things that I choose to believe within myself. It’s empowering. It’s a responsibility I believe we all should take if we see it and are aware of it. These beliefs are internal – the ones we hold about who we are, our own self-worth, and then, external – how others and the world around us should be, or accepting it as it is and working with it, being the truest version of ourselves – bringing that to the table for everyone to share in the gloriousness of it.
How can we truly understand another until we have “walked a mile” (or a few hundred) in their shoes? How can we judge another based on the small window of what we see through the lens of our own experiences and perceptions?
Ghandi had it right: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It starts with each one of us. If we believe the world is unfriendly, we will find our references to support it, and won’t stop until we have that verification. Then, we perpetuate it. We add to the problem we are complaining about. On the other hand, if we develop a belief that the world is friendly and a good place, we will find like references to support that belief. Then, we will perpetuate that. Friendliness attracts and begets more friendliness, and vice-versa.
Again, it starts with us.
I believe in envisioning the future we would love to see for ourselves and the world around us. I believe it is a beautiful thing to be on a journey of self-development and growth that challenges us and increases our value not only to our own selves in the form of happiness, peace, and joy, but to all those around us, in our homes, in our workplaces, our communities, and beyond.
What’s the future you have held in the depths of your mind for so long? What is your vision? To be fully healthy, in every area of your life? To be happy? To feel fulfilled? Purposeful? Alive? To venture into the career you’ve always dreamed of? To start that non-profit that you’ve always wanted to do? What are your variables? What is important to you in your heart? Don’t discount one ounce of it. I believe it’s all in there, begging for your attention, for a reason.
How can you touch your vision? I touched another part of mine by taking the plunge into the unknown and beginning my travel adventures. It was both scary and worth it. With this experience now, I feel I cannot revert back to putting it back on the shelf and putting it off. It was absolutely an enlivening and awakening experience.
What can you do today to take you one step closer to what you really want in your life? Start there. It can be as small (although not actually small) as simply allowing yourself to consider the possibility again.