It’s been a month since I’ve been living in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica and wanted to write a nice long update about my adventures so far. But with so much footage and video work I’ve been doing lately, I thought it would be a better idea to complement my thoughts with visuals so you can see for yourself the beauty that is Costa Rica. In my pursuit of happiness, this is my journey to pura vida. Enjoy!
Posts Tagged Life
As I sit here in 37?C degree weather in an unopened, unoccupied desolate campsite in Quartzville, Arizona it is the first time since I started the California leg of this trip where I have found the opportunity to seclude myself and my thoughts to recollect all that has been seen and done on this trip. I knew before starting this adventure that I would grow as a person physically, mentally and emotionally. First, spraining my ankle on a down hike in Vancouver with a 40 pound backpack, and climbing the rest of the 8 km despite the pain. The journey continued from Canada into the States as a solo traveler, venturing into the world of the unknown and for some reason, initial perceptions of negativity prevailed. What I quickly learned, was that people are inherently good. I want to share a short story from the beginning of my trip.
A Short ‘Explosive’ Story
On the long bus ride from Vancouver to Seattle, for the most part I was largely comfortable with two seats in the aisle all to myself. Until we reached Mt. Vernon and man with longer tangled hair, wearing a loose fitting shirt, jeans (and while this all sounds normal), his arms were covered in grease holding a circular metallic contraption with both hands down in front of his abdomen. While this may well have been a regular site to see, as a lonely traveler this of course was a little intimidating. Of course, of all the empty seats around, he chose the one next to mine. To be honest, nothing about his demeanour was off-putting, but the way in which he carried the contraption hovered closely bundled next to his body, immediately sent mental thoughts eluding along the lines of “Bomb? Wtf!”. I caught myself mid thought and decided that this would be my first test towards understanding the world with loving perception and so I did. Jeremy, was a resident of Seattle and was the proud owner of a Peugeot, whose alternator broke down on him (hence why he was on the bus), and found the most reasonably priced part at the junkyard in Mt. Vernon. Of course, an alternator. We spent the next two hours talking about our own individual journeys in life and what I should go see in Seattle and just like that, I made a new friend. A smart friend once told me, strangers are friends you just haven’t met. And from that point on, I truly believe it.
Whether it’s the compassion for traveling souls with larger than life backpacks that has people turning their heads, the confused traveler with the day pack holding a map at each intersection or the fact that I might look just absolutely helpless when I am walking the streets of each city alone – I have had so many random encounters and interactions with strangers that have truly restored my faith in the human population. Walked into a T-Mobile store to get a new US SIM card in Seattle and spent the next two hours speaking with local sales rep, Sarah – who also happens to be a large Yelp user and foodie, and marked along all the restaurants and places worth eating and spending time at. While looking for a place to stay in Portland while at the Seattle hostel, another traveler heard I couldn’t find any hostel beds and suggested I look up his family friend for help in which he made the introduction immediately. In Portland, while traveling with my new Japanese friend Yas from the Seattle hostel, a local woman approached us asking if we knew how to get to our hostel and asked us if we needed any help finding it. In San Francisco, I met Luke Kilpatrick on Twitter months prior to my arrival and as soon as I arrived, helped me buy my new surfboard, took me to meet the shaper of my board and took me to surf three counties in three days. This is just a quick shortlist of all the amazing interactions thus far on this trip. What is most profound to me is that while people are inherently good and help is always a question away, most of us might not be as receptive to it as we think we are when a stranger approaches us. Let’s face it, we are all a little apprehensive when someone we don’t know starts speaking to us. But, when you’re traveling alone, you take all the help you can get and allow for these interactions to occur – and when they do, they usually make the highlight of your day.
[ Written on the Amtrak train from Portland to Sacramento. It is now 10:40 PM PST on Sunday August, 1st and after many days of thought processing, wandering journeys, turning strangers into friends and appreciating the fullness of everyday life, a message on Facebook to inspire me to continue ‘to seek, to strive & to find’ has me pouring these depths of my souls from such interactions into this. ]
Let me tell you about Johann. With the human mind that exists as the vessel that has propelled our society into the modernism we enjoy today, it is a wonder how the manifestation of thought can sometimes be the biggest challenge for this immensely powerful organ. Many times a day I feel restless, other days I feel at the height of mental stimulation with ideas so far along the horizon it is sometimes hard to contain and streamline into anything substantive. In my recent musings, I have a newfound obsession with Johann Gutenberg – the inventor, innovator, thought leader behind the printing press. I cannot imagine what the state of our society would come to without the gift of reading, the precious words without interference of characteristic writing and of course, the contribution in mass production for widespread consumption and equal opportunity. Despite how little history there is left of Johann’s legacy left on earth, I’ve been reading literary works that emphasizes in every case that he was a particular man of perfectionism, a man that wanted to make something of himself for the greater good, through his feelings of universal responsibility. Imagine being in a society where when you were told, “To love the world is to hate God. To create is to accept that God is not perfect, and God is perfect”. And through this he persisted. Johann Gutenberg was a man of the earth and through this gave himself little credit for the invention of the printing press in his name as it was his purpose on earth to create for all to use. I feel inspired and humbled by his journey he took to create one of the greatest inventions of our day through accepting failure and allowing a transient lifestyle to manifest into his visions. “To know what is in you, you must travel elsewhere”.
Removing the forest from our minds. And for this, I feel compelled to withdraw from the demons we have created within the forests of darkness that only exist within our minds. Prior to this leg of the journey, I sat in the kitchen hostel amid leaving the one nation I maintained as my breeding ground for the majority of my human existence, afraid and fearful of the unknown that bewilders beyond my adapted comprehension of said potential torment. While I know that fear was unwarranted, it is one that we ingrain deep within ourselves without cause and to understand the world without fear, is to live without reason. I made the decision to pursue the journey with myself because if the decision doesn’t make me the least bit nervous, then I am perhaps not making the right decision.
The human heart is inherently good. The core of human existence is human interaction, understanding and learning from one another to serve the purpose of your greater existence on earth united by our fears, our aspirations and our visions for a greater good. The only difference is when we try to create & manifest diversity. One of the greatest lessons so far on this trip has been the contestation of a menial, perhaps sometimes equally judgmental question that delves into qualifiers of a person’s life that comes so subconsciously when dealing with new interactions; yielding perceptions of income, residing location, lifestyle without first inquiring about other more conversationally relevant topics. Try meeting someone new and not asking them what it is they do for a career; instead ask what are their interests, what their hobbies are, what inspires them – notice the difference?
Just like that. I see the world in a completely different light, in my own voice, with my own eyes and through my own lens. Miscellaneous encounters of kindness have exceeded my programmed perceptions of society that exists by first impressions, instinctual judgements. My premonitions of potential fear have been unjust and rightfully so. The way I see it, I’ve renewed my outlook on life and given a second chance at humanity, with a greater capacity for unconditional love trading the boundaries of negativity for the fairness and gentility we all deserve to benefit from. And this I trust, can only be done when you are at the point of uttermost independence from the world you are accustomed to, forced to truly trust and believe in the power of sincere human interaction without profit. And to do so, you have to put your mind through the trials of mental and physical loneliness – heightening the voice and taking action to the voice within without the comfort and plague of physical distractions.
Life as a transient. To be fully happy, is to know that despite any circumstance I am satisfied. As a transient, I could not have been happier to travel from Toronto to Costa Rica on my own two feet and the clothes in my backpack. Every day is a day I wake up to appreciating the explorations of new cities, new people, new adventures, discovering lands of water that I feel most at peace with. Hostels are by far the greatest assets for any traveller; at the heart of each new location you are amongst strangers who are not only likely to be in the same situation you are, but will be able to share valuable information about the same travels they’ve encountered perhaps not too long ago. In the last few days, I’ve met more new people than I have chatted with old friends on Facebook, all over different parts of the globe united with the same purpose, in the same community of gaining worldly perspective and internal exhilaration.
We are 95% water, 100% life. A good friend once told me, the water is like a metaphor for life – it flows strong downstream and you can either be a log that flows with it or you can be the rock at the side letting it pass you by as you lie adamant. I want to be one with water, no matter the amount of ripples, the stream will continue to flow with me within it. My life as a solo journeywoman is one that allows me to appreciate the goodness of people, to discover the intricacies of life as we know it and define it within my own individual story of life – I don’t have a sense of temporary illusion of my reality that resists the truth of my life, this is my life and my journey towards ultimate fulfillment.
Bubble is such a funny word. If you say it a few times, you’ll realize that it really is a weird sounding word, it even looks weird. But we’re used to it – how it sounds, how it looks. Unless you say it over and over again – it’s exciting, maybe even funny sounding it makes you laugh. My life is a bubble. I am so used to it, I know exactly what is going to happen (most of the time) unless I take the time to spice certain things up then it becomes a funny sounding word. And then, I get used to it again. But it’s not entirely my bubble.
That’s how I felt.
So, when I first saw the trailer for The Lemonade Movie, I thought about what a great wake-up call that was for people who were not only let go during the recession but for people who were lucky enough to remain in their current jobs to perhaps take a step back to realize that a) your job is not a definition of who you are b) why wait for something to happen to you before you appreciate that life has no replay buttons. The greatest realization for me through this was that, you can try and try to fulfill the part of you that “wishes” you were doing something else while working that 9-5 that you may or (may not) love – but at the end of the day, that secondary or tertiary thing almost always takes a backseat to your current job that takes up at least 1/3 of your day and 2/3’s of your energy. In my last days at the ‘Soft before I made this decision to leave, I came back from my epic adventure thinking I could apply all the facets I longed for from that memorable trip into my current life – maintaining an active lifestyle, eating healthy, spending more time with people I cared about and meeting new people while sharing stories. In the first few weeks, it was easy. Until it was too easy to make excuses for why I wasn’t maintaining my habits – soon after, I was back in the daily grind succumbing to the demands of this fast-paced life – that being busy had little to no correlation to my visions of how I wanted to live.
I was so busy, I forgot what it meant to live.
After that realization, the only reassurance I had was perspective – the newfound perspective of a lifestyle that I desired; knowing I can and wanted to do more with the life I have because there IS so much more out there. Therefore without being restrained to a job, I now truly understand the people from the Lemonade Movie – it’s not about making time to do the things you love, it’s not about finding stability before taking chances, it’s not about waiting for the right moment to do something – it’s about these people being free from the bubble of importance we live in, finding that new perspective for things that matter to you and just doing them, without waiting for that pink slip.
“And Then What?”
I want to share a story from Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week. The ironic thing is that this book has been recommended to me quite a number of times but I never had the motivation to read it given I was already in a similar mindset. But this story was told to me by my good friend Alex Ikonn & it resonated with me because it speaks to all of us who work so hard every day without further thought into what we really want at the end of our lives.
The Fisherman Story, from the 4 Hour Work Week
American consultant was at a pier in a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied only a little while.
The consultant then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked the Mexican how he spent the rest of his time.
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”
The American consultant scoffed, “I am business consultant and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and, with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.
“You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”
To which the American consultant replied, “15-20 years.”
“But what then, senor?” asked the fisherman.
The consultant laughed, and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public. You’ll become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions, senor?” replied the Mexican. “Then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
Colleague and friend David Crow put it best, this move has me going from corporate web surfing across the world to “real surfing” and ironically as I searched the interwebs for the perfect picture to represent just that, I found this. Conversely, if Microsoft branded surfboards and wanted to sponsor my surfboard for this endeavor, I would be more than happy to replace this picture with that one & surf the coast on it with pride.
Now, this move from one surfing to another, although sounds fairly similar, I’ve isolated a few differences. The benefits of corporate web surfing are abundant in that you never really have to leave your desk, you can essentially surf the world at the comfort of your own home and enjoy the sights of the sea on your screen saver. Where “real surfing” as Jack Johnson so elegantly demonstrates in his music video for “You and Your Heart”, comes associated with dangers leading to dangerously healthy muscular tone.
Albeit, I welcome the challenge the invariable way of life I’ve grown accustomed to my entire life. If the world is my oyster, why am I only swimming in my backyard? The world’s a stage and yet I re-enact the same play over and over again, the one where I know that I will wake up, likely head to work, face a few rough patches leading to working late, head home, grab dinner on the way, check a few emails, walk the dog, check a few emails again, check Facebook/Twitter, watch some TV and then head to bed. Rinse and repeat.
Where’s the active lifestyle? </Insert gym time here>
Where’s the social interaction? </Insert coffee/dinner dates here>
Where’s the relaxing time? </Insert vacation here>
All of which are temporary instantaneous solutions to a much needed lifestyle change. For a short period, I will feel relived, productive, relaxed – then the cycle of spiritual destruction happens again. Kind of like that marketing campaign, with a band-aid solution to get you through to meet your metrics for the year and to get your compensation. In the end, you haven’t fixed a problem it’s still there, just underneath a pretentious solution to make it through to the next milestone until it occurs again. But, it’s still there.
I’m going to stop covering it up. I am going to search crevices deep and wide to find exactly what lies beneath to uncover the internal source of happiness, no matter the cost. I am transitioning from a life and career that are socially accepted and expected successful milestones in this part of my life to one that possess notions of uncertainty, unconventionality all of which my soul urges in hunger for in order to define this thing I call, life.
Word cloud generated by Wordle
But why surfing?
Because of this experience that has allowed me to realize the dynamic power when the human vessel is connected to the strength of our minds. Yet we treat our entire beings everyday like garbage cans – filling it with junk. Letting it overflow until we realize we need to empty it but then it’s too late. It’s attracted the skunks, the raccoons, the maggots that have rotten right over the canister becoming one. It is with this gory amplification needed to demonstrate that we treat our bodies & minds the same way, defining both junk in the foods we eat and the negative interactions that infiltrate our minds. It is for this reason, I am prioritizing the one life, the one body given to me, to a lifestyle that will equally harness the gifts we’ve been given inside & outside our souls to grant myself the ability to live my life in the fullness I aspire to.
And what that, I leave you with Matisyahu’s inspirational, One Day.
Let’s be honest and ask ourselves…
How many times have we sat at our desks, turned on our laptops or cell phones & mindlessly hovered over to the applications that pose no necessary importance or time sensitivity? How many times on weekends, vacations, essentially non work times do we check Facebook, Twitter or Email? Even when the interactions are not expected of us, we have a sense of dependence to maintain interactions with them. 95% of people on vacation check their email at least once, when we have a major deadline coming up, no matter how hard we try – it’s always a “quick check” of our online social spaces … Why?
How many times have we sat in conversations with others over drinks or dinner & while in mid conversation, mentally drift off into space thinking about who might be “poking” you on Facebook, responded to a tweet or maybe emailed you? Even when the person sitting across from us has taken the time to meet us with their physical presence, we value the surface level depth of conversation that is demanded of us in the virtual space. We’ve all done this before, and I’ve talked about this in a previous blog post as being “lost in artificial transactions” and somehow we manage to check the devices at least twice during the conversation … Why?
How many times have we met someone new, started a dating situation or even with lifelong friends have been unnecessarily frustrated over their slow instant message response time? Even when there is an ability to call, you send a text and expect the other person to respond in an appropriately instantaneous manner. Yet, if it was so important, we don’t call. We place so much emphasis on the instantaneous nature of text messages that we tend to check our screens several times over before we become so frustrated & value the relationship based on their instant messaging interactivity… Why?
There are more buttons here than on your face.
Jerry Seinfeld describes this scenario best with his interview on Conan O’Brien. “So is it true you don’t own a Blackberry? Oh no. I find that Blackberry people, their eyes, their pupils don’t focus… they always hold it in their hand, because that is what Blackberry commands them to do. And they listen to what you’re saying & they compare to what is on the Blackberry – which is more really more interesting here. I think there is more buttons here than on your face.”
But I’m Human in a Digital World.
At what point did our electronic devices become emotionally attached to our subconscious that requires more thought & attention than that of a newborn? When did we accept that the quantity of our online interactions were more important than the quality of our physical ones? And when did it become a negatively social practice to have delayed responses to text messages when there is no intention to place a phone call?
I’ve added the movie poster for the newly released theatre hit Avatar, because it sends a similar message in an awe inspiring way. A message about the beauty of a world so far from our advancement in technology; but when we watch this movie, we can’t help but be envious of the free spirited nature & connection with ourselves that the Na’vi possess – and for good reason.
But, it is because you are human that you possess the following qualities related to digital interactions – easily summarized in four e’s:
We all have a sense of ego: Showcasing status updates according to self defining tasks a day instils a sense of status, accomplishment, pride. Each time you update a status, a tweet, further enhances the image of reputation that you are coming to define – your virtual identity. Most times, these updates/posts possess little to no self deprecating commentary positioning the ego in a desirable state.
We aim to maintain our sense of existence: With increased abilities to become “famous”, leaving your mark on the digital world has become much more accessible with “Internet Celebritcism” according to your niche. Telling others what we are doing, not only documents our accomplishments appealing to our sense of ego, but ensures that we are not left out of the conversation, belonging to a community, essentially building our prominent virtual existence.
We want to exercise our abilities: Once we become accustomed to the routine of touching, checking, tapping, unlocking our phones, the habit then becomes just that. There may not be of any obvious reason (ie incoming text, call etc) but just the act of ensuring our phone continues to live online, “checks us into” the digital world & certifies that we are doing any necessary damage control if needed & are alive and well in that realm.
We live in a realm of digital ecstasy: At what other point in your life can you define how people perceive you? First impressions are based on your hand picked avatar cropped and brushed to perfection. Your status updates are comments that you selectively garner that best represent your ideal character. The links on your twitter account are those that show you possess the knowledge & go to repository for all things relevant to your field. The digital world can sometimes pose as preferable to that of the real world because you have the time & ability to create the perception of self you desire.
Stop Pretending to be “Crazy Busy” and Start Living.
Edward Hallowell, author of “Crazy Busy” offers the explanation for the phenomenon of continued dependencies on electronic devices as a need to being perceptually busy. He explains that the generally accepted notion indicates that the busier you are the more enlightened life you lead. Indefinitely, the technology we’ve invented improves our human connections, and does not replace them. But it is when we let our electronic devices – and what he describes as a “curious magnetism” they exert upon our minds, that take control of us, forces us to consume more information & data points than necessary. They take over our lives & create the negative energy flow that causes more stress than improvement.
What I like about Edward Hallowell’s book is that he crafts terms for seen behaviours with very obvious symptoms we can all identify with. Here are the top 13 relating to our busy lives in the digital world.
Which ones do you find yourself guilty of on a day to day basis?
1) Screensucking – Wasting time engaging with any screen (TV, video game, television, phone etc). How much time a day do you spend facing a screen?
2) Leeches – Things/people that try to take your time away. How much time do you spend trying to make a failed project/engage in useless online interactions succeed?
3) Email voice (EMV) – The tone of a person when they are reading email while talking to you on the phone. Many of you are guilty of this, but what you don’t realize is how much you are devaluing the conversation & relationship with the other person on the phone.
4) Gigaguilt – The more storage you can keep (hence, gigabytes), the more you are expected to track/remember. Keeping track of everything is impossible and having time to please everyone is equally impossible.
5) Kudzu – Clutter & piles that invade where we work or live, specifically email that we leave in our inboxes instead of deleting or moving to a folder because you’ll “come back later” when you never do.
6) Junk Time – A person who spends time without intending to leaving insufficient time for what really needs to be done on thing such as instant messaging, celebrity news, voicemail, long winded people etc
7) Telephone Tag – Resulting in no one wanting to pick up calls and calls back later
8) Conversation Interruptus – Extended conversations have become a rare entity because of external electronic distractions
9) Info Addict – Loses his/her ability to make a difference in life by trying so hard to keep up with all the differences other people are making, reading too much information not necessarily important all the time
10) Human Moments vs. Electronic Moments – Human moments are increasing been replaced by electronic moments, less time is spent & preferred in each other’s physical presence because electronic is hugely efficient, rapid and easy
11) Pizzled – Combination of pissed off & puzzled when someone, without either asking permission or providing explanation brings out his/her cell phone to make a call or answer a call while you are together
12) Fuhgeddomania – Forgetfulness and losing things are derived from data overload without structure in the environment (add lists, reminders)
So what are ya waiting for?
Stop Clicking & Start Living.
What Would It Feature? Would You Watch It?
In the mass existence of society, there are players and there are producers. The world is your stage, your oyster, at your disposal – because we live in a generation of possibilities and opportunities allowing for the greatest degree of existentialism. Yet, we barely consider the effort to construct reality according to what we aspire to be the true representations of our individualism. Instead, we live our realities in the context of simulated reality – defined as a conscious state of mind that is indistinguishable from “true reality”, so unimaginative that one may not even know their lives are within this simulation – meet Truman.
But – my name is Angie. And this is my show. Every element that exists in my life will be questioned and challenged to allow myself to quest for further perfection in this journey of personal pursuit. Without asking these questions, I am but a fragment of existence that is colourless, convenient, safe, expendable, monotonous, bland, unimaginable…. lost.
I am the producer of my own life.
So I am cutting out the featureless scenes where I am hopelessly lost.
CUT #1: Lost in Artificial Transactions
“Hi, how are you? Great, nice to see you – but let me check my phone 100 times during our conversation.”
I truly believe that at the core of every human existence, is human interaction. We grow from others; we learn from others, we are inspired by others. So why do we have surface level conversations? Why is it that every conversation feels like a key networking opportunity for business? Why is it that conversations feel like a hidden agenda is in place? Why is that when conversations occur, we devalue the importance of that time with the other person and make it necessary to check our mobile devices to check on interactions with others who aren’t physically there? When did it occur that we would rather check transactional texts, Facebook notifications, tweets and emails from others when we have the opportunity to fully appreciate the stories of others who value us enough to take time to personally meet you? We are lost in the challenge of genuine human communication that allows us to discover who we really are when we openly talk about ourselves to those who are physically, mentally & emotionally present.
CUT #2: Lost in Monotonous Relationships
Relationships are not spectator sports. Don’t get into one expecting to be a passive player, you end up losing.
Friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiancés, marriages are all higher level commitments to another person & making that conscious commitment means that you have a bond with that other person you find of value. In this valuation, how do you define the strengthening of a relationship with that other person? Do you know what it is that creates the harmony, why you relate to this person, and what you can do to make it dynamic? Like any other facet of your life, you make a commitment to something & work to make it the best it can be. Being in a relationship that is tied down by the mere titled commitment is more condemning than being free and seizing other opportunities for interaction. We are lost in the way that we let our love & mind love those who are valuable to us. Let your actions speak louder than your words – if you have a romantic relationship with someone else; is your heart & mind fully committed to making that other person feel the way they should feel in the relationship? Or is the relationship an existent one out of comfort or fear of losing the predictability? Don’t lose yourself in the idea of the relationship; lose yourself in the passion that creates the moments that make the relationship special.
CUT #3: Lost in Habitual Routines
Wake up, have breakfast, go to work, go to the gym/mall/home, have dinner, sleep. Rinse & repeat.
In some variation or the other, we all go through the daily motions of a routine that may or may not be the idealistic epitome of our lives. Wishing at various points of another that we could be learning or doing something different, but can’t or rather – won’t. “I wish I could play a musical instrument”, “I wish I could speak another language” it’s often that we just leave this aspiration as a thought instead of asking ourselves, “Why the heck not?” When we say “I don’t have time” or “I wish I could”, we are really saying “I prefer to stick to what I am doing” or “I would rather not bother my convenience”. We are lost in the comfort in our lives that hinder the ambition & passion we have for things that ultimately add value to the definition of who we are. With work maintaining a large portion of our lives every day, unless what you do is certainly your passion, we can quickly lose the definition of who we are in what we do.
CUT #4: Lost in Superficial Importance & Unspoken Expectations
Accept everything, question everything.
Within the society of ‘isms’ – materialism, consumerism, capitalism & socialism, there are many unspoken expectations formulating social norms driving the way we operate. But consider another ‘ism’ – individualism as one that is often advocated but never celebrated. We often point out that it is important to be individualistic & maintain self confidence in who we are, but when someone tests the boundaries of unspoken expectations, it is questioned & found odd, because we are programmed to accept certain things as normal. For example, no one ever thinks to go to a movie alone, if you do – you’re seen as odd. But why does it matter? If I want to see a movie & no one happens to want to see that movie or is available, why can I not go about it alone? Or if I decide that maybe I don’t want to pursue a post secondary education after high school, the unspoken expectation whether from society, your parents or peers, is that you should. Many people do automatically progress from high school to post secondary, but is it always the right thing? Have you considered what you would do & whether it would make sense in the course of your life? Consequently, why do we have the things we have? When we live above our means, do we stop to question, whether we really need a Mini Cooper S class if we can only really afford a used Toyota Corolla? What are the reasons behind your decisions whether they are for material items or education? We are lost in the society of consuming that we never stop to think why? Are your reasons motivated by ego or by passion? Are you living at the rate of which is complimentary in your life or are you pursuing one that is barely yours to define?
So, if your life were a trailer – what would it look like? Would people come watch?
How do you grow when you stay in the one place that makes you feel safe? If a decision doesn’t make me feel remote nervous making it, I am not making the right decision. Think twice about everything you do. Ask yourself if there is an opportunity to be happier & fulfilled in what you do. And if the answer is “Yes, there is” – why not?
Doin’ Costa Rica: Don’t Break My Strings… Please
I will end this completely long winded post of verbal masturbation with a short clip from my time in Costa Rica that showcases a different side of me – one that is intoxicated by the venom created by music that creates a natural high for life. Thank god this isn’t an audition tape for ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada’.
The lost feather floats in the sky & the lonely orphan sits in the center, both waiting to be found and bought into the context of love. Your pursuit of happiness is a right; an entity waiting to be found, it is a privilege to have as a constant in your life, but are you looking for it? How important is it to you if you ignore its value in the context of your life.
With everything else in your life, ‘find & replace’ is an automatic course of action. With happiness lost? Eager to find and replace it again? Or maybe discover it for the first time? Will you spend the time to search for it?
Doin’ Costa Rica. Pura Vida.
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – The Dalai Lama
The physical, emotional & mental turbulence in the last week has left my soul begging for more, raising the standards in my life for experiential living to elevate my pursuit of happiness. My life can no longer be lived at a mediocre standard & habitual routine when there is so much yet to be discovered. Right now, I am in complete withdrawal from my current reality because there is so much of my heart that I have left in Costa Rica. The pureness of life, the separation from materiality, the truth in love & openness of people have left me with a greater expectation of the beauty of life & what I aim to personally achieve.
I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life. True compassion is universal in scope. It is accompanied by a feeling of responsibility. – The Dalai Lama
Relativity is only as good as your context, your scope of perspective. The more I see, the more I know, the more I know, the more I am certain about life and what is important to me. My scope of perspective now includes that of the beauty, life and love lessons I have learned from Costa Rica. Where physical beauty of the surroundings have maintained much of their aesthetic integrity – so do that of the people who are locals to this, leading brand-less lives focused on pursuing a “pure life” embodying the national mandate for life “Pura Vida”. Everywhere you go, every person you meet, every sight you see – beams happiness & beauty to enjoy and create experiences that formulate memories. I can’t thank Maria Del Mar from Del Mar Surf Camp enough for her hospitality & energetic beauty on this trip that allowed us to witness Costa Rica in this way. In the generation of youth today – we are so privileged to have the ability to travel & see much more that allow us not only to widen our perspective on the way we live our lives, but our notion of possibilities. More than ever, we are empowered with the ability to achieve more, and I plan to make this my life’s mandate. I won’t stop discovering, allowing adrenaline to pump through my core & seeking new challenges as long as I live. It is only in this way that I can uncover the most beautiful things in life that matter to my heart.
Basically, universal responsibility is the feeling for other people´s suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our own enemy is motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration. – The Dalai Lama
We often preach “don’t judge a book by its cover” but many times first impressions warrant reinforcing thoughts & stereotypes – but this judgmental filter is one that can be learned to avoid, because it is only in this way that we have the opportunity to discover the real person behind the superficial mask that governs our soul. In parallel, your work doesn’t define who you are, what you believe in and commit to is your truthful beauty formula. To be honest, under normal circumstances I would have not had the opportunity to meet the kinds of people I have on this trip because of the differences in academic, social & professional circles. But, my first observation was that they were all part of an industry that emphasizes physical beauty demanding certain upkeep in their aesthetic appeal, most – models of some sort. Had I maintained ascertain to the stereotypes, I would never have discovered:
- The karate instructor with a passion for love, sense of humor, teaching & watching his students grow
- The compassionate & lively actress from Sudbury with the constant yearning to help others in need
- The motivated youth worker with passion for inspiring the younger generation to their potential
- The aspiring student from Guelph with a strong stance for improving social economic politics
- The fun loving woman from Toronto who only knew happiness & had an open heart for everything around her
Each and every person had a story, an open heart & adventurous soul that fostered and made the experience so much more fulfilling. Although, we were in the land that moralized “pure life”, these people were already so far along their way in exemplifying this.
To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.- The Dalai Lama
At the end of the day, I went to Costa Rica to challenge myself. This experience is part of a reality show for MuchMusic and the potential backlash having never been on camera before, the uncertainties in my involvement & the impact of the participation were the biggest fears I overcame & increased my level of physical & emotional endurance that I now define as the new standard for my life. I found myself challenged beyond the physical requirement, but mentally I’ve become more open to new experiences & emotionally I’ve learned to open up immensely. Now, everyday feels is like the first day of my life. Every experience is one that brings me closer to what truly defines my happiness. I can now ascertain that nothing makes me happier than pushing myself to sustain physical endurance – I am happiest when I am pumped with adrenaline & challenged to limits supported by my mental endurance. Knowing that my mind is just as strong as my muscle – I know and believe that my perspective on life is one that has certainly evolved & will continue to manifest into a definition of self that I am proud to identify with.
Doin’ Costa Rica
With that I leave you with a photo documentary of some moments & a Spanish rhythm, Suavamente from Elvis Crespo that is immovable in my mind.
Make a difference. As a member of Generation Y, the latest working class in society – I’ve been noticing several patterns around work ethics that resonate with many members of this group. One of the more important themes is, work life balance – ensuring that what we are doing is fulfilling, allows us the ability to discover ourselves & make a difference.
Need to grow. With what limited time we have in the workplace, it is of sincere importance to find a place that fosters the ability to use the skills a gen Y possesses as well as gives him/her the ability to enhance them. Once that need is satisfied and a new interest is peaked, it is very normal for a generation y to consider his/her need for growth and impact on the final outcome over the need to be loyal. Which in turn causes strife amongst other previous working generations who see this behavior as spoiled & undeserving entitlement – how can they consider switching jobs when the economy is in the dumps? Because those of generation Y don’t see their jobs as the purpose in life – it is a work to live philosophy vs. the one that lives to work.
Entitled or Ambitious? I don’t think we are entitled, I think we are ambitious. There is so much we want to do, so much we want to challenge ourselves with and know that there is only so much time to do so before we are entrenched in a multitude of obligations. Those within the generation Y group are thinkers, innovators, doers (‘I want to do that, so I’m going to do it’) & inventers – with more entrepreneurial spirits than any other previous generations – I can only hope that we continue to foster these characteristics in hopes of continued societal advancement.
Are you living to work or working to live? What are your life goals & are you on track?
So needless to say, my vacation was nothing short of amazing. All the sights, time with family, the history, the culture and gathering perspective on the world that exists outside of what I’ve known my whole life is something I’ve been internally processing the last week I’ve been home. I honestly don’t even know where and how to start manuscripting the experience I’ve had – but have been documenting emotions I’ve been going through with this newfound perspective through what I call poetic confessions. Confining thoughts in art, portraying emotions through words and phrases directly from the heart and then realizing that the process in itself is one of true self discovery. I hope you enjoy and I promise that I’ve been slowing but surely going through my 3000+ pictures and will share with you soon.
To grow is to yearn
To listen and learn
To believe in improvement
To continue a movement
Always pondering for greater
Always challenging the fates
Always opening up the soul
Always filling up the holes
I have come this long way
To know that living each day
Means to risk it all for the chance
At a beautiful life enhanced
Rational thoughts in this life
With irrational actions I will survive
As long as I continue to question
And fulfill through poetic confession