Loving Hearts, Analytical Minds and Curious Souls: A Millennial Travel Manifesto

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Loving Hearts, Analytical Minds and Curious Souls: A Millennial Travel Manifesto
Note: A dear friend of mine recently turned 25 and asked those of us who have seen 25 come and go to write a letter to the 25-year-old version of ourselves as a birthday gift to her. When we talk about the “why” behind travel, this is it. What follows is what has become a bit of a travel manifesto for us.

Poco a poco, que sera, sera. Little by little, what will be, will be. The universe has a mysterious way of revealing itself to us, and we must have our eyes and ears constantly open, because often the revelation comes as quickly as it goes.

But take a deep breath. You’re in a job you find unfulfilling and it seems that, day by day, your confidence takes a hit. Maybe you’re not as dynamic as you thought. Maybe that career you didn’t just dream about, but presumed would be yours, is beyond your reach. Before you know it, your thoughts and frustrations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If 30 is the new 20, what’s that make 25? I know it’s easy to get frustrated, easier still to doubt yourself in the midst of uncertainty, but know this: It can all work out, provided you have the will and the patience to make it so.

Love. Love with incredible foolishness. I’m not just talking about a partner, though that’s great, too. I’m talking about life. Assume the best in people. The goodness, that is to say the light in this world, is so much stronger than the darkness. Walk into each day with optimism. Believe in the best of people and have patience when people stumble toward your expectations. Life often has us think of ourselves and sometimes others as particularly wicked, but, in reality, we’re all just a bunch of normal folks who stumble, fall, and hopefully, get back up. If you meet the world with a loving heart, I am not just convinced, but I’d dare say that I know, it will determine how the world meets you in response.

Travel. Say “fuck you” to the culture that says two weeks of vacation is enough time. Chart out the ebbs and flows of your work year, and don’t be afraid to ask for and take unpaid time off. When you venture into the world, it jars you awake. It not only awakens your senses, it invokes a deep sense of realness in your soul. You feel alive, and all at once connected with humanity in this startlingly authentic way, despite feeling a disconnect of language or whatever else. If only we all traveled more, we would understand that it’s not just about how similar we are as human beings. No, it’s much more complex. It’s also about differences, beautiful differences that hopefully light a flame of curiosity in your heart. Celebrate difference, and return to similarities. We are alike where it matters, regardless the culture, the age, the political philosophies. But it’s our differences that make this world fun and difficult to live in. Seek out people who are different than you, and share your unique identity with the world around you.

Listen to stories in order to better tell them. We live in a culture that grows ever suspicious of the storyteller. Data and statistics are needed and right in their own place, but ours is a society that has survived on story. It is ignited by our curiosity, and it develops our imagination in such a way where we can not just be entertained by a great song, movie or book; rather, we find a way to imagine lives that are very real, just not our own. If you do things right, that is to say you travel with incredible love and passion, you’ll encounter stories that yearn to be told. For me, the stories that most need telling are those of the people in the shadows of society, who for too long now have been told their story is somehow less important than mine. Listen to the stories that you find, and bring them back with you. Without fear, embrace the art of storytelling. Captivate your audience, direct them to see what you want them to see. And if you do this, the rest has a way of working itself out. That crummy job will soon give way to a better one. There will always be places to travel. And the stories we hear and then tell, shape our souls and determine what it means to love.

Finally, be as patient with yourself as you are with other people. You’re still figuring stuff out and to that I say, Hallelujah.. You are full of love, and you are loved. Rest assured that this is the greatest truth and take it into the world. The world needs loving hearts, analytical minds, and curious souls. That’s the trifecta, and you’ve got all three, even if you don’t realize it yet.



Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour
John Heywood was an English playwright who lived hundreds of years ago.

Today, Heywood is known for his poems, proverbs, and plays. But more than any one work, it’s his phrases that have made him famous. For example, here are some popular sayings that have been attributed to Heywood…

“Out of sight, out of mind.”
“Better late than never.”
“The more, the merrier.”
“Many hands make light work.”

And there is one phrase from Heywood that is particularly interesting when it comes to building better habits:

“Rome was not built in one day.”

Just Lay a Brick
Typically, people use the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” to remind someone of the time needed to create something great.

And it’s true. It takes time — sometimes years — to master a skill, craft, or habit. And while it’s good to keep perspective on your dreams, I think it’s better to remember the other side of this story:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.
The problem is that it can be really easy to overestimate the importance of building your Roman empire and underestimate the importance of laying another brick.

It’s just another brick. Why worry about it? Much better to think about the dream of Rome. Right?

Actually Rome is just the result; the bricks are the system. The system is greater than the goal. Focusing on your habits is more important than worrying about your outcomes.

Of course, there’s nothing necessarily impressive about laying a brick. It’s not a fantastic amount of work. It’s not a grand feat of strength or stamina or intelligence. Nobody is going to applaud you for it.

But laying a brick every day, year after year? That’s how you build an empire.

You can start small. You can focus on improving 1 percent each day. You can simply put in another rep.

You don’t have to build everything you want today, but you do have to find a way to lay another brick.

James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares strategies that make it easier to live a healthy life — both mentally and physically. For fresh ideas on how to boost your productivity, improve your health, and master your habits, join his free newsletter.

Graduation Day: Dying From Cancer to Clean Scans in Six-Month Intervals

I had my check up at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Hillman Cancer Center recently. It’s been my regular haunt ever since being diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma in the fall of 2011. In the days leading up to the appointment, I was, as always, irrationally paranoid about every bump and bruise and utterly convinced that I had only days left to live. “What the hell is that?” I’d say in the shower, only to find that the offending lump was in fact some completely normal anatomical part that was supposed to be where it was and had been for the prior 28 years of my life. One day I found something really large that turned out to be my bicep. Is it supposed to feel like that? Jesus.

I’m pretty convinced that I also manufactured a crisis by feeling up the nodes in my thigh so much that I bruised the area around my junk, causing me to worry about the “strange sensation” taking place. I immediately began to formulate my last goodbyes and figure out who I should give my surplus of Magic cards to (they aren’t even legal to play anymore, but what did you expect from a young adult cancer survivor — a current deck of Magic cards? What, do you think we’re made of money?). At the appointment, the PA noticed similar bruising in the nodes between my armpit and chest, which had previously been described to me as “bumpy.” It was at this point I wondered if I could actually give myself cancer from checking so hard for signs of cancer. Or at the very least, a severe case of internal bleeding. Thoughts cropped up of that scene from every medical drama in history where the doctor comes out and says very sadly, “I’m sorry, we can’t stop the bleeding.” And I think to myself, Wait, what? Don’t you have like science and bags of other people’s blood and stuff like that? I mean, wrap it in a T-shirt for God’s sake. And I think of how much I would really dislike being the subject of one of those scenes because I pressed too hard while checking my nodes.

I did my X-ray, blood work, and obligatory waiting room meditation before they called me back and stripped me down. I met a new PA student who checked me over and wanted to talk about what I was doing in life, and all the other mundane things people say to one another, while all I could think about was how bumpy my nodes were. I stumbled through the conversation until the regular PA came in, who I’m very comfortable with and who has made this whole close to death thing a little less crappy. As it turns out, all my worrying was for nothing (isn’t it always? Worrying is, by its very nature, useless). The X-ray was clear, which meant my core was not filled with death, and the blood work confirmed that, yes, my blood was mostly made of blood, and not terrifying cancer Legos waiting to combine into a macabre pirate ship and sail right into my brain (though the castle Legos were my favorite). Incidentally, I often asked for Legos for Christmas, only to make my mother put them together for me. It was obvious at an early age that I wasn’t going to be an engineer.

We talked for a while, because, even though we meet routinely at an appointed time to make certain I’m not actively dying, I like to think that she and I are friends. Then, suddenly, she informed me that I had graduated to six months. I was surprised, because I didn’t think I’d be at six months for several years. “Nope,” she said. “One year after diagnosis you go to four, and two years after you graduate to six.” I went into this appointment convinced that I’d have to replay the scenario after my diagnosis where I went around telling everyone I was going to die, and that I loved them. And I came out of it not only with a clean bill of health, but with the added bonus of being considered healthy enough to last an extra two months on my own at a time.

As a young adult cancer survivor, I will never stop worrying about dying before I’ve lived long enough to leave my mark, to positively affect the world, and do whatever other things my mother would no doubt disapprove of. Every time I make the trip to the doctor, all of the emotions surrounding my initial diagnosis come flooding back. But in a strange, dissociative kind of way because the memories have faded, and all I really feel now is that I’m submerged underwater in a claustrophobic sea of terribleness. The sensation causes me to find things that aren’t there, and to worry myself into a bad place. I blame this partially on the come down from surviving cancer, the getting back to “normal.” I have a wealth of experience with life and death and priorities and trivialities, intense emotions spawning from a serious existential crisis, and the lessons that facing a terminal illness can teach you. But all of this fades when the tests start to come back clean, and distance begins to seep in between you and what almost prematurely ended you. I’d like to be more conscious of the divide, and learn how to better reconcile the urgency I felt after my diagnosis with the humdrum of daily life. It’s a lofty goal, though I’m sure it’s possible. I’m not the only cancer survivor, stumbling through life trying to make sense of it all. I’m sure I’ll get there. After all, I have at least six months to do it.

Live Outside the Box
Are you living up to your potential? It is important that you surround yourself with the right individuals that can help you reach your goals and dreams in life. There are many of you that have big dreams, but somewhere along the way something or someone told you that it wasn’t possible and you became discouraged. I’m here to encourage and tell you anything is possible if only you believe.

While many are content living in a box there are those that get out each day looking for opportunities and taking the necessary steps to make their dreams a reality. It’s time that you to take that leap of faith, but first you must take on a new way of thinking which may not be comfortable at times, but it will be life changing. Picture the life cycle of the butterfly; it starts its development as an egg to then becoming a caterpillar and from there it forms into a chrysalis which then becomes a butterfly. We all at some point or another were captivated by the beauty of the butterfly, but know that it wasn’t created over night for it had to go through a process. This is a beautiful example of our life cycle because every cycle of our life isn’t beautiful, but after persevering through many trials and disappointments we find the beauty in it.

We all must go through this process called life and live out our true purpose which means stepping out of the old and into the new. Those around you will begin to see a change in your life and for those that don’t adapt well to change they may even walk away, but know it’s a part of the process. Be patient with those that think differently for they can only give you what’s in them to give. Everyone will not agree with the sacrifices you make and they may not be very encouraging,but know in order for limitations or negative words to have power over your life you must give them power. Those that have placed limits on your life have also limited their own abilities and have given up on their dreams. Remember to pay close attention to those that you spend time with because it will also show you where you’re headed in the near future, so surround yourself with like minded individuals that also dream big.

I have surrounded myself with the most amazing individuals and they inspire me to dream my biggest dreams while they also go after dreams of their own. We are all like a delicious pot of gumbo and each individual in our life add a little flavor to our journey. Know that we must be careful of what we entertain for your eyes and ears are the gateway to your soul. And no matter how hard it gets keep the word “Can’t” out of your vocabulary for your words have the power to change your life. Never agree with those that don’t see the bigger picture or in other words your vision as you see it. There is power in agreement and I find that you can’t come into agreement with everyone especially when it comes to your visions and dreams. And lastly step out of the box and walk in faith, passion and purpose.

Think You’re Boring? You Are
You and your friends go out to a local bar for some relaxation time. You are standing at the bar with your buddies whom are are all chatting away with others none of you ever met before. Then it hits you. Nobody is talking with you.

You’ve been waiting on line at the local coffee shop for what seems forever. What takes those “baristas” so long anyway? People are patiently waiting their turn by making small talk about the day ahead. You are busy looking at the food behind the counter. Then it hits you. Nobody is talking with you.

You are waiting in the boarding area at the airport and the much-dreaded announcement comes on the loudspeaker. Your plane is going to be taking off 30 minutes late. Folks seated in the area begin expressing their dismay, talking about the upcoming trip, what they are going to do when they land, plans for sightseeing, and share some recommendations for good restaurants. Then it hits you. Nobody is talking with you.

Then it really hits you. Your deepest fears about yourself are confirmed. You are boring, not very interesting and downright dull. Then it hits you again. You’ve got to do something about this. Then it hits you again. You have no clue what to do.

Every consider owning just how “weird” you may be? Look around the bar, the coffee shop and the airport waiting area. NOBODY is normal. These groups are filled with quirkiness. Maybe that’s it. They aren’t trying to hide themselves. You are.

On the lookout for what’s boring? Notice that the folks around you who appear to be boring to others just utter perfunctory proclamations to what others say, such as “Wow,” “Really!” “Cool.” Boring folks ask elementary school level questions about the other person and don’t wait for an answer before blowing hard about themselves. See how they sit, er, I mean slouch? They look boring.

Want to sharpen your dull edge? Conform less, and instead, lead with authenticity, with whom you really are, free of apology, put your differences out front and wear you with pride. Of course not everyone will find you memorable, so be prepared to smile and find the beauty in the ugliness around you. No need to be beautiful. In fact, beauty and being charming have no real link.

Here are seven of my most tried and true, most often recommended, and most effective simple and easy to use tools to decrease your boredom factor and increase your connectivity:

1. Don’t avoid conversations and don’t expect to be invited into one.
2. Get uncomfortable. Embrace your inner dork.
3. Stop posing. It’s okay to be wrong. In fact, it may be interesting.
4. Share whatever are your interests. Don’t have any? Read #5.
5. Be an explorer of everything around you. Give a real darn about what you discover. Others may find it interesting.
6. Shy? Confront your inner self-directed fairy tale and realize people won’t really take a bite out of you.
7. Think you still are boring? The link is what you think. Think you are boring and everything you do, say, think and feel you’ll interpret as a sign to confirm your erroneous thought. So drop the label “boring.”

“Great minds,” Eleanor Roosevelt said, “discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” How big is your mind?

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