thoughts

~ The Lightest You’d Ever Been ~

~ The Lightest You’d Ever Been ~

““Isn’t that backpack heavy?” they’d ask. “Doesn’t it weigh you down?”

There was always something about that question which caught my attention. It was an ironic question in my mind because for me – whenever I had that backpack on – the exact opposite was the case. When I put it on and pulled the straps tight, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Suddenly I was a bird with wings – able to up and leave to far-off lands. Because if you want to know the truth, a backpack with some crappy clothes in won’t weigh you down at all. The real things in life that hold you down aren’t usually found in a bag; they are the things we unquestionably accept as part of a normal lifestyle. Contracts weighed you down, debts weighed you down, credit-card payments weighed you down. Sometimes it was a gym membership, a cable subscription – a goddamn football season ticket. Often it wasn’t even physical, but the things that existed only inside your head. Fear weighed you down, ignorance weighed you down, the opinions of your work colleagues weighed you down. Usually you didn’t even notice, but all of these things subversively crept into your life, clipped your wings and left you cemented in one spot. That’s why whenever someone asked if my backpack was heavy, I couldn’t help but smile inside at the irony. I smiled because I knew being able to happily walk out of door with just a bag to your name wasn’t a heavy task at all. Whenever you did that you were agile; whenever you did that you were free. Whenever you put that backpack on and headed out to face the world, suddenly you were the lightest you’d ever been.”

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short stories

~ The Art Of Getting Lost ~

~ The Art of Getting Lost ~

“I always remember the first time I got lost. It was on a Saturday in the market downtown, and I was about five years old. I had momentarily wandered off from my mother and suddenly found myself sailing alone within a sea of busy shoppers. Amid the bustling stalls and scary strangers, I remember looking around and realising how utterly alone I was. As my stomach sank and I felt the fear, somebody came up to me and took me to a room where they announced over a speaker for my mother to come and collect me. Consequently, I was saved from that intimidating wilderness, but I never forgot the feeling – the feeling of being totally and helplessly lost.

As my life went on, I got lost a few more times until I suddenly found myself doing it willingly. One day I found myself travelling alone to Africa; one day I found myself somewhere in a foreign country without a map and a plan; one day I found myself again becoming that young child in the market, engulfed in the immensity of a big and scary world. And the more I got lost, the more I realised that it isn’t such a terrifying thing after all. In fact, it may well be the truest sensation there is – the thing that is rooted to the core of our very being.

When you thought about, we got lost all the time. We got lost in the movies we watched; we got lost in the books we read. Perhaps, most commonly, we got lost in our relationships with each other. Whenever people fell in love, they essentially threw themselves into the wilderness of another human-being. To go down the rabbit hole is a beautiful thing; it is something which takes us away from an old and safe familiarity, and into the wonderland of our magical universe.

So, don’t always see the act of getting lost in a negative way. Sometimes see it as an opportunity. Sometimes, within reason, leave the map and the plan at home, take the road less travelled, wander away from the crowd, fall in love with a stranger – explore what’s beyond the horizon with a child-like curiosity. As many people young and old will testify, you just never quite know upon what treasure you will stumble.”

hidden wonderland

 

 

short stories

~ The Hidden Treasure ~

~ The Hidden Treasure ~

“The day had come and gone, and there we sat at the end of the jetty, facing out into the sunset lake. We had only met just a few hours ago and now she was telling me things she had probably never told anyone. She told me deepest secrets, her fears, her hopes, her pains, her joys, her struggles. All of this to me: a random stranger from the bar. Back home people had their defences up; we were all standing upon society’s stage and playing whatever role it was we were supposed to play to be accepted. But there was a certain magic when you crossed paths with a stranger out on the road. Having just met and safe in the knowledge that you were probably never going to see each other again, there was no pretence or image to keep up. The masks were off and everything could be laid bare.

As the sun set below the horizon and the secrets spilled out upon the water, it made me think about how different the world would be if we all just shared what was really going on beneath the surface. So many people have undoubtedly carried the contents of their souls into the abyss without letting them ever see the light of life. One could despair for all the things that were never done and said because we were too afraid to deviate from the social script and say what we really felt. All the adventures that were never pursued, all the works of art that were never realised, all the friendships and loves that never blossomed – all because of the fear of exposing our true selves to the world. Even for the people closest to you, it would often take years and decades to unlock the vault of the soul; but get a random stranger alone for a few isolated moments in a foreign country and suddenly the secret combination is found.

As we both carried on talking about life into the night, I realised that there was something incredibly valuable about these brief and bittersweet encounters on the road. Most of us have treasure inside our chests that we want to show the world, it’s only when we feel free that the locks slip loose and the gold inside shimmers bright and brilliant under the stars.”

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(taken from my book ‘The Thoughts From The Wild’ available here)

thoughts

~ Beyond the Billboards ~

~ Beyond the Billboards ~

“The day people learn to be happy with the contents of a backpack is the day a lot of rich people go out of business. Those billboards and advertisements aren’t there to guide you to happiness like they say. They are there to marginalise you and make you feel perpetually incomplete. No matter how much you buy, those billboards will still look down on you and tell you that you need more. If you finally get that phone you want, they will be there to tell you that it’s now old and unfashionable; if you finally feel peaceful and secure, they will be there to scare you into buying the latest form of insurance. My advice? Empower yourself. Rise beyond the billboards. Delight in the free things and find yourself becoming richer than ever before. Watch more sunsets and less televisions; wear more smiles and less makeup. Become the centre of your own universe – the maker of your own material. One day you might just wake up and find you possess contentment. One day you might just wake up and find you possess fulfilment. One day you might just wake up and realise you have something that the greedy people will never have:

you have enough.”

beyond the billboards