~ The Outsiders ~
“Too often in this life I have stood before non-understanding eyes, unable to explain how I feel, unable to communicate my total and profound incompatibility with absolutely everything that surrounded me. Too often it has been a case of standing on the sidelines and observing how mindless conformity was rewarded while originality and genuity was neglected. At first, like many, I thought something was wrong with me; that there was an illness that must be cured so I could be like the others. With this in mind I silenced my inner voice and tried to fit myself into the paradigm of my society; but like a jigsaw piece taken from the wrong puzzle, any attempts to slot myself into place only twisted me up and left me worse off than ever. Confused, I returned to those sidelines, trying to make sense of my place in the world. It was a place that was empty; a place that was solitary. It was the place of the outsider.
To others out there who stand on the sidelines and stare in, know that you are not alone in this madness. The problems with cultures is that they seek to mould and meld every unique individual into a particular shape and form – into a being who sees reality in the same way as everyone else, who follows the same path as everyone else. It is a mechanical system and not all of us were meant for such a rigid path or confined state of being. The truth is the second we join a crowd and fit in we sell off a part of ourselves – and for some of us that part of ourselves is simply not worth selling off. There are as many ways to experience life as there are as many people on the planet, and if we were all to follow that same path, the world would quickly become a nightmarish, Orwellian nightmare devoid of art, originality and colour. A fresh perspective is truly priceless in this world and any society needs its outsiders to create the novel, to see the new and rescue the wisdom from the wilderness. This normally comes at a great cost to the individuals who are destined to walk their own path away from the herd.
From the outsiders who do not follow the script of culture and convention, we are often troubled. We suffer anxiety in a crowd, we remain frustratingly misunderstood by those around us, we often turn to the bottle to try and create some excitement. But the cost of all of this is one that must be paid to protect ourselves; it is the price that must be paid to protect the heart of original thought and being. For it was the outsiders who pushed the boundaries of art and science. It was the outsiders who charted the uncharted, who said what hadn’t been said, and who saw what the others could not see. And no doubt in this age it will be the outsiders who will save us all from losing our minds and destroying the very planet we live on.
So here’s to the outsiders, misfits and eccentrics. Here’s to the artists, adventurers and explorers. Here’s to those who march to a different beat; who dance to a different tune. Don’t be afraid to stand up from the crowd and be your true self. Go out there and shine your light. Wear your colours. Scream a little with whatever sets your soul on fire. Fearlessly explore the new and original. Fight for what you believe in. Go forth into this world and don’t compromise your unique nature. Your free soul is a precious and beautiful gift. So hold onto it all you can. Stay wild. Stay weird. Stay wonderful.
This world needs you more than you know.”
~ Branded ~
“All I ever wanted to be was myself, but whenever I seemed to walk out the door, everyone was trying to turn me into something else. The advertisers were trying to turn me into a consumer, the politicians were trying to turn me into a voter, the priests were trying to turn me into a believer, the men in suits wanted to turn me into some sort of executive. No matter what road or street I walked down, there was always someone there trying to shape and define me within their own little box of limitation. The world confused me. Being yourself should have been the easiest thing in the world, but often what should have been a simple act turned out to be an act of defiance and rebellion. Everybody and everything wanted to warp and convert you – wanted to brand you with their specific iron prod of identity. And more or less they were all successful. Upon those streets I watched powerful human-beings converted into rigid-minded citizens. I saw them reduced to fervent consumers, to celebrity followers, to proudly overworked employees. I saw human-beings no longer defined by their heart and soul and spirit, but by their social status and economic value. No matter how I tried to look at it, culture was the perpetrator of this crime against the individual. It herded all of us, took away our uniqueness and trapped us within boundary-defining pens of identity. The ones who fiercely followed their own inner voice were usually cast out from the herd and left roaming the wilderness alone. Naturally the question to me was whether or not to follow the herd or walk alone. It was a difficult one. To avoid the searing heat of being branded by culture meant you had some element of integrity and individualism, but the cost of this was often isolation, alienation and – quite often – insanity.”
~ A Storm From Within ~
“It takes courage to be yourself. It takes courage to walk your own path. It takes courage to pursue the life you truly desire and not the one expected of you. Too often you will be surrounded by those who want to see you fail; by those who will seek to pull you back into the darkness in which they dwell because your breaking free causes them to reflect on their own choices and limitations. Throughout the ages of human history the mavericks and pioneers and dreamers have faced such a challenge when liberating themselves from cultural conformity and convention. Many are tamed and return to the safe farm of normality with their dreams and desires slowly gathering dust in dark, forgotten corners. Many let those voices of fear and doubt also infect and infest their own minds. It’s no easy feat to break free from the mould to live a life of total authenticity and personal truth. But there will be ways to stay strong to who you truly are as you walk the path through the wild to the shores of your destiny. Stuff your skull full of madness; overload your heart with passion; summon a storm from deep within your soul. Shake some windows, rattle some walls – let the words of your heart rain down mercilessly upon the blank pages of the world. Don’t apologise for the mess and madness. Let your spiritual thunder awaken this world into life.
Let your soul’s lightning ignite the darkness of the night.”
~ Rebel Flower Rising ~
“Another day of bohemian madness was unfolding and there I was on the trail, wandering through the countryside somewhere in Spain, hopelessly lost in the dream of what it is to exist. I was deep in thought when I lifted my eyes toward the field beside me and was suddenly stopped in my tracks. I put my backpack down and stood there in silence staring at it. Amongst all those hunchback pieces of wheat with their slouched shoulders was a singular red poppy standing tall and proud. In its stark simplicity, it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen. It stood out courageous and beautiful; it rose without fear or regard for what everything else around it was doing. Captivated by the sight, I stood there for a few minutes in the midday heat, watching that flower sway in the summer breeze. At the time I couldn’t really say why, but the simple wonder and majesty of it moved me beyond words; it was a sight of nature that said something deep and meaningful to my soul.
Later on that day, I was sat in the hostel courtyard thinking about it when I got speaking to a fellow hiker on the table beside me. As we talked about life and the walk over some red wine, I gradually began to realise that I had just met the sort of person I had hoped existed for a while. We shared the same esoteric views on life; we both had crazy and chaotic minds; we both wanted to live a life of travel and exploration. However, unlike me, she was unashamedly different – letting her weirdness shine bright and not hiding the fact she would pick up dirty bits of string on the road to use as bracelets, or that she spent her time popping people’s blisters while working in a homeless shelter back home.
Feeling an instant affinity with one another, we walked together for the next few days, sharing the contents of our minds, walking through fields of bohemian bliss, listening to music under the shade of trees. As the midsummer sun beat down, I looked into her eyes and remembered that I wasn’t entirely alone in my madness – that there was another one of me out there wandering with the wind. Finally right in front of me was the sort of person I’d searched for in the eyes of strangers on streets, the eyes of strangers on trains – the eyes of strangers in bars and clubs and restaurants. Now that we were together every second was a fountain of joy and inspiration.
When I reflect back upon that day, it made so much sense why that flower in the field had such an impact on me. All my life I have hid the fact I was different, but hiding my true colours has slowly suffocated me from within. Like that girl had also shown me, it was always better to just embrace your differences and be totally unafraid to stand out from the rest. After all, it was that very thing that allowed me to spot her so easily from the crowd. It’s so important to let your unique madness blossom because somewhere out there is someone like you looking for someone like them; out there someone waits silently in the crowd, waiting to be inspired to let their soul sing out in all its glory. So don’t be afraid to stand up; don’t be afraid to shine bright. In a world where everyone tries to fit into the same mould, don’t be afraid to be that rebel flower rising in a field of wheat.”
(taken from my book ‘The Thoughts From The Wild’ available here )