~ The Medicine of a Mountain Wilderness ~
“How beautiful life was that day when you allowed yourself to forget the stress of life and just be happy in the moment. With just a backpack on the trail and the playful hunting of the horizon, how beautiful life was when nothing else mattered except putting one foot in front of the other and just moving forward through time and space. How happy you were when you looked at the world like a child once again and saw the simple beauty of a singular flower swaying in the valley breeze.
In all our civilisation and development, we have led ourselves astray from real wealth – from what really matters. The greatest beauty of the world is so often missed every day because we are too caught up in a convoluted system in which we fly around like electrons in a circuit board. We seek status but not contentment; we seek products but not peace; we seek future but not a connection with the present moment – the only thing we can ever truly experience.
The system has us confused and sometimes all it took was a backpack and a walk in nature to discover our humanity once again. Because out on that trail, I have seldom seen faces of fear and stress and hate that march down busy city sidewalks. The reason why is that everyone shines a little brighter the day they rediscover the playful joy of the natural universe – when they reconnect with their childlike spirit. Everyone shines a little brighter the day they remember that life is a mystery to be experienced, and not a battle to be won.”
~ Home In The Unknown ~
“A new adventure waited beyond the horizon as I stood alone in that departure lounge once again, feeling the straps of my backpack pull on my shoulders, enjoying the unique atmosphere that comes with having a group of people momentarily enclosed in one space before the explosive power of jet engines left them all scattered sporadically around the globe. As the others buzzed and shopped around, I stood still and stared out the windows dreaming of the upcoming adventure. The planes lined the tarmac outside and my stomach stirred with excitement and apprehension. I was flying solo into the anarchy of another adventure and as always I didn’t know what awaited me out there in the big wide world. Friends or foes? Pleasure or pain? Love or heartbreak? Life or death?
Like always, if I could have known, I wouldn’t have wanted to. For me predictability and order were the slaughterhouses of the soul. To me it seemed too much of all that only took the spark from your eye and the fire from your stomach. It was out there in the eternal mystery of the unknown where the magic and wonder lay. It was out there in the unknown where life was lived at its more furious and fullest. That was the beauty of the adventure which always made come crawling back from the suburban life of security and comfort. So far my ventures into the unknown had brought me many treasures and pleasures. No doubt they had also caused me pain and discomfort too, but it was a small price to pay for the wonders I had stumbled across on my journey through the wild. My soul was stirred by it all. The grand memories. The inner discoveries. The new friends. The burning passions. The feeling of living life at its fullest, knowing that if you were to die in an instant, you would leave the world behind with no regrets at all. That was what kept me returning from the safe and familiar.
When you really thought about it, it didn’t seem to make sense to have such a fear of living in the mystery of the moment. At its core life itself was one big journey in the unknown. At every second we are incarnate in slowly decaying bodies, riding a spinning rock through an infinite universe with nobody who knew to what end. One day we were all going to die and go on the biggest journey into the unknown yet. Still, despite our shared fate and circumstance, so many fearfully refuse the unknown their entire life. They try to organise their lives on a spreadsheet right up until their funeral. They iron out any mystery or wonder. They stamp out any possibility for surprise. For some life is one big wait in that departure lounge, staring out the window but never getting up to take their flight.
Thinking about it all, I suddenly remembered bumping into my uncle walking down the street the week before. After conversing about life, he started to quiz me about my travels. I went and told him all about my adventures and what I had done, and what I had planned to do. As I told him all of this, I could see a spark in his eye, one of bewitched curiosity but also one of sadness. He went on to tell me how he had wanted to do all of that stuff when he was young, but didn’t because he was too set on the security of a steady life. Now all of that had gotten him to where he was now: living alone in an old people’s home, too old and tired to go on the adventures he wished he had went on when he was young.
Thinking back to that conversation I was as ready as ever to hurl myself into the abyss of the unknown. I had even more courage and faith to throw myself into the wild. The gates had now opened and my flight was ready for boarding. I shook myself back to life and I headed toward the plane to begin another voyage out into that big wide world. I thought of the people I was yet to meet, the sights I was yet to see, the feelings I was yet to feel. I thought of the epic adventure that awaited me. I was flying to a country I had never been to, totally alone, but the fluttering feeling in my heart made me feel good. It made me feel like I was going back to a place my soul missed. Back once more into the wild. Back once more into the chaos and madness. Back once more into the beautiful unknown – the only real home I had ever truly known.”
~ 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.”
~ Silent Warrior ~
“Some of the greatest battles of humanity will never be studied in the textbooks or commemorated in the museums. Some of the greatest battles of humanity will never be known to the average man or woman. They weren’t fought in the trenches or castles, but instead inside the heads of people struggling to carry on in a world they didn’t understand or belong to. They were fought in the minds who dived into the darkness to find their light even when they were full of fear and doubt. They were fought by those rising up against the storms that no one else could see or hear or feel. Some of the greatest battles of humanity are taking place right now in the houses and streets of your own towns and cities.
Here’s to those warriors out there winning their silent wars. Here’s to those summoning their strength and courage – rescuing themselves from the swamps and storms without the help of another. Keep on fighting. Your efforts will not be in vain. Stand up and tall and show this world how a warrior walks after their demons have been slayed. Show this world the face of victory.
Show this world the victory of you.”
~ An Inner Belonging ~
“And you didn’t see the world like the rest did, that much was clear. You didn’t belong in those crowds or sat on sofas in those suburbs of sanity. You didn’t see no victory in comfort and security, nor find salvation in the acceptance of others. You knew somewhere inside of you that you were a foreign thing; a wayward wanderer of the cosmos incompatible with the world that was presented to you. The situation seemed hopeless, but with a heart full of fire and a mind full of madness you began your solitary journey through the wilderness, following that ineffable pull of the heart, rising up against the storms, trudging through the swamps – moving fearlessly towards some sort of place you could call home. And as your journey went on, you gradually began to realise that the destination never mattered, for it was out there in that untamed wilderness where your stray-dog soul truly belonged. Out on those rugged plains was the place your spirit could run free – a place you could be yourself in your gritty messiness and madness. Out there you travelled so far until you eventually ventured inward and found the place you finally belonged.
You finally found the home that was the kingdom of yourself.”
~ Lost in the Wild ~
“But I don’t understand how you can live a life without some security or a steady job” she said to me. “To me you just seem a bit lost in life.”
Yes it’s true. I am lost out in a great wilderness, but please: don’t send out a search party for me. I have found a great home in this unknown and I do not wish to return to a life which never suited me. I do not wish to be lured back into those slaughterhouses of the soul which have claimed too many of my kind. My greatest fear is not death to be left hollow-hearted and empty-eyed in a passive existence which slowly suffocates me from within. In this society often I find myself standing on its sidewalks and staring out at my surroundings. What I see is a rigid reality with little room for exploration and adventure; what I see is a world where you are ushered from the maternity ward to the crematorium on a cultural conveyor-belt of expectation and tradition. For the adventurous soul there is no simply no middle way to remain in such an existence. It’s not an easy choice to walk your own path away from it all but one some of us must make to keep ourselves alive. I am one such person and in this life I choose adventure over security, authenticity over acceptance – exploration over comfort and convenience. In this life I choose the grand mystery over the formulaic routine. Such a decision means my life is mess and madness to the settled soul, but that’s okay. Just know I am living a life that leaves me deeply fulfilled. Just know that I am living a life which fiercely serves my soul and spirit. Just know that you ever need me then you can find me out beyond the fences of normality, running with the wild horses – getting happily lost in the wild until the setting of the sun.”
~ Entrapment ~
“It makes your heart ache. It’s a way of life that makes your heart ache. The grey concrete reality. The monotonous routine. The insidious stripping of the spirit. The inability to express how you feel. The fact you know something just isn’t right about the life that those around you drift through so passively and easily. It makes your heart ache. The familiar commute to work. The empty-eyed bosses. The staring into skies out of windows knowing that something inside of you is being neglected and slowly rotting away, caged and raging against the walls of your heart. And ever more gradually you feel its desperate and sinister presence – the pain scratching and clawing away from within. With every empty conversation, with every forced smile, with every repetitive and predictable week – it makes your heart ache and ache and ache.
In this world there are endless souls out there dwelling in lives of quiet desperation and spiritual emptiness. The clothes may be well-ironed, but within cracks cover the soul. Their lives may seem stable, but inside the last parts of their spirit are being eroded away. There is only so much the essence of an individual can endure of such a reality before that person themselves is broken down and adjusted to a life of spiritual suffocation and starvation – before they become comfortably numb to an unfulfilling existence. If you feel this happening know that it won’t be easy to free yourself, but also know that the way out into your wild is always there waiting for you if you’re willing to take the leap. Isolation will be experienced. Sacrifices will be made. Doubt and discomfort will be felt. But sometimes such things are the price you pay to keep your soul free. Sometimes that is the price to pay to keep your spirit alive. Sometimes destroying your carefully constructed safe cage and beginning again out in the wild is what is needed to know you went out there and lived a life, and didn’t just exist in one.”