I fell down the rabbit hole. Down, down, down, deep in the quagmire of that existential question, “what does it all mean. “
I’ve consistently forsaken “safe” for adventure. I’ve always chosen the road less traveled. I’ve risked everything to live my life on my terms. I’ve aimed for a life that is true, authentic, courageous, limitless, fearless and full of contributions. Yet the feeling of having “nothing” despite the hard work and audacity pushes me down and holds me hostage.
The last post acted like an unintended SOS signal and I’ve received many emails from friends and colleagues reminding me of all that I’ve done. All week long, I’ve been offered insights, advice and a heavy helping of perspectives.
My dear friend, Riegan Sage, quotes Siddhartha, “And once again, another time, when Siddhartha left the forest together with Govinda, to beg for some food in the village for their brothers and teachers, Siddhartha began to speak and said: ‘What now, oh Govinda, might we be on the right path? Might we get closer to enlightenment? Might we get closer to salvation? Or do we perhaps live in a circle–we, who have thought we were escaping the cycle?’ Govinda replies ‘We have learned a lot, Siddhartha, there is still much to learn. We are not going around in circles, we are moving up, the circle is a spiral, we have already ascended many a level.’”
AH! We first start with the philosophical engagement. This is the “everything is for the learning” argument. I get it. But when you are down, the thought that there are more mountains to climb and more to learn is far from comforting.
On a walk, I ran into my dear friend, Colin Huggins (aka The Crazy Piano Man), playing his baby grand piano in Washington Square Park. I looked at Colin and his street performer life style , playing classical music in the middle of the park, day after day, because he wants to live on his own terms. Oh, yeah, okay, yes, I am not the only one striving for a life on my terms. I am not alone in this fight for a meaningful life. I love and respect Colin so much for his courage and it was a comforting sight to see him out there, in the cold, playing his piano.
Seeing someone else out there, still fighting the good fight, just seeing and knowing someone else is believing and striving…. it was encouraging.
She gently reminds me not to underestimate the kaleidoscope of experiences and memories that I’ve accumulated, that fill my insides, and make me shine. Sherry insists that it is worth more than the credit I give it.
John said having the daring to set forth on the path alone is already enough. To simply have the boldness, determination and spirit is enough, in itself. You’ve already achieved and won, says John.
In my twitter exchange with Umair Haque I came across his piece on how to define a well lived life and why we should strive for eudaimonia*. Apparently it was not just me who was taking stock and wondering what comes next, what it all means and if we’ve made the right choices. I found comfort in knowing these big questions are part of the collective unconscious, the undercurrent.
I got stuck in asking “when will it get easier?” and preoccupied with “arriving” that I forgot that I’ve already arrived. I am just at the starting point for the next set of adventures and I let it freak me out. I forgot, for a second, all that I’ve survived; I convinced myself that if I had not “made it” by now then I must have failed.
Oh, how silly I can be.
My favorite moment of perspective came from my darling ex who encouraged me to adopt Kurt Vonnegut’s Bokononism, “Live by the foma (harmless untruths) that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.” *insert belly laugh*
I believe self-reflection is important. I believe that we must look back every now and again to make sure that we are heading in the right direction. I believe we should question everything. If when you do stop in your tracks, ask the big question, and subsequently fall down the rabbit hole, I hope the insights and courage I’ve been offered can help you get back on track.Look around you. You are not alone. You are not alone in your doubts. You are not alone in your fears. We are all out there fighting it out for a life that matters. Inhale, exhale, have a cupcake, dry your eyes and keep on going.
*Umair’s piece on eduaimonia is fantastic and worth the read.
Here are a some great and fearless friends whose lives inspires mine:
Sherry Otts, Ottsworld
Danielle de LaPorte, White Hot Truth
Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity
Huge MacLeod, A Gaping Void