My life started out with some pretty exciting potential. My mom grew up as a surfer girl on Venice Beach and my dad was a jazz drummer back in the 60’s. Then my dad decided to settle down and went to school to become a mechanical engineer. As he looked for a job he found one on almost a different planet and my family moved from Southern California to Emporia, Kansas when I was just over a year old.
We would visit family from time to time and I always felt like I was a Californian living in the sticks of Kansas. There was something about California that I loved deep inside. I wouldn’t accept my fate and told people I was from California. I just knew I would move back there someday.
In grade school I learned that if I wrote a state’s tourism bureau they would send me a free packet of information in the mail! I loved receiving the huge packets they would send me and would spend hours looking through the pictures, maps and brochures revealing the highlights of their state. That was how I Googled. Little did I know I was feeding my wanderlusting Adventure Monkey heart.
Sometime around high school I became disillusioned with the accepted societal norms that governed my life. I had an itch to do things differently. I reveled in stories and biographies of people that marched to the beating of their own drum.
In high school I wanted to take a year off after graduation to live on the beach doing any job so I could experience beach living. I’ve always wanted to live in an RV for an extended period. I’ve wanted to do long distance bicycle tours. I’ve wanted to leave a real job behind to create art. But I didn’t do any of those things. I left the itches unscratched, followed the accepted path and believed the reasons why I couldn’t do those things.
I went directly to college after high school and directly into the workforce after that. Before I continue, I want to point out that “normal” life is not a bad thing. I don’t want to put down anyone’s life. All of us can’t climb Mt. Everest (including me), nor should we. What is bad is hearing those passionate whispers calling you towards your purpose and quieting, even ignoring them. The thing that is bad is not following your dreams, not challenging yourself to do the things you really, down deep, passionately want to do. I am of the mindset that there is a reason we hear those whispers. There is a purpose calling us.
I didn’t listen to the whispers. Instead, I let fear ring louder than the passionate whispers.
There are a limitless number of reasons why we shouldn’t do something. But there is a real reason why we should do the thing that scares us. The fears, excuses and rational reasons why we can’t are just vapors, illusions that keep us from our hero’s purpose. I am not saying that we all are supposed to be Super Heroes that will save the planet, but I do believe that each one of us has a hero inside that is meant to shine in this world. Your hero purpose might not be wild and crazy, dangerous or perilous but rather it may be a simple thing in this over-complicated world.
You know heroes when you see them – our favorite teachers, musicians, bus drivers, maybe that one person that made a difference in our lives. You know them when you see them because they walk the earth with their inner light shining bright enough for all of us to see and feel. They radiate purpose and motivate us to follow ours, sometimes without using words, just by being who they are.
I know from experience that ignoring the passionate whispers leads to a discontented life – a feeling that my life is missing something. I wanted things to change but the fears that led me felt like realities. I ignored the whispers until I no longer had a choice. I ended up in a divine storm.
A divine storm tears away all that we think matters in life like a hurricane shredding a city. The storm rages until the core of who we are is revealed and we get to a place where nothing matters. This place is dark and lonely. But it is also where a person can decide to start over and follow his or her heart, the passionate whispers, and walk through the dark cave that leads to a place that is amazing. The divine storm is a dangerous place to be. Some will not face their darkness and live a passionless life. Some will end up taking drugs, legal or illegal, to cover the darkness and never deal with it. Others will take their own lives. But some will face their darkness, slay the dragons and begin again. I would say that I am in the process of dragon slaying.
When light shines in the darkness, it is no longer darkness and simply cannot exist. We all hold light within us, although it may be barely a twinkle at times, and taking a step into our personal darkness makes it not seem scary or so dark anymore, like turning on the light in a dark closet to see that nothing scary hides in there at all. It was just our imagination.
As I type this I am off the safe path of normalcy and on an overgrown path that I know not where it leads. The safe path leads to a comfortable death. We are all going to die, that’s a given. I want my life to mean something. Meaning is only found on our own path. I can’t say it any better than this:
“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” ― Joseph Campbell
and also this piece of goodness:
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ― Joseph Campbell
When I saw an old Winnebago on the way home from the market months ago, a spark inside was reignited. I have an aunt and uncle that would drive across the country and stop at our place in Kansas. I loved their RV. I thought it was the coolest thing ever – a house on wheels. But I had a thousand reasons why I couldn’t do something like that. It took an angel in the form of a person to get me to face these fears and start walking on a path that is mine. When we are ready, doors will open. Sometimes we need to be taken by the hand to walk towards what we want because it seems too scary to do on our own. My angel showed up in the form of Katelyn. Her adventurous, “what’s the worse that could happen?” attitude made me question my fears. And once put to the test, fears show their true form of being self-contrived movies we play on the screen of our minds that have no authenticity. When we face them, shine a light on them, they vaporize. They are not real. Thanks to Katelyn, I moved forward, one step at a time. She made such a difference in my life and I am sad that we are no longer together, but now I am living life. It is scary and uncertain right now. I am currently parked in my friend’s back yard and I have no idea what the next year has in store for me, but what I do know is that I have to make things happen. Thinking positive is only half the battle, I have to do. And that’s why I write this. This is the beginning of the tale of me living in an RV and heading towards adventure. Uncertainty abounds, but the freedom I have craved for so long is within my grasp. Now the question is, am I willing to pay the price for the freedom I have craved for so many years? To be continued…
Feed Your Monkey!