When you travel your eyes open, your senses sharpen and your heart accepts certain things that perhaps you haven’t made peace with accepting in your most familiar environment.
At least that’s how I see it, and that is how it has consistently been for me for a long time now.
The first time I left this country alone was to backpack through Israel and Egypt; (yes you read that right), at the age of nineteen with little but a backpack, my cherished hiking shoes that I spent my last dime on, and (there were no iPhones or google maps) an actual map of where the boarder between the Sinai and Eilat lay, I was for the first time in my life free.
Freedom is an individual thing. True, a part of it rests with our governments and even our bank accounts, our jobs and our responsibilities, but as I learned most of it rests in the deep pockets of our heart. There is a reason that even in the harshest of countries there are free people, perhaps bound by chains, but still free in the heart. I think that it’s because, amongst other things, a person seems to make peace with themselves when they are exposed to the most unfamiliar elements. And, when that peace is made, you relax and you live.
That happened for me exactly fifteen years and three months ago today.
I was never the coolest kid, or the best athlete (actually I cut gym class and never played sports), I wasn’t the straight A student or a major rebel. But I was, from a young age of fourteen highly insecure about my body. I am not sure why it was that I subconsciously chose to make discoveries about myself that I didn’t like, instead of ones that would benefit me. I lived for a long time in the “I hate my body” phase, in the “I’m tired”, “I can’t” and “I am not good enough” phase and it nearly killed my spirit (nearly).
Confidence is a funny thing because it comes from the mind not the body. And by the time I was fourteen somehow my brain had found its way into a place where my mind hated my body, and my body was defeated by my mind.
Today I have reversed this process; it took a long time and I have come a very long way, with miles still to travel I realize now that my journey is something of a gift. Since that first time I stood on the edge of Cairo and peered out into the sight of the Giza pyramid peaks, I have never looked back at the girl I was, instead I learned to build on the person I am, and hope to continue to become.
How you break away from your negatives is a personal thing – you might, like I did join a martial arts school, leave the country for a bit, ride horses, attempt to finish great books and adapt to wearing lycra on weekdays… But I will tell you that whatever you choose to do to break away from your negatives – you MUST do it, and you must start NOW. You owe it to yourself and the potential of your life. And you must live it progressively, like a wheal that has begun to turn so fluidly that it will never stop, never fall or lose its balance… all the while charting a course for something exciting, new and slightly unknown.
Here Are My Top Five Ways To Break Away From Negatives
Apply the Yin and the Yang
Complete balance is bullshit. There is no such thing, or else we would have flawless governments and no stress in life. But the ying and yang does not stand as a symbol of a balance point. It stands, as I would say as a symbol of life, a perspective that all things if real are slightly tainted and that perfection is actually a very dull and unnatural concept. Even in martial arts, perfect form is subjective to the persons build and character. And so to make peace with the fact that nothing in life will very be perfectly balanced, is to achieve a level of balance and peace within the self.
External circumstanced should never determine your happiness or confidence.
No doubt a tough one, its important… It’s a buddhist thought principle, and one that the Dali Lama wrote extensively about in his book “A Path To Happiness.”
This is also the toughest one; the idea that no matter what happens outside of yourself, tragedy, stress, you are still internally happy. You can grieve, or be be sad in the moment, but internally you are in a state of happiness and confidence.
Don’t worry, it is said that this type of self control and consistency takes years to master, often a lifetime, and for that reason you need to simply just be aware of it first.
Start by reminding yourself daily that happiness and confidence is rooted in your gut, heart and soul, not in your wallet of your social status. That it is a choice to be happy and that you chose to make it every day.
No one can change you, but you.
Change is all together possible and beautiful if its done naturally, consistently, progressively and with purpose.
I know this first hand from martial arts. For one, people can and do change- we have the power to will ourselves to be better in every possible (and sometime impossible) way. So stop listening to everyone that says otherwise, you can change, and you can become a far better version of yourself.
Just make sure to be HIGHLY selective and personal in the changes you do choose to make, because you change for yourself and no one else.
Perfection is so boring I want to yawn right now!
When I was younger (not much, lets say about 8 years ago) I told my mom that I wanted a nose job because I had this bump on my nose, it’s slight, but yes, I have one. Anyway, my mom, a women much smarter and cooler then me said something so awesome that I never, ever though about getting a nose job again;
“Have you ever seen a women with a perfect nose be the most interesting person in the room?”
Okay, so I thought of Nicole Kidman and made my arguments to mom.
“Sweetie” she said, “Complicated, complex, worldly, mysterious, sexy, arousing women are never every perfect. Perfection is an open book, one for those with a kindergarten level IQ. Real women have scars and bumps and they wear them with the most grateful attitudes. And they’d never compromise themselves for the sake of a smooth nose.”
True beauty is never perfect.
What’s more is that esthetic perfection is not a permeant thing if you do have it; we all get older, styles change, breast sag (a bit) and our smooth twenty year old skin turns more interesting with beautifully rough, worldly edges, wrinkles and sun spots. Embrace yourself, and be free to enjoy yourself.
The power to be happy is within each of us.
Sounds like a commercial for a luxury car right? Yep, I think so too. But I love those damn commercials, I mean they make me want to go hiking and embrace the world and actually learn how to drive (yep, I have a book in Barnes & Nobles, twenty four fitness DVDs, a brown belt in Brazilian jiujitsu and do not know how to drive).
“the power to be happy is within each of us”
These worlds are cheesy because they are true. Truer then anything else that I can possibly share with you, and whats more is that we all know this.
To find that power is to find peace. And everyone finds it in their own unique way. For me its martial arts, its writing, its my friends and my family, my dogs and the smell of a new country (no matter how potent or foul — and Ive been to markets in Cambodia, Burma and Jordan amongst others). For you it might be a cat and a god book, a title fight, a good football game, a roller coaster ride or a skydiving trip. The point is that looking past our physical selves is a necessity. And creating challenging, deep and meaningful experience is a way to build the self, find freedom and get consistently happy.
So make the time to do the things that make you simply SMILE.
It’s okay to eat cheese sometimes
I mean this literally. Having cheese, chocolate, amazing and slightly expensive wine and lots of laughter is a good thing sometimes. In my opinion, truffle cheese is the best at making you inherently happy and overly giddy… and as mom would agree, eating truffle cheese once in a long while makes you more ‘interesting’.
In the end, forever is too long a time for anyone, today however is as promising as ever – so make it a good day and a great week, and awesome month and a POSITIVE, memorable year!
and chill with people who feel the same way about life,