Today marks two years of happy homelessness for me. As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun.
I must use this opportunity to thank the countless wonderful people who have so enriched me with their generosity, love, and kindness – especially the strangers who have opened their homes and hearts to me along the way.
Below is a short list of some of the things I’ve learned in these two wonderful years of getting to know the world, its beautiful people, and myself.
- You can’t change the world; you can only change yourself. Don’t try to make the biggest splash in the lake; rather, aim to create the biggest ripples. Or, as the master at the Thai Temple I visited said, “Keep on helping people, but don’t expect or want anything in return. Be the staircase to help others get to where they need to be.”
- Despite cultural convergence, people are still very difficult to understand.
- One’s personality and attitude can change through conscious effort. You can be whoever you want to be – including the better person you dream of being.
- I still don’t know what confidence is. People assume I must be quite confident given all I’ve experienced and all the places I’ve traveled. I don’t feel that way at all, though I understand their point of view. The more you experience in life the more you realize how little you know and how much more there is out there. What could be more humbling than that?
- The Matrix exists and we’re all in it. So much about how the world works makes no sense. It’s possible to unplug and do your own thing, but it requires far more courage, vision, and luck than most people have.
- Man’s greed for wealth is limitless, but so is man’s capacity for empathy, love, and compassion. Ironically, the more open your heart is, the more empathetic and compassionate you are, the more goodness and blessings find their way into your life.
- One’s life should have a purpose, but society seeks to strip away our identity and what makes us unique. So instead we seek purpose in our career, family, or, worst of all, the things we consume – and rarely live up to our potential. Fight social pressure and conformity, embrace who you are, and live out your purpose.
- Babies and toddlers find reasons to laugh everywhere. What do they see that we stop seeing as we age? Either way, adults don’t laugh enough.
- People don’t sleep enough either.
- Stress is the byproduct of healthy survival instincts mixed with lives we’re not happy living. A little acceptance and proper breathing go a long way.
- Most of the good things in life happen outside your comfort zone, from having the courage to kiss that special someone, the adventure of parenthood, traveling, etc. Those who constantly work at pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone not only seem to find their calling in life more easily, but also seem to be happier and more fulfilled.
- There are two different levels of happiness – surface and deep. Think of it like the sea right next to a beach. The surface of the sea may be turbulent and full of disruptive waves, but underneath the surface it is calm, the seaweed sways back and forth, and fish go about their business. All too often we focus our attention on cultivating the fleeting moments of happiness that can be had on the surface instead of working toward cultivating permanent bliss under the surface.
- The Pursuit Of Happiness is one of the unalienable rights Thomas Jefferson identified in the Declaration of Independence. If kids were taught how to pursue happiness instead of taught to perform well on standardized tests society would be radically different – and happier.
- To be human is to suffer. Unfortunately, in our search to alleviate suffering we often make wrong turns that just create more suffering.
- Fear is natural, can be overcome, and can even be used as a springboard to a brighter future.
- Life is a miracle. When you leave the climate zone you know and discover all new kinds of flora and fauna you realize just how life-giving and incredible this planet is.
- You are your consciousness, not your mind. What does that mean? Well, I think everyone has had experiences where our mind just shuts off completely and we listen to our “gut.” It could have been a moment of sheer terror, pure joy, incredible relaxation, or a situation where your mind said one thing and your heart/gut said the opposite, but such moments show that our mind is separate from our consciousness. In eastern philosophy, realizing this is basically step one (of many) toward enlightenment.
- All you need is love. All you need is love. All you need is love. Love is all you need.
- The world is not scary. Ignorance is though.
- Gratitude would fix so many of the problems that ail society. When you cultivate a grateful mindset you can’t help but constantly find reasons to rejoice, be thankful, and BE HAPPY!