One year ago this month I posted “What I Learned From the Road” as a tribute to all that had come and gone for me in the prior nine months of transition and growth. This past year has also been a time for tremendous change and opportunity to learn.
I moved frequently between Phoenix, Colorado, Idaho, and Seattle. I completed more than two dozen short films and shot a sci-fi based on short stories I had written more than twenty years prior. I ventured to Hawaii to help a friend work on his house and witness the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. I walked across fields of flowing lava and filmed one of the most spectacular events I have ever witnessed–the unfolding beauty of new earth given form.
When the intoxicating sulfur and tremendous heat moved me to run but at the same time begged me to remain in order that I would be consumed, I was more alive then than at most any other time in my life.
I sold my house and lived for six weeks on a remote ranch in Colorado. I ran through the mountains without concern for trails, every day swam naked in the pond, and fell to sleep to the howl of the coyotes and bugle of the elk.
In September I moved to East Jerusalem where I rebuilt a website and produced short documentary and educational films. When the rockets came down on both Israel and Palestine, I wept for the pain of knowing people were dying not far from where I stood. In those hours, I found comfort in the hot tea and warm embrace of a Muslim shop keeper who didn’t judge those who hurt others, rather, he simply prayed they find peace.
I moved to Holland for full-time work but found myself again in motion when my job was abruptly terminated. I recovered in the warm embrace of family friends in Germany. Just two weeks later I was robbed while switching trains in Paris and arrived to Barcelona with but the clothes on my back, cell phone, some cash, and my camera bag. This year has repeatedly confronted me with the challenge of finding grounding in ungrounding times.
I was for the first time in my adult life fully accepted for all that I am without request that I change, only to be asked to let go of the expectation for that love, in the end. I am reminded that nothing truly beautiful remains the same for long.
Sometimes I desire nothing more than a normal life. Sometimes I cherish experiencing this world in a way that is impossible if I were to remain still. From this place of constant transition, I again offer what I have learned from the road.
Trust in who I know I am.
Always challenge myself to improve, but do not second guess my motivation.
I am a whole person even when I lose everything.
For as vulnerable as I may feel when I lose my material possessions, by happenstance or through direct confrontation—for as empty as I may be when I lose love, time has a way of rebuilding, of reminding what we yet retain.
Emotions are a filter to reality.
Despair and fear are but chemical responses designed to keep us from making the same mistakes over and over again. Joy is not a destination but also a temporary, passing filter to the same situation. In the sometimes nonsensical manner in which we have evolved, the signatures that flood our synaptic pathways also cause us to fall into patterns of behavior which are self-defeating.
The power of saying nothing is often greater than explanation.
Be comfortable in my own decisions and the path I create every day. I do not need to explain my actions in every situation.
Recognize the patterns of history then move ahead to an improved future.
Learn from what I have done in the past, from what those around me have done too. There are good patterns to copy and those which we should avoid. Only through looking back can we move ahead with opportunity to improve.
Don’t be attached to outcome.
Recognize what I did well and what I could have done better. Learn from my mistakes. Above all, believe I did the best I could, in the moment, given what I had to work with.
Last year a friend asked “What would you do if you had all the money in the world?” My answer came to me quickly, “I would do exactly what I am doing now. I would not change a thing no matter how much money I was given.” I am seeking a place on this planet (or the next) in which my skills and experience and passion find opportunity to serve others while at the same time encouraging me to be my best.
No amount of money can purchase a sense of direction. No bank account balance can provide true satisfaction. No amount of love from anyone can cause me to love myself. I have all that I need, right here, right now.
Maybe now is the time to do nothing. Maybe now is the time to do everything at once. Maybe now, finally, is the time to just move step by step in order that I am living in the moment and not afraid of what unfolds next. The world is open to me when I let go of fear.