I recently read an article posted by a colleague called “Wanderlust – The Fuel For My Soul” It is very well written and stirred up the “change in the wind” innervation I generally have before saddling up my bike and making an abrupt exit stage left. Wanderlust…it’s a word I use frequently, I even have a slot for it to be tattooed on my body… a word that makes sense to me. It’s a condition I live with. She asks herself in the article if there is a “cure” for wanderlust, and that, is what got me to thinking.
I keep a book of Gandhi quotes on my desk; I turn to it when something is inconsolably nagging at my innards, something that I can’t identify. More often than not, it will put prose to whatever ghost thoughts I am having, help bring the spectre into focus. It didn’t take long for me to find this one and immediately know it was the label for my present lurking mystification.
“Mankind is notoriously too dense to read the signs that God sends from time to time. We require drums to be beaten in our ears before we should wake from our trance and hear the warning and see that to lose oneself in all, is the only way to find oneself.”
How do the insights and visions of a genius relate to a guy who can’t sit still for ten minutes you ask? Simple, it’s the condition he is really addressing here. I humbly submit, what Gandhi is saying, is that most of us are happy to plod along like cattle and follow the path laid before us. Even when circumstances or signs strongly indicate we should change course. Now, whether those signs are coming from (what you call or perceive as) God, or other indicators such as your health, your spouse, fate, chance, or whatever is immaterial. Most of us just keep acting like Dory in Finding Nemo…swimming, swimming, just swimming.
Back to the wanderlust, I seriously believe it is something born into select individuals. It is not a tug on the lanyard that everyone feels. I myself have never had the overwhelming desire to better the human condition for example. Yet there are thousands of doctors and school teachers etc., that work for little wages and travel to underprivileged countries to do so. To answer THEIR wanderlust. The point being, whatever it is that stirs you, is something unique to you. For me, it’s travel and experience; for others it may be closing real estate deals.
Where the hell is he going with this? I’ll tell ya. For many years I did many things. A very long list of quick fixes and passing fancies. Never truly happy, never truly settled. Shifting focus and interests in almost all facets of my life. Even my relationships suffered. The kicker is, I didn’t even realize that is how I was conducting myself. Moving from next big thing to next big thing, totally immersing myself into what ever it was. Then, through circumstances I won’t detail now, suffice to say in McDonald’s parlance, they were Super Sized Fries, it all came crashing down around me.
The end result was I started to follow my heart; and MY heart is filled with wanderlust. Just as Gandhi said, it wasn’t until I completely lost myself in it ALL, that I truly understood myself, my callings, and my nature. I see so many of my friends stumbling though life, with bombs going off all around them, feigning contentment, or perhaps simply unaware they are miserable. Such was the case with me. I’m lucky I suppose; through drastic circumstance, I was afforded the opportunity to listen, to see, and discover who I was. Who I really am. Even better, I figured out a way to fit myself, with all my idiosyncrasies, inadequacies and intolerable quirkiness into someone else’s life who digs it all without question. I am now the happiest I have ever been, embracing the things I found buried deep inside.
So tonight, after your day has reached its end, take a very deep breath, close your eyes, and you take Gandhi’s advice. Listen for the drums beating in your ears. What is YOUR God saying to you? Find what is in YOUR heart and immerse yourself in it. Who knows? Maybe its wanderlust too…
Till next time embrace the detours, and remember, not all who wander are lost…