Hello faithful readers and friends. I fear you may have felt somewhat abandoned over the last several months, what with me tripping all over the Himalayas on my mad motorscooter and neglecting my blog. It’s a disease I’m afraid, wanderlust, one I am helpless to control. A slave to this insatiable craving for freedom and adventure, the inexplicable burn to ride, to wander, to explore. Please do be assured however several larger projects , a novel of epic intrigue, action and excitement and a collection of memoirs by a motorcycle madman are well underway. Arriving sooner yet, some sweet kisses in the dark by way of a short fiction story and a slice of life piece full of fun. Still I worry that those of you who do fancy a word from me on a regular basis are feeling somewhat shunned. I offer you this short but heartfelt explanation…
Earlier this year a colleague of mine wrote a piece called “Wanderlust – The Fuel For My Soul” I recently re-read it and it stirred up the “change in the wind” innervation I generally have before saddling up my bike and making an abrupt exit from my daily routine. 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 as I alluded to earlier, a disability of sorts. My colleague 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. His words 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.”
So how do the insights and visions of a genius relate to a guy who can’t sit still for ten minutes? 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 recurring circumstances or signs in day-to-day life strongly suggest we should change course.
Sometimes obvious, sometimes more subtle, but they are there. Now, whether those signs are coming from what you call or perceive as God, or from other indicators such as your health, your spouse, fate, chance, whatever is, is immaterial. Most of us just keep plowing forward with blinders firmly affixed to our bridle. Even if we are superficially aware there is a lean, or a pull, or even an outright shove in a different direction. We choose to ignore it. It seems it is far to easy to lie to yourself about your current situation, than effect change.
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. different desires for different folks. I myself have never had the overwhelming compulsion to better the human condition for example. Yet there are thousands of doctors and school teachers etc., that for meager wages travel to underprivileged countries to do their work. To answer their inner calling, their passion. The point being, whatever it is that stirs you, is something unique to you. For me, it’s travel and experience, adventure mixed with a little uncertainty and danger. Others may find contentment closing real estate deals, or painting a landscape.
Over many years I did many things. A very long list of quick fixes and passing fancies. Never truly happy, never fully settled. Shifting focus and interests in almost all facets of my life. Even my personal relationships suffered. I was constantly in flux, the worst part is, I didn’t even realize that is how I was conducting myself. Moving from the next big thing to the next big thing, totally immersing myself into whatever it was. Endlessly searching to quench the flames burning in my guts. I didn’t even know they were alight!
I had no idea what I wanted, what I was looking for and in all honesty, what was even right for me. Then, through a series of self sought after destructive circumstances, it all came crashing down around me. I do mean everything, relationship, career, friends, family and almost my sanity. There is no need to spill the bloody details of how I went about clawing my way out of that hole, suffice to say I did. With my emergence from the chaos came some clarity and little peace. But most of all, a better understanding of myself, of what made me tick. Isn’t that what Gandhi was saying?
The end result was I started to follow my instincts. Not try to please those around me with the things they thought I should be doing. I listened to my heart, possibly for the first time in my life. Without outside influence, I just shut up and listened. As it turns out, 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 through life. Bombs going off all around them while they are feigning contentment. Or even worse, perhaps they are 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. Even better, I have since figured out a way to fit myself, with all my idiosyncrasies, inadequacies and intolerable quirkiness into someone’s life! To my surprise she digs it all without question, what a godsend. I am now the happiest I have ever been, embracing the things I found inside myself.
So tonight, after your day has reached its end, take a very deep breath, close your eyes, and take Gandhi’s advice. What is your God saying to you? Find what is in your heart and try to immerse yourself in it. Who knows what will whisper to you, what will call out of the dark… maybe its wanderlust too…