Living Small

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Does it sometimes feel to you like everyone around you is having grand adventures or amazing life experiences while you are barely slogging through your daily life?

If you look back on your activities of the past week can you even think of one exciting or even personally interesting thing that you did? Why do others seem to have big lives full of exciting activities? More importantly, why has your life become so small?

Living in safe mode where repetition and schedules dominate creates a small life. If you consider this acceptable and see nothing wrong with living a life where you can predict what you will be doing a year from now with laser accuracy than read no further. Life is good for you. Congratulations.

I suspect though that you are more like me in that you need a little excitement now and then and that while your life is not totally mundane, it certainly could  stand for a little infusion of magical energy and that energy is called curiosity.

People say follow your passion and you can’t not have a great life. But what if you don’t know what your passion is? We all aren’t blessed with awe inspiring destinies. Some of us are fated to simpler circumstances. For the majority of us there is no great talent or phenomenal IQ and we weren’t born into a family dynasty. Even still,  every living soul has the ability to be curious.

I met a man recently who travelled to Tibet because the culture interested him. He went on the cheapest flight he could find to China and then took buses and then hitched rides with cargo trucks to remote parts of the country. Sometimes when no ride existed, he simply walked.

Once, while walking in a mountainous region of Tibet, he got caught in a snow storm and needed to be rescued by the locals of a small remote village. While recovering they asked him if he could get them some medical supplies as they were very poor and barely subsisted on the meager life they etched out of the earth. When he returned to Katmandu he found a book in a used book store on how to start a medical clinic in remote areas. He read it, learned what he needed, and returned to the village and helped the village create a small clinic.

This man is not rich. He didn’t seem any smarter than you or I and he certainly is not a doctor. What he processes is curiosity. It started with an interest in the country of Tibet. His concern for the people that recued him led his inquisitiveness to searching out a solution for their lack of medical aid and he did it all in a uncomplicated and practical manner.

This man is living a very rich, large life on a very simple and small existence. He does not worry about what others might think about him or how he can afford his next adventure or even if he is capable of doing what he seeks to do. He just follows his curiosity and in turn is having an amazing life. I guess you could say his curiosity is his passion.

His example got me thinking, why do the majority of us live our lives so small? The basic answer at the heart of it is that we don’t give ourselves permission to live any other way.

We let others, society, our culture, dictate our existence. We are brainwashed to believe that we can’t live like we want , or act like we want. What would other people think? You must tow the line. Just live like the rest of us, drive the same type of car, wear the same fashions and work at an acceptable job. Don’t you dare buck the status quo by being different.

It’s not so much that this message is blatantly told to your face rather it is a subliminal intimation that seeps into your pores and infects you with an apathy virus until you no longer consider that there is even another option available to you except to live your life safe and small.

But what if you woke up one morning and decided to follow just one curiosity. It might be something small like, “I wonder where that road leads too?” and then find out. You might just discover something. What if, down that road you found an amazing beach or path or even another road. Would you be willing to continue on with that curiosity and see where it leads you? Isn’t that what the man who travelled to Tibet did? His simple curiosity of a foreign country led him to changing the lives of a remote village just because he followed the string of his own personal puzzle until he was satisfied it was solved. He did not think to himself, “What will others think about me doing this? Will the villagers care if I don’t look like them or even speak like them?” or even for that matter, ” I can’t do as they ask, I’m not a doctor. I’m not smart enough to start a clinic.” No, he only saw a challenge that sparked his curiosity and decided to see what he could do about it.

So the next time that you encounter internal resistance to a curiosity whether it be words like, “people will think I’m crazy” or “I don’t have the money to do that” or “I don’t have the knowledge or time” or …….. well you get the point, decide instead to take one step towards that interesting spark. Who knows, your action might just fan that spark into a flame so strong that it becomes a wild fire of adventure.

We only have this life. It is a gift that we were meant to use and enjoy to the fullest of our ability and not to be place safely in a small defined box on a shelf.  Instead, rip off the packaging, throw away the instructions and the rule book and take your gift of life outside to this big, big world and play at what ever sparks your curiosity. You life will be bigger for it.

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Filed under Musing, Wisdom

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