“The mind that perceives the limitation is the limitation.”
A Touchpoint True Story About The Power Of Choosing
This weekend, I went to Steve & Lily’s wedding, and it was the most inspiring and unusual affair.
There was no aisle for the bride to walk down.
There were no bridesmaids or groomsmen.
There was no cocktail hour, best man speech, or seated dinner.
People were encouraged to sport outfits that fully expressed themselves — this included one man wearing a skirt.
Most weddings that I’ve attended in the West tend to have the following agenda:
But this wedding didn’t follow that structure at all.
We were dressed and ready to be picked up by a yellow school bus at 1pm sharp.
When we arrived on-site, we were each given a mug that said, This must be the place. That would serve as our party favor and the only thing we’d be drinking from all night long.
When I asked Steve the relevance of the mantra on the cup, he said,
“To me, it represents presence. It means looking around and recognizing that we’re exactly where we belong. This mustbe the place we’re supposed to be.”
The property was a lakefront home that had been in Lily’s family for multiple generations.
Everyone sprawled across the backyard, on the docks, beneath the trees, in the hammock, and on the porch. There were no tables with numbers on them, assigned seating, or standard centerpieces.
Within a hour or so, the ceremony began. There was no procession. The bride and groom sat next to each other, facing their friends and family. One of their closest friends served as the officiant.
We all watched as Steve and Lily made “promises” to each other. Then, they did something I’d never seen before: they made a promise to all of us.
Today is our opportunity for us to say thank you.
Thank you to those who held us as crying babies through the night.
Thank you to those who shared our teenage angst.
Thank you to the friends who have helped us understand what this love really is.
Now that we’ve made promises to each other, we want to make a promise to you.
We will listen carefully to your dreams,
We will hold space for you to explore your hearts,
We will be the light that shines when you need it most.
And when times are tough between us,
Remind us of this day, of the sound of the lake, and the heat of the sun
Now, everybody close your eyes,
Reach both hands high into the sky,
Feel this vibration, this love that can be seen from space.
Now, tilt your face toward the sun, and on 3, yell “I love you!”
And we all did just that. We collectively shouted I love you to the sky.
After the ceremony, there was a “roaming dinner” where everyone grabbed food from a buffet and, once again, scattered around the property. It was as intimate as it was unstructured, allowing everyone to dive into time with each other and nature.
An hour later, the backyard had been transformed into a zen den covered in blankets, candles, and pillows. Everyone was encouraged to get cozy as the “storytelling” was about to begin.
Steve and Lily had pre-selected ten guests to share inspiring love stories with everyone. One couple who was celebrating their 50th anniversary that same evening shared the things they’d learned on their journey. Another friend performed a rap about Steve and Lily’s relationship. Both sets of parents got up to tell stories of their children. After each story, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
And that’s when the cake was served and the dancing began. A DJ spun until midnight.
After speaking with almost everyone at the wedding, I think the general consensus was that none of us had ever attended a celebration quite like it before. And as I’ve spent the past couple days to reflect upon my experience, I think it’s important to call out why Steve and Lily’s wedding (much like their partnership) was so different than most.
They questioned the defaults and chose with intention.
I’ve noticed that in love — and in life — we tend to accept the defaults without examination. In short, we choose what everyone else is choosing, and in this process, we let go of our power to cultivate what we really want and need.
We tend to enter into committed relationships because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do even when it doesn’t feel totally aligned sometimes, we tend to choose jobs because we’re afraid to pursue what’s actually in our hearts, and we tend to get married in white dresses and black suits because that’s what everyone else is doing.
But when we take just a moment to access our creativity and grant ourselves permission to explore beyond the defaults, we have the ability to create lives, partnerships, and even weddings that fully express how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Simply, we get to create things that are truly ours.
Additionally, we can serve as inspirations for everyone on the journey or periphery that is either consciously or subconsciously absorbing the vibes we put out into the world.
In the end, there’s nothing wrong with choosing the defaults, if they are, in fact, what you choose.
If you’ve considered other possibilities but then decided what’s standard is best for you, then go for it.
Lily and Steve’s wedding represented something sacred to me. It’s what happens when a couple truly chooses all of the things.
By hosting the celebration at home, giving everyone permission to dress as they wish, creating a platform for friends and family to turn their love into performance art, and making promises to each other and their community, they created an experience that changed everyone’s life this weekend.
It’s left me questioning what defaults I am choosing and examining where I can engage my creativity to customize my world a little bit more.
What defaults are you choosing in your life today?
Where can you question and choose differently?
It’s something to think about it.
Lots of love.
Here. We. Go.
The tired, huddled masses of the next generation are waking up to realize that flexibility and movement are the keys to unlock joy.
The American dream is dead. While still nestled in infancy, star-spangled hopes of anything resembling my parents’ life had pretty much vanished, and a strange subtext for what was to come silently gestated as I grew. The car, the house, and the child before age 30 were all near impossibilities for those of us who inherited the great recession. We were taught to dream small and assign great meaning to the tiny crevasses in which we were held, to play the game the way it’s always been played, though the rules have shifted greatly. Cultural milestones carved deep into society’s structure suddenly feel staggeringly out of reach for this generation of misfits, caught in the middle. So, what are we to do but erupt? To transform? To leap daringly into that which we can hold and experience with the limited resources we have been given? The new American dream will be forged not in matter, but in memory. A bleary-eyed tumble into the ephemeral nature of all things, seen through the lens of conscious nomadism.
We have taken to the road. The new mark of success will not be how young you made your first million or the square-footage of your house, but the stamps on your passport and the mileage on your odometer. The internet is a funny thing to unleash upon a generation, and I feel we are just beginning to use it well. Couch-surfing, ride shares, and freelance work are all within the click of a button, which has made the nomadic lifestyle within reach for anyone who puts their mind to it. Keep personal overhead down and maximize experience.
We have seen our planet suffer. It is no longer chic to accumulate goods and stuff plastic into landfills. The new hive-mind is keen on reversing climate change, recycling, and reusable materials. We can research anything within arms reach at a moments notice, and we are smart enough to know that buying something that lasts 10 years is better than buying ten things that last 1 year. We have had to lead big lives inside of small spaces, creating worlds within wee studios well into our 30s and downsizing to what is essential.
We have accepted a new definition of “home.” There’s a reason that the van life and tiny house movements have picked up so much steam in the last few years. The materialism that previous generations could afford via job security, lack of community, and a void of climate awareness are no longer sustainable or sexy to a tribe of youth raised on the net. Anything we want is right at our fingertips, and perhaps this certainty makes hoarding all the less desirable. The new zeitgeist is one that hoards information, media, and data. We can fit the whole of the world into a backpack, allowing for hyper-mobility and massive curiosity.
We have redefined that which is essential to include warmth, camaraderie, play, purpose, and flexibility. We are aware of our mortality and the world around us more than any generation prior, thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, and we are waking up to the notion that life’s meaning is best found in the deep wells of experience. We are hungry for experience and ready to start digging.
We are blurring the lines between friend/acquaintance/lover. In a world ruled by social media and meetups, finding like-minded friends or groups to try new things with has never been easier, and advancements like FaceTime and Skype give us the power to buzz through electrical currents and maintain friendships thousands of miles away. The new American dream demands inclusivity. Not out of disdain for society as it stands, but out of too many years of living like ill-fitted puzzle pieces in homes we were told to call our own. We have assembled a new definition of community, one that encompasses people we sat next to on a flight to Copenhagen who recommended a bar in Edinburgh. Playmates are everywhere, just look for the smiles.
The new American dream was birthed in the wake of globalization. Unlike ever before, our generation has the power to simultaneously recognize the immediacy with which we need to explore and defend our planet and the absurdity and transience of all things on earth. Between the two lies a web we feel called to traverse again and again, rather than adhere to a rigid, stairway-shaped career structure. The new narrative holds space for several careers within a lifetime and does not believe that traveling is something bestowed only upon the retired and the moneyed.
Technological advances have given us the tremendous gift of all the world’s information, photo-supplemented, at our fingertips. The breathtaking whoosh of Alice down the rabbit hole is just as near as a how-to course on calculus or a selection of vintage Ganesha statues. It seems only fitting that the first generation raised in such expansiveness would begin to carefully rip the seams of society’s cozy sweater and invite in the gale-force winds of the wild unknown. We are waking up to a new version of the future, a new narrative that welcomes the mess, the squish, and the inevitability of impermanence, knowing that goodbye is never a dirty word when the wind’s in your hair and the tiny device inside your pocket holds infinity. Maybe enlightenment isn’t found in the pursuit of solitude, meditating atop a mountain for years on end. Maybe it’s a swan dive into the messiness of life itself and a gentle recognition of the sublime, unwavering force of transience.
Originally written on by Emily Pennington on The Outbound and published on August 3, 2017
Written by Wandering Earl and originally published on WanderingEarl.com
I know nothing.
That’s the greatest lesson I’ve learned during all these years of travel.
Sure, I can tell you where to snorkel in Bali or give you a great route for a road trip around Romania or explain where to find a unique spa experience in Kyrgyzstan, but when I really think about all of the issues and situations that the world faces these days, I really know nothing at all.
I read. I meet people, all the time, all over the world. I talk and discuss at length with others about politics, about religion and conflicts and economies and why it’s so difficult to find a good pair of sunglasses that actually fit my head shape.
But the more I read, the more I converse with others and the more I travel this fine world of ours, the more I realize that not only do I know nothing, it’s almost impossible for me to know anything.
Travel has shown me that the very global topics that I am interested and eager to learn about, the very topics that we all read about, are even more complex and complicated than I ever imagined. It has also shown me that no matter how many countries I visit, I will always continue to discover that every aspect of life in every single nation is defined by an infinite amount of different thoughts, actions, deals, motivations, interests and beyond.
Every single person involved in anything has their own stake and as a result, has their own views, desired outcomes, reasons for taking sides and so on.
How can I know what every person involved is doing or thinking, both in the open and behind the scenes (where it gets even trickier)? How can I know the reasons why they are doing or thinking something?
And if I can’t know any of that, I’m just left with media reports and the conversations I have with the people I meet, which does provide some information and access to a handful of perspectives, but certainly not enough for me to claim that I actually know what’s really going on, that I actually know the complete story.
I can say I know what’s going on from one or two angles perhaps, but that’s about it.
Does it even matter? Maybe it doesn’t.
All I know is that over the years, I’ve learned time and time again that what’s bad for some people is good, or even wonderful, for others, that what at first seems to be one thing, so often seems like something else, something so completely different, soon after.
And that’s why it becomes so extraordinarily difficult to give sweeping statements about a government, about a conflict, about any situation whatsoever without taking into account every single person that is affected or that plays a role. But it’s impossible to take into account everyone’s position, which is why it’s impossible to possess complete knowledge about anything.
The more time I spend online, and the more time I spend talking about various issues, the more I realize that the internet has tricked us into thinking that we are ’experts’ simply because we have such access to so much information. We feel more comfortable making broad statements about the Middle East, yelling out our conclusions about poverty or claiming that we absolutely know what is going on with Greece right now because we’ve read 100 articles on the matter. But in reality, we still don’t know much at all because the internet can’t provide us with a completely unbiased view of what every person or every group involved is thinking and doing and why.
I’m Just Naive
When someone writes to me through the blog and tells me that my political views are naive or my thoughts on some global problem are overly simplistic, based on something I’ve written, my response is…
To me, naivety is thinking that we, ordinary citizens, know enough about some situation to be able to claim, with such certainty, that we are right and others are completely wrong. None of us have been in the meeting rooms, none of us have seen the deals made, none of us were present at every conversation or heard the exact reasoning for every decision, none of us have spoken with the very people, on all sides, who are dealing with the issue first-hand.
And while relying on the media might give me an interesting story to read, it is important to recognize that whatever I do read is one small, and usually very biased, perspective. Thinking otherwise can be dangerous. Media is big business and with any big business, there’s always a hidden agenda behind everything. They work hard to try and hide this of course but what we read is exactly what they want us to read, not necessarily what is actually taking place, or at least not the complete story.
This is why you won’t see me talking in-depth about conflict, politics or many other global issues. I’ll gladly share my thoughts and general opinions based on what I’ve learned over the years but I’ll always add a note that I really have no idea what I’m talking about in the end, simply because there is no way for me to really know what I’m talking about.
Make sense? Maybe not. Maybe I really am just naive.
But, I still think it’s better to recognize that we only know a tiny fraction about everything. I still think it’s more useful to realize that each of us has been exposed to different information and therefore, each of us sees things in completely different ways, none of which can possibly be fully accurate.
Realizing these things has helped me try to seek out as many perspectives as possible with anything I want to learn about. It has helped me to hold off on making judgments and reaching conclusions without gathering as much information as I possibly can. It has helped me realize that every situation in the world is much more complex than it seems and that I should always remind myself of this fact.
Thank you, travel. Thank you for teaching me that I am indeed quite clueless. Funny enough, this lesson has actually helped me understand the world so much better in the end.
Renowned psychologist Jordan B Peterson’s answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Peterson is currently working on a new book called 12 Rules for Life, and listed 42 rules in this Quora answer.
We’ve shortlisted some, here are 12 Simple yet Powerful Rules for Life from Jordan Peterson.
Written by Owen Fisher and originally published on Live Learn Evolve
“Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and alow people to hurl themsleves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces whtn it’s all over.”