courage

Live your Dreams, Heal the world: Why doing what you love makes the world better…

 

I wasn't sure it was real until i woke up

After years of dreaming to succeed as a captain in search of remote waves, I had to pinch myself in moments like these. Panama 2007

 

“Passion is the love of turning being into action. It fuels the engine of creation. It changes concepts to experience…. Never deny passion, for that is to deny Who You Are, and Who You Truly Want To Be.” –Neale Donald Walsch

 

 

the quiver

The mothership,  the quiver, and the happy cappy in 2010. Photo by Adrian Midwood.

 

Wishing you all a peaceful, love-filled, and joyful holidays!! …I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for a long time…excited to share it here with you all!!

 

So aside from the obvious reason that following your dreams and living your passions makes us, as individuals, happier and more fulfilled, I believe there is a Greater reason why doing so is important…So let’s break down my theory…:)

 

We are each born with a great, unique potential. All of us have a different call or purpose in this life that cultivates a deep yearning to be fulfilled through physical experience. Imagine…you can know that you want to be a great chef, a wandering traveler, a singer/song-writer, or the proud owner of a business, but until you actually have that experience, there is an inevitable part of you that doesn’t feel complete. Or maybe you don’t quite know what you want, but you know you need to go figure it out. I’ve come to believe that the best thing that we can do for ourselves, our families, and for the world is to hear and follow our hearts and calls. The alternative is living in quiet frustration, haunted by whispers of what ‘could be’ or ‘could have been’. We can attempt to repress these whispers, to push them deeper, but I don’t think they ever truly go away…

 

But it’s never too late to hear and honor them! Even a small step toward living closer to our truest self makes us feel more alive, more vibrant, more inspired, and closer to the person and potential we know brews within us. Every time we make a choice that moves us in that direction, even slightly, vitality trickles in. We often don’t know what we’re moving toward or even what we really want, but we do know which steps feel like progress and which don’t. Trial and error, forward and back, faster, slower, but eventually closer to what feels right.

 

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Way back in Costa Rica in 2006, it hardly seemed possible that I’d sailed myself there… Photo by Jeff Johnson

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A few thousand miles later in 2007, things were starting to feel real and right! Photo by Ryan Hargrave

 

We tell ourselves a thousand reasons why we should not move towards our dreams and goals: “There’s too much risk!” … “I’m comfortable…” “I don’t want to fail…” “I have a family to support…” I say the risk of regret is much riskier. I say that comfortable is caustic and that the only failure is having never tried. And for the noble householder, I say, what better example, what more important message could you pass along to your children and/or partner, than: ‘Become the greatest You!’, and ‘Live a life you Love!’??  The joy and peace transmitted through this example are worth more than all the material things you could ever provide.

 

This could seem like a selfish concept at first, as it may not intuitively link to uniting humanity and saving the planet. But wait…I’m getting there…

 

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There is no way to know if you can until you try. Photo by Bali Strickland

 

Doing what we really want to do in life can seem a little selfish, probably because we are taught from youth that sacrificing ourselves for others and doing what society needs us to do is what makes us worthy and admirable (…granted that sometimes there are situations and consequences that demand our responsibility and/or  we should always avoid hurting people and use integrity when making decisions!). But in general, our society teaches us that achievements are the things that you can note on your CV or measure in the number of zeros in your salary.

I say achievements are the decisions we make and actions we take to be true to ourselves. I say learning to truly love Oneself is our greatest achievement…and hearing our dreams and calls is a powerful path to getting there. It’s a process, and the road is long and windy, but in my opinion, it’s not money or fame or letters of recommendation that make us admirable. Admirable is each small, humble, and inwardly-celebrated step that we make toward becoming more self-aware, changing habits that don’t serve us and others, and living a life we believe in.

And so, with great courage, we might take a step towards living our version of a more authentic life. Initially, your loved ones might feel betrayed, but with persistent, loving explanations, the people who really love you will understand and want you to seek happiness. Your choosing to do so is a very powerful statement that they can too. As you walk, no matter how slowly, toward each small goal and higher vision of yourself, you give others courage and reason to do the same. This courage is profoundly contagious. And it all starts with a small decision to go within and listen to what you really want out of life.

 

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We can always improve! Putting one’s self in question allows us to see where we can do better…Off for a little soul-searching at this lonely right in Indo on a Patagonia trip.  Photo by Jeff Johnson

 

I don’t think you have to know exactly what you want forevermore. I think the ‘call’ often evolves along the way. One might need to become the richest woman alive in order to know that money doesn’t make her rich. Or compete mercilessly in surf contests in order to one day realize that giving an epic wave to a friend actually feels more like winning.

 

The first steps are the surely the hardest. But as it does when you choose your hopes and dreams, the universe conspires to move you steadily, often magically along. The steps start getting easier until one day you find yourself striding right along–strong and confident that your feelings, instinct, and innate knowing can be trusted. The unknown hardly seems intimidating anymore. In fact, it starts to become kinda exciting! You wonder what twist in the tale will appear, and know that if you choose to greet your daily angels and teachers with an open, humble heart you will never be led too far astray. With great patience, practice, hard work, stumbles and strides, self-examining and reflection, you move closer to the person and place you so desire to be. You keep listening, you keep doing what you do because you love and believe in it.

 

a work of love is hardly work

Even the hardest work is a labor of love when it’s your dream.

Then one day you wake up in your dreams. They have become undeniable reality. It might not be exactly how you had imagined. Maybe it’s even better! You bathe in the glory and greet new adversities with optimism. For each day doing what you love is a gift, no matter how hard or stressful. You learn deep gratitude. You are so thankful that you listened to the voice within you, and cherish those who encouraged and believed in you. You learn to appreciate your life so deeply and wholly that all of a sudden you look around and realize you’ve made a great ascent on your climb to personal peace.

peak of peace

Nothing is more important to peace in the world, than peace in your own heart. Climb to your ‘peak of peace’!

 

While sitting blissfully atop that ‘Peak of Peace’, a few important things might happen:

 

1. You look down at the steep and hard-trodden road to where you are sitting and see that, in fact, all those misfortunes, failures, difficulties were the means to arriving there! You stop mourning things in your past because you see how they helped you to where you are now. A deep trust is born in the Greatness and Perfection of it All. True Wonder and Awe is awakened at the thought of each of our wildly unique and complex journeys!

 

2. Compassion flourishes. The feeling of deep peace combined with the understanding that the same is possible for every human on earth, creates a longing for others to feel what you feel and desire to help them on their way. The thriving, positive energy feels SO good, that you just want others to thrive, too! Your compassion soon expands out beyond your family and friends to all people and plants and animals too…

 

3. Competition is replaced by a sincere wish to bring others up. Jealousy vanishes, for you now know from experience, that life’s truest riches abide solely in the realm of the internal. Rather than feel threatened or envious of another’s good fortune, you praise and cheer them on, in hopes that that they may one day call out to you from atop their own peak of peace… “Hello dear sister! Hello my brother! How glorious is this view!!?!”

 

4. We begin to truly feel and see the interconnectedness of all of life; that we all come and return to one great Energy, regardless of our form. We see the similarity in the struggles and victories of each living being, regardless of its species, race, or gender. Knowing we are One, we understand that we can only truly rise if we all rise together.

 

And so I conclude that the more of us who take this journey, and make it to their personal ‘peak of peace’, the better chance we have at creating a happier, healthier, more loving world. So be assured that living your dreams, hearing your call, and pursuing a life of passion and is as powerfully serving to humanity and the Earth as it is to your Self. I believe it is as practical and direct a means to contributing to a better world, right now, as any other.

 

For how can we possibly hope to feed our hungry, end war, repair our ecological crises, learn respect for all life, and move towards fuller, more satisfying ways of existence if we as individuals are not whole, realized, and peaceful ourselves? I tell you it is just not possible…

 

So do, be, and live what you love! A better you makes a better me makes a better world, because essentially…We are One.

 

 

One Great Heart

We are all of One Great Heart.

 

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Smile, your truest life awaits you!

Quiet heros in the forgotten valley.

Mami Faatiarua Tetuaveroa.

 

Mami Faatiarau is 79 years old. She lives in an isolated valley in the Marquesas Islands. Only a walking path connects this valley to the main village, but she doesn’t want to move to the more populated valley like the rest of her family. She and Maoni, her disabled adoptive son prefer to stay in the peace and tranquility of the valley, living off what nature provides.

 

Raiarii and I met them while scoping out a little right that breaks along the eastern point of her bay. We’d been sent over to deliver a message to another grandmother who occasionally lives in the same valley. That day, we swam ashore and came upon the two old ladies and a younger woman, hauling a wild pig back towards the house that they’d just killed!! I was blazed in astonishment at the sight of these three women and their ‘kill’…We delivered the message, they loaded us up with avocados and grapefruit, and we were on our way. But I felt we’d have to go back and spend a little more time there…

 

Walking the baby goat behind Mami Faatiarua (take note of her multi-machete belt!).

 

On our next visit a week or so later, she and Maoni were out gathering shellfish on the rocks at low tide in the company of a big-eared puppy and a baby goat on a leash. This was quite the foursome to behold! We’d caught a small tuna on the way there, so we paddled in through the shorebreak to offer them the fish.

 

Extremely grateful, she smiled and kissed us, and insisted we all eat together.  So after we rode a few waves, Maoni led us back into the valley through rows of swaying palms. Raiarii carried the fish and a few gifts we’d brought, while I walked the baby goat!  They explained that they had found him abandoned in the hills on a recent walk back from the neighboring valley. The house was simple, pink, clean, and home to a large pack of hunting dogs and captured wild pigs they were raising to eat. How this duo managed to nourish not only themselves, but all these animals everyday without buying things from a store… All I can say is that I found two new heroes that day!

 

Maoni, stoked and grooving to the tunes on Raiarii's ipod...He was such a fantastic host, graciously touring us around the valley with a huge smile.

Raiarii fried the fish, I cleaned the shellfish and squeezed lime juice over them, and Mami Faatiarau prepared some tarua root and traditional ‘popoi’, made from fermented breadfruit. Maoni never stopped smiling and it was certain they were both happy to have company. Neither of them spoke much French, so it was difficult for me to communicate. Thankfully, Raiarii speaks fluent Tahitian and Mami speaks both Marquesan and Tahitian, so he was able to translate for me. After lunch we helped around the house as much as they’d allow, hoping the two of them could rest a bit that afternoon with some of the chores finished…

The 'ma-ma' shellfish that they had collected on the rocks earlier were delicious with lime juice.

 

Then we all wandered back to the beach, and sat in the shade of the palms watching the wild horses drink from the creek. When it was time to say goodbye, Mami told us they were coming over to the valley where Swell was anchored in a few days. We offered to pick them up with the dinghy, but she refused explaining that she never learned to swim, so she was terrified of the sea, and preferred the 4-mile walk at 79 years old! Go Mami Faatiarau!!

We shared the beach with some thirsty horses and lazy cows...

 

I could certainly understand why they liked their valley...