“You each came here for a reason tonight”, she said. That Thursday night yoga class struck again. “This class might fit into your schedule best“, she continued, after recognizing that everyone’s reasons for taking time on their mat tonight was different. Cassandra continued class with a story of a book she’s reading that changed her way of looking at the world. She continued with “behave the way you want to feel”, expressing that this is the mantra of the book. I instantly became an active listener. Amidst other descriptors, she went on to share bits of the book’s ‘truthbombs’ she has found helpful and how embracing this outlook as opposed to seeking life’s accomplishments has changed her thought process. As she glanced around the room, I’m sure she saw my brain churning.
Amidst bands of travelers with whom we’ve crossed paths, this way of thinking is often a topic of conversation. Not necessarily in those particular terms or about this particular book, but the idea that achievements, the way society describes, are not the only ones by which we can measure success. Many times it’s more along the lines of ‘I work to travel’ and travel makes me happy – thereby making happiness the achievement in lieu of the work or any promotions associated with it. It’s not about standing in queues for airports, filling out visa forms or hoping you don’t forget to pack Immodium in your kit – it’s about the feelings that travel provides. Some say it’s a rush, others discuss the freedom they feel, some find their true self and many use words like joy, happiness, and the desire to be a part of a bigger world. Their goal often is to find a way to build a life that puts those feelings front and center and the rest doesn’t quite matter.
It’s often those feelings that wind up discussed around a campfire, in a hostel, on a Facebook ® page, or in the midst of a roadtrip. It’s the moments we revisit after the experience has passed and the emotions that fly to the surface – that’s how we want to feel. Recalling the feelings emitted when we jumped into Victoria Falls, walked through a Costa Rican coffee plantation, visited a Royal Airforce base, held a koala for the first time or the day we walked with lions. It could be as simple as referring to the feelings crashing to the surface when chatting with friends, finding a new perspective, thriving outside of our comfort zones or laughing for hours about childhood adventures. Capturing those feelings from those moments, figuring out what binds them and behaving in a way that moves that goal to the forefront – could you do it? Would you want to? Do you think it’s worth it?
The message from Thursday night’s yoga class (or the book) – tap into those feelings and let them be the guide. Plot a journey and follow the necessary steps you believe will get you to that space more of the time. It’s a conversation we have often. Sadly, to me, it’s a method dichotomous with that of our society. Through so much of our young lives we’re taught success equals accomplishments. House, cars, promotions, the newest technological gadget or the bigger whatever – so much is made of having these things and associating them with greatness. Thriving for these things is wonderful and if it works for you, that’s the only thing that matters. This other approach, however, is one that could work for many and change the way we view ourselves, our successes, our goals and our lives. Wouldn’t it be great if no matter which method you chose, we are all viewed as having goals that matter?
When I asked her at the end of the class for the name of the book, she told me. Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte was the culprit for the talk at the start of class. “I saw your face when I talked about it” she said, “I knew you would like it”. She said she waited nine months for it to come in from the library (she now has that one copy), so, I guess that means I’m waiting for her to finish to get my hands on the same one. For now, I’ll check out those online ‘truthbombs’ myself and see what it’s all about. At the outset, it sounds as if she enforces what the husband and I already believe. It sounds as if some of the reasons we traveled around the world, quit our jobs, left a comfortable environment and came in search of more agrees with her thoughts. It sounds as if there’s a movement afoot (not only of travelers, nomads and world-schoolers) to put the happy first – this is a movement on which I can jump aboard.