A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Truth through Simplicity September 23, 2009

There is something about the sense of freedom and adventure that makes my heart jump and wild butterflies soar around my tummy like that of a first kiss. The idea of letting everything go and falling into the unknown is exhilarating–it makes me feel present in this world, it makes me feel alive.

Small things can spark these feelings of liberation: a powerful push of a car’s accelerator, an unexplored hiking trail, a secluded swimming cove or even a simply designed movie poster.

“What is so special about this movie poster?” one may ask, “it is just a house suspended in air by a bunch of balloons.”

“Oh, my dear friend,” I would like to say. “This illustration represents freedom. Imagine for a moment that you could just leave everything behind and explore the world. And, not even in the traditional sense–you wouldn’t need to go through all of today’s politics of selling your house, packing your things, organizing your accounts–oh no, you could simply tie balloons to your house, lift off and be gone. No hassle. No fuss. Simply–a flight of freedom.”

Now I haven’t yet seen the film–it will be released next month in Italy–but, you can bet that I will be one of the first customers in line when the ticket booth opens. Like Disney/Pixar’s last film WALL-E which contains important messages regarding environmental destruction, reliance on technology and obesity; Up also contains messages about today’s American society, and specifically about our common state of thinking in the Future instead of thinking in the Now.

In this story, Carl and Ellie meet as children, fall in love, are inseparable throughout adulthood and share the same dream from when they were young–to explore the South American jungles. But, jobs, health issues and daily life get in the way and before Carl knows it he is old and widowed and has yet to fulfill his dream. Yet, although life sometimes gets away from us, there is always the Now to make a change. And, at 78, Carl decides that Now is the only time he has. So geared with thousands of balloons tied to his house, he let’s himself be lifted UP…UP…and AWAY, to start his adventure and to finally live out his dream.

This message, although told through a simple animated film, is an important one. Each day we have the opportunity to live life how we want to live, yet many of us let go of the balloon we hold in our hands–our dreams–to fulfill the practical side of life with the intention that “someday I can hold start living, someday I can hold that balloon again.”  But, this is pure madness. You don’t hold in your hand, “someday”, you hold in your hand “now.” That is all you have or will ever have. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Think about your dreams. Don’t let them float away like a stray balloon; instead, take those dreams, hold them tight, and let them carry you UP.

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Belief September 19, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration and Motivation — italicana kitchen @ 3:49 pm
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Do you ever feel like you are treading water through life? You are working as hard as you can just to stay afloat but in return you are just exhausting yourself? Instead of swimming for the exercise or towards a destination you go nowhere. Or, instead of lying on the surface of the water and letting yourself relax and float, you stay rigid, body half immersed in the water, head cocked up looking in each direction while just kicking your feet. Life becomes neither an adventure or a comfort, instead it becomes a constant struggle just to live and at some point it seems almost easier to just let go and let yourself sink.

After a few months of treading water where I was exhausting myself but going nowhere, I let myself sink. I stopped writing. I stopped studying. I stopped dreaming. I stopped pursuing. And, instead, I started analyzing. I started critiquing. I started doubting. I started diminishing my goals and choices. And instead of filling my mind with productive thoughts, using my mind for creative outlets…I questioned myself: what is the point? What is the point of writing a book? What is the point of learning a language? What is the point of constantly challenging myself when I could just relax and lead a life of indifference?

But, a life of indifference is a life without belief. And, a life without belief is a hollow existence. Belief gives meaning to the day’s otherwise trivial events–because when it comes down to it, life is just life. But, when you believe in life, when you believe that the things you are doing are important than life itself becomes a life of purpose, not just a life spent treading water.

If you believe in the choices you make, you will find satisfaction with your results.  And, if you aren’t sure about the choices you are making then change perspectives or alter your beliefs–just don’t lose your ability to believe in something because that takes away the happiness of living.  For example, look at children when they play, they seem to always be happy and it’s not  because of the toy they are holding in their hands that makes them laugh and smile, but rather the belief they have in that toy to be something they created with their imagination. The toy car becomes the get-away car for their JI Joe or the toy doll becomes a magical fairy that flies through the clouds.  The object it not significant, rather the belief in what that object can do makes it significant.  

Children make the world how they want it to find happiness. So can you. Get interested in something, and believe in what you are doing. Instead of spending your time living, why not spend your time creating?

 

A Blank Canvas September 15, 2009

Filed under: Daily Life — italicana kitchen @ 8:20 pm
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When I arrived in Italy, I came loaded with a mind of ideas and goals of all the things I wanted to do while I am here. The problem, however, is that perfection began to prevail over action, and I’ve found myself the past few months spinning circles instead of moving forward with my goals.

It’s like I have been given this huge white empty canvas, clean new brushes and every imaginable color of paint. But, instead of picking up a paintbrush and painting, I’ve been analyzing, strategizing and over thinking everything. What do I want to paint? What colors will look good together?  What will be others reactions when they see this? I’ve been analyzing and trying to perfect something instead of  just picking up the paintbrush and see what comes in that moment.  I’ve been thinking that I only have this “ONE” white canvas….I don’t want to screw it up…and pressure builds to exponential levels because what I paint now will it be a picture that I want to look at for the rest of my life?

Yet, the truth is and what I am starting to get myself to realize each day is that with life it’s not just one canvas you get, but many. The portrait, landscape or image you paint today and hang on your wall can just as easily be removed and changed.  Let go of the pressure of trying to paint a picture you’ll be content with your entire life, and instead paint a picture that you want to paint in this moment given the tools and materials you have. Hang it on your wall, and after a while it may grow into a timeless piece you love forever or you may find you want to change it up–it served it’s purpose and it’s now time for something new.

It’s a waste to let a canvas stay blank and the paint dry up.  Enough analyzing, enough thinking, it’s time to start doing. It’s time start creating.