I had a dream that I won $55,000 twice. It was some sort of lottery or ticket. Gambling. Something like partybingo.com. My mom loves to play Bingo but I’ve never gone with her. I’m not into something old people do.
If I were to dream journal about this, I would think that it means money is on its way. At least, I would hope. And $110,000 is within my grasp, but I need to be patient.
Next year, I am kicking my business to a new level. I’ve registered it officially. I can’t fail. I have a lot of apprehensions.. I don’t feel like a real business person. But I know that I have an entrepreneurial drive because of my unconventional, misfit ways. Or, maybe it just means I’m a misfit… and nothing more.
I believe the dream was an important message. I felt stuck and stranded. But I was playing the victim. I still need to do a lot of things to shift my mindset to help my business and life flow.
I am scared.
But I know $110,000 is within my grasp.
I just have to do the work.
Put in the hard work.
Next year, I will launch an erotica book. A collection of hot stories.
Next year, I will create a Dream Journal designed by me, and add in a guided sleep meditation (maybe) as my first e-product.
I’ve been making affirmations.
I’m scared as hell.
I’ve never been good at selling anything. And now all of a sudden, I want to sell sex?
Really, I just want to stop worrying about money. I want to feel like I’ve got a handle on this entrepreneurship thing.
I’ve got this.
This is my dream.
I have created a vision story. It is my dream vision.
I believe my path will lead me to six figures.
I believe six figures is already mine.
I need patience to uncover it.
I haven’t lead a conventional path.
I still remember the first time I looked for Plano apartments, aged 21. I was doing my then-boyfriend a favor as he was working in his new job and still needed to secure a living space and move. It was a daunting task. What would I do? How would I do it? It seemed so…adult. But I sucked up my fears and did the best I could.
Step one. Find all the nearby rentals close to his job. Ask to look at the space. I mostly did this through drive by search rather than newspaper or internet browsing.
Step two. Access the surroundings, size, value for the money, price. Would there be downpayment? etc. People were happy to help and let me look around as I mentally took tabs on the places that left the best impressions.
Step three. Report back my findings. Let boyfriend see my “top picks” and let him make his final decision. He trusted my judgment and felt that having me do the initial grunt work made his choice easier. I felt needed and more accomplished as an adult. It was win-win.
I didn’t live with him then, but I took weekend trips every week to see him. I practically lived there half the time when I wasn’t at school or at home, where I still lived with my parents. It was a schizophrenic life, but I managed.
Moving out at 22 was a big step. My boyfriend had since relocated to another town and chose a different apartment with the notion that I would move in months later. It was small. One bedroom, one bath with an upstairs. We made it work, but the space was too cramped for chronic packrats like us.
The need for a new space quickly grew. We didn’t last in our first apartment together for long. Within the end of the year, we upgraded to our own 1400 square foot house! By the age of 22, I was already a young homeowner! Looking back at this “past life” is so surreal. I can’t believe I used to own a house, pay a mortgage to the tune of $1400 which we easily paid with our two paychecks combined. I was on the sure path to house, dog (we had an adorable jack russell terrier) and American Dream.
Something in me ticked and long story short, I decided to change course and leave him. I was bored by my life, my town, my job. I was in a horrible rut creatively and selfishly, I needed to be on my own.
“Being on my own” meant my first foray into finding roommates. By the age of 25, I lived with a gay couple and three male cats. It was quite an interesting change of pace and I found my roomies through craigslist. For some, perhaps finding “strangers” to live with via internet ads sound creepy, and they would prefer setting up roommates with friends or friends of friends word of mouth. For an introvert like me desperate to start her life over and with no friends or support system outside of the failed relationship, the internet was a natural resource.
My new roomies told me they had gotten an outpouring response for a roommate but had only replied to mine because they “clicked” with my introduction. The price was definitely right for me, and I was definitely right for them. I felt special. Blessed. Grateful that this transition was easier than one might expect to find last minute ASAP moves. I had gone with the gay couple because I didn’t want to feel obligated to vibe and be girlfriends like college roomies or sororities with girls, and I didn’t want the awkwardness of having guys I live with crush on me. Two non-heterosexual males was definitely the way to go, and I knew they would give me the space I needed to grieve and be my own.
The roomies were so successful, as I slowly began to mix with their dynamics, that we even did a tandem move together across town and upgraded our living space from two story duplex town house to our own house unit with 2nd story loft area! It was around this time that I told them my plans to move cross country and uproot my life to Asia. They were blown away. Proud but sad that I would be leaving. With only four months left on my countdown, I was half surprised that they even let me tandem move with them at all, but I assured that the early notice would give them plenty of time to find a new roomie to replace me, when the time came.
I left my roomies at the end of November, 2009 and still think of them fondly. I have since become a traveling nomad gypsy and lived over a year with no permanent address or home. I joined monastery retreats, temple-hopped Taiwan, walked Palawan island for 27 days, lived in a raw foods eco-community, and traveled throughout Manila, Philippines and beyond!
Money slowly ran dry as I realized the nomad-everyday lifestyle was more expensive than staying put and hunkering down on cheap rent! Currently, I live in a poor community with my native boyfriend and we share $50 monthly rent. We don’t own furniture and live off our backpacks. It is merely a crashpad, a place of temporary shelter as I transition into my next phase in life: a location independent professional. I have started up my own graphic/web design business in the most unconventional of ways. In the “ghetto slums” of third world Philippines, I run my online business and try to hustle for new projects. Everyday is still a struggle, but I am slowly making the connections and marketing myself.
The path of unconvention has lead me down some dirt roads, straight to the “ghetto slums”, but I am grateful for the opportunities to start my own business while living on the cheap. For the month of June, I am offering 25% off graphic or web design services. Just e-mail me for my rates or project needs.
Purple Panda is out and ready for the world.
Here’s the deal:
-Soft launch happens now. I get the word out on Solitary Panda, and maybe even tweet some articles.
-Build my content until…
-April 29th, the official launch, and also my birthday. I’ll prepare something special then. And promote to the world. I will also kill Solitary Panda.
Thanks for sticking with me. Or not.
In less than 2 days I will be doing a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I’ll be offline. Again. So maybe this is the wrong time to “announce” Purple Panda but whatever. I’m sick of it looming over me. And I’ll try to schedule some posts.
Here’s to my new venture…
I feel depressed and low energy. I don’t know if its the shitty food I’ve been eating lately or what. I try not to eat much. But it’s all meat. All the time. And more and more fast food. With ice cream. The diet I’d like to leave behind. When I come back to my family I come back to this… And thus why it’s important to live an intentional life with your own place and your own set-up to cook your own food. I crave fruit. And vegetables. And light foods. And I need to take control.
I’ve never been a cook. And I haven’t had my own place for over a year. When I live on my own (but not entirely on my own because I’ve always had a boyfriend or roommates), I prefer snacking throughout the day, drinking fruit smoothies for meals, and carrots and sushi for snacks, so I never see how cooking meals for one person makes much sense. And I eat out a lot…
I have a secret about my nomad life style. I don’t always like it. In fact. Most times I don’t. I think I tend to romanticize “homeless nomad” and “professional hobo” a lot. As though it were this fun thing that makes my life so much more exciting. It certainly keeps me on my toes. That’s a good thing. The not so good thing is that I’m tired. I’m tired of having to walk around not knowing whose house I’m staying in next and I’m tired of feeling like a freeloader. I’m tired of being out every day in the hustle and bustle of a noisy city full of smog, overstimulation, and not getting the isolation time that an introvert truly needs.
As I live this bizarre life, I have to laugh at how life once was. The complete opposite. A stable job. A long-term relationship. And a house with mortgage. That house imprisoned me and that job sucked my soul and now the other extreme of the spectrum just wears me out, too. I feel useless often. Especially without my laptop. Without work… I don’t have time to regenerate, and if I do, it costs at least $10 for a hotel room for 6 hours.
That’s my life.
What I need is my own place to rent. It doesn’t need to be much. I’m a nomad so I’m thinking crash pad more than condo. I can’t really afford a condo, let alone justify the price for the on-the-go lifestyle I lead. As long as I have some cushion to sleep on the floor, and an internet connection, I’m good to go. What I need is time to be who I am. Which is a traveling homebody. I know its an oxymoron. An adventurous homebody? Yes, really. I prefer spending weeks in my place without socializing much. It’s easy. But it’s also counterproductive. Back then in my “stable life”? I had no friends, and always stayed at home. That’s depressing too. Even for a huge introvert. My ideal would be a mixture of both. So that I could have a social life but rest and regenerate in between.
I’m resting now in Cebu. For two weeks I’ve been back with family. I come here specifically to regenerate because I know the Cebu life with my family is always the same. We don’t go anywhere and life is small. Occasionally, I go across the street to visit my first childhood friend whose married and has kids now and we have nothing really in common and nothing much to talk about but I go anyway. Just to be there. Just to check in. I’m working on a new blog project which I hope I’ll have the internet connection to fully concentrate on in the next coming months, but stability is uncertain. Life is always uncertain and when you live a lifestyle of uncertainty, instead of the fake “stability” you get with a house, husband and kids, it can be extra jarring, but also humbling and beautiful. I count my blessings more.
This life–my life NOW–is teaching me how to be social and I’m not even taking its bait. I’m retreating and getting cranky and feeling self-defeatist and emotionally eating and growing tired. What I need to do is accept the challenge. Find a place. That’s fine. But accept the challenge of a bigger social life and learn to enjoy it. Because this making new friends stint has never been my forte. Because I’m more of a wallflower than a socialite. Because I feel awkward. All. The. Time.
I need to get over it. Making new friends is the only way I’m going to be successful if I want to earn my own living. How can I ever make clients if no one even knows who I am, or what I have to offer? Friends are so passe. It’s hard to find the types of friendships an introvert needs. The friendships that go deeper than a facebook profile and the like button and a few lunch dates here and there. But connections and networking is in. I need to get in… Or get out.
My next bold move? To rock the internet for a living.
For a whole year, I’ve been traveling on savings, or more likely, my retirement funds that I chose to cash in on when my former nine to five gave me the boot. After less than 5 years of working “in the design field”, in the bottom rung dead-end job that left me feeling bored and unchallenged and unable to “climb the ladder” even if I had wanted to (think Kinkos), I feel like I’m essentially retired. Exploring the world is exhilarating but my next bold move involves reinventing my career and bootstrapping a business from scratch. As my funds are dwindling down, I need to work again in order to sustain my current travel lifestyle and hopefully be on my way to becoming truly location independent.
When this blog launched nearly a year ago, I had high hopes but no coherent goals or plans. I hoped to write erotica more regularly. I hoped to become a “professional blogger”; using my blog as a way to leverage a business venture. None of these things happened. But maybe they didn’t happen because I’m once again outgrowing this blog. The Solitary Panda is no longer Solitary. It doesn’t describe me anymore. Or maybe, it’s not how I want to describe me anymore.
I’ve spent my whole life feeling solitary. Alienated. Alone. I’ve often wondered if I could ever be a hermit up in the mountains and be happy. I’m an introvert with sometimes a misanthropic flair, particularly in my past teen years. Even when I’ve been in relationships, or perhaps especially when I’ve been in relationships, I have felt this sense of being alone.
I tried to convince myself it was a good thing. I wasn’t lonely! Being solitary can be empowering. I’m comfortable with being alone. But I don’t want comfort anymore. In order to expand, I need to challenge myself instead of doing what’s easy.
I’m a big fan of intentions and how they can manifest. How you can manifest your own intentions and ideas into reality. By describing my persona as the “solitary” panda, I am keeping the intention of a closed off person; acknowledging my introvertedness. When I first made the Solitary Panda, I was in a bad space with my life emotionally and romantically. I needed the Solitary Panda as a kind of therapy and coping mechanism. It was empowering at the time but as my life is starting to grow, the word no longer fits and is becoming a hindrance. Now, I want something more.
The Purple Panda brings about new ideas and a bolder outlook on life. It opens up to possibilities. I’m ready to explore the world, and as introverted as I am, I’ve found that I love meeting new people! Besides purple being one of my favorite colors, and representing courage and spirituality, it is also a reference to Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow”, a marketing book based on how to be remarkable and extraordinary to stand out from the crowd. These are the kinds of things I’d like to focus on in my life, and by semblance, my blog. I firmly believe that changing the direction and name of my blog will have positive consequences by getting rid of the word “solitary” and focusing my intentions on the meaning of “purple” instead.
The Purple Panda will be THE blog to make “professional blogging” happen. I will rebrand myself and use it as a professional platform to help leverage a business venture. The “soft launch” of my new design studio is here. By Janet. But the official launch will be tied into the new blog. Through the Purple Panda, I will help others live remarkable and extraordinary lives and focus on personal development, career development, entrepreneurship and other things, all within the lens of my own personal journey.
Running through my brain (the mind) to think of a sufficient answer to this prompt brings me to the obvious: Meditation.
It was my four month monastery retreat that first introduced me to meditation. I had heard about the many benefits of this calming exercise many times before. Doing yoga, starting to become more health conscious throughout the years, and appreciating the wisdom inherent in holistic health put me on the fast track to
hippydom meditation. It had to happen sooner or later with all my interests lined up practically calling its name.
The simple answer is meditation. But the real answer is not quite that. Four months of daily meditation for half an hour a day isn’t making me any more or less enlightened. I didn’t feel as if I was never not my mind or body. As much as I’d like to feel that I was one and whole and present and all of those feel good adjectives that make me want to strangle you sometimes because you’re so goddamn in touch that you’re more and more out of touch with life and drama and living. More often than not, I was out of touch. Instability in too much stability. When I wanted to calm my mind, I also felt like I needed to rock the boat and take a little pleasure in life’s pleasures. I’ve got this body and these five senses for a reason. Might as well enjoy it while I’m here. Too much hedonism might be bad, but too much detachment is the same thing. Everything in moderation, including moderation, as one of my friends likes to say.
Meditation goes like this. I sit for 5 minutes wondering when 30 minutes is up. By 10 minutes, my legs and feet, propped up into double lotus position, is starting to fall asleep and my nerves are giving me that tingly ache that makes me want to move, but I tell my mind to bear the pain and keep on sitting still. A mosquito buzzes by my ear. My skin itches. I twitch. I scratch. I break my position. I open my eyes. I look at the time. Only 2 minutes have gone by!
Sometimes, I lose a sense of time but it is rare. Those are the times I know I’ve got a good meditation. My mind runs all the time, but I let it flow. I observe my thoughts instead of try to control them and let them run where they want to run. It is as if the mind has a mind of its own! I solve problems through meditation. Ask questions. Find answers. I never experience a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, as if I’m one with the universe. I have never gone that deep with my practice and by the 4th month of daily meditation, my effort was actually getting worse! There is nothing transcendent that has ever happened to me with meditation, or yoga. The transcendence happens in the repetition, until you one day feel that awareness. The presence.
Floreta catches the flow of the ocean
Dedicated readers (thank you!) might previously have known me as Floreta, which is a special pen name in that it used to be my grandma’s maiden name, and since then has come to personally represent flower. Flow. That blossoming. That becoming.
One of my most profound transformations happened after reading a simple quote from my favorite author, Anais Nin:
And the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom
That was two years ago and I’ve chosen to blossom ever since. The more I came unto my own as a flower, the more I felt aligned with flow.
Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (yeah, that’s Me-hye Cheek-sent-me-hye) first coined the term Flow in his book of the same name. It is akin to being in the zone, present, in the moment, aligned or in the groove.
Flow happens when awareness and doing merge as one. It’s that tingle I feel when I play my violin in a cohesive unit in front of hundreds of people and know that the rhythm, both internal and external, are spot on and a standing ovation is on the way. It’s the bliss I feel when conversing with another fiddle, as we dance together in improv styles and unleash a side of me I never thought I had. But in a bigger way, a more macro way, it’s my whole year this year. It’s being able to be in flow and stay in flow that has given me a sense of wonder, amazement and awe at the world.
Remember Finding Nemo when they ride with the sea turtles (duuuuude!)? That’s going with the flow. The flow doesn’t stop. It’s always there. It’s presence. The only thing that stops is your mind when it stops to think. All of a sudden, you’re out of flow and you’re out of synch. You’ve stopped moving because you’re too busy thinking to take action while the Universe keeps on changing. Moving. Flowing. Stop to think long enough and you’ll miss out on the Universe’s opportunities, or what I like to call clues.
Being in flow is beyond the thinking and mental realm, and into feeling, emotion and intuition. When your life is aligned with intuition, the Universe works with you instead of against you, and life becomes easier. But how do you cultivate flow and find that balance?
- 1. Find your passions. – Finding your passions and living your passions are so important to having the best life that you were meant to have. Explore what makes you feel happy. What makes you lose track of time. You deserve it!
- 2. Listen to your intuition – We all have it, but some are more in tune than others. The good news is that you can refine your intuition and with practice, improve. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher between intuition and desire, but if you have to think about it too much, then it’s probably desire! Intuition is that gut instinct that can happen in seconds without conscious or rational thought.
- 3. Let go – For people strictly into logic, it might be extra difficult to trust your intuition and that’s exactly why you have to let go! It may be a completely foreign concept, but trusting your intuition works and is even part of our evolutionary survival (I don’t really know that, but it sounds good, and it sounds right, and I’m keeping it for literary effect). Sometimes you have to accept that you’re not always in control and try not to over-control things. The more you try to control life, the harder it will be to live easier. Just let it be.
Presence in the Moment
“Look at the full moon,” Joemar said, through the hazy morning fog. “I feel like I’m in love.” I tried to ignore the implications of the bold statement and chalked it up to the mood and setting feeling romantic. As if that’s what it means to be in love. In love with nature. In love with life. In love with the moment. But not in love with me.
I smiled and finished my breakfast noodles. We had just walked over 300 miles and stopped for the night along the jungle road, where construction men were working and living in the off-road shelter. The night before, I was craving to drink and get drunk all day when we showed up in the middle of a Filipino style drinking session. A tiny amount of gin was poured carefully on the ground as an offering to the spirits while we shared one glass for shots and one glass for water in a counter-clockwise circle. The locals joke about “one glass, one disease”, but I didn’t mind. Even when I want to drink, the Universe delivers.
Thanking our new friends for the place to stay, we walked on in our journey. The mission: to walk the island of Palawan from the south to north, ending in El Nido. A spiritual culmination of strength and determinism. A unified joint effort. Many people along the way didn’t get it, but they didn’t need to. I was never walking for them, or for Joemar. I was walking for myself.
The air was crisp and cool and the fog was rolling through the hills. Indeed, it was starting to feel romantic. As the sun slowly illuminated the morning atmosphere, shining its golden rays amongst the plants, I felt a deep sense of complete presence to the moment. To the now. That ever illusive, simple, yet so maddeningly hard now. It was on. And it was happening all around me, right before my eyes.
I had gone mad. So mad, I felt high. Things seemed so much more vibrant. Magical. Alive. The smells were stronger and it was so sweet that I wished to capture it in a bottle for myself, selfishly wearing the jungle scent like a perfume. The colors were brighter, with the sun hitting just right to form a golden hue. The stillness of the jungle, with hardly any traffic running through, was pristine. With nothing but the jungle noises–birds, crickets, and my childlike wonderment in the form of words, or the soft click of my camera–I felt the oneness of nature, and me in it. Part of it. Pulsing like the cycle of life.
Everything looked so magical
“I love you,” Joemar said. Did he just say what I think he just said? He’s high. We’re high. He’s under the influence. That’s not real. This is real. I’m in love with life! Invigorating, pure, all-encompassing life. I had never felt so still and present until this moment. Time didn’t matter. Only pulse. Everything around me pulsed with life. I’m breathing. I’m part of it. I’m one. And I’m alive.
I am participating in an end-of-the-year writing prompt to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.
Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
I had a harsh critique of my design portfolio recently by someone in the “industry”. The industry is a vague word, but generally, it means someone who’s established in the creative field, whether they’re a designer, illustrator, photographer, video editor, etc. His basic critique boiled down to: You need more industry experience. Which is probably true. But my wounded egoic response was “omg I suck as a designer! I’m low-end. I’m not cutting edge. I can’t compete.” Who the hell am I trying to kid when I say I want to become a freelance graphic designer/web designer? I’ve been slacking on my website for months now at “80% finished”. That last 20%? Fucking scary! It means releasing it into the world. It means launching. It means taking the leap of faith. It means being judged by potential clients who might think I suck! It means the opportunity for failure. It means a lot of things I’m not sure I’m ready for.
It means that despite my crazy year of new beginnings, I’m still governed by my fear.
What does this have to do with writing? To offset, the guy said that my talent as a writer is more extraordinary than my design (which is overshadowed by a competitive market). Except that I’ve never considered myself a “writer”. Ever. Sure, I dream about publishing a book one day and being a novelist. I’ve wanted to be a “writer” since I was little. Right next to “artist” and “teacher”. But how, outside of my more-often-than-not neglected blog, am I a writer? I don’t keep a moleskin handy with my gel pen (black, 0.5 point) to jot down ideas. I don’t write daily. I gave up on morning pages (via “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron). How am I a writer when I don’t write? Not consistently.
The truth is, I don’t really do anything with 100% passion. That “80% finished” website? It’s a metaphor for my life. It’s like I have this aversion for being an overachiever or at 100%. Is it because I don’t want to be the Asian stereotype?? I don’t even know.
When I was in 7th grade, my teacher had “A Projects” which were optional projects every student could choose to do but needed to do if they wanted to get an A. You know what I did? I settled with a B. I thought A Projects were the most retarded thing ever and I didn’t want to put in the extra effort to give myself that gold star “A!” on my report card. Who cared?
As I’m growing older, I’m discovering those A Projects are still metaphorically with me, and realizing my teacher was a social genius. As much as we think we’ve “changed” since those formative years, in a lot of ways, we really haven’t.
This is the #1 thing that keeps me from being 100% on writing, or anything. My 7th grade self criticized the stupidity of A Projects and became angry. A Projects simply pissed me off. But you know what psychologists would say about that? Behind anger is fear. It’s your Little Brain (marketers who worship Seth Godin would also call this your Lizard Brain) feeling threatened and signaling the fight or flight. And so I put up this front of not caring and treating it as if achieving was for suckers who cared too much about external input.
But behind the front, I cared a lot. I wanted to be an overachiever, but I didn’t want to be associated with those labels. I wanted to be an overachiever, but I didn’t want to care so much about being “successful”. These are the themes that I’m still faced with today, on the onset of starting my own business.
Do you want to be an overachiever or underachiever?
A Projects are still haunting me and I realize that I do want to be an overachiever. I won’t settle for average and mediocrity is boring. I want to be exciting. I want to push boundaries. Challenge status-quo. Be extraordinary. I want to resonate all of this with my own business but still I downshift and criticize and settle for my B. I give myself excuses that I don’t need recognition. Notoriety. Fame.
“The Industry” is corporate and I gave up working for the man a year ago, before I set off for Asia to start from scratch. When my friend said I need more industry experience, I say I just need more experience. I’m through with that rat race but I don’t want to enter another entrepreneur rat race just to be left out in the dust because I’m not innovative enough. Creative enough. Bold enough. Or Gutsy.
I don’t want to be rich, either. But I’m doing myself a disservice if I think I can survive another year with my dwindling bank account of less than $3,000. This year, the universe has given me cheap breaks and I was able to spend less than $1,500 the entire year. Most food, accommodations and even travel fare completely free and taken care of. But I’m getting derailed here. I need to make money, and I need to keep my wits about me to do it. While part of me desperately wishes I don’t need money and we lived in a values system society, the truth is that we live in an economy and no matter how much I try to escape “status-quo” and normal society, I still have to play the game.
Being an overachiever is a conscious choice and I need to take the conscious step if I ever want to see my business take foot. Slacking, which is a symptom of fear, won’t get me there. But motivation will… Eliminate my fears and my writing, blogging, and overall business will flourish. I may not consider myself a writer today, but I’m going to write each day to reflect and reverb.
Sometimes, life feels like you’re just getting by. Like poverty is a choice, and quitting isn’t an option. I have so many “ideas”–goals–that I’m running towards in so many different directions that I feel like I’m essentially running in circles and going nowhere. I’m flailing. Waving my hands in every which way and just trying to keep afloat. To keep my wits about me, I have to remind myself that I’m too stubborn for quitting. Too tough. Too passionate.
My Bucket List
What goals have I made for myself that I’m not accomplishing? Late last year, before I took my one-way flight to India and beyond, I made a bucket list. It was a reasonable proposal to 2010 and the adventures I’d hope to have. It was a reachable extension to the rest of my life and the things I hoped to accomplish before I die. Mostly adventurous things, like hiking to Macchu Picchu and trekking the Himalayas, but some implications of love and lifelong partnership; wherein I wrote that I’d like a Buddhist wedding ceremony, not because I’m Buddhist, but because it sounded cool.
I’m already achieving my bucket list. Scratch off “stop eating meat longterm”. Check. I’m a vegetarian now. Scratch off “join a Zen Buddhist monastery and practice meditation”. Check. For four long, and yet short months. Scratch off “learn Filipino martial arts”. I already bought my ticket to Palawan, where I’ll be joining a local skillfully trained in the arts and willing to teach me as we walk the island together.
It still absolutely amazes me, and floors me to know that the bucket list is already manifesting itself, and in the most unexpected ways! These experiences I find myself having are completely unplanned but come in the form of opportunity that life has somehow offered me, and I choose to take. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s almost as if, when setting the right intentions, the Universe will answer. Sometimes, it will say no, and you don’t get what you want, but other times, and lately in my life, it will say yes. Hell Yes.
This is the closest “proof” to “God” that I’ve ever experienced, and I intend to continue experiencing it as I prepare for my spiritual island walk journey; my own road to Zen.
As far as all those other far reaching goals? Become location independent with my own business? I’m working on it… Trek the Himalayas and Macchu Picchu? That could happen if I win the trip to UK, by being in the top six fundraisers for Your Big Year charities. I’m currently in 4th place, if I researched and did the math correctly. I just need to keep it up until October 10th. I’m placing that amazing “opportunity” in the hands of everyone who chooses to donate (ahem, there is a donation widget bar at right), and in the hands of me, for how well I can promote my charity drive and think up ways to gain more funds (hello Etsy!).
I want the Universe to say Hell Yes. I want the opportunity to show up and then step up to the challenge. I want to be granted this amazing stepping stone in UK, so that me, myself, and I can do my personal best to win the grand prize round the world trip which will allow me to scratch off Macchu Picchu and Himalayas on my bucket list. Hell Yes.
Can you see this passion flowing through my veins? I’m too tough to quit. Too stubborn to throw my goals out the window and fail. I’m set for going to the UK and I’m thinking in terms of already winning a spot. But beyond that, beyond this good cause and this contest for social responsibility and global citizenship, is my passion to make a positive difference. I’m flailing.
Flailing but not Failing
I don’t care about material wealth. I don’t care about success in the typical Western sense. Marrying rich, winning the lottery, or having a six-figure income was never a desire, even when I was a kid. I have no job. I will run out of funds if I can’t find a way to make more money soon. Despite all that, I’m doing shit for free. I’m designing, coding, and writing with the good intention that I’m volunteering and making a positive difference with my skills, somehow. I’m doing it with the perhaps naive, but hopeful intention that everything will work out and life magically works in your favor if you “plant good seeds” and make positive connections. I’m doing it with the realization that if I can do this shit for free then I can most definitely do this with a passion that rivals the work-drone life and love my work!
I wear my “goals” not on my sleeve, but on my forehead and try to live my day-to-day with those goals in mind; guided as if by my third eye. First: “bootstrap my career”. Then: “change the world”. I’m still trying to figure out how; romantic, idealist that I am. I’m doing it on a smaller scale, by trying to make the daily choice to go vegetarian, an all around better lifestyle for eco-consciousness. But I’m struggling to find a larger scale. To be a part of something bigger than myself. I don’t want self delusions of grandeur, or worldly acclaim. This isn’t about me. It’s about trying to make a big difference that goes beyond my human existence and lifetime. Maybe that means raising a strong, independent, daughter adopted from China, or raising my own birth-child. Maybe that means traveling the world and building my web, creating a non-profit that impacts relevant global issues. Maybe that means winning the Your Big Year contest and taking part in conservation projects, teaching in Ecuador, and working with tribal communities. Maybe it means “settling down” in one location, community building, and making a difference in the local scene. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things, or maybe none. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I will not give up. I’m too stubborn to quit, and I will let my “third eye” guide me. My inner compass, my intuition. I have a feeling, as crazy as it sounds, that I am meant to do this. I just need to figure out what specifically “this” is… Even when it feels like I’m going nowhere, but going in circles I tell myself:
I may be flailing, but I’m not failing.
Because “failure” isn’t part of my vocabulary.