And just like that, it is the second half of 2018 already! How come time flew by so fast? Or maybe because 2017 was such a roller coaster ride? Then, this year has been mellow for me. But I think, it is more of a Pico Iyer moment now, and practicing the art of stillness. I have watched and listened to his TED Talk entitled, The Art of Stillness, a number of times since I chanced upon it a few years ago. And it resonated with me so deeply. More so for the last 11 months, as life threw a couple of its nasty surprises at me, I may have hit rock-bottom.
Last year was one of the most exciting years I’ve had. I did a lot of traveling while still working as a travel professional. Not to mention photography and writing on the side. My job and my joy as one. Yes, it’s what they call, a digital nomad, however, I think it’s an overly used description so I’ll pass.
And, as exhilarating as it sounded, it wasn’t always pretty. Real talk: travel’s not always as magical as seen on Instagram. On the road for almost a day, eating on the go, no sleep for days. Yet, I couldn’t complain, because it’s what I wanted. To even push it further, I embarked more tasks at my desk job. Also made it a point to have good relationships with people around me and even the ones physically living on the other side of the planet. But, as Pico said, “we all know that in our on-demand lives, one of the things that’s most on demand is ourselves.” I started to lose contact with myself. I couldn’t detach myself from everyone to hear my own thoughts nor, to fathom if I was really pleased.
Then, when I was at the rock-bottom, life started throwing its nasty surprises at me. I decided to sit still and go nowhere.
“And by going nowhere, I mean nothing more intimidating than taking a few minutes out of every day or a few days out of every season, or even, as some people do, a few years out of a life in order to sit still long enough to find out what moves you most, to recall where your truest happiness lies and to remember that sometimes making a living and making a life point in opposite directions.” – Pico Iyer
In other words, a sabbatical. Going nowhere allowed me to reflect and understand everything that has happened. Though, it’s a lonesome process. I often wonder, if it’s because I’m sitting still, people couldn’t wait and would just go and move on. Or because this process would also mean building a wall to separate oneself from the rest of the world. But as another wise man, Bernard M. Baruch, said, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
With friends and family trimmed to the real ones, sitting still could make sense of the past and the future. As Pico explained further, “I sometimes think that so much of our life takes place inside our heads, in memory or imagination or interpretation or speculation, that if I really want to change my life I might best begin by changing my mind.” And start climbing the wall. Which I may have taken too literally. I got an invite from friends at TravelBookPH to experience a one of its kind facility, an indoor sports climbing venue, the Climb Central Manila, so I accepted it.
Ironically, I’m afraid of heights, you’d know this by now if you’ve read some of my other posts. But you’d also know I like adventures so why not. I’ve tried wall climbing for the first time last year in a resort in Lucena, Quezon. However, I couldn’t make past up to 3 feet. Silly, right? So when this invite came, I said to myself, “you better climb up that wall this time!” Since Climb Central Manila offers so much convenience like accessibility, it’s right in the heart of the metro, it’s indoors and fully air conditioned, with complete gears, also the well-trained staff. I went with a friend who I haven’t seen in ages. And guess what, we’re both afraid of heights! But we didn’t dwell on it and took the challenge. We both made it past 3 feet on a couple of their easy route. Hey, that’s progress for sure.
Life is in constant motion, that’s true, but it’s in those pockets of time when we sit still at the rock-bottom, we gain clarity and have the right mindset to climb again.
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac |
Or in this case a goddamn wall!
Disclaimer: My visit was sponsored by the said company. All views and opinions are my own.