Tag Archives: thinking

El Salvador Journal: Part IV

(3/19/2014 2:00pm) “Today, Wednesday, was a day off for our group. I woke up and I seemed to have lost my voice. Not sure how, but it’s already pretty annoying. We slept in a bit, had some breakfast, and packed up for a hike and an afternoon at the beach. 1236390_10152274893066550_1770760958_n We drove about 40 minutes away from where we were staying and up part of a decent sized hill. From there, we climbed up this narrow path through the rocks.   10013925_10152274899311550_183851315_n Eventually, we got to the top and enjoyed the view. 10153249_10152274894446550_791144158_n At the bottom, there were some souvenir shops, where I bought some gifts for myself and Leah- a wooden coffee mug for myself and a bracelet with Leah’s name inscribed. Part of the group had already started making their way up an adjacent hill and soon we followed. This hike was a bit more difficult, but it was worth it. Everyone was posing for pictures at the top and, of course, I needed to get mine taken, too. 1964899_10152272882311550_673637948_n

(Note: I don’t look happy, but I am. This was a really cool part of the trip.)

The sites were amazing and it made me want to go on more hikes when I get home, something Leah will like a lot. The views were unbelievable and despite my fear of tumbling don the massive hill, I enjoyed the climb. The sun wasn’t too bad and, knock on wood, I still haven’t had any sunburn. Now we’re off to the beach that happens to be near our first worksite, about an hour and half away from the hiking spot.

(8:00pm that evening)

The rest of the day was spent at the beach. We hung out at a hostile, which I learned was $8 a night, and despite the really American style lunch that was served, it was a good time. We ate and hung around until everyone was ready to head down to the water. People rented surfboards and others just went for a swim. I tried to surf for the first time, and even though I was unsuccessful, I had a good time trying and look forward to doing it again soon.

10014629_10152274892876550_1619989194_n  1977338_10152274892911550_1357780044_n

As of now, we just got finished with dinner (spaghetti and sauce) and now everyone is sitting around a bonfire on the beach. I talked to Leah for the first time since I left today. Decided to eat the cost of a few texts and let everyone know I was ok. It was nice to see her name pop up on again on my phone. Back to work tomorrow right and early. Hopefully my voice comes back.

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Outside of the box: Forming a new perspective

Before I start writing, I want to make it clear that I am only 5 chapters in to the book I am about to be commenting on, though I am in love with it already.

I recently started reading, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, after hearing some good things about it. I was a little hesitant at first, mostly because the title led me to believe I needed to have some sort of knowledge of motorcycles or maybe even own one to understand it.

This was dismissed immediately.

The book centers around the idea of motorcycle maintenance, using the ideas associated with it as metaphors for life philosophies that the author, Robert M. Pirsig, has picked up over the years.

Early on in the book he describes the feeling of riding a “cycle,” as he often refers to it, as a means to get to a destination as opposed to a plane or a car. The cycle allows you to be in the scene. You get to conquer the space in between where you are and where you’re going. “The concrete is just inches below your boots,” Pirsig says. He goes on to mention how a car has a compartment, separating you from the space around you on your journey.

The following is an excerpt from the book that struck a chord with me:

“To arrive in the Rock Mountains by plane would be to see them in one kind of context, as pretty scenery. But to arrive after days of hard travel across the prairies would be to see them in another way, as a goal, as a promised land.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a “It’s about the journey not the destination” line, but for some reason, this quote in particular got me thinking about more than that; more than the journeys you take in life.

I want to live my whole life outside of the box. I want to have the freedom to learn and explore, even if it’s not a physical journey. I know I’m not very exciting; I don’t take crazy trips; I don’t jump off of cliffs or out of planes. I know that’s not a bad thing, I enjoy living a simple existence with room to expand at my leisure, however, I do want to make sure I’m putting my life experiences in a context that allows me to truly understanding the things I’m going through.

With all that being said, I do want to take more trips to places I’ve said I want to visit. As Pirsig says, having a good time means concentrating more on “good” and less on “time.” To me, that means not worrying about how far it is to your destination is and how long it will take to get there, just that you got up and went.

Every couple of chapters, or when I come across something I find interesting, I am going to try and do a write up to make sure I really understand what I’m reading. Wish I had this kind of focus on school work. I’d have a PhD in a couple of years if I did.

On top of all this, now I really want a motorcycle. Maybe one day.

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A Rich Diet of Endless Endeavors

“my eyes are too big for my stomach
it can’t process all that i do
a rich diet of endless endeavors
at the expense of me and you
there’s a thousand reasons why I can’t open up
every combination is one turn off
there’s no rest for the weak
I need a week’s rest desperately” – Sesame,  Touche Amore

I always found it strange, and at the same time comforting, that lyrics can connect with people the way they do. It’s hard to put words on paper, or a screen, to properly convey the way you’re feeling at a particular moment.

Right now, this is how I feel. I’m trying to rich this “goal” and I occupy myself with as much as possible to reach it. At the same time, I can’t realize that I’m too busy for my own good; that I can’t handle (or process) everything that I have going on in my life.

I realize it has a negative influence on other aspects of my life and it’s something I know I need to change. I’m just not sure what happens when there isn’t anything left to do: No work. No extra activities. No end goal. It just seems foreign to me. I don’t get it.

Maybe I should concentrate more on what I do have going on already; change the focus of my life so that I get better at things that are the most important to me and that don’t just give me something else to do. I need to slow down and not make every idea I have some grand scheme. I need to practice what I preach, which is, take small steps/strides in the right direction and see where it goes.

There’s a long road ahead of me where I’ll be able to grow and learn. But for now, I need to shrink my life a bit and focus inward.

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