Back to zero

It’s like this. In a way you go back to survival mode.
It starts with the easy things like you only have those few clothes you brought with you and you live day by day, not knowing where you’ll be tomorrow, not knowing who you’ll meet tonight.
By taking everything step by step, day by day like this, you go back to basic.

Worries over money the way we know them in the west become nil. As long as you have a hot plate and a bed to sleep in for tonight, tomorrow, there’s no worries.
Everything will work out. Opportunities will present themselves. Life will unfold in that magical way it has.

And every time I talk about this it comes back to the same story.
In the western world, the ‘home life’ as I know it, we’re brought up to look out for ourselves and better our own lives, if need be over other peoples backs, therefore teaching ourselves a way of tunnel-vision life, concerned only with ourselves, all the time consumed by our smartphones and tablets to work towards a better future, failing to see what is happening around us.
We’re taught to think ahead. Think about your future. As a young kid you have to decide which profession you will pursue and put everything in your power to making that happen, and be successful in it too. Otherwise in the eyes of our society you will have failed.
Find a good job, earn a good salary, have a pretty house filled with fancy stuff. Own a bigger car then your neighbor, all that.
But is that really what brings happiness?

Here in Asia everybody lives outside, everyone is open and friendly with each other. And everyone is here to help each other out.
Here, it’s not about making money, it’s about making a living, and making it a happy one. And that friends, family, sharing laughs, food and drinks is much more important than stuff seems to go without saying.

I am straying from the traveler path, having found a true love and deciding to build a life here.
But I am still learning a more simple life. And it has much more to do with taking it one day at a time. Slowing down to a more healthy pace, living in this moment.
I’m still learning to adapt every day. About culture, how to use my hands when eating, how to use the bathroom. It’s still a long adventurous way ahead of me and I will never understand Bali ways the way my children will. But I’m learning.

Fight Club is one of my favorite stories. Because of quotes like this:
The stuff you own ends up owning you.
Why do guys like you and me know what a duvet is?
Advertising has us working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.
It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero.

So, homework assignment:
Forget about your stuff, the job you go back to next Monday, and live this weekend like it’s your last. Enjoy your coffee like it’s you’re first, scramble your eggs like there’s a gun to your head, and spend today like it’s your last. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.
Enjoy! Today, this moment; it’s the best one in you’ll ever have.
winnie pooh wisdom quote

The white wash

whitewashI’m not yet there, but I feel it’s close. There’s a vibration in the air. Something exciting is about to be revealed.
And I feel like I should be very still not to disturb it, to scare it off. That I should be very alert not to miss it.
And at the same time I feel like I’m in a white wash, being tumbled around in the eternal force of the ocean and have no control over my life. So all I can do is to give in and hope she’ll take me back to shore.

I’ve been fascinated with spirituality since forever.
When I was little it was presented to me through Rudolf Steiner’s antroposophic teaching. When I was a teenager it wore the face of Wicca. The past so many years I’ve been inspired by Eckhart Tolle, Spirit Science (youtube), Rolf Pots, Chuck Palahniuk (through Tyler Durden) and other, more diverse tutors. Traveling and Southeast Asia being very big ones!
A friend of mine, after a 16-month solo trip on a cargo ship around the untouristic Cook-islands put it like this:

“Travel, solo backpacking, is the best education you can have in life.”

The independence, the other cultures, your entire perception of the world and the understanding of how small and insignificant we are, yet how big a changes we can make if we honestly want to.

In our modern Western society we are raised with focus on the future. First, you need a good education, need to get good grades, perform well so you can make a ‘brighter future’ for yourself; i.e. find yourself a good job, one that pays well – if you should happen to like your work then that’s a happy coincidence. With this good job and good salary you can now buy a fancy car and a big house to flare your status. These in turn may be put to use in finding a good partner to repeat the cycle. But the career and the stuff and status are always most important.
I’m not saying it’s like that for everyone. In fact I do believe most of my friends have been fortunate with their families. Still, for most people this is how they’ve been programmed.

And I think that’s why I don’t mind at all staying yet another day in this quiet reggae town, wasting my days by staring at the waves and my nights by laughing with the boys.
In between and during, I get to experience a calm and more simple lifestyle, where it is more important to care for each other, help a friend out, take care of those you’ve taken responsibility over – may it be your banana tree, your fighting rooster or that boy from the poor family (remind me to explain later.) More important than to care for your own personal wealth, but with respect for all that lives around you.

The other day here in Bali, I saw a pig being carried off, probably to be grilled for a ceremonial celebration. It was a big one, its hooves tight around a stick which was hung in a cart that was pushed by four men. There was a cloth covering its head, and it didn’t make a sound. “I hope it’s already dead,” I said to myself “so it won’t have to endure this inhuman treatment.”
The pig then had to be transferred onto a boat, so it was lifted from the cart and the cloth fell of. And it screeched! A little… Once on the boat it was calm again.
And judging by its size, it must’ve had quite a good life. And judging by how calm it was it must’ve had quite a good life. Much better, actually, than the factory farmed pigs you find in a Western supermarket.
It wasn’t one of thousands, handled as meat, as food, as thing, without respect for another life form, under bare circumstances.
I imagine it had a backyard to itself, or maybe shared it with a few chickens and dogs. It would have been well cared for by the family, feed properly with their left-overs, maybe sometimes gently slapped on its back. It wouldn’t have been held like we keep our pets in the West, like a family member. But it would have been respected as a part of the circle of life.
Probably it wouldn’t be suitable to be sold in the organic butcher shop I’ve been working in the past one and a half year. But that has more to do with that almost complete lack of bureaucracy here in Asia, and I haven’t discovered much downside to that yet.
And where my first reaction, like any tourist’s would have been, was to be shocked, I realised really it was just fine. There is a much deeper respect here, something the human race seems to want to forget in order to better itself over other’s backs.

So there is very much to learn from simply keeping your eyes open, slowing down to the local pace and just letting it all wash over. To learn to observe, and to stop rushing off to the next thing (like I was already saying back in Cambodia)

There is a whole lot more that I want to say on this matter, so I’m going to leave you with this for now and hope to see you again soon.
And in the mean time, please give me your thoughts!
Interaction, conversation, thinking and conversing about ‘the meaning of life’ is after all the thing that makes us human beings different from, say, that pig in the cart, the other life forms that we’ve decided to cultivate and care for, in our thinking we are superior to Nature, and our want to rule this planet.