"If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character... Would you slow down? Or speed up?" -Chuck Palahniuk
Imagine this scenario: You quit your job, sell your stuff, give away your money, and venture into the wilderness. Sound familiar? Such is the premise of Into the Wild, the powerful, true life story of Chris McCandless. McCandless graduated from Emory University in 1990, gave away his savings, burned the rest of his money, and stripped down to the bare essentials before winding up in the extreme wilderness of Alaska.
Maybe we could do without such extremes, but who doesn't dream of giving up the emails, phone calls, and hassles for a sweeter, simpler life? McCandless's journey was so inspiring not because of the freedom he enjoyed, but because of the meaning he embodied: He was on a mission to prove that a life dedicated to making money in an uninspiring career paled in comparison to anointing his spirit as commander-in-chief of his life. McCandless wrote, "It is the experiences, the memories, the greatest triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found."
There were three really strong themes from his journey that, if given a chance, cut through the bull and embolden life with meaning:
"I read somewhere... how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong... but to feel strong." -McCandless
Try perceiving strength as tenacity rather strength as ability. One always needs something to believe in, something to fight for, something to work towards. All too often we give up on a dream, which Carolyn Myss calls an "energy abortion." Myss goes so far to say that if you give up on a dream, it can adversely affect your health. Tenacity pumps fresh blood through the veins of the soul. If you want to be more excited to roll out of bed in the morning, challenge yourself to accomplish something and keep going for it. "Luck is tenacity of purpose." (Elbert Hubbard)
"Rather than love, than money, than fame... give me truth." -Henry David Thoreau
An important question to ask yourself: Is your happiness portable? Can you let go of your "things" and still be content; or do you depend on certain accoutrements before you can muster a smile? McCandless was out to prove that the more he could relinquish, the happier he'd be. Every step toward simplicity is a step toward truth. It doesn't have to mean moving to Alaska, but should you wish for a more truthful life, you might try cleaning out the closet... whether it's a closet of trinkets, emotions, or grievances. "Simplicity is the nature of great souls." (Papa Ramadas)
To always have a such a handle on things is so routine. The unknown in life is what makes it an adventure. "In reality, nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." (McCandless)