Monday, May 20, 2013

Finding Security Within Yourself

Perusing the Indian jewelry in Old Town Albuquerque, Sash asked me, "Do you know what I wanted my Indian name to be?"

"No, what?" I answered.

"Leaf on a River", she said.

Last night as we sat at the table in our studio motel, looking into our laptops, we talked about what it meant to be homeless, referring particularly to those friends of ours who couldn't understand us wandering aimlessly across the country without an itinerary, giving up much of our possessions and living like gypsies.

"It used to be that humans were all hunter-gatherers, living in clans and moving to wherever they found food, water, and shelter.", I said. "But when they developed farming, they created civilizations, and with it laws, money, and power."

"What do you think makes people want to live in one place?" Sash asked.

"Because we grew up that way?" I figured. "Because our parents did, and their parents did?"

"I think it's because of a lack of trust." she said. "Having all of their things in one place, where they can protect it and control it, makes them feel safe. People want to surround themselves with material things, along with wealth and power, so that they can hide their insecurities."

Security is perhaps what it really boils down to.

Even as hunter-gatherers, there was a need to protect ourselves from predators, rival clans, and the elements. But within an advanced civilization, insecurity takes on new forms, and how people deal with that may include building wealth, owning property, securing position within an organization, and even getting married. Collectively, those solutions force people to dig their roots into a specific geography.

Early on when Sash and I were dating, she brought up the phrase, "pushing the river", referring to how people expend a great deal of effort to affect something. In college, I studied music, and would often force myself to write compositions only to end up writing something awful. Yet, there were other days when music would just flow out of me effortlessly.

"We're not homeless", I said. "Our home is the river."

But the asphalt doesn't carry our motorcycles. We still pick a direction and then follow that road. It's when we force ourselves to find a place to go to, or expend energy deciding where our next destination should be, that we're pushing against the river. What's wrong with staying in our motel room the entire afternoon buried in our laptops, if that's where the river takes us? Sometimes the river hits a wide spot and slows down.

Almost a month into our six-month motorcycle road trip, and the motel we stay at is just a place with a bed, television, microwave, and coffee maker. It doesn't matter I stay at a Motel 6 or a Hampton Inn, all I care is that the room has what we need and it fits our budget.

Sash is starting to see something similar. She'll be at a Starbucks, and only see that it's a Starbucks, forgetting which town she's in. Perhaps somewhere down the road, it won't matter that it's a Starbucks, as long as it has chai tea lattes and free Wi-Fi.

It's like we're getting to a paradigm where we see only the intrinsic value of things, and care less about their extrinsic value.

For me, it means stripping away another layer of security, where I can find comfort internally than externally, where I don't surround myself with designer brands and expensive stuff.

But it's not to say that I'm there yet. I still find myself seeking praise from others. I still find myself trying to measure up to others. And there I am, still trying to push the river, rather than be happy drifting along the current.

11 comments:

  1. There is something to be said for living a nomadic lifestyle.

    In the name of progress or advancements in technology we get caught up in the circle of what passes for life these days.

    There are those people feel that folks living in the backwoods, living off the land and going where the feeling takes them (whether in this country or in parts of Europe, Asia or Africa perhaps) think that they somehow are suffering for their lack of technology or electronics or other goods.

    i think those natives/nomads have the right of it. They live every for that day, not for what they can buy or do later.

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    1. When you really put your mind to it, along with some creativity, there's a lot you can accomplish with just a few things. It really makes me feel good about myself when I can live with a lot less.

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  2. I'm enjoying reading about your nomadic lifestyle without all of the "stuff" that tends to clutter up our lives. Do you think it may extend beyond the planned 6 months? A lot of jobs that can be done via the Internet can be done from just about anywhere. Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting type apps may prove to be adequate replacements for the "face to face" time.

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    1. We've already used Google Hangouts for business purposes during this trip. And this trip could very well go beyond six months. After the six months is up, we talked about going back to San Diego, but only for 1 month, maybe 2, just long enough to get caught up on our other affairs, doctor visits, and revisit our friends and family, and then head back out again.

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  3. I'm starting to wonder if this is going to go past the 6 months too, I think some of us can adapt quickly to a nomadic life, the problem is to somehow make enough money to be able to support life's bare necessities, food, lodging and the occasional sickness

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    1. We've got the making-the-money part down. What's still unknown is if we can live happily together this way. I'm sure we can, we just have to demonstrate it to ourselves.

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  4. I can't but agree with the title of this post. Security is Trust. About the only trust you can come to guarantee is trusting your self.

    Most all the "Issues" I see people have are rooted in that Trust issue. Trust broken, stolen, betrayed... the worst betrayers of that security; by those so close their duty is to be trusted.

    But, when you've come to learn to trust yourself, to do for yourself what Your SELF needs, most all the other "issues" fade into insignificance.

    For most people... it's difficult to learn to trust anything again. When that situation does come along; a situation that teases with the promise of the security of being able to "Trust"; they tend to attack it first in a gut reaction of pre-emptive self defense. They expect their Trust to once again be betrayed. They FEAR the pain of the loss of the Trust/security they see in front of them; and so they attack.

    I can hear the painful growth of that fearful thing in the trip you two are on. Awesome.

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    1. Sash and I go through that fear/trust issue a lot. We both are diagnosed with PTSD resulting from childhood abuse, and we often trigger those flashbacks in each other accidentally. It's hard to trust each other with the hurt children we harbor inside of us. We have a therapist that we conference via phone when the situation gets rough, and she thinks this trip will be therapeutic for us as well.

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  5. Those old wounds... scars on the soul that never heal... I never believed I'd learn to trust again... and then out of nowhere a couple of other souls would not be refused. They reached into my world and gave me the reason to choke down my fears and risk trusting again. The wounds? still there, always will be. But the power of those friendships, I have found, possess a greater power than the betrayals of the past.

    There are those in this world who simply refuse to betray.

    It took me forty years. You two have a head start! :) It took my "guardian angels" a good bit of time to chip through that protective "Wall" I'd built... But my "masonry" couldn't hold up to their stubbornness. Keep chipping away and you'll get there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Those old wounds... scars on the soul that never heal... I never believed I'd learn to trust again... and then out of nowhere a couple of other souls would not be refused. They reached into my world and gave me the reason to choke down my fears and risk trusting again. The wounds? still there, always will be. But the power of those friendships, I have found, possess a greater power than the betrayals of the past.

    There are those in this world who simply refuse to betray.

    It took me forty years. You two have a head start! :) It took my "guardian angels" a good bit of time to chip through that protective "Wall" I'd built... But my "masonry" couldn't hold up to their stubbornness. Keep chipping away and you'll get there.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting post. It reminds me of an old philosophy teacher of mine...he told me to live in the ever present now. I'm still learning how to do that.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)