11. Big Love, Big Wounds, Big Change, and Big Gratitude

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“The good news is you love very deeply,” said my friend Linda over a glass of Brunello. “The bad news is, you love very deeply.”

It certainly wasn’t how I imagined my life in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico would turn out. Then again, life rarely does. After 15 months of a long distance relationship, I moved south of the border for love. While I was still three hours away from where she lived in Mexico City, at least it was better than 2,300 miles away from my home in Seattle, Washington. Before the first month was out, however, the relationship imploded, leaving me exiled in a foreign country and grieving over an imagined future that would never be.  “Big love reveals big wounds,” my friend Beth Bell says.

The thing with relationships is that they are about a shared frequency, time, and place during the evolution of our soul’s journey. Very often we begin in the same frequency as our lover, but sometimes the soul’s journey moves one or both into a different frequency; not necessarily higher or lower, just different. I had to accept that the greater aspect of our soul’s intersection was to put each of us on a new soul path and journey. As Dr. Joe Dispenza says, “When you remove the emotional charge from a painful experience, it becomes wisdom.”

When the relationship ended I fell into a deep hole, a hole from which it was hard to see the light. As a result, I stopped doing the things that were loving to me; writing, exercising, creating, meditating, being social, and so on. The thing is, when you fall into these holes, from your subterranean vantage point, you can’t see what’s around you—and if you can’t see what’s around you, then you forget how much there is to be grateful for.   

One recent evening on a walk through my beautiful, adopted Mexican town, I experienced a vivid moment of clarity. I realized that long before the relationship ended, my life had been shifting—and all along I had been desperately resisting it. Whether I liked it or not, the tectonic plates of my life were recalibrating beneath my feet, rearranging and restructuring the intersection of my internal and external world. As a result, I was desperately holding my life in a vice grip, and it was desperately struggling to breath. It finally took the dismantling of this relationship to realize I was in one of my life’s greatest initiations. When you’re in these spaces of initiation, what I am learning is that it’s not so much about embracing change as it is allowing it.

I am a work in progress.

I have been in this space of the unknown countless times in my life, in fact, I even wrote a book about being in the unknown. Theoretically you’d think I would feel comfortable in this space, but I’d be lying if I said I did. To jump into the unknown, to do the deep work of the soul is to find yourself in an endless labyrinth where you are not only called upon to make decisions, but to trust that those decisions are in alignment with your highest self.

Our external life is always going to shake us up, this is after all what life is all about—to rattle us out of our slumber. But it’s how we meet these external shakeups from an internal perspective that determines the duration and degree of our disorientation and discomfort. Personally speaking, I am in one of the greatest unknowns in my life, and I am so wide open and so far out in the unknown that there’s nothing left to shelter me—not a tree nor a toadstool. I’m on a lifeboat in the center of a vast ocean of the unknown, and the only thing I have to protect myself is a LifeVest made of surrender and trust.

When you’re in these spaces, it seems like a time of action—to start rowing, planning, plotting, or reading the stars for direction—but instead I believe it’s a time to go inward and be still. It is a time to take the remaining disparate pieces of what you knew as your former life and begin to shape matter and our external experience through consciousness and intention. It’s also a time to look closely at why these shakeups happened, because when we’re paying attention, shakeups lead to awakenings.

Part of what I have awakened to is the fact that for most of my life I’ve been holding on to dormant pains from the past. Like an old t-shirt you can’t throw away, for reasons you can’t name, this pain had become incredibly familiar and comfortable, and yet I know I have outgrown it and that it’s not really who I am. I’ve been so wrapped up in this pain—what I call in my book a soul ache—that I haven’t actually been able to see what I have before me, who I have become, and how I’m living the dream of my 17-year-old self. That dream was a dream dedicated to the pursuit of art and the freedom of my soul’s expression. It was a dream where I was free to roam the world, meet fascinating people, have experiences that caused my soul to grow, expand, and evolve, and to be able to express those experiences so that hopefully others would be able to see their own lives in the reflection of my own.

While by no means is my life perfect, in most regards I have managed to create the life I’ve always wanted to live. I’ve managed to express in a book what I’ve been trying to articulate since I was 17 years old, a journey that took more than 20 years. It was only through the experiences provided by time and space that I would have enough life experience to paint a picture in words of the intangible thoughts, feelings, and emotions of my soul’s journey.

***

Surrounded by a rim of mountains, the spires of grandiose gothic churches, calles lined with colorful facades, and rickety cobblestone streets, I live a life of freedom in one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico. I am constantly surrounded by and meeting interesting artists, creatives, and masters of energy and consciousness from all over the world. But most importantly, I am free to create the life I want to live, and this is one of the most important things I’ve forgotten during my current iteration and initiation of self.

Know that I don’t say this to be braggadocios, dear reader. In fact, the truth is I am giving myself a pep talk, and in doing so, I hope to be giving you one as well (if you are in a similar space). If you are going through an initiation in your life—and if some days you find yourself wondering how much longer you can last in this initiation, as well as dreaming of how much easier it would be to go back to the old, familiar self—I want to encourage you to look around you with awakened eyes at the abundance of blessings that surround you. Know that the pain and discomfort you are experiencing now will in fact become one of your greatest teachers and gifts in the future.

I also want to say that if you too are suspended in the anxiety of the unknown and living in a state of resistance, identify what you are resisting, release the resistance, and allow for the new to come forth. We are, after all, energy organized as matter, and we exist in an infinite field of energy, energy that calls us to become more coherent energy, for it’s that coherence that brings us closer to the truth of who we are as wholeness and oneness. It is the nature of energy to flow, so be the conduit for whatever this new thing is within you that is trying to be born. And remember, this is the time and space when we are called on the most to create, surrender, and trust. When you experience a great loss in your life, no matter what it is, our natural inclination is to lament the loss and close our hearts, but instead, as the poet Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gently into that good night…Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

I think the best way to do that is through gratitude, so I am going to call on you to do the same. For the next 21 days I am going to practice gratitude. Why? Because gratitude is one of the highest frequencies, frequency alters matter, and our physical existence is made of matter. You can practice gratitude however you feel fit, but one of the structural elements of my book, and a practice I have used since 2010, is to write down five things you are grateful for and five things you want to create.  

If you too are carrying around pain from the past, I will also ask you to leave it by the side of the road. It may be comfortable, and you may have some nostalgic feelings towards it, but it’s no longer you. It is only in surrendering this part of yourself that you can allow a new aspect or dimension within you to be birthed.

Finally, I want to leave you with one of my favorite poems by the mystic, poet, paleontologist, geologist, philosopher, and French Jesuit priests, Teilhard de Chardin. It’s about being suspended in the unknown and the value of patience and trust.

Should you decide to take up this practice, feel free to comment below or drop me a line throughout your journey of gratitude. Thank you for reading and grace, love, and blessings to you.

Have you check out the book trailer to A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment?

 

 

 

 

10. Creativity, Flow, and a Book Deal in 21 Days

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It’s hard sometimes to shut off the analytical mind—the mind that wants to control, predict, and forecast outcomes. This mind certainly has its time and place, but not when you want to be in a creative space, for creativity is about flow, openness, expansion, and trusting the information and ideas that arrive in our minds. When we are in this state, it’s like our minds are radio antennas, picking up frequencies and information that exist behind the visible light spectrum. This is the state of being from which creativity arises and unfolds.

For nearly eight months last year I was in that flow space. If you read my earlier blogs, you know it culminated by living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for two-and-a-half months to finish my book. Then I came back to Seattle and contracted…and contracted some more…and even more until the point where when I was alone in my own company, I was almost unbearable to myself. I was in such a state of contraction and discontent, I was blind to my future.

 At the beginning of 2018, I made a decision to get clear, which included quitting alcohol, coffee, and sugar for a minimum of 21 days. I remembered doing another 21-day cleanse about seven years prior, and I remembered how clear and creative I felt at the end of the second week. The Being Experiment was born out of the clarity of these 21 days in January, and the idea downloaded to me right at the end of that second week. What also occurred at the same time was that although I knew not what it was, I could finally feel my future moving towards me—so much so in fact that I wrote on my desk calendar on January 31st, “Finalize book deal.” While I didn’t know what that meant, I wrote it on there anyway.

Today, January 31st, marks the 21st day of the cleanse. When I woke up this morning and performed my morning meditation practice, which in turn changed my state of being towards the day into one of excitement, I said to myself before leaving the house: Anything can happen today. Today is going to be a great day. Even though I said this, I was unattached to any outcome, and since I picked the word “peaceful” that morning in The Being Experiment, I knew even if nothing else happened, I would be at peace at the end of the day.

Like any normal morning, I made my way to a coffee shop to write. On this day, I happened to choose KEXP, Seattle’s independent radio station. (If you are a music fan and don’t know about KEXP, this is one of the best independent radio stations in the United States and it streams all over the world.)

At first it seemed like any other day, however, when I opened my laptop I received a message from an internationally renowned New York Times bestselling author and lecturer. He told me he had received my name from a publishing house and asked if I would be interested in working with him. I was in complete shock. This great unknown showed up, or materialized, completely out of nowhere.

Of course I thought it was a joke, because it was so absurd that not only had I said something great would happen today, but I had also written on my desk calendar, “Finalize book deal.” While this communication with this author was the opening salvo of a negotiation, none the less it was a start towards finalizing a book deal. Not only was this occurrence seemingly preposterous, it was exactly what I had been focusing on creating during my 21 days of cleansing and meditation; a client from whom I can learn, a client to whom I can offer value, someone who has a big message for the world, someone who values me, and the freedom to work from anywhere I want.

As I said in the previous blog, in getting quiet, focused, and still, I have changed my internal state from fear and worry to joy and trust. Nothing changed in my external world, but I managed to change my internal state of being. It’s my belief that what we see and experience is just a sliver of a greater mystery that revolves around our consciousness and who we are being—and that our external reality is simply a projection of our internal reality.

In A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment, this is one of Thomas’s main discoveries—that the universe is not cold and lifeless, but loving and interactive, and that it responds to who we are being.

 This was originally written on January 31st, 2017 and edited on September 26, 2018

 

9. The Being Experiment

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At turn of the new year, I was not feeling my best self. After a month of holiday parties and gluttony, I decided I needed to completely change my internal world, and so I cut sugar (for 21 days), alcohol (28 days), and caffeine (34 days) out of my diet. Harder than cutting out wine, whiskey, and/or the occasional beer was removing sugar from my diet. With the removal of these elements from my diet, however, towards the end of the second week I began to think and feel remarkably clear. Like a clear channel or frequency, it was as if information and creative ideas were flowing into my mind unobstructed.  

In addition to changing my diet, I also began meditating twice a day. One night in meditation during the end of the second week, the idea came to me to write down a bunch of words on a piece of paper that had highly elevated emotional quotients, throw them into a bowl, choose one every day, and try to embody that energy. The idea seemed to complement my attempt to create a new baseline of feeling good within my internal environment.  

When I told my 20-year-old nephew Jack, who is a musician and scored the soundtrack of my book trailer (not to mention has created an incredible unreleased soundtrack to my book) expressed an interest in the exercise, I decided I needed to think it through so I could more properly formalize it. And so that Saturday I went to a coffee shop and created The Being Experiment.

The next day I found myself thinking, what the hell—I’m gonna send this out to friends and see if anyone is into it. Comprised of 13 – 70 years olds, I wrote an email to about 50 friends. This ‘beta’ group of people resided in eight countries on four continents, and in the email, I included the following message:

What Is The Being Experiment?

In short, it’s a social experiment and an exercise in mindfulness. If you participate, however, I think you’re going to find it’s a lot more than both.

How It Works

  • Formatted in the attached Word Doc are 72 words that represent elevated emotions or expansive states of being.

  • Print out these three sheets and cut the words into squares. Next fold the squares in half and throw them in a bowl or a bag (like you would do for charades).

  • Put this bowl somewhere where you will see it in the morning.

  • Before you leave the house, pick a word from the bowl.

  • Your job then is to contemplate, interpret, act, and/or be the embodiment of that word, either for the whole day or at least in one instance.

I went on to say that I suspected participants would find it to be a creative process, because at times it will require a change in their being, habits, and/or energy—and when you change your energy, you change your reality. It’s my belief that like attracts like, so as a result of you embodying the energy of these elevated emotions and states of being, you’re going to pull interesting people, experiences, opportunities, synchronicities, and/or serendipities into your life that are a vibrational match to those elevated emotions.

After I sent out my email, I created a Closed Group on Facebook and invited the 25 or so people who answered the email. I figured it would be interesting for people to share their experiences and be inspired by others. Much to my surprise, by the end of the day there were 160 members, and as of publishing this, there are 680+ members. Today I made the group open to the public. You can join the Facebook group if you like or connect here on Instagram.

I’m also happy to report that The Being Experiment is now trademarked and is being developed with a partner into an app and a physical product. If you’re an app developer and/or a digital designer and would be interested in being involved, drop me a line. Let’s work something out.

Please drop me a line or add a comment below if you've had any interesting experiences as result of The Being Experiment.

Happy creating!

Have you watched my book trailer or explored the excerpts?

8. Architects, Ayahuasca, and Tinfoil

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How are architects, ayahuasca, and tinfoil related?

Architects
In my previous blog, Love and the Construction of the Universe, I talked about how I imagine the universe to be constructed. The way I theoretically see it, for every construct there must be a context, for instance, if you were an architect and were tasked to build a structure, you would need to know whether that structure’s purpose was to house a family, businesses, airplanes, assembly lines, and so on. So for the construction of the universe, it must exist in a greater context.

What I proposed (and what many other quantum physicists, leading thinkers, and scientists such as Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Eric Pearl, and Gregg Braden, among others) would agree upon, was that the construction of this physical world is for conscious to experience physicality. Why? Because consciousness in its purest state is just energy and awareness contained within an infinite field of frequencies. These infinite frequencies are creation itself.

The context of all creation is the unified field, which—according to where we’re at in the infancy and limited understanding of the human experience—is the supreme governing law and structure of all that is...and when I say all that is, I don’t just mean our universe. I mean the multiverse, which are infinite realities that exist beyond space and time.

Ayahuasca
I am going to step out of this space and time (which is to say the flow of the above three paragraphs) for a moment to share something that I think is relevant to this discourse. Last summer, I attended an ayahuasca plant medicine ceremony in a remote, wooded area about 1.5 hours from Mexico City. Before I tell you about it, I feel like I should make a public service announcement (PSA), and that is this:

PSA: My advice to those who haven’t done Ayahuasca and/or are thinking of doing Ayahuasca is this: Do as I say, not as I do. Unless you’re really prepared to go dimensional and explore the most outer/inner reaches of your mind, only drink one cup. (When will I learn this lesson?)

To make a long story short, when the ceremony was ending at 4am, I was just taking off. Another way to say this would be that around 4am, a tear in the seam of my being was just beginning. This tear was separating "Tim Shields" and my ego from my physical existence. In the process I fell into something much greater, much more infinitely expansive, and much more encompassing. And so began one of the most intense and humbling experience of my life. 

During the course of the next ten hours I received a lot of information, in fact it felt as if I was being waterboarded underneath Niagara Falls—only instead of being tortured by water, I was being tortured by an endless stream of information that was more than my mind could handle or process as matter in a physical body. (This included an entire download for my third book. Although I can’t recall all the particulars, I know the story lives in my biology, and under the right conditions, in the right state of what Steven Kotler talks about as flow in this video, I am confident I will be able to access it.*)

Download after download the information flattened me, leaving my quantumly expanded and physically depleted. And when I say depleted, the depletion I speak of is like nothing I have ever experienced. It did not even come close to my Division I college soccer days of double-session, pre-season training at Loyola University in Baltimore’s late-August, 110 degree heat. It could not even begin to compare to the highest fever I’ve ever had. It could not begin to touch my longest stretch of sleeplessness, which included nearly 40 hours of travel to the other side of the world. 

To use a plant medicine such as ayahuasca is to be a spiritual miner, journeying into the deepest recesses of one's inner world. In a sense it is the hero's journey into the darkest caverns of the soul in search of precious, metaphysical jewels to bring back to the physical world. This journey is not always a beautiful one, in fact, I can remember calling out in the void for my deceased parents or someone—anyone—to help me. 

Despite this rigorous odyssey into self, I received many jewels on this journey in the form of downloads. For me, the two most important ones I discovered I will share with you now: 

  1. Dimensional experiences, while mystical, are not something far off, removed, and inaccessible to the majority. Instead, they are simply a subtle sidestep to the left or right, and they are born out of choice and awareness.

  2. Because the greater aspect of our human existence is consciousness, be careful what you wish for, because you can have anything you want.

Tinfoil
And now back to our regularly paid programming…I want you to imagine for a moment a flat piece of regularly-sized tinfoil floating freely in space. That piece of tinfoil is the quantum field, the very fabric of reality that exists beyond our senses but is impressionable, pliable, and malleable through the energy of our thoughts, intentions, and awareness—the summation of which is our consciousness.

Now I want you to imagine a wooden block in the shape of a star, but instead of it being a star, I want you to assign meaning to it. That meaning can be whatever you want to do, be, or create while you inhabit your body in this physical reality we call the human experience.

Each time you press this star (which represents your energy and awareness) into this piece of tinfoil, you are creating an impression in the very fabric of reality. The more times you push into this piece of tinfoil with your energy and awareness (which we call intention), the more the tinfoil takes on the form of your intention. Eventually, your thoughts actually take form. We could call this the creative process, and this is a truth many ancient cultures knew. Somehow along the way, however, modernity lost this truth under the dirt, dust, and ash of time, a result of the physical world reorganizing itself. Fortunately, we’re once again beginning to awaken to this unifying law.

So what is my point? The point is this: like tinfoil, the very fabric of reality is malleable and impressionable by our thoughts. What we think and feel over and over—if we keep thinking that thought enough times—eventually that thought begins to take shape in this reality.

Whether you are conscious of it or not, at all times you are creating, therefore the questions you need to ask yourself are this:

  • Are you going to be conscious of the impression you are making into the fabric of realty?

  • Are you going to be conscious and push into this fabric the impressions of love, compassion, and unity?

  • Or you are going to be unconscious and push into this fabric the unconscious program of fear, hate, and division?

Remember, this fabric of reality responds to who you are being.

***

(Have you watched my book trailer or explored the excerpts? If you like this blog, you'll certainly like my book.)

*'Flow' when used to describe an altered state of consciousness is attributed to the researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his seminal book, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience".

7. Love and the Construction of the Physical World

On a walk last Friday night I was thinking about the construction and nature of the physical world. The way I theoretically understand it is that there is an energetic reality that exists beyond our physical form (beyond our senses, which are what plug us into this physical dimension). This energetic reality, which is comprised of what Dr. Eric Pearl, the founder of Reconnective Healing, refers to as energy, light, and information, exists beyond the visible light spectrum and is comprised of infinite frequencies.

As far as we know, this energetic reality is endless—without beginning, without end, has always been, and always will be. Science calls this reality the quantum field, the zero point field, or source energy. Religion calls it God. The sweet spot, and perhaps the greatest hope for the future of humanity, is the melding of the two, which is why Dr. Joe Dispenza often says, "Science is the new language of mysticism." 

Of this field, Einstein said, “The field is the sole governing agency of the particle.” This means that the field governs all other laws of both the physical and nonphysical worlds. All information within this field is transmitted through the wave function, including our thoughts. Just as you would see a ripple in a pond when you drop a rock in it, that wave is the way the physical world transfers energy. 

As individual people, we are all a part of, and connected to, this greater field of consciousness. This field is consciousness itself—far bigger and greater than what we can comprehend in the human form or with our limited mind.

If you were to continue to move upward into this field of frequencies—which is to say, into greater levels of consciousness and awareness—there would be no separation, only oneness. It’s only when light moves beneath the speed of light that oneness, separation, and division begin to occur. 

If this model of reality is indeed true, then this is how I see the construction of the physical world:

  1. The Field (infinite consciousness/potentials/possibilities)

  2. The Question (consciousness becoming self-aware)

  3. Language (consciousness giving ideas form, structure, composure)

  4. Action (consciousness turning ideas into matter)

  5. Result (consciousness constructing the physical world)

So why the construction of the physical world? What’s our purpose here? I believe it is for consciousness to experience itself in the physical form. This requires us to truly live our life—to take risks, to love, to suffer, to experience loss, to transcend our suffering and loss, to get bruised and battered all while experiencing family, joy, unity, transcendence, wholeness, and all there is to experience in this physical form. (I talk more about this in my book.)

Mostly though, I think it’s about learning to love. Learning to love is a surrendering of our stories, because it’s our stories that create distance—I am this and you are that. When the distance created by our stories disappear, there is only oneness, wholeness, and the energy, consciousness, and awareness that unites us.

When will the human species get this lesson?

Seattle, WA 8/17/18

3. Awareness and Emotions

 Taken on Formentera Island, Spain, June 24th, 2015

Taken on Formentera Island, Spain, June 24th, 2015

A conversation I recently had with a fellow writer triggered within me a very strong feeling of self-doubt. As a result, I began questioning all my decisions about this self-publishing path. It sent me into a heaviness of the heart that was dense and dark, the likes of which I have not known for some time. The more I fed it, the more this anxiety knocked me off my center, and as a result I began to create a story in my head that had no basis in reality.

As I fed the anxiety, the anxiety fed the story, and the story fed a reciprocal feeling in my body. Eventually the voice in my head grew louder than anything I could combat with rational thought.

But here’s the thing about anxiety—it doesn’t actually exist in the external world. It lives in the body as a memory of the past or a fear of the future, and like a parasite on a host, it feeds on our uncontrolled emotions. In my own body, this monster erupts from my heart or my gut, and like a virus it begins to consume everything in its path.

I think most people aren’t even aware of this feeling in their body. Instead of pausing to observe it, they avoid it—the ‘it’ being unresolved or unprocessed feelings and emotions. These feelings and emotions can manifest as fear, doubt, unworthiness, and so forth, but because they make us feel so uncomfortable within our own skin, we numb the feeling with food, alcohol, sex, work, drugs, busyness, exercise, or whatever we need to do to distract us from being confined in an emotional-pain suit, otherwise known as our body.

I think this human predicament has two causes. The first is that we feel isolated, separate, misunderstood, and alone. While these feelings have always been a byproduct of the human condition, it seems it’s become a modern affliction. The second are unresolved wounds.

Like a dormant volcano, when these emotions erupt in us, most often the reality is that we are safe and sound in the present moment, but the feeling in the body—which was engendered by an external experience, the end result of which is an emotion, the root of which is the chemistry in our body—is not the reality of the present moment. Because we are not aware and in control of our internal environment, something in our external environment triggered these old feelings that live in the body. This is why it’s so important to be awake and aware. This is one of the most important steps toward overcoming the self, which at the core is what my book is about. 

That's not to say I've mastered it. Every time we molt an old layer of the self that no longer serves us, another challenge appears in our life. If we look at these challenges as initiations, then we don't become a victim to our life's circumstances. This is but one of many steps on the journey towards mastering the self.

Fall, 2017

 

2. Places and Spaces

 My birthday, July 17, 2011.

My birthday, July 17, 2011.

An “interesting place” is just a point on the map, coordinates comprised of latitudinal and longitudinal lines that allow us to zero in on the ‘idea’ of a physical space in time. A space then is just emptiness until consciousness and awareness is brought to it. This is why I’ve always said travel is not about the places you visit, but the person you are when you inhabit these spaces. Take, for example, the Taj Majal.

The Taj Mahal was a grandiose expression of love, a tomb built by a Mughal emperor to house the body of his most beloved wife. On my 37th birthday, my last full day in India after living there for three months, I found myself painfully aware of being alone, when all I really wanted was love and connection. It didn’t matter that I had just finished volunteering for India’s most important environmental lawyer, a man who sued the State of India over the course of 20 years to create a green zone around India’s most famous monument. He argued that the cultural relevance of the Taj Majal was worth more to India than the short-term gains of Industry, the effects of which had been yellowing and pitting the virginal marble. While I wallowed in loneliness, a couple beside me was celebrating their wedding anniversary. Their awe and enthusiasm could not be contained as they marveled at the extravagant ivory ode to love.

To me, the juxtaposition of these points of view proved that an “interesting place” is only as interesting as the awareness we bring to it. An “interesting place” then is simply a mirror of our internal state of being at that moment in our lives.

When boiled down to its essence, like the breath, being only exists in two states; expansion and contraction. To insert travel into this construct then makes travel a series of micro-choices: Do we bring expansion, which is love, into the places we inhabit? Or do we want to bring contraction, which is fear? I’d be willing to bet my best friend’s 401k that if we all brought love and expansion into the places we inhabit, the world’s borders would quickly evaporate. Think of all the new places we could then visit, interjecting love, connectedness, and goodwill along the way.

Travel is an idea. It is consciousness in motion—a movement through time within a physical reality where our senses comingle with people and ideas. I think it’s safe to say then that the most interesting place I’ve ever visited has been all those places where I’ve been at my best—expansive, engaged, present, aware, and connected to both myself, the people, and the culture. When you travel in this state of being, you can’t help but be a vortex for interesting people and experiences.

A place is only as interesting as the consciousness that is brought to it, for without consciousness, there is nothing.

(posted June 22, 2018)

Note: This was actually an essay I wrote for a travel writer position at The New York Times in the fall of 2017. The assignment was: tell us in 500 words or less about the most interesting place you’ve ever been. The crux of this essay is an underlying theme in ‘A Curious Year in the Great Vivarium Experiment.'