Conventional wisdom holds that the road to success is a stable, structured, pre-approved, pre-designated life path. However, I have noticed many people find themselves trembling with anxiety in the midst of what has been called an “existential crisis.” As a result, an emergence of pathfinders, wayshowers, and paradigm innovators have been swelling to the surface, all around the world. These are people who enjoy waltzing into the unknown and living with passion, curiosity, and a deep seated urge to make the most out of this one precious life, rather than follow a conveyer belt of degrees, jobs, and conventional achievements. A growing movement of autonomous, progressive, paradigm pioneers are now writing a new story, weaving a new dream, and in the process, leaving a legacy.
When I was preparing to graduate from University, as many friends were preparing for graduate school, I was researching opportunities: teaching and taking classes about sustainable living, transformative action, personal empowerment, and world changing, as well as attending my first transformational festivals. After saving up some travel funds working at summer camps, I embarked on my first solo, self-directed international journey.
First stop, Mexico City. This adventure of excitement, discovery and exploration took me through Mexico to the Rainbow Gathering and the ancient temple of Palenque to celebrate the end of the Mayan Calendar and the beginning of a new era, to the mystic temple of Chichen Itza, into Guatemala to the Cosmic Convergence New Years Festival, and two and a half more months in Guatemala (mostly at Lake Atitlan); then to Costa Rica for the Envision Festival, and then up to Nicaragua for a few months living at intentional communities and permaculture farms on the volcanic island of Ometepe.
When I returned to California, I was immediately swept into the current of transformational festivals, conferences and gatherings. In the midst of these new, vibrant, awakening experiences, in a moment of epiphany, I realized that I am enrolled in a “school” where nature is the classroom, experience is the teacher, and life is the lesson. I call it The University of the Universe.
Abundant with teachers, skill-shares, life lessons, collaborations, ideas put into action, deep heart opening conversations, and multi-cultural, shared experiences, I have learned that the breathing room to not be in a conventional school setting has become the most educational experience of my life so far. To me, this is the modern version of the ancient mystery schools.
Along this journey, I have learned from elders, youngsters, peers, shamans, wisdom keepers, farmers, musicians, artists, authors, and all around creative and visionary people. I have lived with and learned from indigenous Mayans and Shipibo, local Caribbean Nicaraguans, Peruvians, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Costa Ricans, Bolivians, and many North Americans. I have lived on farms, ecovillages, co-ops, forests, deserts, and beyond. I have learned so much about myself, my global community, my planet, my universe, and all of existence.
Here are my Take-Away Lessons:
- Balance extroversion and introversion. Take time for yourself, and time in your community and surroundings.
- Find a personal practice (yoga, meditation, music, writing, art, running, exercise), to balance, center, and ground.
- There are people who passionately want to do and create the same projects that you do, and they are just waiting to find like-minded, like-hearted people to collaborate with.
- When there’s a will, there’s a way.
- Abundance is everywhere, it just comes in more forms than just money. Be open to the abundance of opportunities which are always around you.
- All challenges are opportunities for growth.
- Though you can’t always control the situation, you can practice choosing the way you feel about it, which in turn, alters the situation itself!
- Permaculture applies to everything.