Monday, April 26, 2010

Are you leading a life of quiet desperation?

Henry David Thoreau wrote:
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation".
I remember reading "Walden" in high school and, truth be told, I remember really struggling through it, thinking it was pretty darn boring. But (sigh) I was a rebel without a cause back then and even if I did enjoy or find meaning in Mr. Thoreau’s incredibly profound observations in those woods, I would have denied myself that pleasure anyway. HOWEVER...I do recall that line, relatively early in the book, and it has reverberated throughout my life and the decisions I make ever since.

Ever since I can remember I have tried to swim against the current - sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  I have an innate, very natural drive and thirst for adventure.  Wrapped up in this is a hunger to learn, to grow, to share with and connect with fellow human beings.  I want to live a life that is anything but ordinary and, lucky for me, I have found a life partner who has this same goals. I have theories about where this fire and desire in me comes from, not the least of which is the fact that my parents are dreamers themselves (my mom moved from England to the US alone and not knowing a soul at 18, my dad is in the process of designing his next custom aluminum boat which will take him and my mom around the world in retirement) but, really, the main motivation is best summed up in that quote by Thoreau.

So many people are not free.  I am not talking about religious, political, or cultural oppression - that is another post all together. I am talking about the souls of human beings all around us. So many people not only don't follow their hearts, but don't even know their hearts.  Our cubical mates. Our neighbors. Our family. Our friends. People don't laugh out loud with their mouths flung open for fear of seeming foolish and fail to love freely and passionately for fear of a broken heart.  They don't speak their minds for fear of sounding stupid and don't honestly share their feelings for fear of being rejected.  People don't cry in the arms of another for fear of appearing weak and, perhaps the worst of all, people don't follow their hearts for fear of failure.  We are all guilty of these things - but the question is to what extent? How free are you? How much does your soul long for something that it is missing? How quietly and desperately do you seek to laugh, love, share, speak, cry or dream freely?

I know that not everyone can (or wants to) quit it all, hop on a boat and sail off into the sunset - and not everyone needs to. Freedom comes from within. It is in your own heart. Thoreau simply went to a cabin in the woods. Where will you find your heart? Where do you need to go to set your soul free?


With love,

Brittany and Scott

8 comments:

Captain Verena said...

Love this post! Thank you!
As you get ready to set sail this year, won't you help us in building the Ultimate Sailing Checklist? We could really use your input. http://www.pacificsailors.com/p/checklist-project.html

Brady said...

Hey, have you read Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach? The paperback is very cheap used on Amazon and it has some great advice!

Windtraveler said...

Thank you Captain Verena - You have a great site! I'd love to offer our input - but I'll also take any you get! Thanks for visiting and good luck to you, we'll keep in touch!

Brady - I have not read that, but I definitely will put it on my list, after I re-read Walden, of course ;)! Thank you very much!

Ken n Cheryl said...

You are so right! So many people think we're nuts when we tell them our plan of cruising on a sailboat and selling our house. The horror! Society is so used to a certain lifestyle that they don't think outside the box. We won't feel truly free till we're on our sailboat with no obligations. Your site is great, keep it up.

seashell seeking said...

This speaks volumes! love it! Follow your desires and your dreams. In the words of Doug Floyd, "You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note".

seashell seeking said...

ps. this is chels....i forgot i have this hokey name.

Windtraveler said...

Ha! Thanks sisto! Love you - even if you do have a hokey name ;)

Paulina said...

A beautiful post. I love the way you think.

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