“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.” — Rumi
Skimming through my library of quotes and aphorisms this morning I came across these poignant words by Rumi.
Run from what’s comfortable. What is comfortable? That is a question to be answered differently by each of us. My comfort became routine. The daily habits of rising from bed, obtaining my coffee, working, training, becoming fatigued by midday, eating dinner at the same handful of establishments (usually making poor decisions because I didn’t eat properly earlier), settling down for the evening in the comfort of a heated/cooled apartment, and finishing off with some Netflix.
I’ve spent much of my life running from something; responsibility, relationships, commitment, engagement, writing, speaking, connection. A good portion of my running from fears has been deliberate, while a healthy (or unhealthy) amount has been unintentional. My self awareness has improved over recent years, but don’t assume that means I’ve licked the habit and no longer run from fears. Today I still run, but from the comfortable, head into my fears. Taking on a more essential lifestyle, stripping possessions and project commitments, is to a degree shedding responsibility, but it is done to focus on greater responsibility. So I tell myself. I am running from that comfort I spoke of, from routine that strips my enthusiasm for life. I run toward writing, engaging, commitment, in an attempt to connect. I run from the comfortable toward the vital.
Forget Safety. There is safety in the routine. There is also productivity. My objective is to create better habits that enable growth and progress toward that which I need to do, while not falling into the routine that becomes overly comfortable and safe. I sleep in a van, I poop in the woods. However, I lock the doors at night and carry a pocketknife at all times. My physical safety is remembered, in other areas of life I *shall* try to allow more risk.
Live where you fear to live. In the woods. In a van. On the road. Traveling to new places. Forcing myself to engage with new people and solve problems that arise from a life that isn’t securely positioned in a specific place. It doesn’t sound very scary, especially amid those that have been doing this for much longer, or those who’ve shed the van for a bike and tent, or just a backpack and boots. I admire their courage. They are inspiration and encouragement. They make it easier to believe I can live this chosen lifestyle. Granted I embarked on this journey with another, which makes things both easier and more difficult. Space is small, there’s a lot of heads bumping into asses. There is no standing room available in the van. It is easier for me, and more comfortable, to run toward solitude, I have years of practice. I chose to run from the comfort of solitude toward companionship.
Destroy your reputation. I have no reputation to destroy, but that which is in my mind. I have gone unnoticed most of these 47, soon to be 48, years. Perhaps, what I destroy is the acceptability of “I’m fine” as the default answer to the obligatory question of “How are you?”. The label I carried as the once shy, twice introverted, wall flower was replaced by the middle-aged bloke that had a depressive breakdown. Admittedly, these are labels placed upon myself, or labels I allowed others to place upon me due to my own insecurities and fears. Labels I adopted in an attempt to be comfortable and become the identity I thought expected of me, because it was easier. Easier than speaking out, easier than writing, easier than engaging and committing to become something else.
I embark then on a journey of destruction. Continued from a path chosen these most recent years. Destroying who I think I am. Destroying who you think I am. Destroying what I think I know, and what I believe myself capable of. Dismantling expectations to embrace freedom of thought and action. I choose to wreck and rebuild with sustained effort to allow this structure to become what it will be.
Be notorious. I have no desire for legend, but perhaps I’ll be notorious for my ceaseless inner reflections. I shall be infamous in the mind of one for living the life I’m called to live.
I have tried prudent living long enough. From now on I’ll be mad. Madness never seemed more enticing.