“Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page.” -Henry Ward Beecher
It’s January 1, 2017, as I write this, and traditionally most of us are making New Years Resolutions of changes we want to make in the coming year. That’s generally because we are discontent with some element of our life and recognize the need for change in ourselves. I think that is doubly true to anyone who is coming to my website or Youtube channel. The only reason to seek me out (and put up with my strong passion) is to make some pretty radical and extreme changes and that means you are probably very unhappy with the course of your life.
Today, I’m going to make a suggestion of a New Years Resolution you might consider: abandoning your old ideas, and being open to all new ones.
Let me share an example of what I mean. Recently on my forum, someone began an introduction to his new life as a vandweller by giving us some of the details of his plans for the vehicle and conversion he would do on it. That’s the normal way most of us introduce ourselves to a new group, but after he was done with that he ended his intro by saying:
“I want to take this time to tear myself down as a person and rediscover who I really am, and what I can become.”
I was very, very impressed with that idea because while it takes a lot of courage to radically change your entire life by selling everything and moving out of a house into a car, van, SUV, or RV, it requires an entirely higher level of courage to do it with the intention to tear down who you are on the inside and become a whole new person. And yet I do believe that’s what’s required to make the change to nomadic living all it can be.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”
The main lesson we learn from nature is that the act of living is all about change, and not just an occasional slight shift in direction, but frequent and constant metamorphosis from one state of being to another. Nothing in life is static, it is constantly changing and in a process of becoming–motion is the one constant. Only the dead never change or grow–the essence of life is growth.
That is equally true of humans as we can see in our hunger to become nomads. For a million years humans moved constantly in order to live and now suddenly in current times we have stopped moving and are in a fixed position. That makes out heart sick and sad and leaves us longing for motion. Sadly, many of us have also given up on internal motion and change as well, even within our own heart, mind, and soul. We’ve hardened and stiffened over time and are barely even alive. Only the dead never change!
“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anaïs Nin
I can relate to the plight of the caterpillar! After I went through a divorce and my life hit rock bottom, I turned to vandwelling out of desperation for a new life. Fortunately, I had come to the point where I simply had to change–no matter what it took–change or die! So I began to follow a path that promised that I could change if I was willing to really try. But, it gave me this warning:
“Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.”
Just like they said, as much as I wanted to change, I couldn’t because I was holding onto my old ideas. My every effort failed and no real change happened. I’m living proof of the Einstein quote “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” New results DEMAND new actions, and new actions can only come from new thinking. It looked hopeless to me, so I gave up on my new path. I thought my life couldn’t get worse, but it did, and I lost all hope. So I went back and this time I truly was willing to give up each and every one of my old ideas, and I literally did.
And it worked! Slowly everything in my life changed and I became a new person–for that, I will be eternally grateful!
If you’re ready to live a new life, you must be willing to go to any length to get it and the single most important element is the willingness to wake up each day and give up all your old hardened ideas and adopt new ones. If you recognize the need for change, it’s the only way to realistically achieve it.
I have no idea what your path will be, or who or what you will become, but with all my heart I do believe you must be willing to question every belief–the more sacred it is to you, the more important that you question it.
I wish you the very best in this amazing, wonderful, and fearsome new adventure!
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On occasion I tell people, “In order to achieve different results, you must make different choices. If you keep making the same choices, you will keep achieving the same results.” They seem to think, “Well, duh!” because it is a rather obvious statement, yet they almost always keep making the same choices which inevitably results in getting the same old thing. Then most of the time other people are blamed, or even more embarrassingly, inanimate objects are blamed. Your quote about insanity seems like it is easy to understand, but I’ve found with my anecdotal observations that it is a remarkably difficult concept to truly understand. Learning, integrating, then applying this on your own terms will serve you far better compared to being more or less forced to learn this valuable concept when your world as you know it is crumbling down around you.
The applying part is the hard one for me.
Yes! I believe it was Albert Einstein that said “the definition of insane is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result”
I am in absolute agreement. The New Year is the anniversary of one of my 12 Step turning points. One thing I heard is, “You have to be willing to change everything but your name.” My name isn’t that special, but my attitudes had to change. This far down the road, I still have to be willing to let go of any idea or attitude that blocks my growth. I take my cue from trees. Any tree, no matter how old or young, is growing or dying all the time. It may be doing some of both or growing slowly, but it cannot be static. Neither can we.
Love that analogy!
Letting go is hard, it can be done…but it’s hard.
Letting go frees you up to invite new things into your life. I think forgiveness comes into this also. Definitely worth taking that journey. Thanks Bob
This year I`ll turn 60. I`ve got the van, the ideas and the final go from my heart.. I need to build this thing.. I live in Norway, my plan is to go south when the cold arrives. I really don`t want -40 C in my life anymore…. Income and savings are secured, so is the health part of it. I feel pretty good about it… 😀
Good for you! I’m very happy for you! Take care. Be safe. Peace
Interesting article, thank you for posting it Bob.
In the article you said, quote ” to tear down who you are on the inside” and respectfully I look it in the opposite way by saying that the person have reached his inside for the first time by listen to his inner voice and start ignoring the “principles of life” imposed on him by the expectations of society.
I am a believer that if the majority of people retreat for a week to nature and meditate soon will join all of us that long time ago woken up about the wrong path imposed on us by exploiting the natural greed embedded in human nature.
For someone who considers herself to be somewhat conscious of illusions, I didn’t realize how much fear has been keeping me from living my soul’s purpose.
This post appeared at the perfect time for me – Thank you.
I totally agree with you Jean. Part of it is money too.
I’m working on both the fear and the money to make this a reality for me this year.
Thanks for the great article.
Hello From Sunny Arizona!I had written you about wearing long skirts whilst traveling in my van. I was reading on Charlene’s Swankie site on stalking, but could not leave a comment. Could you please pass this comment on to her? It has been very helpful to me for the same reasons as her “unwanted follower”. Thanks & Happy New Year!
Charlene, there is a smart phone app called “eForward” which does work on Samsung Google OS phones and blocks ALL calls and texts IF they are not on your contact list. When he calls or tries to text, your phone automatically hangs up on them. There are settings galore! If you need to make a business call where there are several phone numbers in the business, and they are to phone you back, just turn off the app temporarily until after you get your call. Then turn it back on. It works & is amazing! Good luck & think positive and remain proactive about your safety. See you one day on the road.
In a few months, after selling more things, I will be on the road again.
Also, on iPhones there is a button that is labeled “Do not disturb” I’ve set mine on to only allow my contacts call and text me. I keep it on all day except when I’m expecting a call. If someone that is not my contacts that calls 3 times within 3 minutes, then it rings. It’s what works for me. Happy Trails!
Louise LeMarr, here, adding my own two cents worth:
IF YOU REST, YOU RUST.
Amen to that, Louise LaMarr!
Thanks for this posting. I made myself a little poster of Einstein’s quote and am updating my facebook photo with it as a reminder to change the myself from from all the fears and laziness that keeps me so insane. 🙂
I suppose we are each in charge of meeting life’s most challenging moments with mindfulness, hopefully prayer, and an attitude of hope for a new tomorrow. With these tools in each of our toolchests, we humans are practically capable of anything! Bob, thanks for helping frame the new year for me….and the new political year which begins today as well. Keep on motorin’!!!
Not that it *really matters, but the “insanity” quote (often) attributed to Einstein (or Franklin) is actually from Voltaire.