Living the Dream

Hello World,

This is going to be a rather long post. But stick with me, and try and follow where this is going, because I swear, somehow it's all related. 

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There's this girl I know from high school who, while lives largely in my periphery, has become nothing short of an inspiration. It started with an innocuous link on her Facebook to a blogpost she wrote a couple of years ago, and then I started to follow her blog. And her life path. And I realized that she was very much like me in so many ways (something I was semi-aware of when we were in school together) but her drive came from this place of self-knowing.

A couple of days ago, she announced on Facebook that she's quitting the 9-5 she's held for the past few months in Boston, and is westward bound to try and create a life surrounding her passion. Not her interests, but her passion

When I read it, I was just so pleased. I let her happiness wash over me, and I felt calm. And then I wrote this and left it on her wall:

So many people talk about their dreams and doing what they love, yet most never make it past the safeness of dreaming. I am so incredibly proud and honored to know someone who extends their boundaries, pursues their passions, and puts self-reflection and self-happiness first - and that that person is you. 

Keep living out your dreams; you're an inspiration for me to continue to do the same and I am absolutely certain you also inspire and motivate others to do the same.

To be happy and to help others find their happy; what more could you ask for in this world?

"Mtaka cha uvunguni, sharti ainame"
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Today, my favorite blogger Kim, from So Many Places,  wrote about this poem in a post from France


THE INVITATION
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. 

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!

 I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

 I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. 

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.  I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. 

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

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"I read the poem once and then I read it again. Of all its beautiful stanzas this one stands out to me today:
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
And I realize that this is what I want to express in my emails: the importance of embracing the flame of possibility instead of turning your back on it. I want to say: If the risk of climbing into the fire is worth more to you than the comfort of lingering where it cannot touch you, you will know.
And when you decide to step inside the fire do not shrink back.
Do not shrink back even though the flames are crawling up your pant legs.
Do not shrink back though you are afraid that you might catch fire.
Do not shrink back although you fear that the heat and intensity of the flames will transform you into something unrecognizable.
Because that is exactly the point."
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I loved what she had to say about shrinking from the fire. But I was more taken by the last two lines:


I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. 

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

This is something I ask myself every day.

Am I happy with what I accomplished today?
Do I love where I am in this moment?
Am I in love with what I do?
Do I love me?

And when the answer shifts from 'yes' to 'no', that's when I too, will have to be brave enough to make a change. 

Above all, I must commit to living a life that I am proud of. That sustains me, that is true to not only my interests, but my passions, and my vision of the future. 

Moreover, I must continue to surround myself with people who live in the same way, for our energies united ground our own convictions in a world where dreaming and doing are still distant. 

xoxo,
M



What Your Walls Are Made Of

Hi world,

There's nothing I love more than a great Ted (or Tedx) talk.

This particular talk from TedxBoulder has been shared like wildfire this week after appearing on Upworthy -- and I think it has a great, relevant message for everyone.

Ash Beckham talks about coming out of closets. Not literally, of course, but the proverbial closets that we all seem to find ourselves inside of time and time again: when we know truths about ourselves, yet we are afraid to admit them to the world.

Our closets could be hiding anything...but most of all, they hide ourselves.

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Coming-Out-of-Your-Closet-Ash-B

The video is 11 minutes long, and worth every second. In fact, I watched it twice.

And while you're watching, think about your own closets. Think about how closets come into being, how they trap you in, and how powerful it is to open the door.

Being open and honest about who we are and what we want out of life is so, so important. It's not an easy thing to do -- but Ash reminds us that it might be hard but it'll be worth it

xoxo,
M

The Destination Is My Journey

Hi world,

I'm back.

It's been 5 months since I last posted on a blog, and my heart has been heavy as I started and deleted a series of blogs between then and now...I just couldn't land on a topic or a blog title that was really 'me'.

If you know me, you know that I started blogging in 2010 as The Golden Child. My first blog was very 'me' in a way -- witty banter, disruptive titles and free-flowing sentences, and constant tongue-in-cheek recollections of my life as a college Junior/Senior.

My second blog was Tanzania 365, which documented my journey preparing for a year living & teaching in Tanzania, as well as my day-to-day experiences on the ground. From January 2012 to June 2013, T365 was my heart on my sleeve, and it was the most exposed I've ever been -- with almost 100,000 visitors over the course of 2 years.

When I got home from Tanzania, my blog identity was lost for a while. I moved to Harlem, NYC; I started graduate school. I've learned how to cook new things, I've explored the City, I ate cheese curds in Wisconsin (!), and I've had some really interesting experiences with old friends and new friends. But none of it was enough.

It lacked 'me' (whatever that means).

Until now. I've created A Path Unpaved because this I realized this tumultuous path I'm on is never going to be less tumultuous. 

The destination is my journey. The journey is my destination. 

Path at Sunrise.
Mpingo Farms, Tanzania.
August 2012

This will record the ways in which I chase my dreams and live the life I desire.

A life where I continue to educate my mind, lend my legs to walk the paths of the world, hold tight to my passion for East Africa, remain open to opportunity, and live with humility. 

A life where I smile every day, where I feel like what I do means something, and I don't set my toast on fire. A life where I'm thankful, make good choices, acknowledge (manage and pay back) my debts (to society, to Sallie Mae, to the world),  

Walk with me. 

xoxo,
M