By Guest Writer Phillip Nogueras
In the last three years, I have lived in five different states, traveled for a month in northwest Cuba, road-tripped from Arizona to Washington and back to Miami, bought and sold most of my possessions, explored a sliver of Southeast Asia over a three-month period, worked several different jobs, and am now preparing to live and work in Spain. To many, my life appears to be anything but still; however, the more this lifestyle becomes normal to me, the less chaotic it all feels.
I have learned from the challenges, observed and confronted discomfort, and more fully embraced the benefits of a life constantly faced with the unknown. My desire to learn about Karen culture in northern Thailand, the joy of teaching wildlife and ecology in deep east Texas, and the magical landscapes of northwest Cuba continue to draw me further into this unknown.
Many experiences that were chaotic or confusing at the time ended up teaching me how to Practice Stillness in stressful situations. It is as though, each time I’m challenged to be outside my comfort zone, and I pay careful attention to learn from it, I earn a new layer of reassurance for future experiences.
While in Southeast Asia, two friends and I decided to rent motorcycles and travel for three days around the central region of the country. The second day, because of our silly, rambling distractions, we forgot to fill up on gas in the morning and ended up broken down on the side of a mountain road with no cell service, gas, or any clue how to speak the local language.
At first, we worried and tried to think of any idea that might work, even if it clearly was a bad choice. However, we remembered we were in no rush, nor in any imminent danger, and, instead, could choose Stillness in a seemingly turbulent situation. Practicing Stillness gave us the clarity we needed to figure out the best solution to continue with our journey, which led us to hitch a ride on the back of an old truck carrying fish for a local market [Read More].
Now, these learnable moments don’t have to be on the road, in foreign countries, or potentially life-threatening. Missing a bus, speaking your mind during an argument, waiting at the DMV, or attempting to learn something new can all be moments that build the Resilience that will help you through the uncomfortable times in life. And I don’t just mean embracing the bad things in life. I mean: go out, find the things you’re uncomfortable with, and intentionally soak them in. Feel the awkwardness and fear.
When you’re in the belly of the unknown, don’t look away — keep your eyes wide open! This is where the learning and growth happens.
Practicing Stillness in my own life, I have found clarity in the chaos, calm in the unknown, and a resilience to handle more and more challenging situations. And for that, I am so incredibly grateful.
This is Living Hope.
Phillip Nogueras is an avid traveler, designer, musician, photographer, and lover of learning. Phillip believes we should all live an examined life and strive to become the best form of ourselves. He does his best to remain grateful, kind, and generous toward others. You can follow Phillip’s art and travels on his website at www.PhillipNogueras.com.