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A Skype session with Marcel

My friend Marcel is currently on a quest …

On September 3rd 2006 I left the place I called home. Guided by the dreams of my Soul I have set out on a creative and transformational journey … My dream is to de-construct my old life and transform it into a life of ‘being’, of living well and wellbeing. To make way for the new the old must die …

Source: Marcel Baaijens

For months before Marcel left Wellington he was planning. The plans kept changing but he just let it all unfold and trusted it would all work out. At the same time he was frustrated because he wanted to be gone but there were many things he still had to sort out before he could physically leave.

One evening as we were sharing a meal together he asked us for some advice on how best to set up a web presence to record his journey. We suggested he consider using a blog to do this. On the spot we gave him a quick tutorial and sent him off with some links to check out. He came back to us with questions and these were easily dealt to using email, the quick creation of some help sheets using screenshots, and the telephone. In no time at all Marcel had set up his first blog and had written his first post – actually he wrote three posts on that first day!

Stepping in
The wheel
Of life
Oh shit!
Well, so be it.

Source: Marcel Baaijens, 26 May 2006

At present Marcel is living in Sturovo, Slovakia. He is completing a six month artist’s residency. He has established the The Mária Valéria Bridge Log by the 7th Bridge Guard to document this experience.

This morning I was talking to Marcel using Skype; something we do quite regularly since he has been away. We were playing around testing out video chat. Using his inbuilt vidcam on his Mac laptop Marcel managed to show me around his temporary home. As I looked at the images being relayed on to my screen I also had a vision of Marcel walking around carrying his laptop and positioning it so I could see things. It must have been a funny sight. I even got to see the views from his studio window and a sneak preview of his exhibition he was about to hold. It was so wonderful to see his face as we spoke.

Marcel is more than a friend to me; he is also a mentor. I am inspired by what he is doing and the work he is producing. I keep wondering how I might undertake a similar journey yet my reality is so different to his.

This morning he said something which got me thinking:

I started my journey when I started blogging on my hoped for departure date … I did not leave till early September … I was gone anyway …

Source: Marcel Baaijens, Skype chat, 4 February 2007

Marcel began his quest from home. He was fortunate to be able to take it further by removing himself physically and experiencing new places and people. This may not be possible for many of us yet we can still go on a journey similar to Marcels. It may not be a journey which involves travelling in the normal sense. Yet it does involve travel. You need to be prepared to open your heart, connect with your soul, listen and see yourself, and your world, in new ways. It also requires you to unleash the creativity within you – it is there in all of us but all too often it is ignored and lies dormant.

One things for sure, doing this will involve change on many levels – a change in thinking, a change in the way we feel. a change in the way we see and what we see, a change in who and what we listen to, a change in priorities, and a need to be accepting of whatever eventuates.

The success of such a process depends on your ability to dig deep within yourself and be honest. This can be painful and scary at times. This isn’t a reason to hold back. Venturing into these uncharted territories enables us to make new discoveries about ourselves and our lives. We also need to be willing to confront whatever it is that rises to the surface. Shedding that which is holding us back can be liberating – thoughts, feelings, experiences, emotions, doubts, the past, fear, whatever it is – bury it once and for all so you can move forward and connect with the real person within. Ultimately you are taking a risk because what you discover may not necessarily be what you thought you were looking for. You can end up in a place you never imagined when you began this journey. That is what learning and growth can do for you.

So how do you begin such a journey from home?

This is something I am trying to work out. For me it is happening through words, images, and being surrounded by inspirational people who challenge me while loving and supporting me. Some ways you too can begin this process include:

    • Keeping a journal. Explore creative journalling as opposed to the more traditional concept of just writing words/thoughts in a journal. I suggest making your own journal rather than buying one. If you don’t know how you could do a class on bookbinding. You could also check out the links I have on this page.
      Keeping a blog. You can get started immediately. Check out either WordPress or Blogger.
      Taking an art class or some other kind of class that requires you to use your creativity.
      Taking a self-development class.
      Doing something that you have never done before but have always been interested in trying out.
      Getting involved in some kind of project – either a personal one or something in your community. The most important thing is that this project excites you.
      Reading what other people are up to and using this as a springboard to take some kind of action in your own life.
      Finding a mentor or a life coach.
      Dedicating time in your day as ‘alone’ time. This is non-negotiable time with yourself. Use this time to meditate, exercise, pray, write, read, do nothing – whatever works for you.
      Exploring storytelling. Consider the stories you may have to tell and record them in some way to share with others. For example, learn how to create digital stories.
      Learning the art of ‘seeing’.
  • Keeping up the enthusiasm and energy to continue isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels too hard and a very lonely process. Work out ways which you know will help you maintain motivation especially when the going gets tough. For me there are the goals I have set myself, as well as the people I surround myself with who help keep me on track. They know and understand what I am trying to achieve and they can keep reminding me of this. One thing that definitely keeps me going is the vision that I am leading myself towards living the life I want to be living. I can see it. I can taste it. I can feel it. All I need to do is make it a reality.

    I am reminded of a quote I particularly like:

    A ship in a harbour is safe,
    but that is not what ships are built for.

    Are your ready to pull the anchor and set sail? Leave your harbour and experience a trip unlike any other. Don’t let fear stop you. Your ship is built to endure this journey – it is strong and sturdy and built to withstand all sorts of weather. Set yourself safety parameters so you are never in danger of sinking. If you need help send out an SOS signal. Obstacles in the journey can end up being revelatory moments that help steer you in the direction you need to go in. If you listen you will then be on the way to being true to yourself and ultimately reaching your goal of where you want to be in your life.

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