Discover more from Ten Thousand Journeys
🦋 Ten thousand journeys
Reintroducing this Substack
Starting this Substack was hard enough that I didn’t give too much thought to what I would write about. I had a vague idea of writing essays on different topics of interest and seeing if I could serialize my novel once I finished it. But, three months in, someone pointed out a theme to all my posts. Without being aware of it, every post I have written is on the topic that has gripped me for the last 7-8 years: wrestling with uncertainty and finding the courage to step forward on a transformative journey.
Until age 39, I did not know much about personal change. Even though I had called three different countries home by then (there were plenty of physical journeys halfway around the world!), I hadn’t changed. I was still the same person I was at ages 9, 12, 24, or 32, just more so, if that makes sense. I, however, was adaptable. What’s the difference? To adapt is to respond to the environment, and though it is a part of change, you can adapt, a kind of shapeshifting, to suit your new surroundings without intrinsic or fundamental change.
Thanks for reading Ten Thousand Journeys! Subscribe to receive new posts and support my work.
In the months after my 39th birthday, I slowly realized that what I'd been doing until then, my way of being in the world, didn't work for me anymore.
Here’s what I find most fascinating: I did not know I needed to change anything until I did. I am sure you have experienced this, this feeling of you aren't aware until you are aware.
When I think of the all-important arrival of awareness, I imagine a secluded lake in the middle of a forest. The surface looks like a sheet of glass or a mirror, gray and a little green. The surrounding forest is still and quiet until it suddenly starts to rain. Not much, just a few drops at a time. Plop. Plop. Plop. A little rain from the passing clouds.
When the raindrops touch the surface of the water, they create ripples. You probably don't know this1 but ripples are the movement of tiny, underwater dervishes. These dervishes are just under the surface, asleep. And when a drop falls, the long tunic-clad dervishes right underneath awaken. The dervishes know their job is very important, so they move quickly. They assemble in circles under every drop, holding hands. And they go round and round. As they spin in ever-widening circles, they sing together, their voices rising in a high-pitched chorus, one you can only feel and not hear. The song is an invitation, a call just for you. It's a call to action. For you to do something about something.
That’s how I imagine the arrival of awareness that leads from I Have No Clue Anything Is Wrong to Something Isn’t Working (or similar). The dervishes spin wildly, setting off more circles. They might even form little waves. I imagine that’s how awareness grows.
And though the rain may stop and the lake returns to its earlier placidity, the water is no longer the same. ( I am not a physicist, and maybe things go back to the pre-rain state of some equilibrium, but we are readers and writers here, and you know what I mean.)
Sometimes, it takes years of many such moments before you realize some mystery is calling you to change, leave certainty, and go on a journey.
That's what this Substack is about, all the different journeys we go on, all ten thousand of them. Ten thousand journeys.
My plan is to explore different journeys and different aspects of journeys. It’ll be great fun to do it through storytelling! Plus I‘d love to discuss various books on the topics, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as learn about different cultural, philosophical, and psychological perspectives. And, just like the ripples, you can see from this figure I made that they are so many things we could talk about.
Do let me know what you think and I’d love to hear your suggestions on more topics that fall under this!
Update: For a Table of Contents and a description f the different sections, visit this page.
Because I just made it up.