Tom Brown, Jr. called the majority of the people living in this country 'the mindless grey masses', meaning that they are people who are living, but not really LIVING, if you follow my meaning.
According to Tom, these people are living lives of routine, following the pathways formed through fear, and playing it safe, etc.
I used that term often among my fellow tracker friends, because it felt so accurate when I could also see how the people around me did ordinary, daily things that seemed boring and mundane. To my wilderness soul, I felt that I hadn't bought into a life that gave me that soul crushing boredom!
But over time, I stopped using that term, because I didn't like feeling like I was better than anyone, especially when I realized that I had my own grey areas!
The grey areas that I am talking about have to do with how we are used to living in indecision.
Here are some examples:
• We know we can't stand our jobs, and need to leave, but we haven't decided we are actually going to take action, so we just wait and wait and wait, for the 'right' time.
• We know we need to move out of our apartment, or house, because our roommates are insane, but we just can't quite bring ourselves to start searching for a new place.
• We know we need to get rid of some of our 'stuff', but we just don't know when to do it, because we don't have the right mindset to sort everything out into piles of 'keep' or 'give away'.
• We know we need to start living our 'vision,' but we don't know what the first step is, so we just wait until it 'feels right'. Etcetera, etcetera...
In most cases, the decisions that we are putting off are typically emotional decisions. The problem with emotional decisions is usually that we have to make a choice about something where we might hurt someone's feelings, or let go of a relationship, or take a risk.
Those things are scary, and they aren't to be taken lightly.
However, NOT making a decision means we pay a price.
When we don't make a decision and take a course of action, we live in limbo, and we can't move forward. Our energy gets trapped because we can't actually make any progress, because we're dragging these unresolved issues that take a lot of effort to avoid or support.
It's draining, and it's tiring, and we start doing what I call 'Avoidance Behavior', to kind of take the edge off of the truth that we are just treading water and not making any real progress...
Endless Pointless Conversations that Go Nowhere.
Sleeping all the Time
I mean, pretty much anything can be 'avoidance' behavior, because it's all about doing things to keep yourself from feeling the impact of how living in the Grey Areas is sucking your soul out of your life.
It's easy to spot whether someone is living in the grey area.
Just look at their (or your) eyes. Dull and listless = stuck. Bright, sparkly and filled with light = moving forward, or at the very least, not treading water!
I think we all have a little grey area going on in our lives. It's normal, honestly.
But the key message of my email today is this: When you actually just make a choice and DO SOMETHING, it feels really good. It's like a huge weight gets lifted off your back. You feel free. You feel like yourself again.
Most of the time, the person whose feelings you are trying to protect is also protecting your feelings too. Or, your choice might come as a big shock to them at first, but then, since it's your truth, it works out.
The bottom line is, you have to live your truth. You have to take your next step. You have to take a stand. You gotta muster up the courage to take one path or the other.
So, that's what lies on the other side of your struggle, your grey area.
But how do you get from here to there?
It's really simple: Get some help. Find someone who has broken free from that place, and is on the other side.
Get support from someone who isn't going to tell you only what you want to hear.
Get out of your bubble. Hang out with people who are also living in their truth, who aren't treading water.
If you can't find people like that in your daily life, find them online. Find them in books. Find them, somehow, some way.
Because you aren't going to make real changes until you stop hanging around stuck people.
(Actually, you can still hang out with them, but the fact that you are not staying stuck usually freaks them out and they will get the heck away from you, because it's too threatening to their status quo.)
Start taking small, incremental steps towards whatever it is you need to do to live your life with purpose and passion.
Don't make those incremental steps too small!
Your actions should scare you a little. That's actually a good thing. It will let you know you are on the right track.
Take smart risks, and balance 'following your heart' with other important things like 'taking care of your family' and 'having a realistic strategy'.
I'm not saying to be crazy and radical here, so don't misunderstand me. I have seen plenty of people destroy their families over the need to 'live their vision'.
That's not what I am talking about.
I'm talking about hunting down those grey areas that drag you down, and shifting out of them. So you can do what you are actually here to do.
I don't think we were meant to just hang out and avoid stuff our whole lives. I don't think that's our highest purpose.
Maybe that's the Christmas/Holiday Gift we can give the world this year. It's the gift of YOU. It's the gift of giving us the unique magic of you! It's a gift to the world, to nature, to your family, and to your own life...
Happy Holidays, and happy grey area hunting! It's always open season on those.
My TEDx Experience
December 17, 2018
Seven Things Every Wilderness Educator Should Know