Unboxed Lessons From Unboxed Professionals
As you may have noticed I usually like to begin each of my posts with a quotation of some kind, whether it be from a book, song, or some other medium. At first this was because I really love reading what other folks have to say and when something inspires me I want to share it with everyone. Over time it has become something of a tradition, a marking characteristic of my writing, a thing that makes me remember that there are much smarter and more insightful people out there than me. This idea helps to keep me curious, keep me searching for more inspiration and knowledge from those who have come before and who are going ahead of me. If we can not learn from each other, the hope for a connected world is lost and we are destined to be disparate individuals floating aimlessly through time and space.
What I would like to do here is present you with some of my most favorite quotes from a variety of people who have inspired me over the years and continue to show me the way to Unboxedness. For each quote I want to explore briefly what value this idea or excerpt can bring to all of our Unboxed Journeys and how we can gain from the brilliance of others.
“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”
Henry David Thoreau
You might have noticed from previous posts that Thoreau is one of my favorite authors and a person I have attached much of my ideals and how I see the world. There is something about his descriptions of how we as people exist within the framework of the natural world that remind me how truly small I am and that for all of our advances in technology that at our most basic we are creatures of the Earth. Books like “Walden” and “The Maine Woods” and “A week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers” are ripe with some of the most beautiful and powerful imagery and idealistic ideas to be found anywhere.
In addition to these things I also find other, almost contrary, ideas in these writings. Thoreau spent all of his life in a small corner of the United States, never venturing far from his home region. If he could find such meaning, depth, and answers to life most perplexing questions in such a small geographic area, think of how much the whole world has to offer. I am reminded that to expand my mind even further I must leave home and venture into the world that holds secrets more beautiful and enlightening that what can be found here.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Service and the acknowledgment of our responsibility to care for those around us who are in need is one of the core principles of Unboxed Living. Dr. King constantly preached social responsibility and that the only cure for hate and bigotry are love and compassion. To pretend that the injustice that exists throughout the world is the problem of someone else is to spit in the face of the gift of life we are given. How can we expect to realize our own full human potential when there are people in the world who are not even given the basic human rights we all take for granted. This quote reminds me to do something, even something seemingly insignificant, every day to serve someone else.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
Simple reminders of what we might forget in the course of our busy daily lives. I am as guilty as anyone of not truly grasping the magnitude of the simple acknowledgment of these facts. So much so that I had this quote tattooed on my chest. Well it is incorporated into a larger piece, but there nonetheless. Being able to not take for granted the simplicity of health, contentment, and faith will lead us to a place of true happiness and place where we can be our full selves, capable of great things in the world.
It’s in Swahili, but trust me, it’s there.
“Everyone I come across, in cages they bought
They think of me and my wandering, but I’m never what they thought
I’ve got my indignation, but I’m pure in all my thoughts
-Eddie Vedder from “Guaranteed”
This one I just love because I feel like he is talking about me. To me, this lyric speaks to the idea of breaking free from the cages, or boxes, that we make for ourselves in life and finding that which makes us who we are. Not allowing the judgments, ideals, or pre-prescribed notions of the culture we find ourselves in dictate the path our life will take. The idea of accepting ones own indignation, or perception of unfairness, and channeling that into something pure also rings true to me. It is one thing to allow our anger and frustration define us, but taking those emotions and pointing them at the problems in our world can turn a negative emotion into something positive.
“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends. “
There exists, without question, innumerable benefits to striking out on the road, even if it is just to another town near your home. Whether you choose to see the world out of your backpack overseas, or to go across the state to a festival or concert, you are bound to learn just as much about yourself as you are about the places you see. For all the traveling I have done I feel what I have brought home with me far outweighs anything I have left behind. To travel is to learn, and to learn is to find the meaning of our lives.
“The beauty of nature reforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
The beauty of nature and the inspiration I find in its grasp started at a young age. I can remember when I was little and my dad would take us camping and fishing in the forests near our home. We would spend days not catching fish and pretending to know how to start a fire, but all the while taking from nature all that she can give. The solitude and silence found in the forest is something that can not be found in any other place.
What are some of your favorite quotes? To learn from others is good, but let’s not forget that you don’t have to be a famous writer, poet, or singer to have something important to say. All it takes is saying it.