Saturday, 28 January 2012

Little Things in Life, but Big Meanings.

It is often in the smallest, most unexpected ways that we are inspired, and in the last two days, I have been blessed with two experiences in the same place which grabbed me, and left me feeling like I had made a connection with something greater.

On friday night, I biked back from my friend Andy's house in the high hills overlooking christchurch.  Passing through Riccarton and Ilam, I felt frustrated I didn't have any friends to go out with that night.  It's an odd thing that during the week I can stick to a spartan routine, but as soon as thursday night rolls around, I feel empty and caged during the weekend if I can't spend time with a whole group of friends going somewhere out of the ordinary.

Anyway, as I biked back to my house past a bunch of boisterous, drunk kiwi folk, I saw a few people running in the middle of the night in a field by my house.  They were running nonstop for 24 hours to raise money for their friend Sam, who had cancer, and needed 15,000 for an operation.
 I got an instant urge to join, so I grabbed my toe shoes and ran back out to the field, and rain till my feet were about to give way. At 3:30 in the morning, I finally stopped, but felt amazing despite the fact that my feet were about to explode.

However, it wasn't really until the following morning when the beauty of what was going on really struck home.  I showed up at the field for a barbeque, and all of Sam's friends, family, college acquaintances, and kids had showed up to see the final hour of the fundraiser.  It was amazing to talk to Sam, and see the dozens and dozens of people who came back to show love for their friend.  In a single night, they raised $9,000 to help him out, simply because their friend was in need.

Seeing that, and witnessing that love made me feel like I could do anything in the world, and I'll have to apply that lesson to raise money for something I believe in, like Saving Orangutans or Forests.

On Sunday, I woke up slightly hung over, and didn't do much the whole day, as I was sucked into what was going on in Occupy (Mass arrests in Oakland, WTF).  After shuffling around and making only small progress on minor tasks, I felt frustrated, and a bit disgusted with myself that I had slipped into an old habit of procrastination that I had been on so long to I went to a massive oak tree to meditate in the rain.

As I was meditating with my headphones in, I was startled, to open my eyes, and see a woman staring at me with her dogs, which was awkward as I was breathing heavily and chanting,  "Ahhhhh".

This woman stopped, and asked me if I was alright, and I said "Oh yah, I'm fine...just, meditating".  She persisted though, and asked if I needed someone to talk to, so we ended up talking for about an hour.
Belle ended up sharing her life story with me, as a woman who had faced more pain than I could imagine, and still was able to have unconditional love for life.

She had two daughters who ran away and had kids in their teens. Her grandkids and oldest daughter disappeared without saying a word to her, and she even had Breast cancer a few years back.  On top of that, the earthquake destroyed the job she was working at, and her marriage had suffered as a result of all those things.

As this women let out her entire life story, I felt my problems, and my challenges absolutely dwarfed, and insignificant compared to what she had gone through.  It made me think...what problems to I have to overcome, what great demons do I have to slay to reach my greatest potential?...HABITS!?  My demons are not drugs, post traumatic stress, or emotional scars, but mere habits created my procrastinating on the internet through the end of college.  After hearing what she had to say, I was deeply touched, and strolled back to my house more determined than I've been in a long time....

So here I am, typing away, and though I am still tempted to read doom and gloom news about climate change, and fart about online, I know that there is a clear purpose to what I am doing in New Zealand....
I'm here to help others, and help myself by living life without excuses.  This youtube channel we've started will give me the opportunity to show the world something...that you can deeply enrich your life by doing something new each month...and by helping others, you help yourself.

So with that, I say, take care, and best wishes from New Zealand.  If anyone is new here, I suggest reading my brother Owen's blog, now HE is going through one hell of an adventure, and his stories are absolutely insane in the best way possible.

Lots of love to mom and dad, owen, and my friends at home, miss you guys alot.
-Raleigh's time to get beaten up for 30 days straight in martial arts.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

And so begins the next chapter.

So after three weeks of living in christchurch, I am very stoked to get something new started.  That being said, there's been some interesting things which I've done to pass the time....

-Bought a bike from a Kiwi bloke who raised cherries, and was a no-nonsense bike mechanic.  Small talk, hell no!  He wasn't having any of it, and I respected him for it, that and he built a huge cherry orchard and chicken farm in his backyard by himself.  Some folks are "built it with their-hands" people, including my cousin Amory, my friend Justin and my brother Owen, and it's something I want to emulate.

The Christchurch Chicken.
-Travelled to Timaru to visit a ladyfriend, which was....interesting :/ Spent 2 days in the smallest, strangest town in New Zealand reading a bunch of awesome books, such as Find Your Strengths, A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and Drive: The Science of Motivation.

According to the "StrengthFinder Test" (made by some old dude), my biggest strengths are defined as: Wooer (meeting and talking to new people) Includer (bringing people together), Positivity, Connectedness (seeing similar connections), and Input (wanting to learn about a bunch of topics).   Makes sense, I'll have to put it into practice...

-Met several good friends at my kung-fu/karate class, including Hugh, Josh, and James.  These folks will have to join me on adventures, or else I'll be victim to cows, sheep, and other bovine creatures.  It's easy to jump into parties and meet a bunch of folks, but I'm excited to get a car soon so I go wherever I want outside of christchurch (an insanely tempting thought).

-Started a daily regiment of working out 2 hours a day, and waking up at 7:30, and meditating at 10:00  With no one at the house except me though, it's a bit hard to get motivated to do everything according to plan.

You may be saying to yourself...what?!  Where's the skydiving, and crazy stories about running with Maori gangs and running from Ostriches in Australia?!  Where's the Excitement!!? :O

Well my friends, it's coming, for the last few weeks I've have to really budget myself while my check has cleared, and it's been an interesting experience to live on just a food budget...but soon, the fun can begin.

That's month, starting February 5th, Cheyne Hewison and I are starting a 30 day youtube challenge where we immerse ourselves in a skill, and have to spend 6-8 hours a day for a month learning it.
Our first challenge, martial arts/ultimate fighting.  Jesus.
Me in 1 month, stoked!

And with that, my ass is hopping on a bike and heading towards the highest point in canterbury, enough of this computer business.

And one more thing,
start your day, or end it with this video, it might open your eyes to the beauty of life:

Friday, 13 January 2012

Touchdown in Christchurch- first week in NZ

So here I am, my week in New Zealand.  Why did I do it you ask?....Why not? It was a surprise to be accepted for a New Zealand work visa, and once the date is set for your entry into the country, you have to go, or give the idea up all together.  I decided to go...
The decision

 Though it was a sad prospect to leave my friends, family, and relationships behind, the possibility of New Zealand being an amazing journey was undeniable.  It felt liberating to leave all my wires and junk back in the states, though I do miss my bike and my car ;(

In a years time, I'll likely be back in the West Coast, because there's something great happening there....but for this next year, I'm going to do great in New Zealand, so stay tuned.

After I touched down at the airport, and dropped all my stuff of at Rich and Ness's awesome little cottage, I decided to take a stroll to downtown.  I didn't really realize it till then how much the city was affected by the earthquake.

When I studied at UC canterbury, every young person would flock to downtown every thursday, friday, and saturday.  Though I'm not a fanatic for bars, clubs, or local sports team, the lack of them drains alot of young folks from the city.  Now the entire downtown is abandoned buildings and cordoned off highrises, strangely eerie, kinda like chernobyl.

So Christchurch is less of a city now, and more of a town, since there's no more downtown, hotels, bars, stadiums, or shows.  The only thing that seems to be thriving is demolition crews and the Riccarton mall :(
I feel bad for the students coming in to canterbury, since there's no library, science, law, pub, common rooms, or auditoriums to use....who am I kidding they just drink every night anyway.

But for all the unholy destruction, it's still got amazing parks and nice folks.  I guess they'll have to rebuild it into a smaller, renewable energy powered, smaller scale city.  Glad I can use it as a base for all my NZ excursions.

I have to thank Rich and Ness again for being amazing and letting me crash rent free in their house.  As the months pass, I'm sure well make some cool things, and I'll repay them with adventures.
Wild Kiwis

So in the first week here...
Rich and I jumped off a 60 foot tall tree in the adrenaline forst.
Took a wrong turn in Christchurch on a hike and ended up walking 32km's the whole day.
Saw Rich off to the airport on his English filmmaking journey.
Spent alot of time running in parks and setting up my bank account.

In about two weeks, I'll be able to leave Christchurch with a bike or a car obtained online, but until then...I'll do something productive; like edit, plant a veggie garden, exercise, and plan my Sumatran Rainforest adventure.

Adventures are afoot, so I'll keep you all updated!