Here’s Why Being An Explorer Is A Good Idea

rainbow-1201862_1920In my Womenfolk series, the women I’ve spoken to have all sought to explore different dimensions of themselves. One thing they all have in common is their personal evolution. They have gone in search of things that have helped them grow, and evolve. They are explorers.

Our society dictates that we call ourselves something. We are all a bit prone to labels; we want a box to sit in, a pigeon hole to rest in, a safe place to say we fit. I think this is a completely natural thing to seek. Wanting to define yourself and your purpose is important as it helps us navigate the world. 

There is a certain freedom that comes from casting off the box though. Allowing yourself to be ‘nothing’, means you can be all the things. We really are an embodiment of all the things.

Defining yourself through how you make money can be so limiting. There is something so inspiring and joyful about being an explorer. By being an explorer you become bigger than the box you are in. You become the rainbow bursting from the sky.

You become all the colours.

My husband has recently taken up learning the piano. He doesn’t call himself a musician, but he’s exploring it. I’ve started experimenting with different mediums in creative work – painting mostly, because I’ve always defaulted to soft pastels, but I’m just exploring; I’m not calling myself an artist. A few months ago, I did some sewing classes – but I’m not a seamstress.

It is the experimentation, the exploration of new things that feeds and builds the the layers and multiple dimensions of the self. If you’re making a cake, you don’t leave out the flour, you include all the ingredients because you know that all the ingredients together makes for a good and tasty cake.

Think about doing that with your self. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try or to experience?

You can do that. Be the explorer. Become the kaleidoscope

Kaliedescope

There is something deeply satisfying, and exciting about exploring new things, learning new skills, feeding potential. If you really need a label, something neat to help you feel safer – call yourself an Explorer.

Humans naturally seek growth, but sometimes we get stuck. And that brick on our head, slowing our growth, it eventually becomes too heavy. When that happens, we have two choices – to collapse under the weight of stagnancy, or to cast it off and allow our new-found lightness of being to lead us to things that will help us continue to grow.

While this may sound lofty, there are lots of opportunities for exploration, no matter what your circumstances. Thanks to the inter-webs, the opportunities are endless.

Here are a few resources if fancy a little exploration of your own:

Skillshare

This fabulous resource has online classes for business, food, design, craft, photography, technology, writing and anything in between. You can sign up and pay a subscription, but there are also loads of free classes, if you don’t have any spare cash.

No Lights No Lycra (NLNL)

This is a freeform dance session where the lights are turned down. If you’re feeling self conscious but feel like you want to dance, this is a great place to start. It’s cheap and there are sessions all over Australia and New Zealand, and in parts of Europe and America. The NLNL philosophy says: “At the heart of No Lights No Lycra is the belief that everyone can dance. NLNL is a global dance community providing an inclusive and non-judgmental place for people to explore this notion. NLNL brings people together to experience freedom of self-expression and joy.”

No Lights crowd

Photo supplied by NLNL

I can attest to that freedom and joy as I’ve been to a few sessions. I wrote about  my experience at NLNL for Sunday Life magazine. You can read that here, if you’re interested.

If you are feeling a bit more confident, there are dance studios for grown ups everywhere – just google ‘dance studios for grown ups’ and your location, and google will deliver.

Photography

With phone cameras getting better and better, more people are interested in developing their photography skills. If it is something that you’ve been thinking about, but feel like school, work, kids or money are barriers, there are ways around this. There are so  many free online photography courses. Here’s a link to one that I’m thinking about enrolling in. This one is through RMIT, which is a reputable Melbourne-based university. It’s online and it’s free!

photographer hiking-1245883_1920

C25K – Couch To Five K

In case you’ve never heard of this, it’s an program designed to help you learn to run, delivered through an app on your phone. The app is free, and the aim of the program is to get you off the couch and running. By the end you’ll be able to run 5km. I am actually doing this program right now. More on that another time, but so far so good.

The program lasts eight weeks, consists of three training sessions a week, of around 30 – 40 minutes duration. You can read more about it here. If you want a real life story, my blogging friend Edie has written about it quite a bit. You can read some of her posts here. But be warned, you will laugh – she is very comical, and then you will probably want to learn to run (if you can’t already).

All the above examples, these are just suggestions. You may hate the idea of all of them, but if your secret ambition is not mentioned, think about a way to try and make it happen.

First things first, call your self an explorer. Say “I am an Explorer” – that’s you giving yourself permission to evolve. To be the rainbow, to be your own kaleidoscope.

 

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves”
– William Shakespeare

Have you got any plans? I’d love to hear about them. 💕

Comments

  1. says

    The dancing in the dark sounds interesting, and I read an interesting post by Elizabeth Gilbert recently about not confusing a hobby with a vocation or a career with a job etc. Important distinctions so you can enjoy learning new things with no pressure and it all enriches your life. ‘Be the kaleidoscope’ is an amazing quote, similar to one of my other favs ‘be the lighthouse’ xx

    • collette says

      The dancing in the dark is great fun! I definitely think that how we make a living shouldn’t embody who we are, but it does for so many. I like the imagery of a kaleidoscope, it conjures childhood, where experimentation and exploration were encouraged. This gets lost in adulthood. xx

      • Simone Ramage says

        I totally agree with you Collette! I am an Early Childhood and Primary School teacher and the most joy I have is actually playing, really playing. Painting, sliding down a slide, playing in the sandpit, crayon drawing, reading nonsense books and laughing and silly stuff with young children. As we know thats what children do and I love learning from them about the simple things in life and regaining perspective on life and living.

        Sim R

        • collette says

          I love that, Sim. Those kids are so lucky to have you! I can imagine that you will have a beautiful connections with your students because of your ability to share the experience of play and learning. Thanks for reading. xx

  2. says

    I really like the idea of the no lights no Lycra dance sessions. It just shows how a good idea can’t be stopped – I wonder if the co-founders ever imagined it would be so popular. I’m in the process of taking up knitting again. I haven’t done any knitting for a very long time but am hoping that once I get the hang of casting on, that it will all come back to me.

    • collette says

      I interviewed the co-founders for the article I wrote and they couldn’t believe how it took off. My sister has just taken up knitting again (she’s done it to help her give up smoking) but she goes to a knitting class and there are lots of older women who go. She get their advice on things she can’t do or has forgotten how – I love this style of learning, informal, through the generations – as it should be. You’ll have to blog about what you make. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. says

    I love that notion of being an explorer. It’s so easy to feel labelled (an boxed-in) by our jobs or the roles we perform in a family. But there is so much more to our lives and it is only by having the courage to explore and try new things that we learn, meet new people, and generally keep our curiosity levels high. Now that’s got to be a good way to live life.

    • collette says

      Life is so short, we do ourselves a disservice by choosing a label and sticking to it. There is SO much life and adventure out there, but sometimes we just need a little nudge to go out and search for it. Thanks for stopping by Neil. 😊

  4. says

    I AM AN EXPLORER! great read, Collette. i have spent the past 8 months NOT doing all the things i was used to, and feeling as though i was somehow less (I even cringingly heard myself telling someone i was ‘just at home’), but during that time, i have been working on mindfulness, self, exercise (hmm) and writing, although it took a while to disengage from my expectations of what i should be doing. Now i am hoping i will be underemployed long enough to establish some good exploring habits for the future!

    • collette says

      It’s hard to peel back that layer of expectation isn’t it – both our own expectations of ourselves, and other people’s expectations. I think that it is much more life-affirming to take the path less travelled, make your own adventures. All the hard bits that come with forging your own way make your story so much more interesting. Mindfulness, self, exercise and writing are very worthy pursuits in and of themselves. What an exciting time for you Tina. xx

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