The story – behind the book and the photo – is a celebration of arrival. Not the arrival of a teenager who just crossed France on roller skates, but the arrival of a teen into adulthood. Fueled by testosterone and hubris, guys tend to test their limits of invincibility by going farther, faster, each time pushing the envelope a little closer to death. If they live to tell of their self-imposed conflicts to overcome mind and body, their stories of surviving the metamorphosis take similar shape. We all write the same story; the vehicles change through the generations.
The trick is to make it alive to the point you can call yourself a grown up, but keep the fun of being a kid. Within us is a diamond; the enormous radiant self which shines like the sun at birth. Each of us finds a different way to sully the luster as the years pile on rubbish. We begin to fear, to doubt, to mis-trust. With each exposure to the evils of the world, we build a stronger lockbox, a higher wall where our true self can enjoy ultimate shelter from harm. We fortify it with concrete, protect it with weapons, and shield it from the world with psychological strategies; games we call defense mechanisms. We bury it in such a deep dark hole that we often forget it’s there.
But without a doubt, it is still there.
Through travels and adventures, through the physical removal of ourselves from the environment that caused us to stockade our hearts, I believe we can uncover that gem of true self, reveal the sheltered radiance and let it shine in the light of day. Getting out on an adventure by yourself – perhaps a little too far out – can get you into a little trouble. Without a safety net, without the usual ways you’d fix your troubles – your smart phone, a credit card, or a call for help – there’s only you. And when you quickly find the “you” that departed on the adventure isn’t enough, a deeper you will be found. If that deeper version can’t solve your problem, you’ll clean and dig into your soul and finally come across a tiny glimmer of long forgotten light. Keep digging until you can grab that light and carry it over your head like a beacon of your true self. That’s your diamond, that’s who you are. That’s the person that can do anything.
Hold that diamond.