quickie post- "Here Be Dragons"

I've recently become involved in the Toastmaster's organization…

I gave my first speech (the Icebreaker) on this past Thursday.

This might serve as a good 'introduction' to anyone who has recently friended me, but not yet seen much of my 'personal' postings-

Here Be Dragons

Seeing this phrase on fantastical maps always invoked a sense of wonder and curiosity in me. It was used to characterize to the brave or foolhardy that the place marked was unknown and possibly dangerous. Today let’s explore a few of these locales in the land of Philip. We’ll begin with the Isle of Curiosity, continue on to the Cliffs of Fear and then plunge into the Ocean of Creativity.

From my earliest moments, I remember not knowing. There were so many things in the world, and I didn’t know or understand anything about any of it! The only thing I could think to do was to ask questions, lots and lots of questions. My parents, after being assailed for the gazillionth time with “what makes a rainbow?” or even “how do toilets work?”, decided to buy a set of encyclopedias. From then on, whenever I had an unanswerable question, they’d point me to the bookshelf. That was a launching point for me, but soon wasn’t enough. That’s when they decided I needed professional help, and I took me to my first library. I was hooked. I couldn’t get enough. Everywhere I went, a book would be in hand. On hot summer days, I’d read inside. When I got scolded to go play outside, I’d take my books and read out there. If I saw something new- an insect, a bird, a flower, most anything- it would become fodder for the next library visit. I just couldn’t help it. I loved to learn, and was fueled by an intense curiosity. I even earned a nickname as ‘the little professor’. Over the years my curiosity still remains. While I try not to disturb people with too many questions, I have been known to. Luckily for me the largest library ever is now available, the Internet. Rest assured, my curiosity and urge to explore is no longer stranded on a desert island- but one of infinite possibilities.

On the isle of curiosity, our next stop is the Cliffs of Fear. Always wondering, I quickly discovered many of my questions pointed inward. Knowing and understanding myself is very important. I learned early on that my strongest emotion is Fear. With fear of the unknown being the most terrifying. I became fascinated with the psychology of it. Whenever I felt I’d encountered something I was afraid of, I would see what I could do to move beyond it. Typically this meant full immersion therapy. A good example involves a trip to DSTI’s Hong Kong office. With only ten days to prepare for my first ever international visit, complete with unclear objectives- I shipped out. I was scared at the complete unknown of it all, but that is why I went. Clearly, dragons be there! I was challenged by everything- cultural differences [I ate what?], business expectations [I have to build and test what by tomorrow?] and even personal demons [do I really know what I’m doing here?]. Fortunately I was able to rise to each, in spite of a gross lack of knowledge. Additionally, on a whim in one of my spare moments, I worked on my fear of heights by climbing to the top of Lantau Peak, which is approx 1.7 Sears Towers in height. The entire experience was life altering. It was worth going, especially since I discovered that the other side of fear is laughter and growth- and jumping into the abyss was what made all the difference.

Finally, after leaping off the cliffs of fear, we splash into the ocean of creativity. My imagination has always provided buoyancy for me. It is a very active piece of who I am. In the past I drew and painted. Now, I take pictures and write poetry. I find that the time spent in the pursuit of creativity helps me to connect with who I am, and provides a profound sense of inner peace. My curiosity and wonderment really feeds my photography- granting me unique perspectives. While my desire to jump off cliffs of fear help inspire the contents of my poetry, which centralizes mainly on themes of transformation and growth. Ultimately, the creativity comes from a place of not knowing- and sink or swim, that’s where I like to be.

In conclusion, sometimes it’s the places where dragons be that the most profound treasures lie. In my own journeys I’ve learned that the map is never the territory- with the fun and growth always being in the exploration.

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