When I was 20, my very first boyfriend told me about Eckhart Tolle’s life altering book, The Power of Now. He was (and still is) a strange and emotional Cancer and the book seemed to calm his over active mind and heart.
The idea of no past or future seemed crazy to me. As an incessant planner I have lived in the future for most of my life. My next job, boyfriend, haircut, etc…The possibilities of tomorrow used to rule my reality.
Several years and recommendations later I picked up Tolle’s beloved work and my life is better for it. Instantly I found myself being more aware of the power in the present to transform my health, relationships and career. No waiting on my better self to have the life I wanted, I could have it right now!
Below I share a few of my favorite quotes from the book.
“I cannot tell you any spiritual truth that deep within you don’t know already. All I can do is remind you of what you have forgotten.”
“Being can be felt but never be understood mentally.”
“Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal.”
“Disease happens when things get out of balance.”
“You see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of it.”
“Pleasure is always derived from something outside of you, whereas joy arises from within.”
“The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is…the more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain [and] suffering.”
“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.”
“Your task is not to search for love but to find a portal through which love can enter.”
“The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is without needing to judge or change them in any way.”
“Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it and it cannot leave you.”
“Pain can only feed on pain. Pain cannot feed on joy.”
“The light is too painful for someone who wants to remain in darkness.”
“Most illnesses creep in when you are not present in the body. If the master is not present in the house all kinds of shady characters will take up residence there.”
“You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection. You cannot cope with the future.”
“Flowers are not anxious about tomorrow but live with ease in the timeless Now and are provided for abundantly by God [the Universe].”
“Any lesson from the past is applied Now. Any planning as well as working toward achieving a particular goal is done now.”
“Ultimately, this is not about solving your problems. It’s about realizing that there are no problems. Only situations to be dealt with now.”
“Full attention is full acceptance, [this] is surrender.”
“Nothing real can be threatened.”
“All those things you’ve been meaning to do. Do them.”
I found this quote on Instagram a few months ago and I was inspired to do just that.
I’ve been traveling for a long time but usually on the dime of my parents and my previous employer. Pride and a feeling of being so blessed came upon me as I purchased my very first international ticket as a consultant a few weeks ago. Although, my entrepreneurial salary can’t quite afford Business Class yet I decided I’d try out Delta Airlines’ Economy Comfort product that offers more leg room and complimentary spirits.
I’ve also wanted to read Kahlil Gibran’s classic book of prose poetry, The Prophet. For years I have been seeing quotes from Gibran that always stop me in my tracks. I knew it was time to dive into some of his work and boy am happy that I did.
I had a great book and my self earned boarding pass. I was ready to hit the skies.
I lost myself in The Prophet on my 12 hour flight back to Liberia; having a great book and sitting in Economy Comfort made all the difference. The additional leg room sufficed for my 5’5 frame and my Chardonnay Cranberry cocktail (Chardonnay and cranberry juice) flowed through the hours.
The wine was just one part of my intoxication. My spirit felt elevated by Gibran’s simple & potent work.
This book furthered my journey of freeing myself from ideologies like religion and politics in an effort to get closer to the God in me and in everyone else.
His refreshing opinion from love and marriage to food and drink always echoed back to love and respect for self and love and respect for others. The love he speaks of is not based in dependency or commercialism but in honesty and compassion.
I arrived in Liberia feeling rested, pleased with my independence and purchase & with a better knowledge of how I want to live my life in my new home.
What a blessing it is to have the guidance of those that came before me via literature and some good ole advice in all forms. The adventure continues…
Upon arrival back into the United States I lost some pertinent documents, couldn’t access my (not full enough) account in Liberia and was altogether overwhelmed.
I was secretly panicking & my ability to hold the secret in was fading by the day. I couldn’t help but to ponder the decision I had made five months earlier.
In October 2012 I stumbled upon an opportunity to live in Liberia, my home country.
This was an adventurous decision for a girl that had been in Atlanta, GA for over half of her life. Friends, lovers, heart breaks, primary school, college; all had happened in the US. This was my reality and though I was curious, I was frozen by the fear of stepping outside of it.
I was working at a Fortune 500 company in corporate social media (who actually gets to use their Journalism/Public Relations degree these days?), lived in a tiny but trendy Midtown studio apartment & was dating a cute, ambitious Alpha. I was supposed to be content.
Unfortunately, I don’t do well with content. I want ecstatic, adventurous, purpose driven! In pursuit of these things and more I packed up my bags & headed home.
So, here I was back in Atlanta with nothing to show for it but an expanded view of the world, of my possibilities & of humanity. Sounds like a lot but as we say in Liberia “dah deh wan we will eat?”.
How was I supposed too feed myself on ideology?
Then I picked up The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This book gave me reassurance that I wasn’t completely destroying my life, that others were on my wave length & that there was a structured way to make my dream of continent hopping, good living and a compassionate lifestyle a reality.
Tears filled my eyes with the turn of every page at the exquisiteness of God’s timing and how the universe really has my back.
To review the whole book would take far too long; I literally have about 20 pages of notes. Fret not, below I give you the three most important epiphanies that I took from it.
1. My time is my own & it’s really precious.
We have been conditioned to believe that we have to give our time in exchange for money. This is mostly true, time is money. Tim reminds us that Its your time on the line; your time to use as you wish. Use it better.
He gives very explicit advice and case studies to show you how to reclaim your time and consequently your life from the hands of conventional ideas of what is considered a successful career.
2. I am not alone. Afropolitans are a subgroup of the New Rich.
Tim refers to the New Rich as “those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of time and mobility.”
One of my friendtors (friend + mentor, a term coined by my best friend) joined the New Rich four years ago & didn’t even realize it. She now splits her time between the States & Liberia and runs a successful program in Monrovia. She takes several trips a year, goes to the beach a lot, helps her country, works hard and is mostly in control of her reality. All in her early thirties!
She’s never heard of this book or Timothy Ferriss for that matter. She is an Afropolitan, a sector of the New Rich.
Afropolitans are (mostly) second generation Africans living off of the continent. Returnees have been birthed out of this group. These are individuals that have relocated back to their countries of origin or spend a significant amount of time there a year.
Now that I think of it, many of the African returnees that I call associates & friends are unintentional members of the New Rich. We live on two (or more) continents, in various cities and own a lot of SIM cards. Many of us are born in one place, educated in another and live elsewhere. In order to maintain relationships, we toddle life with our families and friends between all of those realities, hence all the travel that I enjoy oh so much.
3. Freedom Aint Free!
By the time you get half way through this book you realize that the four hour work week is not about laziness, it’s about efficiency. In order to live this free you have to cut excuses and distractions and deal with yourself. All of you; your shortcomings, opportunities & the rest of the fear talk we tell ourselves to create and remain in our own jail cells.
Tim uses practical step-by-step ways to get yourself out of your own way. It’s certainly much harder to be your own boss but the freedom I’ve experienced over the last few months is unmatched.
I’ve learned that I unintentionally took the first step towards my ideal lifestyle design by freeing my time. I am now working on eliminating nonsense, adjusting to continent hopping and enjoying my present while securing my future.
This was a life altering book. It proved that once you have a thought in your mind all that keeps you from that dream is a clear plan and some clever hard work.