September 16, 2014

Fortitude Wanted: Inquire Within.

Our mailbox isn’t too full these days. We don’t get much junk mail, we pay our bills online, I subscribe to just one magazine.  But we do get a catalog from time to time.  Most of them are full of beautiful pictures of far away places, smiling faces, and outdoor apparel. They all attempt to be profound, new, exciting. Few are.

Today, one such catalog succeeded in their quest to inspire; not through an image of a soaring vista or a beautiful person, but through the written word. 

In the pursuit to create not a sale, but an admirer, Ibex was spot on.

It started here:
Make it with intention. Make it Better.

What a simple, yet incredibly compelling way to live.
Live with intention. Live Better.

The inspiration continued as a fingered through the next few pages.


I am a Shackleton junkie. I continue reading.

Today, when you read the advertisement the Ernest Shackleton posted searching for men to join him on his arctic expedition, it reads like satire:

MEN WANTED FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.

It could easily be that start of some arctic expedition buddy movie, a slapstick romp through glacial isolation, hunger and absurdity.  But it wasn’t. It was real. We take inspiration from that journey precisely because it was so completely forthright.

To be up front with a passion for adventure, to be at ease with the uncertainty of an unknown journey is an intentional and vibrant way to live. Today, life is hard to make simple, to make intentional.  Today, Shackleton’s advertisement is too long event to be tweeted out. You have to cut off the part about honor and recognition to get down to 140 characters. Today, people don’t have time to read the want ads in search of a sharp call to live with purpose. Yet the journey is still there.  Success still isn’t guaranteed and while there aren’t pop-up ads beckoning for a meaningful life, choosing to organize the years around outdoor adventure does still mean rewards aplenty. The soul of Shackleton’s ad lives on every time we look at an unknown journey, at the risks of an outdoor challenge and say, without hesitation, “Yeah. That looks good. Sign me up.”

How true. How real.

Mary Oliver asked, “ What do you plan to do with this one wild and precious life?”

A big question, one loaded with expectation and wonder. A question I cannot answer fully on this day, but one I am working toward answering each and every day of my life.

It is my objective to live with intention. To pursue my goals and dreams wholeheartedly, to follow the advice John Steinbeck so eloquently shared, “You can only fight fate so far and when you give in you are strong because all your force flows in one direction.” 

I sure hope he is right.

For the last six months this has been the wall next to my bed. I see it each and every day. I think tomorrow I will take just a moment longer to read the words a second time.