Our Detours Don’t Define Us

I heard this quote at a presentation I attended Saturday. I’ll talk more about this in a second. First, I want to say thanks for the responses to my message last week about the lessons I learned at a 72-hr spiritual (silent) retreat. Turns out, some of you have been on similar retreats and echoed your thoughts.

Geeta wrote:

Namaste Brandon. I am glad you enjoyed the spiritual journey. This tradition of silence is common in Hinduism and Jainism. It is very powerful. I try to practice 12 waking hours of silence once a week.

Jerald offered in response:

I agree about the “God whispers” comment. When he talks to me, it’s always in a quiet place. He never shouts. And it’s always truth.

I worked all last week to stay grounded and connected with that deep part of my being I touched over the retreat. But alas. Monday I was on cloud nine. By Saturday I was wondering where that level of serenity had gone. Haha. That’s the challenge of living in the “real world”, I guess. We can’t all be monks.

That said, it was frustrating to feel that connection weaken and seeing myself (ab)using technology to kill time. Recalling that recent glimpse into this deeper, realer me, I regarded it as a tease–a place unable for me to enjoy in my usual life. But the optimist in me–inspired by the quote above–sees the retreat experience as a revelation of what’s possible and true. My return to my habits isn’t a definition of Brandon, but a detour or just a part of the journey. And now I have this precious glimpse to inspire my participation in life and to fuel my pursuit to becoming a better person.

*Replace these words to fit your situation. For example: “Showing up late for work isn’t a statement of who I am. It’s a detour to becoming the employee I want to be.” Or “Yelling at my children isn’t a statement of who I am. It’s a detour to becoming the parent I want to be.”


This is great time to throw out a reminder that I love sharing your feedback in my weekly emails. First, if you don’t already receive them and would like to, send your email address to brandon@theperiphery.com. I share my emails every Sunday evening and include a message for the week, my latest articles and videos, and updates on my latest media and travel projects. I also share readers’ contributions. These include photos of what life is like where you call home or, for anyone traveling, shots of your destination. Then, if you have any thoughts or questions in response to a weekly email, we’re all ears. These Sunday Evening Posts are all the more enriching when others contribute and make it a community. 

What say you?