People who travel “outside” can call themselves nomads. As a psychologist I see some subcategories, there is the inner nomad and the outer nomad. Somebody who accepts themselves fully including all kind of experiences within and without themselves I would call an inner nomad. My supervisor, a psychotherapist called Joep, joked about the name of my website. He said nomad psychologist is not the correct name. It should be Yes-MAD psychologist. Then we formed a new word: Yesmad… what the hell is that?
A nomad gone mad is one that lives in one place. That one place can be:
- the outside condition: a geographical environment,
- or the inside condition: living from one perspective or from one side of a polarity of feelings. In other words to avoid the rest of them. Or to be indifferent to other perspectives. The nomad has gone internally mad. He let’s himself be ruled by old programs of thoughts and emotions, a state of reactiveness instead of creation. In a way we are all partly in this state as we are in general not conscious of all our subconscious programs. If we would be, that would be enlightenment or a Buddha state of being…
Let’s call the nomad gone mad a “Yesmad”.
How to live life as a Yesmad:
Life lived within the containment of a box. The box is safe and secure, but it is closed. We feel as comfortable as in the first experiences of our lives, as Marc Steinberg would call it: the nice warm womb of the mother, where security is a premise, where food, shelter and everything is taken care of, no worries. The comfortzone!
It is kind of sweet but maybe there is not so much room for growth, dreams, for feeling alive, deep connections or adventure.
It is kind of experiencing the world from our memories as everything becomes routine, even the unexpected becomes expected. In fact there is not much room for new possibility’s and perspectives etc.
When we live the Yesmad life, we live from our conditioning and ideas about our earlier experiences: when we grow up we learn things about ourselves, about our environment, relationships, society, our feelings etc. It is like we have downloaded software from the matrix, that keeps us in the box. Or referring back to the movie “The matrix”: the belief or programmed software in gravity makes us unable to fly.
The story’s or the interpretations of our past experiences determine how we react to the current situation, we build in safety programs or coping strategies to defend ourselves. These interpretations and behaviours become unconscious programs, which don’t get updated within the comfort zone, instead we experience the same thing over and over again, because we don’t allow the possibility for something new to happen. In our reality, we attract what we expect.
Not that you can or should blame yourself for this, it just happens, you haven’t had the awareness or the possibility to choose something else.
We make choices, decisions based on security and on how we feel and think. For example the situation is: I don’t get any job satisfaction in my current job, I think I am not good enough to get a new job, I feel unsatisfied and react from those programs or coping strategies for example by instead of applying for a new job, going home after work every night numbing myself with alcohol, food, gaming, or even drugs, as a consequence I feel even more useless and unsatisfied with myself.
The problem is also when you numb yourself, you do that to numb the “shitty” feelings, but you can’t be selective about what you are blocking out so you will also numb the “magic”.
The Yesmad life is a bit as if you choose to be death, to let your programs unconsciously run you and at the same time you numb yourself, in order not to feel.
Going for security to be able to survive, but in the end your will die anyway without having really lived.
The Yesmad life is ruled by avoidance of unpleasant feelings like fear, sadness etc. and holding an attachment to pleasant feelings.
One can only become really a yesmad or have a mental disorder if one doesn’t allow oneself to be present with what is and limits oneself to not experience anything outside the box.
What is referred to as mental disorders in our society, are in my opinion symptoms of avoiding a certain experience and the identification with thoughts and emotions. This view is shared by Mark Williams, Steven Hayes, among other psychological researchers. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_avoidance)
We use ineffective strategies to not feel sad, angry or scared, while actually these emotions are a part of the normal spectrum of emotionality of our humanity. If we can experience these feelings consciously, so with awareness, then we are holding them in a space where we have the freedom not to act from an old program, but to update that.
To live this path you kind of choose to die as you have pushed the repeat button in your unconsciousness. I don’t refer to travelling or not travelling… but in general the life in which we choose not to challenge ourselves anymore as it feels comfortable…
How to live as a Nomad
This is what my blog is about, how to live as a Nomad? On the other side of the polarity of a yesmad is the nomad. One without a home who moves around or travels freely without ties holding them back. Again you can be an internal or/and an external nomad:
- External: not binded by a location.
- Internal: living from many different perspectives and accepting the polarity of feelings. In other words to see your thoughts and feelings as experiences that come and go, that have no home or identity to land on, that doesn’t need to be controlled, identified with or resisted. As the feelings and thoughts (programs) don’t control who you can be right now. They don’t control your actions! Be free from your programs, instead of reacting start creating! In matrix terms, instead of believing in gravity, start flying!
Life starts at the end of your comfort zone…The internal nomad is the one who doesn’t let himself be controlled by his old programs, but the one who wants to learn new things and ways of being, gain new experiences and perspectives on yourself and life. Although the software update will be painful. When we start moving outside our comfort zone into the panic zone, where the magic happens, then difficult feelings and thoughts will surely come up. In fact you might loose track of who you are, as if you are not your thoughts and feelings then who are you?
My advice to someone who wants to live more according to a “nomad lifestyle” verse a “yesmad lifestyle” is to be scared, cry, be angry, think those old thoughts that kept you in the cage for so long. And start walking anyway. Don’t try to push them away, but try to carry those feelings very close to you while you start making decisions from your heart, from your light. Avoidance of difficult feelings and thoughts on the short-term will keep you away from what you really want in the long-term. Embrace them even if they are difficult and see that you are bigger than your pain. Letting go doesn’t mean not feeling them, it means you are having your feelings and thoughts instead of them having you. Osho says it in this way: watch, let the mind run, let the mind be filled with thoughts; you simply become the observer. One day by watching, the observer will disappear. Add mindfulness to this proces and your life will for sure be more colorful!
That’s what I call a NOMAD!