This letter from my 5-years-in-the-future-self was written as a reflection after Wonder Wander 2021.

Hi Dan,

Wonder Wander 2021 was certainly a good time, but what did that sweet experience teach me that I’ve absorbed into my daily life over the past 5 years? 

For one, I have been living by the four agreements:

I have been conscious of my word, and have strived to be impeccable with it. I have not misled people intentionally, and have done my best to communicate honestly, cleanly and clearly.

I have been mindful of negative emotions coming up in me, and have used them as a way to understand myself and my identity structure and fears, rather than lashing out at others (this is how I understand not taking things personally). Of course I got annoyed/angry during the last five years, but I used these moments as opportunities to become more conscious and self-aware.

During the past five years, I have slowed down and checked in with my intentions frequently, making sure that they were good before I acted. This has been my foundational spiritual practice. You could call it always doing my best. I have strived to be as mindful of my motivations as possible, so that when I made moves in the world, they came from a spirit of aloha (love, giving, and open-heartedness). WW2021 was magical because a group of strangers showed unconditional love to each other. I have done my best in the last five years to keep the aloha spirit going during daily life.

At the start of WW2021, when I first met everyone around the table, my mind produced some fast judgments. But those flimsy caricatures disappeared as I got to know more and more layers of the multifaceted cabbages that we all are. In the past 5 years, though I haven’t been able to turn off my assumption-making/judging mind (it evolved for a reason), I have met humans with curiosity and empathy, and as a result, my respect of people has grown tremendously, and my judgemental mind has become less tyrannical, just one voice in the chorus.

I took a leap of faith in going to WW2021, because it felt right, not because of any cognitive calculations. Five years ago, I was just at the beginning of a path of following my intuition. Over the past 5 years, following my intuitive guidance has been deeply fulfilling, has led me to places that are aligned with the truest essence of my being. When I did my 2020 Annual Review, I realized that I was living in an in-between state. This was because I was making decisions cognitively and I was often stuck in a middle zone generated by trying to rationally optimize pro/con lists. Over the past 5 years, I’ve changed my decision making mechanism to be primarily intuitive, and now I am living a life that feels deeply my own.

When I came to WW2021, I was living a fairly fast-paced life in NYC and not enjoying it that much. Since then, I’ve moved to a place that allows me to be much more in tune with the rhythms of nature, much less addicted to the pings of technology. I have started many of my days with existential gratitude in nature, and have finished my days with the same. Watching the colors of the sky open and close the day has helped with that.  

I am surrounded by a community of people for whom presence and connection to nature and each other is important. Meaningful traditions permeate my life. My community of friends and nearby family regularly get together to “talk story” and connect. I still work as a doctor and enjoy helping my patients, but these days environmental work has become a greater focus for me than it was 5 years ago. I have started a family. I have continued my creative practices (writing, art, ?). I have ramped up exercise too, pushing/exploring my body in new and playful ways, inspired by the people of WW2021.

WW2021 gave me 12 models other than myself for how to live a life. Travelling to Hawaii after WW gave me many more such models. Living in one place (NYC for 6 years from 2015-2021), working one kind of job, hanging out with one type of people (doctors), had shrunk that cone of possibilities for me without me realizing it. WW2021 was a catalyst for me to start consciously expanding this cone, which I’ve done ever since. Over the past five years, I have travelled and befriended diverse people. These souls have pushed me to grow, and increased my understanding of what life can be. 

These past five years, I have gotten back in touch with my heart through various intuitive practices, and I’ve learned to trust it again. I have used this “telephone wire” to my heart to make decisions in my life that are in alignment with the deepest me. 

It strikes me that all of the above has been a way to minimize regret in the face of death, which can come at any instant. By staying mindful of these principles in my life, I have been confident that I have lived the past five years the best I can, treating others and the world as I would like to be treated, and connecting to my wise, empathic mind / true nature.

To sum it all up, I have lived these past five years creatively, intuitively and of course (to borrow from Ethan) with love and stoke.