The Mindset behind Creating a Healthier Planet: Routes of Change

Routes of Change

“I’d like to see our species come together and use our amazing potential to live in harmony with all life on this planet. If I had to leave an impression, I’d like it to be a smile.”

 – Markus Pukonen, Founder of Routes of Change

On 3rd Ave. and Main St. Vancouver B.C. is where I last saw Markus Pukonen; a man on a mission to “circumnavigate the planet without a motor.”Markus Pukonen

Founder of Routes of Change; a registered non-profit organization, with the intention of raising support for organizations that are creating a healthier planet, Markus began his adventure around the world on foot. Since then, he has already hiked, skipped and danced his way through the first few kilometres and according to his live, online GPS, he currently appears to be canoeing down Lake Ontario towards Prince Edward, ON.

I first got introduced to Markus when I gate-crashed his fundraiser during my recent visit to Tofino, BC. An intimate event, I spoke to several people who knew Markus personally and from what I had learnt, I was eager to understand the mindset of this man with an ambitious goal, derived from noble motives.

Markus loves our planet and “all of the beings on it.” He found himself burdened by the unfortunate state of our planet six years ago, when he lost his beloved father to Leukemia. Around the same time, his sister was pregnant with his niece. This cycle of death and new life caused Markus to wonder what type of future his niece would have, if we continue to pollute and ruin our planet. It also caused him to question the legacy he’d leave behind, if he were to face the same fate as his father. “It was time for change” and it was during this poignant time in Markus’ life, which jolted him to act upon one of his ultimate aspirations.

Over the last six years, Markus has been carefully planning, fundraising and generating awareness and support for his organization. Now that ‘Routes of Change’ has officially launched, he’s beginning to feel both the positive and negative impacts of this mission.  The pressure is definitely on and as deadlines loom, the reality of his aspiration is settling in.

To keep himself motivated and focused, Markus doesn’t overlook his emotions. He realizes that they are a key component towards navigating himself towards success. He also practises communicating openly for others to understand him better, especially during moments of high stress and anxiety.

“I’m planning on dancing every day to make things happy and positive and keep the silliness of everything in focus. I practice belly breathing, moving meditation, and yoga as well.”

Also, Markus occasionally finds himself “nervous and stressed.” On top of raising funds to support himself throughout this 5 year mission, he’s set himself a “huge goal” of raising 10 million dollars towards supporting positive change. So naturally, he’s finding himself questioning how it’ll all “come together.” Furthermore, Markus has been pretty independent his entire life and for the first time, he’s asked for support from his community in a “big way,” causing further thoughts of concern and uncertainty as he doesn’t want to let anyone down.

“I overcome these concerns and doubts by focusing on the positive, on the fact that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I know that things have a way of working themselves out if you move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

Markus has also become mindful of the fact that not everyone understands his mission, nor can everyone empathise with his passion. He’s learnt that staying true to himself and standing by his own identity, will guide him towards the success and fulfillment he desires. He adds:

“I also remind myself that I was willing to do this trip without any money.”

His strength and encouragement also comes from gratitude, he genuinely values community, oneness and family. Even though he’ll be without his nearest and dearest for some time, he only has to think about them to trigger motivation.

“I think about the love they have for me. I think about doing my best in order to make them proud. I don’t focus on the fact that they aren’t with me, I focus on the fact that they ARE with me. I feel their love and support and I gain inspiration and strength from it. I focus on that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”

Markus sets a great example of how to use your identity towards bigger aspirations. He’s combined what he loves to do (his passion), with what he has to do (his purpose) and as a result, he’s well on his way towards reaching levels of self-actualization.

There are many lessons to be learnt from Markus and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with him. He’s confirmed that staying true to our own identities, engaging in what we’re passionate about and maintaining gratitude for the very things many of us take for granted, will steer us towards a life of bliss and fulfillment.

Have a great time Markus and thank you for raising awareness to make our home a better place to live.

To learn more about Markus Pukonen and ‘Routes of Change’ check-out Routesofchange.org. You can also support Markus along the way, by sponsoring a ‘penny per kilometer’, joining him during a leg of his trip or simply by offering him words of encouragement, advice and support.

Routes of Change

VanCity

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5 Things We Tend To Neglect When Pursuing Our Goals

Neglect

Sometimes when we’re focused on attaining success, crucial parts of our lives get neglected. We also justify the things we neglect, by telling ourselves that we’ll place priority on them once we have achieved what we have set out to achieve. One thing I’ve learnt, is that if we don’t make these things a priority in our lives today, we’ll soon realize the burden of our actions.

Here’s 5 things that we must maintain in our lives to ensure that we attain success in a healthy and fulfilling manner.

  1. Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is the single most important thing in our lives. We must ensure that we make time for ourselves and that we look after our bodies. After all, we can attain all the success in the world, but it’ll mean nothing if we’re not healthy enough to enjoy it. The more success we build the more indestructible we feel, but that illusion will wear off the moment our bodies are overwhelmed and overrun by neglect.

I’m currently trialing an all organic diet and already I feel more energetic and awake. I also used to schedule exercise around my work, now I’ve shifted my schedule to work around my yogic goals.

  1. Home/Work Space

Whatever stage of success we’re at, our spaces are a reflection of our journey. The cleaner and organised our personal spaces are, the more productive we’re going to be. We’ll want to work in these spaces and spend less time wanting to get away or escape.

I once spent an entire day printing pictures and putting them up in frames around my house. At first I felt like I was wasting a day, but now my space serves a motivational gallery of things I’m grateful for and the aspirations I hold.

  1. People

Family, friends and partners are our immediate support network, they encourage us and support us when we need it. It’s easy to forget how much influence these people have on our success, without them we wouldn’t have anyone to share success with.

One of my most popular posts to date is on success and loneliness, it has climbed the search engine ranks and continues to get more hits day by day. Nurture your relationships and make time for them, don’t end up successful and isolated.

  1. Social and Recreational activities

Make time to have fun and socialize with others. Social and recreational activities lift our spirits and help us relieve stress. They are a crucial component towards maintaining a positive mindset.

When I’m writing I have to be alone, but I must balance all this alone time by connecting with others. Making time to have fun and gathering with others keeps our identities engaged and our lives fulfilled. You’ve heard of the saying ‘work hard, play hard’ to me it connotes balance. Don’t let all your hard work end up in vain because you’ve made no time to enjoy life.

  1. Emotions

The most fulfilled people I’ve come across tend to be the most expressive.

Our emotions are our guide towards fulfillment. If we fall into a habit of focusing on our success and repressing our emotions, we can be led astray from where we actually want to be in life. When we deal with an emotion, we spend time evaluating and reflecting, it’s a process that helps keep us aligned with our aspirations.

Your emotions are the rawest form of honesty, so listen to them they’ll guide you where you need to go. Process your emotions as and when they arise so you don’t end up building a life you’re not fulfilled by.

It’s easy to forget the significance of these things in our lives and if we don’t start making these things a priority now, we’ll end up losing touch with them later.

VanCity

100 Blog Posts: 100 Reflections to Self Respect

100

I was always taught that whenever I stayed over at a friend’s house, I was to ensure I respected my hosts and to leave their home having left a positive impact. After hitting this milestone of 100 blog posts, I finally understood what this lesson instilled in me. It was a lesson of self-respect.

We never grew up with much, well compared to my elder siblings I probably had a lot more, but we never had the material luxuries our friends or cousins had. It annoyed me and I used to resent my parents for always helping other people with their needs, because I felt we never really had the means to actually help others.

“I mean come on mum and dad, what’s the point in helping others if we don’t have a nice Benz to roll around in.” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, it’s kind of my point. It’s this cancerous way of thinking that’s causing us to disrespect the world we live in, and leaving a thoughtless trail of negativity for others to adopt. We all do it without even realizing it, we want without purpose and desire without cause. Many of us just aim to obtain the best lifestyle possible, never thinking about building the best life possible.

We can easily and casually overlook self-respect and our duty to pay it forward, so long as we have enough shiny distractions. I reckon it’s a reason why there is so much injustice and inequality in the world. It’s why many of us fail to reach true and lasting fulfillment, we have no idea why we want the things we want, we’re simply encouraged to want them.

I think about the struggles people go through. No doubt, life is difficult. I mean on top of keeping a roof over our heads and food on our tables, we ALL want freedom, we ALL want more bliss, and we ALL want to live in a more positive, more equal and more just world. So why is it so difficult to help each other out?

100 reflections later and I’ve learnt more about myself and life as I know it. I stress the importance of living by your own identity because it causes you to face and overcome your demons, and enables you to share your life with the world you live in. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more honest you can be and the more positive you become.  You’ll learn to understand why you want the things you want and even alter those desires when you realize what it is your truly in search of.

It took me quite a while to completely let go of any agendas that held me back from being myself completely. The more I held onto the idea of fitting in, I filled my life with empty fulfillment. When I broke free from that, I began identifying how much was enough to feel safe and secure. Once I helped myself, I was able to help others and pay it forward.

Over two years ago I started The Lion’s Life. It started out as a way to develop an online profile so that I could say in an interview “I have a blog.” 100 reflections later, I’m turning down promotions and certain job offers because the money no longer motivates me. The life that I want to build does.

“I love this, it’s an inspiration to all!!! Retweeting this!!!”

The day I received my first positive comment was from a supportive friend. I felt something powerful that I had never felt before, it was genuine self-respect. I had inspired someone to do something positive and I felt more rewarded than any possession I had earned.

I stuck to it and then these comments followed:

“We love this blog! …Be Yourself… Everyone Else Is Taken”

 “Thank you, through selfless sharing of ideas, thoughts and experiences that will make our world a better place to live.“

Great post for a week I was feeling a little gloomy! Thanks for the inadvertent boost.”

“What a blog! Thank you for sharing. This is something I definitely needed to read :)”

Love this! I found the same thing, magical things happen when you have the confidence to pursue your dreams!”

Beautiful! Thank you for writing this and sharing.”

So often matters are centric to awareness. Your words are grounding and worthy of reading/heeding.”

When the blog transitioned into a vice that offered support and inspiration to others, I learned that respecting the world we live in (this includes the people in it) and ensuring that we impact it positively, is more important than working to climb any sort of social ladder on my own. They say misery needs company, well the same is true for happiness.

Mum and dad must have known all of this for years, despite anything they went through financially, mum’s smile and heart is still contagious, and dad’s soul still beams bright and full of energy. The lesson they taught me (the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post) is much bigger than I initially thought.

What if every person just aimed to live on this planet, respecting it and leaving a positive impact as they depart.

Just think if we all just graced every single day with optimism, hope and helped each other out. We wouldn’t even need to debate if God exists or not, because God would no longer matter.

I guess the message in my 100th blog post is as follows:

Stay humble and remain honest as you help yourself, help another and help the world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Law of Attraction Vs. The Law of Awareness.

Awareness

Here’s a secret, that’s not so secret, being completely aware of yourself and aware of the world you live in can get you to where you want to be and what you want from life.

I don’t dismiss the Law of attraction, and for me I think it’s a great notion for those embarking on a journey towards their desires. As it helps people visualize what it is they want, people begin to understand the power of belief, and if you believe in something so much, one way or another you’re going to find a way to justify and preserve that belief.

Problem is what I want and what I truly want are two very different things.

Beliefs are empty without action taken towards them, those that are self-aware build their beliefs based on their own identity, not what they are led to believe. If you read my previous post on success, I share an experience of my own.

The power of awareness and its role in life is fundamental when shaping your aspirations and desires. It answers more questions, it challenges your desires and builds your spirit up ready to fight for it. It allows you to access your full potential so that you can really make a significant impact on your own life.

 “So Terry, how does one become more self-aware?”

Well, to simplify it as much as possible you have to look at the concept first from an internal perspective and then externally.

#1 Internal

Awareness of yourself is crucial, how many of us can truly say we’re very aware of our actions, of our behaviors and its impact on our own identity or that of others? To become aware of it, I say question everything. What motivated me to say that? Why do I believe this? How can I change this? Why do I desire this? Each question you discover the answer to unveils much more about your identity, such as your motivations for instance.

I walk down the street every day and see people unaware of their very existence – following routines and holding back emotions, becoming numb to the world around them. People failing to be present in the moment of opportunity because they live life with blinders on, only understanding the rules society laid out for them.

Don’t focus on the shiny new car until you’re feeling like the person driving it, don’t focus on that massive new home unless you’ve found an avenue that gives you fulfillment and the time to actually enjoy it, and to spend time with the family you perhaps built/want to build. Rather, use these desires as anchors, motivational triggers if you will.

There’s also those that seem to be more aware of other peoples opinions of themselves but completely dismayed by their own will for change. Buried under the pressure to fit in rather than the longing to proceed on a journey towards acceptance, often of self.

I’ve stopped a lot of indulgences over the last year, primarily because I’m becoming more and more aware of myself and my behavior. It doesn’t even feel like I’ve changed, it feels like I’ve shed layers of false desires built up by the lack of self-awareness I had. Only now to end up in a position where my true desires are exposed and  prepared to attract the very things I truly want in my life.

Attraction works both ways, being consciously aware of myself allows me to search and find the very things that excite and stimulate different parts of my identity. Knowing that gives me so much more clarity on the things I truly desire in my life. They lead me to the awareness of my external environment.

#2 External

Awareness of your environment; I sometimes speak to old friends from years ago and they talk about how bold of a decision it was for me to leave everything behind and leave for a new life. But I had them understand that the day I became aware of where my life was heading in my current circumstances, my circumstances had to change and it was the easiest decision I ever made.

My current environment at that time did not cater to the opportunities I was waiting for so I had to go out into the big bad world and find them. I grew tired of the company I kept because I never felt inspired, challenged nor fulfilled by the identities around me. It sounds awful but it’s true and it’s not because I consider myself superior in any shape or form, it’s just that my desires in life differed significantly.

How was I to attract the things I wanted in my life if I stayed in an environment that neither catered to nor contributed to my aspirations.

Awareness will work much more in your favor, it requires you to think objectively and act subjectively. I built a stronger bond with my desires and now they’re leading me to places of lasting fulfillment, to places I never even envisioned.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How the Energy Around You Affects Your Ambition


I hadn’t written anything new in a while, I was supposed to start the new year at full speed but for some reason I faltered. After some reflection I realized that I had lost the energy I used to surround myself with. As I’m climbing my way back up I had noticed that the people around me, the places I was visiting and what I was doing in my spare time were pulling me away from what I really wanted out of life.

A lot of people have mentioned it before in some form of another: that you should surround yourself with people who bring the best out of you. It makes sense, we shouldn’t be hanging around with folk that bring you down and doubt your path in any way. Same goes with places, be in places that ooze opportunity and success, don’t hang about if you’re not motivated. We all feed off of our surroundings and
if those surroundings conflict with our goals then we need to alter them. If you’re unsure, begin by delving into unknown territory, it’s better to be active and look for the best environment suited for you rather than waiting for it to turn up.

Surrounding yourself with the right energy is like having your goals and successes floating around you in reach, reminding you of where you’re headed. It’s important; I just worked my arse off to achieve one objective, now that objective had been met I lost track a little, I basked in that one achievement and forgot there’s still a lot more steps I have to take. Through the success of achieving one goal I had somehow surrounded myself with energy that had affected my ambition to aim higher. So I’m getting my head back in the game and this is how I shall begin.


Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach