- PAN, PAN’S LABYRINTH
I’ve always been an observer, an introvert. As a child—even today—I could look out the window for hours on long car rides and not say a word, perfectly content and deeply fixed on the simple and predictable landmarks of the typical American road trip: billboards without number, the rhythmic countdown of highway mile markers, the rotting barn perched on a rolling hillside, and the miles and miles of high-tension wires trailing off to a distant horizon.
And even though I saw the same things over and over—just ordinary things—they never seemed any less mysterious or any less worthy of my attention. There was always a subtle detail that required a more thoughtful examination. There was always something that made it impossible to look away. And there was always something more to learn. Maybe it’s no coincidence that many years later I’d begin writing a book on the simple, everyday experiences that changed my life, and that, although I’m just an ordinary guy, I’m able to live an extraordinary life.
Every day, we encounter things that can inspire us to see the world a little differently, to take pause, to learn something new, or even to recognize the Divine. They can be a person, a memory, a character in a book, seven miles of asphalt, or even a can of Coke. They are anything and everything, and their gifts are many: a new perspective, a sense of peace, an important lesson, or perhaps a glimpse at another level of our being. They’re a delicate reminder that there’s always something beautiful to see, always something important to learn, and always a better way to live—a better version of ourselves. These experiences—the people and stories in this book—have brought me to a fuller understanding of what it means to be alive. They’ve been powerful guideposts in my life, and the most beautiful thing is that they’re not unique. They’re the experiences we all have, every day.
These stories have shown me the way—a path to the life I’ve always wanted. Over time, they continue to teach and inspire, and their lessons grow and evolve just as we all do. I look back on these people and events often, and they always have something more to tell. Their messages are timeless and can echo across our lives if we let them. As such, I chose to bring these stories to life through the one thing I know best: the language of love. They’re the history of my soul, and there’s no greater privilege than to share them with you.
While reading this small book of short stories—all true events from my life—I hope you can relate to their simple messages, to the triumphs as well as the trials. I hope you’ll be inspired to keep a similar record of your daily encounters, one that you can cherish throughout your life. I hope you find a new road, a new way to happiness that you didn’t know before. And, most importantly, I hope something inside you changes forever, that your days from now on will be a little brighter and that your personal journey will be lifted to the stars. The following pages are an invitation to be always mindful of the love and beauty around us every day. We just need to know where to look.
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