I want you to tell about a woman and her husband who have found their TruePath. Kathy and Terry Baudendistel are not your average early retirees. They own 23 acres which they have converted into a wolf habitat. They have constructed enclosures with places for wolves to hide, sleep, jump, crawl, establish their hierarchy and overall just be wolves. Susie and I spent several hours with them, listening as they enthusiastically explained how they had started with 5 little cubs and nurtured them to their current stable of 30 full-grown, growling, rambunctious, howling adult wolves.
While walking around their property interviewing them about their life’s work they casually mentioned we would be entering into the enclosures with the wolves to interact with them. Now these wolves aren’t wild and running across the frozen tundra of the northern Rockies, but nor are they exactly domesticated. They are more than just big dogs. The frequent signs that warn parents to NEVER leave their children unattended was enough to keep me on edge. Kathy says humans have been “imprinted” on them. I just didn’t want them to “imprint” their teeth into any part of my body. As we entered the enclosure containing five full-grown grey wolves I could feel my nerves coming to attention. As I gazed at them they stared back. Actually their eyes never leave you. They do not bounce around like puppies wagging their tails. In fact, wagging their tails is not a good sign. When their tails begin to wag it signals they are about to attack. My eyes were riveted to the movement of their tails.
Let me interject here that Kathy and Terry repeatedly assured us of one immutable factabout wolves. They DO NOT attack humans. Now if you threaten their young that might be an entirely different situation, but wolves WILL NOT simply attack a human at random. But I will tell you it is sometimes difficult to remember that when you are looking eyeball to eyeball with them.
However, after they gave us a few sniffs and circled around us a couple of times they became comfortable with our presence. They began to lick and rub against us as they would another wolf in their pack. It is the way the alpha wolf marks you to let others in the pack know, you have been given his seal of approval.
They are truly wonderful animals and you quickly learn to appreciate how special they are. They are absolutely, unbelievably beautiful. Their muscles ripple with a quiet majesty as they lope around their enclosures. When they lift their heads skyward and begin to howl their haunting melody it is something you will NEVER forget. The lonely sound penetrates into your being as it ebbs and flows from them. It is difficult to explain exactly how deeply they effect you. Susie and I would encourage everyone to visit the Baudendistel’s wolves. It is an experience you will carry with you and like us be just as excited to share with others.
Susie who is an incredibly great photographer will be posting some photos in the next couple of days. I invite you back to check them out. The ones I’ve seen so far are truly incredible.
I always make it a point to ask how an individual uncovered their passion for whatever they are dedicating their life to. So as the interview was winding down I routinely asked Kathy how she discovered her passion. Her reply stopped me in my tracks and opened up a whole new way of looking at life. She said, “Oh it’s not my passion it is my path.”
“It is my path.” Those words rocked me. Being with the wolves was an experience I’ll never forget, but hearing Kathy’s words is something that will exceed it. After we left their grounds I could think of nothing else. “It is my path.” Those words have the ability to transform your life.
It was a path she clearly and rationally embraced. It was the way of her going. It is what directed her footsteps. It mandated her actions from the time she arose in the morning to when she crawled into bed at night. It dictated how she lived her life. It directed her thought processes. This path set the tone for everything. While she may do other things along the way…this is her life.
Kathy and Terry Baudendistel have found their TruePath.
Let’s look at it this way. We all know how in the business of motivation or self-help we are always hearing about finding your passion. The Merriam-Webster online defines passion as, “intense, driving, overmastering feeling, or conviction.” I define it as an “inflamed ache” probably because as a former ultra-distance runner I feel a deep connection to those words. Every book I’ve ever read that seeks to motivate has proclaimed the importance of finding your “passion” as the absolute bedrock to build upon.
But I want to show you a different way. Or maybe I should say a different path. The Baudendistel’s have found a much more profound and I believe essential way of anchoring themselves. They have found their TruePath. This TruePath is not found by spending hours upon hours gazing into your navel. Nor is it discovered by searching out any other type of mystical experience, either inside or outside the body, with or without outside stimulates. This is already within you. A part of you already knows. Now while I could spend hours writing about the different avenues of discovering your TruePath, in the interest of time and space, I’m going to keep it simple. In fact, I am currently developing a powerful one-day seminar that will enable everyone to define their TruePath, develop their InflamedAche, and hold fast to their SustainedMotivation. But more about all of that later. Right now though, lets just keep it simple as possible.
Lets call it the 50/360 + 1 formula.
Pretend (because there is no way I’m doing this in real life) I give you $50,000,000. Now unless you are Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump, or Warren Buffet (and by the way, if you are any one of those three please leave me your contact info…I would LOVE to talk to you), $50,000,000 is probably going to enable you to do whatever it is you want to do in life.
Now assuming you’ve $50,000,000 in your checking account, I want you to stop, set down, and think. Inside your mind go around 360 degrees and think of everything that kind of money would allow you to do. If you are like most folks, they are several things that come to mind. so many in fact that it is hard to keep track of them all. Which, of course leads us right into the next step.
Narrow it down. Instead of the dozens, narrow it down to a few. From there, begin narrow it down to just one. Just the one thing that given unlimited resources you would want to do.
Most folks can think of the one thing in life they really want to do. But life, in the form of significant others, children, education, death, divorce, bad planning, missed opportunities, no opportunities, buying a home, getting a job, have kept you from doing the one thing that has always been in the back of your mind, but you assumed it was always going to be impossible to do.
Now the first time I tried this exercise it was with my wife and we immediately ran into a snag. She couldn’t reduce her wants to one single item. There were several things she wanted to do. Compose and play music, sing, paint, and sculpt. However, when we began to analyze each of these things I was able to lead her to see all these threads were actually just one rope. The rope was the arts. If my wife had $50,000,000 in her checking account she would pursue the arts in all their various forms.
Sometimes the TruePath make take the form of a single mountain trail with only the occasional deer path intersecting it. Like a retail merchant who only wants to sell musical instruments. Other times the TruePath may be more like an eight lane super-highway with many diverse and interesting entrance and exit ramps, but they still all arrive at the same destination. Like an explorer who has a bucket list that includes climbing Everest, rowing solo across the Atlantic, and running 135 miles across Death Valley.
As I said earlier there are multiple ways to uncover your TruePath. That is because there are multiple types of people. What works for one will not work for everyone. If you try the 50/360 + 1 and don’t feel exactly satisfied with the results then try something else. Try reading books or magazines that you’ve never read before. Ask your significant other what they believe you were put on this planet for. Search the Web for whatever pops in to your mind. Travel to someplace you’ve never been. Strike up conversations with people you don’t know (Ido this all the time, which is how I found out about the Baudendistels.)
The important thing is to discover your TruePath. Remember, in this case, it really IS all about you.
As a footnote; the Baudendistels are the owners and caregivers of Wolf Creek Habitat & Rescue, Inc. at 14099 Wolf Creek Rd, Brookville, IN 47012. Their phone number is 513-312-9143. Their email address is WolfCreekHabitat@msn.com. Their Website is www.WolfCreekHabitat.org.