When is the right time to begin something new, to break your routine and begin a new adventure? It could be a new business endeavor, moving, or a change in relationship status. It could be a spiritual practice. It might even be taking a vacation for an extended period of time giving you a chance to create a new paradigm for your life.
Think about what goes into getting away. You have to block out a period of time and you have concerns that while you’re gone, things will fall apart without you or you’ll miss out on that big opportunity.
Changing our patterns for a period of time takes practice. It involves leaving the familiar and exploring new territory, which isn’t always comfortable. And there is always that critical voice of judgment that you wish you could silence. “You’re not being practical. Wait until the economy picks us. Wait until “this” happens, the “this” being something that might or might not happen in the future. So we hesitate and don’t take action. We never reach our full potential. A year goes by and then another and nothing has changed.
There are always going to be voices that get in the way of our moving forward in our lives especially if that is what we focus on. We have to keep filling our tanks on a daily basis with inspiration. Inside of us is another voice that I call the Voice of Inspiration and Praise, VIP, that says, “Yes, you can. You can do it, go for it.” The voice that reminds you to have faith that it’s all going to work out.
The challenge is to recognize and listen to it. It doesn’t necessarily show up in the way we expect and is more prevalent than we realize. It’s a voice, an attitude that needs to be cultivated on a daily basis.
As you know I’m a firm believer in synchronicity—those chance encounters that change your life, those remarkable meetings. When I was a young lawyer, one evening a friend told me of a magical swimming hole along a river in Humboldt County. I had just resolved a case that was set for trial and had nothing on my schedule for the next week. I got my car ready, filled up the tank and off I went with my guitar, my dog, and sleeping bag and drove north, arriving at the river just as the sun was setting.
In the morning I awoke at the crack of dawn in search of the swimming hole. I knew that if I hiked upstream I would get there. I continued on my way until a camper offered me some food and coffee. Although I found myself getting hungry and a little bit tired, I said, “No thanks” to the kind invitation, “I want to get to the swimming hole.”
After another twenty yards I turned around and said, “That coffee sounds good.” I enjoyed the breakfast. As it turned out, the camper had a guitar and we played music for quite some time. I was full in more ways than one. After thanking the camper, I was ready to be on my way. It was what the camper said in the next few moments that has perhaps made the greatest impact in my life.
“Hey man, the journey you take is probably more important than your destination. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the journey.” I enjoyed the rest of the hike and the swimming hole was fabulous.
Since that meeting, I have taken his advice to heart. It has affected every aspect of my life. There’s no better time than now to enjoy your life and experience it as an exciting journey of discovery. Instead of waiting for that ideal relationship, enjoy life exactly as it is. Instead of feeling despair about finding meaning and purpose in your life, enjoy the inquiry. Instead of waiting for that big opportunity, enjoy what you’re doing.
There will always be something in the way, which if you focus on it, will affect your ability to enjoy life. You will be tested repeatedly in some manner. Each day you’ll have to renew your commitment, but eventually it becomes a way of life. There are eight daily practices and rituals that have supported me on my journey.
1. Take time each day for quiet reflection in the morning including expressing gratitude. It sets the tone for the day.
2. While driving in your car, listen to motivational or conscious music, rather than listening to the news or what’s on the various am stations.
3. Make sure that on a daily basis you are in contact with people who inspire and support you. Don’t hesitate to take the first step and reach out.
4. Take time to commune in nature.
5. Eat healthy; drink plenty of water and get exercise. This is a choice that you make over and over again that eventually becomes a healthy habit.
6. Don’t forget to smile and make sure you make someone else smile.
7. In the evening, take some time to read a personal growth or spiritual book, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
8. Reflect upon the most special moment of the day as you are falling asleep. No matter what happened during the day, you have a choice as to how you think about it.
So there you have it. When are you planning your next adventure? You know I love to hear from you. Feel free to share Letters on Life with those in your circle.
Enjoy the journey,
Join Mark and his cohost Ralph Marston for the Journey On radio show. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/journeyon.
Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. He is passionate about life being an exciting journey of discovery. His enthusiastic and inspiring keynotes on change, leadership and connection thoroughly convey this message to his audiences. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. In his prior career, he was covered by the NY Times, Boston Globe, and Rolling Stone Magazine. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.