Positive Side of Change

The Deer in the Headlights

Friday, July 8th, 2016

I wasn’t sure what to call this story. You’ll see why in a minute. Most of us are familiar with the phrase in the title—that moment when you freeze, that moment when you’re unable to respond. It’s usually not an actual deer in the road, although sometimes it is, but a form of communication that lets you know that your life won’t be the same.

Some of those moments might be the ending of a relationship, a health diagnosis, or a financial disappointment. You know the list. When you first get the news, you’re in shock like that deer in the highlights. Silent for a moment letting it all sink in, you try to get a few words out of your mouth, but they have a hard time making it out.

What makes matters more challenging is that in today’s world our lives are changing faster than they ever have before, including the rules and values that at one time seemed sacred. Those of us who have created an inner technology to help us navigate these challenges, have a greater likelihood of not only surviving, but of thriving.

In the realm of business and commerce, a concern of many with whom I work, a familiar refrain has become, “Sorry, we no longer need you.” At times it might be the disappointment you feel when you don’t get that call back regarding the new position or opportunity you were hoping would come your way.

And I know a few who have lost their key customer or key client. It’s painful for sure. Your business model had been structured to serve them. You’re not sure how you can fill the void.

If you have been a reader of Letters on Life you probably have noticed certain themes emerge. Yes life is uncertain for sure. Quite often we despair over where that uncertainty might take us.

When we pause to take a deep breath we usually find that the likelihood of that worst-case scenario occurring is slight.

What I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of the many people I work with, is that life quite often turns out better than you ever imagined. When you’re at the base of the mountain, it’s impossible to have the same vision as you do from the pinnacle.

When I spoke with Glenn Stasky a few days ago, I was reminded that life is full of unexpected twists and turns, some of which have the potential to magically transform your life.

Always fascinated by sounds and music, Glenn followed his passion and became a pioneer in the audio speaker business.

He built and created a thriving company, shipping products throughout the US. His client list became a who’s who in the audio speaker industry. He designed products to the standards and specifications of his biggest client, a company in Memphis who comprised 70% of his business.

It was just about nine years ago when the following sequence of events occurred. Along with a shipment comprising the latest innovations in speaker technology, Glenn, an avid motorcycle enthusiast, shipped his motorcycle in the truck that delivered the products to the company.

He made the trip to train the company’s technicians in the emerging technology. In his mind the training, as always, was a huge success. There was a buzz in the air regarding the new technology.

After the completion of the training, as he was thanking the president of the company, he was shocked by the first headlights. After 10 years of loyal service, the company decided to take their product line to China and have it copied there. This was their last order.

“It felt as if my heart fell out of my chest,” was how Stasky described it to me.

His whole world imploded. What was he going to do? Could his company stay afloat? How was he going to tell his loyal 25 employees, many of whom felt like family, that they no longer had jobs?

With a tear in his eye, he got on his motorcycle and left Memphis as the rains enveloped the city.

Even in the midst of the sadness and confusion he was feeling, for the next three days wandering through the Colorado mountains on those curvy and lonely roads, felt like a marvelous adventure.

As it was getting dark on the last day of the mountain part of the trip, he noticed a car on the horizon flash its headlights at him. The next few seconds changed Stasky’s life.

He is so far away, my lights cannot be bothering him that much, he thought. The high beam lights on Stasky’s bike had auxillary lights wired to them that increased the visibility. Because the flashing continued, Stasky turned off his high beams, which also turned off the high power auxiliary lights. Thrust into darkness, the oncoming lights kept flashing at him until the vehicle went past him.

He immediately turned back on his lights and waited for the auxillary lights to reignite. TOO LATE! He wasn’t able to see the dead deer in the road.

You might say it was a miracle. After hitting the dead deer, the bike became airborne, then bounced and bucked and landed safely on its wheels, as Glenn held on for dear life.

Gathering himself he quickly pulled over to the side of the road. He looked up toward the sky and gave thanks to the higher power he believed in, for his precious life. His faith had been passed onto him from the strong spiritual convictions of his mother.

There are times when we wonder about the significance of certain events that occur in our lives. Although we never know for sure, often we have a strong sense of the why. It was at that moment it came to him.

For the next two days as he traveled back to California, he thought of nothing else but how he could design a “better” motorcycle lighting system, — a light that would come back on instantly, instead of taking multiple seconds to reignite, so that others would not suffer the same fate he had almost suffered.

When Stasky experienced those first headlights he had just turned 50. Now almost broke, he embarked upon his new path.

He drew upon his background in audio, using a similar technology to design and create a lighting system that would solve the problem of the inefficient igniting system. After many, many prototypes, his new company Clearwater Lights was birthed to create an innovative lighting system that since that day has saved many lives. But his story doesn’t end there.

An incorrigible adventurer, he also raced cars. The racetracks had a similar problem— an antiquated warning system that was inadequate to warn other racecar drivers of hazards. It was when Stasky witnessed two drivers, friends of his, killed because of this faulty warning system, that he made another vow—create a state of the art warning system.

Within the year he presented a prototype system at Daytona to the racetrack safety committee and his design was enthusiastically adopted as the new standard.

There is more good to the story. It was at Daytona where Stasky met the woman who became his future wife.

I hope you have been inspired by Glenn Stasky’s story. I know I have.

©2016 Mark Susnow

Mark Susnow is a life coach and advisor, speaker to many prestigious organizations, and the author of the soon to be released the Soul of Uncertainty. He integrates what it takes to be successful in today’s world with wisdom revealed to him through years of meditation and yoga. http://www.inspirepossiblity.com; mark@inspirepossibility.com; 415.453.5016

Cultivating the Buffer

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Very rarely does checking the news cheer you up. Yet we check it anyway. Do you ever wonder why? It’s a habit and it’s a distraction from our day to day life. We want to escape for a few minutes…hey it’s better than more severe addictions.

Yet with more media outlets, which includes our various digital devices, we have more distractions than we ever have had before. We also have more temptations to take us away from our more immediate problems. And it might just be the boredom that we experience from not having a purposeful life.

Back to the news for a second. Think back in time when an external circumstance, which was in the news, upset you…I’m sure there was one and there will be another one after the current one.
So what does this tell you? Perhaps the thing…that whatever it is you are looking for, is not out there…it’s inside of you and needs to be nurtured every day…that’s where the work needs to be focused.

With that in mind take time, everyday, to build a buffer that helps insulate you from the stresses of the day….that buffer, which becomes a pillar of strength, prepares you to handle whatever comes up during the day…Rather than dread what might happen, you’re looking forward to it—knowing that a highlight awaits you.

Create the buffer by staying focused on the moment. And then the next moment. But it’s not easy to do. Our mind wanders, in the beginning just notice when your mind wanders off to something else.

That’s where the morning program comes in….meditate, be grateful and wonder about what the highlight of your day might be.

Until next time,

JOURNEY ON

“I’m called to inspire others to reignite the spark inside of them that has been dimmed by years of hard work and struggle.”

MARK

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide and recognized thought leader who inspires others to believe in themselves. 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. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within. Contact him for an initial complimentary session.

Your iGPS of Inner Change

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Nature has its many mysteries. Not only does nature nurture us, it reminds us of the cyclical nature of life. It also reminds us how unpredictable life can be.

After a flurry of fresh snow, we have a sense of awe and transcendence as the sun melts the snow clinging to the trees. We feel a lightness of being as we breathe in the fresh air. But it’s not always that way. Many of us have been in the midst of a violent storm that we thought would never end, but we get to the other side.

With many of the personal challenges we face in our lives we forget this valuable lesson. At times they overwhelm us, and that’s all we see. We lose sight of what we want to create and accomplish. We forget that the storm will give way to spring.

Spring, with its sense of optimism and hope, is a time to plant new seeds. We don’t know how many of these seeds, or which ones, will emerge from the darkness to the light. But, for sure, some will.

We can make the choice to enjoy the process of cultivating these seeds that are possibilities in our minds that are not dependent on our circumstances. It doesn’t help to postpone feeling good about life until these seeds have come to fruition.

While it might it be true that there are events and circumstances in our lives that we wish were different, but by courageously facing our dissatisfaction, we begin shifting to the Positive Side of Change. Once this occurs, the flame inside of us begins to burn brightly again.

Each of us has an Inner GPS of Change that guides and empowers us to skillfully navigate the changing currents of life’s challenges and to consistently recognize opportunities for success and fulfillment all around us.

We’re able to recognize new possibilities and opportunities. We’re gentler with ourselves and have learned to accept the things about ourselves that we can’t change. We’ve learned to accept the imperfections in life.

We’ve learned to smile in the midst of the storm. We know we’ll get through it. We focus on what’s right about our life. We’ve made the choice. Keep making that choice. Keep spreading the seeds of possibilities.

“At times our own light goes out, and is reignited by the spark of another person.”

Journey ON

Mark

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide 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.

Do you Make Things more Difficult than they Need to be?

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Wouldn’t it be great if our biggest challenge is to decide what we want for our lives and in this moment. In some ways choosing what we want for our lives is easier. When we’re thinking about what we want in this moment, we have a myriad of choices, although it might not seem that way at the time. How we make decisions is an interesting exploration.

Let’s face it. We even make choosing a movie into a big deal. Perhaps you’re home in the mood for a movie. But what movie? At first you search the free menu. Then you search for the movies that are more current, most of which you have to pay a small fee. So you go thru the process. Perhaps you finally select a movie. Or perhaps you can’t make a decision and decide to do something else. This little example is a microcosm of how we make decisions in our life. We go through a process of weighing the pros and cons. Some of us might have a mindset that if its free, it’s not worth investing the time to watch it. It’s already been done. We want something more current. The bigger question is: “What is our criterion for which we give value to things.

If something comes easy to us, do we take it for granite and not value it as much. Quite often that is what happens with some of our most primary relationships. We take them for granite and don’t give them the attention they need. We have adopted the belief that if something seems too easy, we don’t value it as much. We’re already looking in a different direction, looking for our next challenge.

It’s time to adopt a new mindset. It can be easy and have great value.

Journey On

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. blogtalkradio.com/journeyon

Mark Susnow knows change. He is an executive-life coach, life-discovery guide 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.

The Path of Relationship

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
William James

We look to relationships to satisfy this craving. It’s our natural state to be loving. Unfortunately with the busyness of our lives we forget what that natural state is. There is nothing better than a great relationship. You feel that you belong. You feel empowered. You feel an incredible aliveness. But ultimately we have to learn to have a great relationship with ourselves. When we do, it enriches everyone with whom we meet.

We live in a relational world. At a fundamental level what we all want is to deeply connect with others, but we’re not sure how to do that. Successful relationships transform our families, schools, institutions, governments and the world we live in.

When you connect with your heart, body and soul, connection occurs in an instant. Connection begins with you, by your awakening to your true nature as a spiritual being having a physical experience. It’s “a knowing” that you are connected to a power greater than you. Connection is a path and like most paths, there will be challenges along the way.

The good news is that connection can be cultivated. Before I embarked upon my coaching path I was a decent connector when I wanted to be, but I didn’t consider it one of my strengths. This has changed over the years.

My first coach gave me a new way to look at connection, which has been instrumental in my cultivating the awareness that I have now. From that moment on, I became increasingly aware of how much I liked to connect with others.

The ability to connect with others opens up a whole new world. Connection transcends stereotypes and judgments, creating fertile ground for a new dialogue, a dialogue not
constrained by history, but open to common ground for a consciousness of possibility. By connecting, you make the ultimate gift to yourself and to others. It is when we give of
ourselves that we receive the ultimate joy.

Our bigger challenge is to receive from others. Many of us find it difficult to be supported and to let others do things for us. This might seem like somewhat of a paradox, but when we give to others we remain in control. It’s only in the act of receiving that we give up control and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. It is in that moment when we feel the most connected to others. By receiving the gift of another, we are making the ultimate gift to them. Until we allow ourselves to receive this gift, we won’t be able to experience the depth and intimacy that we are seeking.

Let me share with you a few strategies that I have found effective in cultivating more connection in my life. After meditation, I express gratitude for the gift of connection that I have with others. Perhaps in the beginning of this practice I didn’t feel or believe it totally. But over time I’ve noticed that my ability to connect has become a strength. I’m certainly more aware of the connections that I do have.

Being curious is invaluable. In some ways, I’ve transformed being curious into a fun game. Whenever I go to a gathering, I’m curious with whom I’ll connect With so many of us asking the same questions, I’m curious about what I might learn when I connect with them. In the last few years I’ve expanded upon this practice. Before I left for a recent trip for Kauai, I wondered about with whom I would have the best connection. This set the tone and kept me curious during the whole trip. The synchronicity was amazing. We reach a time in our life, when those remarkable meetings seem to occur more often. Synchronicity then becomes the norm, rather than the infrequent occurrence.

Each time that I experience one of those chance encounters that provides a missing piece to the puzzle, there is a thought that deeply resonates within me. It makes greater sense to me now than it ever did. As we continue to evolve, we attract to us our tribe of kindred souls.

We are the source of the connection that we crave, which is fueled by our ability to come from the deep place of love within. Unfortunately too many of us are looking to find love outside of ourselves-it’s an inside job that has its own language.

The language of love is the most powerful language on the planet. In the English language, some of our deepest feelings can’t
be expressed in words. We can look to the Greeks for wisdom. Two friends touch each other’s souls but are not lovers. The Greeks refer to this love between friends as Philos.

The special love that we share for our family is different than any other love we experience. The Greeks refer to this love of family as Storge.

Spiritual love, or the love that is God is referred to as Agape.

The physical love, when lovers embrace, is referred to as Eros.

The language of love is an acknowledgment of a person’s essence and their inner beauty. If we are not comfortable with the more accepted language of love, it is important to create our own language; a language that acknowledges others, their
greatness, their gifts and their blessings.

By becoming more comfortable with this language, we open the doors to deeper intimacy. We begin the process of fulfilling the deepest craving that James refers to. Perhaps you have your own language and way of expressing it. Perhaps it’s with your eyes or your smile. Let’s be open to finding new ways in which to do that.

Have fun

Mark

Please join me with my cohost Ralph Marston on the Journey On radio show. 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.

The Lost Art of Uni-Tasking

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Last week I was in the checkout line at the local health food store. It’s not unusual to run into old friends. I hadn’t seen Oscar in some time. In the midst of a catch-up conversation he attempted to pay his bill. After fumbling around, he laughed and said I better uni-task. So that got me thinking. Multitasking has become pandemic.

We want to do it all and have a concern that we might be missing out on something—that call or message that pertains to a different reality than the one we are engaged in at the present moment. We pay a price for these distractions. In the process we lose our ability to really get into something and know it well. Rather than being in the moment with what we are doing, we are already thinking about something else. Is that something else more important than what we are doing now? And of course the pattern continues. We don’t really commit to being fully present. We don’t commit to just being. Because of this our experience of what’s possible is limited. We never do reach our full potential!

The concern that we will miss out keeps most of us, if not all of us, clued to the latest technological device. As soon as we see or hear a signal that we have an incoming message, we interrupt what we are doing to notice the nature of that incoming message. Very rarely is it something important that has to be handled in the moment.

The bigger price we pay is that the flow of our conversation has been interrupted. None of us like to be interrupted when in the presence of another. In the current scenario we are being interrupted essentially by a computer. The energy changes and the connection has been lost. Sure we have more information at our fingertips, but we’ve replaced intimacy with information. Worrying about missing out on something actually will lead to a bigger loss. Which is missing out on intimately connecting with others.

It also neglects the importance of the person with whom we are interacting and in the process ourselves. We have allowed our lives to be programmed by computers. It raises the question as to how much free will we really have.

It’s also symptomatic of a bigger problem. Our concern about external events gets in the way of our being in the moment.

I’m often asked what I think are the main concerns that people experience. Perhaps the biggest concern is how to make peace with an uncertain future. Our challenge is to develop a trust that if we live totally in the present that the uncertainty we have about the future will unfold the way it should. Our part is to be 100% committed to whatever we are engaged in. It doesn’t mean to be in denial of some of the problems that we all experience individually and collectively. But when we approach these concerns with 100% focus and effort, then we begin to discover solutions to problems that previously were thought to be insoluble.

Intellect and information are extremely important, but by themselves are not enough. What has been lost is the ability to connect with others and to work together. It’s difficult to connect with someone when you are not being in the moment with them and truly listening to what their concerns are. You can’t truly get them when you are multitasking.

Yes we are curious and have a desire to know. Learn to trust that for one precious moment it’s all going to work out. For that one moment just be. Try it for ten minutes. Just be and give your concerns a holiday. They don’t need you all of the time. That holiday includes taking a vacation from your smart phone.

Living in the moment and being present is an art form that can be cultivated. The ones that have mastered it have a presence about them. They are connected to the source of their personal power and all that is and has always been.

Meditation in the morning is an essential practice to cultivate in this rapidly changing world. It’s the first step toward becoming a master uni-tasker.

Enjoy the journey

Mark

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. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

Be Curious about What’s Next.

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

There is an invisible web beyond space and time that connects more than we realize. While many seemingly random events do seem to fit together from different periods of our lives, there are just no explanations for many things that have occurred. They just happen. The many mysteries and miracles that have preceded us can’t be explained in words. The universe has existed for billions of years. Relatively speaking, we are just here for a short time.

While we are here, we try to make sense of it. We learn from each other and from all of our experiences. There is a tendency in most of us, if not all of us, to try to come up with answers for everything that happens in our life. So we make stuff up such as, “Life sucks; What should I have expected.” Of course we can choose to adopt a more positive scenario. “What a beautiful day. Life is good.” We don’t need to have an explanation or answer for everything. It’s okay not to know. In fact that’s when the fun begins. If we always knew the answer or what was next, life would get boring.

So become comfortable with not knowing, and be curious about what’s next.

Enjoy the Journey,

Mark

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. He is the author of Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

Say, “Good-bye” to Complaining

Friday, May 17th, 2013

So it didn’t work out. You’re disappointed and question whether it was worth “it.” The ‘it’ is different for each of us depending on where we are in our lives. But complaining about what happened or why we aren’t living the life we truly want doesn’t get us anywhere.

What is valuable is to look at the underlying patterns that keep repeating themselves. Some of you remember Carl—— his issue was a string of relationships that didn’t work out. Carl kept choosing partners who were unavailable.  But it was safe for him because he knew that the relationship wouldn’t go anywhere. And he got to complain which he had been doing most of his life. After he discovered what his pattern was, he began to choose more available partners and his relationships were much more fulfilling.

So let it go. It happened. Stop wishing it were different. Instead of complaining, ask what you have learned from the experience about yourself and how this learning can benefit you in the future.

Make it a habit. When something doesn’t work out, automatically ask yourselves what you’ve learned. What would your life be like if you stopped complaining?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Please join me for the Journey On radio show. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator.  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. He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

The Power of Your Imagination

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

 

There is a tremendous power that we all have access to and affects us daily. You know it and for many of us runs our life. You might be wondering what that power is. It’s worry. Think about it. Worry affects us every day, but what is it. It’s our imagination, imagining worse case scenarios. There is an acronym that reminds me of this truth. F.E.A.R.—False Evidence Appearing Real. Our imagination used in this manner can paralyze us and make us miserable and ineffective.

But there is a better way. Our imagination can be used to imagine best case scenarios. Even if those best case scenarios don’t happen, we’ll feel better and excited about possibilities in our lives that at one time we didn’t know existed. We will also get on the positive side of change.

When I was in my twenties I was struggling to graduate from law school and to pass the bar. All I could see was the day to day struggle and what was ahead; looking for a job.

And then my girl friend at the time, Kallie, asked me a question. “How do you want your life to be in fine years?” So I’m asking you the same question. Imagine your life five years from now, the way you want it to be.

Develop a daily practice. After taking time for inner reflection and silence, imagine that life and express gratitude for having it. Make this practice a daily habit for 30 days and then see what happens. It’s a small investment of thought and time, that can change your life, both in the way you feel and in what you manifest.

Let me know how it goes.

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Please join me for the Journey On radio show. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator.  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. He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.

 

Life Lessons from the River

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a formula if followed would be the answer to all of our problems and concerns. We are intrigued by books and lectures that promise us happiness and a better life.

If you have been a reader of this blog, you know that I make frequent references to the river.  Perhaps you already know the story. When I was 13 years old, my Uncle Sam took me on a weeklong river rafting trip on the Green River in Colorado.  We flew from San Francisco to Boise and then caught a little six-seat plane that flew us over the mountains and landed in a town near our campsite.  We then got into an old school bus that drove us to the river.

On the second day of the trip I was swimming along the side of the raft when I noticed the raft getting ahead of me and I heard the yells:  “Get in the boat. Get in the boat.” But it was too late. As I swam toward the boat, I became exhausted from the struggle. I heard more yells: “Stay in the center. Stay in the center.”  That’s what I tried to do. I let go as I was swirled through the rapids a few feet behind the boat. I made it to the other side. I was now in calm water and able to relax for a second until I noticed the next series of rapids approaching. At the last second my uncle extended an oar and miraculously I was able to grab it as I was pulled onto the boat.

On the way home, my uncle said something to me that was prophetic. “ You’ll think about this trip later in life.“  It wasn’t until many years later, on a return trip to Colorado, while visiting a friend that I thought about it. As I sat high on a mountaintop, staring into a reddish canyon, I saw a river. I reflected upon my river experience many years previously. I thought about my life and all that had occurred up to that moment in time. There were the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows and the remarkable people who had been my guides on this journey. I reflected upon eight principles that have been my inner guides that have helped me navigate the changing nature of the river.

  • Find and live from your center. When you are centered and connected to your source, you are connected with the source of everything.  That’s when you are able to let go, to trust and to flow with what is. When I let go in the river and stayed in the center, I became at one with that same energy and power that had forged a path over thousands of years. Meditation has facilitated my connecting with that center on a daily basis.
  •  Develop the practice of gratitude. I was grateful for that oar. I was grateful that I got to experience the river. And I am grateful for my life. We have much to be grateful for.  We are truly abundant.
  • Be curious. Think of your life as a river with its lessons, challenges and complexities. Being curious about the changing nature of the river enables you to know and sense its many currents. As this knowing emerges, you’re more comfortable with not knowing where the river is taking you. In the process you become the person you’ve always wanted to be, fully present with life, and passionate about living.
  • Be prepared. I wore a life preserver on the river. When you are prepared you can relax and enjoy life’s unfolding. Preparation involves nurturing your mind and body, including eating well and exercising. It involves working on yourself and being receptive to new ideas and concepts. In the process of becoming an expanded person, your sense of what is possible in your also expands.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.  I could have stayed in the boat and played it safe but I was curious and adventurous. My comfort zone for me was my law practice and as a result my life for many years was on hold. Getting in the current and flow of life involves risk, but that is what you must do if you want to realize your full potential.
  •  Learn to let go of resistance. Resistance is a constant  struggle. At some point in your life, not only do you become tired from the struggle, you become tired of the struggle. When you allow yourself to flow with what is, you experience a synchronicity that can’t be described in words.
  •  Trust others and work together. You can’t do it alone and why would you want to. When you are open and willing to receive you create a synergy in your life that is greater than the sum of the individual parts. When the oar is extended accept it.
  •  The River of Life is a great mystery. I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with not knowing the next step. And when it comes I enjoy taking it. The river is unpredictable and you can’t figure it out.

As you begin to integrate these eight principles into your life, you’re more confident that wherever the river takes you, you have the tools and inner resources to swim in the deeper waters and swifter currents.

With each passing year I am blessed to share the journey with many likeminded travelers.  Thank you for expanding our circle by forwarding this link to those in your circle. By the way when is your next river rafting trip?

JOURNEY ON

MARK

Please join me for the Journey On radio show. I am cohosting the show with my good friend Ralph Marston who publishes the Daily Motivator.  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. He is the author of Dancing on the River: Navigating Life’s Changes and Discover the Leader Within.


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