Thursday, January 29, 2015

Oh Darling, Let’s be adventurers

When I was in fourth grade I randomly decided to make Fridays special by having slumber parties. The guest list was just me, mind you, but I had a blast. I carried my sleeping bag out to the living room, watched the original line up of TGIF and turned in around 10. I recently remembered that when I considered ways to spice up my life. I tend to be a very structured and regimented. I like holding to a schedule and checking things off my list. That’s fine and all. It helps meet the demands of life. It just does nothing for the soul. I found myself reflecting on the same idea as last January. If this is the life I have and nothing else changed, how can I enjoy it to the fullest?

Do you ever consider how many of us think we’re depressed, when really we’re just bored or stuck in a rut? What if breaking from the routine and adding a little adventure is just what the doctor ordered? Now before your mind goes to the extreme with what constitutes adventure, realize it can look a lot of different ways. It might not be Daytona bike week like some friends, or camel riding in Morocco like others. But what if it were regional excursions, road trips to see friends, touristy stuff right in your own back yard? What if it’s trying activities like karaoke or go-karting? Sometimes just visiting a specialty grocery store can feel like an adventure. The what doesn’t really matter. It’s about how it makes you feel.

You know the feeling you get right before a field trip or vacation? The nervous energy and the butterflies in your stomach that leave a silly grin on your face? It’s the feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen, but somehow knowing it’s going to be good. It’s the feeling of eager anticipation when you’re exploring uncharted territory. It’s the feeling of elation that comes with discovering something that perhaps had forgotten about or you’re experiencing in a whole new way. It’s discovering you again…not the uptight, stressed out, grownup you. It’s discovering the child-like, carefree, vibrant you…the one that’s spontaneous…the one that can create a new game off the top of your head…the one that fearlessly runs through the woods, climbs trees, leaps over creeks and doesn’t give one thought to skinning a knee or getting a little dirty. Each time you try something new you recapture that neglected part and are reminded how interesting life can be. I challenge you, let’s be adventurers.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

'Tis the season to detox

This week many will begin one diet/exercise regimen or another. Christmas Nutri Ninjas will be put to good use as people start juicing, cleansing, and green drinking their way to health. Many religious groups will also fast for the purpose of corporate prayer. Whether a person’s reasons are natural or spiritual, it seems to be the time of year where people are ready to clear out and get back to what’s essential. However, that’s much easier said than done. But why?

We like what we like
It’s really that simple. We want more of what we enjoy and less of what we don’t. That would be fine if we were balanced. We’re not. By nature, we’re creatures of extremes. Sometimes it takes stripping ourselves of all the clutter we accumulate to realize how little we truly need.

We fear self-examination
Whenever you practice self-denial of any sort, you better believe it’ll reveal what’s inside you. It’s like those cheery morning people who suddenly give up caffeine and then they’re as mean as a snake. You can always tell when your preferences have become needs once you eliminate them. Then, you find out what’s your true emotional base line. How do really you handle life when your crutches and vices are taken away? The real answer scares us so we'd just as soon avoid it.

We fear failure
Sometimes we avoid starting good habits and quitting bad ones because we don’t know if we can stick with it. Isn’t it easier to excuse, rationalize, and defend why there’s nothing wrong with staying the same? Or to make a change plan but then secretly give yourself an out in case it doesn’t work? Change is hard and it’s scary. Some won’t even begin because they aren’t guaranteed they can make a lasting change.
Yet, here we are, in a new year, and we’re compelled to hit the reset button in our lives. While I’m not necessarily a proponent of diets, I do believe abstinence periods, when rooted in spiritual discipline, can be good for the soul. There’s a lot of power in ridding yourself of your dependencies and centering yourself on what really matters. Just remember, it’s not the external changes that purify you. True cleansing begins within.