June 2015: A Call to Action

by Brad on May 31, 2015

   “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi

If you’re interested in living more fully, you probably love being exposed to new ideas and perspectives on your own personal growth. And if you want to live your dreams, you probably love being exposed to new possibilities for how those dreams might show up. But big ideas and dreams have something in common. They represent potential energy, the energy of what could be, rather than kinetic energy, the energy of becoming what could be.

IMG_0493We often live under the illusion that ideas themselves will change us. I suspect that, among other things, this is why there are so many books, courses and other material (including newsletters) available on changing your life and living your dreams. Words offer no promise on their own; they’re just words. The promise lies in your own personal felt experience of those words. You gain that experience only by taking action. Just as in sports, you can’t become an expert skier by reading skiing books; you have to come down the mountain.

When it comes to living more fully, no matter what your desires may be, I identify two different kinds of action:

  • Personal Practices: recurring exercises you adopt that help you get to know your own ways of being more deeply. Awareness is one kind of felt experience – it creates its own change in your ways of being. Practices do their work indirectly, by creating conditions where change happens naturally, without force or agenda on your part. You can find examples of practices in the Exercises section of any of these newsletters. The primary reason I hear for why people avoid adopting new practices is that they can’t see (ahead of time) how they can possibly work.
  • Stepping into your truth: “doing” things. Your world will change when you It doesn’t really matter what you do; what matters is that you take one action step each day toward the deep personal truth inside you, toward the “you” you want to become. The act of doing something is another kind of felt experience – curiously, it creates its own energy, too – by inspiring you to take the next step, and then the next. The primary reason I hear for why people avoid taking direct action is that they don’t know (ahead of time) which step is “the right step” to take.

In both cases, the greatest obstacle you face (the one that keeps you from taking action toward your dreams), is not “life,” or its many challenges, or your level of skill, but a fear: “I can’t do anything until I know it’s the right thing, and that it will take me directly to my destination.” The path beyond this dilemma is to realize that this greatest obstacle is only a thought. And thoughts have no sustainable life other than what your mind gives them! Yet we’re so conditioned to these fears, and to believing they’re real, that we rarely stop to consider that we feel imprisoned because we built the prison, sentenced ourselves, and then worse, chose to move in. I know many people who, although consciously pursuing a path toward richer, more authentic and more possibility-filled lives, stop short of taking action on new ideas, and are then left feeling empty, grasping at the words, as if a feather in the wind. If this touches you, take action. Release the story. Start with the exercises below; do something; keep going. Everything is possible.

Exercise: What is true for you, right now? This, like all practices suggested here each month, is about self-awareness first. Part 1: There’s energy inside you; it has always been there; its quiet yet persistent message is silently pulling you to take action – so as to express itself through how you live your life. Find this source of sustainable, authentic energy within you. In 10 – 20 minutes of quiet reflective time each day, listen for the message from this, your inner truth. As you practice listening, the incessant chatter of the unconscious mind will calm, and your authentic voice will emerge. After you listen for this message, then listen to this message. It’s telling you how you can become your true self (this is a different self than the one you unconsciously adopted when you chose to favor social acceptance over personal authenticity.) Part 2: Do something. Take one conscious action step into this energy each day. It doesn’t matter what action you take, as long as it’s in response to what you hear from your inner self. That’s because, with each step you take, you’ll hear feedback – a natural information flow in your life that will help you know how that step went, what the view looks like from this new perspective, and what step you might take next. With each step, you’ll build energy inside you (momentum, kinetic energy), the energy of creating your future self, one passionate step at a time.    

A River Runs Through It [Life lessons offered by nature]

Earlier this spring, I enjoyed what I think of as a personal retreat, this time a week in red rock country around Sedona, Arizona. I found a delightful little cabin in Oak Creek Canyon about 6 miles out of town. Each morning, I made coffee and sat outside in the cold, early-morning desert air, watching it get light. Slowly at first, the sun began painting the canyon walls red all around me. At 5000 feet elevation in dry air, direct sunshine creates instant warmth, so fleece layers quickly gave way to shorts and t-shirt. With plenty of time for reflective awareness – the intended reason for the trip in the first place – I just allowed “life in the canyon” to seep into my being, free of any judgment, any need to change anything, or even a need to identify things. I felt immersed in the pulse of everyday life in nature – northern Arizona style. By sunrise each day, I was certain that every bird in the state had come here for breakfast, as the symphony was just beautiful. A continual procession of hummingbirds graced the garden around me, too, many only heard but not seen, the characteristic whirring of their wings being the only evidence of their presence. I once heard a canyon wren, a tiny bird with a big voice – an iconic sound of the desert southwest.

During the day, I’d explore one of the many side canyons, enjoying the creeks, trees and plants that made their homes here. I was struck by the breathtaking silence of this place, despite the busyness of town only a few miles away. In the evenings, I’d watch it get dark, another of my many favorite silent pursuits. All of this “activity” kept me connected to nature’s rhythms, a nice departure from everyday life, where the natural world often fades into obscurity, hidden by the din of our so-called modern ways.

Curiously, and maybe as an unconscious way to bridge the gap between the natural and mundane worlds, I’m often drawn to anthropomorphizing things when I’m in nature – thinking about nature in terms we usually use to view our own lives. Following the theme of this month’s article, here are a few thoughts from these musings. What if hummingbirds couldn’t decide which flower was the “right” flower, and ended up not eating? What if a fledgling woodpecker decided it was afraid to trust its wings and never left the branch? And what if a coyote got tired of catching mice and decided to go to college so it could get a real job? You get the point. Nature is always in touch – pretty much only in touch – with its power of creative genius. It doesn’t need a project plan, a worry list, a decision-making committee, or even a post-review to see how the day went. (Did the creek wear down enough rock today so it “felt good enough” about itself to take the evening off to watch TV? Really.) Nature puts 100% of its energy into creation – and then “listens” to the feedback it gets, which helps it know what to create next. Given the elegant simplicity of these two rules (create, then listen), we might even be more in awe of her majestic creations.


Openings to New Possibility

Available for you:

  • The Road Not Taken Community, a no-cost subscription that offers you connection, interaction, challenge, and learning. Articles, newsletters and blogs here. I welcome conversation; dialogue is how we all learn together.
  • In Nature’s Image,100 of my nature images, each with a simple message to help experience life’s meaning.
  • The Road Not Taken newsletters (13 years, 156 issues of Purposeful Wanderings) available here as a pdf file.
  • Photo images from my travels available here on fun products – note cards, coffee mugs – great gift ideas.

An invitation to possibility: This (or any) newsletter could be the basis of a focused program of personal coaching. So if you read something that evokes the yearning inside you … and have the courage and determination to challenge conventional thinking so you can live instead with authenticity and freedom, contact me for a conversation that can energize your dream. I will help you reach a level of clarity and perspective – about yourself, others, your life, your work, and the world – that will allow you to live your truth, every day. Trade the way it is for the way it could be.

Book of the month – Silence: The Mystery of Wholeness, by Robert Sardello. One of the reasons I believe we struggle so much with the kinds of change suggested in this month’s article is that we cannot get past the discomfort of being with our own silence. We’re so used to the chatter in our heads that we can’t deal with it calming down (despite what we say we want). Sardello shows us how to touch the inner silence that is our natural human state, releasing with compassion the chatter and noise that characterize our everyday world, and then come to accept silence as a partner in our journeys. … And if you’re on Cape Cod, you’ll find this book at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons – 508-539-6985.


Download June 2015 pdf

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lori May 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Great reminders Brad…! As always you are spot on with healthy, optional directives… Feeling very fortunate to have this wonderful connection of truth, wonder and openness paralleling new -roads-taken.. And what it means when we do the opposite and, pass by the road not taken… So may “what if’s…”
Having just finished your June musings…. You are like a lighter than air baloon, always pulling those around you up, rather than weighing us down…
You have made and continue to make a difference…for myself and many…
Fearless ( for the most part 🙂 (U R human aren’t U)???
And Inspiring….With sincere continued thanks…
Gracias, Amigo… Cabolori


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