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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Two years ago, I wrote a post about my roller coaster ride of a birthday / Summer Solstice weekend. This year, I got another bumpy ride, literally.

I was driving up Pacific Coast Highway, along a scenic stretch between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, where beach after beach awaits exploration.  I’d taken the coast route because it was an exquisitely beautiful day and I wanted to gift myself some pleasure on my birthday. At the same time, having been away for eight days on a no-cation (meaning I’m off work and away, but attending to other business), and having been on the road the whole day prior, I was anxious to get home and “start my day.”

What’s up with thinking the destination is the point to the journey? What’s up with the notion that the fun begins when I retire, when I finish this project, when I have a certain sum of money (when I’m dead)? Oh boy, here comes the John Lennon quote: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Yep, and my birthday is what was happening to me while I was busy trying to get home to celebrate it.

Because of my focus on getting home, it never crossed my mind to stop at one of the beaches, which is unusual for me. I was also easily triggered by the leisurely pace of some of the drivers on the two-lane highway. And so, with my hackles up and my sights on my final destination, the bumpy ride began.

It began with a ka-clunk sound that had me think something in the back of my VW Camper had fallen. But a quick look over my shoulder revealed nothing out of place. Moments later, the dreaded “thunk-thunk-thunk” noise and the way the steering wheel was taking on a mind of its own told me the ka-clunk sound was something I ran over and I had a blowout.

Picture, HWY 1 – minimal to no shoulder in many places, one lane each way, no divider, cars traveling 50 to 60mph … My first thought was, “where do I pull over?” I was gifted with a small stretch of sandy parking space across the road and no on-coming traffic. I tucked my van into the one spot left among five parked cars and assessed the situation; brand new tire, flat to the rim.

Pumping with adrenaline, I pulled out my AAA card and prayed for a cell signal. Prayer answered. I could not pinpoint my location, but AAA operators are very patient and the tow truck driver (who is local and knows the area) could call me on my cell if he could not find me.

gull taking off -- copyright(c) Kathy J Loh, All rights reserved

As I awaited AAA, I took in the warm sunshine, watched fishermen catch rockfish and discovered I was at A Wit Bird Rock which is part of Bean Hollow State Beach. There was an abundance of wild flowers, birds and butterflies to enjoy. Life decided to have me notice it instead of my plans, and so I did. I got an hour at the beach. If I wasn’t going to go to the beach, the beach would come to me, in the only way it knew how.

I came to see the blow out (once I knew I was safe) as the call to adventure.

We often say that something like this is meant to slow us down and bring us present. Yes that and… it was the wildflowers wanting to be seen and the ocean breezes wanting to be felt. It was the fishermen wanting to be celebrated and the birds wanting to be heard. That’s what I mean by the call to adventure: those experiences and moments that are begging to be had and noticed, that take us out of our well-worn grooves and off our beaten paths.

To be with the unknown, to embrace the Great Mystery, we are called to be adventurous.

I realize I’ve been treating my birthday, Summer and Winter Solstices and New Year’s Day as heavenly oases in a desert of obligation, duty and struggle. On my birthday I celebrate me and on Solstice and New Year’s Day, I plant the seeds of intention.

That’s way too big a desert and way too few oases. I’m not a camel, though I can imitate one pretty well.

Life celebrates itself every day all day long. That’s what I want for my journey and my time on this planet to be too: passion, adventure, celebration.

I still got home in plenty of time to enjoy a last minute invitation to dinner at a friend’s home.

Oh and Solstice?

Another dear friend and I drove along country roads and over forested hills to an un-crowded beach where we delighted in the perfect temperature mix of sun and ocean spray, watched seals watching us, cooled our toes in the water and simply savored the longest day of the year.

At one point, I ventured to begin a conversation about intentions and my heart wasn’t in it. I was already living what I’d intentioned a few weeks back: adventure: taking off with a friend in her souped-up Jetta, hanging at the beach, watch-free, judging time by the angle of the sun and the tan lines on our shoulders, moving when the time felt right to move. We explored and found a place to eat when we got hungry and by the time we got home, the Solstice sun had set.

What’s different now from 2009, is that I am moving into experiencing life more and planning it less. Each moment is sacred and every day is another opportunity to assess, reassess and offer intentions. The signs and feedback, which I used to view as playful ways to make meaning, are becoming the constellations by which I navigate.

Something big happened to me when that tire blew out. I have felt altered ever since. I have felt more disconnected from the stuff that doesn’t really matter and more connected to that which does, as if that which matters most claimed me for its own.  The stuff that doesn’t really matter was really high maintenance and took a lot of my time, needed constant vigilance and upkeep, required lots of planning, manipulating and analysis. It’s all just a big smoke screen; a huge distraction from that which really matters, including me.

So, dear reader, what, what adventure great or small, calls to you today? How will you respond?

Copyright (c) June 2011, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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Ever had a brain lift? I make up that it’s like a face lift, but instead of erasing wrinkles, it erases beliefs.

I felt a wire in my brain snap during a coaching call with my coach, Jeanine Mancusi, the other day.  She’d asked about my ideas as to why my ex-husband went on to have an apparently happy life, the new young wife, dogs, etc., when he had been the “bad guy ” who had never behaved like he really wanted to be married to begin with. I made up all kinds of amateur analyses about it, finally admitting I didn’t really know and I felt I never would, because I’m not in his head. I’m not even in his life anymore.

Then she said something that hit me like Cher’s “snap out of it” slap in Nicholas Cage’s face in Moonstruck. She said:

“He chose to be happy.”

It was as if my brain went on red alert and all thinking had to be shut down in order to handle some sudden voltage. This is what it feels like when an illusion is pierced by the truth.

Uhm….it’s that simple? It’s that simple.

I was totally energized when we hung up. I got straight to work doing the things I’ve been resisting for months. As I marveled about the new burst of energy, I also mused and began to unravel, further, the tapestry of this belief I’d been holding. Actually, it’s the belief that was holding me….hostage.

The warp and weave of this particular tapestry comprised such notions as:

If you are good, you will be rewarded with happiness.

If you are bad, you will be punished and happiness will be withheld.

People who are bad and do bad things don’t deserve to be happy.

People who are good and do good things deserve to be happy.

People who do bad things and are still happy are cheating.

Now, how old do you think the person was who thought all of that up? It’s been hard-wired  in my brain for a very long time.

Suddenly, I understood the strange sense I have had all these years of waiting for the good news, the money, the soulmate to arrive. I have been awaiting, patiently and sometimes not so patiently, my reward for good behavior.

Here’s the catch: I’ll never be good enough. (Notice the collapse between inherent goodness and good behavior.) There’s always a thought or action that will land me in the penalty box in the game of life. If I sprain my ankle, I make an assumption (with the old belief) that I must not have been good enough. You know, like that old saying: if you bite your tongue you must’ve been thinking something bad about someone.

Even more wicked is this part: If anyone else in the world is unhappy (especially innocent people) then I can’t be happy because to do so would be in very poor form. It would be selfish and taking more than my share. (As you know, there is only so much happiness to go around!) A good girl learns to share. If I was happy and taking more than my share while others were unhappy then I would be a bad person and you know where that gets me….back into the penalty box; losing points and losing ground in my pursuit of happiness.

So, as humans will, I’d created an elaborate scheme for earning happiness which has to do with putting myself though lessons of unhappiness to grow myself and become the better, more deserving person and thus closer to receiving the reward of happiness.  It’s kind of like working really hard and doing extra credit homework for the A, or striving for sainthood.

Then all of a sudden, la-dee-da, along comes the realization that anyone, regardless of good or bad, (A student or F student), deserving or undeserving, hard worker or lazy, gets to choose to be happy just because they want to.

WTF? That sucks! And WOW you mean?

The waiting is over, sweetheart!

Right here, right now, I can decide to be happy and I don’t have to do anything to earn it, to pay for it, to coax it, to deserve it. All I’ve got to do is choose. The entire tapestry of the old belief structure had been pulled apart, string by string and there is nothing substantial to sustain it anymore.

3_3_2010

Perspective (c) K J Loh

A hawk is circling skyward outside my window as I write this. It reminds me to note that I covered this territory in this blog last October.  It’s no straight line, this evolution of consciousness. More like a spiral; each time we rise higher on the current,  getting an ever broader perspective. At the same time, like the hawk, able to see the finest details with clarity.

My resistance to doing what I wanted to do (written about in the two previous posts) was generated by several factors:

Rebellion: I’d been earning for a very long time and I was tired of showing up and not getting rewarded.

A holding pattern:  I’m waiting for my reward. Surely it will arrive any day now. (The scary thing about this notion is that I could easily wait myself into the grave.)

Indecisiveness: I didn’t know for sure what action or activity would get me the most points toward happiness.  I mean, if I’m trying to earn points then there must be some scoring scale for various activities, right? (Some of you might recognize this one as wanting to know if you are on the right path, doing the right thing.)

As I went to sleep that night, I reflected on this thought:

My life is a grand adventure!

I thought of all the adventures I’ve had so far. I was able to see the amazing life I’ve had. Yes, there have been tough times, but for the most part, I’ve lived a privileged and wildly creative life. I’ve participated in many amazing activities, taken fabulous journeys. Even the painful times made complete sense as part of the whole vista (a window I’ve peered through before).

I cried for the sheer Beauty of the Adventure.

I am currently at a point in my life where I can go anywhere and do anything I want. I have a blank canvas before me. I can work from anywhere as long as I have a phone. I have no pets, no spouse or mortgage to worry about.  I’ve dreamed of having this blank canvas for as long as I can remember.

What is the adventure I want initiate now?

As a coach, and a visionary, I am used to taking people and myself through the visioning process. I have lost my interest in visioning the places, people and activities many years ahead.

I am more interested in visioning who I am being come whatever may. I am enchanted by the Mystery. I don’t want to plot my course so much as dance with it. I don’t need a GPS, I just need my dancing shoes.

Whether or not someone else is happy will no longer be the gauge by which I measure the happiness available to me.

Happiness is not a competition. (Neither for that matter is unhappiness, but that’s another subject.)

My coach once asked me “Does Kathy get to be happy?”

I now ask you the same question: Do you get to be happy?

Notice, as you reflect upon your answer:

Any discomfort in your body

Any conditions you place upon it

What you make up about why or why not

Does everyone else in your life and in this world get to be happy?

Why or why not? What are the rules and conditions that dictate your answer?

If you are someone who says you don’t know what you want, consider that you do know what you want, but you don’t think you get to have it. Why not?

Ok now, who wants to go dancing in the Mystery with me?

Copyright (c) March 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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