Working With The Gravitational Pull Of Life

Not Me

Downhill skiing reveals the pull of  gravity that many other activities don’t.  When you are at the top of the mountain and point your skis downhill, gravity takes over.

It’s an exhilarating experience and sometimes frightening, but I’m learning that if I work with gravity by adjusting my weight and skis I can make my way down the slope mostly in one piece.

What’s exciting (and sometimes frightening) about going down a more challenging run for the first time is that you don’t altogether know what the run will be like. A trail map can give you some information, but it can’t replace experience.

This week I stood at the top of the tallest mountain peak I have ever been on. As I rode up the gondola I got more and more anxious as we approached the 11,166ft summit.  For a few minutes we walked around the summit and took in a view that stretched from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. That alone was the worth the trip to the peak.

This was the most daunting run that I and my wife have attempted and for a few minutes we both thought about turning back. Had it not been for the encouragement of our 13 year old son, we might have.

I entered the course and worked hard to maintain my speed and not get out of control. After a couple of falls and a few swear words I got past the most difficult part of the hill and made my way to the bottom with more confidence. It was awesome and I will most likely never do it again.

It takes courage to try something new and to venture into an experience where you feel drawn but where the outcome is unknown.  This the gravitational pull of life.

Sometimes we feel pulled in certain directions or to certain peopleWe feel drawn to move into a new venture or feel called to pursue an option we haven’t tried before. These experiences can be fun, exhilarating, and frightening.

If we fight this pull we often miss out on opportunities for growth. We miss on meeting  people who will expand our understanding of ourselves or our world.  We miss the opportunities to move our careers in a direction that’s in better alignment with our values, skills, and strengths.  We may also miss an opportunity to expand our sense of what we are capable of.

Sometimes we feel pulled to move in a new direction but are unsure of if we can be successful or who we will become in the process.  Here some gravitational pulls I’ve had and seen other people go through:

  • to start a relationship
  • to end a relationship
  • to go back to school
  • to start a business
  • to travel
  • to engage a social cause
  • to transform their health
  • to transform their minds
  • to rework their beliefs
  • to shift in their career

What I’ve learned as a I’ve evolved as person is that if we are doing our best to live a life of awareness we will understand more about what is pulling us. I’ve learned  if I trust my internal sense that a new direction is the right path to take, then I can also trust that I will figure out how to work with that pull.

When you are wresting with a pull in your life and are unsure about it, it’s time to call on the people you trust. Enlist the wisdom of people around you and be open to their feedback and advice. Take advice but  you get to decide what is right for you because you are the author of your life.

I’ve had times in my life where I knew I was being pulled in a certain direction and I ignored it.  Like trying to fight the gravitation pull of the earth I  wasted a huge amount of time and energy resisting the call to live life differently.

I’ve learned that if I work with what is pulling me life is more rewarding. I’ve also learned is that if you work with the gravitational pull of life, you may not always know how it will turn out. That is what makes life both daunting and exciting. Let go of the outcome and engage in the process.

What gravitational pull of life is pulling you?  Are you working with it or trying to fight it?

 

What If The Golden Years Are Right Now? (And You’re Missing Them)

Credit: DeduloPhotos

Credit: DeduloPhotos

 

How many times have you had the thought,

“When I get to ______ life will really be great!”

That is what I call the Golden Years.  A time in life where we look forward to our future becoming better than what it is today.  Life will really be great:

When I retire.

When the kids go off to college.

When I get that promotion.

When I buy that house.

When I take that trip.

When I lose weight.

When I meet Mr./Mrs Right

Having goals for our future isn’t wrong. I have goals for my future, but what if we are missing out on what’s available to us in the present because we are so focused on the future? Worse yet, what if we actually get to the future and we don’t find it as great as we thought it was.

I’m bored in retirement.

I miss the kids.

I’m stressed in my new job.

The house is so big I can’t find anyone.

It rained the whole time during my trip.

I lost weight, but gained it back.

My relationship ended.

The future could be as great as we think it will be, but we can’t know that today because it has happened yet. If fact, there is no guarantee we will get to our future. Life can get cut short through illness and accidents,  jobs can end through layoffs, and houses burn down.

What I’ve been realizing though, it that the Golden Years are right now where ever I am and where ever I go.

The reason I’m not experiencing the Golden Years is that I’m not fully living in awareness of what I’m experiencing today. I’m too preoccupied with the future, too stressed about what hasn’t happened yet, and too anxious about my goals and if they will happen.

Here’s an example:  I’ve had this idea that my blog and podcast will really be making an impact in people’s lives when I hit 100,000 readers each month.  Right now I have about 22oo, and if I focus on how far I am from my goal I get discouraged and feel like I’m wasting my time.

But what if the Golden Years of my blog and podcast are right now?  If I practice the skill of living a life of awareness I realize that writing and speaking my ideas is helping me become the person I want to be. I appreciate the people who are showing up each month to read and listen.  I’m meeting people I never would have met if I had not started a podcast. I’m grateful for the experience.

Living a life of awareness means that we are paying attention to the present moment.

What am I feeling right now?

What am I thinking?

What is grabbing my attention?

What do I notice?

What do I see?

What do I hear?

What am I sensing?

Living in the present is challenging because our internal thinking, the demands we place on ourselves and demands from other people can rip us out of the now and into the anxiety of the future.  Living in the present brings a deeper and fuller experience.

When I am living a life of awareness and living in the present:

I appreciate and love my wife more.

I see how extraordinary my kids are.

I experience the beauty of my surroundings.

I am more open and flexible.

I’m less frustrated when things don’t work out.

I find more meaning in my work.

I’m more content with what I have and what I don’t

Don’t waste time, relationships, and experience waiting for the future. Practice living life with awareness and being present in the moment and see how the Golden Years are right now.

 

Here are some resources that I’ve found helpful as I’m learning how to practice living in awareness.

Slow Down to the Speed of Life, by Richard Carlson and Joe Bailey. This is a great read about how to get your mind out of the past and out of the future so you can live with more peace and contentment in a busy world.

Interview with Joe Bailey Co-Author of Slow Down to the Speed of Life on the 5Percenters Podcast. Click here. Joe and I talk about the concepts in his book and apply them to living an excellent life.

Zen Parenting Podcast with Cathy Cassini Adams and Todd Adams. If you have kids this is an excellent podcast about living the life you want your kids to learn. Their tag line is, “The best predictor of your child’s well being is a parent’s self-understanding”. Even if you don’t have kids, this is an excellent podcast about living a life of awareness.