I remember a conversation I had with my good friend Kate this summer prior to my trip to Portugal, and telling her about how stressed I was about driving into downtown Lisbon for the weekend in the middle of our 2-week holiday. I was afraid of getting lost, of what might happen if we missed a turn. I had the notion that all would be good if we made it from point A to point B just as outlined in the great driving directions my husband Jim had prepared. The story playing in my head involved getting off course, driving in endless circles, wasting valuable time. Well, Kate, in her graceful, brilliant way offered me another possibility. She shared with me that the most exciting moments of her vacations had been when she’d gotten lost – how not knowing where she was offered her surprises, new insights, unexpected joy. Could it be that the way to move from feeling afraid and uncertain was to be present in the moment, being where I was, not where I thought I should or ought to be?
Kate was right. This beach you see in the photo was an unexpected delight on this summer’s vacation, after my husband Jim and I had opened to a sense of adventure in finding a beach for the day (so many to choose from!). We drove some 6 miles through the country, not sure if we were going in the right direction, or what we’d find at the end of the road. Ultimately dirt roads and a steep cliff led us to this amazing vista
Today I’m wondering how I might navigate through life with that kind of adventure-some perspective. How might I embrace detours along the path and open to the unexpected. What if I trusted that I would arrive at a destination far more wonderful than I could ever imagine? Maybe knowing exactly where I am are going is like thinking I have the answers – it prevents me from asking questions, from being curious, being playful, creative, open…
On a cold, gray day last month, I was hungry for inspiration to move through my day and turned to my journals. I ended up reading through my October entries from the past 5 years. Below are the ideas that I distilled from my writings and that have reaffirmed the map I want to use to navigate through life. Maybe there are some ideas that feel right for you to embrace?
- The key to loving life-as-it-is is to love myself as I am.
- I can find myself when I notice when something feels good, when I lose track of time, when my heart is calm, when my mind is present now.
- I am the one to stand up for me.
- I don’t have to try so hard.
- Sometimes just sitting and breathing is enough.
- Don’t move so fast through my experiences that I am left empty.
- It feels good to take care of myself.
- Nature is an invitation to connect with what matters, freeing my spirit, getting my energy moving, and opening my creativity.
- Perfection is a broken belief–striving for it only creates things I don’t want in my life, like fear and resistance.
- Clinging to being responsible, organized, and practical deludes me into thinking I’m in control and blocks my ability to be in powerful action.
- Determining what I want involves thinking different thoughts than I’ve never thought before.
- My intentions create my future reality—be conscious about what I wish for.
- When I bend to the energy of the moment, I receive what the experience of now has to offer.
- Life is beautiful when I find a place of balance between being gentle with myself and challenging myself beyond my limits.
- There is power in accepting both the good and the bad, the positive and the negative – to opening to the AND of life and the wholeness, roundness of it.
- It is OK to not know – it’s a great invitation to listen, ask questions, invite others into dialogue, and create understanding.
- It’s possible to find solid ground in the midst of a groundless, chaotic, evolving and uncertain environment.
- Life is not about being brilliant enough to make sure nothing bad happens but about how we respond to the inevitable curve balls.
- The best way to get somewhere is to BE somewhere.
- We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are. ~Anais Nin
- What we see depends on what we look for. ~John Lubbock
- Our imaginations are like swollen rivers flooded with falsehoods of the ages as they have been passed on to us across the generations. ~Rolf Gates
- Having the composure to sit down and be still is considered utterly dignified and profoundly human. ~Michael Carroll
- In some basic way it is our imperfections and even our pain that draws others close to us. ~Rachel Naomi Remen
- We can drop the fundamental hope that there is a better me who one day will emerge. ~Pema Chodron
- What you seek is camouflaged in what you fear. Every story of an obstacle has a shadow story of desire. The obstacle contains yet conceals the desire. ~Coaching Compass
- In our deepest moments of struggle, frustration, fear, and confusion, we are being called up on to reach in and touch our hearts. ~Ruth Fishel
- Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. ~Ronald Dahl
Click on the link below to access the November calendar featuring highlights from this post.
Photo by Vicki L. Flaherty, 2013.
© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013