Tag Archives: self-development

Bungee

Sometimes you just gotta jump.

As we cycled through New Zealand it seemed there were opportunities to bungee at every bridge or skyline landmark. The land of adventure; a list of accomplishments.

Given I seem to have an ever increasing fear of heights this was a no, no for me, yet for many the thrill of leaping from a variety of platforms does, it seems, hold a great appeal. As I stood there watching these thrill seekers I couldn’t help but compare the act of bungee jumping with the process of change. Courage, fear, anticipation, excitement, relief. The levels at which these emotions are wrapped up can of course vary significantly on the decisions we are making.

We all have a different capacity for dealing with change. While some of us constantly seek something new there are many for whom a move from what is constant, stable and known to us is much harder. It’s easy to say but even when change is tough I have always tried to see the positives. We may not always be in control of what happens to us but we are in charge when we decide how we will react.

Making an active decision to jump off that cliff may be one of the toughest choices you ever have to make. For most people who bungee, despite stepping nervously, legs shaking and eyes confused between trying not to look while catching small glimpses of what’s to come, additional reassurance will come from safety records, from the harness they are attached to and of course the people supporting them to step off that edge.

It’s much easier to make changes and be in control than to act positively when others make decisions for you. So, get a harness, glimpse to the future and get folks around you but if you need to jump…..don’t put if off forever. That harness really will tie you in knots.

The right thing

I was recently speaking with a friend who was recounting a conversation with a man in his mid-eighties facing up to the inevitable. Successful in his career, happy in terms of family; yet still he seemed to talk with a sense of regret. All his life he had lived up to expectations – he had done the right thing. Yet, in approaching the end of his life he noted that “he had not done the right thing for himself”.

Most people will of course take the mainstream path and for many it will of course be their choice. A desire to belong, to be loved, to work in a particular field. Gathering qualifications, moving through a career and having a family…or not. However, for many others they fall into jobs, stay in relationships for fear of being alone and have families because it’s what you do. It’s certainly not wrong, can lead to real joy and happiness and of course can be incredibly rewarding. What I fear however is that for a lot of people they become trapped.

I’ve heard many talk of being stuck on the treadmill where debt, family and the inevitable expectations of others prevail. Circumstances do of course make it harder for some to change but I still believe that with courage we can all take steps, however small, to live by our hearts. It’s funny. While there is a significant part of me that hoped that by my late thirties I too may have “settled down” as I currently pedal my way around the globe I’m thankful of my freedom to have been able to make such a decision and even happier that should settling down still happen – and I hope it will – that I have the chance to enter the next phase of my life knowing that I want it to bring joy and opportunity not another¬† never ending run.

Making active decisions to turn down promotion, develop new work choices later in life, move on from “ok” relationships or live according to dreams and passions can often take a tough decision or an unexpected jolt from the norm, breakup or redundancy, for example. With these changes it we appear much more able to then look at what we really want. It seems a shame to me however that we wait. We wait for things to get really bad. We wait for others to make decisions on our behalf. I have also been there.

Back in 2012 I remember reading an article in The Guardian called “The five regrets of the dying”. Reviewing a book written by a former care nurse, Brownie Ware, the write up listed these top regrets following a series of conversations. Here they are, in reverse order:

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Remember, there’s nothing wrong with settling down but there is something not right about just settling. The right thing has to be right for you too. Life is too short for regret.

The Call – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If you are familiar with writing by Oriah Mountain Dreamer I suspect you will have read The Invitation which for me was the first book I read by her. For some of you I expect this may be a little on the hippy side, some of it is for me. Regardless of this I think it reminds us to listen to our instinct, get real and stop just meandering. “Wake up my love”.

If you do want to read more then check out her web site. For those more practically minded check out the post that will follow for the “scrapbook challenge”.

The Call.

I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.

Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper. Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep. There’s no safety in that!

Remember what you are and let this knowing take you home to the Beloved with every breath.
Hold tenderly who you are and let a deeper knowing colour the shape of your humanness.

There is no where to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.

There is no waiting for something to happen, no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.

You are wearing yourself out with all this searching. Come home and rest.
How much longer can you live like this?

Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying. Give it up!
Let yourself be one of the God-mad, faithful only to the Beauty you are.
Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close, dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.

Remember- there is one word you are here to say with your whole being. When it finds you, give your life to it. Don’t be tight-lipped and stingy.

Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together

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© Oriah Mountain Dreamer, from the book The Call, HarperONE, San Francisco 2003