Posts Tagged ‘living with intention’

Beyond Fear

I was raised to be tough and courageous.  I don’t recommend parenting in the style of my father but in some ways it was effective.  For example, my first time driving at the age of 15 was on a five hour trip, South to North across the state of Oregon.  No around the block for this kid.  My dad gave me the assignment and off we went.  I white knuckled it, more afraid of my dad than I was of traffic.  I didn’t even consider failure.  I had to do it and I knew I would.
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When we were cliff diving and bridge diving in the heat of a Southern Oregon summer, I balked at jumping off the highest bridge into the lake below.  Immediately, my dad started a count down and I knew that when he reached zero I would have jump or he would push me.  It never occurred to me to resist.  I was going in.  I sucked up my fear and did it.
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As a parent, I didn’t want to treat my children that way.  I wanted them to learn to honor their feelings and not let anyone pressure them into doing anything.   Still, I can see why my father raised me the way he did.  He knew life would present many challenges and he wanted me to meet them with courage.  He wanted me to face those challenges undaunted.
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It took me a long time to understand this.  He never explained but I was an observant student of life and I paid close to attention.  Once I got past my anger and resentment , I could see goodness in his intention.
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It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize just how courageous I am.  It’s not that I’m unafraid, not at all.  It’s that I have acquired the ability to move beyond my fear and I can see how that has given me an advantage in life.  I’ve done some pretty cool things from cyclone disaster relief on the island of Guadalcanal to building homes in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
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I hope life affords you the opportunity to acquire courage in gentler ways and while you’re still young.  If it hasn’t yet, go out and be courageous.  You can do it!  Apply for the job of your dreams, travel, ask her out…  whatever it is that you’re afraid of, just step past it.  No matter the outcome, you’ll be glad you did.
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The Dream

If only ____(insert something)____ everything would be better, come together; then I could pursue my dream.

I have a dream and you do too.  We all do.  And we all have if onlys.  You know, if only I could lose x-number of pounds.  If only I could find the love of my life.  If only I had more money.

I watched The Count of Monte Christo last night.  There are many lessons inside that story but the one that resonated inside of me was the one about a man with a dream that was impossibly out of reach.  Still, he reached for it.

He reached for it against all odds,  past prison and near death, beyond betrayal, and the loss of everything he held dear, including his awareness of God, and then he became RICH beyond his wildest imagining and that got in the way of his dream, too.  Finally, having got past every conceivable distraction, he realizes his dream in a fairy tale ending, but the point of it, for me, was that anything and everything can get in the way of the dream.

Personally, I would pursue my dream if only I could get away, throw off responsibility and head for sunshine, beaches of sparkling white sand, or maybe the mountains, redolent of pine…  Then, I would write.  Then, I…

Well, likely, I would be distracted by Pina Coladas, sunshine, surf, or forest trails that beg to be wandered.  My point is that I would be distracted by something.  A change of location and lessening of responsibility would not necessarily facilitate the pursuit of my dream, as much as I like to think it would.  The only way for me to finish my novel – listen carefully, ’cause this is complex – is for me to start writing again.

In moments of discontent, my life feels too small. I used to travel the world, live out of a suitcase. No money? No worries. Somehow something would come up. I remember jumping up with a WHOOP and pumping my fist because I found 29 cents under the couch cushions when I lived in the Manoa Valley in Hawaii and I could go to McDonalds and get a hamburger because they were having a big hamburger sale and I WAS RICH!

I remember – score! – catching a ride with my thumb in the back of a limo to a private beach only locals knew about and I was – score again! – a brown, barefoot girl.  A Kama’aina (a child of the land).   God, I loved those days.  I sang at night, prowled the island by day.  Worry was something nearly foreign to me.  I shared a tiny room – 12′x12′, MAYBE, with five other girls in triple bunk beds and it was just about perfect.

I should mention that I had the same dream then.  I would write a book.  I would write it when I was done wandering.  I had to live a bit more before I settled down to write but one day I would do it.

Well, I’m done wandering.  Now, I have all this responsibility and I would write if only I wasn’t so damn stressed out.  Really.  If only I didn’t have so much responsibility.   If only I could just pack a bag and go live off the money mined from couch cushions in the Manoa Valley.  If only…

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How about you? Do you have a dream that wants pursuing?  What are your if onlys?

Living with Intention

If I asked you to tell me what matters most to you in life, what brings you the most joy, what moves you to tears, what do you believe with all your heart and soul to be true, would your answers line up with the life that you live?

Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living and that resonates as truth in me; I’m constantly questioning my heart and actions.  I live with intention.  That’s not to say that I don’t occasionally veer off course.  I do.  It’s easy to get distracted, to fill one’s life with so many things that there’s no time to THINK.  We careen through the days without time to reflect or listen to the inner voice that speaks to all of us, if we have ears to hear it.

When I find that I’ve veered off course, I make a correction.  Sometimes I’m able to do it quickly and sometimes it happens in stages; I have to fight my way back to the things I hold dear.

It helps to have people we love and trust to speak truth to us.  If we don’t invite people to hold us accountable to live true to the things we profess to believe in, then we’re more likely to drift off course, and life is too precious to be spent too much adrift.

Sometimes we need to step back and just be quiet, stop talking, let go of all the distractions, and just BE for a bit.