Life doesn’t owe us anything.
In many ways, our work ethic is the most important personal skill we need to develop. It determines the altitude of our lives, and the quality of our journey. We have grown so accustomed to letting others take care of us that we have forgotten how to live at the “bone marrow-level.” We insure our lives against calamity. We minimize risk at every turn: in the workplace, at home, during recreation; then wonder why our lives often feel unfulfilled.
It is risk that provides the spiritual adrenaline that creates a meaningful life. We were born as hunters, bred as adventurers and instructed in the arts of high-mindedness. When was the last time you went “hunting” for something not found in a shopping mall? When was the last real adventure you planned and executed? What ideals have you inculcated in your life so deeply that others can observe these tenets just by the way you plan your day? If you are unsure of the answers to these, why don’t you try something new? Healthy risk is a welcome addition to any day!
I get lonely and frustrated when I isolate myself from others and adventure. I am most alive when I am on the cusp of something “dangerous” (mildly speaking of course! ;-). I have committed to being the man I have always wanted to be. I want to live through every moment. If I feel moved to meet someone and make a new friend, I move in that direction. If I want to get my haircut in China by a man who doesn’t speak much English, but wants to communicate with me…I do it. (Did it on Sunday! Had so much fun with Vic, the stylist!) He even did a few highlights and had one of the massage therapists come and work on my shoulders while I was being shampooed! Made the afternoon fly by, and I made a new friend! Not the very least of which means I also have someone who can cut and style my hair! It was often hilarious, sometimes scary as to what I would look like afterwards, but the experience was a priceless one!
As a part of my personal risk-management, I am learning to examine carefully the rubrics of my life. When they are authentically mine, I am at peace with myself and the world in which I live. When they are out of alignment, even the things I enjoy doing are often miscued and troublesome. When I was blessed with an opportunity to re-imagine my life, my “Ignition Point,” I started by removing almost everything from my life. I worked to simplify my daily regimine until it was mostly about survival. During that first 3 month period, I examined every aspect of my life. I rebuilt my personal rubric by adding back only those aspects of living that served me. I replaced religion with spirituality, the need to please others with a deeper love of myself, and the desire to have more things with the desire to have more friends. Gone was the need to “go.” It was replaced by a deeper sense to “be.” I looked at people who said they were my friends, and replaced them with people who acted like my friends. I replaced the dogma of a misguided religion with an acutely authentic spirituality taught by the same Teacher, but often misquoted in the desire to monetize spirituality. I slowed the pace of my life down to the point where small points of joy became reasons to celebrate.
I know some of this will not resonate with you. Remember, this is my rubric. Yours most assuredly will differ. That is the beauty of our individuality! I can celebrate your beauty, even as I radiate mine. You are welcome additions to my journey, and I hope I am an invited guest to yours as well. May you prosper in meaningful ways, and celebrate with those whom you love!
This week, a colleague and I both entertain birthdays. We plan on celebrating with our friends today at an expat bar and grill, where I know they have Guinness on tap, and a great wine list! Wish you were here to join us!