Monday, April 18, 2011

Death-defying Adventures

In my younger days I chased danger and adventure with abandon. Pulling into Boston traffic required a quick glance over the shoulder followed by a prayer and a heavy foot on the accelerator. One of my white-water canoeing adventures resulted in my aluminum canoe wrapped around a rock; it took two 300-lb men to pull the canoe off that rock. Then they both had to jump up and down in it a few times to bang the dent out enough for us to continue down river. On another white-water trip I maneuvered (not always successfully) a rubber ducky kayak through class 3 and 4 rapids on the Youghiogheny River in Pennsylvania. That led to a Wile E. Coyote moment where, immediately after seeing my life flash before my eyes, it seemed I might go splat! spread-eagle on a boulder the size of a house.

Then there was the day I jumped out of the airplane. That was so scary that I didn't have a suicidal thought for the next two years. Rock climbing and horse-back riding (best when followed by a session in a hot tub) rounded out those youthful adventures. Most recently, flying through the air on a zip-wire brought some of the old thrill back. I'm quite sure my rotator cuff injury is unrelated to this activity.

These are the adventures that help us to defy the odds, to press up against our limits and thumb our nose at danger. As I get a bit older I discover that I'm not quite so eager to take those physical risks. Life, it turns out, is important to me. And yet, there are risks that I take on with surprising willingness, even as I kick and scream in protest. As I approach a new career in life coaching, and confront the things I have to do to make this happen, the things that take me way out of my comfort zone, I feel like I'm throwing myself under the bus. In some sense this is the return of suicidal feelings, and it occurs to me that to move into a new life some parts of me have to die. The death of beliefs and habits, when they no longer serve us, can be transformative. To grow and change we must constantly shed our skin when it gets too tight. We must be ready to step into our potential, and embrace new possibilities that stretch us so much that our old skin bursts open and we step into the world, born anew.

Listen for a minute... what wants to emerge? What will you leave behind? What will you embrace?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Creating a Heaven on Earth

One of my deeply held ambitions is to create my own little piece of heaven here on earth. For a long time that meant simply "feeling better". More recently I've turned my attention to the process of creating. My job as a computer programmer is all about creating; programming is an ongoing process of experimenting, evaluating, adjusting, then testing, evaluating, and adjusting again until the end is finally achieved. Creating lifts me out of myself and puts me in an entirely different mindset. Instead of worrying about the future I step into the unknown with a spirit of adventure. How will I get from here to there? When things surprise me (and they often do) I respond with curiosity and wonder: What caused that to happen? How might I deal with that? How else can I think about this? There is always something new to learn.

For some reason I don't always apply the creating mindset to my "personal" life. Instead, it is easy to judge myself harshly, be concerned about the reaction of others, and trouble myself over small details. It's easy to fall into the trap of perfection, of being a victim, of believing I'm not good enough.

Can you bring to mind a job, project, activity, or hobby that fully engaged and energized you? What might happen if yo0u applied what you know about creating to the business of creating your life? Instead of remaining frozen in place because things aren't perfect, what if you said of course it won't be perfect the first time I try, so I better get cracking!... I'll take a first step, see what happens, and then adjust as needed.

The writing of Robert Fritz (The Path of Least Resistance, Creating) has reminded me of my desire to create a heaven here on earth. What do I want to bring into the world? What do I have to offer that is unique to me? It's hard to imagine anything more exciting - or worthwhile - than discovering the answers to these questions... and bringing them into being. If you're interested in the idea of creating your life, I'd love to talk with you!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring in Ithaca

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.
Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life...
JOY! I celebrate myself and sing myself.
Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Do you feel the urge of new growth welling up inside you? Are the seeds you planted preparing to burst into bloom? Are you filled with wonder and anticipation at the coming of spring?

In Ithaca trees are budding, daffodils are bravely poking their heads up ready to bloom, green shoots appear everywhere, chipmunks are out, birds are gobbling food like there is no tomorrow... and it is still cold, windy, rainy with occasional flakes of snow. I'm impatient... with the weather... and with the extended gestation period of the seeds I have planted and cultivated. Personal growth and change has its own cycle, its own season. But I can feel the stirrings, the new insights, ideas, plans. Something is beginning to uncoil and break open. Something vital and alive. We don't often pay attention to what is happening just below the surface, in the darkness. I trust it... and I'm just plain impatient! The urge is upon me...

What is ready to spring forth in your life? What do you see emerging around you? What's going on just below the surface? What do you want to create in this season of fertility?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome to my new blog and Facebook page

Friends and colleagues,

I am launching a new blog, as well as a Facebook page for my life coaching business. Stay tuned for some happenings here...