I try to be available for life to happen to me

“I try to be available for life to happen to me.”

Bill Murray, American actor and comedian

Image from Unsplash by Alexander Grey

What does it mean to be available to life?

What qualities would you possess if life entered and soaked you, body and soul?

Consider all the experiences we have with our five senses. How fully do we use them?

What if we had super senses like certain animals or plants, and how they magically take in water, minerals, and mix it with sunshine to make food.

How alive might we feel?

EXERCISE:

Where are you even more active as you happen to life?

Where do your intentionality and efforts infuse the world with your special gifts?

What are you bringing to the party?

“It’s time to bet on wisdom. It’s metabolized experience.”

“It’s time to bet on wisdom. It’s metabolized experience.”

Chip Conley, American hotelier, author, and speaker

Image from chipconley.com

In 2018, Chip Conley founded the Modern Elder Academy (MEA) — the world’s first “midlife wisdom school” in Baja California.

His work has been dedicated to helping students re-imagine midlife as a time for learning, growth, and positive transformation through immersive workshops, sabbaticals, and a variety of digital programs.

His education includes an MBA from Stanford. In 1987 Chip founded Joie de Vire Hospitality that managed 50 boutique hotels for 24 years. In 2013, he was the director of hospitality at Airbnb. His resume includes many other experiences he has metabolized over the years and is well worth a look.

EXERCISE:

Please consider subscribing the MEA Wisdom Well Blog — “A Daily Reminder of Wisdom and its Value”

Do not ask what it is. Let us go experience it

“Do not ask what it is. Let us go experience it.”

T.S. Elliot, one of the 20th century’s major poets

Image from Unsplash by Maria Oswalt

I tend to be a home body — I’m not into large events or running around to check things off my bucket list.

I do, however, go outside this comfort zone for the people closest to me — especially my children and grandchildren.

My daughter is constantly creating opportunities for her kids to experience new things. Being invited along for the ride, to watch the delight of our little ones, is definitely not to be missed!

EXERCISE:

How often do your find yourself living in your cave of comfort?

Where would FOMO be a good thing to get you off your seat and into the world you’ve been missing?

“When you feel the swell of life around you, simply drift…..”

“When you feel the swell of life around you, simply drift…”

—Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Osman Rana

How often do you feel the tender and inspiring aspect of life around you?

Who are the people, where are the places, and what are the things that lift you up and carry you through your days?

Where do you experience a strong sense of resonance and belonging that touches your heart and soul?

How long do you linger in these moments?

Explore this list to see if any of these events strike a chord:

  • The embrace of a loved one
  • Observing acts of kindness or generosity
  • Children playing
  • The many beautiful aspects of nature
  • Examples of personal excellence and mastery
  • Music
  • Art

EXERCISE:

Create a list of 5-10 moments in which you feel the swell of life. How can you linger and drift with these feelings more fully and more often?

When you are young, you have raw smarts

“When you are young, you have raw smarts; when you are old, you have wisdom.”

Arthur C. Brooks, Harvard professor, PhD social scientist, bestselling author

Image from Unsplash by Jordan Whitt

I agree with today’s quote in most cases, especially for individuals with a growth mindset and a propensity toward lifelong learning.

The pursuit of knowledge and experience takes time.

Raw smarts and wisdom build at different rates.

Consider a heavy rain as it fills a puddle versus years of rain carving a river’s path.

EXERCISE:

How has your growth and development journey evolved over the years?

Where and how have you stepped beyond acquiring raw smarts to embracing the gift of wisdom?

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

—Matsuso Basho, 15th Century Japanese Haiku Master

Image from Unsplash by James Lee

There’s no place like home is a saying of great comfort for most of us. It was Dorothy’s famous statement upon her return from visiting the land of OZ.

We all know about her journey to see the wizard and all the characters and experiences she had along the way. Perhaps she—and we—missed a lot along our journeys by holding on to an I’m not there yet perspective at the many places we found ourselves on our paths.

What if, instead, we saw each of our journeys as one of many homes, and experienced each moment of our life as the perfect place to be?

EXERCISE:

Where and when do you feel most at home?

How would expanding this view to include all your everyday journeys to have an even more richly rewarding life?

Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

—John Muir, 18th Century Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher

Wendy, Ella, Barry, and Weston

For most of my life, my family has spent at least one week in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It’s a place I experienced as an infant and camper — each summer until I was eleven — when the camp was purchased by a development company.

This year our daughter Rachel and her two children — Weston and Ella — came along.

Our week included plenty of swimming, walks, playground adventures and even a snake and animal farm.

Sharing the star-filled skies, hearing crickets chirping, and the sounds and smells of fresh air after a rainstorm are some of my happiest moments.

EXERCISE:

Where and when have you traveled dirt paths in your life?

Where and how can you bring even more of the natural world into your life?

The overtrained intellect becomes a buffer from experience

“The over-trained intellect becomes a buffer from experience.”

— Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Alex Block

Who do you know named Sheldon? If you are like me, this list is either small or without any members. I do, however, have a Sheldon that I’ve grown fond of over the years from the TV shows The Big Bang Theory, and more recently the spin off Young Sheldon.

What I find so endearing is how both young and older Sheldon wrestle with their over-trained intellects to dip their inexperienced toes into the waters of everyday life. Their awkward efforts and reluctant “lessons learned” ring amusingly true as we, too, look at our own uncomfortable and often clumsy missteps in life.

EXERCISE:

Where have you withdrawn a bit from the world of experience into the relative safety of intellectual pursuits? What other activities are you using to buffer yourself from living a larger and perhaps louder life?

“An expert is someone who, over many years, manages to remain confident enough to keep trying and humble enough to keep learning.”

“An expert is someone who, over many years, manages to remain confident enough to keep trying and humble enough to keep learning.”

—James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

Image of Pablo Casals from britannica.com

When asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day at the age of 93, Pablo Casals answered: “I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”

My dad, who passed away last March at the age of 94, loved golf. He took up this pastime at the age of 69 and played three days a week in almost any weather. Although he was not what others would call an expert, you could find him on most days swinging a dinged-up yardstick and putting on his carpet during commercial breaks of the golf channel or a televised tournament.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you still passionate about enhancing your expertise and mastery?  Where do you remain confident to keep trying and humble enough to keep learning?

Make today so awesome that yesterday is jealous

“Make today so awesome that yesterday is jealous.”

—Author Unknown

Most mornings when I work out, if I’m not chatting with one of my fitness friends, I find myself watching ESPN’s Sports Center. I particularly look forward to the show’s Top 10 Plays of the Day, to see the awesome feats of athletic excellence.

Consider your life a sport. What awesome events and experiences would make your Top Ten list for this week, this month, and this year?

If your list is not quite as awesome as you would like, you are not alone. On a day-to-day basis, we all get caught up in our routines and habits. One day seems to run into the next, with few, if any, highlights.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you step up the level of awesomeness today, and perhaps make this effort a new habit, to make all of your yesterdays jealous?