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One Adventure at a Time

food. passion. life.

Motivation for an Adventurous Life

Motivation for life changing habits is hard to find.  Either we sit around beating ourselves up for not having the life we want, or we think the life we want is unattainable so why try.  Either way, we end up sitting still.

Today, I had a rare day.  A day where I woke up refreshed and ready to change.  It’s hard to say what caused this blip in my slothful cycle, but I was happy to have it.  It could be that I finally slept well.  It could be that I finally bought a new couch after suffering through a terrible futon for years.  (Thus “going and doing” produced a positive result).  Or, it could be that having moved stuff around my apartment to fit the new couch, I may have accidentally stumbled upon some Feng Shui that was better for my psyche.  Who’s to say?

All I know is that I woke up ready to pray, meditate, work out, and eat a healthy breakfast.  All things that do not come naturally to me.  As I began my day, I wondered why can’t I wake up with this motivation everyday.  And saying things like, “It won’t last,” and, “I have to figure out how this happened.”  I was already sabotaging any chance of staying in the moment ready for change.  But, as I stated above there could be multiple reasons that can’t be reproduced for why I woke up today — Ready Player One!  (That reference is for my fellow nerds out there who can’t wait for the movie to come out.)

Then I realized something.  Motivation is a byproduct of decisions, not the cause of results. If we wait until we have a motivation to do things, we would never do them. Often what motivates us is the feeling of accomplishment after the doing.  For example, I know I need to work out and eat healthier, but I’m not motivated to do that after sleeping in and eating Portillo’s.  When I am motivated to work out, is when I decide to wake up and work out instead of sleeping in.  The feeling I get from working out in the morning then motivates me to have some healthy meals.  Then how I feel from eating healthy makes me feel motivated to meditate and go to bed early enough to get up and work out the next morning.

Motivation comes from the high we get from achieving our goals, not the other way around.  Sure you can wait for a random day like I had today, or you can save yourself weeks and months of disappointment, by just doing what you want to do.  Change is hard, it takes a lot of work.  But if you want motivation to change, then start changing, and you’ll find that motivation you need to keep changing.

finding inspiration

Inspiration doesn’t always come, and it certainly has not been my friend these last four months, hence my silence.  But like all good writers tell those of us who want to be good writers… Inspiration is not why we write, we write to inspire.

So, I’m learning that to find my inspiration I have to find my discipline.  It’s been a busy past few months, and now that we are in new year, I’m challenging myself to keep my promises that I made to myself last year.  I promised myself I would write more.  And write more I shall.

My inspiration is remembering that promises we make to ourselves are just as important as the promises that we make to others.  I’ve promised myself that this was going to be the year, I finally made myself stick to a regimen, and finally saved my money and adopted a simpler lifestyle.

I have made good on some of these promises to myself but this writing thing, has been on the back burner for far too long!  I’m ready to make good on this promise.  Starting today I will post every week.

Let the adventure begin!

adventure of the mind

I’m watching the new Netflix series, Anne with an “E”, it is based on some of my favorite childhood books.  Anne is an orphan child with a wild imagination.  I remember identifying with Anne as a child.  As a child I had an over-active imagination and an ever active mouth, much like Anne.  Revisiting this child-hood classic has helped me to realize how important the imagination is.

It is important that we don’t overuse our imagination, but too often as adults we never use it.  It is important to keep our imagination active because without the continual exercise it will atrophy.  Dusting out the cob-webs of our imaginations is difficult.  But without imagination we lose hope.

I hear from so many of my friends as we all grow older that they can’t hope anymore.  Hope becomes a difficult thing as we grow older.  We have had many years of disappointments to get accustom to.  As we learn to deal with disappointment we close off the mind to imagination and with it we close the heart to hope.

We need to allow our heart to hope and our mind to imagine so that we can move toward a better tomorrow.  When we can’t imagine anything but things as the are, we lose the desire to make things better for ourselves and for others.  If you can’t imagine what life would be like without debt, you would never attempt to break free of it.  If you can’t imagine life with love, you will never open yourself up to it.

So much of the risk we take in our lives is directly linked to how much we hope.  And, how much we hope is directly linked to how much we can imagine.  Imagination breeds hope and with it adventure.  Use your imagination today and find something to hope for, then take that hope and turn it into an adventure!

beautiful

You’ve got to get up every morning
With a smile in your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel

~Carol King

Recognizing beauty

Part of living the adventurous life is recognizing beauty in the world. Recognizing beauty in nature, others, and ourselves. This can be particularly difficult for us to do when we don’t feel beautiful. But sometimes we don’t feel beautiful because we are listening to the wrong voices.

I’m not usually one who listens to the “advice” of celebrities because often I feel like they don’t live in our world.  They live in a microcosm of reality and their advice leaves me wanting, however, just today I came across this video on Twitter. Julia Roberts was on Ellen and she had some really down-to-earth things to say about beauty.

I love the realism of this video.  Sure we don’t all look like Julia Roberts, and that’s the genetics part that she was talking about.  But we all can surround ourselves with people whose kindness and love inspires.  We can allow ourselves to feel beautiful by showing the world all the love in our hearts, as the song says.  There are so many times I find myself missing out on adventurous living because I’m too busy in my masochistic self-pity to stop and see all the beauty around me.

I am surrounded by people who love me, care for me, and see the beauty in me.  When I allow myself to see the beauty in my life I become grateful.  As I practice gratitude I become more loving.  And as I  become more loving I not only shine that love outward, but I start to see the beauty within myself.  Being able to recognize my own beauty, I start to recognize the beauty in others.

I don’t mean recognizing beauty in the way that causes us to compare ourselves and want to change things about ourselves.  I mean recognizing beauty in others because you can see them for who they really are.  Recognizing value and worth of every person you encounter.

It has been my experience that you can’t recognize the value and worth of others if we can’t recognize our own value and worth.

When you have a hard time seeing beauty within yourself, you will almost always miss it in the world.

How do we start to recognize that beauty within?

Listen to the right voices.

Listen to the people in your life who know you for who you really are, and love you for you.  Listen to the ones who will not bullshit you.  The problem with bullshitters is that even if they are saying kind and sweet things, those words don’t penetrate our hearts.  We don’t trust their compliments because we don’t believe those people really know us.

Listening to the right voices starts with recognizing who those people are in your life.  Who are the ones who have always been there for you?  Who are the people who would drop everything for you if you needed them?  Who are the people who know you, love you, and actually like being around you?  Listen to those voices.  Then speak your love for them.

When you speak your love into the world, you will become the beauty you wish to see in the world.  Adding to the beauty of the world is the privilege of being human.  Our humanity is fully realized when we add to the beauty.  When we add to the beauty and recognize the beauty all around us, it is then that being fully alive, we can live out the adventure we seek.

 

sweeter days

Have you ever had one of those days?  You know the kind I mean, the ones where you just never want it to end.  I have to be honest I have been privileged to enjoy far more of those blessed days than I should have any right to claim.  When these days happen, most of us have a tendency to hold them too tightly.  I mean that because we want to extract every last ounce of sweet nectar from those short 24 hours, we can at times self-sabotage and miss the pleasure of just being.

I am very guilty of this.  I tend to want to relive that moment again and again so much that I miss out on the beauty of the next moment. Or I entirely miss out on the joy of being in the moment at all, and it is stolen from me by the fear of impending day’s end.

I just had one of these days, and though yes, I didn’t want it to end, one of the things I’ve been working on is mindfulness.  Living in the moment and being mindful go hand in hand with an adventurous life.  We can never fully recognize our adventures without being mindful, and we can never fully enjoy our adventures without living in the moment.  Both are necessary to appreciate and live adventurously.

When we hold onto a moment too tightly, however, we miss something. We miss the beauty of the temporal state we are experiencing.

Just being present with people you love (or even at times alone) can be the difference between a great day and a forgettable one.  The more we learn to stay present in whatever moment we find ourselves in, the more we will see the adventure we seek is right before us.

I have added meditation to my daily routine, and by doing this I’ve been able to practice mindfulness and remain present in each current moment. The beautiful thing is that through this entire day, I didn’t even realize I was being mindful.  It just starts to happen as you practice more, the more naturally you will find yourself enjoying your present hour.

As my day has come to a close, I began my daily ruminations. I became sad, almost morose at the thought that today is over and it would not come again.  I was then reminded that part of being mindful and present in each moment means appreciating the day’s transience.

I was rereading a friend’s postcard that I had read earlier in the day.  In this postcard she lamented that the day on which she wrote to me was gloomy and dark.  She then said, however, “It’s these days that make the sunny ones sweeter.”

It’s these days that make the sunny ones sweeter.

These short words reminded me to appreciate my sweeter day for all it is, including the fact that it is not permanent.  I was sad that my day had to end, but like all things in life we often won’t appreciate what we have if we never know what it is like to go without it.  So my friend’s words stick in my brain as a reminder to remain present.  They teach me to stay present even unto the day’s end.

There is a bitterness to mindfulness because there will never again be a day exactly like this one.  It is easy and even tempting to let that reality make us grow sad or angry when the day closes, but without this day’s end we would never know days that make this one sweeter.   Impermanence is part and parcel of an adventurous life.

being who you are

The adventurous life is one marked by being unafraid.  But of what are we afraid?  So many times it’s not outside sources that we are afraid of, its the personal struggle of who we are and being accepted that way.   I am sitting here watching “Ellen’s 20th anniversary of ‘The Puppy Episode,'” celebrating the day that she came out to the world.  I remember as a young girl what it was like to watch all the controversy around this issue.  I remember how much people disliked Ellen for saying, “I’m gay,” on national television.

I personally am not gay, but I do know what it is like to be a weirdo.  I know what it feels like to be afraid of what people will think about you.  I know how it feels when you are afraid to be you and let others see you for who you are.  But the fact remains that we cannot live fully if we hide who we are from the world.  Living an adventurous life is being who we are and not being afraid of who that is.

Though on a much smaller scale, of course, I know how difficult this is.  I had an experience that pointed out to me just how weird I am.  You can read about that experience here.

The fact of the matter is I am grateful that I am weird and love that I, now, am happy to be who I am and would not change any aspect of my life for anyone or anything.  Living an adventurous life is learning to accept who we are and be that person without fear of acceptance from others.  In fact, I have found that the more I allow others to see exactly who I am, the more they love and accept me.  I have found that being true to yourself, no matter what, is a more joyful and happy experience than being accepted by way of social mores.

Thanks to strong brave people, like Ellen, we have examples and can follow their lead to being ourselves.  The best part of being weird and being yourself is that you learn how to accept others for who they are as well.  We learn to be kind to others and let them be themselves, as we all journey through this adventure called life toghether.

always ready for adventure, start here

My journey to living an adventurous life, has been one with many caveats.  I realize that I’ve not been talking about food or travel nearly as often as you have come to expect.  But part of the reason for this is that I’ve been so distracted that I’ve not really been eating that healthy or taking the time to savor the things that matter.

So, thank you to those of you who prefer my posts about food and travel.  Thank you for coming with my on my journey to refocus and rediscovery.  I promise very soon you’ll start to see those posts again. For now more about my journey into minimalism. I know that I’ve been writing a lot about minimalism, and though I don’t want to bore you, I want to help you understand why I’ve gone this route.

Minimalism for me is not just the idea of getting rid of a bunch of stuff so I can go off and live in a tiny house somewhere.  It’s so much bigger than that. As I said in my post, confessions of a reluctant risk-taker, this journey is about learning how to live an adventurous life and all that entails.

The very first thing I’ve learned on my journey is that living an adventurous life means getting rid of the distractions.  There are so many distractions in life that keep us from pursuing adventure, hell we have distractions that keep us from just recognizing adventures right in front of us.  Deciding to embrace minimalism is my way of getting rid of my distractions.

Today is my first day living in my newly minimized space, and I have to say, what a difference it has already made for my mental health.  Without clutter to deter and distract me at every turn, my morning began with light streaming in my window and birds singing.

These two simplicities immediately put me into the right frame of mind.  I got up, put away my sleeping stuff, pulled out my yoga mat and began meditation.  I need to explain here, that I have not meditated in over four months.  I have been too tired to get up, and too distracted by my cluttered life to take the time to simply breathe.  As I focused on my breath for simply five minutes to start my morning, I then transferred that energy into a simple yoga routine.  Again it’s been four months since I’ve practiced yoga.  A total of fifteen minutes later I was out on the front porch with my coffee and book in hand.

I learned something very important about myself this morning.  Without distraction I’m much more disciplined.  Meditation is all about getting in the right frame of mind.  When you are mentally prepared for your day, and present in the moment you can see the adventure waiting around the corner.  You will find the joy in the little things, and without the clutter of your life or your mind standing in the way, you can truly begin to live your adventurous life.

This morning I realized the joy of drinking a cup of coffee and reading outside with the sun beaming down on me.  It was a joy that I don’t often take the time to savor.  I’ve learned it’s the little things in life that bring us joy but to be able to recognize these things we have to be mentally present.

You don’t have to become a minimalist to start meditating on a daily basis, I just found that until I removed the clutter from my space, I had a hard time removing the clutter form my mind.  Now, that I’ve been able to do both, I can’t wait to see what adventures I find waiting for me.

last night I slept on grass…

As you know I’ve been adopting minimalism.  In fact, the reason I missed my first post this week was because I’ve been so busy getting rid of shit.  Well today was the last stretch in my journey. Well, probably not the last stretch, but at least it’s the last stretch towards getting rid of my shit…

As such, I’ve minimized my sleeping situation.  I ordered a Japanese tatami mat and shikibuton.  Well, the tatami mat arrived first, and still no mattress (aka shikibuton). It was not the most comfortable night sleep I’ve ever had, but I do have to say, it was far better than I thought.

Maybe it was just the high from getting my living situation very nearly where I wanted it or maybe it was actually the firmness of the tatami mat.  Either way I slept far better than I could have imagined.  I will offer more tips later for my process of minimalism, but for now let me just say that if you have back intonate back issues as I do you may want to look into this sleeping situation.  Check out this info I found on Japanese Futons

 

 

little adventures for the winter shut-in

Once Spring arrives, all I want to do is go on adventures.  Yesterday was the perfect day to get outside for a little trek.

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

The bullfrogs were singing their song as the sun came out to warm the earth.  Birds chirped at each other, and dogs said hello to everyone that passed on the trail.  Families, couples, groups of friends, single hikers, everyone decided to come out today.  It seemed as though everyone was in on the secret, Spring is here.  Everyone, that is, except the trees.  Someone forgot to wake them up.

The glen was full of people enjoying the rush of the water.  The sound was wonderful and refreshing.  Lovers just sat to enjoy the background as the talked.  Photographers and artists came to sketch and shoot.  Kids cam to play in the water and enjoy the new breath of life water can give.

This tiny adventure made me realize how much I want to go on a big adventure.  But being out in nature feels wonderful no matter how long. It was a nice respite and a good reminder of the things in life that matter.  Living the adventurous life, doesn’t require all out adventures all the time.  Sometimes these little treks are just enough, find something small that you can do today to increase adventure in your life.

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