Sunday, November 11, 2012

Renewed Sense of Life

I Dare You!
By Jones Loflin

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing! -Helen Keller

That quote by Helen Keller is written on a sticky note and is attached to my work desk where I can't miss it. The quote catches my eye each time I sit down to accomplish work and when I rise to leave my work area. Even when I'm taking a quick stretch break, her words remind me that in every moment I have a choice-to fully engage my physical, emotional and spiritual energy to make the most of the present moment-or to let those moments fade away one by one with little to celebrate later.

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"But Jones," you say, "Responding to email or completing the monthly financial report isn't the same as skydiving or searching for buried treasure." I had the same thoughts when I first saw the quote, but then I reflected on the source of the quote-a woman who was deaf and blind. A daring adventure at one point in her life would have been to try and form a word correctly with her mouth or to comprehend what someone was writing in her hand. Because she was willing to take those moment-by-moment adventures she went on to live an amazing life, becoming the first deaf and blind woman ever to earn a bachelor's of arts degree.

With that new perspective in mind, I offer you some simple "daring adventures" you can take daily to insure that your life is lived to its fullest more often.

Do something spontaneous. Yesterday morning I casually sat down at the piano and played a song. I don't play well and have not touched a piano in about two years, but it was so refreshing to do something out of my normal routine. For you it may be trying your hand at an old hobby or doing something you love to do-and haven't done in too long. After you are finished, don't be surprised to find you like the sense of renewal within you.

Go outside and take some long deep breaths. Try to identify as many different scents as possible. High stress causes shallow breathing and the deep breaths act as catalysts to clear your mind. A similar opportunity is to look up at the clouds and imagine what they resemble.

Order something different from the menu. I laugh every time I see someone agonizing over their choices like it's their last meal. Try something unusual or exotic. If you don't like it, guess what... you don't have to order it again in the future. If at the grocery store, purchase a different brand of a product and conduct a taste test with your family.

Ask, "What if?" more often. Especially as it relates to current challenges or sources of disappointment. Allowing your mind to respond to this question sends it on a journey of discovery and new possibilities.

Learn a new word. I get one delivered to my inbox each day and then try to use it in a sentence. A recent favorite was lugubrious. When I told my younger daughter it was time for bed, she developed a quite lugubrious demeanor. My all time favorite so far has been the word, flummoxed.

Travel vicariously though someone else. When asking them about their journeys, I have a few standard questions like, "Tell me about the best meal you ever had while traveling," or "What is the most memorable view you ever had while traveling?" Regardless of whether they have only traveled in your state or around the world, the responses are always thought-provoking.

Do something out of the ordinary for others. Hold the door for them even though they are still several yards away. Buy them their favorite flavor of mints or gum. Visit someone (live or online) unannounced.

Those are just a few. Remember, adventure is loosely defined as an activity involving risk. If your day is consistently filled with activities that have no risk... well, Helen's quote makes the point.

What risks are you taking today to add adventure to your life?