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Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

The other day I was riding my bicycle through the neighboring town of Denville. One of the many hazards of riding on the roads here in NJ is that the pavement must endure the freezing temperatures of winter and the blistering heat of summer. And that means many roads are in disrepair.
 
One particular intersection I confronted on my ride that day was ravaged by the cruelty of those seasonal extremes. Within a 10 yard stretch of pavement there were numerous potholes, divots in the pavement, grooves, and loose gravel was strewn everywhere. On top of that, I was immersed in morning commuter traffic. In a nutshell, it was treacherous terrain for a biker that easily spelled disaster.
 
As a natural reaction to the danger, my body tensed and became rigid. My hands gripped the brakes a little tighter preparing for the worse, my arms tensed and pulled closer into my body, my legs stopped peddling, my thighs tensed, and I held my breath. All of my energy and focus shifted to my eyes as I tried to plot a path to navigate through the mine field.
 
After a few intense seconds of jerking my front tire right and left to dodge the many booby traps in the road, I made it through. And although I was safe, my first thought and observation was how “out of control” I felt. I was so tense and rigid that if I needed to react to disaster, I would not have had the ability.
 
As weird as this might sound, I then thought of drunk drivers. I have read that when drunk drivers get into car accidents they often escape from the accident unscathed. One reason for this is that due to the alcohol, their body is relaxed and offers no resistance as it is jostled around during an accident. Essentially, their body goes with the flow of the energy and is taken where it might go.
 

I immediately wondered where else in my life was I living “tensed” and rigid, trying to control the outcomes as opposed to relaxing, trusting and letting life flow in, around and through me. I could see from this experience that traveling through life tense and rigid was not always the best approach to the bumps and potholes I encounter in life. In certain circumstances, I needed to let go.
 
And then a popular 1980’s song by 38 Special popped into my mind —

Just hold on loosely,
But don’t let go
If you cling to tightly
You’re gonna lose control.
 
Amazing how those 17 words captured the moment so perfectly.
 
Regardless of what the life situation is, be it a relationship, work, family, your kids . . . whatever, these seem to be sage words of advice.

 

Assuming we are not all really going to go through life drunk, the secret to living a peaceful, less-stressed life is to trust.
 
Trust in yourself, in your god, in your loved ones, in life itself. Trust that all will be OK and is unfolding as intended. Trust that whatever is before you, holds a gift.   Trust that the timing is perfect. Trust that the answer you received is perfect. Trust that life is nudging you in a direction.  And rather than resisting, stop, take a breath, and look for the message the Universe wishes to whisper to you.
 
One of my all-time favorite books captures this concept of trusting and letting go perfectly —
 
“Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
 
But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’
 
The other creatures laughed and said ‘Fool! Let go and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!’
 
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
 
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
 
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!
 
And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare to let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”
                                                                             — Illusions, Richard Bach

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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After our recent election, I was drawn to one of my favorite places to hike – Jockey Hollow. Jockey Hollow was the encampment site for our Revolutionary Army for two brutal winters, and the hills and forests of this place are alive with the spirit that gave birth to our country.

 

jockeyhollow4On this particular sunny, fall day I decided to hike a trail I have not hiked before. While hiking, I came to a sign on the trail that indicated the trail turned right, but I saw no trail that way. What I did see, however, was a big hill in front of me, and I LOVE being on the top of hills and mountains. So I abandoned the marked trail and started bushwhacking my way up the hill.

 

The symbolism of this decision was not lost on me since we as a nation are now blazing a new trail and are venturing into uncharted territory.

 

Once on top of the hill, I explored a bit, I enjoyed the view, and I appreciated the accomplishment. From the top of that hill, though, I saw an even bigger hill, and for whatever reason it is in my blood that if there is a higher peak to climb, I MUST climb it. So off I went.

 

Here’s the thing about striving to get to a higher peak. In order to get from one peak to the next we must travel through a valley. As such, we must never fear the low points, for they are simply part of the journey to something greater.

 

When I got to the floor of the valley, I found a beautiful stream trickling over rocks, filling the air with a gurgling meditative rhythm. I sat on a rock, closed my eyes, and just listened, breathed and enjoyed the darkness of the valley shadowed by the rising hill next to me. As I listened, I pondered the fact that I did not hear or see any animals all day, which was odd. Not even a squirrel or bird.

 

After drinking in the moment, I began my ascent up the next hill. The sun was setting, and I hoped that from the next peak I would see a landmark I recognized or perhaps see a trail. I have to admit I was a bit lost and anxious as I did not have any bearing in the forest. When I reached the peak, unfortunately all I saw was more unfamiliar woods. No path. No landmark. No voices. No sound of cars.

 

Doubt crept into the back of my mind and I felt that nervous pit in my stomach that accompanies uncertainty. Now, granted I was hiking in New Jersey, so I knew that if I hiked long enough I would eventually cross a road, but with the sun going down, I also knew I needed to be smart.

 

This is why I love hiking in the woods and venturing down new paths. It tests and challenges my limits. In this moment I could either panic . . . or I could listen and trust.

 

My experience taught me to listen and trust. So I did.

 

After not seeing any animals all day, suddenly a wild turkey appeared. I couldn’t help but think that the turkey was Benjamin Franklin’s favorite bird and that he favored making it the national bird over the bald eagle, at least according to the myth.

 

I followed the turkey over the crest of the hill and as it ran off into the forest I saw a pink ribbon tied to a tree. And then another. And another after that. I followed the trail of ribbons and eventually came to a marked trail, which eventually led me to a road, which eventually led me home.

 

We must not fear new paths. It is in the unknown that we come to know ourselves best. But in order to find our way out of the darkness and uncertainty, we must listen and trust.

 

Hope is like a path in the countryside:
originally there was no path
– yet
as people are walking all the time,
in the same spot,
a path appears.

 

– Lu Xun

 

We all must travel unknown paths at some point in our lives. Whether they are found in a relationship, a career, financial matters, health, or any other domain. At some point we must step onto a new path.

 

We can either take that first step in fear and dread the journey, or we can take it with hope, trusting that it will lead us to new learning, growth, insights and maybe even an amazing adventure. Regardless of where the path may eventually lead, choosing hope and trust, rather than fear, will ensure the journey is more enjoyable.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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At the end of every year, I often experience a period of reflection. And when I think back on my life, I am happy to see a few brilliant moments.

 

  • My bicycle trip across the country with my friend Pat to raise money for kids with cancer. (www.fourdiamondsfund.org)
  • My extraordinarily mystical trip to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota where I was honored to sweat with one of the elders involved in the last Native American uprising at Wounded Knee in 1973.
  • My 2 years of full-time volunteer environmental work where I introduced hundreds of students to the importance of preserving the natural world around us while influencing policy at the local, county, state and federal level.
  • The brief moments I shared with the radiant Maggie Doyne and her ever-inspirational organization, BlinkNow. (www.blinknow.org)

 

Each of these moments called to my heart. And after each one, I imagined . . . no . . . was inspired to do more.

 

  • Start an annual bike ride with college students to raise money for kids with cancer.
  • Become a leading environmentalist that would change the mindset of Americans and our wasteful ways.
  • Restore the pride, honor and lives of the Native people who had everything ripped from them by our forefathers.
  • Move to Nepal and spend a few years in service to Maggie as she established her organization.

 

Sadly, I did none of these, and yet I still think about them regularly.

 

Here’s the VITALLY IMPORTANT thing we NEED to know about inspiration.

 

Inspiration requires immediate attention.

 
inspiration

When that flash of brilliance hits you, don’t think about it. Don’t ponder it. Don’t percolate on it. Don’t strategize about it. Don’t try and develop a plan.

 

That is not what inspiration calls us to do.

 
 
 

Inspiration calls us to immediate action.

 

It comes from our intuition. A deep, internal knowing in our soul. It promises a life of excitement, joy, fulfillment and feeling fully alive! But it asks that we take immediate action . . . and to trust.

 

That is the hardest part. That is what kills countless dreams and possibilities. Our fear and inability to trust and make the leap.

 

This coming year, when inspiration hits you, no matter how big or small it is, whether it is about your life, your family, your business, a relationship, your community, your future, whatever – take that leap. Just close your eyes and leap.

 

I promise it will lead to an astonishing life you love . . . and it might just become your legacy!

 

First you jump off the cliff, then you build your wings on the way down.

 

– Ray Bradbury

 

Don’t ever question inspiration. As hard as it may be to believe, it is a message from the Universe guiding you. It is an answer or clue to something you have been pondering or wanting for a while. Sometimes we don’t see how that inspiration fits into our life, but without fail it does. The answer to “how” is only revealed in the future, and without a magic crystal ball, it is TRUST that will lead the way there.

 

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I’ve been watching a television show called FlashForward.  The basic concept is that the whole world blacks out for 2 minutes.  During that time, people see their lives 6 months into the future.  As time goes on, people begin to see that pieces of their “flashforwards” are coming true, and as a result, they start living their lives differently.  They start to live with the expectation that the life they saw will be, or is, reality.  You can imagine what a dramatic shift that might create in one’s life and the way they live it.

 

Then I got to thinking.  What if our intuition is like a mini flashforward?  What if we really did have an ability to see or sense our future and it manifested itself as our intuition?  If you are like me, I am sure you have had several experiences when your intuition guided you in a certain direction, as if it knew the future.  Depending on your trust, you either followed it or you did not.

 

One of the best examples of this for me was when I bought my last car.  All throughout the process, I had a strong feeling that something was wrong and that I should not buy that car.  I couldn’t figure out why, nor did I trust the feeling, so I bought the car.  The car was a Saturn, and today, the company is out of business.

 

What if our intuition is a future we cannot see that is whispering to us?  How would our lives be different if we trusted it?  What pains would we avoid?  What opportunities would we realize?   The proof I have gathered in my life points in the direction that our intuition is indeed some form of a time machine for all of us.  The trick is paying attention to it and trusting it. 

 

Perhaps you have a similar story about your intuition guiding you.  If so, leave your story in the comments section.  Let’s see what our collective intuition knows and proves out.

 

Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
                                                           – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
                                   

The Universe whispers to us every day, directing us on our path.  Sadly, we repeatedly don’t listen or accept its guidance.  Too often we let fear, uncertainty, doubt and lack of trust rule our lives, and when we do, we kill off the countless possibilities and future that exists just beyond them.  How would your life be different if you lived without those negative influences?  I would venture to say that life would be lived with a more ease and peace

 

If you are interested in seeing the first episode of FlashForward here is the link:  http://www.hulu.com/watch/97929/flashforward-no-more-good-days

 

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It was Christmas Eve morning and the sun was just breaking the horizon, lighting the sky from a deep purple to its first hints of turquoise.  The last stars of the night twinkled their good-bye, winking at me. 
 
I was excited to put the finishing touches on January’s newsletter that I had written a few weeks earlier.  I sat at my laptop, plugged in my flash drive, but failed to hear the familiar “ding” telling me the computer recognized the new drive.  I took it out and tried again with no better results.  In a panic, I turned on my other computer and tried it there with the same deaf response.  No “ding” of recognition.
 
I am not a materialistic man.  I have little in my apartment and if I am attached to anything in life they are the invisible things you cannot touch – love; friendship; laughter; the company and conversation at a good meal.  As a writer, however, my words are my treasure.  Thousands and thousands and thousands of words I have written over the years capturing my thoughts, my emotions, my heart.  All of which are now trapped on the inaccessible flash drive.
 
For a moment, I cannot breathe.  A wave of fear rushes through me and settles in my stomach, as if I have just been kicked there during a horrible fight.  I repeat the process of sticking the flash drive in and out of the computer at least 20 times.  Nothing.  I stare at the computer screen blankly, pleading with it to ding and tell me it has found my files – found my life – on the flash drive.  
 
My heart sinks and all I feel like doing is crying.  I am attached to my words, and now they are gone.  I take a long hot shower, letting the water run over me as I ponder the loss.  I follow this by sitting in the warm sun, meditating and grounding myself in my new reality.
 
I am now challenged to live some of the principles I teach in my coaching.  Life is not what happens to us, but rather how we respond to what happens to us.  If I stay attached to my words, yearning for them to somehow magically return, I am promised a life of misery and regret.  I will be left suffering and stuck in a place that will deny me the ability to welcome in all the future gifts that await me.  Life is very much like a never-ending wellspring, pouring forth new gifts, and in my case new words, everyday.  To spend too much time looking longingly at the past, wishing for those words to return, is to admit that the power and creativity within me is limited.  And it is not.  Not for any of us.
 
The Universe wants to give us all we desire.  And it wants to give it to us on a silver platter.  But if the table before us is cluttered and full, it has no place to set down the platter of gifts.  I ponder this principle and realize the key ingredient to living it . . .  trust.  My table has just been swiped clean in one quick motion, like an arm sweeping across a dinner table scattering the dishes and glasses on the floor.
 
As I sit before my computer, I can only wonder what new gift of words awaits me at my now barren, clutter-free table.  I trust that they will be magnificent as I stare at my past trapped in the flash drive, close my eyes, and leap into the future of the blank computer screen.

 

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
                                                                             –  Alexander Graham Bell 

If you so choose, each new year is an opportunity to sweep your table clear and welcome in the new gifts the Universe wishes to give you.  The trick, of course, is not to be attached to what you had in the past or to the outcome of the future.  If you can manage to live in the freedom of the present, trusting in the moment, and trusting that what you desire in your heart will be manifested, the life you desire will suddenly appear before you. 

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