Do Something New…

71OuYxzZ2lL._AC_SY606_It seems the older people get, the more settled they become in terms of routines and well established habits. Whatever that mechanism is that God put into our brains to save resources, sort of takes over as we age, seeking apparently to place any original thought into predetermined categories leaving little room to process and enjoy new experiences. Although less required activity makes sense for those approaching and living out their golden years, perhaps less mental stimulation doesn’t make as much sense. People’s mind don’t age, their bodies do, that is unless they have slowed to a crawl in the healthy pursuit of learning something new. Do something new…

When you are young, the world is a kaleidoscope of multifarious, almost limitless possibilities to learn and subsequently grow. The infinity variety of the world is exhaustless in its capacity to enliven and thrill your heart. As you age, that same world of opportunities remains the same, but you don’t. The call of the familiar begins to sound louder than the beckon of new experience. Habits once developed for efficiency now become resistant to change; any change that upsets the status quo of required daily routines. God help you if you don’t have dinner at exactly 5:00 pm or miss a television show or don’t have your coffee at 7:00 am sharp. You cannot participate in any activity that takes place on the weekday evening and all extracurricular happenings must be confined to the weekend and then earlier on Sunday lest you risk staying up late. Whatever happened to that kid who gladly sacrificed sleep in order to do something fun? What deftly and subtly stole away the excitement of life in exchange for dutiful pursuits of the exact same thing day in and day out? It isn’t their age that makes a person old, but instead it’s those damnable habits and rigidity that sets in as a result of them. You’ve only become rigid and fixed in your mindset because you stopped the movement of your mind, the movement that takes place when you do something or learn something new.

The origin of this dilemma dates all the way back to the beginnings of mankind when aging was first introduced. (Yes, there was a time when people, both of them, didn’t age.) Today we find ourselves left with a body that does age and eventually will die if the Lord tarries. However, too many people have already died while still being alive. They’ve resigned themselves to a life of mental and physical inactivity. People have chronic knee pain because sitting all day doesn’t require much of the knees. There’s nothing left around that makes the heart beat faster, both physically and more important emotionally. It seems that no-one willfully resigns themselves to this fate, but instead sort of falls into it like when someone falls asleep. They have fallen asleep at the switch, which isn’t reserved for those in the middle of their lives. They have been lulled into complacency and in so doing have ceased caring about or pursuing the best things in life, to be replaced by a host of pointless endeavors ever leading nowhere and to nothingness. Sure your shot at being a professional athlete may have passed you by, but that doesn’t mean you cannot apply the same drive and commitment to something else. Woe unto the man or woman that has nothing left to care about. The perceived energy to do a thing is usually far more than the thing actually requires. When we cut ourselves off to new learning and adventure, we cut ourselves off from life. None have succeeded in exhausting new experiences, but many have exhausted themselves with old thoughts. There’s a reason grandpa keeps telling you the same stories. It’s because grandpa has no new stories to tell. (Bless his heart!)

If you’re not careful this old life will get away from you. Before you know it, your life will have been reduced to a handful of things going on every day while you seek in earnest to pass the time. The fact that you would seek to pass the time is a clarion call to your heart that you need to add some new stuff into your agenda and this advice is not just reserved for the elderly. There’s certainly nothing wrong with comforts or for that matter familiar routines, but there is everything wrong with a resignation towards life as long as God exists and, oh my friends, God exists! The variety and splendor of the creation alone signifies that God is anything but boring and is well able to help you recover that spring in your step. We all find ourselves confronted at times with futility, questioning the point of it all, but that is a part of every man’s experience if he lives long enough. But, if you are honest, you will usually find that you have been a cooperator in your own ignorance by failing to keep paying attention to your own thoughts and behaviors and how they play out in your life. What a great day it is when you finally begin again to question your assumptions and look afresh at life with humble and inquiring eyes! What an absolute joy it is to the soul of a person to discover something new, though it be known to others a million times over.

Maybe lately you have found yourself lacking in some of the enthusiasm and joy for living that you once had. Maybe life has become pretty routine for you without the promise of anything new. Whatever has happened or whatever has led you to where you are, take solace in the reality that new life is always available for those who seek it; for those who aren’t afraid to learn and to do something new. It remains your one shot at this thing folks. Please, do something new…


Flashes of Light…

unnamedThere is no such thing as an ordinary life. Each one of us, uniquely made and different, have something to contribute to the world. We have the opportunity to offer what we alone do best and from whence we have no rival. In order to escape the mundane, the mediocrity, the humdrum that plagues the world, we have to find those flashes of light that lead us to our true purpose. And, while our purpose is inside of us, we need the light from the outside to guide our paths.

We all know that the sunshine does something positive to us. How many difficulties are immediately resolved in our minds just because the sun is shining? Gloomy days, also a part of life, remind us to seek the sunlight. Similarly, gloomy thoughts remind us to look for the light that warms and comforts us. Days, weeks and years spent in gloomy thoughts lead us unwillingly to the pain that is a life with no purpose, no point. Yet behind each dark cloud is the light that is always present, waiting for us to recognize it and embrace it. Our job is not to produce the light, but rather to seek it until we find it. The light that guides us is found in flashes of insight and understanding.

Those insights; the subtle beckoning of a change in direction or a suggested change in our thinking are all around us if we start paying attention. They show up in those moments of repose or when we admire the lifestyle of another person. It’s found in the gentle appeals to something better inside of us; some more sublime, sweet way to exist. The reason men and women fail to see the light is because they get trapped in some mindset, some hard, fast , habitual way of thinking that falsely presumes what life is and all that can be accomplished or enjoyed. The problem is that we but half live our days functioning by rote instead of seeking the new and profound in each day. Each day offers us the opportunity to live anew with fresh experiences and learning, but we’ve become so accustomed to our routines that we cannot discern it. And while the routines are necessary, they also serve to cut us off from a full life.

It seems many people as they age settle into certain patterns of existence. The days blur together because they are lived without inquisitive thought, without new learning, but instead with mindless repetition. Young people, still consumed with the idea of life, actively seek new experiences with a mind still bent on gaining a better view. Aging is not the issue, but rather the amount of time that has transpired to inculcate certain habits of thought. The light has not become less available, it’s just harder to see with a fixed mindset. The light becomes diminished with our insistence on thinking we already know, thus closing us off from all that we do not know. It’s not easy to break certain habits of thought, but break them we must if we wish to fulfill our experience of life.

The true joy of living is not often found in hallmark events, but in the mechanics of every day life. The proposed destination is not the only part of the process. Learning to enjoy the journey is the paramount experience. The life that God has given us is infused with rich variety and opportunities for discovery and each day is pregnant with the possibility of new learning. For this reason, we have to unchain ourselves from our habitual behaviors. Get up at a different time. Choose a different route to work. Instead of arriving home from work to occupy the couch and the television for the evening, go for a walk in the park or meet friends on a weeknight instead.

One great hold back to a fulfilled life, offering your best “you” to the world is that tyrannical insistence on being whom everyone already thinks you are. People, in their attempts to classify and categorize us, assign us to some place in life usually described by a word or two. Instead of becoming more and more a rich cumulation of experiences, we allow ourselves to be assigned as, “the comedian” or the “drinker” or the “hard worker” when those aspects simply point to one portion of our existence. My wife exhorted me to stop posting pictures on Facebook of me drinking wine as over time I became defined as, “the wine guy” falsely assuming wine to be the point of my existence. And while I definitely have an affinity for fine wine, my greater affinity is for a passionate, experienced filled life.

At the end of the day, each of us have the privilege to be exactly whom we choose to be, not held in by the group’s assessment. The magnificent uniqueness of who you are is encouraged and fanned by your experiences of life. Be the person you desire to be spurred on by those flashes of insight and refuse to be locked into to some minimalist viewpoint of who you are. Choose to walk a path designed for you and for you alone. Break free from the stumbling herd and live the days of your existence exactly as you desire to live them. Listen to music that inspires you though no-one you know enjoys it. Make plans and goals too lofty for your present mindset and enjoy your incredible journey of becoming.

Your life is way too short to be anything less than exactly what you want. It is your one shot my friends, and the determining factor always was and always will be you.

Just some good thoughts…