When was the last time you followed your wisdom, your gut instinct, to do something you really wanted to do? Something fun, out of the box, and completely for yourself? It's tricky, I know, because often times we get the pull to do the new adventure, then our made up thoughts come in the picture and clobber it with 'logic' as to why you shouldn't do it: You don't have time, you don't have the money, you've never been there so what if something happens to you? Maybe you've never done it before so you make pictures of what your experience may be like, what you'll look like or what others will think.
Oy vey - thoughts are exhausting, am I right?!
Well let me tell you, more than just the immense amount of joy you'll be met with from following through with what your wisdom is nudging you to do, is the magic that you'll witness all around you - the beauty of life and how it unfolds, all because you followed your soul-pull.
I recently followed through on a soul-pull to go roller skating, and I'm telling you now, what I experienced ended up being far beyond the joy I could've ever imagined (though I had a feeling it was going to be pretty darn magical). I grew up roller skating, so my nostalgia was through the roof. From the woman at the admission window (who had blatantly been working there for decades) inquiring if I'd be paying 8 bucks for a skate ticket or 13 for a skate and rent - said with her perfectly frosty pink lipstick and a 'honey' with every interaction. To the 80's carpet, the disco balls and the smell of nacho cheese and feet... I was in heaven. I got there right at the beginning of Open Skate and the throwback tunes were already bumping and skaters of every age, cultural background and skill level were zooming, falling and timidly holding on to the carpet wall, simultaneously and blissfully - let me repeat, I was in heaven.
As I'm sure you can gather, my joy was through the roof. I went by myself and couldn't have had a better time bearing witness to everything going on around me: the sweet interactions between lovebirds, the care of a parent coaching their little one, the bliss of a senior skating circles around us all; And the gift of the quiet nature of skating itself, the space it allowed for me to reflect on my state of mind as I watched everything unfold around me.
So where's the lesson in it all, you ask? Well, I had a few bubble up for me. To begin, it is truly remarkable that when I listen inward, when I honor my wisdom and follow through with what it tells me, how any concerning thoughts about life simply melt away. When I am overwhelmed with joy and filled to the brim with that loving feeling, any concerning thinking that may normally plague me is either absent, or it moves through my head before I even have time to take it seriously. I can observe those thoughts passing through my head like the ticker tape at the bottom of a news cast, as opposed to a headline at the top of a newspaper. Additionally, when I'm in this joyful space, I am naturally and effortlessly brought to the moment. I become so open-hearted that I feel as though someone has cracked my chest open to reveal a glowing heart, and the feeling lasts as long as I choose to stay in it. And as you can imagine, when I'm not in my own world of thought, when I'm present and open-hearted, every interaction with the world around me is smooth, kind, understanding, effortless and even humorous. Can you think of a time, activity or vacation that makes you feel this way? How does remembering that thought make you feel? Isn't it amazing that just thinking about that wonderful experience brings you peace? And you're still sitting in the same spot, nothing has changed but your thinking (I'm looking back at you with a wink).
Speaking of life being more humorous when you're full of joy, I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear watching the kiddos in the rink. It was so wonderful to watch them fall over and over and over, and continue to get back up on their feet without a thought. Not only were they determined to be good at skating, but they effortlessly threw themselves into tricks and new moves without any hesitation. The ultimate lesson in following my wisdom being played out right in front of me.
As we age, we create so much thought around our experience - for example if we fall from skating, we create thinking that we're not good at it, so we stop. And not only do we stop, but we make up a story around that fall that lasts with us for the rest of our lives and affects decision making as long as we believe it. From that point forward, we will no longer skate because we 'always' fall - even though it was a one time experience. But who knows, maybe you had some fearful thinking in your head before you started skating that you may fall and embarrass yourself, so the fall is now evidence for that made up thinking (and heck, maybe you fell because of a tiny rock on the ground, or you turned around too quickly, or were human and lost your balance for a split second!) Isn't that incredible? It's amazing how many of us have created an entire world of thought around one experience, and that lasting thought (or thoughts) is then a cemented belief about ourselves, or that experience, for the rest of our lives. When really, it's a news headline thought that we've believed, and it's stopping us short from having new wonderful experiences because we have those lenses on anytime a similar opportunity comes up for us.
You see, as you may be beginning to understand, we live and experience our thinking, not the world around us. The more we can understand that, the more we aren't plagued by thoughts - we see them for what they are, let them pass, and come back to the moment. Life becomes more rich, full of color, peaceful and oh-so-enjoyable. Is there an activity or experience in life that you would like to have but the only thing that stops you is your thoughts about it? Are those thoughts true? Are they really true? How would you feel, and what would you do, if you didn't have those thoughts? It seems simple, because it is! With different thinking, we have different experiences of life.
Finally, with today being Martin Luther King, Jr. day, it feels fitting to share my final insight that brought tears to my eyes as I skated around this ol' skating rink. Humans want to connect. We want to help each other. We want to lift each other up when we fall, literally and figuratively. Without our prejudices, our judgements, our divisive and dividing thinking, we have the same goals of living a love and joy filled life - that's it, plain and simple. And guess what, if you take away that individual thinking, the individual reality we each live in, what are we? The same. We may be in different skin suits, but on the inside, we are totally and utterly the same. We are One. Seeing all of the people that came together to enjoy some skating on a simple Friday afternoon: From the two East Indian girls clinging to the walls and watching everyone take turns to give them pointers on how to skate better, to the African American mom helping her daughter skate and having every child gravitate towards her for help because her energy was SO welcoming. From the Caucasian senior citizen having a lovely lone skate willing to help anyone struggling around him, to the Armenian teenage couple that had the biggest smiles on their faces after he gave them pointers. Witnessing a new friendship evolve between the Asian group of twenty-somethings and the Mexican group of twenty-somethings in the matter of two hours. Every falling child and adult was lent a hand by another in the rink, every human being having the time of their lives and becoming fast friends with each other, I couldn't have been more proud to be witness to the love that is real between us all. What a gift.
So with all of this, dear readers, I hope you begin to honor yourself and follow what your wisdom tells you when you listen inward. And for the love of god, take your made up thoughts a little less seriously! Doing so will begin to effortlessly shift your energy and your experience of life, and therefore the world around you, as we are living a life from the inside-out, always.
See you again next week.