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The Adventure of Living Life

Aug 18, 2007
Flying halfway around the world to someplace I'd never been before was quite an adventure. A different culture, a different alphabet, foreign cuisine, unknown sights and sounds awaited me. Having an adventure is so fun, I thought. Why don't we bring more of that explorer spirit of curiosity with us in our daily life? What would our life be like if we treated all of it as one big adventure, and not just leave that sense of wonder and excitement to the few weeks of the year when we may travel to some new destination? When set off for a travel adventure of some kind, it strikes me that there are some basic strategies that we naturally adopt. We don't always use these strategies in how we approach our daily life, however.

Set a course and get prepared first: you need to decide where you want to go. Planning a trip or adventure requires you to consciously choose your destination. Once you've decided where you want to go, you get prepared. You figure out how to get there, what kind of currency and immunizations you'll need, what kind of clothing you need to bring.

Create an itinerary once the destination has been selected: most of us will come up with at least a rough game plan or itinerary. What do you want to see and experience? How long will you want to stay there? Even if it's a rough idea, an itinerary provides the starting point and a rough structure for the adventure.

Pack along our curiosity: an important ingredient of any adventure is a strong sense of curiosity. As you set off for parts unknown, you become an explorer, setting off to find out something new and wondrous. You don't know what that experience will be like and permit yourself to relish that state of "not knowing."

It's not personal when you travel, you just know that unexpected things are bound to happen. The hotel you booked is a dive. The only day you have to visit that world-famous museum is the one day of the year it's closed. Unexpected glitches are inevitable but you don't take them personally. You surrender to the unexpected and simply give yourself leeway to make on-the-spot changes in your plans. You go with the flow. It's easy to simply chalk it up to experience and know that you've got another good adventure story yarn to share with your friends back home.

The contrast in our daily life: Yet how we handle our day-to-day lives is often quite different. Many of us don't have a clear plan or itinerary for where we want to go. True enough, at some points we set goals for ourselves like "get married," "lose 15 pounds," "get a promotion." Yet somehow we lose our thread, not giving our plans the kind of persistent and consistent action needed to realize the results we want. In terms of preparation, we leave ourselves ill-informed or under-resourced to tackle the plans we do have. The driving force in life may be inertia, rather than inspiration.

And what happened to that sense of curiosity? Instead of feeling like an explorer, we at times start to feel jaded or "worn down by life." Instead of surrendering to what happens, we tend to cling to what we know from our past experience, fearful of what the future might bring. We take things that happen to us very personally -- the fact that your child is starting to flunk science must mean that you're a bad parent; the fact that you and your spouse had yet another fight about your mother-in- law must mean your marriage is on the rocks.

An invitation to adventure: It's a season of rejuvenation and renewal, so why not make the choice to live with that sense of curiosity and discovery? A standoff with your rebellious teenager could be seen as a new village you haven't seen before. A failed relationship becomes an opportunity to explore a new part of the jungle you didn't see on the map you'd been using. As spring has now sprung, I invite all of you to bring some of that adventurous spirit of discovery into your daily life.

Become the explorer of your life: Ready to bring a new sense of adventure into your life? Try out these activities to connect with your fearless explorer!
  • Remember a time when you had a real "adventure" - it could be a vacation somewhere, or an unexpected experience you had. How did it make you feel? Take 5-10 minutes to reflect on that experience and write a very evocative description of it. What were the three strongest feelings you had during and after that adventure?
  • If you want to live with that explorer's sense of curiosity, create a motto or a mantra for yourself to capture that commitment or find an image that conveys that sense of adventure to you. Your motto could be "I love the adventure of my life" or "I'm a fearless explorer that can tackle any challenge." Or perhaps there's a picture of a world-class sailor cresting a massive wave that inspires you. Post your motto or image up so you'll see it often to remind you that you're living your life as an adventure!
  • Check your life itinerary - do you have one? Have you got a clear picture of where you want to go with your life? Take some quiet time to yourself to review the major areas of your life - personal health; family; career; relationship; finances; spiritual; community; creative expression. Set one exciting goal for yourself for each area and a deadline for achieving it.
  • Identify what resources you already have to help you with that goal, such as your educational background, your life experience, people you know that could help you. Then identify what resources you might need to find. For example, do you need to find a course, read a book, find a support group or coach? This week, take one concrete step towards achieving your goal in at least two major areas of your life.
About the Author
Carolyn B. Ellis, author, spiritual divorce coach and founder of Thrive After Divorce Inc. If you want simple life-changing tips for single parenting, visit Thrive After Divorce now to receive a FREE report.
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