Much is being made of today’s date, 11-11-11. Elevens are not new to me, since for the past four to five years I’ve been seeing them all over the place – on digital clocks, parking spaces, hotel rooms I’m randomly assigned, phone numbers – you name it. I normally wake up at least once each night and it’s almost always at 2:11 or 3:11 or 1:22 or – you get the idea. I see 11’s when I glance at the digital clock on my iPhone, in my car, or on my alarm clock far more often as a percentage of the total times I look at the clock per hour than is normal, considering there are sixty numerals that could appear.
You can read more about the 11 phenomenon here, but for now suffice it to say today is as good a day as any, and probably a better day than most, for this post.
My last post expressed an unexpected but potent ethereal longing for a return to source – the place both beyond and from which our known world emanates. Today I’m inspired to express a longing quite the opposite, and hopefully, to inspire it in you.
There are times we all want to escape the day-to-day reality of our three dimensional experience, but most of these times are not a soul’s longing for source. Most of our escape fantasies are the result of a disconnect from the here and now rather than a deep connect with spirit. Most desires to opt-out occur because at the moment we have them, we’re not really living. We’re just going through the motions, killing time before we die. Many are, in fact, already dead and just don’t know it.
So before you really do die, I want you to really live.
Ask Yourself: When Do I Feel Most Alive?
“Really living” is a relative term, of course, meaning different things to different people. For the cyber-junkie spending 12 hours a day in front of a screen, “really living” might mean having a social face-to-face interaction with a live human being that does not involve technology. To the workaholic, it could mean an afternoon spent playing with the kids. To the busy mom, continually fulfilling her family’s needs often at the expense of her own, it might mean a spa day or a night out with friends.
But what if “really living” were as easy and uncomplicated as deciding, every day, to actually DO the simple things that bring you joy – like taking a walk on the beach or spending an hour reading at your favorite coffee shop – that we all excuse away because there are constant, seemingly greater demands staring us in the face? And to not do these things as a means of procrastination (that’s easy enough) but to consciously include them in our lives as a way to remain connected to our happiness? How often do you dream about those little nurturing moments and never get around to them?
(If you’re struggling with that, my new Seven Simple Steps Into Happiness guidebook can help. It’s free. Download it at right)
In my own case, I’ve learned to stop and smell the roses. I live in a place where it’s almost impossible not to. Before I did, I suffered severe burnout and depression to the point of seeing how I was living wasn’t worth the price of my happiness. So I do the little things, like the beach walks and coffee shop visits and 10-minute meditations – almost every day.
But here’s the thing: once you make them a regular habit, the bar will be raised.
Because in my case, I feel most alive when I travel, and as you know if you’ve read these posts, I crave it. So while you’re here, yes, take time to stop and smell the roses, stroll the beach and sip your favorite latte. But know that the more you break out of your “should” box and venture into your “joy” space, the more powerfully life will flow through you, until the small ripples, enjoyable as they are, won’t satisfy you nearly as much as the rushing current.
That’s exactly why travel, which is a significant manifestation of time, energy, money and motion – is so powerful in this regard. See the world. Don’t put if off. Even the smallest taste of life outside your normal circle will allow you to understand just how much more you will treasure experiences than obligations and things.
What is your “normal circle?” If you never leave your city, go beyond it. If you haven’t vacationed outside your home state, cross the state line. Haven’t left your country of origin yet? Time to get a passport. Hesitant to venture outside the boundaries of the first world? Plan a trip to Africa, India, Asia or Peru. It’s time.
Time is an Illusion
It’s not time simply because it’s 11-11-11, said to be a powerful date for manifesting desires. Nor is it time just because I said so. It’s time because if you’re reading this, and you have the means to travel, and you still haven’t pushed your boundaries, you should. This is for you who can and have not yet done. Because the truth is, there is no tomorrow (we just assume there will be). You have only today, and you’re losing time every minute.
Most importantly, the world needs more people who both can and will do to inspire everyone else even less comfortable and even more afraid to break out of their boundary zones. (So yeah, I’m saying if this is resonating with you it’s time to step up.)
Not to be a downer, but I live in South Florida, you see, and it’s the beginning of high “season”, when our snowbirds – seasonal residents averaging age 70 – return for the winter. Being surrounded by seniors affords me a birds-eye view of what it looks like to live fully while you still can. Our “active adults” are exactly that – a lively population, out and about daily. Sadly, seeing them also illuminates with laser focus what life looks like when it’s “too late” and wheelchairs, canes, obesity, diabetes, vision problems and other health issues limit mobility and quality of life.
Not one of us younger folk things this will be us someday, and it doesn’t have to be. Only your conscious choice to allow life to flow unimpeded through you now will prevent blockages later. Think about that.
The Road Untraveled Is Exactly the Route to Take
It saddens me to no end to think that members of my immediate circle – friends and family alike – people who have the means, motive and opportunity to see many of the wonders of the world I have been lucky enough to experience, won’t, for a variety of reasons. For some, because of limiting beliefs. For others, unconscious choices. For still others, even if they want to it will be too late.
They won’t marvel, jaws dropped, at the majesty of the Sistine Chapel. They won’t gaze upon it and ponder how Michelangelo – or any human for that matter – laid on his back for four years painting a space a quarter the size of a football field. They won’t look heavenward in wonder at the Pyramids at Giza, feeling the cool antiquity of the 5,000-year old stone, wise and vigilant like a giant sentinel of human history. They won’t be astonished by the mountaintop isolation yet scalpel-like precision of the ruins at Machu Pichu. They won’t feel the heat of the Israeli dessert, or taste the salt of the Dead Sea. They’ll miss the flavor of fresh bananas from Costa Rica and the melt of a Tibetan snowflake on the tongue.
They will instead work longer, harder hours to earn the bonus that will pay for the new granite kitchen counter-tops. They’ll opt for the annual familiar yet obligatory visit to the grand kids instead of the Alaskan cruise. They’ll put the money away for a rainy day, or their kids’ college education, or pay down the mortgage. They’ll spend $100 and three hours at the mall on a new pair of shoes instead of a passport. They’ll stay close to home, avoid the nightmare of the security lines at the airport, and spare themselves those pesky terrorism threats.
They’ll be safe, they’ll be comfortable, and they’ll be secure. Until one day, when the obligations are fulfilled and the kids are grown and their health is failing and they realize it’s too late. As death approaches, they’ll wonder if they should have lived a little more while they had the chance.
I’ve been blessed to have been broken (and a few times, dragged) out of my comfort zone to see parts of the world I wouldn’t otherwise have chosen to. Based on my experience, I can tell you it’s worth not having the granite counter-tops (I know, I’ve been a homeowner for almost twenty years and still don’t have ‘em, never did, and still want them!), worth the airport security lines and connections and international time changes. Worth the ungodly long trans-Pacific flights and a little less money for the kids’ college.
But I can only lead a horse to water, it’s up to you to drink. You’re here to drink in the richness of this world while you can. We’re all here to take our fill of the fruits of this world and create with them all we desire to add to the infinite potential for all.
Do it before you die.