A strong rip current and big swell always gets my blood pumping. There were two swimmers ahead of me who took the corner wide, while I ran the gauntlet and hugged the reef where the current was weaker. Luckily I caught a wave in and avoided a few scrapes on the shallow reef. As I waded out of the water I circled up in the shallows with the other swimmers. We had a laugh and a chat about how sketchy it was out there. We realized we had been watching each other.
Sport with a little bit of trouble bonds people together.
I predict tears and laughter in airports and train stations across the world when we can travel again. Some people, especially immigrants who have journeyed far away from their birthplaces, likely won’t see family and friends for a really long time. Reuniting with loved ones like children, parents, and grandparents will be a cathartic experience. I do not think people have yet realized that pre-pandemic was the last time we would see the people we loved for a very long time.
Sometimes in life, you gotta turn up. By turn up, I don’t mean sending thoughts and prayers, flowers or money. I mean physically turn up and be there. Sometimes it’s to celebrate or grieve, sometimes it’s pre-emptive, and sometimes it’s to volunteer. I saw a lot if this happening during the Sonoma fire relief and support. Nurses, doctors, firefighters, chefs, therapists all turned up and offered a hand to people who had lost everything. At one stage people were being turned away before there were too many people to help.
When in doubt – be there. Most of the time you’ll regret not going. But you’ll never regret being there.
There’s no social media version for a face to face conversation with a friend. With everyone spread out across the globe these days the next best thing is a conversation over the phone. The best version of this is a video chat. Texting via Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Snapchat are essential communication tools – they help you communicate, but they don’t connect you with people on a deeper level.
Even though our smartphones have the word phone in them, we use them more for other things like email, social media, work and entertainment.
To stay in touch, you’ve got to make the time to be there in the moment. Video chat, phone and face to face is the best way to connect.
Have you ever visited a place or spent time with a friend where you leave feeling invigorated and energized? Next time take a pause and reverse the flow. Ask yourself what you can offer instead of what you can take away. If it’s a place then be aware of how you keep it beautiful and pristine. If it’s a friend remember to ask how you can help or just keep quiet and listen.
Places and people that are permanently sucked on wither away, feel desolate and are tired. You can feel this with certain national parks. Well used parks are used over and over again and there’s zero stewardship going on. It’s super transactional. Take take take. Me me me.
Places and people have great energy because they are stewarded over time. It’s a give and take relationship. Places feel sacred for a reason. Giving is more energizing than taking.
Physical pilgrimages are important. I used to think that viewing something digitally was enough and that being there physically didn’t matter, but I’ve learned through traveling that being there physically can accelerate a connection to people and places.
Smells, sounds, people and places all trigger feelings that should be acknowledged and processed. There are places where the energy is palpable like airport arrival halls, Yosemite National Park or returning to the town I was born. In other places the energy needs to be stewarded, nurtured or repaired..maybe it’s been drained or sucked on by too many people or it’s been a place of suffering or pain. It’s hard to feel it without physically being there.
It can’t be experienced remotely via digital doors like Facebook, FaceTime and Skype. Digital connections build relationships and we are more compassionate and connected because of them, but physically being in the place is a different level. It’s about resonating with the frequency of the place and in turn having it resonate with you.
Carve out the time and travel. It stimulates growth in you, and in the people and places you visit.
As I left the house this morning there was a gentle offshore wind blowing, the ground was wet from morning rain and there was still a bite in the air. A typical spring morning in Northern California. Weather patterns can evoke memories, just like smells and sounds. This particular combination of notes took me back to Mexico.
In the spring of 2003 I was on the west coast of Mexico with two buddies. We had slowly moved down the coast, camping in beach villages along the way and surfing every morning. If the surf was good and the people were friendly then we would stay a while. The ritual was the same. Wake up before sunrise, slowly crawl out of a too small tent, fuel the belly with some instant oats, try to warm up a bit and paddle out. Like clockwork, the wind was always a light offshore before switching to a pumper onshore at around 10ish in the morning. The key was to get out early with the offshore wind and catch the swell when it was glassy and smooth. Crowds were never a problem. The rest of the day was spent sleeping, reading and playing cards away from the wind and sun. Just before sundown as everything started to cool again, the wind would die down and switch back to offshore. It was time to suit up and paddle out for a cheeky sunset surf. Good times.
Pattern recognition is combination of things, like the time of year, sights, sounds, smell and state of mind, but when it clicks into place it’s great to revisit a moment and savor it. Be open to it and explore it when it happens.
As we enter the first days of Spring, there’s an urge to make big decisions about the upcoming season. It’s anything from career, family, finances and personal growth. Before we make a big decision, we get physically and mentally fit.
When we are fit we have less stress and are more present. Our muscles and brain are oxygenated and we think more clearly. Worries and fears are less magnified and we have a good sense of what is real vs. imaginary (most of it’s imaginary, by the way).
Going for a walk, meditating, taking deep diaphragm inhales and exhales…as well as toe breathing, where we feel the inhalations inflate our toes – are fun exercises we enjoy to breath more deeply.
When fit, we find decisions emerge from a more grounded and present place.
When I go for a hike in new territory I take a map or consult a guide. When I’m driving to a new location I pull out my phone and turn on navigation. It makes no sense to get in the car and start driving before I have directions.
When it comes to a spiritual journey most people do the opposite. Maybe they read a book, watch a film or speak to someone who inspires them. They make a decision to investigate and explore which is awesome, but they forget to pick a guide.
If you’ve woken up and are searching for answers, the first step is realizing that having a guide will keep you on track when you lose your way. This path has already been trodden by poets and mystics – take someone’s hand and follow. If you reach out, someone will hold your hand.