I am sitting at my favorite diner.
I come here a few times a week to write and work. I show up around seven in the morning and write for a couple of hours before I get to my day-to-day work. It is nearly the only part of my life’s schedule that has stayed constant over the last decade.
I have been blessed. On the surface, it might not seem that way. I’ve had the normal amount of life changes over the last decade and a half, after all. I’ve had a divorce, my parents have died. I lived alone for a time. Then my daughter moved in with towards the end of her high school years. Then she went off to college. Then my son moved in towards the end of his high school years. I had a long term relationship after my divorce and then it ended. I’ve been laid off. I’ve created my own work. Recently, I’ve had the adventure of dealing with cancer.
But I have been blessed. Because in all of that change, I learned something important. Whatever happens to us, we have the power to turn it to something good. There are lessons and we have far more power to re-arrange our lives to make something wonderful out of failure, or defeat, or life’s slings and arrows.
I have rearranged my life and work whenever someone new came or went. My daughter. My son. The woman who brought me to Vermont. The woman I love and made my bride. As I discovered and wanted to explore new things, new talents, new opportunities, I’ve been able to do it. Reinvention, it turns out, is not as hard as we think it is.
But it takes a bit of work and consciousness. It takes open eyes, ready to see the opportunities that flash by us every day and that we are often too distracted to see until they are gone.
Somehow we have bought into the myth that busy is good. Busier is better. Nothing could be more wrong. If we want a life that is truly ours, what WE want, not what we muddle through with, then we have to slow down. Take time to look inward. Take time each day to think through the opportunities that have rushed by us.
Because they do.
Here’s what I learned, finally. Life has far more opportunities than we realize. But we are often too busy to see them, or too busy to grab them. We get trapped in our busyness and buy into the myth that the change we want can’t happen. This is true of individuals and it’s even more true of companies and organizations. We come to believe change can’t happen. Not to us. We’re too busy.
Change, the change we want, can happen, but not until we slow down. Until we get deliberate. Until we give ourselves time to appreciate and see what’s passing by us.
Take a look at every major faith out there and you see that they all speak to slowing down. Giving ourselves times of stillness. Every wisdom literature tells us the same thing.
I am always saying “There are no secrets. Here is the secret.” I say this because it’s true. There are thousands of years of teachers who have said the same thing, albeit in different ways. Why? Because it works.
So take some time. Slow down. It will do you more good than all the hurry, hurry, hurry. Slowing down will allow you to see the opportunities that allow you to create not just a life, but a life you want.
Be well. Travel wisely,
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