Give Up on Being the Only Driver of Change in Your Life

This summer feels like one of my best summers even though many aspects of my life are far from optimal.  To give you a sense of where I’m at, I just picked up Retire on Less Than You Think by Fred Brock because I like my simple life, and don’t want to keep chasing after money for the rest of my life, though I want to be responsible.  In so many ways, I am living the quantum leap of contentment and gratitude and joy, even though I’m not reaching the outer goals that most people seem to value more than peace of mind.

Part of the reason for my bliss is because I’ve learned to give up on being the sole driver of change in my life.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.I’d like to offer this idea to you from Paulo Coehlo in The Alchemist:

Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive . . . and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us.

Today, no matter what is happening in your life, ask yourself:

How could the earth and maybe even the universe be collaborating with me for my highest good through this situation?

If you can find a way to see grace working with you even through your challenges, you are well on your way to experiencing a quantum leap in this moment.

Do You Have a Reverse Bucket List?

EARHART, AMELIA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last weekend, I helped my son with his final book report of the year.  The topic was famous women and he chose Amelia Earhart.  I had forgotten much of what I knew about her.  What stood out for me beyond her many awards and accomplishments is that she died at age 39 years old in 1937.  My Dad was 14 years old then, and my mom was seven.

My father’s mother had already died by 1937 from strep throat, which changed his life forever.  Penicillin had not been discovered yet.  My father would live another 71 years.

In his life, my father travelled to Hawaii and Alaska and Germany and Jamaica.  We went on road trips and other plane adventures to experience the bicentennial in 1976 and the Wild West in Wyoming and Yellowstone. He saw even more places with my mom like Venezuela and Mount Ranier and London.

The world has changed so much for men and women in the last 75 years since Earhart’s disappearance in the Pacific.  She seems so modern because she was a pioneer of the age we now live in — where finding our interest and pursuing it with our whole heart is considered important.

Yet, what if we don’t have an overarching passion?  My Dad  didn’t seem to have any.  He loved to play bridge and be part of a family, but he didn’t seem to have great ambition.  Despite his lack of interest in adventure, he went onmany of them anyway.

Some of us are pulled into bigger adventures that maybe we can’t see if we only look at what we think we want to do.

I share all of this because I wonder if sometimes it’s good to do a reverse bucket list, and see where our destiny has taken us.  So many of us are encouraged to live BIG lives on purpose.

But what if life has a bigger purpose for you that you didn’t see.

So, here’s a suggestion.  Depending on your age, what big events happened or you made happen in the following categories:

  1. What were the 20 most important things that happened before you were 20?  What was your 20 under 20?
  2.  Your 30 under 30?
  3. Your 40 under 40?
  4. Your 50 under 50?
  5. etc

You can just keep adding 10 things to your previous list or change your lists if certain decades were “bigger” than others.

You might be surprised to find what the most meaningful events have been for you.

For instance, having my appendix removed when I was 14 and having the doctor say they were lucky they operated when they did taught me how short life can be. It’s not exactly something you put on a bucket list — but it’s on my 20 life changing events before I was 20 list.

If you have time, take a look at how much of an adventure your life has been.  If it’s not been as meaningful or adventurous as you would like by all means create a bucket list.

Just know that not everything that is important will happen because you planned it.  We live in an age of adventure — what has yours been?

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Does Your Bucket List Motivate You?

Today, I was watching and listening to a motivational video talking about the importance of making a list of the things we want to accomplish in life and realized that I had stopped believing in the importance of what are now called bucket lists.

The reason I stopped caring about these type of lists is that I had accomplished so many of the things on my list, and they hadn’t brought the kind of nirvana that I expected.  In fact, I still feel like I’m muddling through life like the vast majority of people, despite achieving goals that I had once thought impossible.

As I’ve aged, the most precious commodity to me has become time.  I realize that there is less and less of it left in my life.  For me, I don’t want to run around chasing elusive goals just to be able to check off yet another To Do list.

In fact, there has been one major goal on my bucket list for the last four years, which has been to slow down my life and be present for all of life’s little moments with my kids.

I also looked at a magnet on my refrigerator — We Plan — God Laughs.

Yet, for all my skepticism about bucket lists, without having written what I call a dream scene about twenty years ago, I probably wouldn’t be spending my time watching my two boys grow in to men or writing stories and blogs with my two dogs as companions or enjoying the honor of coaching socially conscious entrepreneurs. Writing down my longings in lists and journals had an effect on my choices.

As I thought how the boys will be leaving home in a few years, and my dogs unfortunately won’t live forever, nor will many of the older people who are so important in my life now, it became clear maybe it’s time for a new bucket list.

I never thought much about what I’d do after I reached the age that I am now.  When you’re young life seems to go on forever. Knowing what I do now . . . that the achievement of my dreams is not a static thing, but an ever-changing evolution,  I’m ready to start dreaming about my journey for ten and twenty years from now.

I’m also looking back at the dreams of my younger years when I was 15, 21, 25, 35, and 40.   I’m grateful for that young and naive self for having dreams and desires and taking the risks to make them come true, even when I completely failed to reach some of them.

Here are a few questions for your contemplation today:

  1. Do you have any goals that are motivating you now?
  2. Is is time to add some new ones to your list?
  3. How are you now living a once longed for dream that you might be taking for granted?

Here’s to the wonder of all the ways in which we create our destiny.  Even something as simple as writing a list of all the goals, relationships and adventures we want in life.  It is actually possible to write and sketch out our destiny.