There are times in our life when we hold ourselves back. Maybe it's a call out from a friend for the next adventure, a night out dancing or even as simple as dinner or coffee with a friend. When the offer is presented to us we're in that ‘I can't be bothered with life’ mode. There are also a million excuses that are so relevant and so timely to be used that we don't even realise we're using them as an excuse, stopping us from something awesome.
Thunder grumbled all around us as the giant raindrops fell here there and everywhere. We'd just paddled our canoe into shore after 2 hours of exploring around Sydney's Royal National Park. The last 30 minutes the storm flickered and growled, giving us the most spectacular sound and light show. Probably best we get off the water to set up camp! I was somewhat tired recovering from a stomach bug a few days earlier. The paddle out here had been fun as we'd escaped the ever increasing waves from tipping us and all our camp gear on the drink.
Unloading everything on the beach and it was maybe around 3pm. There was still so much of the day left, and so much fun awaiting us. Out at sea the waves came rolling in. ‘Want to go out for some waves?’ Brendan asked. ‘In the boat?’ I asked, thinking how much I'd rather curl up in the tent and get warm and dry. ‘Yeah!’ He answered excitedly, which didn't really excite me. ‘I think I'd rather have a little nap.’ I replied not REALLY thinking at all. This seemed like the wrong answer on all accords. Yet my mind still lavished in the thought of napping in the warm dry tent.
For some reason I didn't follow what I thought I wanted to do. Instead I followed Brendan back to the boat. I don't know if I was curious, if deep down inside I did want an adventure or if I just didn't want to miss out. Before I knew it I was back in the canoe paddling back into the storm and the waves.
A lot of times in the past I would have clung to my thoughts of a dry nap and paddled out begrudgingly. In fact I would have talked my mind out of having any fun despite choosing the adventure. Instead this time I decided to remain present and in the moment, in the boat, the waves and the storm.
As I engulfed myself in Brendan's directions, I also drew on my ocean paddling experience as we paddled out for our first wave. The canoe took a little adjusting maneuvering our weight into the right part of the boat. Sliding down that first wave I felt that feeling, the rush of adrenaline where you just want to scream woo hoo. Which I did then laughed with delight. We paddled out for another, and another and another. We switched places in the boat so I could steer and caught more waves, in and out we went, woo hooing, laughing and having a hoot of a time.
When the waves died down we carried the canoe to the river to play in the bridge currents and eddies were I learned to fairy glide. When we'd exhausted all areas for fun in the canoe and hunger started to creep in we declared it was time to go back to camp. I couldn't help but think that I would have missed this micro adventure had I followed my auto pilot thoughts and huddled up for that dry nap.
How to move past the auto pilot thoughts and create amazing moments…?
- Be curious enough to question your responses to a request for fun and adventures.
- Notice how you feel and what your body really wants to do.
- Ask yourself if your making an excuse.
Build your awareness habit. Catch yourself and your thinking and ask questions of your thoughts and your choices. Question....'How could this be fun?' You just don't know what awaits. The other thing I tend to do is create a story of how something will play out, what will happen and how I will feel, you imagine it will be a certain way and make you feel certain feelings. This all needs to be forgotten.
Move forward and embrace the moment.
- Completely forget all thoughts of what you thought would be a better plan.
- Engulf yourself in the present and focus every speck of energy on what your doing right now.
- Release the feelings that come up, embrace the joy of the presence an exactly what you are doing.
Start flexing the muscle of awareness to change your habits and stretch yourself.
When I finally crawled into the tent and my head hit the pillow (or rather my clothing bag stuffed full and wrapped in a towel). I had not regrets, not even a worry or concern that Id missed out. In fact Id gained enthusiasm and renewed energy for the mini adventures that can flow into our lives.
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