Author Archives: Dana Shane

Everything old CAN be new again

The great Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “He who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead.”

As we grow older and begin thinking that we have it all figured out – or at least thinking we should by now – we often deduce that there is nothing to look forward to in this life. If even in the background of our thoughts – our subconscious.

We’ve done what we knew to do. Lived a “good” life. Done the “right” things. Been “good” people.

And still consistent peace and happiness evades us.

So, we trudge through the monotony of day to day life looking for meaning, a glimpse of joy, relief from our worries – or just how to survive the day.

The bliss of weddings turns into the work of marriages or the devastation of divorce.

The gift of a newborn becomes the challenge of raising a teenager.

The security of family is forced to endure hardship and loss as people begin coping with health issues and death.

The excitement and sparkle of a new home becomes a never-ending and ruthless money-pit of needed repairs, upgrades and replacements.

The pursuit of a career and success becomes just doing a job, second guessing everything you’ve built or desperately trying to figure things out when your circumstances change suddenly and unexpectedly.

The thrill of physical challenge and pushing limits becomes aches, pains and ultimately the cortisone shots or surgeries of today.

We can become hardened over the years. Less receptive to new ideas. More frustrated by the changes and speed of life.

Worn out.

We may live in guilt or anger about our past mistakes or the mistakes of others.

We may feel that things are unfair or that the best has already happened.

 

What do all of these things have in common?

They include some form of worry.

Our minds bombard us with regret, daunting tasks, fear, anxiety, to-dos or else, should haves, could haves, perceived loss and remorse – on a daily basis.

Sometimes all at once.

No, really!

Have you ever checked your thoughts in a meltdown moment?

I can pretty much guarantee all the worry-wart-isms above will be present in what you’re telling yourself during said meltdown.

 

You ever WONDER how you can change all that?

If you do, you’re on the right track.

In our almost constant state of worry we completely miss the WONDER – the awe – of life.

 

What’s happening in the outside world around us is not where the issue lies – nor where you will find the answer. You must venture into the recesses of your mind.

 

Instead of saying –

I don’t know what to do about…

I’m worried about…

I can’t or I don’t want to because…

I should do this…

I could have done that…

I need to…

 

Try a little WONDER on for size –

I wonder what will happen?

I wonder how this experience will help me grow?

I wonder what it will be like?

I wonder what I can bring to this situation or relationship?

I wonder how much fun I can have?

I wonder what I can learn from this person or experience?

I wonder what we can create?

I wonder how this will unfold?

I wonder what this all means?

 

3 things are guaranteed to happen when you ask a WONDER QUESTION of yourself:

  • It will immediately take the edge off your worry and help you realize things are not as bad or as daunting as they seem.
  • You will see things in a whole new light – much like a child witnessing colorful, bursting fireworks in the sky for the very first time.
  • You will release yourself from feeling the need to have all the answers. You become a player in this Adventure called life.

 

Allow yourself to WONDER at least a little – every single day – and escape the clutches of worry. Your heart will open. You will experience acceptance, advancement, fun, forgiveness, breath, movement, letting go, love, beauty and awe.

 

Life is nothing BUT a state of wonder really.

Allow yourself to witness the masterpiece.

To experience the miracles.

To appreciate every moment.

NEVER STOP WONDERING!

 

What are you wondering about today? Or start with what you’re worried about. Put it in the form of a wonder question and be sure to share your question below.

What goes down, must come up!

  1. click here When something isn’t working for you, switch to something that does – use whatever is available or presents itself in that moment. 

Day one was a 7-mile hike down to the floor of the Grand Canyon. I had worn my hiking boots many times before so they were good and broken in. However, about 5 miles into the hike, I started to experience pain on my right inside ankle bone. The angle of the descent, and my unusual stride due to muddy, sometimes icy and slick terrain had my boot rubbing on my ankle in such a way that it became bruised. Before long each step was unbearable.

I tried re-tying my boots in several different ways. Taking breaks. Even slipping my foot partially out of the boot and hiking with my heel flattening the back side. That option offered my ankle bone relief, but quickly caused issues in other areas – my back, knees, calf and quadriceps. All of which I needed to finish that day’s descent, let alone the 9.5 mile hike out the next day.

When I couldn’t take it anymore, I sat down, removed my 40-pound back pack and considered my options. There was only one really. I had packed a brand spanking new, shiny, unblemished pair of running shoes to put on once we reached camp – as a respite for my feet.  They had insufficient tread for the terrain, and little to no ankle support. But it was either that, debilitating pain, or bare feet.

My choice was clear.

If it wasn’t for the “what you pack in, you pack out” hikers pledge and Grand Canyon policy, I might have hurled my mud and clay packed hiking boots over the edge of a cliff.

So tempting!

But instead I beat my wretched boots together incessantly, removing as much debris – and weight – from them as I could. And strapped them to the back of my pack. I christened my pristine, sparkling new running shoes by strapping on a pair of YakTrax to ensure sufficient traction, and continued my descent.

http://amandaraefit.com/just-start/?share=twitter One way to know you’ve clearly made a great choice: it solves a problem – and feels so damn good! 

I wore those tennis shoes the rest of the way down and all the way out of the canyon the next day. They received a rigorous washing when we arrived home. And they are officially my favorite shoes!

The irony is that I had spent the entire week before the trip lecturing my son for not breaking in his brand-new hiking shoes – he needs new shoes about every 3 months due to his exponential growth!  He had ZERO issues with his shoes. (Don’t think he didn’t make that point known.)

    2. http://bfscolorado.com/contact.shtml Figure out what you want most – in that moment – and do whatever it takes to get there.

My son did have his own challenges however. To be expected, considering he was a 14-year-old young man attempting something that only 1% of the 6 million people who visit the Grand Canyon each year are brave (or crazy) enough to attempt.

He was a champion the first day, descending 4,780 feet in elevation, covering 7 miles. Just to offer you some perspective, there is not a single flat surface from the rim until you reach the bridge that crosses the Colorado river at the bottom – exemplifying the phrase, “It’s all downhill from here.”

And if you’ve never hiked, walked or ran at a steep decline, you should know that it’s much harder on your joints and muscles than climbing at an incline.

That evening at camp, it dawned on me as my own muscles started to tighten and ache, that rolling out of our tiny beds in the bunk house the next morning could prove to be interesting – and maybe even a game-ender for my son.

There’s nothing quite like taking that first step the day after you’ve asked your body to perform some enormous physical feat. It usually involves some element of shock and crying out loud or cussing. Followed by a desperate attempt by your brain to make sense of how you’re going to even live through that next day, let alone take another step. Or how about thousands of steps, with a heavy pack on your back for 8 to 10 hours straight.

It’s in those moments that you have to have a real heart to heart with your brain – reminding it that it is in charge of your body and has the power to determine what happens next.

We had no choice but to hike up and out of the canyon the next day, gaining 4,380 in elevation over the course of 9.5 miles – not for the faint of heart.

A holiday weekend, rangers were not on duty, and a mule or helicopter rescue could take up to 3 days – information we learned from another hiker who was contemplating any other option but painfully hiking out that next day.

Luckily, after a quick breakfast to fuel our minds and muscles, my son was all too anxious to get started. So we set off on our trek before the sun had even risen over the tallest walls of the canyon.

The terrain on the way up and out of the canyon was a little more shaded and gradual, covering less incline over more miles. We made several stops along the way – taking in the scenery – constantly reminded of how fortunate we were to be having this experience – and more importantly, having it together.

It wasn’t until the last 2 ½ miles of that day’s trek that my son started to both mentally and physically break down.  It’s at this point that the trail really begins to climb. We scaled the canyon wall on switchbacks that slowly but surely release you to the top rim of the canyon where other tourists look at you in horror – as they realize you just came from the bottom of this monstrous, gaping hole in the ground.

Several times in that final couple of hours he sat down – holding back tears – ready to be done. Verbalizing his distaste and anguish out of frustration and exhaustion.

I’m not as brutal of a mother as I may seem. My son actually requested to make this trip when he was 11 years old. We were visiting the canyon, hiking just a mile or two in and out from the south rim. He saw the hikers with their packs as the continued on down into the canyon, beyond our view and he was hooked. I promised him we would come back and do it someday.

When he was 13, I decided it was time. But when I called to reserve a space at the only boarding at the bottom of the canyon, Phantom Ranch, I discovered they were booking a year out in advance.

So here we were, a year later. As I looked at my 14-year-old son – understanding his pain and mental battles in that moment (because I had put myself through them so many times before in my own life) –  I knew the time had come.

My young son was now a young man. And he was about to learn a really important lesson.

Sometimes your only choice is to put one foot in front of the other and keep on moving.

“Nobody can carry you this time – namely me. There’s no one to come rescue us. You can’t just quit and sit there. It’s going to get dark, and cold as the day moves on – and we don’t have the gear to survive those conditions – on the open face of windy canyon wall – for very long.”

As we sat on a huge rock – my son gathering his composure and determination – I assured him. I was in this with him until the end. We could stop, stretch and rest as often as he needed. He could cry, cuss, bitch, moan, laugh, sing – whatever it took. And he could set the pace. But the fact of the matter was, the only way out of that canyon was to walk ourselves out. And the more we kept moving, the quicker we would get to the top.

I used the promise of food (specifically a cheeseburger), a hot shower, foot rub, a comfortable bed and sleeping in as long as he wanted the next morning to entice him.

At a certain point, what my son wanted more than anything was to be off his feet, out of that canyon.

And I wanted it for him too.

But the only way to get what we wanted was to do what had to be done.

So after 8 hours of hiking that day we reached the top rim of the Grand Canyon.

My son learned – and I was reminded – that no matter how much you want something, it’s not yours for the taking unless you know how bad you want it and you’re willing to put one foot in front of the other and do what it takes to get it.

What do you really want – at all costs? Share in the comments below. Naming it is the key to making it happen. And then it’s just a matter of taking one-step and the next, and so-on.

Don’t get caught up in obstacles. They may exist simply to make the path you choose more clear. The importance does not lie in HOW you get there. Only that you do!

What list of demands does your head barrage you with when you ask this question?

How does that differ from how your heart and soul answer the same question?

Can you relax into not having the answers but knowing they exist?

Write your answers to these questions and whatever else comes up for you in The Adventuresome Life 52-Week Journal (FREE DOWNLOAD).

You don’t have to have it all figured out, Einstein!

Herein lies the problem. Making resolutions inadvertently assumes that there are things that need to be resolved. Dealt with. Settled. Solved. Figured out.

This approach – while well-intentioned – places all the focus on what’s “wrong”. On what you believe needs to be improved upon, changed or even eliminated. It utilizes perception and interpretation of what has been in order to determine what can be now.

What you have believed, thought and been willing and able to accept up till now has got you exactly where you are. Go you! Good job.

But if reaching beyond your current reality is what you seek, a new level of thinking – and a whole lot of imagination – is required.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.

– Albert Einstein

Don’t get me wrong. Your personality is important. Your own personal genius. Flavor. Uniqueness. Individuality.

But it’s time to let your personality serve your soul – not the other way around. You can’t expect your expansive, inclusive, all-encompassing soul to be fulfilled by a lil’ resolution that was created from the same mind that has, up till now, kept you from the reality you want.

I define the soul as the essence of who we are, despite any human experiences, episodes and encounters. It’s us at our core – beyond our five senses, interpretations and judgments of the world. It’s our natural, beautiful, infinite, peaceful and passionate state of being.

 

From The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav:

(In reference to the writing and works of William James, Carl Jung, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Niels Bohr and, my personal favorite, Albert Einstein – who Zukav refers to as mystics.)

“…in the depths of their own thoughts they each saw much too much to be limited by the five senses…”

“…I came to understand that what motivated these men was not Earthly prizes or the respect of colleagues, but that they put their souls and minds on something and reached the extraordinary place where the mind could no longer produce data of the type that they wanted, and they were in the territory of inspiration where their intuitions accelerated and they knew that there was something more than the realm of time and space and matter, something more than physical life.”

“…what motived these men, and many others, was in fact something of great vision that comes from beyond the personality. Each one of us is now being drawn, in one way or another, to that same great vision. It is more than a vision. It is an emerging force. It is the next step in our evolutionary journey.”

 

What am I getting at here? This: The materialization of our ideas, dreams and visions ends at our own perceived boundaries and limitations.

The answer is not to define a NEW boundary and limitation. It is to accept that there are no boundaries, that the possibilities are truly limitless.

Don’t accept jumping from one lily pad to the next. Leap out of the pond and into the ocean.

What’s motivating you in 2017? What’s your vision? Look deep within your soul for the answers. Don’t resolve. Create freely instead. Allow expansion and openness in your heart and mind.

Here are a few simple steps to get you started:

  1. Start with your head – the mind – and make space. Clear whatever thoughts, judgments, fears, doubts you might have about what has been, what you want and how you’re going to get there.

My favorite technique is to identify the thought. Label it “thinking.” Nothing more. It just is. And then drop it. Let it go. Release attachment.

2. Open your heart. Be receptive to possibility. To not knowing. To trusting. To having faith. To allowing and having willingness to participate and trust things you don’t already know or can’t see.

Try new things. Take chances. Be silly. Allow fear to come and go.

3. Acknowledge and enjoy what the external world then reflects back to you. You will either experience things differently (perspective). Or circumstances and surroundings will actually change (physically). Take time to notice. Celebrate even the smallest of shifts.

As we enter this new year, take this week’s Adventure Challenge! Let go of what you believe you know to be true in order to make room for a new reality and possibilities beyond your current understanding.

This year, instead of deciding what you think you want, maybe it’s time to simply ask, “What now?”

Recommended reads for expanding your mind, heart, soul AND reality in 2017:

  • The Adventuresome Life Blog by Dana Shane  (If you haven’t already, enter your email address below in order to receive FREE weekly tips and tools for living an Adventuresome Life in your inbox)
  • The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
  • Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard
  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Put your hair in a bun, slip on a loincloth (mawashi) and FIGHT!

I’ve always had an uncanny ability to make things happen when I truly set my mind to it.

My son has it, too – when he wants to.

It’s funny how tired he becomes or how much “his ankle hurts” – all of a sudden – when it’s time to do his chores. Yet he can be in the throes of flu-like symptoms and still find energy to make a trip to Game Stop to acquire the latest Xbox One release.

Sometimes you really want something.

Sometimes it’s a means to an end – you need to do something in order to create what you really want, do what you want to do or feel the way you want to feel.

It doesn’t always seem obvious, feel painless or come easy.

So what do you do in the times where your heart isn’t in it, your fears are overcoming you or there are perceived obstacles in your way?

 

PREPARATION STEPS

  1. Knowing what you want is the key to tapping into the energy source you need to make things happen.

What’s the goal? What are you attempting to make happen? This is your dangling carrot. The outcome you want to achieve. The effect you desire.

  1. Identifying why you want what you want is the fuel that allows for sustainability. It’s what allows you to focus on your journey.

This is the part that keeps you going mentally and spiritually when the going gets tough. It’s the bulls-eye on the target. It’s the glue that holds your efforts together.

ACTION STEP

  1. The only thing left to do – and the best advice my older brother ever gave me – is to drop your ass and prepare to fight for what you want.

In other words, at some point, you have to squat down, use your muscles, thrust upward with power, force and momentum, propel yourself forward and come out swinging.

Conjure your inner Sumo!

It doesn’t matter what it is. Finally losing the weight. Building that new company. Getting yourself in shape. Saving the money to take that trip. Getting out more. Meeting new people. Buying your dream house. Ending an unhealthy relationship, healing one worth fighting for or opening your heart to a new one. Tackling a bad habit. Wrangling addictive behaviors. Getting a grip on your finances and investments.

Heads up! This part will always include overcoming some fear, insecurity or uncertainty – all of which are in your mind – and can only be obliterated through action.

I’m convinced there’s nothing more rewarding in life than setting your mind to make something happen, working your ass off and actually seeing it come to fruition.

What do you want more than anything else in the coming year? What do you really want to change, accomplish, tackle, overcome, open-up to? Share below.

Then drop your ass and make it happen.

Stop this thing! I want off.

Recently my 13-year-old son did me a really big favor.

He gave me some parenting advice – and some much-needed perspective.

After sharing something he was upset about – and after my feeble attempt to “problem-solve” – he looked me square in the eye and said, “Mom, sometimes I just need you to say it sucks!”

I took a moment to recover from feeling like the worst mother in the world and overcome the shock and pride I felt that my son was willing and able to so simply, yet eloquently communicate his needs.

Then I replied, “Yes, bud, I can do that. I’m sorry. That sucks.”

After all, this past month has been a time of very high highs and very low lows.

I’ve celebrated the big wins of some of my favorite teams. And mourned the losses of some of my favorite candidates.

I’ve received joyful birth announcements and endured devastating news of deaths.

I have managed the stress of running one company experiencing many changes while navigating the growing pains of developing and launching a second company.

I’ve let go of some longtime dreams…and picked them back up.

I was physically ill for the first time in…well, in I can’t remember how long.

I had people I count on exit my life – for now. And new people enter my life with whom I must develop trust.  I’m not sure which is harder?

I’ve wrestled with disappointments, faced unknowns, felt defeated, lonely and downright beat to a pulp at times.

Do I have to see it that way? No.

In the grand scheme of things, is it really that bad? No.

To others looking in on my life, does it appear to suck? No.

Does anything I’m thinking or feeling make it absolutely so? No.

But in the words of my son, “It just kind of sucks right now.”

The scales are tipped greatly. The unknowns far outweigh the certainties. And quite honestly, it all makes me feel just a little uncomfortable.

Or more accurately, I’m FREAKING OUT!

Kind of like that moment when you find yourself sitting in the car of the latest, greatest roller coaster at the hottest theme park, wondering what the hell you’re even doing there.

When I’m navigating the pitfalls of suckdome, I have a tendency to do the exact opposite – internalizing, analyzing, withdrawing, shutting down, holing up, putting on the brakes, distancing myself, and second-guessing myself – of what needs to happen.

I freeze up and let fear run the show.

In this particular case, I didn’t write a single thing, send out a single post or create anything new for The Adventuresome Life in the past month.

The main thing that lights me up in life, and I decided it would be a good idea to not focus on it, not share with others, and not continue to explore and expand my greatest passion and creation.

Sounds like a great idea, right?

NOT.

My favorite quote of all time, attributed to Jesus Christ, is this: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

As the quote reveals – pulling away from my passion quickly revealed its capability to destroy me. The general suckiness of one day compounded, dragged out and endured as I spent more time and energy on what was stressing me out rather than on what lights me up.

And now – the moment that I sit down in front of my keyboard – I can see the dark clouds clearing.  I can feel the weight upon my shoulders lifting. I can grasp the lifeline thrown.

So when life hits you with a series of sucktitude, what do you do?

  1. Admit something sucks. Accept it. Name it. Claim it.
  2. Remember that everything is temporary. This too shall pass.
  3. Loosen your white-knuckle grip. Open your eyes. Quit holding your breath. Throw up your hands. Yell “Wahoo!” Nurture and focus on whatever lights you up, makes you happy and fuels your aliveness!

Life is full of dips, drops, loopty-loos, long climbs, jerky turns, rumbles, death-defying plummets, flips, mach speeds and screeching stops. And sometimes they suck, unequivocally.

But whether you close your eyes and hold your breath, scream bloody murder the entire time, get pissed off that you’re even on the ride – one thing will never change – you can’t get OFF the ride.

So come up for air in the straightaways. Embrace the thrill. Relax and enjoy the exhilaration that is life. Your life. Your own personal roller coaster.