I woke up this morning. Since we are all destined for a dirt nap; I count waking up a good thing. This morning was a little different than my morning just five nights ago. I’m in the middle of sailing around the British Virgin Islands with Paul, Ann, Justin & Jennifer.
I woke up feeling the gently rolling waves of beautiful blue, salty water. The sunrise breached into my cabin through a small port window gently warming my face. The more you resist waking up here, the more you toss and turn knowing you are missing a glimpse of paradise.
I woke up this morning in paradise. I have had the same feeling daily since we arrived in the islands. Our boat is currently moored off Anegada Reef Island among other catamarans & sailboats with the fortitude for a long sail. The sun is yellow. The sky is blue. The clouds are white & grey. Water laps at the edges of the boat creating the sound and feeling of tranquility.
I woke up this morning in my own temple… without worry. There is a deep feeling of gratitude for the spiritual gifts of water: relaxing, invigorating & cleansing; renewal & rebirth. Without direct knowledge, I can understand why Christians use water for baptisms, the Hindus consider the Ganges River sacred, the Buddhists say life is a stream.
I woke up this morning wishing you were with me to enjoy just a single day here. Until then, the next time you take a hot shower, go for a swim, or tip your toe into a large body of water, I hope you’ll experience your own renewal. Let your worry wash away and renew yourself in being the person your called to be.
What a noble pursuit to find the very reason that you were put on Earth?
Feeling unfulfilled by my work, last year I began an earnest pursuit to identify my purpose. I read books, spoke to influencers, meditated and more; yet my purpose became even more elusive.
Save yourself the angst. The one thing I know for sure following my search is that finding your purpose in finite time is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else has done it, and so everyone claims they have too. Rather, I arrived at the following truth:
We cannot identify our purpose, we can only answer callings we receive throughout our life. The complete path of responses to each calling as life ensues becomes our purpose.
As Barbara Brown Taylor says, we can be called to things and called away from things. Perhaps we're called to be a parent, a caretaker, or an expert in pediatric cancer. No matter how ordinary or extraordinary the personal or professional calling, we must respond. As the calls arrive and responses are sent, the journey of life will lead to our destiny. To put this simply:
Suppose you find your purpose, you fulfill it, and you have remaining life... what then?
You might stop here and resign yourself to allow life to simply run it's course. Rather, I suggest you build tools and a practice to decipher when to say Yes or when to say No as callings arrive.. Think of these tools as a compass on a journey through the woods or a What Would Jesus Do bracelet when you are seconds from flipping someone off in a road rage incident.
What Do These Tools Look Like?
There is no one right answer to what tools will be most useful and compelling to you, but I can suggest to you some patterns that have been effective for me.
This is a practice and you are a perfectly imperfect human. From time to time, you are going to get something wrong. That is totally okay. I believe it better to learn a lesson (by making a mistake) than live a life of regret; so did Mark Twain.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
Miraval, at the edge of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona, is a health and wellness resort focused on the physical and emotional wellness of its guests. This top-ranked destination spa was the location of my respite following my last day at work. Allow some of my post-trip zen rub off on you through these three things I learned at Miraval.
You need & deserve a break. Hyper scheduled work. Late nights. Overlapping commitments. News, email, social media and other alerts every few minutes. Crazy traffic interrupted by honking horns and a flashing middle finger. These are normal parts of our modern lives. We can reduce the chaos by changing notification settings on devices, better organizing our lives, and learning that NO is a complete sentence. There is no substitute for an extended, purposeful break, though. Take every single vacation day you earn.
Stay at home or travel near & far. Just make space for yourself. Go on a vacation where you live life in hyperreality experiencing sights, sounds, tastes and adventures uninterrupted. Retreat home or to your favorite place focused on improving your physical and emotional wellness by disconnecting electronically, resting completely, eating healthy, meditating, reading, exercising, and in other ways which recharge you.
We all make choices. Our lives are a series of choices made using an array of factors including our mind, body chemistry, environment, and direct stimulus from others. We can not control external stimulus nor our immediate physical & emotional reaction. Current research indicates, following an emotional trigger, the chemical reaction within our bodies which cause a specific emotion last only seconds to minutes.
As the chemical reaction subsides, we can mentally move in two directions. We can uptalk the situation creating a story that reinforces and extends the emotion (perhaps into a longer mood). Or, we can calm ourselves allowing the emotion to subside then move into a more rational thought-space to solve for the situation.
Rituals can be powerful tools. Imagine lying prone on a table as a licensed doctor conducts a healing ceremony combining Native American drumming, guttural chants, wafting incense, waving feathers, and acupuncture. That is my best pithy description of Dr. Tim Frank's Samadi Healing Ceremony at Miraval. If the words -- are are you freaking serious? -- come to mind, then I was with you to a point. As I relaxed into the flow of the ceremony, something changed. My crooked smile transitioned to a feeling of peace and lightness that I can not logically explain.
I believe there is amazing power to process, heal, release and accept through ritual. You can create your own rituals in life to move on, forgive, welcome love and acceptance into your life, and at other transitions. Write a note and prayer to someone you have forgiven and use a fire & burning ceremony to release and deliver that note to the universe as a way to move forward. Check out Creating Rituals: A New Way of Healing for Everyday Life.
Miraval is a bucket-worthy destination spa and resort, but Miraval is not the only place you can retreat and these three things are not the only things you can do to recharge. Find your own way. If you don't recharge yourself, how can you keep pouring yourself into your work, family and friends? Namaste.
You can view my Miraval photos on Facebook.