Commencement

Commencement: a beginning or start.

I love to break up my morning writing sessions with a good commencement speech.

There’s so much promise in a commencement speech, sending graduates off into the world with wisdom that hopefully inspires choices that lead to actions, that somehow equate to success and happiness in their future.

The fact of the matter is we don’t need to graduate from anything to indulge in a good ‘ol commencement.  The dawn of each new day allows us to indulge in such on a daily basis if we choose.

With that knowledge comes great responsibility – it means that every day, upon rising, we set off on an adventure.  Remember those choose your own adventure books? Every day we step into our own story, and choose our own adventure.  Our personal story is our own choosing.  It’s terrifying!  Do I choose to wake up and reach for my phone, check my e-mails, etc.  Or do I wake up and decide to slay a dragon on that particular day?

I’ve been consciously trying to partake in activities that make me uncomfortable.  I went paddle boarding last week – paddled hard and got nowhere, real fast.  My fiancé and I were not informed how bad the current was.  But it was an adventure.  It was something I’d never done before.  And then I went skimboarding for the first time in ten years.  I HATE being bad at things.  It was rough. But it forced me to dive back into that childlike playfulness I often loose track of.

Now, in fairness, I was on somewhat of a vacation – which inevitably provides time to play and have adventures.   BUT – creating space for a daily adventure, even as mundane as an early morning walk vs. the immediate jump to e-mails, creates space for us to choose our own destiny instead of blindly walking into a fate determined by habit vs. our own free will.

A lifetime is a series of commencements leading up to an ending that’s as climactic as you make it!  Step into your own adventure book and write the page-turner worth reading.

Swing Batter Batter Swing

It seems I’ve reached a transitional time in my life.  A recent discussion about life not being black and white has sparked a whirlpool of thoughts.

Yes, life is somewhere in the grey.  I fully believe in dancing upon the grey clouds and experiencing the various colors, shades, and hues life offers.  But to fully experience something, it requires diving whole-heartedly into one particular color at a time.  As my insightful friend Noopur said, “If everything is a shade of grey, you miss the beautiful details of life and people.”

Dancing along the surface allows dabbling and it’s necessary as a means of checking off which experiences you’d like to further explore.  At some point, however, the fleeting must cease and a standstill must ensue, in order to allow room for reflection and growth.

I’ve been reading “The Journey Home” (READ).  Radhanath Swami has traveled the world and met many spiritual masters at this point in the book.  He’s come to the conclusion he’s not going to reach enlightenment by experiencing a variety of religions and practices, but needs to pick one and follow through to the end.

My teacher told me this about two years ago when I was talking about reading everything under the sun from Kabala, to Yoga, to Christianity, to the esoteric practices of turn of the century mystics.  I had a theory that if I could learn EVERYTHING, the great answer would come to me.  In reality, the great answer is there to find, but you must truck along a particular path, persevere with patience, and follow through to the end.

I went to the batting cages last night.  It’s been about 4 years since I’ve hit a softball. It was like I hadn’t skipped a beat; I still have the same habits.  When the machine threw a bad pitch, I watched it sail by without swinging.  With careful selection, I chose which balls to swing at.  When strikes came, I swung and hit.  Says a mouthful about the details we pursue and the habits we engrain.

Carefully select the details you choose to pursue, swing, and follow through.  Otherwise you’re just swinging haphazardly hoping to hit something.