Riding the Octopus and Choosing The New Year

There seem to be more forecasts about 2012 than there are about most years.  I’m not big on forecasts in general, so throughout the year, I have paid little attention to the large variety of forecasts for 2012.

But last night, oddly enough, I did stumble upon one 2012 forecast I loved.   I purchased the Tropical Escape DayMinder, in which tropical scenes form the backdrop of each calendar page.  I checked out the backdrop for December 2012, which is a palm tree, beach, ocean and a few billowy clouds in the sky.  Judging from how next December looks in my DayMinder, 2012 is going to be a year of peace, relaxation and sun.  I like this peace and joy forecast.

Then tomorrow there will be the Time Square Forecast.  The ball will drop and there will be a mighty celebration as people look forward to a wonderful year.  I like celebratory forecasts.

We can CHOOSE what forecasts we pay attention to.

However, sometimes I haven’t chosen wisely.

When I was the teenager, twice I went to the Minnehaha County fair and decided to ride the Octopus.  The Octopus was a ride in which each leg had a set of seats on it.  The legs went up and down, the seats twisted and twirled, and, in addition, the whole Octopus contraption spun.

Now the Octopus looked like a great deal of fun from a distance.  But once I boarded and the ride commenced, I quickly discovered that I became what I can only be described as violently dizzy.  To make matters more problematic, I felt that there was no way to ask the person running the ride to stop it and let me off.

So I felt miserable as the ride kept spinning and spinning and spinning.  Then mercifully, the ride finally came to an end, but unfortunately my head would feel like it was exploding for the rest of night.

I can see why I choose to experience this ride once.  But why in the world would I choose to inflict this pain on myself on another occasion?

The Octopus ride was an opportunity that I chose to take advantage of, only to regret my decision.

It is exciting to reflect upon how much freedom we have to choose which opportunities we take advantage of in life and which we decide to forgo.

My experience with my DayMinder and the Octopus leaves me pondering – What forecasts am I going to choose to listen to and what opportunities (rides) am I going to choose to go on in the New Year?

May we choose the forecasts and opportunities that bring us peace, joy and celebration in 2012!  Happy New Year!

Game of the Day

Stepping into 2012, what forecasts are you going to choose to listen to?

What opportunities are you going to choose to forego?

What opportunities are you going to choose to take?

You Are the Best!

You Are The Best!  You Are The Best!  You Are the Best!

(At this moment, you might be thinking, “Whoa, Jason, how can you say this?  You don’t even know that I am reading this blog now.   You might well not even know me.”)

When my parents used to tell me that I was the best,  I would wonder how can this be?  I’m obviously not the best basketball player, the best cook and most decidedly not the best auctioneer.  How can this be that I am the best?

However at age thirty-six, I awoke this morning suddenly aware that I am the best and that moreover You Are The Best!

How can I say this?

Well, you are an original, there is an exact copy of you nowhere else in the world.

So you are the best you the world has.

This is amazing!

Since you are the best, a more significant question might be, do you treat yourself as the best?

Think of how the staff at the Louvre treat the Mona Lisa.  Do you handle yourself with such appreciation, awe, and care?

You are the only one in the world who has the power to contribute to the world exactly what you  contribute.

You are priceless!

Your actions make a difference!

You ARE The Best!

Game of the Day

How are you going to treat yourself since you are the best?

Extra credit:   Say, “I Am The Best!” out-loud five times.

Extra Extra Credit:   Shout, “I Am The Best”  ten times.

Extra Extra Extra Credit:  Believe in your heart that “You Are The Best.”


Savoring Light

I’m into light.  I like sunny days.  I love how it stays light far into the night in the summer.

And this attraction for light doesn’t make me unique.  A great many people would agree with what I wrote in this first line.  Saying, “I’m into light,” is like saying, “I’m into breathing.”

It’s morning as I write this, and I’m looking out the window  wondering, “How often do I really savor light?”

We notice light when it’s gone.  Today is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Northern Hemisphere, there’s going to be less sunlight today than on any other day of the year.  And I’m missing the light.

So it’s morning and there’s light right outside the window, and I’m missing light.  Or, maybe I’m not savoring the abundant light that there is.

If you are anything like me, you notice generally when it is sunny out or when it is cloudy out.  Then it’s easy to go about the busyness of our days and not bask in the light.

Or we save savoring the light for special days like when we are in Hawaii sun-tanning on the beach.

What I’m excited about this morning is that light is available for us to savor every day.  Even today, on the shortest day of the year, there will be light.  Even if it is cloudy out where you are on the shortest day of the year, there will be light.  Even  in the middle of tonight, there will be light around you, a lamp if you turn it on, a candle if you light it, and maybe even a star or two to notice.

Savor the light!  Happy Basking in the Light Day!

Game of the Day

How can you bask in the light today?

Are You Betting on Your Acorns?

Today as I write this blog, I can gaze out  the window of the computer room in my parent’s house and gaze at a huge burr oak tree.  The massive tree leads me to reflect on the power of acorns.  Yes, I’m home for the holidays and thinking about acorns.  (I doubt that this is common!)

If I didn’t understand the relationship of an acorn to an oak and someone told me if I stick an acorn in the ground, I could be sitting under the shade of a great tree someday, I might think they were pulling my leg.  (And pulling it hard.)

The actual substance of our dreams can sometimes seem as small as an acorn.  Then when we imagine our dream growing into a reality as substantial as an oak tree, we can feel like we are pulling our own leg.  (And pulling it hard.)

If you pick an acorn up and try to squeeze it, not much happens.  The shell on the seed that becomes an oak appears to be solid.  In the same way, the circumstances that could prevent our dreams from growing, can appear solid.

The purpose of the shell around the acorn is not to keep  it small forever.

Our present circumstances do not dictate that the substance of our dreams have to stay small.

The success and majesty of a stately oak is hidden within the hardness of the present circumstances surrounding an acorn.  That acorns can eventually turn into a forest of oaks defies imagination.

The potential of our acorns are truly amazing.

As we create our goals and vision for 2012, let’s bet on our acorns.

Game of the Day

1. Think about your dreams.

2. What present circumstances around your dreams appear like a shell that will prevent them from growing?

 3. Are you ready to bet on your acorns?

Levity Life Radio- Interview with Jason

Taking Off Your Expert Hat

Jason Freeman and Katie West of The Levity Institute chat about his love of walking and how vital wonder is in opening us to what is here now.  Jason will share his regular practice of “paradise walks” and how that allows him to have fresh eyes to view each day.

Press play below to listen to the show!

Listen to
internet radio with thelevitylife on Blog Talk Radio

Dealing With the Vastness of Our Lives

Last week, I was walking on my favorite San Diego beach.  The tide was very low, so I discovered many large shells.  I called them clamshells, because I had no idea about the nuances of which creatures had inhabited which type of shell.

Then I began thinking about the tropical fish in the ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is vast beyond imagination.  Tropical fish and clams deal with this vastness in far different ways.  The tropical fish swim about and reveal their beauty and grace to the world, while the clam hunkers in its shell.

Notice the range of motion a tropical fish has compared to a clam.  A clam is constrained by its solid walls of protection.  A tropical fish enjoys a freedom of movement that is impossible for a clam to realize.

It occurred to me that as humans we have the capacity to act like tropical fish in some parts of our lives and clams in other parts of our lives.

Furthermore, I started to realize that when I paid attention to my thoughts some of my thoughts were Clam Thoughts and some were Tropical Fish thoughts.

The same went for my actions.  Some of my actions were Clam Actions and some were Tropical Fish actions.

For example, I like to type my blogs in the upbeat, social atmosphere of coffee shops.  But sometimes, I let my Clam Thought that I won’t find a table with a near-by outlet; create my Clam Action of staying home.  My choice to act on my Clam Thought keeps me in the shell of my apartment, instead of enabling me to “swim” in a public space.

A Tropical Fish thought on this same subject might be, “I’ll simply drive between coffee shops until I find one with a free table and near-by outlet.”  Then by acting on this thought, I would take the Tropical Fish action of finding a coffee shop that met my desires.

Sometimes as we deal with the vastness of our lives, we choose to act like clams and retreat into our shells and sometimes we choose to swim about like tropical fish and reveal our confidence and grace to the world.

May you find the balance between living like a tropical fish and living like a clam that brings joy and satisfaction to your life.

Game of the Day

1. In what parts of your life do you act as a tropical fish?

2. In what parts of your life do you act as a clam?

3. Are there parts of your life where you now act like a clam, but would prefer to act like a tropical fish?

4.  Are there parts of your life where you now act like a tropical fish, but would prefer to act like a clam?

Meeting Resistance

Last Friday night (ironically the day I posted the Confidently Alone blog), I realized that I had no one to go out to supper with.

Now where to eat?  I considered the vegetarian restaurant, which I adore, but have eaten at many times.  Then somehow I went from considering that option to ending up at a gourmet hamburger joint.  (I’m a vegetarian, except for when on the rare occasion I’m definitely not).

As I walk into this establishment, whom do I happen to meet?  Resistance!

You see I look around and all of the people dining are in groups of two or more.  And they seem to be happily conversing with each other.  And holiday music is playing.  It’s a perfect time for family and couple time.  Then here I am, ALONE!  In my mind, I am definitely meeting Resistance.

Have you ever walked into a social environment and met Resistance?

At that moment, instead of feeling Confidently Alone, I felt definitely Un-cool.  My intention was to enjoy a great treat of a meal, but instead it appeared that I was going to meet Resistance and that he had the intention of talking my ear off.

Then, I could have sworn Resistance whispered in the hostess ear, for one section was filled with happy people full of holiday spirit, while the other section was completely vacant.

And the waitress took me over to the completely vacant section.  Great!  Now I was sitting by myself in a whole section of empty tables.  This was turning into one heck of a festive experience!

At this point, Resistance was screaming in my head, “Just Leave. This Is Guaranteed-Not-Cool.”

When is the last time Resistance screamed in your head,  “Just Leave.  This Is Guaranteed-Not-Cool”?

Right then, I was more Miserably Alone, than Confidently Alone.

(I could have run home and drowned my Guaranteed-Not-Coolness in TV.  But I choose not to own a TV.  Gracious, even Un-cool.)

If we metaphorically meet Resistance face-to-face with a handshake, we have the option of excusing ourselves from the interaction and choosing a different course.  Whereas, if we are too frustrated or fearful of Resistance to look Resistance in the eye and keep Resistance at arm’s length, Resistance can overwhelm us.

Luckily, for my tummy and my spirits, I took charge of my interaction with Resistance and kept Resistance at arm’s length as I took a deep breath and gazed at the menu.

Slowly, I noticed that my waitress was a very nice person.  I ordered an amazing meal and savored every bite (probably a few too many bites of Cajun fries).  But I savored every one.

When I became more content and at peace with my experience, Resistance lost interest and wandered off to do something else.

Reflecting upon my meal at the gourmet burger joint, I notice that people weren’t coming up to me in droves to say, “Hey, Jason, it’s Guaranteed-Not-Cool that you are dining alone.”  In fact, no one came up and said that, except for Resistance who I met inside my own head.

Game of the Day

The next time you meet Resistance in a social environment, how will you take charge of the interaction?

The next time you feel Guaranteed-Not-Cool, notice if this opinion is coming from any outside source or Resistance inside your head.