One Big Adventure

Life is one big adventure.  One thing leads to another and before you know it, you are on this wild escapade wondering where and when it will end.  That is exactly what happened when I set out for a drive on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

The temperature was perfect, the skies were blue.  Traffic flowed beautifully as I maneuvered through busy city streets.   All was well, in fact, almost too good to be true.  That was when things began to happen.

There were no signs or audible noises to alert me that anything was about to go wrong.  My car was purring happily  down the road when all of a sudden, the ‘Check Engine’ light came on.  This always causes alarm for me since it means that something is wrong.  I mentally tuned in to my car’s performance and noticed nothing unusual.  There was no smoke coming from under the hood and my car did not sputter or chug along as if it were ill.  Everything seemed fine and then something else happened.  The ‘Brake’ warning light came on, a bright red icon with exclamation mark that demanded my attention.  Shortly after that, the ‘ABS’ warning light came on, signalling there was something wrong with my anti-lock braking system.  Dread loomed over me like a black cloud as I anticipated something very bad about to happen.  I held my breath for what was to come and sure enough, something else did happen.

My speedometer stopped working.  It registered zero kilometres per hour as I kept pace with traffic.  Then my fuel gauge began to fluctuate wildly, jumping up and down by quarter tank increments.  By now, I was totally bewildered and had pulled over to inspect under the hood.  Perhaps some aliens had taken over my vehicle and were testing its suitability for space travel.  I braced myself as I opened the hood.  There were no obvious signs of anything wrong, no little green men scurrying about, no evidence of an alien master plan, or anything else for that matter.

It may have given me some peace of mind to at least have seen an alien or two, but that was not the case.  As I returned to the driver’s seat and started up the engine, the warning lights disappeared.  As I started driving, my speedometer returned to working order as did the fuel gauge.  Even though the earlier chaos brought great concern, the fact remained that my car still purred happily.  As I continued to drive along, I concluded that sometimes, warning signs are just that: warning signs.

We all receive warning signs from time to time in life and they may not come from your vehicle.  They might come from an odd sensation within your body or a gut feeling when something just does not feel right.  We can either ignore warning signs or heed them and respond in a timely manner.  Each of us will respond differently, depending on the situation and our frame of mind.  Follow up is always wise since an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.  But, if you choose to ignore a warning sign, beware of the risks and pay attention in the future.  The bottom line is that you want to prevent any large-scale catastrophes from occurring.  Although there will always be adventures in life, we can all do our part to avoid the white-knuckled, hair-raising type of adventure that takes our breath away.

As for my car, I figured that the chances of being overtaken by aliens was relatively low and therefore, continued on with my journey,  keeping one eye on the instrument panel and an ear towards my engine … and the next time I see my mechanic, I will get him to check it out.

The Golden Cow

I know cows are not gold, but this one was.  In fact, it was gold with silver splotches.  I received it as an award last week and it was the result of serendipity, an unexpected surprise that grew from a delightful discovery.  Let me explain.

I was at the Vancouver Public Library when I happened to notice a flyer promoting a Toastmaster meeting for Positive Thinkers.  As someone who embraces positive thinking, it was like an invitation home for me.  I envisioned a group of joyful people with whom I felt very comfortable with.  The meeting was scheduled in 4 days time and I committed myself to attending.

I arrived early and was warmly greeted with smiles, engaging introductions and an overall briefing of the process and evening’s agenda.  A total of 12 cheery people were in attendance and the session lasted two hours, with one short celebratory break to honour a members’ birthday.  (Somehow, cakes and meetings seem to go very well together just like strawberries and whip cream!)  The meeting was full and eventful with a trail of speakers heading to the front like a train of busy worker  ants.  The timetable was tight and tasks were many.  Midway through the second half, an exercise called Table Topics was introduced where people were asked to speak on a topic unknown to them and created by the Table Topic leader.  It just so happened that the theme for the evening was philosophy which is one of my favourite subjects, so I decided to take a chance and volunteer myself for the challenge.

Coincidentally, the topic I drew out of the bag was one that I recently wrote about in my Mind Master Training blog.  “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover” was easy for me to discuss and I effortlessly filled the two minutes with a string of thoughts about reserving judgement with people and remaining open.  Much to my surprise, I was voted the best Table Topic speaker among 8 others and this was where the delightful surprise came in!  I was presented a bright green ribbon and trophy for being the “Best Impromptu Speaker” of the evening.  The golden cow was my prize for the duration and it was quite obvious that the silver splotches were the result of all the loving strokes it received from prior recipients!

I am tickled by the outcome and glad that I followed my instincts in choosing to attend the meeting and take on the challenge of Table Topics.  I had no idea that I would be speaking or awarded anything that evening, which brings me to conclude this lesson in life.  Act on those things that inspire you and trust that good will come from it.  Embrace new experience with an open mind, prepare yourself for surprises and take risks occasionally to discover more in life.  Who knows, maybe there is a golden cow waiting just for you!  Now doesn’t that moove you?!  Embrace yourself for an an udder adventure!

Joy

Joy is the golden moments in life that you cherish.  It is the feeling you get when your senses are ignited and heart is fulfilled.  If joy were something that you could hold on to, what would it look like?  How would your senses experience it?  Imagine joy as something you could store in your pocket and retrieve at anytime.

Last weekend, I attended a wedding and encountered an abundance of joy.  It is amazing how much joy can be created from a single event.  It seems that celebrations honouring love brings joy quite naturally.  Joy was apparent at the ceremony with heartfelt sharing, cameras clicking and tears of happiness.  Joy was in abundance at the reception with much laughter and camaraderie, delicious food, music and dance, and even a photo booth for guests to have fun and play!

Brightly coloured wigs, oversized glasses, character hats, and fluffy boas flew about as people lined up to have their pictures taken.  As many as 9 people bunched together in one photo frame, with bursts of laughter as the camera clicked photo after photo.  Some people rallied to the moment (including the Bride!) and made funny faces to add to the frivolity.  Reviewing the pictures moments later brought sheer delight to many as these keepsakes became the golden moments of joy.

I find great joy in funny photos, special moments that I cherish, and a pocketful of lightly scented flowers.  

Just as I can preserve these flowers, I can also preserve joy by keeping cherished memories fresh in my mind and not allowing them to fade into distant memories.  Joy comes in handy when life’s difficult moments arise.  Keep joy within reach and you will never be far from the golden moments of life.

The Music of Life

Music is powerful.  It can uplift your mood, energize your whole being, and even soothe frazzled nerves.  The healing qualities of music are far-reaching and you don’t have to go far to experience the benefits.

The variety of ways that one can enjoy music is endless.  One of my favourite ways is to experience it live at a community festival.  A lively band or a solo musician can instantly transport me to another place and time.  Colourful costumes, peculiar instruments and flowing dances add to the experience, offering a feast for my senses.  I delight in the playfulness of brightly coloured blazers, rainbow striped socks, shocking ties and kerchiefs, all topped off with a whimsical hat.  This is what I experienced at a Harvest Moon Festival one Autumn afternoon.  As dusk approached, the band filed off the stage and led a procession winding through streets and tree covered trails.

Music is captivating.  Find some music that engages you and makes your toes tap.  Find some music that enlivens you and makes your  fingers snap!  Hum out loud, sing along, it doesn’t matter that you don’t know all of the words.  Sing all the wrong words, sing out of tune, sing like there is no tomorrow!

Music is medicine for the soul.  What is the tune or song that makes your heart sing?  Find it.  Keep it close to you and there will be always be joy wherever you go.  Life is not meant to be a test of endurance.  It is meant to be enjoyed.  Make your life a melodious journey with a tune all of your own!

Embrace change

The first day of a new year brings visions of positive change for many people.  It is like turning over a brand new page in the calendar of life, with hopes of realizing unmet dreams and goals.  Perhaps you are saying to yourself: “This will be the year that I get into shape, start a new hobby, or go on my dream vacation.”  If anyone asks whether you have made any New Year’s resolutions, answer a resounding ‘Yes!’.  Say it with conviction as if there is no doubt that positive change will happen.  Change is good because change expands you.  It offers personal growth to help you realize your true potential.  If you resist change, you risk becoming stagnant in life.  Embrace change and you will be rewarded in ways you never before dreamed of!

One of my goals for 2012 is to find new ways to enjoy life.  As I start the New Year, I embrace change by transitioning to a lighter style of writing using narratives.  Previous posts were of a more formal nature, offering wisdom and insight in a philosophical way.  The goal was to create a foundation for readers to gain confidence in my level of expertise.  To further build my rapport, I am incorporating true stories told in a humorous way with hopes of bringing you laughter and greater personal connection.  I hope that my writing will be fun and engaging for you to read and that it will offer insight for creating more enjoyment.

Life is not meant to be serious – at least not all of the time.  Just as there is a place for seriousness, there is a place for light-hearted fun.  Humour can make all the difference between living your life and loving your life.  The trick is to weave joy into your rituals while alleviating the strain of responsibilities.  As I move towards storytelling, rest assured that the content of my blog will continue to have substance through life lessons.  These lessons may be hidden or apparent depending on how the stories unfold.  As always, I welcome your questions or comments and look forward to sharing good-hearted humour in 2012.  HAPPY New Year!

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities” –  Jean Houston