Tom Sawyer Tuesday!
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This week I'd like to explore what hopefully we all had the fun of enjoying this summer - that is - the campfire. I'd like to probe the symbolism of what a campfire is, why we build them, and what role they play in sustaining our well-being, today, and long term. Now, you might be wondering where this is going. I agree, it sounds out there. But really, I'd like you to close your eyes, and imagine yourself at your favorite spot to build a fire. Take a moment to think about the process of doing so, gathering sticks, acorns, logs, and the rest. Imagine you've managed to use your magic touch, and light the fire. Now sit back in your campfire posture, and let the dancing flames be a mantra for the following contemplation.
Every day you wake up, you are greeted with sensations: sounds, scents, light, dark, cold, warm, drive, will, desire, feelings, and a spectrum of life that is uniquely yours - as you have created it.
Burning in your mind are remnants of a dream, perhaps a longing to hold on to the pillow and strive a moment longer for recollection until you decide it's time to get up.
The house is as you've left it the night before, and soon the new day is taking shape. Perhaps you've looked at your phone, checked email, weather, the news? Suddenly, you're back on the digital plane.
But let's back up a second, and take a look at a different version of that sequence...
What if instead of looking at your phone, you strapped on your sneaks, grabbed your iPod, and went outside. What would that feel like? Instead of bringing your phone, you grab your tunes, and head out the door. Your initial instinct is to check email, but then you realize it's just your iPod. You have no choice but to listen to music.
Exiting your building / home, the physical world outside you is coming alive. The mood of the day is still all in your court, and whatever your jam is, is up to you. Run, walk, skip, find some swings... take your pick, because as far as you know, life is good, and you're just strolling with your rosy red glasses.
Now, side note: what's happening in the second sequence is simply a reorganizing of priorities. Instead of the waking world busting into your space, "the waking you is busting into the world" with the rhythm of your choosing. You're grounding, propelling through purpose, and expanding into flow -the WalknTalk mantra. Maybe even getting lost on an aimless morning jaunt. (Check out the WalknTalk Mantra Poster Here)
Now about that campfire. In historical times, we couldn't just turn on lights, and start the electric stove. We had to build fires to stay warm, cook, and see. We had to tend to them before bed, and start them back up in the morning.
Built into that required step of survival, building a fire, was a process. One that required our full, and undivided attention. If you look at the philosophy of Zen that is the requirement; transcendence through oneness with body and mind.
After all, the saying goes, 10% of life is what happens, and 90% is how we react to it. Imagine how great life would be if we reacted more often from our flow instead of it's flow.
Okay, I confess, this morning I was a bit of an early bird, and felt like I got the worm. I woke up, quick made my bed as I do... put on my sneaks, grabbed my iPod, and ran down to the lake. I took a detour and ran in the grass. I remembered being a kid, playing soccer for a moment. I smelled the scent of grass, noticed beams of light hitting the trees from the sun, and then ran along the shoreline of the beach. It hit me that I often go to the beach but I never get that view. I ran a bit longer, took off my shoes and waded into the water. The cold was exhilarating. I did a few butterfly strokes and felt like flipper. The water was so clear that I could see the ripples in the sand. I waived to a friend passing along the beach. Before I knew it I was toweling off from my shower back inside and starting my day. I listened to Bob Marley, "Time will Tell, and Three little birds" on repeat the whole way. And wow, was my mug grinning...!
It made such a difference.
I guess what I'm getting at here, is that the campfire we build is that gathering process that it takes to fully engage ourselves daily, morning and night, to really reap the benefits of living fully. There's a lot of talk these days about the power of habits. Rather than getting all gung-ho about habits, let's just get pumped about life wherever we are on its path. After all, "it's an adventure or it's nothing!" -My Journalism professor paraphrasing Helen Keller.
And oh, by the way, there's a lot of tremendous companions out there, and I hope you have a good one. But if you're looking for a back up or just an extra, the Tom Sawyer journal travels well ;)
Click here to check out the Tom Sawyer Journals on WalknTalk.com
Until next week.