“Don’t Die with your music still inside you”
I just got back last night from a 6-day trip to Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
It was a very intentional trip, a soul-searching recalibration. Just me and a small Airbnb cabin in the woods. No wifi, a cell data plan that was almost all used up, and no agenda other than prayer, meditation, journaling, and rest.
The “rest” part I knocked out of the park by taking 1/2 dozen naps nearly every day! It felt like I had narcolepsy.
And these weren’t all just little 20-minute hitters. Some were as long as 2 hours, complete with drool, face smash and intense dreams. I guess I was more exhausted than I realized.
And the majority of the other time was spent sitting on a back patio with stunning views of mountains, trees, blue skies, fresh air, and all the mountain sounds and smells that go with it.
On my first day of the trip, my son was starting the first day of his 3rd year in college. I guess he decided he wanted to share the love because he texted me at 5:30 a.m.!
And I’m so incredibly grateful that he did.
Not just to connect with him, but also that it set a precedent for the entire week. Once I saw that first sunrise, my breath was taken away, and I realized this was the very reason I came up here.
I was searching for my awe and wonder; life had become too serious. And this was surely one way to reconnect with all that God has created.
From a short hike…
… that turned up new discoveries…
It didn’t really matter what I was doing, simply being in those surrounding made even the mundane feel significant.
A simple lunch became something to “take in,” and not just “consume.”
But there was a dark side. That part of me that is constantly driven decided to make an appearance.
Now usually, I consider “being driven” a critical ingredient to success.
There is a vast emotional desert that lies between where we are and where we want to be and without a focused agenda and drive, we will never be able to keep up the momentum and heart needed to persevere.
But I learned a valuable lesson this week. And in fact, I believe it was an answer to prayer.
Along with the motivations listed above, I also needed to reignite Nikaos and Life Mastery Project in my soul. It has felt “motivational” but not “inspiring.” It was as if the fire was fading and it was becoming an endless todo list.
I had become desperate to find out why my dream was becoming a drudge and re-ignite the fire
So in that first 24-hours of the trip, I journaled nearly 20 pages. I was on a mission to discover what my internal roadblocks were; to see where the resistance was coming from.
And that first 24 hours turned into 3 days of obsession, to the point of nearly being manic.
I was uncovering more questions than finding answers, and it was creating massive waves of discontent, confusion, and insecurity.
What I had intended to be a comprehensive restoration and re-ignition week was becoming a train-wreck of emotion and thought.
And then, just as God does, several coincidences took place which created new insight.
One of my daily visitors was a very healthy squirrel; I named him Eggbert ( I honestly have NO idea why!!!)
He was super friendly, nearly came right up to me on several occasions. I’m guessing this is a very safe place for him, and that was a comforting thought. The world is full of so much danger and chaos, and to be in a place where wild animals are at peace was very calming to me.
And soon after taking that picture, I read a statistic that squirrels lose up to 80% of all the nuts they bury.
That’s insane! How incredibly busy are these little guys fighting for survival by burying nuts for the winter only to discover that 80% of their hard effort is wasted in over-producing, over-preparing, over-planning?
And as I sat there in paradise, stressing out on having to get to the bottom of what was going haywire in my thoughts and feelings, I suddenly felt just like that squirrel.
I spend hundreds of hours taking new online certification courses, reading inspired materials, listening to Audible books, and watching encouraging YouTube videos.
And I spend even more time journaling and meditating to connect with the deepest inner places.
But now I had a new question; how many of my endeavors are not that important; not much different than that of a squirrel’s pointless toil?
Past connections began to flood my awareness.
A motivation coach stated: “3 hours of intensely focused and uninterrupted work will get far more done than 10 hours of unfocused busyness”.
Or AA’s motto of “keep it simple stupid,” and the Bible’s admonition to have a “child-like faith” or the entire books of Ecclesiastes “everything is meaningless”
In many cases it is true, “less is more”. There can be a beauty in simplicity and clarity.
Sure, my 3 days deep-dive revealed some excellent stuff that I was unaware of before. But in many ways, not the things I had set out to find.
What followed over the next couple of days was a series of more profound takeaways that I didn’t even expect. And aren’t those always the best ones!
- Fact: There are 7.5 billion people on the planet today. But 100 years from now, there will be 7.5 billion (or more) completely different people alive on earth
The entire earth recycles itself of all living life in an incredibly short amount of time. How much of our time is spent thinking, believing, and doing unnecessary things or thinking unhelpful thoughts that increase the risk of missing out on all the good that God intended for us in this life?
- Plants are the only living thing that has absolutely no say in their survival, they are completely dependent upon Mother Earth. Animals, on the other hand, must pro-create and survive in the wild. Humans, however, are the only living organisms that create or destroy, love or hate, build up or tear down.
The odds that your mother and father connected at the exact time and space they did and that your single sperm beat out millions of others in that fateful moment of conception, means that we are important representatives of the human race, and stewards of planet earth. What are we doing with this awesome and unique opportunity?
- Wayne Dyer: “Every person has a song, don’t die without letting others hear your song.”
Is there anything more important than just singing our song loud enough that others can hear it every single day? Isolation, fear, self-doubt, worry, procrastination, unforgiveness… these are all song killers.
- A friend of mine said in a phone conversation,” George, it sounds like you are lost in the weeds, get out of your head, and get back to experiencing the mountains.”
And it is true… No matter where you go, there you are.
I took the crazy-overthinking-guy with me believing he might slow down. Nope, he only has one setting, full blast. Which is great, I just need to remain aware and be intentional about when I step into his realm.
(On a side note, I’m a big fan of the exercise of personification of emotions or beliefs, it makes it easier to recognize and interact with them in a revealing and positive way. I will share the details of that exercise at a later time.)
I was touched by awe for a moment then dove back into figuring out the complexities of life, and in the process was missing out on life.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Our yesterdays are merely a filter by which our beliefs, decisions, and feelings pass through. And our tomorrows are made up of dreams or dread.
What we do with all of that is our choice, in each moment.
Only in our today will we experience what it is we choose to experience. Hope or hopelessness, connection or disconnection, desire or defeat, love or loneliness.
Lives can be transformed from a single conversation
Hearts can be restored by a single loving gesture
Purpose can be discovered, new freedoms unleashed, new hope can be born, but only for today, in the now.
If we will only believe it is possible and live as if it’s already true.
Love is the key: Love ourselves, love our neighbors, love our enemies, love what we do, love who we are, love who God is, we must cherish each moment of our life, even the hard stuff.
We will never find hope, courage, strength, endurance, or any other pursuit of the heart in our tomorrows, they must be lived out today.
And if we will do that, tomorrow we will remember a great yesterday and that will nourish a greater hope for our tomorrows.
Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful days
And thank you to the community of Lake Arrowhead for the hospitality.
It was indeed a trip to remember, although, with the amount of information and stimulus pouring into my mind daily, it’s likely I will forget most of the journey in a short time, or “lose my nuts” as it were.
So, heeding the lesson in this post, I will have to find more ways to “enjoy the moment” and quit trying so hard to prepare for my future when in reality, yesterday’s future is here today.
We can choose to live at peace with ourselves and the world around us in the midst of the struggle by choosing not to miss a single nugget of what this life is offering right now, today.
We must always remember that discovering our song and singing it loud and proud is what matters most in every moment.
Join the conversation: How do you “enjoy each day” and “sing your song” as you move toward a more abundant life?
My desire for LMP (The Life Mastery Project) is to create a fully-engaged community of overcomers who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other
Let’s Do This!
Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching
Developer of The Life Mastery Project and Life Mastery Series