As I write this I am sitting in the backseat of a Toyota listening to the Beatles with three Slovenians who I don’t know. I am hitchhiking! The couple in the front told me their names, but I just nodded and smiled. Don, a fellow hitchhiker, is in the back with me.  They all seem like very nice people. We are 1.5 hours into a 6 hour drive from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Split, Croatia.

The idea of a different kind of trust popped into my mind because: I obviously don’t know these people and I am “trusting” everything will be great. I didn’t even arrange this modern day hitch hike. My Airbnb host, Meta, knew of a forum where Slovenians post long drives and offer rides to people for a small fee. It is like craigslist for travelers. As “luck” would have it: instantly we found a someone leaving from a nearby town this afternoon and heading directly to my destination tonight. Meta texted the driver, set up my exchange, drove me to the meeting point, handed me over to the guy in the Toyota, and we were off. It seemed simple and fun.

Now, almost two hours into the journey, I smiled when I realized how present and trusting I have been: with my host; with my crew in the Toyota; with humanity; with everything. Not once did I wonder or worry. It all just felt really right. I’m enjoying my new friends even though I have no idea what they are chatting about. They are good, kind, and loving people, it’s obvious.

To me, this is more than “trust.” It is a way of living that changes everything. It isn’t being lackadaisical. Instead, it is following an instinctive wisdom we all have while being fully present, yet certain of an impeccable future.

Here is my different take on trust:

Trust to me is a unicorn. It’s made up. Trust to one person can be completely different to another. Your personal characterization of trust can shift and change. Trust is not a truth, it’s a human construct.

On the other hand, there is something special that is like trust, but so much more profound.  It occurs through the combination of presence and knowing everything will always be ok. The synergistic effect of presence and knowing all will be ok is so much greater than if either of the two were held separately. This “something special” is deeper and wider than “trust” could ever encompass. It has a different feel: it is the soft embrace of a peace that opens up endless possibilities for love, joy, and a life well lived. What is available in this space is sweeter than our wildest dreams.

Let’s dive deeper into two components of this special space

Presence:

  • In this very moment, is everything ok? I’m not asking about today or the last five minutes. Instead, this very moment. Now. This millisecond. And this millisecond, and this one, and this one. Even if you are having a bad day or month, usually in this very instant everything is fine and dandy.
  • Where are you? Mentally, are you fully present with where you are, with what you are doing, and/or the people you are with? Are you in the Now? When we are completely present there is stillness and peace that breeds joy, love, and a beautiful feeling of aliveness. The more time we spend in the present, the deeper these feelings become and the more alive and receptive we are.

Knowing everything will always be ok:

If you knew with certainty that everything will be ok, no matter what happens, what might that change?

There may be moments where things seem not ok, but sometime later we can look back and see how those instances shaped our lives and we are still ok. Everything will always be ok. In this article I discussed something similar from a different angle: Everything that has happened since the beginning of time happened just as it did and has lead up to you reading this very sentence, right now.  Everything. We can say the same about every instance the rest of our lives. In each instant (each now) things are ok. Everything will always be ok.

Knowing everything will always be ok relates to presence because in this state of mind, there is never a reason to worry about the future. Being fully present changes everything. I now fully understand everything will always be ok and this has changed everything. There are many moments when I forget this, but as soon as I remember again, I come back to the stillness where joy, love, and peace abound. This is where possibility and unlimited creativity live, where aliveness like no other takes center stage.

Instant Update

From the hitchhiking event in which I am writing this blog:

Now the Toyota is making a constant beeping noise… clearly it is alerting us to something. My three new friends are discussing what is happening. I am curious, but not worried at all. With a huge smile, the woman in the front turns around and shares in a thick accent: “No gas, but it’s ok.”

To which I instantly and gregariously reply: “Great!  I love living on the edge!”

Now they all are laughing… I am too.

We made it to a gas station in time, but if we hadn’t it still would have been perfect.

In Summary

We don’t have to live on the edge all of the time, but when we live in the present moment and have no fear about the future, we give ourselves the opportunity to truly live. The secret to this is living more and more in the present moment and being at ease with yourself when you aren’t. The past has come and gone—leave it where it is. The future is bright, and it will come to us whether we worry daily or not. Life can only be lived right now.

Sure, you’ll shift back and forth, in and out of presence. As soon as you notice you aren’t present, you immediately are. Do this enough and soon presence will be your predominate state: a place where you come alive and anything is possible.

Try it on, practice living right now and being fully alive. More and more I am living in this space and I’ve never felt more at peace, open, and full of love. It’s there waiting for you too.

 

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This morning on a flight to London I realized the last time I flew over the Atlantic was in 1999. How things have changed!

To fund that trip I worked for the Department of Environmental Protection researching and writing short “bios” for all of the waterways in south Florida. It’s amusing to think that I slaved away for months in a tiny windowless room infested with volumes of the driest information on water you could ever imagine to save up for what I thought was a journey of a lifetime. That summer trip was a chance to live with two of my closest friends in their homelands: Slovakia and Bosnia. I guessed that would be that last time I’d have the chance to freely roam around Europe before I joined the working world. What a journey it was… but at the time I could never have predicted the real journey.

UNpredict Your Journey

Looking back, what has transpired in the last nineteen years has been unimaginable. At the time I was studying to become a mechanical engineer. I thought I was going to invent cool stuff, wear a business suite, and have all the fancy things that prestigious engineers have. I never could have predicted that career would last all of six months. If I knew that, would I have spent years in college learning all of the life lessons and meeting friends that became family? Probably not!

That was just the beginning! If I would have tried to predict my journey, there’s not an ice cube’s chance in hell I’d have come up with the one that transpired.

What do you think might happen if we all unpredict the journey?  … Perhaps a world of possibility will open?

Saturday I saw the sign in the photo above at an awesome bike shop near Los Angeles and realized the depth of life in the words “Unpredict Your Journey.”

Our predictions confine us. Even with the widest of visions, we put limits on what we believe is possible. So many people throw around the saying “anything is possible,” but how many truly BELIEVE IT? Imagine being in each moment with the ultimate freedom of limitless potential.

Let’s put this in perspective: ANYTHING! This means everything, all, whatever—it’s all possible when we are completely open.

Yesterday I watched a video about Claire, a dying 18 year old that gets life deeper than 99.99% of the humans who have ever lived. She shared that there is so much freedom in knowing she is dying. She’s been sick since the day she was born and statistics say she should have been dead years ago. She’s never had to think about getting a career, paying the bills, planning for the future. She lives in the moment, because that’s all she’s ever had. Her presence, understanding, and awareness are unbelievable, especially for a person who is only 18. Why? Maybe because she’s never considered predicting her journey? When you finish reading, watch the video (or at least watch the speech she gives at the 25:00 minute mark).

Unpredict your Journey….  What is possible then?

The 20 year old that last flew across the Atlantic in 1999 could not have predicted she’d leave engineering at 24 and become a firefighter /paramedic; rise up the ranks; fight massive forest fires in the mountains of Montana; Connect with the Brotherbood Ride; ride a bicycle thousands of miles across the country while honoring fallen heroes; become the first female station officer in her fire department; travel lots; get roped into racing funny bikes; fall in love with a third career: coaching; learn what love is; start and run a business; totally transform from who she thought she was into someone that seems to be more and more “me” (whatever me might be) each day;  retire from the fire service at 38; sell everything and move into a trailer; travel North America solo; travel the world; connect with thousands of people along the way; be sitting in a flat in London writing this blog for you while on a second European adventure; …. And continue on the unpredictable journey to ease everyone into Coddiwompling their own life’s journey.

Coddiwompling is unpredicting the journey. It’s the simplest way to live: head in a direction while being open to anything and everything. It’s removing the limitations that we all put on ourselves. It’s the way Claire has lived her entire life. It’s the way I am learning how to live more and more. Coddiwompling is the secret to happiness, fulfillment, and changing the world. We are all one thought from the freedom to live simply and simply live.

Unpredict Your journey. Your grand adventure can start Here.

Here is each moment. It is now. It is all the moments the rest of your life.

Being open and getting in tune with your insinctive  wisdom in every “now” is realizing there is no “path” we must follow. Looking back we can each see the path we took, but there are trillions of different paths that we could have taken.

Last weekend I walked up a grassy hill with a friend. We meandered to the top without a plan. There was no path. When we looked back, we could clearly see the trampled grass where we walked that lead to the place we were standing, but we could have taken many different routes to get to where we were. In addition, when looking ahead, there were limitless choices of where to walk next. I now understand that life is the same. What if we all went on a walk with the aim to do good things and make a difference in the world while taking all limitations on “how to do it” off the table?

How? You are smarter than you think and you are designed to thrive: Listen to your instinct (your heart, gut feeling, wisdom within), take the next step (without the preconceived ideas or limits on what you can do or how it is supposed to be done), live in the now, trust, repeat.

Simply put: travel purposefully towards an unknown destination, Coddiwomple Now!

Sill have questions? I’d love to chat with you more about it.

I have unpredicted my journey and life has never been richer.

What if you gave it a shot? What might be possible?

Try it on, see how it feels. You just might change the world.

Unpredict Your journey… Your grand adventure starts now.

 

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This week I am in Los Angeles with an outstanding group of coaches from around the world. We are here together seeing, sharing, experiencing, and learning about deepening our understanding and intensifying impact. The more meaningful our coaching is to our clients, the greater the impact is in the world.

The Exploration

Each night we’ve been gathering after hours around a backyard fire for company and conversation. Last night the topic of my previous life as a Firefighter came up. Someone asked “What was the craziest or most intense call you ever been on?”

Wow, my mind initially went blank. The first things that dribbled in were big fires, a tanker roll-over, natural disasters and significant vehicle accidents. Then, like a slide show, memories appeared of many people I’ve been with on their last day. Interestingly in the moments following the question about the craziest call, I realized just how many people I’ve seen take their final breaths.

I shared a story of one of the most profound moments I had in my career as a firefighter/paramedic. I will share the story with you as well, in just a moment.

The Perceived Effect

After I shared the story, another friend asked-“How did all of these experiences with death affect you?” My first inclination was that it didn’t affect me. Firefighters are a different breed: We can “work” a cardiac arrest or see a car accident so gruesome that it would scar most other people for life, but then we go back to the fire station and tell jokes over dinner.

In addition, we are an integral part of family and friend’s experiencing the passing of those they love. I have no Idea how many times I have been the one that held a new widow’s hand (or looked into the eyes of a mother, father, sister, child, friend, etc) and said the words “I am sorry…” These three words are always followed by a few more words that no one will ever remember. Still I thought there was no effect.

The Story

I woke up at 3am this morning realizing that I now see much more about death. I realized that loving the career and the experience of being a firefighter/paramedic was much more of a gift than I realized. What I have experienced has affected me, but in ways most would not suspect.  Here is the story I shared:

Early in my career as a paramedic I had a seemingly run of the mill patient with chest pain: a kind older gentleman eating dinner in his home with his extended family. Though this incident happened over a decade ago, I can tell you where his family members (wife, children, grandchildren) were sitting at the table when my partner and I arrived. Even though this was a “usual call” I had a feeling this was more serious than it seemed and called for another crew of two firefighters to help. The other crew arrived minutes later and didn’t see a reason to be there—all seemed fine. So the second crew left just after loading my patient in the ambulance and starting an IV line. I actually felt self-conscious that I called them to help as they were seasoned vets and obviously knew their help wasn’t needed. I could have insisted at least one of them join me in the back of the ambulance for the ride to the hospital, but I didn’t.

The hospital was a thirty minute drive. I gave my patient (let’s call him John Doe) some medications. He felt a little better and we were off. There was no rush or sirens, just an easy drive to the hospital as John and I chatted calmly. John casually mentioned he wanted to go home. I consoled him and told him as soon as he saw the doctor, he’d hopefully be able to go right back home. Within minutes he again mentioned he wanted to go home, again I consoled. Moments later John kindly told me he was going home and, thinking he was confused, I explained we were going to the hospital. This happened a few more times and then he matter-of-factly asked “Don’t I get I priest first?”

Instantly I realized I was the one that was confused. I jumped to my feet, leaned through the narrow window into the cab so my mouth was inches from my driver’s ear. With very colorful language, I asked (told!) him to drive faster than he’s ever driven because our patient was about to die. 

You’ve probably seen enough episodes of ER or Grey’s Anatomy to know that when someone is “crashing” it takes a large team: someone to do chest compressions, insert a breathing tube, give medications, give “shocks” to reset the heart, and more.  As paramedics we also work in large teams.

On that day, there I was- a relatively new paramedic in the back of a moving ambulance, alone, with my patient who was “going home.” I sensed what was about to happen and continued talking to John while doing everything I knew to keep him alert and alive. Within minutes John lost consciousness, slumped over, and was gone.  I continued to do everything I could, wishing I had at least 4 more hands. While still doing CPR, we pushed the stretcher carrying a kind family man into the Emergency Room. I knew I had killed him. It was my fault. I could have done so many things differently. I watched as the team in the ER did all they could, but couldn’t get him back.

Later we were told he had a medical condition that could not have been corrected, even if he was on the operating table when it happened. There was nothing I or anyone else could have done to change the outcome. That was John’s last day and he knew he was going home.

The reason I remember John and that moment in time so vividly is because it was my only experience of being alone with another human as they made the transition. There would be others, but never again the intimacy of only two people sharing that moment. John taught me many things in his final moments. I saw a peace in him. I also noticed what mattered. I can’t remember our conversation, but I do remember it was nothing to do with the “everyday life” that most of us live. There was no talking about bills, work, missed business meetings, things he should have done. None of that mattered. There was a deep sense of love, oneness, connection, and presence. There was a peace and gentleness unlike anything I had ever witnessed. This peace, presence and connection is a glimpse into the “home” that we all have access to at anytime.

Going Home

I didn’t fully realize the significance of this understanding until waking up in the wee hours this morning, 12 years later. The realization was about the question- “How did these experiences with death affect you?” The answer is: experiencing death has taught me about life and has led me to where I am today. I am no longer working as a firefighter/paramedic, not because I didn’t love the job. I loved being a firefighter… but I saw more, and wanted more for everyone.

Up until recently I thought being a firefighter was the best job in the world—I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Now my tone has changed: Being a firefighter/paramedic is one of the noblest jobs in the world. Although I now know there is a “job” that is even better. This is why I walked away from my first love (firefighting), and on to my passion (coaching).

Why? To help people live amazing lives. To point towards the presence and connection that John experienced in his last few moments before he left this world. To live in an understanding that changes everything. To help people see what many never see.

In essence, my mission now is to intentionally be with people as they “go home.”

Observing Impact

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to observe one of the finest coaches in the world (I may be partial, but I’d venture to say he’s the best). In live coaching sessions he gently pointed a beautiful human being toward a new understanding about how our minds really work and towards hope. The client, a gorgeous person, initially thought he was less than “ok.”

Just like you and me, he had been told by the world and himself that he had problems and he believed it. Early on he mentioned that he knew there was something more; something beyond wars, violence, destruction, racism, and fear. Just like him, most of us sense this, but we don’t “know” what it feels like to truly understand the depth of “going home.”  In just a couple of conversations this veteran, father, and beautiful man began to see everything differently. In his eyes we all could see that everything changed in an instant. The world will never look the same and he will never be the same again.

Observing this coaching conversation was like watching the budding and blooming of a beautiful flower. One enormous difference between a flower and this beautiful human is: This human will go out into the world and create amazing things. He will create opportunities for himself and others; he might fuel love and ingenuity in all those around him; he might change a kid’s life or brighten one person’s day; he may transform the military; or he might create a massive company or non-profit that will reach millions. Who knows?!  This is the ripple effect that has the potential to drastically change the world.

This type of coaching impact is what I want to do, what I am doing, and what I will do even better in the months and years to come. As a firefighter, I often was with people on their darkest days and tried my best to make that one moment better. Now, I help people see everything differently and hold human potential in a whole new light.

This is for John Doe. This is for you. This is the hope that we all get to experience “Going Home” many years before we take our last breath.

Someday will eventually come… why wait?

 

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While on this Grand Adventure I have met so many people that have become like family, although there have been many times where I felt very alone. In just three short months I have “seen” so much- with my eyes and with my heart. Right now I am in New Mexico and I know why it is called “The Land of Enchantment,” I too have been enchanted. Some of my experiences seem too deep to put in to words. The one I share with you today will hopefully spark something within you—it’s a story about awareness, the journey, the destinations, togetherness, and how each and every moment in life counts… it’s a story that begs the question: Where are you headed?

***

One evening last week, on the spur of the moment, I set out on a hike to see petroglyphs. I began just before sunset and I wondered if I was too late to see it all. Little did I know I was about to see everything. The walk began at the desert floor and meandered up rocky hills covered with boulders which were plastered with ancient art. Roughly halfway to the top of the hill the sun had set, but there was plenty of light so I kept ascending.

Near the top, I found myself sitting on a boulder that was perfectly perched facing due west on the rocky hillside with the most amazing panorama of the desert. My view was framed by the distant dark silhouettes of the towering mountain ridges that were backlit with the magnificent deep oranges, reds, and purples of a jaw dropping sunset. Up above were the twinkles of far off stars brightening in the new night’s sky. To my back, left, and right were more tall boulders decorated with ancient graffiti- beautiful petroglyphs. It was as if I was in a skybox watching the setting sun put on a show while being surrounded on all sides by thousand year old photo albums: animals, star bursts, geometric shapes, faces, arrows… beauty.

My view of the desert sunset

In that beautiful moment I realized every instance of my life had brought me to this specific space. There I was, basking in the splendid beauty of nature and the cosmos and only a few miles from home. This gorgeous place is my home… it’s everyone’s home. How lucky am I? How blessed am I? How blessed are all of us.

In the next moment I more deeply realized that EVERY instance of my life had brought me to that specific rock sitting next to ancient petroglyphs. My heart filled and emotions followed. In that instant I noticed him- a petroglyph of a man. The man had a face and body and he happened to be perfectly positioned over my left shoulder. It was as if he was watching the show with me… or rather I was watching the show with him. He’s watched thousands of different renditions of this show—every evening, he is there watching and waiting for the beautiful transition from day to night. I wondered about all the people who had joined him throughout the thousands of years. I also wondered about the people who drew him and all the art surrounding us.  I could feel their presence, all of our presence.

An epiphany that suddenly hit me was this: I may have been the only person on that hillside, but I was not alone… I have never been alone. None of us are ever alone.

Then I profoundly realized that in order for me to be there watching the gorgeous show and realizing what I was realizing, everything had to happen just the way it did-EVERYTHING in life. Everything being: The amazing, the good, the bad, the hard times, the easy times- every single moment of it. Everything from before birth, to childhood, to adulthood, to the hours and minutes leading up to that moment. There were many things I worked really hard for and there were even more things that “just happened,” almost magically, or rather: miraculously.

At no point had I dreamed I’d be in that glorious space in the desert, but I was and it was astonishing. The everythingness was mind-boggling.  I was full, I was happy and in that moment I realized: I am surrounded by love, life, and the magic of the human potential… always. We all are. No beautiful sunset needed… we have access to all of this all the time.

Petroglyph at sunset illuminated by my flashlight

If everything in life ads up to where we are in this one moment, where are you? Where would you like to be? What might be available to create? What are you open to happening?

This moment and every moment count… I am learning more and more that when we thoroughly enjoy the moment, there can’t help but being even more and more amazing moments… it just happens and we don’t have to try.

Enjoy your moments. Get out of the everyday ordinary and into the everyday extraordinary… the fun part is: it’s much simpler than you think to take that first step and keep on walking.

 

More and more I realize how important it is to have guides on life’s journey… people that love and want the best for me and are able to take an observer’s view… then point towards the beauty and wisdom available in everyday experiences. Even more importantly, my “guides” point me toward the Truth, which has opened unbelievable opportunities for growth, happiness, success… and all the amazingness that has been sitting right there beside me all along.  If you are curious about what that is like, I’d love to join you for a “hike” from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Shoot me an email or give me a call- the possibilities are endless and my bet is it is MUCH simpler than you might think. support@coddiwomplenow.com

 

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If you haven’t visited Venice Beach, California- it’s a special place. Along the Venice Boardwalk there are many street vendors and most of them are “Home Free.” Home free being what most would call “homeless.” While the residents here might not have a brick and mortar home, they do have a home and neighbors AND a beautiful back yard with a million dollar view. Just like you and me they they like to keep a nice yard and safe neighborhood, but more importantly they want to love and be loved. I’ve gotten to know, and learned a lot from, some Venice residents this week and this is the story of, Dom, my favorite.

Connection Coddiwomple

 

Early Friday morning I went for a quick swim in the Pacific. On the way out I saw a lady pacing while wearing just pajamas and socks on the beach: head down and seriously searching for something in the sand. On the way back from the surf I saw her again- in full search mode. I said “Good Morning.” She looked up at me softly, but straight in the eye and matter-of-factly said “Thank you. I needed that.” Then instantly she went back to searching, pacing and scouring the sand. About 20 seconds later she yelled something to me, which I couldn’t understand because of a helicopter overhead. She yelled again—I could see the passion in her face, her mouth move, and her entire body lean forward with each word. I still did not hear what she was saying. I pointed up to the helicopter and gave her a “Sorry, I don’t know what you are saying” shrug. We both stood there about 50 feet apart staring at each other waiting for the helicopter to go.  Then it did, and she yelled to me at the top of her lungs again: “WE ARE QUEENS BECAUSE WE KNOW LOVE!!”

Wow. I gave her a smile and a thumbs up. Then she immediately went back to searching and pacing again.

After lunch I saw her standing by her home on the Boardwalk. I walked up beside her and asked “Did you find what you were looking for?” As if she expected me to ask, and without looking up, she answered “no, but I found something else,” all the while continuing doing what she was doing.

She was a passionate young woman living in her own world… just like the rest of us. She seemed upset, even angry. I tried to connect and have a conversation, but she spewed back her story and her view of an unfair world. No matter how gentle and inquisitive I was, she continued on. It’s as if I could see her thoughts spinning a million miles an hour, her tongue not able to keep up, but doing its best. She was a human mannequin with a moving mouth, trapped by her thoughts in an apparent world full of hate towards her, towards those that came before her, and towards everyone that looked like her. There also seemed to be a lot of her own anger aimed toward people that, given the chance, might (probably) hate her. She definitely saw me standing there, but it seems she mostly saw my skin.

I could hear the love softly and fully embracing all of the fear and anger that spewed from her lips. I wanted to hug her and tell her we could be friends… There was no space for that at all. So I stood and listened, to the almost incomprehensible deluge of words falling from her lips like the water over ten Niagara Falls. Then I said it. Firmly, yet gently I said exactly what popped up to say… it passed over my lips almost before I realized it was there: “There is so much love in your anger…”

Poof! She instantly stopped mid-sentence, looked me straight in the eye and fiercely threw down the book she was holding. She then stomped off- yelling violently, her anger now full blow rage. She stomped and yelled at an invisible partner- circling around me several times. I reached for her once, she kept going as if I wasn’t there: round and round in rage. I stood quietly listening: waiting and wondering what might happen next.

Just as instantly as she started, she stopped while looking me in the eye- proclaiming “Look at this! It takes a white woman to understand me! You DON’T know ME!!!  But you do!” (This is paraphrased because from that moment on, the words coming from her mouth were that of someone that might be described as a Buddha Protégé… much of it entirely too deep for me to fully understand)

Her words were beautiful and descriptive- she got it. She got life. She understood deeply so many ideas and principles that many can’t comprehend in a lifetime of searching and studying. She was passionate, strong, philosophical, and spoke the Truth. I was amazed and the only thing I came up with to ask was “How old are you?” She was 19. Unbelievable: 19 years old and living under a tarp on the beach in Venice, CA. Her short platinum hair sprinkled with sand, her complexion perfectly clear, but dusted with a life lived home free. Her clothes looked the part of living under a tarp, but now her face and expressions didn’t.

We spoke some more, I asked a few questions, most of which she answered. We connected. When I asked what she’d most like to do if she could do anything, her answer: “I want to change the world.” Given the chance I’m sure she will. She is trapped in her own beliefs (just like you and me). She told me all the reasons she couldn’t. I hoped and wanted her to know she could. She read me several of her poems, some of which I did not understand… mostly because she is wise lifetimes beyond her years and I could not wrap my mind around what she was attempting to describe.

She gave me her first name: Dom. I wanted to give her something more- all I did was wonder with her: “I wonder what it would be like; what you and the world would be like if the anger was left to lie and you came from love….” and that was it.

She asked for my Instagram name- I wrote it on the last page of her book of poetry because I knew she would keep that book with her. My hope is to stay connected and I shared this with her.  I reminded her that she had the reigns and can find me anytime, but that it is up to her to take that step. I hope she does… I hope she takes many many more steps.

My bet is I learned much more from her than she will ever learn from me (these are just a few):

First, I learned to never skip a chance to say “Good Morning” 🙂

I learned connection comes in many forms.

I learned we can absolutely connect with anyone.

I learned that sometimes calling out the truth, even if it brings momentary rage, can connect people in ways that seem unimaginable.

Most of all- I learned we can all be:

“Queens because we know love.”

-Dom  Venice Beach, California on January 19, 2018

 

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This time of year brings about an abundance of gift giving, although giving gifts is something we do year round. The thoughts and ideas in this article are applicable in all gifting circumstances, no matter how unique of common the occasion.

Codiwomple Now

Photo Credit: Elezabeth Jose https://fineartamerica.com/featured/christmas-in-the-snow-elizabeth-jose.html

This holiday season has been unique in that I find myself in a bit of a gift giving conundrum. It is now less than a week before Christmas and I haven’t purchased a single gift. Part of it is because my focus has been on shifting into my new mobile way of life rather than holiday gifts and part of it is because I’d rather give my loved ones experiences than material gifts. Interestingly my intuition about gifting meshes together perfectly with the science around value, gifts, and happiness. Hopefully you’ll find this as interesting as I do.

On Material “Stuff”

In the last week I have built friendships with many “everyday people” that happen to live and travel full time in their trailers. If you met them at Starbucks, you’d never guess their lifestyle was so different than most people. They have jobs, they have families, they have pets, they wear normal clothes… they seem average. Although, how they live is not typical at all.

What impressed me most was the simplicity and quality of their “stuff.” One couple, Chad and Rebekah, are in their 30s and have been living in their 25 foot Airstream with their dog “Dijon” for two and a half years. Their trailer was spotless and minimalist- it looked like a showroom model: beautiful, no clutter, and only the essentials. They invited me to ride to dinner with them and I sat comfortably in the back seat of their Toyota Tundra, which was clean and free of clutter. In fact, most people who have houses and garages have more in their backseat than Chad and Rebekah. They are extremely happy, travel freely, and love life… All the while owning very few material things. After meeting so many people that live for experiences while owning very little, I am realizing more and more that gifts of experience are far better than material things.

Gift Giving

Back to gifts—Gifts can be material things, experiences, a kind word or even a gentle hug at just the right time. Your complete presence and a listening ear are also gifts. BUT…. Most people would think that you were quite strange (and cheap) if you wrapped yourself in a bow and presented your “presence” to a loved one as their gift! So, let’s give gifts!! Gift giving research shows the benefits of giving experiences is monumental compared to giving material items.

Why experiences? When considering why we give gifts, there are many reasons. One of the fundamental reasons is to connect and foster relationships. Science Daily suggests: “People often struggle with the challenge of choosing what to give someone. If you want to give them something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience.”  Another idea: Make it an experience that involves you and your loved one! Depending on your relationship and logistics, sharing the experience could up the gift giving ante even more for both the giver and the receiver.

Deciding What to Give

If you’d like to give an experience, but now wonder what to give, here are some ideas: What does your loved one enjoy doing, but rarely treats themselves to? What are his/her hobbies? What is something they have always wanted to do? What is a new or exciting experience you can share with them?

Examples Ideas:

  • A gift certificate to a movie, play, or concert and a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant: Your loved one can treat themselves and their special someone to a night on the town.
  • Gift them a skydiving experience, kayak or canoe rental, a gym membership, a museum pass, or tour of an art gallery.
  • Maybe they love to read: Consider eBook certificates, a year’s subscription to their favorite magazine, or internet membership site.
  • For families: tickets to a theme park, adventure course, or an annual state or national park pass.
  • For kids: A pizza party at an entertainment facility. A day at the beach or the park for them and 3-5 of their friends (you can provide their favorite picnic lunch too).

The possibilities are limitless! What ideas do you have? Please post them in the comments below.

Wrapping it All Up

We’ve all heard the old adage “it’s better to give than to receive.” Now we may have to add: “It’s better to give and receive experiences than anything else at all.” In the big scheme of things we all want to experience joy and happiness: We want to be happy and we want our loved ones to be happy. What constitutes happiness is different for everyone.

One thing is for sure: happiness doesn’t come from things. I love the saying “The most important things in life aren’t things.” Fostering and deepening relationships is one of the most important things in life. We each express love in our own unique way. Gifts are just one of the many expressions of love. This holiday season (and for the rest of your days): Give love. When choosing your gifts, be creative. Love what you give and give what they love… no matter what that might be.

Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, or anything else — I hope you have a very happy holiday filled with connections, love, and joy.

 

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Tomorrow, Thursday November 30th, I shift into a new way of living: Life untethered, living on the road full-time in my Airstream trailer.

Coddiwomple Now
95% of the time I am very excited and 5% of the time I wonder what the heck I am doing. The truth is: I don’t know what I am doing and that is a significant part of the adventure.

In January, six months before purchasing my Airstream, I named her “Coddiwomple.” I had no idea where I’d find her, but my dream was to live a mobile lifestyle and it was just a matter of time before me and my future home would find each other.

Ten months after naming her, Coddi (I’ll only call her “Coddiwomple” when she is in trouble!) and I are heading off on the grandest of adventures- the adventure of life untethered: purposefully traveling towards unknown destinations every day and every moment. Our adventures will be chronicled at CoddiwompleNow.com (my travel/adventure website will be live soon). The purpose of our journeys: to explore, connect with people, live life fully, and encourage everyone to do the same.

Coddiwomple: To travel purposefully towards an as-yet-unknown destination
Now: Why wait? “Someday” never comes

How often do you point yourself in a direction and take a step, not knowing how things will pan out, when surprises may pop up, or with whom you will meet and join up with along the way? Most of us do not Coddiwomple nearly enough. We each have the ability to point ourselves in a direction and begin taking steps towards an amazing future each and every day. So often we stop ourselves before starting because we can’t fully “see” exactly how we will get from where we are to where we want to go.

Here is a HUGE secret: You don’t have to know how it will happen because the unimaginable happens. Be open. Know that opportunities will appear- take them. Know that you will have creative ideas in the moment- you will shock yourself, let it happen. Know that if you don’t know how now, you will know how. Be open and go with it. Trust.

Consider this: how many of the most marvelous inventions and ideas were first doodled on a napkin? Why do you think this is? Is it because often the greatest ideas pop up when we aren’t trying to figure things out? Often it’s in the shower, on a walk, or while day-dreaming that brilliant thoughts arrive. It happens naturally and it will happen to you.

What is your dream? What do you aspire to be and do? Coddiwomple Now…. Why wait? Many people “someday” forever. Someday never comes. Make your someday today. Point yourself in a direction, take a small step, see what comes up, and take another step, then repeat. Coddiwomple Now.

Every moment has the potential to be a new beginning. A new beginning can be anything you wish: as simple as taking a different route to work tomorrow, massively changing your entire life, or anything in between. It’s up to you. What is your next new beginning? When will you begin? Consider purposefully pointing yourself towards that unknown destination… and starting now.

 

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