What might be possible if you unpredicted your journey?

Many people wonder what that means. Simply put it means being open to all possibilities and not trying to forecast where you might be in the future or how you will get there. I keep thinking I understand fully the ins and outs of living like this and then life shows me how much more there is to let go of… and how magical it gets when I do.

Last week a friend admiringly shared with me that he was so proud of me for living life outside of societal norms. That is the first time I heard my life described like that and I guess it fits, although that’s not my aim. I have no aim other than to live in the moment and be open to the flow of life.  I wonder what the world would be like if being guided through life by life became the norm?

There is a richness and an indescribable fullness that surfaces when we let life live us. ‘Coddiwomple’ is the word I use to describe living fully immersed with the flow of life. Coddiwompling is letting go of all the thoughts and judgements of how we think life should unfold and instead living fully in each moment.

A Story of Coddiwompling

I had dinner with a high school classmate whose hero is his mom. He described how his mom escaped Vietnam and arrived in Tallahassee, Florida with pretty much nothing but her five young children. She was a single mother who spoke broken English and didn’t have a job, money or a place to live. On her first night in town she found shelter for her family in an abandoned church, went to sleep and woke up the next morning knowing she had to find a way to provide. She left her kids and hopped on the first city bus that came by.

She got off the bus at what happened to be the Florida State Capitol Building. She noticed there were many well-dressed people carrying brief cases that looked very successful. She walked up to a gentleman in a business suit and in broken English asked him how he got to where he is in life. He shared with her that it was through education: studying, going to university and doing very well in school. She thanked him and caught the next bus.

A few stops later she got off the bus again. This time she was at a small strip mall. As she was walking along she passed a laundromat with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the window. She went in and asked questions about owning and running a laundromat. Just across the street was a local bank. She walked in the bank to ask questions and learn about loans. Then she went back to the abandoned church where her five children were.

Long story short, here is what happened: Yen Le was given a loan by the bank she visited that day, bought the same laundromat she saw at the second place she got off the bus, and aimed to help her kids get the best education possible (just like the man in the suit carrying a briefcase).

She owned and ran the laundromat by herself for over thirty years and was loved and adored by her customers and the community. Mamma Le (as her patrons called her) put her heart and soul into helping her customers in unique ways while providing for her family. There were many stories of customers coming back decades later to thank Mamma Le for her love and kindness. Even NFL stars who she helped with their laundry and with life (when they were university students) came back specifically to let Mamma Le know how much she meant to them.

Her five kids were not allowed to help at the laundromat. Each time one of them tried to lend a hand, she would tell them that they had two jobs: to study and sleep.

All of her children have thrived.

When Mamma Le woke up that first morning in an abandoned church in a foreign country she had no idea what do. What she did know was: she wanted to raise her five kids and give them an opportunity to thrive. She coddiwompled. She let life live her and took a bus ride. She unpredicted her journey and little did she know that ride would provide the fertile ground for her and her family to have lives she couldn’t have dreamed of.

UnReal Limitation

We often limit ourselves to a very small world: ‘our’ world, which is usually confined within the boundaries of our memories and imagination (our thoughts). We live inside make-believe limits of what we think is possible, what we think we can create, and what we believe to be true. What’s even crazier is that the chatter in our own head creates this confined reality. Have you ever considered how much energy and creativity could be unleashed inside of you if you never again worried about the future or stressed about your circumstances?

I hadn’t considered this either. Though when I began exploring who I really was and how powerful Thought is, life opened up. The more I let go and unpredict my journey the more simple and fun life becomes. The less I try to figure things out, the more success abounds. Through letting go of any preconceived notion of how my life journey should be, the unimaginable is given the space to flourish.  I often sit in awe at what life continually provides.

Most have heard the saying “go with the flow.” I used to think this was the best way to enjoy life. Now I can see that this isn’t true. We don’t need to go with the flow, we are the flow. Life is like a beautiful river, sometimes gently flowing, sometimes gushing over rocks, and sometimes bursting forth and pouring over massive waterfalls. Through it all, the water that the river is made of is just fine. The river is perfect in every state.

We are the flow, we are the river and we are on the ride of our lives. The only thing that keeps us from enjoying the river of life is the chatter of our thinking and worry. When we surrender to the river, realize we are the flow, know it will always work out (even when we have no idea what “work out” means): it’s a beautiful and exciting ride.

Just ask Mamma Le: She unpredicted her journey and has experienced the unbelievable effect of coddiwompling. She is a natural coddiwompler, just as we all are.

Unpredict your journey, my friends.

Here is a one minute video about Mamma Le’s youngest son, Phuong (my high school classmate and friend):

 

Understanding the Human Mind International Conference, 12-13 June 2019, Bucharest Romania:

On June 13th I’ll be the final speaker at the Understanding the Human Mind Conference in Bucharest Romania. There will be fifteen amazing presenters all pointing to a deeper understanding of the mind. Come join in, I am looking forward to sharing and going in to more depth on the topic of “Unpredicting Your Future.”

Let’s See More Together

When I really considered the life that is possible for each of us individually, I realized one of the best ways to see this is together. There is so much more for each of us to see… so very much. The best part is: what’s available is right here already, we just haven’t seen it yet. When we understand how our mind works and how life works, everything gets simple and amazingly beautiful.

Let’s take a walk together. Come join me and fellow explorers in a radically different (yet simple) ten week exploration that will change everything.

We begin August 20th and the cost is $99.

The first program sold out and the group members have seen and experienced so much together. Might it be the perfect time to Unpredict Your Journey?

Check it out here: Coddiwomple Now Group Program

Unpredict Your Journey

 

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Life has changed. Better put: My understanding of life has changed and my experience will never be the same. Life just is and it always has been. Everything can be the Ultimate Coddiwomple… What might yours be?

Tomorrow I am flying to Prague, Czech Republic. Crazy as it sounds: very early this morning I arrived in Los Angeles after flying from Mexico City overnight. I landed, took a nap, woke up, worked, met my mentor for lunch to chat about a project, and then went back to his house for an afternoon of conversations. He’s a big reason why I’m in Los Angeles for a day… and that statement will make much more sense in a few paragraphs.

During our conversations today I mentioned that I wanted to make a short video, but haven’t. He made tea for me and his wife, and then we went to his office where he sat me in front of his computer. I had no clue what I would say. In less than a minute he set up my makeshift studio. Then he knelt on the floor next to me (just out of view) and clicked the mouse to start the recording. I opened my mouth and words miraculously came out. We did three takes, each time he stood up, gave feedback, and then took his place on the floor next to me while I shot another video.

This man has changed many lives, he’s changed my life, and there he was on the floor. Minutes later he received an email that his latest Ted Talk had been released on YouTube. After we finished our chat, I asked him if he’d like to watch it… of course he did. So there we sat, watching the talk he gave in Switzerland in December. I was with him live at the Ted event and it touched me deeply then. This time, I deeply enjoyed watching him take it all in.

While sitting there next to him, I wondered: How the heck did I get here?

On July 30, 2016 I purchased a book (The Inside-Out Revolution) after my coach suggested it. Little did I know what a pivotal moment that was. Just over a day later I finished the book and on the next day, August 1st 2016 my whole world changed in an instant. I’ll never forget the moment everything shifted. My heart raced (sustained at 120 beats per minute for 20+ minutes while sitting in my office). I couldn’t concentrate: I had understood something huge and my life would forever be changed. A few weeks later I googled “Michael Neill” to see who this dude was that wrote the book.

Just 2.5 years later here I am, sitting next to him… watching Michael watch his gorgeous Ted Talk. The man who only minutes before was kneeling on the floor helping me. The talk finished, I felt proud of my friend and delighted for him. I asked if I could take his dogs for a walk. I love his dogs as if they are my own. Pepper, Lily and I headed out on a long walk.

During our earlier chat, one of the topics Michael and I discussed was feelings and emotions. I’m feeling so much more nowadays than I have in the previous three decades. While out on the walk watching Lily and Pepper play and taking in the views from atop the Santa Monica Mountains, emotions were aplenty. Love washed through me and a few tears streamed down my face. Sometimes life seems like a fairy tale. More and more life seems like a fairy tale all the time.

The dogs and I headed back down in to Michael’s neighborhood. Dinner was almost ready when we got back. Nina, Michael and I ate and chatted. Michael cleared the table and did dishes while Nina and I gabbed on. Words of congrats and love about his Ted Talk arrived via the internet. Nina hadn’t seen the video yet, so she brought it up on her phone and the three of us watched it together at the dinner table. Now I’m watching them watching the Ted Talk: hand in hand and full of love. **After you watch the Ted Talk, you’ll know why this is even more special than it seems.

How did I get here? It makes no sense and then perfect sense, but mostly it makes no sense.

The day I clicked the “Buy Now” button for Michael’s book seems like a lifetime ago. In my wildest dreams I could not have fathomed the journey between flipping that book open and reading the first word to casually sitting here hanging out with two special friends. If I could take a screen shot of life right now and go back in time to show it to myself the instant I read that first page… what would I have thought? Probably: How???

Truth Is: There is no explanation.

Fast forward one day ahead to present time: In this instant I am on the first leg of my flight, headed for Paris, France and proofreading this blog. Tears are forming again as I am remembering all the things I’ve experienced in just two years, a lifetime of experiences. I’m realizing all the things I’ve seen, an indescribably epoch expanse of seeing. Such deep gratefulness runs through and through for friendships with beautiful souls around the world, experiences of love, occurrences I can’t yet describe, and a depth of understanding about life… All unimaginable. I am tempted to say it began with the turning of one page, but it didn’t. It began long before, in the infinite beginning.

What if everything is a Coddiwomple, but we just don’t know it?

What do you really want to do?

Go do that.

What if you sat in a space of love and gratefulness for a moment, then went and did exactly what your heart guided you to do for the next three minutes. What if you just did that? What if you really gave yourself the freedom to just be? What might become of those three minutes? What might become of you?

What if you continued doing that over and over again for forever?

What if your will and God’s will are the same? What if there is no difference? (Substitute any word you wish instead of “God”: The Universe, Wisdom, Love, Creator, or anything… it’s just a word to describe the indescribable.) To me that statement doesn’t feel heavy at all. It’s a simple reality.

Another way to express the same sentiment: Our heart’s desire is pointing to our Ultimate Coddiwomple. Go. It’s simpler than you think, totally ordinary, and magnificently extraordinary all at the same time.

What are you waiting for?

Coddiwomple Now 🙂

 

If you are curious, here’s the three minute video we made yesterday: Coddiwomple Now

One of the sweetest parts of the video is in the last 30 seconds. In the lower left corner, notice the top of Michael’s head as he’s peering around. What a guide. What a servant’s heart. What a friend.

 

Here is Michael’s Ted Talk. Please do yourself (and the world) a favor and watch/share this: Can a Ted Talk Really Change the World? (I don’t want to spoil it for you, but… Yes, it can!)

 

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What if the answer has always been right under our noses? What if life was extremely simple and innocently we’ve imagined it to be much more challenging than it is?

What if all there ever is to do is: Follow our instinct, aim ourselves in a direction, start walking, and see what happens.

AND, what if we could do this and know with certainty that we could never get it wrong?

I am Coddiwompling in Mexico for most of March. Many people assume that means I’m wandering around the country, seeing the sites, and tasting every flavor of taco south of the boarder.

Nope, that is fake news! Reality is: I’ve spent almost all my time in a small neighborhood in Queretaro, Mexico. There is so much to ‘see’ here and I don’t need to go anywhere. One of the most misunderstood elements of Coddiwompling is that you have to wander the world to do it: FAKE NEWS! 🙂

The truth is that you can Coddiwomple anytime and anywhere without physically moving.

“Aim yourselves in a direction, start walking” is a metaphor, kids. Another way to say this is: “What direction is your heart pulling you right now, in this moment?” This could mean sitting in your favorite chair pondering why the moon seems to tilt as it crosses the sky (yes, I’ve done that). This could mean creating a charity or the next Fortune 500 company. This could mean starting a family or reconnecting with friends. This could mean ANYTHING.

In this instant, “Aim yourself in a direction, start walking, and see what happens” might mean go to the kitchen and make a sandwich. It’s this simple.

I planned to work most of the day today. This morning I woke up to a text asking if I wanted to go on a hike. The answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’. In the moment, I aimed myself in a direction and literally started walking. We walked, we talked, we shared, we saw, we laughed, we walked some more. We found beautiful views, extraordinary bugs, and we found ourselves in each other. Over three hours later we were sunburned, thirsty and full to the brim. We both thought it would be a short walk, but thankfully it wasn’t. This is Coddiwompling. No ‘work’ I planned to do today was as precious or vital as our walk.

 

Speaking of extraordinary bugs, did you know that grasshoppers can only jump forward, not backwards or to the side? This beauty was sitting on the trail… and he did hop …but only forward. It seems grasshoppers are coddiwomplers too. There was so much seen on the walk, even in a tiny grasshopper. After reading this blog, my wise friend Marina (check her out here) mentioned that grasshoppers truly symbolize taking a leap of faith, with wisdom and without knowing the outcome. Living by instinct, taking a leap (or a step), only moving forward, and not predicting the future: this is exactly what coddiwompling is all about. Is this an incredible coincidence or something more? If you are into grasshopper symbolism, read more here.

The essence of our walk will continue to leave fingerprints on my work for the rest of time. What I’ve seen over and over again is: take the walk… take your walk.

If you really knew, like really really knew you couldn’t get it wrong… what might be possible? What would be your next step?

Aim in a direction, put one metaphorical foot in front of the other, see what happens.

Repeat.

It’s that simple.

 

Enjoy your journey my friends…

 

Let’s Change Your World

I have a feeling that everything will change… everything. It has beautifully changed for me and it has changed for everyone that really gets this. This is so important that re-introducing people to Coddiwompling has become my mission in life. I want everyone to live their dreams. Imagine what the world would be like then. It starts with you. It starts with each of us.

When I really considered the outcome, I realized one of the best ways to see this is together. So, for less than a pair of shoes or a nice dinner, you can join me and many fellow Coddiwomplers in a ten week exploration that will change everything.

We begin April 11th and the cost is $89.

We will meet an hour a week for ten weeks via live video conference (you can also join in by phone). You will also have lifetime access to all call recordings.

Check it out here: Coddiwomple Now Group Program

Get articles like this one delivered to your inbox!

If you would like to receive compelling stories and creative Coddiwompling tips in your inbox once or twice a month, sign up for The Coddiwompler by clicking HERE

(3 minutes)

Let’s all live our dreams. What if everyone in the world Coddiwompled, imagine the kind of world we would live in? Let’s all Coddiwomple together.

 

Let’s Change Your World

I have a feeling that everything will change… everything. It has beautifully changed for me and it has changed for everyone that really gets this. This is so important that re-introducing people to Coddiwompling has become my mission in life. I want everyone to live their dreams. Imagine what the world would be like then. It starts with you. It starts with each of us.

When I really considered the outcome, I realized one of the best ways to see this is together. So, for less than a pair of shoes or a nice dinner, you can join me and many fellow Coddiwomplers in a ten week exploration that will change everything.

We begin April 11th and the cost is $89.

We will meet an hour a week for ten weeks via live video conference (you can also join in by phone). You will also have lifetime access to all call recordings.

Check it out here: Coddiwomple Now Group Program

While on my way to an appointment in Switzerland I was in the mix of the hustle and bustle of a large train station. Usually I use Google to find my way around, but on that morning Google Maps wasn’t working. Then the strangest thing happened: I found myself standing on the platform with a strong feeling that I needed to be on train number three. There was no logical reason for it.

Within minutes, up rolls train number three and I walk over to the door. While hesitantly standing just outside, the voice in my head kept saying “we don’t get on random trains in Switzerland when we don’t know where they are going.” Nevertheless it felt like I was being sucked in to the train, like I really was supposed to be on train number three! While in the midst of my mental game of a tug of war, the tone that means the doors are closing sounded. A strong urge to jump on the train washed over me, but the voice in my head won out with the plead of “Don’t do it! Who the heck knows where you’ll end up!”

So I didn’t. The train doors closed, it glided to my left and the wind rushed by my face as the last car passed. A feeling of disappointment flushed over me (kind of like when I missed the school bus as a kid), which was funny as I truly had no idea where that train was headed. Over the next few minutes I tried my best to read maps and signs, but to no avail. Next I asked a guy if he was a local. He was, so I showed him the address and asked if he could help me get there. He matter-of-factly said “Take train three, that’s the easiest way and it will drop you off two blocks from that address.”

“Really??” I thought. Several other trains were arriving and I asked if I could take any of those instead. He insisted on waiting for the next train number three because it was a simple straight shot. I thanked him and found a seat.

I waited and wondered: First, it was amazing how strong the knowing was to get on that train, but why did I listen to the chatter and talk myself out of it? Then, realizing that the feeling of knowing happens to all of us (we call it instinct, gut feeling, God, inner wisdom, nudges from our heart, etc), how can we tell the difference between the knowing and the chatter?

Thanks to some exploration months later, I began to see more about the experience I had with train number three. Here’s what I now see:

We do just know. Deep down this happens hundreds (maybe thousands) of times a day: when to get out of bed, how to maneuver around the dog in the kitchen, what to eat for lunch, when to cross the street, who we want to spend time with, and on and on. And all these knowings happen in the moment.

Often the chatter is there too, but chatter typically has to do with the future. When I was standing at the door of the train, I was imagining things that could happen in the future if I got on train number three. My inner knowing was there in the present moment, but I thought my way out of it.

The easy way to speak about this feeling of knowing what to do is: there is no thought involved. It is our instinct. When we are standing on the curb, we know when to cross the street. While at the counter with the choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, we just know which one we want. When a friend invites you to coffee, you have a feeling about whether you want to go or not. When you are offered a job, deep down you know whether you want it or not. In the moment, we just know.

But alas, then there are times you don’t know. When you don’t know, you don’t know. The cool part is that is fine too. Wait for it, and there will be a moment when you will.

The only thing that can get in the way of the clarity of knowing is our thinking. The feeling of knowing only happens in the present moment. There are many times that I go with my mental chatter and they are all little lessons. More and more I trust my knowing over logic.

Interestingly sometimes we go with the knowing and experience the chatter later, but it’s all the same: Recently I was unexpectedly offered a part time job. I love the freedom of only having my coaching practice and I never thought I’d work for someone again. Although, when the offer came, I instantly knew it was a clear yes. No thinking about it, no wondering, just a feeling and knowing of “yes”. The next day the chatter and doubt showed up. Fairly quickly I realized the chatter was just extra curricular thinking about an imagined future. No biggie: the feeling in the moment was and still is yes. Those silly thoughts show up when they do, but we don’t have to take them seriously.

When you know, you know. I’ll stick with that.

 

 

An Opportunity for You

Since I began sharing about the wonders, experiences and success found through Coddiwompling, the two most prevalent comments I get are: “I love hearing about your life and adventures, it’s so inspiring” and  “I wish I could  live like that, but I don’t think I can… Can I?”

The truth is: You can live this way right where you are without having to get rid of everything you already love in your own life. The more we begin to open up to all the possibilities available to us in our everyday lives, the more fun and prosperous our lives become, and then the entire world benefits. This  applies to every part of life: Business, career, relationships, hobbies, love… yes everything.

Come join in. The Coddiwomple Now group coaching program begins April 11th and includes ten weeks of exploring the simplicity and freedom of living a life of limitless possibilities.

Check it out here: Coddiwomple Now Coaching Program

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While riding a bus through a remote island in the Aegean see, I drifted away on my own island of thoughts. The seas of a language I did not know were lapping up on the coastline of my awareness like gentle waves on a faraway shore. Subdued by the white noise of several Greek conversations, the hiss of the buss’s air breaks instantly snapped me back to the present.

Then, a mother with a quiet and content baby boarded the bus. He was wearing a beige knit cap with a cartoon face sewn just above his forehead and two fluffy balls (surely meant to be ears) flopped around on top. His father soon boarded the bus and the small family sat three rows ahead and across the aisle from me. Mom sat by the window and handed the baby to dad. The cartoon face on the knit cap and the human face with wide soft eyes were both looking over dads shoulder at me.

The bus surged ahead and his curious brown eyes darted left and right while watching the island landscape fly by. While observing his eyes, I began to wonder about the two marvelous contraptions we all have on either side of our nose. Complete miracles! For the first time in 40 years I was in awe with eyes: moving, adjusting to light, focusing, and conveying all that is in the world around us in every waking moment… all without conscious effort. Wow!

While lost in thought again, I suddenly realized that the two beautiful brown eyes I had been watching were now fixed on mine. We sat for a moment… staring. I smiled, he smiled and we kept looking. We were there swimming in the sea together engaged in deep connection, neither looking away. There was something special happening, I could see it in his face and feel it in my heart. After much more than a minute of effortless gazing, he let out a gleeful coo and reached his tiny hand out towards me smiling excitedly. His dad turned around and saw his son reaching out, he smiled too.

So much was in that moment: connection with a tiny human and a shared energy that is always there. I wondered: If he were 20, 30 or 60 years older, would I have let the stare linger?  There probably would have been thinking about the motive, meaning, or intention of the stare. Quite presumably I would have felt apprehensive and looked away. He might have too.

Why was this different? In my mind, he is a baby with pure innocence, simplicity, and thoughtlessness. I assumed nothing because there was nothing to assume. I can only speculate that in his mind there was only connection as well. He has not yet been conditioned to think any different. The connection happened naturally in a thoughtless sea of love.

I wondered and saw (again!) that connection is always this close. I can feel love for anyone and it has nothing to do with them or the situation. The more my thinking drifts away, the closer, more connected, and more love I feel. When adrift in a sea of thoughtlessness the ocean of everything is always there… the ocean of pure connection and love.

Looking back at the experience with the baby I see that nothing was in the way and nothing else was needed. I smiled when I realized that he and I were the only ones on the bus that couldn’t understand a word being said around us. Although, we all were born speaking the universal language of connection and love.

It’s so simple a baby can do it… and every human on earth was once a baby…

 

 

An Opportunity for You:

Since I began sharing about the wonders, experiences and success found through Coddiwompling, the two most prevalent comments I get are: “I love hearing about your life and adventures, it’s so inspiring” and  “I wish I could  live like that, but I don’t think I can… Can I?”

The truth is: You can live this way right where you are without having to get rid of everything you already love in your own life. We were all born to coddiwomple. The more we begin to open up to all the possibilities available to us in our everyday lives, the more fun and prosperous our lives become, and then the entire world benefits.

Discover the simplicity and freedom of living a life of limitless possibilities: April 11th is the beginning of a fun and deep ten week exploration of Coddiwompling.

Check it out here: Coddiwomple Now Group Program

The first five to register get an additional $50 off with the coupon code “Coddi”   

 

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I shook hands with a volcano today. I’ve been watching her from afar and imagining what she might be like: Wondering if she had rivers of lava frozen in time; if her peaks were smooth or jagged; if she had deep pits with hardened lava in the bottom; and much more.

As the boat sliced through the angry and spitting blue sea, getting closer to where the waves break on her edges, she became less of dark mountain in the ocean and more intimately unique. There were black jagged rocks that waves lapped against, green grass on her rolling hills, and lighter colored gravel that covered much of her surface. She was nothing like I imagined.

My first step off the boat was on to dark fine sand. As I walked up her hills pumice crunched under my feet. There were massive red jagged boulders and many of her rocks sprouted with a dusting of orange furry fungus. The further up I walked the more she looked merely like a rocky hill. There were volcanic stones, but no rivers of lava. There were no peaks, only mounds of rocks and sand. There were low spots, but no deep pits. She was beautiful and simple and so different than I imagined.

There was a stone pillar, probably 8 feet tall and as wide as a bar stool that man had made in the center of her tallest plateau. I climbed up and sat on top, facing the wind. Within moments the wind became stronger and stronger, almost pushing me off my perch. Instinctively my eyes closed and I sat there hearing the roar of the wind in my ears, feeling its force against my chest, and noticing it pushing my hanging legs around like two pegs on a wind chime. Sitting there in the darkness of my eyelids, I realized I could be anywhere.  For a moment I even wondered where I was as the deafening roar of the wind drowned out everything I knew.

It was almost like Christmas, wondering what I’d see when my eyes opened. Then it happened and there in front of me were rolling slopes of green grass, bordered with jagged red volcanic boulders, framed by the Agean sea, which was dotted with islands as far as I could see. How did this happen? What luck and miracles brought me here, to sit in this spot and have this solitary experience with and on a volcano?

Santorini Volcano Greece

I sat and watched the wind roll through the green grass in waves, tasted the salt air, and smelled gentle whiffs of sulfur scent that had traveled from deep within the earth and found their way inside my nose. Then I realized I was no longer by myself on the volcano. I slipped down from my perch so others could experience sitting atop a pillar with an ancient volcano while each and every sense was stimulated.Santorini Volcano

As I sauntered around atop her rolling rocky hills, I left the beaten path to explore. Then I saw it: a trace of smoke or steam. I waited, wanted and watched. There it was again, almost invisible, but it was there. I slipped and slid down her slopes, rocks the size of oranges rolling under my feet. Finally her warm humid breath met my face and I was surprised how moist it was. There were several tiny caves that bellowed the steam, each crusted with yellow sandy crystals. I wondered how deep the tiny caves were. The holes in her earth that were whisping steam weren’t large enough for a grapefruit. So I reach out and then in: my hand instantly wet, and suddenly scalding. I instinctively drew back.

Then I gently reached out again, this time slowly inviting her to say hello.

I shook hands with a volcano today…

 

A video of the tiny caves and view from the site of the handshake:

 

Nea Kameni is an active, though dormant, volcano in the Agean Sea; Santorini, Greece

https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/santorini.html

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A friend suggested I go to Santorini. He said there is beauty… and a silence there like the instant after a thunder clap.

This morning I drove to the top of the tallest hill on the island and just as I was leaving found a small trail… that lead me along a slippery rocky cliff-side path. As I got further away from everything, the silence crept in and I turned a corner to find this view… no words, just pure beauty.

Santorini

During the journey of the last 14 months I’ve gone back and forth between loving the learning that comes from true solitude and feeling very alone.

I’ve found (again!) that being a loaner gives time to wonder and sit in the silence where everything is… and in that silence we are never alone.

Beauty and silence…

 

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A few weeks ago I went on an awesome treetop adventure course, climbing, tightrope walking, and zip-lining more than sixty feet off the ground. To make it all the way through the course without falling required a combination of balance, strength and creativity. Fortunately for anyone who thought they lacked sufficient balance, strength, or creativity, we all wore a harness tethered to a safety cable that kept us from falling more than a few feet towards our untimely demise.

I had a great time, moving from obstacle to obstacle without giving one thought to my wellbeing. After completing the first section, one of the instructors asked me to come to the front of the line. I didn’t understand why and felt bad for “cutting in line”, but the enthusiastically sweet instructor welcomed me on to the second half of the course with a huge smile and said “Go have fun!” To my amazement the entire second half of the course was empty – wide open and waiting for me.

The instructor had noticed my comfort on the first half of the course and how much time I spent waiting for others to cautiously cross the obstacles. He set me free on the second half and seemed to enjoy watching me fly through almost as much as I enjoyed doing it, playing like a carefree kid.

What struck me as interesting to think about was how different this experience might have been if I had attempted it without a harness. Even though in the end I never fell or made use of any of the safety equipment, I suspect much of my attention probably would have been focused on not falling to my death and I most likely would have had a lot less fun.

Trusting the Equipment

Imagine yourself strolling down a narrow sidewalk without a care in the world. Now, imagine walking down that same narrow sidewalk 1,000 feet in the air. Notice the difference?

Many of the participants were tentative and clinging to the cables throughout the course instead of simply letting go and using their body to balance naturally. While watching them I thought: “Man, this would be so much easier for them if they trusted the equipment!”

Then just last week in Athens, Greece I had almost the opposite experience. While on a walk in a park I came across a beautiful towering tree that begged to be climbed. Its branches were broad and perfectly spaced all the way up to the top. Before I had time to think, the tree climbing kid inside of me was up amongst the branches. Like a monkey, I began easily climbing up. But the higher I got, the more worried thinking I had. In reality, the tree was just as simple to climb 35 feet up in the air as it was when I was only a few feet off the ground, but I began to think more and more about the “what ifs.” Just as I suspected when I was on the adventure course, without the safety equipment I began to worry more about falling than enjoying the experience.

Remember, when I did the adventure course I had the safety equipment, but never needed it. On the tree, I didn’t have any equipment. So while I had full confidence on the lower branches, I experienced significant unease on the higher ones.

Here’s the point:

It wasn’t the tree that caused me to experience the uneasiness; it was my imagination running wild. I was overthinking. The higher I got in the tree the heavier my thinking got, and as you can probably imagine that feeling wasn’t helpful at all.

To me the equivalent of “trusting the equipment” in life is an unconquerable faith in the future. What if we knew the universe always had our back?  Imagine having a celestial carabiner attached to the cable of life and no matter what happened you’d be safe. Sure, life throws us obstacles and challenges involving balance, strength and creativity. That’s just life. When we have an unconquerable faith in the future we can zip along through the course of life really enjoying the ride.

 

 

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The Raven

On a crisp morning deep in the White Mountain Wilderness of New Mexico, I stepped from my warm trailer in to the silent stillness of a brand new day. I was one of only a handful of people for miles and miles. Within seconds of stepping down on to the dry pebbly ground I heard the “whoosh whoosh” of the wings of a bird and looked left just in time for a deep black large majestic bird fly 10-15 feet over my head. WOOSH WOOOSH WOOSH the air over his wings was so loud. I had never noticed the sound of a bird flying before. Right as he was above me he let out a “caaaw caaaaw.”

Instantly a thought that was more of a knowing came to my mind, like someone or something put it there: “You are here to learn to beautifully say goodbye with ease and grace.” Tears rushed down my face without me even knowing it. The bird continued flying along his straight path into the rising sun, his wings glaringly loud with each stroke- WOOSH WOoosh wooosh…. and then it was silent again as I watched him fly away.

His black feathers turned gold as the sun reflected off him and into my eyes. I watched this glimmering gold bird fly gracefully toward the sunrise, eventually disappearing into the darkness below the silhouette of mountains in the distance. It was amazingly beautiful.

On this journey I am on I have made so very many strong bonds with many people. Then I leave. I am getting very adept at saying “so long for now.” Many people ask me to stay longer or meet again. What I’ve noticed is I rarely see them again… but I do meet more and more unbelievable humans and spend a day or a week or a moment with them and then continue on. It used to be hard to say goodbye, but now it is becoming more beautiful and graceful.

Soon after the glimmer of the majestic bird left, I wanted to know more. One of my close friends on the mountain was an old man with a bushy beard that has been living in a tent in the mountains for 25 years. He was amazingly wise and practiced Native American spirituality, I loved talking with him. It was incredible getting to know him and hearing his stories and knowingness about animals, nature, our earth, how we are all connected, and what is available for us to learn from and with nature. I thought the bird was a Raven, but wasn’t sure. My friend had mentioned certain creatures have certain roles and I was curious about this glimmering bird. So I instantly jumped on my bike and road to his tent.

There he was sitting by the fire with his wife. I sat down with them in the chill and stillness of the morning and asked “What are the big black birds?”

The Messenger

“Those are Ravens,” he said, “and Ravens are very special.” He lifted his pant leg to show me a tattoo of a Raven’s feather. He told me that Ravens were messengers, much like angels in the Christian Faith. They bring knowings to special people in the tribe: messages from the sky, messages that reach beyond time and humanness. He told me if I ever found a Raven feather to keep it and stroke it during meditations. Then he shared that Ravens were a symbol of transformation and metamorphoses- and told me a story about humans changing shape into animals. He mentioned that transformation could happen physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually and that it can take place at any time in any form. He shared that if a Raven is in a tree nearby to talk to it, they will talk back… and more deep stories about Raven.

Realize I hadn’t told him about my experience, I only asked “What are the big black birds?” After he finished sharing all of the loveliness about ravens, I shared with him what I had just experienced with the big black bird at my campsite…

What a beautiful moment: One I will remember forever. Isn’t it interesting how connected everything is? Never before had I experienced an encounter with an animal like that, like it dropped off an insight directly to me. What are the chances that when that happened, a two minute bike ride away was a human that could share his knowledge and knowingness with me… miracles are all around us.

My Friend

Today I am in Denmark. My raven experience came to mind after I spent a delightful day with my friend, Ulrich. We walked the gardens of a castle, smelling and tasting the herbs while taking in the majestic view; enjoyed a fancy meal inside the castle while chatting for hours; strolled the rustic seashore while deep in conversation; arrived at his home to find an actual red carpet rolled out from the front door for me; We laughed and talked over dinner with his family in their beautiful cottage in a quaint Danish town; and  enjoyed more deep conversation the next day over lunch and a while walking through a harbor with large vintage sailboats made entirely of wood. In just a period of 28 hours a delightful and profound friendship grew.

Ulrich then walked me to my train. He gave me a hug, stood barely outside the train door smiling, then leaned in while waving and saying goodbye and leaned back just as the doors shut. As the train pulled away I was seemingly in mental limbo teetering between being happy, sad, and filled with love.

The Grand Misunderstanding

Interestingly, it was as if I was observing this indecisive mental state. In that instant I realized again how ephemeral our feelings are. This could be a sad moment, a lovely moment, happy moment… any kind of moment. It wasn’t my friend standing at the door that was creating my feelings at all. My feelings were coming entirely from inside me: from Thought… and my thoughts were fluid and changing… as they always have been and always will be.

More than learning to beautifully say goodbye, on this journey of life, I am continuously being reminded of the grand misunderstanding that we all live in. The misunderstanding is: thinking that what is going on in the world is causing me to feel a certain way. It’s not. This explains why a friend saying goodbye can seem beautiful one moment and instantly sad the next. I am always feeling Thought, which is constantly changing, independent of my circumstances.

We all are…

 

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