The New Year is upon us. And in anticipation I've been trying out the mantra Don't Wait. I didn't come up with it myself. Don't Wait comes from Frank Ostaseski's The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully - a distillation of Ostaseski's 30 years' experience accompanying thousands of people in the last days and weeks of their lives at the San Francisco Zen Hospice Center.
Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road.
Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment.
She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight,
helping us to discover what matters most.
Frank Ostaseski - The Five Invitations
The First Invitation?
I'm discovering that there are infinite ways big and small to play with Don't Wait. Don't Wait invites me to become more adventurous, to move into free-flowing aliveness. I find myself venturing forth . . .
Asking myself “Why not?” more and more
Hitting the email send button with more abandon
Stepping into hugs more fully, rather than holding back
Picking up the phone to call near-forgotten friends
Apologizing sooner rather than later
Loving and laughing with myself and others more and more
Dropping judgment and forgiving my self and others more readily
Life is precious. Could change in an instant.
Public disasters such as the fires where I live in California have brought this reality home to thousands of us. Lifelong works of art, musical instruments, and livelihoods up in smoke. Gone, affordable housing for many families just squeaking by to begin with. Homes and businesses utterly destroyed with perhaps just the frame of car remaining in a driveway.
And then there are personal events:
A break up
Death of a beloved family member
Loss of a home
Shattering of a dream
A lay off
A serious illness
Inevitably while exploring the path of “Don't Wait” we bump into old familiar self-limiting thoughts and stories. Crusty old tales rattling around in our minds and hearts that can bog us down as we venture into a more flowing, spontaneous life. You know the ones. We all have them: The what-ifs, shoulds and ought-to kinds of thoughts.
Hitting the send button – (Oh this isn't exactly perfect, it oughta be better?)
Smiling and saying hello to a stranger. (He/she thinks probably thinks I'm being goofy)
Singing out loud as you tend your vegetables. (What will the neighbors think?)
Inviting someone for a cozy dinner (What if he/she thinks I'm being forward?)
And then there can be the deeper underlying thoughts such as I'm not good enough, not young enough, not pretty or smart enough . . . which discourage us from exploring into new Don't Wait territory and adventures.
As a life coach I especially love the collaborative work and play of dissolving the thoughts and beliefs, the “yes-buts”, “if only I's...” that may stand in peoples' ways of moving into freer more expansive lives. For I've found the more our unhelpful stories disappear the more spontaneous and flowing our lives become.
So Savor the New Year
Every day is a new opportunity to begin again. Every day your birth day . . .
His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Desmond Tutu - The Book of Joy
An abundance of opportunities await us all this new year . . . Let us begin - each new day - to savor, share and celebrate the many gifts and opportunities of being alive!
Friend to call? . . . Don't wait.
Tea to share? . . . Don't wait.
Truth to be told? . . . Don't wait.
Puppy to cuddle? . . . Don't wait.
Flower to smell? . . . Don't wait.
Kind words to offer? . . . Don't wait.
Smile to a stranger? . . . Don't wait.
A not-perfect blog to send out? . . . Don't wait.
Passing neighbor to hug? . . . Don't wait.
Setting sun or rising moon to bow to? . . . Don't wait.
Stripes & polka dots with skinny jeweled jeans for the heck of it? . . . Don't wait.
Stillness of a clear winter morning to inhale? . . . Don't wait.
Suspending judgment of self or other? . . . Don't wait.
Old ties with loved ones to strengthen? . . . Don't wait.
A trip to outer Mongolia? . . er, um, well maybe next year?.....??
. . . . Got more to add? . . . . . . . Don't Wait!
If not now? When?
May your year be filled with oh-so-many unexpected blessings!
Happy New Year!
On Saturday, January 20th I will be offering a workshop on the Change Cycle in Benicia.
The Change Cycle is a powerful tool for navigating the inevitable ups and downs of our fast-changing lives. As a compass it helps us figure out where we are, and how best to move through the challenges and possibilities of the moment. Would love to see you there! www.flyinginformationworkshops.org
Please join us!
Tickets are limited and cost $75 for a full day (lunch included) or $130 for both full days (lunch included) of life-affirming material.