Welcome to Volume 3 of DadsNews. Long-time readers will notice some different colors and, hopefully, a cleaner look all round. Figured it was time for a change...
Speaking of change, this month's feature, "Hero?" is about change of the radical variety. Seemed a fitting way to open volume 3 and close 2006.
Enjoy the season with friends and family and, between wishes for peace and general goodness, send some snowy vibes our way. (Our skis are ready, our ground is not...)
Best to you and yours for a brilliant, abundant and peaceful 2007.
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pass the DadsNews on to other folks and help spread the love!
Last season, looking forward to this season
We arrived in Upstate New York on January 4, 2002.
Looking back, some of the decisions that got us here were a little bit less than responsible. Dare I say, some of them were downright insane. For instance, I declared my personal training business, which I had run for 12 years, closed as of December 31, 2001. Then, without enough of a business base in place to sustain us, I declared myself a full-time coach as of January 1, 2002...
It was a huge risk, no doubt about it.
A month or two prior to our move, Danielle and I were together with our good friends Kevin and Joan at their home in Fair Haven, New Jersey. Kevin and I had cooked up some incredible meal, something we did several times a year for our spouses and friends. After spending most of the day in the kitchen and serving up a crowd-pleasing feast, we wandered outside for a well-deserved soak and their hot tub while Danielle and Joan finished cleaning up.
After a few minutes of soaking in silence, Kevin looked over at me and said "I don't think I could do what you're doing."
"What you mean?" I asked.
"Starting all over again. Moving to a new place, doing something new. I don't know if I could be that brave."
I hadn’t really given it that much thought, at least not in terms of being brave. All I knew at the time was that where I was and what I was doing wasn't satisfying. It wasn't giving me what I wanted professionally or personally, and even though I adored my clients, my work had become hollow, unfulfilling and tedious.
Kevin added, "You're doing what you really want. You're a hero, man..."
I thought a lot about what Kevin had said. There was a heap of truth to it that I just couldn’t attribute to a few glasses of good wine. I was doing what I wanted, and it was a huge risk. Most rational men would not uproot their entire family, move to a new community, leave one business behind and start a new one in a relatively new field with absolutely no promises or guarantees - all at the age of 43.
Whether I was heroic or idiotic or standing in the at the crossroads of the two, I'm still not entirely sure. One thing I do know is that it was a conscious choice…
It was also a creative choice.
Sometimes getting our arms around universal laws can be challenging. One of the most challenging is the notion that we create our own reality. What makes the idea so hard to take is that if we accept that we really do create our own reality, then we no longer have anyone else to blame for our failures - or our successes. If I'm not satisfied with what I've created, and I take responsibility for having created it, what then?
It's a concept that can be hard to swallow, particularly if I've to put lots of time and effort into being a victim of my own circumstances. The idea that I've had a hand in creating what I’ve ended up with and that it's possible to create something different can be downright terrifying.
(It’s important to note that many people hear “we create our own reality” as some metaphysical twist on “blaming the victim.” That’s a slippery, simplistic and extraordinarily disempowering slope. Quite frankly, I’m not going to mess around with it at this time. Let's just say that there's more to it...)
…back to the story…
Standing on the edge of a choice between security and newness can feel like standing on the edge of a high cliff over a cool, deep lake. I already know what’s on the cliff. I feel the rock at my back and under my feet and, although it’s exposed and somewhat uncomfortable, familiarity keeps it safe. Deep inside I know that I’ve come to this place because I really, really want to jump.
Security ain’t such a bad thing. Hanging around in a familiar place isn’t so awful, either… They just aren't places that offer much growth potential.
I can hang out contemplating the beauty of the water, feeling the sun warm the rocks and drinking in the way light dances off ripples.
Or I can play with gravity and create something new.
I jumped, and my family came along. It was messy. It was scary. There were costs involved that I hadn’t ever considered, some of which we’re still getting a handle on…
And given the same choice again, while I’d be a bit more conscious about the financial end of the equation, (I openly admit to being more than a little clueless in that department… And, drumroll please, it was of my own creation.) I’d probably jump sooner and make even more of a mess.
Aside from paying the bills, there wasn’t a whole lot left to experience up there on that cliff. The water was calling.
It’ll be five years since the jump as of January 4, 2007. Aside from having a good story to tell, there isn’t much to look back on and nothing new to learn back there. There have been several jumps since then, each one conscious and each one opening new doors, creating new stories and bringing more to life – which I think is why I came here in the first place.
It’s so much more fun playing on the creative edge. It keeps me going, and it wakes other folks up!
I recently paid a visit to a medical office. The physician's assistant who saw me ordered a thyroid test of some sort.
“What’s that for?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “you’re not a young man, and you’ve got an awful lot of energy, so I want to see how your thyroid is doing.”
My perspective on my evergy is a bit different. I think I’m energetic because I’m having so bloody much fun! That’s what jumping does. It's that whole choice and creating one's own reality thing.
Back to Kevin and Joan…
They made a choice to change their reality. They jumped.
They sold their house this past summer. Joan left a job she’d been doing for many, many years. Kevin closed up his business. They stepped to the edge of their cliff, took in the view and... Splash! All the way to Thailand, where Kevin is teaching English, Joan is working with victims of domestic violence and both are feeding their creative souls.
I got an email the other day from Joan telling me to save some of my cooking energy because it’ll be needed when they get back. She added, “This experience is extremely rewarding. We pinch ourselves every day.”
Thinking back on the conversation Kevin and I had in the hot tub… well, maybe I am a hero – I don’t really know. I do know that “I don’t think I could do what you’re doing” doesn’t hold much water anymore.
And as far as heroes are concerned, I think it takes one to know one.
Somewhere over a beautiful, cool, clear lake, there’s a cliff with a narrow ledge. Rumor has it the water’s fine. What'll you choose?