I needed this, so badly, there I was standing ankle deep in the Sacremento river taking a break from a road trip across the west coast of the U.S.A. Oddly my grime riddled body felt slightly cleaner as the sweat, and dirt was being washed from my feet. After breathing deeply and enjoying the sunset, I looked down at my feet in the water and something I have seen a thousand times profoundly hit me. I let the dirt settle in the water around my feet. Now, this may seem simple, and honestly, I think it is, but it struck an internal cord in me. You see, often, my life feels like I am always in a cloud of chaos and consumed by "murky" waters. I feel like I hardly ever know what the next step is in life or where I am headed. So there I was standing ankle deep not only in water but in a revelatory moment that I wanted to dive fully into.
When life hit me hard, I didn't know what to do; I was stunned. I instantly relied upon friends, family, and inspiration from books and podcasts. Everything I seemed to grasp for could not scratch the itch that was tormenting me. I felt like I was falling off a cliff and I had nothing to grab ahold of to save myself. Then it hit me. This wasn't a cliff I had tripped off of, no, I had just jumped out of an airplane 12k feet up in the air. I had chosen to push through my fears and test my inner and outer limits. This was the time. I had decided to stir the waters by attempting at building momentum in my life. I had chosen to fight for myself and act upon the dreams within my heart. No longer was I dreaming of skydiving I was doing it.
Do I dare pursue my unknown dreams? Wouldn't that be contradictory to all rational reasoning? Everyone can't pursue their dreams Tim; society doesn't work that way. Questions and statements like these have been running through my brain for years, but apparently, I had an awe fuck it moment and just chose to get in the small under maintained Cessna aircraft and climbed to a height that I had always wanted to reach. The door flung open, and at that moment I chose to jump into the current of wind ripping by the plane. I wasn't falling to my death, no, I was lunging toward my destiny...whatever that might be. At that moment not only was I flying toward the earth close to 120mph, no, I was also proving to myself that no matter what, I have this singular life to live and dammit I want to live it. I don't want to just dream about living. I want to live it fully.
Now, let us go back to the Sacremento River. As I observed the murky waters settle around my untanned feet, I realized something. In life when I stir the waters I have two simple options to find clarity. Either keep moving until I am out of the murky waters or wait for everything to settle around me. Really? Is it that simple? How do I determine when to take action and when to sit still? No clue, other than to self-evaluate and embrace the current moment. If trying to get movement was not working for me then apparently I should embrace patience. Can it be that basic? I think so. I have found in the midst of the complexity of life profound truths are what I find the most strength in.
This brings me back to when I was learning a martial art years ago. If my instructor had started out trying to teach me all the complicated moves that he was able to execute, my novice self would have given up early on. Since he was a good teacher though I was taught the basics and foundations of this art form later in my journey, I was able to do more complex maneuvers all because I kept coming back to the core truths of this self-defense system.
My life has been unbiased to remind me of this truth. I make everything more complicated than it needs to be. I just need to take a breath sit back and let the dirt settle. It is as simple as that it seems. So here are some things I do in my life to attain momentum and rest as I wait for everything to settle.
- I choose one of the billion ideas I have going through my head and just decide to go for it. Whether it's skydiving, starting a business, or taking a martial art class, just picking one thing and going for it has helped me immensely get momentum in many facets of life.
- I try and find inspiration whether it's from books, podcasts, TED talks, or just a friend. I have discovered for myself that when I find inspiration, it often is coincided with motivation.
- Self-talk. I know this one is a bit odd, but it brings me back to when I went cliff jumping years ago. I had to self-talk myself into doing it. If I didn't do so, I would have never experienced that joy of falling 50 feet into some clear beautiful water.
- Breathing. Taking time to think about my breathing consciously all the while this focusing on the positive things that have happened in my life that has empowered me to wait patiently for the dirt to settle in the past.
- Distraction. Doing something fun keeps my mind busy while I wait for things to develop or blow over. Maybe I'll play some ultimate frisbee or drink a beer with some friends. This allows me to breathe and exist while life happens.
- Reflect on life. Looking back on my life, going through old journals, or looking at past pictures always gives me a good sense of perspective and empowers me to give myself the necessary encouragement to just wait until I know the time is right to move forward.
I hope you found this article helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and what you have done on your journey through life to gain movement out of the murky waters or what you do to wait for it all to settle down.