Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Sweet Reward of Structured Spontaneity

Breaking set with Jack "Geronimo" Hoff
Trusting the omens, signs, intuitions, guidance, and I hit the road to new horizons and happy surprises.   My plan was to experiment with my new practice of recognizing and acting on my intuition. The first challenge was to choose a particular goal and then to actually take action from the place of inner guidance, not mental analysis.  In our modern culture of seemingly endless choice, the risk of analysis paralysis is always present (see Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz).  I have found it to be more so since leaving my full time career.  Something to do with having more time to make the 'right' decision.  My mission was to strengthen the intuitive muscle through a field trip to San Diego.  I decided to take a two pronged approach, set up some commitments and then follow up with tuning in to the flow.

Breaking out of the centrifugal force of home and its comforts is never easy for me.   Like many people, I will procrastinate on intended projects in ever complicating ways for days, months, maybe years.  Getting started is the first hurdle.  I have found it helpful to make plans, in ink.   It could be a date with a friend or a non-refundable ticket.  I made plans to visit friends who live in that area on a certain date.  That got me on the road and in action.  Throwing some gear in the car, I had an appointment and destination.  The venue of my intuition practice was to be Ocean Beach, a neo-bohemian neighborhood near downtown San Diego.   I selected Ocean Beach, because an herbal shop I know of has an outlet there.   Rather than going directly to the address when I arrived, I chose to walk around and get the vibe.  Parking my trusty Volvo, I walked about one block and happened upon an esoteric practice that I had not heard of in L.A. or anywhere…Chakra balancing.  I  had recently done a week long workshop based on the chakra model.  Synchronistic.   I enthusiastically said yes and within a few minutes I was in the 'treatment' room (painted in planetarium style with stars in the sky).  Almost immediately, the 'balancer' said she saw red, indicating inflammation, around my lower back (I have been diagnosed by various M.D.s with acute herniated and bulging discs throughout my lumbar and sacrum).  She was right on.    This demonstrated to me the validity of her skills and of the chakra model in general.  Buoyed by this experience, I continued my exploration of Ocean Beach with an expectant and receptive mind.

Happy Herbs, Ocean Beach, CA
From there it was an easy walk to coffee lounges, used music stores, and hip restaurants.  Strolling around the neighborhood evoked a broad smile of familiarity and recognition.  My kind of place.  I decided to walk the main shopping street before going to the herbal shop which was supposed to be on different street.  Suddenly, about one block down the street after the surf shop, the coffee lounge, and the used cd store, I spied the store.  They had moved to this street.   After conducting business and making plans to reconnect with the proprietor in Venice, I discovered the weekly farmer’s market was in a couple hours.  There it was again, the right place at the right time.  The evening was capped by the very friendly local scene and a fine street band playing my favorite  music.

Roots Reggae on the Street, Ocean Beach
Breaking out of the routines and ruts  of life is more challenging the older we are.  For the newly retired, it can be like the proverbial convict who returns to jail because it is his comfort zone.  Liberation from the job doesn't always liberate the spirit.  Developing a new approach to life is essential to get the most out of this special time of life.  Since we are all pattern seekers, structures and routines in life provide comfort and grounding.  But unchecked they can lead to a large dose of ennui.  The breaking of set and the resulting novelty stimulates the mind and emotions.  Escaping from that habituated mentality can be the fuel for reinvention and renewed passion for life.  Don’t wait for the big opportunity, the big romance, the big job, but go for that which attracts your discerning eye and interest.  Then, set up a structure that provides your necessary degree of comfort (it varies with the individual) and then push the edges to the unknown and unpredictable.  Trust your intuition to point to adventure and then blast off.  When you get to the goal, you may discover that the real boon is unexpected people, places, and events that emerged along the way.   

Recent science shows that the happiness that stays with us is the experiential, not the new possessions.  The most impactful (even when unpleasant at the time) experiences are often are those connections with places and/ or people that were unplanned.  The adventure of discovery is available when we break patterns and routines, build supportive structures, go to our edge, and leap.  When we do, maximum life is the reward.

4 comments:

  1. Ran - I love your approach to "structured spontaneity"! Would that I had more time to show up in a neighborhood and just give in to the adventure of "wandering" the streets and discovering new people and experiences! Love you!
    - Candace from old Agape

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  2. Candace, So great to read your words. Your light shines clearly in your photo and energy. Thanks for reading and he taking the time to comment. The time will come for your 'wandering.'

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  3. Hi Ran,
    I enjoyed reading this. I love the advice of your blog about keeping some structure in retirement. While I'm not retired yet it does give me something to think about. Thanks so much for visiting my blog as well.
    All my best,
    Angela

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  4. THANKS FOR READING Angela. It is a journey to find the sweet spot of living in the world and with our personalities AND guided by our intuition. Your website is jamming.

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