Know Thyself: What is adventure?

Know Thyself:  What is adventure?
By Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on July 26, 2016

The adventurous life involves risk, exploration and living the extraordinary.

But are you an adrenaline junkie?  Do you mainline dangers like a drug?

Thrill-seeking, particularly the endless pursuit of physical challenges such as skydiving, mountaineering, and ultra-marathoning, does not create an adventurous life.

It’s a desperate quest to alleviate agitation.

Contrary to popular belief, not all barriers need to be destroyed.

Instead of pushing your limits, explore them, define them, understand them.  If they are hindering your personal growth such as a fear of public speaking, a reluctance to meet new people or persistent refusal to take a chance on love, perhaps action is in order despite reluctance and nervousness.

Otherwise, pushing boundaries that don’t need to be pushed, whether they be emotional, physical or spiritual, can result in harm or, even worse, lasting trauma.

Cherish the limits serving you, at least for now.

Remember acts of derring-do will not change your life.

Just because you scaled El Capitan or ran Boston doesn’t mean the drive, determination or confidence needed for those tasks will transfer to other areas of your life.

The cliché is so right:  You can accomplish anything, provided you are willing to do the necessary work.  If you need proof, just look in the mirror.

But mountaineering and marathoning involve different skill sets and temperaments than building a successful business, raising a loving family or cultivating spiritual discipline.

What is your motivation?

Sure, if you choose to explore yourself, the world’s landscape, other people and your body, and the experience is joyful and enriching and you’d do it again, go for it.

But, be honest. If your adventure is rooted in a desire for enviable Instagram pictures or bragging rights (even though the event itself was awful, unpleasant and traumatic), you’ve hit the ego wall head first.

Try this:  The next time you choose to channel your inner-Indiana Jones, can you do so quietly, humbly, privately, without taking any pictures and blasting social media?

Meaning isn’t found in a bucket list. The trick is to create a life which doesn’t require escape or reminders you’re still alive.

What is the adventurous life?

Each day, set an intention: “Today, I will marvel at the wonder of the world.”  That’s it.

When your eyes and ears are open, answers will come to you in strange coincidences. You’ll see yourself in everyone’s eyes and deeds.  Metaphors and synchronicities will abound.

You can note the sweetness of the orange that lurks beneath the bitterness of the rind.

This is the heart of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, and it is a daily spiritual practice.  It’s magic, and magic trumps thrills.

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