Following the Nudge

I’ve been seeing more clearly lately how everyone and everything is always growing and expanding. It’s like there’s a natural force that’s pulling us or propelling us into the future with a tendency to stretch us and expand us along the way. 

We see it physically, don’t we? Our bodies are always changing, growing into the next version of us. Look at children. They’re being pulled into larger, more developed bodies by their very nature. None of us “decide” we’re going to grow. It happens naturally.

We can see it in our mental, emotional and spiritual “bodies” too. We’re naturally drawn to learn more, to experience more, to expand into more of our capacities. It shows up in our business pursuits, our parenting, playing sports, yoga, whatever. We’re always being drawn to express more of our capacity and be more of who we really are.

The thing is, our experience of this growth doesn’t occur in a smooth, graceful flow like watching a time-lapse of a flower opening. It’s more like waves washing up on a beach, and noticing over time that the tide is higher. What gets our attention is the coming and going of the waves in and out. And seeing the in and out of the waves, we don’t always notice how the tide is rising, how we’re always growing.

In our lives, we experience ups and downs, times of great pressure and times with pain. All this is part of the natural pull and propulsion to grow and expand. The cool thing is that we have a built in guidance system to help us navigate it all. We have feelings and nudges encouraging us to stay aligned with, or balanced in our growing and expanding process.

It can be like when we see someone and are attracted to get to know them. There’s just a natural draw to hang out with them, spend time together, share. When we follow that nudge, we feel good. When we resist it, we don’t. We often feel tense and confused, and then go up into our heads trying to figure out what’s going on and how to feel better.

The nudges are the feedback loop directing us in the direction of expansion and growth naturally. And when we respond to these nudges and follow them, we feel good. When we don’t, we don’t feel good.

An interesting thing about the nudges is that they don’t always seem logical or reasonable. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes the nudges seem absolutely crazy. But they aren’t. I’ve heard so many people say they knew they were going to marry someone before there was any “evidence” that that was a possibility.

The reason nudges seem crazy some times I think is because they come from an intelligence that is much bigger than our minds ability to comprehend. So, when we try to make sense of some of them with our logical minds, things don’t add up. But still we KNOW that it’s true and the right thing to do.

So, let’s follow those nudges and see what life has to bring. It’s such an amazing adventure that way.

When It Feels Like The Sky Is Falling

I remember when I was about 6 years old, growing up in Southern California, and it never rained in the summer. I loved it. Sunshine and warmth day after day to play outside.

Then my Grandfather took us all on a road trip to Las Vegas and it started to rain on the way there. In the middle of the desert it started to rain and I was terrified. I felt like Chicken Little and the sky was falling. “It doesn’t rain in the summer,” my brain was telling me. There was a crack in the world as I knew it.

Looking back, it’s a great example of how we can create a version of how the world works and when it doesn’t show up in that version, we lose our footing.

We all create versions of how the world works. That’s what our mind is designed to do. It’s constantly trying to make sense of what’s happening to give us a sense of stability so we can go on with what we need to do.

But that version is just our thinking. Like my thinking it doesn’t rain in the summer. Nothing wrong with having a version of how the world works. We all do it. But when we recognize that we all have versions of how the world works and that our version is just thought, our personal thinking, and maybe not the absolute truth of reality, when we begin to recognize that, we don’t hold so tightly to our thoughts, to how we believe the world needs to show up for us to feel okay.

When it starts to rain in the summer and I know that I’ve believed it doesn’t rain in summer but see that it is, I’m more willing to pause and take a look at what is true. Is the sky falling, or did I maybe have it wrong about how life works, how life should show up?

What if Life is living us and we can trust that Life has our back, even if it may not look like it? What if we can trust that we’ll have the wherewithal to deal with whatever shows up because we have access to the intelligence that is holding it all together in the first place?

What if we are Life that is living us?

Do You Want To Be Right Or Happy?

“Do you want to be right or happy?”

I remember the first time I heard that, something stirred in me like there was something very valuable in what it said, but my immediate response was, “I want both! Why can’t I have both?”

As I’ve explored more how life works and the nature of the mind, I’ve taken on a very different attitude. I’ve seen that when I want to be right, about anything really, I’m quite firmly positioned in my personal thinking: what I believe and what I want. I’m not very open or considerate. I’m really pretty stuck and can get defensive and even angry about wanting it my way.

As I’ve explored more how life works and the nature of the mind, when I see what’s happening in my life just as it is, without my personal beliefs and desires coloring it, I’m pretty happy. I find myself in a flow with life instead of holding a defensive posture. That is so much nicer.

And, I don’t feel happy all the time. Things happen in the world and in my life that make me sad. But when I see the event just for what it is, there’s a bittersweet joy or appreciation in the perfection of how it has all come to be. The bittersweet experience of being human.

I can be sad now, without it having to change. And that makes me happy.

Every Story Has A Happy Ending

Every story has a happy ending. I love the idea of that, but it can also seem like that isn’t very realistic. Like we don’t just ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after, do we?

Lately though, I’m seeing that this may be true. I’m seeing that, even though things come up in my life that are difficult, like my car breaks down and there isn’t a lot of money in the bank, or COVID happens and I’m furloughed, there may be a silver lining.

When I look far enough back in my life, the things that were most difficult for me, that when I was in the middle of it I was looking for any way out, those times were some of the most life-changing, valuable and character-forming times of my life. I learned so much from them.

I have a friend who said the other day, “Pain in life is like labour pains, when you’re in the middle of it you say you’ll never do this again, and then when they put the baby in your arms it’s completely forgotten and all there is is love.”

What if the pain in life is just an experience moving through, and if we stay present to what comes next and don’t dwell on the pain and difficulty, it moves through and receive the love and blessing that the pain was birthing into our lives.

Could it be that simple?

Could it be that everything that comes into my life is beneficial?

When I look at how it works in nature it looks that way.

Could this be my nature too?

I Feel Wonderful

Something happened today and I feel wonderful.

I’m tempted to say that something wonderful happened today and it made me feel that way, but it’s getting harder to say things like that as I see more clearly how life really works, how Life is living me rather than I am living my life.

So, if what happened didn’t make me feel wonderful, what did?

Could it be that I am full of wonder, wonder-filled or wonderful, and that when my mind settles and is quiet, that is what I experience? I experience the wonder that I really am when I’m still?

Could it be that simple? Could it be that obvious?

Like how obvious the cute little dear in the snow globe is when I’m not shaking the snow globe?

How many hours do I need?

Sometimes I hear myself saying “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” because there are so many things I love doing and not enough time to do them all.

Reflecting on this, I see that that expression, as much as it’s a positive expression of the love of living life, is based on the idea that more hours doing what I love would give me a fuller or happier life. Like, if the number of hours in a day would change to be 26 or 28, my experience of life would be fuller or better in some way. Hmm… is that really true?

Does the fullness of my life come from how much fun stuff I do, or is it a function of how I’m experiencing life right now, period. Do I ever really have anything other than right now? If I take a good, honest look, it looks like right now is all I ever have, no matter how long or short a day is.

So maybe thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day is my minds attempt to guide me to a fuller life based on the idea that my life is made up of a past, present and future and the more I’ve done in the past, the more fulfilled I’ll be in the present, which could lead to a fuller future.

Hmm… is that really how it works or is it an innocent misunderstanding about the nature of time. Could it be that right now is all there really is? And, so, how fully I experience life has nothing to do with what happened before or what happens in the future. Could it be that how fully I experience life is what I’m experiencing right now… forever?

Could it be that simple? It would sure change how I look at my past and my future.

Aligning with the Bigger Picture

Have you ever felt like there’s something steering things into your life that changes where you were headed? That sometimes what appears to be serendipity just plays out too well to be random?

I know I have. When I look back at how I met Connie, my wife, it kind of blows my mind.

how tenuous the connections were that had us meet, and how we weren’t very impressed with each other at that first meeting. How did that all come together and lead to 30 years of marriage now?

Isn’t it wonderful how there seems to be something that nudges us along to what’s aligned with a bigger picture. And wonderful how good our lives become when we follow those nudges, even when they don’t seem to make sense.

I never could have planned how it all played out. But isn’t it wonderful how there is something that nudges us along to what’s aligned with a bigger picture that holds such richness for us? To what holds great benefit for us and everyone else?

At least, that’s how it looks to me.

And there are countless stories and movies that I love, whose story line is about how this has played out in the lives of others. Like the movie Gandhi, or the story of Nelson Mandela or Helen Keller. How following what they knew and trusted, even when it didn’t seem to make sense, led to a life of great benefit. How, out of the depths of despair came triumph. Not from reasoning and planning, but by responding to something they knew and trusted.

And I think the lives of these people inspire us, not because they were rare and exceptional people, but because it wakes up in us that we have that same spirit.

So, what if it is in us? And if it is, what keeps us from recognizing it more clearly and following it?

If you’ve ever asked yourself that, as I have many times, I invite you to explore with me, the nature of the mind and the role it plays in the outcomes in our lives, in what we think and feel, in the way we experience life, and how it influences what happens in our lives. How our state of mind influences our connection with our innate well being and knowing. And how understanding the nature of mind can free us from anxiety and stress, so we can sense and follow the nudges that can lead us, childlike even, through the open field of life that is always before us.

What if we all have innate well being within us all the time?

My blogs will be focused on understanding the nature of the mind and the role it plays in our access to the natural impulse, spirit, or whatever you want to call it, that resides within all of us, providing the intelligence that guides our lives.

I hope you’ll join me.

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