Money,Money,Money?!

Ok so i have been listening to the Mamma Mia soundtrack a lot, (Can’t wait for the second movie to be released later this week!).

But the truth is, how often do we use Money as an excuse for not doing something? Yes i realize that it is a legitimate excuse for lots of things (Buying a mansion, new sports car, luxes trips around the world)… but to a certain degree it is an easy excuse… if you want to do anything and your passion is behind it, it’s all you can focus on then you will be able to accomplish it. But you have to make sacrifices. Don’t buy a $7 a day drink at an expensive coffee shop (Maybe do to a gas station and get a coffee for $1… or make it at home). I for one have a bad habit of going and getting a Venti cup of coffee pretty much daily. When i was a kid i was fantastic about saving money because i looked at every penny and said “How long did it take me to earn this?” I wish i had kept this mentality up but i was brainwashed by society into spending money i shouldn’t have… I don’t regret it but hind sight is always 20:20.

I always tell people there will never be enough money, because as you earn more, you for some reason seem to spend more and you are in the same spot consistently. The thing is money doesn’t bring you happiness (I know that is a cliche) but think about it, there are plenty of places where people live with next to nothing but they are happy, they have what they need… maybe not everything they want… but really thats where a lot of our issues come from in western society… its the wanting. We spend our entire life wanting more money, wanting more status symbols, wanting someone to want us… but what if we were just happy with what we have? The adventures in life come from us having a happy place to start. Yes i want to travel and yes i want to explore everything everywhere… but for me its about needing to understand “Happiness”. If you ask the people in your life if they are happy most of them will reply something along the lines of “I am happy enough”… some will be blunt and say “No but what can i do?”.

I am in the happy enough position where i know i have a fantastic life with people who care about me and a decent job. But there are things out there that i do want to explore but when i look at them most of the time i make excuses… “Oh i don have the time, I don’t have the money”. But really… i do… everyone has the same amount of hours in the day whether you are a rocket scientist, surgeon or a fast food worker… but its how we spend them that really leads to us having “enough”. there was a video i stumbled across recently on line, the summery on it is if we look at time in a day like money… break every hour to $100 with 24 hours being $2400, the average person is spending $800-$1000 sleeping… $200 getting ready for work and commuting, $800 at work. that leaves you $400 a day to “Spend”. On your days off you have a lot more but you spend your time watching TV shows, laying on the sofa… Maybe this is the time that would be better used exploring life and figuring out little ways to add to your happiness tank. Wouldn’t it be great to go back to work on Monday and be Happy… because you did something that filled you up with excitement for being alive. Sure Mondays are terrible but they are the count down to the next weekend… they are days to plan out the next adventure… maybe remember that when you are going to spend that $10 at the coffee house, that $10 could cover the entry fee to that state park, or be spent on the food to take on a road trip to watch the sunset.

Yes we would all love to make more money… but remember the money you have is more than some and yet those people are happy. Are you truly happy?

What is stopping you?

What is holding you back from trying something new? Doing something different or making up your own mind about something?

This past week I have started trying many new things, not sharing them with anyone from fear of judgement for the most part. Why do we let what others think control our thoughts and actions? If you think back to being a child… nothing held you back (other than your parents telling you not to do something dangerous). But outside of their supervision, on the play ground you could be anyone you wanted, run as fast as a race car, pretend you were swimming under the sea… the innocence of being a child is talked about a lot from many different aspects… but in my eyes the true glory of my childhood was being fearless, believing that anything was possible the feeling of nothing holding you back.

To some setting up a meditation regime, starting a blog, becoming more self-aware of your body/emotions and time isn’t a terrifying thing. Being able to be open and honest with everyone about your feelings and life isn’t something to hide. But to me… just the idea of writing this blog is scary, the idea of admitting to people I know that i want to explore more of life than what the boundaries i currently have just sounds… unappreciative especially when i look at the great things i have going on… so for now i write sharing with a few that i don’t fear will judge (and of course the wide open internet where people will always judge anonymously).

I always read travel blogs, food blogs and photography blogs and think… well there’s no way that I can possibly do that/go there/create that/capture that… but why not? What is stopping me? Yes i am aware of the (actual) excuses I use (money, time, pets, responsibilities which to a certain degree are justified)… but beyond that there are more layers to those excuses and when I examine them it’s like opening Pandora’s box… all my insecurities come pouring out, because of that.. my pandoras box remains sealed and tucked away behind a thick wall of excuses and a moat filled with responsibilities… and ultimately that is what prevents me from following through with those ideas and dreams I am on some level too scared to pursue.

Scared of the potential failure?

Scared of being disappointed that things won’t be as awesome as they seem?

Scared of letting others down?

Scared of not being good enough?

I don’t need to answer yes or no to any of those questions because to some degree we all share these insecurities… but what truly matters is whats inside…

Will it make you happy?

Is it something you would love to try?

What are the amazing things you could learn?

There will always be that voice telling you “why waste your time?” “you are not good enough”, “There is no point doing that”. But don’t listen to it, what would your 5-year-old self say???? maybe that’s the voice we should listen to, the younger, care free, experimental super hero thats completely fearless.

 

Just Breathe

Simple right? Its something we do every moment of every day…until we don’t.

But have you ever really stopped to think about breathing, not the science behind it providing oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide… but the action. Well today I did,using an app I downloaded about 8 months ago and never used called “Calm“, at the time it was one of the “apps of the day”. I figured this would be a step in the right direction towards meditation and then moving onto yoga.

I started day 1 of their 7 days of Calm, “Learning the basics of Mindful Meditation”. It was 11 minutes of focusing on your breathing, NOTHING else, needless to say it was difficult because I was trying to focus SO hard on ignoring every little noise and itch… that I had to restart the class. The point is to focus on your breathing, inhale, exhale… I finally grasped it at the start of the second try.

I know what you are thinking, “What does this have to do with exploring life??”… see thats the thing breathing is part of living that we forget because its natural and automatic, focusing on your breathing is exploring the control you have over your body and exploring the different levels of calm you can reach by just breathing.

How many times have you been worked up so much that you can feel your heart beating in your ear drums? How many times have you felt completely overwhelmed by bills and money problems that you feel suffocated?How many times have you been so upset that you find yourself gasping for air through the sobbing? Could a simple solution be focusing on one phase “Just Breathe”

Thats what i challenge you to do today, find somewhere quiet, away from crowds, away from stress and just sit still, with your back straight, eyes closed, focus on the air entering your body on the inhale and feel the stress float away on the exhale. Honestly i can’t wait to start day 2 and see what’s next.

 

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”-Amit Ray

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins was the generic title that Word Press creates when they auto generate your first blog post for you… I was going to adjust it out to something else but then i started thinking…What was the purpose for this blog i created… what does “Explore Life Always” really mean to me. When i came up with the idea for this page it was primarily to explore the world, create a virtual diary of trips i want to take and cross them off of the proverbial bucket list, but as i looked at “Explore Life Always” it spoke to me on many different levels. Life isn’t simple and there are so many aspects of life that we don’t realize we can explore for example Food, Religion, Art, Cultures, Nature, History.  Maybe that is all part of suffering from wanderlust… Always wanting to try something different, something new, go somewhere and explore… no matter how terrifying it can be its all part of living life to the fullest. I say suffering because when there are things that hold you in one spot or prevent you from doing what you want to do, you really do feel trapped and tied down, through no ones fault it’s just some parts of life become too hard to control. All of this pushes some generations down to the point that depression and anxiety levels are on the rise… where its more common than not to be seeing a therapist or on some kind of medication. I have been there sitting on the floor hiding in the back room at work looking up and seeing everything else towering around you with your heartbeat pounding in your ears so loud that you feel like you can’t breathe… and then as fast as it came… its gone. You stand up, put on a smile and walk back out into the world like nothing happened… That really was where my journey began… sitting on the floor between two giant racks of clothes breathing deeply trying to stop the world for a second…”just one second please” i remember chanting in my head, now of course nothing stopped, nothing changed, i calmed down dusted myself off and returned to work. But my time sitting on that dusty floor i calmed myself down by thinking about life and everything that is part of life, i decided that i was going to try something new and different.

I started creating a mental list of 8 basic things i could start doing immediately to explore life more so than sitting on a stock room floor hyperventilating:

  1. Start meditating/yoga
  2. Take a day trip somewhere different
  3. Eat something i have never eaten
  4. Plan a trip
  5. Try to cook food from a different culture
  6. Take time to watch the sunset at least once a week
  7. Put my phone down 30 minutes before bed time (with the goal to up this to an hour)
  8. Complain less be thankful more

I am sure this list will grow and change over time but it was just the basics. I have to remind myself every day that life is to be lived and not just to survive.

So last night, i sat down and watched the sunset… it was calming, i was at peace as the day closed…

sunset

After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. — Sophia Loren