I have returned from my European adventure. I did not want to come home I enjoyed it so much! The irony here is that before I went I did not want to go. That sounds snobbish to me…countless people would love to have the opportunity I had and I was whining about it. I had an attitude problem and it was rooted in fear. Traveling away from home is scary for me. It isn’t paralyzing fear because I go but before I leave I think of all the reasons I shouldn’t be going. I think of better uses for that money, I think I shouldn’t leave my clients for long, I think I shouldn’t give up the chance to make money (when I don’t see clients, I don’t get paid – the pros and cons of the self-employed), I think I shouldn’t put myself in harm’s way, I think I should just stay home and play it safe. Oh my! As one friend recently said, “There’s a lot of crazy in here!”
I believe the crazy thoughts have only as much power as I choose to give them. I got on the plane bogged down with anxiety. The moment I settled into my seat for the long journey over the Atlantic I was at peace and noticed excitement taking root in every cell. I began to think of all the sites we would see, food we eat and people we would meet. The fear vanished and was replaced with the anticipation of a fresh experience canvas being filled in.
Living in the fearful should/shouldn’t zone is life-quenching. It brings with it those nasty bindweeds that strangle joy and freedom. Recognize this when it’s happening to you. Name it for what it is then reclaim your freedom. Remind yourself that life is meant to be lived with depth and richness, with experience and risk, with freedom and joy!
I’m visiting friends in Norway. We hosted a student from Norway for the school year in 2012-2013. What started as giving a Norwegian 17 year old a chance to experience the United States turned into a forever friendship with him and his family. They opened their home to us and are sharing their life with us. As I peak into life in Norway, what I appreciate the most is the pace and the beauty.
Norway is not known for sunny days. The climate is similar to Seattle: lots of rain! It’s been unusually wet this July, record breaking, and we have had the honor of being here to witness it. I wondered how people stay positive here. Norway is known as one of the happiest places to live. I’ve been observing what is different about how the people live here versus at home. I live in a very health conscious area, people are always out on their bikes, running, hiking or walking. It’s the same here except, they do all those things whether it’s raining or clear. The numbers of people getting exercise outside doesn’t change based on the weather. The clothing does. I’ve seen people decked out in rain gear from head to toe out in the rain…even children on a field trip in the pouring rain.
People also seem to enjoy a slower pace of life. Not rapidly moving from activity to activity but enjoying the simple pleasure of sitting and talking, letting fresh air into their home regardless of the outside temperature, blackout shades (long summer days), and of course, daily walks. Being here means I am going at a slower pace and I am learning to accept it and enjoy. I am fond of the sun…I am discovering I can have internal peace without it 🙂