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Practicing gratitude.

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Nomadic Yoga | 3 comments

Practicing gratitude.

Sounds like the same tired inspiration everyone is saying, right? Being grateful and practicing gratitude make your life better. The thing is, what does that really mean? Do you sit for x amount of minutes each day and go through your life, ticking off mental check boxes on the good stuff?

Do you wake up in the morning and focus on some pleasantries to get into a good frame of mind? That’s what I’ve been doing.

As a yoga instructor, I kind of get it. It sometimes works.

But this afternoon, I really get it.

gratitude-thumbThis is my current office. It’s a back patio in The Mission, SF. More importantly, it’s on loan.

A friend of mine is away and I’m killing a few days before I go to training. He’s offered to let me stay here. It’s kind of beautiful. OK, it’s 70 degrees with a slight breeze while I sit under the palm blades drinking my coffee, eating berries and avocado, diligently working through some .css puzzles (that’s techy speak for fixing a website).

Life is hard, huh? But, honestly, I was pretty frustrated working and not having things go right. I took this photo as a little break from irritation, and something just clicked about how awesome this office is. Rather than quickly moving on to the next puzzle, I sat back. I intentionally smiled. For ten or fifteen seconds, I just sat in the bliss of this experience.

I’ve had a smile on my face the rest of the day…

Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a routine thing you set aside every morning. It shouldn’t be a list of things you say to yourself each day. It isn’t even not ever complaining… even when things are just crappy.

Gratitude can – and is – simply pausing for a moment and experiencing the good things that come your way.

Acceptance

Often during a class, or when we’re talking to someone about our life, we hear the phrase, “just accept where you are.” Just as often followed by “without judgement.” Yeah, this is good talk. It’s great to practice acceptance – being present – allowing for the things that are.

But, kick that up a notch and we’ve got gratitude. Heck yeah! Acceptance, now goes up to 11. Simply appreciating what is now IS the practice of gratitude.

They key is “now” – or rather in the moment. Appreciating – having gratitude for – something as it happens is all you need to do to “practice gratitude.” It starts with the positive stuff. We can move on the neutral stuff. Ultimately – when we’re just about to levitate and come one with the universe – we can begin to be grateful for those things we initially see as “bad.”

But, for now, just stop and love what’s going on. It only takes a few seconds.

Unbranded Stu

Wicked, Wicked, Wicked Indifference

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 2 comments

Wicked, Wicked, Wicked Indifference

Yoga teaches us to practice indifference to the wicked. Sometimes, it seems easy. Sometimes, it’s difficult. Then there are those times when you wonder, “Who made this rule up anyway?”.

The reality is, our friend karma continues its path of beauty and destruction. How we react to these gradients of “wicked” determines how our path will go.

It is easier – not easy, but easier – to look at “wicked” in three varying degrees: The three wickeds. Discerning which category our hurt falls in allows us to focus on particular ideal – or mantra if you will – to get through the irritation and pain of the wicked.

The Wicked in the Window

The wicked in the window don’t really affect you. You see someone not hold a door. You overhear a conversation. You see a guy cut someone off way up ahead.

Our irritation with the wicked in the window is our own judgmental nature. We look at others and say “they should be more x“. We’re irritated that they’re not. But, in the end, it doesn’t truly affect our day. We’re just borrowing trouble by letting their actions affect us in any way – because they truly don’t.

For the wicked in the window, it’s simply a matter of reminding ourselves that we, too, are not perfect. That sometimes we screw up. Sometimes, we unknowingly have limited knowledge and say ludicrous things based on it (read anything on this site! 🙂 ). We are often in a hurry as well.

“But for the grace of God, go I”

When we remove the filter of self-focus and look at the whole, the wicked in the window are only reflections of ourselves when we are not at our best.

This one action does not define the wicked in the window.

Wicked this way comes

The wicked that comes close fills the next realm. These people directly affect your day. The guy that sweeps into the parking spot you’ve been waiting for. The boss that fires you for no reason. The ex that reaches out just to insult you.

On my path, I find indifference to the wicked to be intellectually easy, but practice to be hard. It’s the middle class that gets me. It’s that “you’re just being a jerk.” It’s close enough to home not to easily brush aside, yet far enough away for our basic instinctual love to take over and compensate.

The wicked that make things personal can be tough to stomach, that’s for sure. But, the up side is twofold. A. They’re really easy to spot and identify. You just hurt me. B. The key to forgiving is our own compassion.

When someone does something hurtful, they are always in one of two camps. Those that don’t realize they’re being hurtful and those that are acting because they are hurt. Neither of these camps is “justified” in being hurtful, but it’s hard to continue being mad at someone if they didn’t see you (we’re not perfect either). It’s also a little harder to be mad at someone when you realize they are in pain.

That’s our compassion kicking in! When we realize the wicked that directly affect us are simply at broken and hurt points in their life, we can take a deep breath, be grateful for our blessings, and continue on with our day – maybe even wishing them some blessings as well.

Wicked heart

Our heart is the strongest muscle in the body, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get hurt. And when it does, it’s a strong hurt! When someone you love hurts you, a flurry of emotions roll in.

Anger. Confusion. Fear. You name it!

A very wise friend of mine once told me, “we don’t always handle a situation the way we think we will.”

When love is in the mix, we are confused. We really want to handle the situation in a certain way. I mean, we love the person, so we try to find some way to get what we need AND not hurt the other person. We’re just not capable of both at the same time – and something breaks.

It’s us. We break.

And with that break comes actions, decisions, and words that come out of a place of utter unknown – trying to keep two opposing things impossibly together.

Those with a “wicked heart” feel the same way. They’re trying to do what they need, trying not to hurt you, and just screwing it all up! Who hasn’t been there? Knowing they are simply handling a situation very poorly, unbecoming of the love you know them to have, makes the hurt a little less personal – and ultimately a little more palatable.

Once again, we are capable of compassion. That compassion leads the way to healing ourselves.

Indifference

Maybe these solutions aren’t indifference, but the more we are able to smooth over the hurt and move on with forgiveness, the closer we get to indifference. That’d be nice, huh?

Almost indifferent,

Unbranded Stu
Photo by MrHicks46

Bhavana

Posted by on Mar 20, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 0 comments

Bhavana
Your life is a story. What do you want its moral to be?

With that deep thought-provoking question, we begin to see the duality of purpose our lives take on.

The Bhāvanā of a yoga class is typically defined as an intention that you set for yourself at the beginning of class. The theory is that this intention gives you a point of focus when your mind begins to wander. It’s a trigger to pull you back into the physical practice. Often, we teachers will weave our own Bhāvanā into a class, winding the series of postures in a way that allows us to return to the same theme.

Great examples are: focus on postures that open a particular chakra, increase a particular mood, or mimic a particular season / change of season.

Whatever the Bhāvanā is, this is what unites the physical and spiritual roles of the practice of yoga.

Class parallels life

Many teachers will construct a class as if it were a story. The focus is on the end, the Bhāvanā, the moral. Postures flow into one another, leading to stories or focus, and finally in sukhasana, at the end, our instructor puts all of the pieces together in a thought or lesson to take with us through our day.

In the same way, we define our actions through this life with a goal – with an intention on what the lesson will be at the end. For our life to have purpose, we choose a set of actions that allow us to experience something meaningful, and let our lives serve as an example of the effects of these actions – or a moral, a Bhāvanā, a purpose.

Duality

Sounds deep, huh? Easy too! Just let your actions be dictated by that “moral of the story of your life.”

I know what you’re thinking – and it’s really OK. That’s the duality.

Life cannot be lived toward a moral if one doesn’t know what that moral is. The second profound piece to life is figuring out what that moral is supposed to be. Finding your purpose.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. -M. Twain

The whole path cannot be seen

Often, we can look at a journey like a car driving at night. You can only see to the edge of the headlights, yet the road is still out there. You have faith that the road is there. It may turn or have a detour you don’t know about, but the road will be there when the lights get to it.

Interestingly enough, some instructors do not plan their Bhāvanā. They start with a few postures and move on to others when it feels right. The students or the mood of the class dictates the next posture. Somewhere in the middle of the class, the instructor will notice a thread that is running through.

Yeah – some of our lives are like that, too. We have a good idea, chase it, learn from it, then move on to the next, not entirely sure what our great purpose is supposed to be. But, rest assured, like our yoga instructor, somewhere in the middle, we’ll figure it out.

It will have no greater or less meaning than had we known it from the beginning.

And sometimes, we just make a whole bunch of stuff up. That gets you through the confusing times.

Working my way through it,

Digital Nomad Stu
Photo by Thalita Carvalho ϟ

The Warrior's Heart

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 2 comments

The Warrior's Heart

Valentine’s Day always gives me the unique opportunity to use a drop-cap V. It also reminds me of the Warrior series. I know what you’re thinking: “Isn’t the Warrior series a story about Shiva and revenge?” Well, yes, on one hand it is.

On the other hand, from Viribhadra’s (the great warrior’s) point of view, it is a story of duty – and of heart. The great Warrior was called to action. The Warrior was given purpose. And we see from the postures, Viriabhadra’s power comes from the heart.

Finding Flow

Veerabhadra

Correct Warrior series alignment includes a sweet mustache.

Warrior I:
In Warrior I, our arms are raised high, our gaze soft, our chin level, and our legs stable. Notice the heart. With the shoulders pulled back and down, the heart is lifted and pressing forward. All good warriors lead with their heart.

Warrior II:
As we open our arms and twist open our hips, we find another area opening in Warrior II. That’s right! Notice how the finger tips reach out and away from the center – the heart. With each breath, we pull the heart open more and more.

Radiant Warrior:
Allowing the back arm to drop and raising the gaze and front arm high to the sky, we find Radiant (or Reverse) Warrior. Radiant becomes the full expression of the series; our legs are firm and long while our arm reaches to the sky. The up-stretched arm becomes an arrow – a straight line – from the heart to the heavens.

Side Angle:
Windmilling the body forward and reaching the “back” arm up and overhead, Side Angle posture isn’t technically a Warrior posture. We see, though, that as we pull the upper shoulder down, we are rotating the heart, once again, toward the sky.

Warrior III:
Returning through the flow of postures in this series, we end in Warrior III – in balance. We press out through the heel, square the hips, and engage our core. We reach long through the neck (and throat), point our gaze at the mat, and stretch the crown of the head forward. All points in the energy body engage to support the heart in the middle of the body – hanging in balance.

Continuing Flow

We all have struggles. The Warrior series emulates our daily battles. If we can approach our difficulties with love and an open heart, imagine how strong we would be if we approach ourselves, loved ones, and strangers with that same heart.

With love,

Digital Nomad Stu

Photo by Premnath Thirumalaisamy

Go to bed!

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Being Cool, Pushing Yourself | 1 comment

Ahhh… shavasana – the corpse pose. Who doesn’t love a good Shavasana after a powerful workout? How about a nice meditative Shavasana after a good energy class? I’ve even seen people take Shavasan on the couch in the middle of the day. 😀 That’s for us advanced yogis, right?

Shavasana, in practice, gives your body a chance to cool down from a hard practice. It gives the mind the opportunity to rest. It gives the soul peace. All in all, Shavasana is practiced at the end of class to incorporate the practice into the body, mind, and soul. It allows our entire being a chance to digest, absorb, and assimilate with the teachings.

If only there was a way to do that for your whole life. Oh yeah…

Sleep

Sleep is the Shavasana of life. In the Yin/Yang balance of the universe, sleep is the Yin to our daily Yang. The benefits are long and varied, yes, but the importance in our journey is seldom discussed.

Sleep is the way our body, mind, and soul digest, absorb, and assimilate with what the day taught us. Letting go of our body and shutting off our conscious thoughts opens a direct road to the Universe’s wisdom.

The road runs two ways.

We connect in sleep and allow the wisdom of the universe to fall into us. Our dreams plug in to a place where time is not linear, exposing the virtually limitless possibilities of ourselves.

We also report back all of the days events to be logged into the universe’s database, allowing our experience to be part of the universal experience.

These are big deals! We could allow ourselves a bit more time to do it, yeah?

Enough Already

What is enough sleep? They say eight hours, but often in our busy, busy world, there’s only time for six. That’s enough, right? Or maybe four. Is that enough?

Enough sleep is when the body wakes itself up on it’s own accord.

We always hear how important sleep is. We’ve been ingrained to think eight hours is perfect and yet we don’t get it. Many of us don’t even try.
 
I did. I tried it.
 
For an entire month, I scheduled out eight hours of sleep. Sometimes, this meant going to bed ridiculously early. Sometimes is meant starting work a little late. But, for thirty days, I consistently got eight hours. It wasn’t always good sleep. It wasn’t always straight through. But, it was a consistent eight hours of laying in bed.
 
…and it was AWESOME!
 
The biggest takeaways:

  1. After week two, I began waking up feeling refreshed after seven and sometimes six hours. That continued.
  2. I did feel more motivated to get things started. This is a big one for me. I’m good at finishing things, but the getting started is so tough! Much easier with a full night’s sleep.
  3. I didn’t feel like I needed coffee. I still drank it because I like the taste, but for a time, I was actually put off by the thought of a cup. Coffee gives us an up-and-down feeling. Sleep gives us a constantly “up” feeling.
  4. By the time bed-time came, I didn’t feel exhausted. I went to bed without pushing more into my day and fell asleep easier (by the end) – waking up before the eight hours for another day.

 
I’m sold on getting enough sleep, now. More energy. More productivity. Less $$$ on coffee. Less needed sleep after I caught up = more valuable time.

I know this is scarcely possible in the lives we lead. But, you can come close – and close is way better than “not enough.”

Challenge

Find out how much you need:
 
Option 1: Pick a weekend – a three-day if you can – and don’t schedule anything in the morning. Go to bed by eight or nine at night. Just allow yourself the time to lay in bed and wake up when you’re naturally inclined to. By night number three, see how long you actually sleep before you naturally wake up.

Option 2: Take a week off of work. Ha ha ha! I know. I know. However, you could plan getting sleep into your next vacation. Rather than cramming everything you can into every day, commit to resetting your sleep cycle. Take all seven or eight days and to sleep until you wake up.

Option 3: Minimize your evening schedule. It’s tough to begin trimming your current schedule, but pick a month a couple months from now and make an appointment to be in bed by 10p every night. Now, as you begin scheduling things, you can decline anything that interferes. In by 10p and up by 6a is eight hours. Sound crazy? Imagine a couple weeks in when you’re waking up early with enough time to enjoy that coffee and sunrise, or start that book, or finish that project.

Lack of sleep is a downward spiral that can intensify depression, stunt performance growth, and naturally reduce productivity. Of all the “experiments” I’ve done with life, the most rewarding was making sure I was getting “enough” rest.

You’re getting sleepy,

Digital Nomad Stu

When bad things happen

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 4 comments

Face it, sometimes, things that happen are just crappy. We get stuck at every red light, and trying to make up time, get into an accident. The accident makes us late and we lose our job. Now, we can’t afford that vacation to warmer weather.

Those things just stink. Maybe, we even look for the silver lining, but curiously, it eludes us.

Sometimes… sometimes, these bad things just happen and there’s no easy way to feel better about them. We want to crawl into bed, drown our sorrows… or roll up in a blanket in the bathtub and cry. (OK, maybe not that last one.) But, there are productive ways to deal with these crappy situations.

Two of ’em to be precise!

Karma

We can look to the lesson of Karma. It is difficult sometimes to be honest with ourselves about our behaviors and our actions. To look at ourselves, knowing all we’ve been through, and create an accurate assessment of a situation is truly an endeavor for sages.

Karma tells us that the things that happen to us are a result, direct or indirect, of our own actions.

It’s easy to look at the opening scenario and see where we may have been able to do things differently. However, the deeper lesson in karma is the idea of indirect responsibility. There are times when bad $%&#@ happens to us and we can’t immediately place what we could have done to avoid it.

The idea of leaning on karma consists of knowing, and accepting, that whatever bad thing happened, we played a part in it. Without living in the past, we accept responsibility and move forward with our lives with an ever-so-slightly stronger commitment to being good — and doing good things.

As it should be

The second, and often harder, productive solution is simple acceptance of the wise words:

What finds you is meant for you. What is meant for you finds you.

Yeah, yeah, yeah… we’re all weary of hearing people say, “Something good will come of this, just you wait!” Unfortunately – or fortunately – something good will come of this.

A strong belief that the universe is out to support you is very calming. Cultivating that peace during crappy times turns the bad thing into an opportunity to be productive in your own development. But, the silver lining becomes how easy it is to deal with the next crisis… and easier still the following one… and even easier the next one… until there are no crises.

Yeah! Imagine being in a place where you never have a crisis. It’s not that the situations no longer appear. It’s that you know in your heart, they are not a crisis.

A little of column A & B

Much like the four paths of Yoga, we can lean into one of these productive thought progressions when it feels like it serves us. In another situation, we can lean into the other. In still another situation, we can flip between the two. Or, my favorite, choosing some melding of both.

I am responsible for this and it is as it should be,

Digital Nomad Stu

Gentle Men and Ladies

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 2 comments

Gentle Men and Ladies

As we become closer, or more familiar, with people, we more easily allow our emotions to charge the way we communicate and behave.  Think about the difference between how we act towards our family vs. how we behave in a room full of strangers.  We are much more reserved and “professional” when discussing a topic with strangers than we are with the same topic among our closest companions.

Simple things, like the tone of our voice, our body language, or holding a hard-line stance on a particular topic can throw people into a defensive mode.  Actually, sometimes, nothing at all can trigger the behavior!  Once the other person is in defensive mode, they feel as though you are attacking them… whether it’s their opinion, their actions, or their decisions.  Once there, you’ve both lost any chance of open and honest communication.

So, be gentle.  Always.

Digital Nomad Path

Last week, I found myself unknowingly invested in a client.  When a vendor came in and breached the client’s security, I reacted strongly, decisively… and rashly.  While my decisions were made to protect the client, the way I communicated those decisions put the client in a defensive mode.  It easily was viewed as me vs. the vendor.  Once there, all was lost.

Had I not had my “heart in it,” a discussion about best security practices would have gone much more smoothly. I could have followed that by providing suggestions about next steps and that would likely have gone a lot further, not only for my client and I’s relationship, but for their security.

Two ways to act on the client’s behalf.  One would benefit both.  The other led to a separation of the engagement – a subtle reminder that familiarity does not negate the ego.

You’re wrong

It’s easy to say, “Just don’t get close to people,” or, “Never be emotional.”  But I have another suggestion.  Rather than trying to be reserved in all situations, simply change your mindset.

Assume you are in the wrong.  Always.

Approach a situation or conversation as if you are simply trying to learn or understand, rather than trying to tell someone else they are wrong and you are right.  This type of stance prevents the other person from becoming defensive.  In the end, maybe you’re still “in the right,” but you understand where the other person is starting from and you don’t force a situation… on purpose or inadvertently… where no communication is going to happen.

Twofold

Having curiosity puts the other person in a position of authority… and everyone likes to be listened to. In fact, it’s much easier for us to listen to someone else when we feel they are listening to us. That’s actual communication.

Yeah, it’s really difficult to sit your ego in the back seat. However, listening first might also show you that your way isn’t the only way and you’ve learned something new, while keeping your foot out of your mouth and your relationships intact.

What was that you said?
Digital Nomad Stu

Finally Fulfilled

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Nomadic Yoga | 2 comments

Finally Fulfilled

It’s not what you do that makes you feel fulfilled, it’s what you put into it.

Many of us have come to a place in our lives where we lack fulfilment. We have convinced ourselves that we need to do something more fulfilling with our lives… and off we go on a vision quest of sorts to find this magical “fulfilling thing.”

This IS a noble quest, and some of us DO need a different vocation, hobby, or relationship to tend to this need. However, the quest for fulfillment is also a trap.

And like most traps, you don’t see it until you’re in it.

Class adjourned with a brief mention of breathing through the hard times, knowing a peace will follow, and the customary namaste.

“Thanks, Stu.”
“Great class.”
“I feel like a totally different person.”
“Awesome start to my weekend!”

Ahh… I never get tired of hearing that I make a difference in a person’s day. It’s nice. It’s why I teach. It’s not fulfilling.

That’s right. NOT fulfilling.

“How was class,” the text asked innocently enough.

“Awful. I’m not giving people enough options. It’s really not All Levels.”

“Stop it. Your students love your classes.”

“Yeah, but I’m being totally lazy. I think I fell asleep during sun salutations.”

Sending that response made me realize that yes, I have a duty to my students to provide a suitable class, but fulfillment comes from my duty to myself. It’s the amount I put into the class that fulfills me, not the compliments I get out of it.

Mountain Pose

Imagine yourself in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Well, it’s really just standing there, right? Sure… but it can be much more. All the muscles can be made active… from the toes gripping the ground, to engaging the core muscles, to activating the legs & arms – even lengthening the spine up through the crown of the head.

Of course, you can also just stand there and wait for the next instruction.

Your choice, really.

The perfect metaphor for life, and everything we do. You can be active, engaged, putting everything you can into something… or you can just wait until the next thing. Which one is more fulfilling? Doing mountain or saying you did mountain? Doing life… or saying you did life?

The more you put in, the more fulfillment you get out.

Are you there?

If something very fulfilling in your mind’s eye can turn out to be not so fulfilling, it would stand to reason that fulfillment can come from things that don’t seem like they could be fulfilling. In fact, fulfillment can come from anything.

Take a look at your life. Take a look at your routines. Take a look at your to-do list. Are you missing out on fulfillment… not because the wrong things are there… but because you could put more into them?

Digital Nomad Stu

Photo by michael pollak

Un-Resolved

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 in Being Cool | 2 comments

The new year is coming! The new year is coming! Hurry! Make a list of all the things you want to do for the first time, do a little better, do more of. Set a goal to a achieve that thing… or things… that will make you happy.

Or…

Take a bit of time and relax. Happiness is a state of mind anyway. We’ve all been fooled by the “I’ll be happy when…” ideal. So, why buy in now? …again.

Difficult Addition

Often times, we find ourselves adding more things to our already packed days in an attempt to achieve some goal. We have the perception that our life will be better when we achieve it. We’re going to start exercising, cook at home more, spend more time with family / friends.

But our lives are already packed!

The thing is, your life is what you do everyday. It’s not the goals you make and achieve. And it’s certainly not the goals you make and don’t achieve. It is the things you choose to do on a daily basis.

The kicker? The amount of “happiness” you feel is directly tied to the amount you enjoy the things you do each day.

Simple Subtraction

Rather than adding more and more things to your schedule, let’s focus on doing the reverse. Subtracting in this case is often way easier and offers quicker satisfaction.

A. Change the way you view your routines and figure out a way to enjoy them.

Some things you just have to do. Most of the time, you have chosen to make them part of your life. Take a moment to reflect on why you’re doing it anyway. Once you remember the purpose again, you can focus on it while you’re doing a “must-do” thing.

B. Remove the actions, expectations, or obligations you don’t like.

And some things are just a big ol’ drain. Get rid of these things that are no longer serving you. I’ll bet if you pay enough attention, you’ve got a thing or two that you have tucked into your routine that you are doing solely out of routine. Stop. The same goes for obligations you do begrudgingly. If it’s not as easy as just stopping, take the time to make a solid exit strategy from your relationship with that thing.

C. Take some time to be grateful for the things you don’t do.

Bad behaviors are hard to break! Give yourself some credit. Did you give up soda? Did you stop cursing in front of your kids? Did you leave that horrible relationship? Awesome! Don’t forget to remind yourself that you’re already “happier” than you were.

Technically, you’re adding another task to your day by practicing gratitude. I get that. But, gratitude is super quick!

When I first get up in the morning, I take a moment to be grateful that I don’t go to a job I dislike. When I lay down each night, I take a moment to be grateful that I don’t have that “smoke before bed.”

Two seconds out of my day = two smiles every day.

Show Your Work

The answer is all in the resolutions. This year, instead of adding more and more to-dos to our life, we’re going to set NEW New Year’s resolutions. We’re going to find enjoyment in the things we do. We’re going to ditch the things that make us feel awful. And, we’re going to remind ourselves how far we’ve already come.

Just think, every time you don’t do something will be a win!

Digital Nomad Stu

PS – Yeah, I just got done building a Math with Dinosaurs book for a client. Sorry, it lapsed over… sort of.

Missing Expectations

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Being Cool | 2 comments

I was driving into class today and passed a single child with a book bag, standing by the side of the road. Nothing else around. The child just stood there, waiting. But not just waiting. Waiting… and hoping…

Hoping the bus wouldn’t come.
 

You remember, don’t you? Getting up every morning and waiting for the bus, but secretly… or not so secretly… hoping it wouldn’t come. Why did we get on the bus every day? We had to. We were expected to.

Our life was ruled by this expectation.

Imagine how many clock cycles were taken up in the mind just hoping that bus wouldn’t come. How much creativity lost? How much calm, gentle peace replaced with anxiety? How much daydreaming about that cute boy?

Fast forward

For many of us, very little has changed. Sure, the yellow bus has been replaced with a white one… or a train… or our own car… or even an open laptop with a blank document. But, we still continue to step through each day with the expectation that we have to.

Wanna know the worst part?

As adults, those expectations are our own. We’ve become saddled with expectations we’ve made for ourselves. Then, in exchange for something (often security), we give our control of expectations back to some authority figure that expects us to get on the bus every day.

Again, we wake up, get our backpack / laptop, and hope the bus doesn’t come.

But why?

Many of us, myself included, can be perfectly happy with a routine, whether that’s a 9-5 job, staying home with the kids, or changing location every 30 days. In fact, a lot of us really thrive in a routine. The US Army churns out successful men and women over and over because the regimen makes things simpler… and simple is good.

The question really becomes: What defines the routine? Do your actions each day come from a place of desire… or expectation?

Found

If you’ve got some resentment or ill-will toward the things you do because you are expected to do them, take a moment today… or tomorrow to find your motives.

  1. What are the things you do that are simply because you’re expected to do them?
  2. Who set those expectations?
    • If it’s you, do the results continue to serve you?
    • If it is someone else, have you given them the power to create those expectations?
  3. What happens if you stop doing those things?
    • Or, what happens if you change those things to other things?
    • Can the expectation still be met in a different way?
  4. What step can you take to stop doing the thing out of expectation?

Go ahead

Often, this exercise reminds us why we do the things that make us feel like we’re wasting our life. There are a great amount of things that are well worth the expectation, so taking the time to refocus on why we’re doing them can change how we feel about them.

On the other hand, this exercise can make us realize just how easy it is to simply stop doing those things… and take our life back.

As expected,

Digital Nomad Stu