This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted and shaky – that’s called liberation” ~ Pema Chodron
You should know that I have always qualified adventure as being a very personal word. My definition of adventure doesn’t have to be yours.
But to give you an idea of what I mean, consider that you can feel adventure when climbing a mountain; you can feel it overcoming a physical challenge like a marathon, or cancer; you can feel it when you risk your heart to be with your soul mate. I even feel adventure when I go to a new city, check out a new restaurant, try a new yoga pose, or learn a new skill.
Good ol’ Merriam says: (n) ad-ven-ture
1: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
2: an exciting or remarkable experience
Adventure often involves risk – but not necessarily danger. It can be very self-limiting to confuse the two.
While I don’t think danger is an essential part of spiritual evolution, I do think occasionally taking risks is. This is because what we “risk” is often as simple as losing “what is familiar” to us, and not nearly as dangerous as it initially feels. Yet being willing to risk losing the familiar can open up worlds for us.
However, keep in mind that adventure can also be as “easy” as “an exciting or remarkable experience.” Ahhhhhh….
So why exactly is adventure – and the risks we take with adventures – important to our evolution?
When we are focused on spiritual evolution (inward and outward freedom) and things get routine, our minds grows dull, and the negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs that we all have, which we work on mastering daily, are harder to break.
Things feel more permanent and real.
We think we have “proof” that they are permanent and real because nothing seems to be changing.
They appear that way because to be efficient, our brains choose – and prefer – to travel down the same neuronal pathways and do things the same way they’ve always been done. Therefore, we get the same results.
And nothing changes. Then we say, “See! That’s how things are!”
The problem – and solution – and coolest thing ever – is that things are not so permanent and “real.” When we think they are, that’s when we are not free. That’s when we think we don’t have a choice. That’s when we suffer and get stuck. That’s when we give up.
It becomes the Same. Old. Shit. Everyday.
Our brains have an inherent need to find patterns, which help them work more efficiently. Because of this, simply doing things differently feels like a risk for most of us, and we try to avoid change.
It takes energy to do things differently, and the brain naturally resists change. This was more helpful when our lives needed us to primarily be in survival mode.
It is less helpful when we are trying to evolve.
But when we remain open to change – to the fact that we have choice in our lives with not only what we do, but also in how we think – it creates new neuronal connections, new pathways that allow our thoughts and our actions to create a new life – the life we want.
Life lived your way!
Change is new, we don’t know what to expect, it feels…weird! We have lost our sense of familiarity, and we perceive it as a risk, or as unsafe.
But let’s admit it…even though it is uncomfortable, we tend to feel most alive when we are on the edge, when we are stretching ourselves. This is because when we take those risks – whether to simply try something new, or do something terrifying – we grow!
So guess what is a bona fide scientific way to help your mind be open to change, to new thought patterns, new neuronal pathways and networks…to freakin’ neogenesis of the mind!?
Trying new things.
Doing things differently. Stretching out of your comfort zone aka = Adventure.
I’m not shizzling you.
There’s a great study from the UK where they took a group of individuals and had them do several things:
- Pick from a list of opposite characteristics every day, and BE in that opposite for a set period of time (a few hours, the whole day). For example, outgoing – shy; likes to talk sports – likes to talk philosophy; optimistic – pessimistic, etc. If you were normally outgoing, you’d spend the time that day “being” shy. If you liked to talk sports, you would spend the time brushing up on chatting about Kant or Descartes.
- Eat a new type of food twice a week
- Read something they’ve never read before twice a week (didn’t have to be a book)
And guess what? Over 70% of them lost 11 lbs – at least.
WTF does that have to do with anything?
The conclusion was that they lost weight because they started to realize that everything was a choice – including what and how much they ate. Some of the participants commented on how they would ask themselves why they were eating what they were, if they were actually really hungry, and if they really needed it. And not just with food. With everything.
It makes sense. Afterall, they practiced different ways of being every day, which must have opened up some new ideas about why they were choosing to be in their “normal” state of being so much.
Interestingly, this is the same theory that scientists have about one of the reasons why yoga – even non-strenuous styles of yoga – helps people lose weight. Awareness.
** When you do new things, when your mind is asked by necessity – on a regular basis – to change it up and not fall into the same pattern, it is more malleable. **
You are then open to more options in how you think, the thoughts you choose to focus on, the way you respond, and the way you choose to spend your time…
You are also likely to have less attachment (the bad kind…not the kind to Nutella!) when you don’t do the same dang thing everyday, which means you can adapt to change more readily and easily.
And remember, things are always changing. It’s resistance to it that messes us up.
Too much change can indeed be stressful. But I’m just asking you to juicy things up a bit – a little new salsa here and there, an adventure flick instead of that dark Euro drama (I can’t believe there’s a category for that on Netflix!), oh yes – even a new hanky panky move. Or hell, go to Mauritius instead of Hawaii this year!
Isn’t this all so exciting?! This means that your mind – which, in my belief, is the root of most of our suffering – is malleable, there are methods to increase your successful evolution, and it can become the source of happiness. True happiness.
You can start to eliminate the negative thoughts that run in the back of your mind all day (or on the days of heavy funk, maybe they’re more at the front of your mind). You can create new opportunities and experiences. You can feel more ALIVE and passionate about your life.
That’s good shizzle.
I guess that’s a huge reason for why Freedom Junkies do the crazy things we do. Maybe we didn’t know it when we were younger. Perhaps we thought we just didn’t want to be bored.
But now there is a better understanding of the effect new experiences have on the mind. We now have insight into the effects of new experiences on our sense of freedom, both inside and out – and the reality of that freedom as well.
When you experience how good it feels to be open to change and to not fear doings things differently, when you see glimpses into how free and FUN life is when you create daily opportunities for new things to happen, you too will become addicted to daily adventures.
We now know that adventure (done your way) it is a need, and not merely a want. At least if you want to evolve;)
So how about we make this a party?!!
Let’s get out there and do some new things. You don’t have to do what I do. Or what anyone else does. We all dance to our own drum. Do what works for you – just do something new, something differently – regularly.
Then, see how working with your mind becomes easier. You can more likely respond instead of react. “Create” instead of “fall victim to.” Choose the compassionate and skillful reaction instead of the aggressive one you’ll later feel guilty or ashamed about. Make healthier choices for you body.
Choose happiness. Oh, SNAP! The bonuses are endless!
We all need adventure. We need it to evolve ourselves – and our world. Go git you some.
Take a moment to share below what new adventures you’re going to add to your life, knowing it will help free your mind and create more freedom in the world you experience.
Note: Are you interested in taking this to a deeper level? Keep an eye out for registration for my 2015 Freedom Sessions Adventure Mastermind. We will spend the entire year as an intimate tribe, going on three amazing adventure retreats, working with our minds and inner beings methodically and metaphysically, learning what our old stories are, skills to unravel, debunk, and oust unhealthy thought patterns and beliefs, and rewriting our new life stories – making change more permanent and lasting. This helps us effectively creating the lives we desire – finally! – and we’ll be having FUN while we’re at it;) Use the contact form by clicking here if you’d like to learn more. It will be juicy!