Your odds are 51/49 that you'll come out ahead.
Do you do it? Will you take the chance?
I've been thinking about that a lot lately. About the hazards I face and the risks I take every single minute of every day, just to (a) move my body around (b) get from Point A to Point B (c) experience joy (d) eat ....
And that's simply the basics.
People take risks to have children.
They take a gamble when starting a business.
They're exposed to hazards while playing sports or attending live sporting events.
They take their chances while driving, and they face uncertainty when getting into an Uber or taxi.
They put themselves in danger when they choose to have a pet - any pet.
People place their lives in jeopardy while walking down the street.
When I really started thinking about the risks I take every day, really drilling down on alllllll the chances I take, it hit me: EVERY SINGLE THING WE DO IN LIFE IS A RISK.
I could delude myself thinking that I'm safe in my bed -- that is, until a tree crashes into my roof and crushes me; or a car crashes through my bedroom wall and crushes me; or a plane makes a crash landing into my home and I go up in flames...
You laugh. It happens!
Cooking my food is safe, until I singe my eyebrows when opening the oven or chop off a fingertip while dicing onions or start a grease fire.
Eating food is safe, right? Wrong. You could easily choke on anything you are eating, given the right circumstances.
Then there are the things people do for the thrill of it:
- careening down the side of a snow- and ice-covered mountain on two long sticks
- jumping out of a perfectly good airplane
- rappelling down the side of a large jagged rock
- descending 100 feet beneath the ocean's surface with a tank of air and a rubber tube
Everyone's risk tolerance, and everyone's perception of safety, is different.
Some people even drink milk past the expiration date!
In this era of Covid-19, the choices being made by myself and others in pursuit of living a joy-filled life are something I've been considering with greater awareness.
For instance, I know 80-something grandparents who prefer to continue spending time with their toddler grandchildren, because to them, life without seeing their grandchildren is not worth living.
I also know 20-something students who prefer to stay in their home and not venture out, because to them, they're more comfortable staying sheltered than risking illness.
There is no right or wrong.
Their choices are neither bad nor good.
Their choices work for them.
Yet we judge others for their choices, because that is the nature of humans. Sometimes we even scold them to their (masked or unmasked) face.
Here are a few risky behaviors that most people do daily:
- shower / bathe
- climb / descend stairs
- step off the curb
- pick up a child/dog/cat/groceries
- drive faster than the speed limit
- text and drive
- drink an alcoholic beverage / eat an edible / smoke pot, then drive
Every day, people make choices and take chances.
Sometimes, our choices affect others.
Whether we realize it or not - and whether we choose to face it or not - life is a game of chance.
Living life means taking chances.
Our lives are finite. How will you choose to live yours?
I invite you to consider the risks you take, every day, in order to live your life.
Have fun with it and think about the risks taken from the moment you wake up, through your meal preparation, travel, interactions, physical activity, consumption of food and beverages, chores ... until you go to sleep.
What's your risk exposure?
When are you NOT exposed to risk?
How will you move around your neighborhood, your community, and the world to live a fulfilling life, while allowing others to do the same at their comfort level?
Notice when you're judging others whose risk tolerance is different than yours. How do you judge them?
Why do you judge them?
How do you feel when they judge you?
©Catherine Borowski, 2020
Words can't really describe the feeling of free falling from 13,000 feet in the air. For an entire minute. After jumping out a perfectly good airplane.
How often do you shake up your life? Are you stuck in a rut, tired of your routines, not sure what to change or move?
I was feeling that way recently: stuck and bored. Something needed to change. Therefore it seemed like a good idea to take a leap - literally - and do something I had never done before.
Skydiving was something I had wanted to do for awhile, and for 'some reason' I kept putting it off. So why put it off any longer - there was nothing holding me back except ... me!
So just jump, I told myself. You know you want to do it, and NOW is the time.
Sure, people say 'why take the risk' or 'it's dangerous' or other things in warning. And I appreciate and understand that these well meaning people are concerned for my safety while at the same time projecting their fears onto me.
My attitude, however, is Life is for Living. Do the thing. Take the risk! What's the worst that could happen?
I could die. Sure! And I will die, when it's my time. ln the meantime, though, if I don't try new things, I will die in other ways while I am still very much alive.
So, on a gorgeous September day, with only a few high clouds in the ultra-blue sky, I jumped. Without hesitation. With complete faith and trust, and 100% excitement.
WOW! Talk about a completely new view! What a way to see things differently!!
I loved the entire experience so much - the rush of adrenaline, the feeling of weightlessness, the unbelievable quiet high in the sky - that I went back a few days later and jumped again. (And will be doing it again!)
It's the new experiences that feed my soul. Doing something out of the ordinary, shaking things up, facing the fear, stepping out of an old fallback story. Creating anew, staying curious, while knowing that my life on this planet is finite.
I choose to live fully, embracing what's new, trying new things and open to new possibilities.
Jumping out of that airplane helped me to see what's possible for me in new and different ways. In addition to seeing things differently from the air, I also see what's possible while standing on the ground.
I am out of my rut.
What about you? What's something new you've tried today, or in the past week? I invite/challenge you to add something new and out of the ordinary to your to do list. And please let me know how it changes your perspective!
© Catherine Borowski, 2020
If all I've got is this moment, why is it so difficult to live now? It's ironic that, even though nothing exists outside of *now*, it can be the most difficult place to be.
Sometimes I catch myself jumping ahead to stuff that hasn't yet happened and may *never* happen, freaking out all the while.
Or maybe I'm 'past pummeling,' beating up and berating myself when there's *zero* chance of a do-over.
So why live there? Is this the human condition?
Well... it doesn't have to be. Like everything else, it's a choice.
And there IS a different way. You can choose to pull yourself back to the present moment.
Want to? --If so, keep reading:
I use a few tricks to keep me HERE. Where I am now. And it starts with catching myself in that fog of faraway places / scenarios / relationships that don't exist.
First, I must actually realize that my mind has pulled me to some other place and time that doesn't exist. This is often easier said than done!
I literally sometimes shake my head to snap myself out of that non-existent place and then look at where I am right now. And I do mean *LOOK*... as in, right now I am sitting in a chair in my back yard. There are flowers, and birds chirping, and butterflies flying overhead. Oh - and someone is using a leaf blower. This is what exists for me right now.
I have to focus on that for a little while. Breathe into it (yes even the noise from the leaf blower) .. this is where I am right now - this is what is happening right now.
It also helps to put my feet on the ground. It's stabilizing - I feel anchored, steadier. Here, now, on the earth, in this moment in time.
Just by noticing -- REALLY noticing -- where I am, and noticing my breathing, with my feet on the ground, everything else begins falling away.
My mind starts to clear.
When I focus on THIS moment, time slows down. It's truly possible to savor time when I'm not rushing to be somewhere else in time.
Time becomes more manageable. It becomes a flow instead of a series of stops and starts.
Suddenly there IS enough time because I'm living in present time.
Here, and now. I gifted myself with the present. Unlike the past or the future, there is always more present.
It can be strange to just "be" - until it becomes your new way of "being."
I LOVE being like this. It's relaxing. It's luxurious. Nothing exists outside of this space.
Go ahead, try it! Take a look around and notice where you are right now. Breathe. Put/feel your feet on the ground. Gift yourself with THIS time.
How does it feel? How do YOU feel?
These tricks help me sleep better, too. Those nights when I wake up at 2:30am (UGH) and my brain starts zooming at warp speed: focusing on where I am RIGHT NOW, and breathing into it, eases me back to sleep.
Let me know how these tricks work for you!
©Catherine Borowski, 2019
I was afraid to hang out with my friends because my clothes aren't nice enough. That was my reason.
My friends would invite me to travel with them, or dine with them, or spend time with them, and I would be afraid to go. I deemed myself not good enough - unworthy.
I almost stopped myself from doing things with them because I was scared.
On one of our trips, one of these friends confided in me that she was afraid to travel with me and our friends because, she said, 'you have interesting jobs.' Mind you, this woman - my beautiful friend - is an incredibly talented artist who volunteers and spreads joy simply by who she is.
When she shared this with me, I almost cried. The shock and sadness that overcame me rocked my soul. To think that we may not have shared this time together because of our fears of unworthiness, of not 'being good enough.'
We are all human. We really do have the same fears. They are just packaged differently.
There were many times, in my younger years, when my fears DID stop me. I was so afraid I was not worthy, and that I would be judged, that I wouldn't do the thing - it was easier to just stay home.
That's not living.
Living is facing that fear in the doorway and seeing what unfolds once I walk through the door, leaving the fear behind.
Doing that over and over reduces and even eliminates the fear.
Living. I'm doing it more and more now.
I love it!!
©Catherine Borowski 2019
If God is love, why was I taught to be afraid of him?
Listening, completely and openheartedly, is a skill and a talent. Actively listening to a person can change what is heard.
All 'good' things must come to an end. All 'bad' things must come to an end.
What makes it 'good' and what makes it 'bad,' anyway?
News flash: There isn't another shoe! Stop waiting for it to drop.
I owe it to myself to live my values.
My suffering is not your fault.
My suffering is MY responsibility.
I decide what triggers me, what angers me, what upsets me. I can resolve it allllll within myself. It's not up to you, it's up to ME.
Remember permanent waves? That hair process back in the hideous hair decade known as the 80s.... Yeah. Those waves were never permanent.
NOTHING is permanent. N-o-t-h-i-n-g.
Everything that is alive is dependent upon something, or someone, else to sustain it.
If everyone is a victim, no one is a victim.
Now it's your turn. Please add your musings to this list!
Cheers and love,
C'mon. Let's have some FUN!
Alan Alda received the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award last weekend. In his acceptance speech, after the prolonged applause, after reminiscences and thank yous, Alan said, "My wish for all of us is let's stay playful, let's have fun and let's keep searching."
Y-E-A-H! Let's have fun! Let's stay playful! Such simple statements. Such wisdom and truth in those words.
When I read the newspaper, listen to the radio, overhear conversations, there's not much playfulness anymore. Not many light, uplifting stories. Everything seems heavy, cumbersome. People are petrified of saying the wrong words, being judged and labeled. People live in fear.
It's tough to have fun while living in fear.
I remember when things were lighter. I laughed more often. I wasn't afraid to say things. People weren't so serious, so troubled. It wasn't that long ago.
Alan Alda also (in a recent interview) reminisced about playing 'Hawkeye Pierce' in M*A*S*H. He remarked that he felt lucky to be part of something that made such a tremendous impression on the culture and was grateful for the opportunities he received after M*A*S*H. And then he said, "I don't think about it much because I don't think about the past. I just do what I'm doing in the moment."
WOW. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Alan Alda was the star of one of the biggest hit television series of all time, and he doesn't even think about it much anymore.
Because, let's face it. It's over.
The past is over. No matter how successful or unsuccessful something was, whether it was great or it was not very great, it's still over. Why live there? Why carry it around?
When I don't think about the past, I'm not carrying around a ton of bricks.
Living in the present is easy. It's carefree.
I'm not weighed down by anything.
Living right here and now is pure freedom. Like a balloon, floating skyward.
Life CAN be playful, fun, and light - when I remember that I'm the person who creates my life. I choose what to carry with me. Old, heavy memories? Nah. Fear and labels? No room for that.
My vow to myself is to LIGHTEN UP.
Even those two words:
First word - Lighten. Make lighter, less heavy. Bring light and brightness. Lighten my words, lighten my thoughts, lighten my movement.
Second word - Up. As in, lift. Pick up. Raise your arms, your eyes, UP. Towards the treetops. Lifting to the sky.
Makes me think of children, carefree, running and throwing their arms up in the air and laughing. Laughing those gleeful laughs that are music to my ears.
Makes me remember that I've gotta take a hot air balloon ride.
Thanks for that reminder, Alan.
I have the power to bring light into the world - allllll the world. You do too. Everyone does.
I'm gonna do it. And I will start by being playful and having fun. By lightening up.
©Catherine Borowski, 2019
Hi, I’m Fred.
I’m a cat.
To some people, I’m not merely a cat:
I’m a black cat.
So I get treated differently.
When some people look at me and see a black cat, they’re afraid.
They run away from me.
They think I’m bad luck.
And today is Halloween, so there is all KINDS of stuff related to me - and none of it is good!
People label me as bad.
It’s difficult for me to understand, because after all, I’m just a cat!
The color of my fur isn’t important.
I mean, is it? Really?
Calico, tabby, Russian Blue…
We’re all cats.
We all want love, and food, and belly rubs.
I ESPECIALLY like belly rubs!
I meow and purr and eat treats just like other cats.
I like to play, and I like to snuggle.
Did you know black cats are the last cats to be adopted from shelters?
Many people don’t want my kind around.
They‘re unable to see through the blackness.
Because to them, I am not simply a cat.
First and foremost, they see me as a BLACK cat.
I’m grateful because my humans love me for who I am.
The color of my fur doesn’t matter to them.
I am a cat, and I give love like all other cats.
Does the color of my fur matter?
©Catherine Borowski, 2018
It got heavy carrying around all that weight.
Their need to be right.
Their 'my way is the best way: the only way.'
Their competing with others.
They passed this on to me,
and I carried it all.
I accepted blame.
I took things personally.
I made it 'all about me.'
I lived with these patterns
for much of my life.
Funny thing is,
I never even realized they were there.
They were so much a part of me - like breathing.
Automatic responses. Knee-jerk reactions.
Done without thinking. Unconscious.
The patterns were unattractive and confining, like vertical prison stripes.
I was tired.
It was a lot to carry.
And I didn't want it - any of it.
Acknowledging these patterns existed was revelatory.
I faced them with curiosity and deliberation.
They were weighing me down, and it was time for me to remove them.
All of them.
It's a process, this pattern-shedding.
At times it's been overwhelming, horrifying, and painful.
Like there's no end in sight, because they creep up in so many places.
It's also been beautiful,
as I've recognized the need to forgive others and forgive myself.
To see their innocence, and to see their pain.
To see my innocence, and to feel my pain.
To treat them, and myself, with compassion, kindness, and love.
I hadn't really been doing much of that.
Allowing this process to unfold - shedding this energetic weight -
has created openings that are
more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.
Life, and God, just keeps on giving.
There's so much love in this process
and now I'm more able to open my eyes, and my heart, to let it in.
For much of my life, I allowed others to control my emotions.
I kept turning my power over to them, by falling back into patterns that were handed to me and which I unconsciously carried.
Today, I take my power back.
I choose to be 100% responsible for my life.
Instead of wearing those confining prison stripes,
I choose vibrant colors and polka dots.
© Catherine Borowski, 2018
We are all creators. We all create a mythological world of our own out of certain shapeless materials. -- John Cowper Powys
I'm a Master Creator.
Every day, I create my life.
Every minute is new.
Everything I'm seeing is new.
Because I am always a new person, in every minute.
How cool is THAT???
The way I move through the world, the conversations I have, the people I see - they are all new.
Nothing is the same.
I'm always changing.
Because I am always creating my life.
Through my interactions, by what I read, by what I eat, by how I move..
I am always creating newness.
And I can decide to change, and create something new, in any moment.
I love thinking about myself as a creator.
I determine my life.
I determine how I hear things and how I see things.
Others share with me how they view the world, and I listen.
We all have our unique viewpoints.
I can choose to adopt others' views of the world, of events, of people...
or I can choose my own view.
I like choosing my own view.
My view, out of my eyes.
I choose to eat food that is good for my body.
I choose to exercise so my body is strong and agile.
I choose to listen to and read things
that help me learn, grow, and expand my mind.
I choose to be with people who are uplifting and positive.
I choose to shed what no longer works for me -
whether it be objects, clothing, accessories,
thoughts, routines, ways of being.
I choose to thank God for all of it, always.
By doing all of that, I create a life I love.
I invite you to re-read this where YOU are the "I."
And then, read it to yourself every morning.
Notice what you create each day.
YOU are a Master Creator.
It wasn't always a trampoline.
It used to be the bottom of a cliff.
Something would happen, and my reaction was to jump off a proverbial cliff, crash hard, stay there a while, and then - usually with the help of drugs, alcohol, or both - I'd slowly put myself back together.
It hurt. And I kept doing it.
I met a lot of people down there, at the bottom of the cliff... we'd wallow around, complain about our injuries, pass the bottle, and dust ourselves off for another climb up.
And we'd post our travails on social media and count the likes, feeling 'less than' if we didn't get 'enough.'
It wasn't long before we'd meet again at the bottom of the cliff, old bruises and cuts healing, new ones forming. Over and over.
It was comfortable in its familiarity. But it was no way to live.
The thing is, shit happens. And I've learned that it's important to face it, accept that it happened (because I can't change it), and choose my reaction.
By facing and accepting, I'm able to slow down, notice my emotions, and feel my feelings. To be human is to feel, and squashing down my feelings only means they will eat away at me internally (via ulcers, back spasms, skin breakouts, etc.)
When I choose my reaction, it's a lot easier than being at the mercy of whatever happened. I always have a choice - even if it doesn't seem that way.
So instead of leaping off of cliffs and crashing hard, I choose to bounce.
On a virtual trampoline.
I still fall down. But I now know that I don't have to remain down, ruminating and mentally abusing myself. Instead I'm able to bounce back up.
Now, when I bounce, I bounce close to the trees - holding onto branches and hanging out there a little while, taking in the view, checking out what is possible.
Life is a lot clearer from a higher vantage point.
I think I'll build a treehouse.
©Catherine Borowski, 2018
Live a wealthy life.
Catherine Borowski, life coach, knows that life can be messy. Though digging into the mess, beauty emerges in the most unexpectedly brilliant ways.