Wondering how you can make every day a new adventure?
Over the past year, many of us may feel like life is full of ups and downs, but maybe not the exciting adventure we were hoping for. It’s hard to make every day a new adventure when you’re barely leaving your house during a pandemic.
Eventually, we will look back at this time and we may see lessons that we’ve learned and the impact it has had on our lives. It may make us feel more appreciative of the positive things in our lives. It may make us more thankful for our friends and family, urging us to strengthen connections; it may even make us realize that this time was a gift in many ways.
When life feels stressful, uncertain, and we even feel like prisoners in our own home, it’s hard to harness our sense of adventure and curiosity. But it’s that very sense of playfulness and exploration that will enable us to make the most of this time. What if we looked back on this period as one of the best times of our lives? Here’s how we can make every day a new adventure.
A Pilgrimage Within Ourselves
We recently held our pilgrimage coaching event, and it went awesome. In the past, we’ve visited China, France, and other countries. We’ve had spiritual journeys and walked through history as we’ve taken an enlightening journey to discover more about ourselves.
This year, however, was a little different for obvious reasons. Since the Coronavirus pandemic doesn’t allow us to travel right now or even meet in groups, we held our event as a journey within. Our participants took time for meditation, mindfulness, and reflection. They went on walks alone or with a loved one; they connected with the nature around them. They had engaging conversations with their friends and family. Our participants shared their insights and discoveries with the rest of the group over Zoom.
This sacred journey turned out to be one of the most extraordinary, powerful pilgrimages we’ve ever hosted. Participants discovered and connected in ways that stretched them further than ever before.
During one of our activities, we all sought out “glimmers.” Glimmers are those little moments where you have a warm feeling and feel more connected to something. Maybe you get a smile on your face or feel an emotional boost. It’s anything that brings you a moment of joy and comfort.
We tried to become conscious of the little moments throughout the day when we felt a glimmer during the activity. We all tracked them with a quick note. At the end of the day, we shared and talked about them. It was amazing to all of us to see how many times we felt those little sparks and “warm fuzzies” in a day. Maybe it was reading a friendly email, enjoying a comforting beverage, taking a moment to notice a beautiful leaf on a tree, or petting the fur of a soft pet. Some participants took the time to engage in conversations with their spouse or significant other. They did acts of kindness, expressed appreciation, and received compliments.
When we take time to look for those glimmers in everyday life, we acknowledge them and really soak them in. Noticing these moments of comfort and joy are both mentally and physically good for us. The moments boost our happiness and increase “feel good” chemicals in our brain.
Discovering Glimmers of Hope During a Pandemic
Right now, we might not be going out to movies or seeing plays. We probably haven’t been to a concert or enjoyed a lovely meal in a sit-down restaurant for months. These activities we would usually do, feel joyful. They help us make each day a new adventure. These actions are fulfilling—they build memories, offer insights, and help us connect with other human beings.
During the pandemic, all of those fun mini-adventures have been put on hold. Most of us aren’t out and about, doing the things we used to enjoy. We have to find a sense of joy somewhere else. We have to improvise if we want to create that sense of discovery.
We may enjoy going for little drives, where we don’t know the destination. As we drive, we can note observations in the places and people we pass. If we’re with our friend or partner, we can talk about thoughts that come to mind, memories, new ideas, and plans for the future. It’s not about “going somewhere” but instead spending time together, changing up the scenery, and having a new, novel experience.
We Crave Novelty
Our brains crave novelty. We love to learn. It even makes us stronger and gives us a cognitive boost. When we go on new adventures, we’re continually learning. We’re noticing new and interesting things. We’re growing.
As kids, we’re always in a state of discovery. Everything we encounter is a new and novel experience. Our memories are vivid because we’re engaged. We’re continually marveling in the adventure of life. But as we get older, we take the same route to work. We fall into the same routines. We may feel like the days blend, our sense of wonder dulls.
Now with many of us working from home, we’ve likely fallen into another pattern of routine. Even though this is the “new normal,” it’s still a pattern. We may have calls with our team, plod along through the workday, and feel like we’re trying to get by.
But what if we stepped out of the routine a bit? Especially right now, when we’re working from home?
Last Tuesday, we were working on our Year of More session. People were using all these fun, Snapchat-type filters on Zoom. It was so silly, but we all started laughing and having more fun. This example is simple and small, but it made the participants engage and smile. Chances are, we will all remember the novelty of the experience.
Each day we can find creative ways to have more fun and create opportunities for novelty. Put on wild music and dance around your house! Learn how to bake or cook new dishes. Learn a foreign language and label all the items in the room with the new nouns. Break out board games and challenge your family to a game night (or play with friends over Zoom).
These fun times will help bring us back to engagement. They help us make each day a new adventure. It doesn’t need to be an epic experience—merely a break from routine and a chance to inject novelty into our day.
Take in the Wonder of the World
During the pilgrimage, we encouraged our students to take an “awe walk.” During this walk, they took a mindful approach, tuning into their senses—what did they smell? Hear? See? What brought them a sense of wonder and awe?
We have a responsibility to awe at the world. There is so much around us to discover and acknowledge. If we approach each moment with a sense of wonder, we will find that sense of awe—those glimmers.
We can’t wait for joy to find us; we have to make it happen. Think of joy as a muscle you need to work. There are so many ways that we can choose joy. Even when we feel like we’re in a funk, we can recognize that not everything is in a funk.
We can set our intention each day. Try starting the day with a sense of discovery and a commitment to seeing love and peace in the world. Set an intention to live life more adventurously, whether from the couch, our home office, or our neighborhood. Go ahead and do something that breaks with routine. Shake things up!
Consider taking on the assignment to take a risk or go outside of our comfort zone each day. Don’t be afraid to celebrate mistakes and even make them on purpose. When we experiment, we test the waters to see what works and what doesn’t. Maybe something doesn’t work the first time, so we extract the lesson and try again.
Remember to go forth each day and make an adventure. Find a sense of awe and discovery that glimmer. We shouldn’t wait for something to grab us—we should go out and grab it for ourselves! When we do, we may be amazed at the wonders we unearth.