What is Your "Pause Before the POP-UP?"

I had an opportunity to attend a book event featuring William Finnegan, author of the Pulitzer Prize winner “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life.” I’d been listening to the Audible version of his book and loved his eloquent, insightful tales of growing up in Hawaii as a "haole" and then traveling the world chasing waves.

I lucked out by scoring the last ticket to his sold out program, and promptly did some research so I could ask an intelligent question if I had a chance to connect with him.

As soon as I read this Outside Magazine interview, I had my question. Reporter Matt Skenazy had asked, “Do you have a favorite moment in surfing?”

Here's the gist of what he said, “It’s the pause before the pop-up … that moment when you know you’ve got it … man, there’s nothing else like it.”

I wanted to ask, “What is the writer's equivalent of a 'pause before the pop-up?'”

What I couldn’t have anticipated is that Bill demonstrated the writer's equivalent when he read a stunning passage from his book.

He was describing a day he went surfing at "Cliffs," a popular spot near Diamond Head. As he explaied, his family members were "dutiful, if not particularly enthusiastic, Catholics." After receiving the sacrament of confirmation at age 13, he was "thunderstruck to hear my parents say I was no longer required to go to Mass."

"And so, on a spring Sunday morning, I found myself slowly paddling back through the lagoon while my family sweated it out up at Star of the Sea in Waialae. The tide was low. My skeg gently bumped on the bigger rocks. Out on the mossy, exposed reef, wearing conical straw hats, Chinese ladies, or maybe they were Filipinas, bent, collecting eels and octopus in buckets. Waves broke here and there along the reef's outer edge, too small to surf.

I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its mood now. The attachments felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops ...

I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries ... The other world was land: everything that was not surfing. Books, girls, school, my family, friends who did not surf. 'Society,' as I was learning to call it, and the exactions of Mr. Responsible.

Hands folded under my chin, I drifted. A bruise-colored cloud hung over Koko Head. A transistor radio twanged on a seawall where a Hawaiian family picnicked on the sand. The sun-warmed shallow water had a strange boiled-vegetable taste. The moment was immense, still, glittering, mundane. I tried to fix each of its parts in memory."

That, folks, was a “drop the pen” moment. That perfect prose-as-poetry passage could have won Bill the Pulitzer on its own merits. It was so clearly a moment where everything came together - his intelligence, exquisite observational ability, and story-telling powers partnered with the muse to produce that sensory-rich, transcendent passage.

Bill was gracious enough to sign a couple books, one for me and my son Andrew who grew up on Maui and who now lives in Brooklyn, but religiously takes his surfboard to Rockaways (via the subway!) to reconnect with the ocean. You can take the boy out of Hawaii; you can’t take Hawaii out of the boy.

My first words to Bill were, “You may have stopped going to Mass; but you didn’t stop going to church.”

He smiled and we discussed the metaphorical aspects of the “pause before the pop-up.” Here’s the gist of our conversation.

If you surf, you know that catching a wave results from a fortuitous combination of coalescing factors. You have to have the right skill, the right board, the right wave, the right positioning, the right conditions, the right weather. It all goes into the mix.

There can be wonderful waves but sometimes they’re too crowded or getting blown out by a cross-wind, or your board’s too short, or you’re in the wrong spot, or you’re tired (or too old and out of shape) and can’t paddle fast enough to match the momentum. Surfing isn’t always glorious. It’s often a lot of waiting, frustration and missed waves.

However, if you’re lucky, there are also times when a rare and much-welcomed match occurs between your skill, the board and Mother Nature. You’re in just the right position at just the right time, the elements coincide and you’re about to transition from paddling as hard as you can from a prone position to standing up on your board.

In that peak performance moment when everything comes together in a state of flow; there is a flash of simultaneous anticipation and appreciation that your hard work is about to pay off and you’re about to reap the rewards of commitment and kismet.

That is the pause before the pop-up. The writer’s equivalent? Our life equivalent?

Sometimes we grind. Our work becomes hard, frustrating, mundane. The words (funding, success, results) won’t come. We don’t have the skills, tools or right conditions to create what we want. We’re tempted to give up. We’re not sure our efforts will ever pay off.

Then there are those sublime times when everything comes together and we write (or perform or present) better than we know how. We have the right idea, the right time and place, the right experience and expertise, and everything starts flowing easily and effortlessly. We see the story, become the story. We’re no longer over-thinking it; we’re in service to what wants to be said. We’re riding a wave of momentum.

These are the penultimate moments when the right conditions converge, our commitment is rewarded and we know we're about to succeed in experiencing the vision that's been in our head.

Those “immense, glittering moments” (Bill’s term) keep us coming back, make it all worthwhile, are the "cosmic reward."

How about you? Are you grinding away on a project and feeling only the frustration of invested effort that doesn't seem commensurate with results?

Could you instead stay alert to “pause before the pop-up” moments?

Could you remember a kismet experience of matched momentum where you performed better than you knew how - and tell yourself, "I've done it before. I can do it again?"

Could you understand that if you keep your antenna up for it - there will come a time where all the elements come together and your time, effort and hard work will pay off?

And when it does, can you promise yourself you will look around, appreciate it and imprint it so you can re-visit it in your mind whenever you want, as often as you want?

pop-up-william-finnegan.png

There is No Such Thing as a NORMAL Day

Have you heard about Burning Man – or been there? My son Andrew and his wife Miki Agrawal were “Burning Man” married several years ago, and said, “You must go.”

So, I am.

You may know of the “Gifting” philosophy of The Playa. It’s part of the culture – the Ten Principles of Burning Man – that were articulated by co-founder Larry Harvey.

Imagine that. A sharing, radical inclusion economy … in the desert amidst the Art Cars.

I wondered what I could gift that might be meaningful and decided to memorize ten poems about the meaning of life. When I meet people, if they’re interested, they’re welcome to select a poem that resonates with them.

I’ll share it and then ask, “What does this mean for you?” I am smiling at the thought of the intriguing conversations this might lead to …

Here’s an example of a poem I’ll be sharing on the Playa. It’s authored by Mary Jean Irion:

“Normal day,

let me be aware of the treasure you are.

Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.

Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,

or bury my face in the pillow,

or stretch myself taut,

or raise my hands to the sky

and want, more than all the world,

your return.”

Every single time I re-read Mary Jean Irion’s poem, my soul says “Yes, yes, yes.”

How about you?

Are you rushing through life in search of some rare and perfect tomorrow?

Are you so busy, you don’t have the time to look around and imprint, appreciate and enjoy this day?

When you think about it, there really are no normal days.

Every day we’re alive is a gift.

Every day we can see, smell, taste, touch, hear, feel, think and love is a gift.

Let us not race by this day.

Let us not be so caught up in our deadlines and to-do’s that we miss it.

Let us pause right now, look around, and really see all that’s right with our world.

Let us understand that what we’re seeing and experiencing might not always be so.

But it is so,

right here,

right now,

if we just open our heart, mind, and eyes to it,

if we are present to it and grateful for it,

instead of waiting for a special day or for SOMEDAY.

mary-jean-irion.jpeg

I Didn't Change, I Just Woke Up

I was looking for an evocative quote on the topic of change for one of the chapters in my upcoming book SOMEDAY Is Not a Day in the Week. I found it in this, "I didn't change. I just woke up." (BTW, it's attributed to that ubiquitous philosopher - Anonymous.)

That's what I did on my Year by the Water. I woke up.

I woke up to the fact that:

* the clock is ticking. Not in a morbid way, in a motivating way.

* working, working, working is a prescription for regrets.

* change is not hard. A life we love is often one small change away.

* fun is not a four-letter word.

* we'll never be lonely - as long as we pay attention.

* connection is the North Star and Holy Grail of my life.

* I'd been living neck-up for years - and it was time to come to my senses.

* magic unfolds when we leave room for whims.

* it's time to stop ordering pasta we don't want.

* many of us are driving into hurricanes - because we said we would.

* courage is just trusting we can figure things out.

* Paulo Coelho is right, "One day we're going to wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things we've always wanted to do."

We'll never regret doing more of what puts the light on in our eyes - we'll only regret not doing it sooner.

I didn't change - best

Day Right Quote 55: To Love and Be Loved is to Feel the Sun From Both Sides

David Viscott said, "To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." So true.

One of the most important lessons-learned from my Year by the Water is that it is NOT always better to GIVE than RECEIVE.

It is better to give AND receive.

So many of us are so busy doing and giving to others, we don't allow them to give to us.

There is a grace in giving and a grace in receiving.

Connection is a two-way street.

Are you enjoying and being blessed by BOTH sides of the sun?

david viscott

Day Right Quote #53: Don't You Know Yet? It is Your Light that Lights the World

When I present SerenDestiny programs, people often ask, "Isn't it selfish to do what you really want?" I tell them, "it is if you exclude everyone else's needs and priorities.

But many of us are doing the opposite of that.

We're honoring everyone else's needs and priorities and ignoring our own."

As Rumi said, "Don't you know yet? Is is YOUR light that lights the world.

This is probably one of the most important lessons-learned from my Year by the Water ... It is not selfish to put ourselves in our own story, it's smart.

It is not an indulgence to do what puts the light on in your eyes and fills you with joy - it is an example that inspires others to do the same.

In fact, here's how I learned that lesson.

Hope it inspires you to shine your light on and in the world.

rumi best

Day Right Quote #52: There Is No Such Thing As an Ordinary Day

Dan Millman and his book "Path of the Peaceful Warrior" was one of our favorite author-speakers at the Maui Writers Conference. His insight, "There is no such thing as an ordinary day" is as true today as it was 15 years ago.

It reminds me of the powerful line from Thornton Wilder's play "Our Town."

Emily, the lead character, has passed but gets to return home one last time. She watches her mother wash the dishes in the kitchen and realizes she never appreciated the little things - a normal day - while she had the chance.

She asks poignantly, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?"

So often we don't. We get swept up in busyness, rushing here, there and everywhere.

However, we are here now. It is not too late.

Look around right now and imprint this day. Really see your surroundings as if for the first or last time.

Drink in the sheer miracle of being alive - of being able to breathe, feel, hear, taste, touch, love, experience.

A moment of grace and deeply felt gratitude is a moment's notice away.

Dan Millman -no such thing as ordinary day

Day Right Quote #50: Are You Putting Aside What You Want MOST for What You Want NOW?

Love this quote by Zig Ziglar, "Are you putting aside what you want MOST for what you want NOW?" The good news? Sometime there's a sublime convergence and what we want MOST and what we want NOW are the same thing.

Like today. I got some good news about my upcoming book - Chase Meaning, Not Clicks - so I wanted to celebrate.

Headed out to explore a new town and discovered a used bookstore, a fabulous library with a "Read to Rover" program in process, and THE best restaurant I've discovered in Boulder- the EMPIRE. What a perfect day.

Here's the question. What do you want MOST? What do you want NOW? Are they the same? Different?

Could you converge them for a morning, afternoon or weekend so you get to experience the sublime combination of a day where all is right with your world and you are SHINING with happiness and abundance?

zig ziglar best

Day Right Quote #49: The Earth Has Music for Those Who Listen

When my sons headed off to college, (Yay Virginia Tech), we had 'dah talk." You know the one I'm talking about; where you try to distill everything you've learned into a couple pieces of advice?

One of the "What I know for sure's" I shared with Tom and Andrew was, "If you're ever frustrated sad, confused or in need of a pick-me-up, get out in Mother Nature.

She will fill you with perspective and remind you of what's right in the world."

I was in an exploratory mood yesterday so Googled "park near me?" Minutes later, she directed me to this incredibly inspiring Twin Lakes walking trail. Isn't it glorious?

William Shakespeare was right.

The earth does have music for those who listen and see and appreciate her abundance.

I am in harmony every single time I'm fortunate enough to be in her presence. How about you?

earth has music best

Day Right Quote #47: The Wisdom of Life Consists in the Elimination of Non-Essentials

One of the keys to enjoying my Year by the Water was that I gave away 95% of what I owned. People ask if I miss any of it?

Nope. It freed me up to focus on what really matters and lead an even more #meaningful life.

Is clutter keeping you from concentrating on what counts?

Is stuff keeping you stuck?

Ask yourself what it costs in terms of time, money and energy to purchase, clean, repair and take care of everything in your home.

Is it adding value? Is it making you happier and healthier?

Or are all those "possessions" weighing you down, holding you back from the like you're meant to lead?

What would you be freed up to do if you eliminated some of those non-essentials?lin yutang

Day Right Quote #46: Slow Down. You Move Too Fast.

Thanks Simon and Garfunkel for this eloquent reminder to SLOW DOWN and make the morning (This moment? This day? This weekend?) last. What's the big hurry? The faster we go, the more we miss.

Stop right now. Look around. Really SEE someone or something as if for the first or last time.

Take a big deep breath. Imprint this moment. Send up thanks for all that's right with your world.

Gratitude is a moment's notice away.

The contentment we seek is on the other side of slowing down.

simon and garfunkel

Day Right Quote #45: It's Not Nature OR Nurture - It's Nature AND Nurture

My energy was a little flat yesterday and I wondered why. All of a sudden, it came to me. I had "inside-itus."

I had spent hours looking down at my laptop, working online, answering emails and writing a blog post.

Spending too much time indoors - and keeping our head down - is a prescription for feeling down.

So, I headed outside and LOOKED UP.

I didn't see this magnificent waterfall, but I DID see spacious blue skies, golden foothills and a serene lake park trilling with the sounds of songbirds.

Nature nourished me and lifted my spirits in minutes.

Are you overdue for some nature and nurture?

Thinks will be looking up as soon as YOU get outside and LOOK UP.

nature AND nurture - best

Day Right Quote #44: The Grass Is Green Enough

One of the most important epiphanies from my Year by the Water? “Sometimes, the grass is green enough.”

This may seem to fly in the face of being an adventurer, someone who revels in new places, people and experiences.

However, it’s not a contradiction.

NOW and NEW are opposite sides of the same coin.

There are times we’re eager to evolve and explore – and times we look around and think, “This is enough. I am enough.”

Sometimes the grass IS greener elsewhere – sometimes the grass is green enough right here, right now.

I took the picture below while exploring a new lake park near my home here in Boulder.

As I strolled through the lush grass, I laughed out loud as I realized. "I'm literally walking in clover."

It was a tangible reminder that being wealthy in what matters is not having or feeling one thing OR the other; it is a sublime blend of feeling and having BOTH.

Sometimes, we're walking in clover and loving every minute of it.

Sometimes we're seeking and appreciating new fields of clover.

They are not mutually exclusive; they are the yin-yang balance of a fulfilling life.

grass bold

Day Right Quote #37: There is a Voice That Doesn't Use Words. Listen.

One of the great joys of my Year By The Water was having the time and space to notice the "nudges" - those intuitive urges to "turn here, do this." Every time I honored the "voice that doesn't use words," as Rumi calls it .... magic unfolded.

I met aligned people and experienced rewarding adventures I wouldn't have discovered otherwise.

This post is an example of the delights that waited on the other side of leaving room for whims and following those intuitive nudges - which I'm convinced are our best future meeting use halfway.

http://serendestiny.com/want-to-jump-start-serendipity-act…/

there is a voice - rumi

Day Right Quote #34: Nearly All The Best Things That Came to Me in Life Have Been Unexpected, Unplanned by Me

After an intense and rewarding week of consults, I pronounced yesterday ADVENTURE FRIDAY and decided to go to Estes Park, 30 miles away, because I'd never been there. As I drove into that stunning mountain valley, I saw a white lodge high on a hill. I didn't know what it was, but it looked intriguing, so I started taking roads that led UP until I arrived HERE.

This is the famous Stanley Hotel. You may have seen it in the movie The Shining. Remember Jack Nicholson's immortal words, "I'll be b-a-c-k."

As I strolled the grounds, marveled at the "didn't know that" history of this grand hotel, and gazed at the majestic snow-capped mountains, I was reminded all over again that SECURITY is not the spice of life, DISCOVERY is.

Do you do same-old, same-old, day in and day out? Do you feel locked into routines?

This week, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Change things up. Follow an intuitive nudge to go here, do this. Re-experience the power curiosity and discovery have to put the light on in your eyes. Set something in motion and see what unfolds

Your SerenDestiny is on the other side of routine.

Carl Sandburg is right. Nearly all the best things that come to us in life are unexpected, unplanned

carl sandberg

Day Right Quote #31: Celebrate Someone's Who's Always Been There for You

Taylor Swift says, "People haven't always been there for me; but music has." Who and what have always BEEN THERE for you?

My sister Cheri Grimm of Virtual Asset Office Management has run my business for 20 years.

One of the great joys of my life is having the privilege of working with someone I trust completely who always has my back and front.

I am enormously grateful to her for the countless ways she supports and inspires me and delivers above-and-beyond service to our clients. Thanks, sis, for ALWAYS being there.

Part of putting and keeping the light on in our eyes and leading a life of SerenDestiny is intentionally aligning with people we trust who are always there for us ... and being there for THEM by letting them know how much their support and constancy means to us.

Why not give a shout-out today to someone who's always been there for you? There is no present like the time - and no time like the present - to acknowledge and appreciate someone who contributes to your quality of life.

cheri and sam at ccwc

Day Right Quote #30: Money Doesn't Guarantee Happiness; It Guarantees OPTIONS

When I worked in the tennis industry on Hilton Head Island, SC early in my career, I met many unhappy rich people. I learned that money is not the Holy Grail. Money is welcome of course, but as Chris Rock points out, to give us OPTIONS, not to guarantee we'll love our life.

What makes us happy is to DO what puts the light on in our eyes and to align and spend time with people WHO put the light on in our eyes.

That's the purpose of this site. For you to have a place you can always find quotes, stories and fresh insights on how to put and keep the light on in your eyes.

In other words, how to be wealthy in what REALLY matters.

No spam. No selling. No ulterior motive. Just a site that focuses on what's right on in the world to help us lead a proactive, generous, grateful, abundant life that creates a "rising tide" impact that adds meaning and value for us and everyone around us.

Hope you find this SerenDestiny site inspiring. If so, you're welcome to share it with your friends. It makes my day when people are thoughtful enough to "spread the wealth."

money doesn't guarantee happiness

Day Right Quote #19: I am Not LOST in Thought: I am FOUND in Thought

I understand the phrase "lost in thought," but it's more accurate to say I am "FOUND in thought." Some of the most deeply satisfying, connected, creatively productive moments of my life are when I'm thinking, musing, observing, appreciating and writing.

How about you?

I am not lost in thought, I am found in thought

Day Right Quote #14: Old Ways Won't Open New Doors

Are you happy with your current life? Satisfied with your relationships, health, finances and career? Congrats! If there are things that are not yet the way you want them to be, the answer is simple.

Do things differently. Old ways won't open new doors.

Select one area of your life you want to improve.

What is one thing you can start doing or stop doing today that is different than your norm?

How will you change things up by NOT doing things the way you always have?

Dulce Ruby said, "Just like the moon; we go through different phases."

What a new phase? Try some new ways. old ways - day right 14

Day Right Quote #12: There Is More to Life Than Increasing Its Speed

Gandhi was right. There IS more to life than increasing its speed. Many of us are working, working, working, rushing, rushing, rushing.

We're heading into a spring weekend.

Instead of going for a run, workout or power walk to get your heart rate UP, could you go for a stroll instead?

The trees are budding.The flowers are blossoming. Breathe it all in.

Appreciation for the miracles that surround us is available anytime we want ... for a moment's NOTICE.

gandhi

Day Right Quote #11: Love. Pass It On.

Love is the question and the answer. At the end of our #life, what we will remember, what will remain, what will matter is:

"Did we love? Were we loved?"

love. pass it on.