Or in Perception Language we might say: “Why hold yourself back from growing younger?
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook
In the year 2000 I went to Japan with my husband, Jake. He was teaching in Tokyo again and I decided to go along for an adventure. I had narrowed my life down to a pleasant and easy existence, with a creative home based business and growing a garden. What more did I need?
But I sensed my life had grown too narrow. I was less willing to go out to try new things and I was becoming more isolated. Something in me said I needed to go beyond my comfort level to wake myself up a bit—perhaps to feel more alive.
After arriving exhausted in Tokyo, I rested a few days and then ventured out on little jaunts by myself into the city. First, I just walked the streets, where I time warped myself with ancient, quaint little villages tucked in between skyscrapers and the noisy rush of the city.
Then I ventured out on the public transport systems—with a goal of seeing a giant bronze Buddha, thousand year old temples, feeling my way without speaking the language, and then heading back to the hotel before dark. I got braver each day.
After a few days of exploring Tokyo, I packed my backpack and my Japanese dictionary, and headed off by myself on a train out of the city and into an even more foreign world. I’d booked a little Ryokan (Japanese Inn) in a distant town and arrived just as the sun set with a growing need for food, so I left my belongings in my room and took a walk.
Soon I found myself lost in a tangle of tiny streets that all looked alike. It was dark and I’d left my travel book back in my room so I couldn’t even show anyone an address. I wandered for hours and hours. And finally, I found my street somehow.
I had lost myself—then I found myself.
I literally I found myself that night. And since then I’ve never quite been the same. I’m more willing to step into the unknown— stretch myself—because I trust that I’ll find my way.
As we age we tend to narrow down our lives. We take fewer risks and go on fewer adventures. I watched my parents lives get narrower and narrower as they moved into their elder years, until they were left wandering the halls of a seniors’ residence and eventually fearing even that. I have vowed not to follow in their footsteps.
So, for me, the cure for “narrowing down” is opening up—opening myself up to something new—something bigger than just a new yoga class or even a weekend workshop. Every year I go for a week-long retreat to explore myself in a new situation, stimulate my curiosity and creativity, and for growing myself younger.
And when I co-lead retreats with my husband, I challenge my creative self to invent new experiences for each group. Since many people return again and again for another retreat adventure, we add new activities, experiments, change the music and the lectures. And this helps keep us younger, awake and alive.
Both of us are introverts. So, we are not taking the easiest path for ourselves by leading retreats, but we know that each time we step up to the challenge, we become more vibrant, deeper, and our lives take on greater meaning.
We feel we are making the most of this gift of being alive by being more awake and helping others wake themselves up. I hope you’ll take the leap, open yourself up to a life expanding experience.
Truly, you’ll be growing younger
You’ll find links at the bottom of this page for our next two retreats. This experience isn’t like a social event. It’s more like a wake up call for the rest of your life with other people doing the same. So, why hold yourself back? As they say, life is short and then we die. But the experiences we give ourselves along the way will make all the difference as to how the end will feel.