Life of Adventure

A Secret to Pleasant Travels—Expect Nothing

September 15, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”
― Stephen W. Hawking

I write this post on a plane from LA to Maui. Naturally thoughts concerning the vacation have crossed my mind every now and again—but not frequently. I think that is so for two reasons: (1) I travel a lot so this is not unique, and (2) I really have no grandiose expectations of Hawaii. I have been there several times. At 70 years old come Monday the 16th, the idea of showing my body in swimming trunks next to a pool is not very appealing, the laid back Hawaiian persona is not as attractive as it once was, I have no interest in Hawaiian shows, boat trips, or not even that much interest in snorkeling—which once was a grand joy.

Why Go on a Trip You Don’t Care About?

So, why, I’m sure you ask am I going to Hawaii for vacation? Easy. Pam and I are very busy with our work and commitments. This trip required minimal planning, it is only ten days, and the cost is reasonable—Pam is great at “finding deals!” The wedding of our son Austin and his ever so delightful fiancée Maggie, seems to consume enough time and energy to prevent delving into the details of planning the kind of trip we might usually take—Japan or Europe or even southeast Asia.

Last week, a friend asked if I was excited to go on this trip. He was surprised when I responded with, “No, I’m just going and I’ll wait to see how it turns out.” I have almost no expectations so the adventure can only get better. Since I expect little, something enchanting will be a pleasant surprise.

The Wonder of “Wait and See”

And then that go me thinking: what if we approached life in more of a “wait and see” mode instead of always expecting or hoping that whatever it is we are doing will be great? “Great” is a most difficult expectation to meet. But when we are only simply expect some type of “experience” it is much more difficult to be disappointed because the experience we expect is not laden with hopes or desires.

Your life can be full. It can be pleasant. It can be great or… not so great. Nevertheless, it can still be full once you understand the power of fully embracing the present moment. Things like riding on an airplane and observing people, watching movies, reading or writing, or chatting with my wife as she attempts to connect with Wifi in the sky. (Nightmare.) Hahaha. Just another travel story to tell.

So, I do look forward to this trip after all. Perhaps more than any other to Hawaii because I look for nothing, expect little, and accept whatever may come my way.

Surprise Comes When You Least Expect It

Photo courtesy of MichaelJust at istockphoto


Silencing Your Inner Critic

July 21, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

The purpose of your Inner Critic is constant: to prevent you from taking any emotional risks or making changes in routine. Dena Crowder

Have you ever felt like whatever it is you are trying is not even worth the effort? Like you are surely going to fail? Like you will be ridiculed or even ostracized? Or, you simply feel like quitting because the intention requires too much emotional energy?
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The Fallacy of Beginnings and Endings

February 16, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

NOTE: From the archives. February 2019. Fun view from the past. 

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesomeIsaac Asimov

It occurred to me when I was reading a book. The author was writing about “beginnings and endings.” That was when I stopped reading and began pondering the very idea of beginnings and endings, as well as starts and finishes. We are taught to “complete everything you start.” And then to move on to your next project or opportunity to begin a new thing that will have its own ending. But life doesn’t work that way, does it?
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The Thrill of Not Knowing

June 16, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“What is your friend: the things you know, or the things you don’t know?” Jordan Peterson

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “the older you get you realize the less you know.”

Well, I’m not so certain I agree with that. I’ve found that the older I get the more I know, but… there is a lot less I know “for sure” and still a whole lot more that I will never know. Discovery has become, for me, one of life’s greatest attributes. I am insatiably curious and I find myself in a quest to explore and discover.
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A Season of Apathy

May 19, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Acedia [apathy] is a danger to anyone whose work requires great concentration and discipline yet is considered by many to be of little practical value… [but] if I am to care, it forces me to summon all my interior motivation and strength. Kathleen Norris

I have work to do, work that requires creativity, ingenuity, discipline, and contemplation. My work is not rote and many times I wish it were, yet in our information-oriented work culture very few people are blessed with rote work. Most of us are forced to think, create and deliver. And yet, many are the times I just don’t feel like it.

And often, in my work, those times of apathy can last for weeks. Some call it “writer’s block.” I think it is “creator’s block.” I have been blocked for the past couple of weeks. It is weird because it is so pervasive. It impacts all I do, including conversation.

It’s not that I don’t care. I do care, but I cannot summon the strength or energy to do anything about it.

Journal Entry

Check out this morning’s journal entry…

What I once perceived as depression, then labeled as Lethargy, I think would now be more accurately described as Apathy, or in spiritual terms Acedia.

I have been neglecting my morning routine of brief inspirational reading, meditation and journaling. Instead, I stay in bed long in the mornings, usually responding to emails and do just a bit of writing, although I am not even really keen on that.

Last week I did a painting and discovered a lack of energy, creativity or pleasure. It was a “palette test” and I did discover that I could work with the palette desired by a friend even though it is an awkward combination of colors.

Another troubling aspect of the apathy/acedia can be discovered in my inability to converse. Normally, I have an easy time engaging in a conversation with interesting people but of late I can find nothing to say or questions to ask. For instance, yesterday in Reno I met with one of the foremost experts in the discipline of WASH (sanitation and hygiene in developing countries). I sat at lunch and could not think of a question or statement which the normal me would have been inundated with. 

It’s not that I don’t care, I am just empty minded and quite frustrated by that state of mind. I sat across the table from him like a stone, my mind totally blank.

Have you ever felt the same? My guess is your response would be positive. And so what do we do about it?

Just Write

I think the answer is addressed by Stephen King regarding his cure for writer’s block: Just write, even if it’s crap. Write. I have found the same for apathy. Whatever task you have on your “to-do” list, just do it—even if it calls for the creativity you don’t think you can access.

Kathleen Norris said it well when she wrote, “… [apathy] forces me to summon all my interior motivation and strength.” I think I have done some of my best work “when I didn’t feel like it.” And if I were to wait for the magical moment of inspiration… well, I’d still be in bed.

It’s odd isn’t it, that apathy can produce our most creative work because we force ourselves to discover, once again, that creative genius hiding deep within us all.

Apathy May Be the Spark to Creativity 

Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto

Learning Begins by Unlearning

May 5, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Transformation is often more about unlearning than learning, which is why the religious traditions call it “repentance.” Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

“Repentance.” Yea, that is a pretty religious word with all kinds of negative implications. But… the Greek meaning of the word is simply “to change one’s mind.” Now changing your mind is not always quite so easy. We are immersed in a “my way or the highway” culture, in which many people truly believe their way is the right way and anyone that doesn’t agree is an idiot.
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The Absurdity of Individualism

November 25, 2017 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

The career of the rugged individualist in America has run mostly to absurdity, tragic or comic... Wendell Berry

I need to be very clear on one thing: I am an individualist. I thrive on freedom and independence. I retreat at any sign of someone telling me what to do or how to act, like government or churches or wives (haha, sorry Pam—but this is not new news to you).
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“I Don’t Know”: The Genesis of Inspiration and Adventure

November 11, 2017 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists…”

Polish poet Wisława Szymborska writes,

Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions.
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Risk: The Root of Passion

October 28, 2017 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Life’s great paradox is the struggle between risk and security.” Gregg Levoy

I was twenty years old when I decided to leave my scholarship at UCLA in my 3rd year to hitchhike around the United States. It was 1970, I was a longhaired pinky commie hippie totally done with school and gymnastics. (It would be twelve years before I returned to college.)
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You are Different Every Day; Except When You are the Same

October 9, 2017 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“We are different, from one another and, moment by moment, from even ourselves.” Poet Jane Hischfield

This morning I sit in an airport in Lima, Peru. Yesterday I was home packing and the day before that I attended a 50th HS reunion. Have I been the same Charlie on each day?

No way and yes way. In each situation above the “internal Charlie” was learning, creating and giving. This results from my hard-wiring (or DNA) that is unlikely to change.

The Different “Me’s”

Yet at the time I can express my multi-varied personality preferences in radically different behaviors every day. For example, at the reunion I was nervous, but still curious and interested in touching base with old HS compatriots.

The next day I was stressed with packing, and international check-in, followed by an 8-hour plane ride. And today, I am full of anticipation. Perhaps the excitement of finally experiencing South America after months of planning contributed to my feelings.

In each case the “practicing me” was significantly different. Yes, I am indeed impacted by the situation in which I find myself and anyone that meets me for the first time might walk away with a different opinion of who I am.

Each day I am a different Me but still I won’t be required to compromise my core self in the slightest. Yes, every day I am a bit different in the way I act; it all depends on the day, doesn’t it?

And you, what about you? First of all, are you friends with that core you that drives your very being? You know, the one that makes you feel like a contributor to the world? If not, you gotta get there. (I have a boatload of posts on Meaning in Life. Check ‘em out.)

The Dynamic You

And then there is the dynamic you—the one that adjusts to each situation and learns how to deal with each one according to whatever is required of you. This is the emotional and thinking you, the one most everyone knows.

You can always be better at being you. What an exciting thought. You can be true to the way you are created while at the same time express diversity in the way you manage your outer and inner life. Yes, you are different moment to moment, but the same “core you” when it counts.

Paradox. Maybe. But it is nevertheless true.

Only You Know the Real You

Live Like It and Love It

Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto

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