Adventure...something about this word. You hear it and you have to admit there is a little jump in that soul of yours, because we all yearn for grand adventures we have stashed in the back of our heart. I would say we are even born with that call for adventure, the call for more than the basic story.
And there is this word "maybe". It is as if "adventure" has a nemesis by the name of "doubt" with his side-kick "if/then". But why do we allow the adventure to remain basic when it really could be grand?
I have a good friend, Karla, who is an absolutely fantastic grandma, and in every picture you see of her, grandsons piled in her lap, there is this sense of magic. I have to admit, whenever I know she is going to get to see her grandchildren, I eagerly await the stories. Many people spend time with their grand children, but this is not your ordinary grandma, for every time they are together, she creates a "grand adventure" for her grandsons. What does that entail? It is nothing complicated, it is more about just deciding that life is much more exciting when we make every adventure GRAND. A walk, a visit to the park, a camping trip, visiting a new city, hanging out on the couch, playing in the back yard, making dinner....it is not the activity that matters, it is the attitude with which it is all approached.
I know some of you are thinking that this approach works fine when we are kids, but this is reality and much of life is far from a "grand adventure".
Well there it is...right there...the gnawing grab at your heels to get back in the box.
Perhaps, then, this is the perfect place to add that this is not just how Karla views time with her grandkids, she lives this way all the time. Karla sees the world as an open book full of beautiful blank pages. This woman lives with the belief that you are absolutely in charge of how you color those pages, and believe me, she is the first to hand you the big ol' box of crayons.
A few months ago as I struggled to fit together some of the last pieces needed to make some bold life changes, I was also wrestling with that old dragon doubt breathing the fire of the past down the back of my neck. Tears in my eyes, Karla grabbed a blank piece of paper and the box of Crayola markers.
"This is your life," she said, "this blank open canvas."
“I know, I know." I said, “I get it. I can make it into anything."
"No, you don't get it yet. Listen." She said as she picked up the black marker from the box and began to color a very, very small section of black in the corner of the paper.
"I know there is fear and doubt, and the past failures and pain speak louder at times, but here is the deal. You are only going allow yourself this little corner of darkness in this next chapter. This little mark is it. Got it? You are worth more than all the past doubt and pain and you are going to fill this page with amazing color."
Karla began to fill the page with different colors. Then she gave me the markers and had me add too. The page was soon a beautiful mess of colors, and you know what, you could not even see the little black mark.
Karla put her hands on my shoulders as she looked me right in the eyes and her words reached out to grab my heart right back from the gnawing jaws of doubt. "Your next chapter is going to that amazing grand adventure, I just know it. Look at this page. This is what we are going for. There is pain and you are allowed to feel that form time to time, but you are not going to let that color the picture anymore than this little corner. You have way too much good unfolding to let that take up more space. Look at all these colors. Amazing isn't it?"
Amazing indeed. I realized I had let the dragon of doubt hold the markers for way too long.
When we hear the words "grand adventure" I think we all want exactly that. We want that to be true in our job, our friendships, and our romantic relationships, we want a grand life.
Well, so what is stopping you? You are in charge of the pages and thankfully our approach allows us to decide if the darkness gets the entire page, or if the colors take over opening even more "grand adventures" as the pages stack up into our life story.
I can't physically hand you the colors, but consider this article your personal set of 8 bright markers. Decide that you are going to color in the grand, and then keep on grabbing more pages.
And hey, can you pass me the red and the orange markers? I have some corners to fill in!
A special thank you to Karla for being grand in every way. You set a path of adventure boldly, and that is a gift beyond words.
Heidi Rickard is the Creative Director for The Authenticity Project, you can contact Heidi atTheAuthenticityProject@gmail.com.