Exercise is one of my 7 Steps to a Happier Life. It releases endorphins and make you feel good, but I get bored easily and have been searching for a new form of exercise to compliment yoga and surfing and skateboarding and bouldering. More on those later…It was the first thing I, like many of us, mastered after walking… Riding a bike. You know the phrase…”it’s like riding a bike” I think this means, it’s hard to figure out how to do it at first, but then, once you figure it out, you never forget how to do it. Learning a new yoga pose is the same way. That balance thing…once your mind and body work together and figure it out, you will always have that skill. Learning something new takes practice, sometimes a lot of practice. Then, when you finally “get it” the feeling is pure joy!
This is a feeling I always want more of in my life and who doesn’t? Pure Joy is where it’s at! Learning a new skill, figuring out how to do something you couldn’t do before, leads to Joy.
My mom wouldn’t let me ride a skateboard when I was a kid. She said “you can’t do that, you’ll crack your head open” She was probably right. I most likely would have. I almost did several times when learning at age 34. I had just moved to the South Bay and there is this beautiful strand that goes along the Pacific Ocean and a friend gave me a skateboard, so I gave it a try. I felt like a total clutz. I was so goofy and felt out of control, falling down several times and getting hurt, but after practicing for a little while, I figured it out and loved it. It gave me so much joy. Learning something new. Turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks, it just takes practice.
Surfing was the same. Growing up in the East, South and Midwest I learned how to play golf and ski. I can still crush it at those sports as well as tennis, football, baseball and basketball, even bowling. But I had only surfed once with my friend Todd in Florida. So teaching the brain something new with the added element of the powerful Pacific Ocean in my 30′s was interesting. I had an emergency room visit along with several other “close calls” People who didn’t surf would say, “aren’t you afraid of sharks? I’d say no, I’m afraid of the Ocean and other surfers! The waves can be treacherous if you don’t respect them. The surfboard is a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands and the waves are unpredictable. The key however is to not get caught up in the fear. Fear can stop progress dead in its tracks. Fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of looking stupid. Focus on the end result…Joy, the joy you will feel when you have added a new talent to your repertoire. Rest your mind on Joy, not fear. Feel the Joy.
My forties are turning into the music decade for me. I wanted to learn the guitar for years, but never practiced, so nothing ever happened. Now I am into the ukulele. It is easier because it only has four strings instead of six and has a really nice sound. So I started taking lessons and I am committing to practicing for 15 minutes a day. That is only one percent of my day. Figure it out. Mathematically it is only 1% of a 24 hour day. I owe that to myself! I am going to give it a try. I’m still not very good, but I can already feel the joy as I learn new cords and begin to see progress. My wife has started harmonium lessons (see photo above) and it has been fun to watch her progress. I can see the joy in her spirit as she “gets it”.
So I encourage you… Try something new. For 7 days. 15 minutes a day. Commit to doing something you want to incorporate into your life. Meditation, making a smoothie, cooking, hula hooping, practicing handstand, playing guitar, learning a new language, whatever it is. Give one percent of your day to yourself and something new and see what happens! I predict you will add a new skill to your life and create more joy while doing it. Have fun and let me know how it goes:)