Leave your harbor behind…

July 2, 2021

A quote that I saved a while back inspired me this morning – “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”  – John A. Shedd

We are all “safe” if we let our fears prevent us from ever venturing out of the harbors that we create for ourselves. It is as if we become mimes, trapped in an imaginary glass box of our own making. It may be a place where we feel safe and comfortable, or a job into which we have settled. Perhaps your harbor involves relationships that feel safe for you. For some it is a location that they seldom venture far from. For most it involves the routines that we fall into and the habits that form over time. It is just easier and safer feeling to continue to do the same old things in the same old places with the same old people around us.

The routines of our lives become harbors that we don’t leave. But that feeling of safety comes at a price – our lives become constricted, and we don’t grow. We let our fear of things new or different set boundaries that we do not cross and prevent us from forming new relationships with people whom we fear to meet. Life can get pretty boring in the little harbors that we create for ourselves.

Another quote that I collected, this one the lyrics from the song “Let it Go” from the movie Frozen, provides inspiration to leave those safe harbors –

And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through.”

The essence of Shedd’s quote is that ships were meant to sail the seas and not rest peacefully in harbors. Ships are built to withstand the seas – the tossing waves and blowing winds – just as we are “built” to withstand the tests that life through at us. It is up to us to overcome our fears, to test our limits and break through, by breaking out of our safe harbors.

Think a moment of your life and the routines that you have developed. Have you lived in the same place for 10-20 years or more? Do you always go to the same restaurants or stores? When was the last time that you met someone new or made a new friend? Have you even looked lately to see if another job might be a better fit for you? If you are single, when was the last time that you had a date or even tried to?

As you think about things like that and other things in your life that have become routines (safe harbors) ask yourself why. What is holding you back? What do you fear?  Is there really any basis for those fears?

You may reply, “But, I feel comfortable with my routines, why should I change anything?” The simple answer is that this was not what you were made for that is not the purpose of life. I like this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt – “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

One cannot reach out for new experiences from within their safe harbor. You must leave the safety and comfort of the harbor of your routines and try new things, meet new people, have new experiences. Not to do so is not really to live your life. Perhaps you can pray for the courage to leave your harbor. Maybe knowing that you have God at your side will give you the courage to leave your harbor.

Let the words of Dawna Markova inspire you – “I will not die an unlived life…I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise” Maybe Markova could have said “to loosen my heart until it becomes a ship that sails out of the harbor.”

Leave your harbor behind today and reach out for new experiences do new things, go new places, meet new people.

Bon Voyage!

What will you learn today and from whom?

July 13, 2015

“We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives…Some lessons are painful, some painless…but all are priceless.”  (Unknown)

talking-2We all learn in many ways. Some like to read; while some like to just go out and experience things and learn from those experiences. We also all meet people who pass through our lives and most of the time we learn from them, if we are paying attention. Sometimes we learn because they have something to share and pass on to us – an experience or bit of knowledge that they’ve picked up on their life journey. Maybe their shared experiences will help us avoid a mistake or help in our efforts to accomplish the same thing.

Sometimes the learning comes from how we react to the people that we meet and trying to figure out why. Are we drawn to them by their charm or repulsed by them because of their appearance? different peopleDo we agree with their opinions or do they offend us? Do we find the experiences that they may relate to us to be helpful or do we write them off as the blathering of an idiot? What can we learn about ourselves by looking at our reaction to them? Has a little bit of prejudice shown itself in our reactions? Have our preconceived notions been exposed? Did we wait to render judgement or jump to a conclusion that we may now regret, based solely on the appearance of the other person? What can we learn from that?

Life is full of opportunities to learn and doesn’t seem to follow a lesson plan. Things and people just happen in our lives and each occurrence represents a learning experience, if we let it. I think the key to turning life into a continuous learning experience is to be more cognizant of what’s going on around us and to embrace everything as a possible teaching moment. It is all too easy to “tune out” life around you these days. It talking-1is easier to keep your head down with your eyes focused upon the tiny screen of your phone that it is to see the big, wide world around you and all of the opportunities that are there. You should really give life a chance. It is a much more fascinating experience than the text messages and games on your phone.

So, start each day with the expectation and the anticipation that you’ll learn something new from someone today. Then, commit to make the effort to meet and interact with others in your search for that new knowledge. At the end of the day, think back on the encounters that you had with others during the day and all of the things that you learned. Those are lessons that would have been lost, had you not made the effort. If you have time, you can review the things that those people may have learned from you and reflect on whether what you learned today has changed your outlook on things. Maybe what you learned during the day helped knock another tiny edge off those prejudices that you had at the start of the day and that’s a priceless lesson.

Have a great and educational week ahead. I can’t wait to learn from you.