Life is full of possibilities, it is full of opportunities, and it is full of miracles. Every single moment, you are surrounded by them. The first problem is perceiving them and it is not always easy. Each of us becomes entrapped in the daily routines of our lives. We do the same things, we perform the same tasks, and we do them at the same times. Life begins to become a monotony. Routine is the silent killer. It stalks us, it sneaks up behind us and it ensnares us. It is far too easy to be caught. I know that myself all too well.
There are many moments in my life when I have a sudden realisation that I have become deeply entrenched in my routines. Yes, some routines are necessary and helpful. Take for example my own morning ritual. I get up, I fire up the laptop (it needs a lot of time to run through its own routines), I put the coffee on brew, I wash my face, I do some push ups, some stomach crunches, I make my cereal with chopped banana and milk, and I pour out the coffee. While I have been doing all of this, my laptop has become ready to use, so I sit down and catch up on the news, check my e-mails and Facebook happenings. It's my twenty minutes of peace and quiet before I have to get myself ready and leave for work. I need it to be able to function in the morning. It's part of my wake up routine and because of it, I know that at certain times, I need to perform certain tasks and by doing so, I will be ready to leave for work just at the right time. That all seems quite normal enough, so where is the danger in routine?
Let me use an example. There are people who commute to London every day by train. They end up standing in exactly the same spot on the platform and they sit in the same seat of the same carriage, with the same people, every day. They have become so completely conditioned to their routine. But that's good though, right? These people get to hang out and talk with their acquaintances and friends, they know they'll have a seat and they know where that seat is going to be. It all sounds so logical and it is, which is exactly the problem.
These people are missing out on the chance of making important and new discoveries. No new opportunities will come their way, no new people will enter their lives, people who may bring with them an important message that could alter the course of their destiny. These commuters have closed themselves off to chance and in so doing, they have closed themselves off to the opportunity to learn and to evolve. Life begins to become dull and boring, always the same. This is the danger with routine. It prevents us from discovering the new because we seek comfort in all that is old, all that is comfortable, secure and known to us. Routine blinkers our eyes, it deafens our ears, and it quietens the voice of our heart to all of life's opportunities and possibilities.
So, the first task in beginning to open yourself up to opportunities is to break some of your old routines and habits and to do things differently. Be spontaneous. Be a little crazy. Say yes rather than saying no. Take a different route to work. Sit in a different seat on the train or bus. Leave ten minutes later or ten minutes earlier. I recall a scene in the movie Dead Poets Society, where Mr Keating (Robin Williams) asks the boys to stand up on his desk and to view the world differently. "You must open your eyes to possibility", he tells them. This then is the trick. You need to find your own desk and to look upon your world from another angle.
You also need to heed the voice of your heart and to be a little daring. The moment that you do, life will reward you. In order to achieve all that you wish for, it is necessary to step outside of your comfort zone. Inside that zone, everything is known to you and it is safe. You can spend the rest of your life in there and you might be content, but you will never have any chance of discovering what lies elsewhere, what incredible things could occur to you, if you were to just take a single step outside. You will never discover your one true path from the safety of your comfort zone, you will never realise your dreams. It can be scary, there is no denying it. It can be a little overwhelming. That too can happen. But, it can also deliver to you the most rewarding experiences that will ever occur in your life. In order to make discoveries we must be bold and we must be daring and we must follow the urges of our heart's.
There are times in my life when I chose to do exactly that. The time I booked my plane tickets to New Zealand for my first solo vacation, taking that job in Budapest, giving up my career with IBM, booking those tickets to Bangkok, enrolling in university in New Zealand, going to Honduras and becoming a dive instructor. Each time I have dared, I have been rewarded more richly than I could ever possibly have imagined. Even in the times when things did not quite go the way I had thought or had planned, I was still rewarded with new experiences, new people and I learned. Everything that I experienced was necessary. It has helped me evolve my spirit. This is how life works. This is how we discover our true selves. Each of us is far more capable than we can possibly imagine.
This is exactly what happened the other night. I had an urge in my heart, I wanted to go night swimming but for some reason, I always knew that it had to happen in a certain way. When that opportunity presented itself, when I heard the words that asked me if I wanted to take a swim, I could not deny the voice of my heart. I knew it was this moment, I knew that it had to be right there and then. I could have said no, it was too late, that I wanted to stay dry, that I wanted to get home, but I did not. Instead, I dared. And in the moment of my daring, I opened up myself to the possibilities of life. There I was, in the water, at the moment in which I thrust my arm forward. As my finger tips separated water from water, something extraordinary happened, the water exploded with a shimmering light that surrounded my hand and my arm. I was stunned, amazed. I did it again and the same thing happened. Then I lifted my arm out of the water and hundreds of tiny drops of light fell from me, slowly cascading down to fall back into the black of the water and disappear. Truly this was one of the most incredibly beautiful spectacles I have ever seen. There in that moment, the two of us shared together a moment of pure magic. It was a moment when life chose to reveal one of its miracles to us, as if it had been waiting there all of this time, for the right moment, for the moment when we dared. And by daring we discovered one of life's miracles, we found an ocean of bioluminescence.
Those same miracles await you too. They are out there, all you have to do is to believe, to dare, to switch up your routines and to let yourself open up to the possibilities and opportunities of life. Once you begin to see the miracles, you will never stop. Once you hear the voice of your heart and heed its message, you can never go back. Opportunities will come to you. Miracles will occur. And with them, so too will you come to see and to know the one simple thing that connects every single thing in the universe: love.