Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.
Risks are part of living – there is no way to escape them. So how do we make choices about what to do and what to avoid? What’s safe? What’s not? I ride my bike on city street which some people think is crazy dangerous. Some people downhill ski which given my (lack of) experience and other factors, I would not do.
These choices are personal, of course, but I suggest that we see what’s at the root of deciding to do something or not. Am I avoiding something based on an unwarranted fear about some negative outcome? Or am I avoiding it based on my inner wisdom, experience and intuition? Am I choosing to do something based on peer pressure or on genuine enthusiasm?
Taking safe risks is a way of connecting to the sensation of dancing on the edge between challenge and healing. The more safe risks we take, the more intimate we become with the sensation of being fearless but not reckless. Here are 5 (+!) simple ways to take safe risks and get to know what it feels like to dance on that edge.
1. Sensational Safe Risks
Your sensations are portals of information and amazement. Explore expanding what you sense by taking some safe risks:
• Taste something new – order something you’ve never had at your favorite restaurant, buy an unfamiliar fruit at the grocery store, say yes if someone offers you a taste of kombucha. (Of course, avoid known allergens or anything that’s gone bad. To taste those would be reckless.)
• Smell something new – take a sniff through a selection of essential oils and smell what you smell! Do I *still* hate the smell of patchouli like I did in college? Yes. Yes, I do. And it’s worth checking out.
• Touch something new – wear your sweater against your skin, rub your thumb along your dog’s paw, eat a salad with your fingers. If you find yourself hesitating to touch something, ask if it’s out of habit or fear (Ew! Dirt!), or genuine danger (Yikes! Hot stove!).
• Listen to something new – Pandora and Spotify are great resources for listening to new sounds. (Spotify gives me a playlist of new songs every week!) Check out something you’ve never heard before and commit to listening for at least a minute before moving on to something else.
• See something new – Prowl around for unfamiliar art to let your eyes soak up. Watch a movie or show that is new to you. See if you can stay open even if it’s “not your style.”
2. Physical Safe Risks
Do something different with your body. Take a class that’s new to you. Hike a different trail. Run on a different route. Dance to different music (maybe from your Spotify playlist!). Let yourself have a new physical experience that has the sensation of both challenge and healing. Be fearless, not reckless.
3. Emotional Safe Risks
Show up differently in a relationship. If you tend to be the talker, play with staying quiet and listening. If you are the listener, speak up and say something, even if it’s “I need to think about that.”
4. Mental Safe Risks
Read a writer you don’t know. Listen to news from a source that isn’t your usual. Have a conversation with someone who disagrees with you – and don’t fight with them. (For more on this mind-opening approach, read this wonderful piece.)
5. Spiritual Safe Risks
Be alert to any gentle tuggings to do or not do something. Listen to your intuition even if it doesn’t seem rational or if it’s not what you usually do. Follow your spirit and see where it leads.
FUN NEWS: elephant journal picked up two of my essays last week! As an aspiring writer, I’m delighted to share my work with more people, so I would love it if you would go to the link and check them out by clicking here and here and if you think they would be of benefit, please share them! I am grateful for your help in spreading the word!