The Shake-Up

I ran my usual 5 miles the other day but this time shook it up a bit.  I took the path I’ve run a hundred times before, but this time ran it in the opposite direction.

Sounds simple, but after so many familiar treks around those bends, this time a lot appeared different.  Same houses, streets and trees, but seeing them from a new angle made it fresh and intriguing.  Even the time seemed to go by more quickly.

Reminds me of similar life shake-ups, some planned and others handed without invitation.  Like a job layoff, reorgs with different bosses, new marriage, new city, unplanned tragedies, the list goes on.

By nature we gravitate to routine and the comfort of what’s familiar.  We wake up at the same time, eat the same things (the avg person eats 17 items in their diet over and over again), park in the same row at the mall, choose the same seat at church every week (I’ve seen people get angry when a visitor takes their spot!) and talk to the same people about pretty much the same things.  Sounds like a lot of sameness to me!

Both my books were written during major life shake-ups….first while adjusting to a new marriage, job, city, and four new sons.  The second during our son’s major battle with stage 4 cancer.  Amidst what felt like chaos, somehow it was easier to rally the out-of-the-norm creativity and energy that writing a book requires.

What one thing could you do this week to shake something up and create possibilities?

  • Make a phone call you keep putting off (the awkwardness of dialing will quickly give way to the energy of doing)
  • Order something new at your favorite restaurant
  • Talk to one unfamiliar person and sit in a new spot, even in your own living room
  • Read a different blog or magazine, and discover a new writer that stimulates your mind

It takes courage to shake things up, and even more to face the inevitable unplanned shake-ups.  Fortunately, like on my run, a shake-up may be just what we need to gain a fresh perspective and discover something new.

If you’ve faced an unwanted shake-up this year, let the break-up of what’s familiar be a wake-up to surprise possibilities.  Choosing to stay positive opens up surprise gifts often better than those we’d imagine.

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