November 29, 2018

If Life Is a Journey, Are You a Commuter or an Adventurer?

John Golitz

John Golitz
President/Golitz Consulting

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I remember when I was in college, I got an intern with Dawson Johns and Black, a very cool advertising agency on Michigan avenue in downtown Chicago. Since I started the summer working for my Dad pealing labels off plastic flower pots in a very hot warehouse on the seedy west side of Chicago, I thought this was a huge upgrade.

When I was peeling labels off the pots in the warehouse, I could look out a very dirty window into an alley down below to a railroad car. The railroad car was filled with bricks and this poor old man was unloading this car, brick by heavy, dirty brick, by hand, into a van, in the hot sun.

When the boredom of peeling pots got overwhelming, I would look down in the alley and see the man unloading bricks and think that was a hard job and maybe mine was not so bad. That thought usually sustained me and kept me going but monotony soon became habitual and the days turned to weeks.

In the distance, I could see the skyscraper of the Chicago skyline and would wonder what it would be like to work downtown. I started to kill the boredom of peeling labels by imagining a job downtown working with all the beautiful, successful people.

Then one day, I got a call from my Dad and he said his advertising agency was looking for an intern to be the assistant to the president. I thought, this was just the job I was dreaming about, and I jumped at the chance.

One of the great upgrades of this new job was that I would get to commute from Barrington to downtown on the train. Commuting sounded so much better than sitting in 3 hours of angry hot traffic jams, so I looked forward to my first day on the job.

As I boarded the train, I was excited to see so many professional people with their coffees and newspapers. Everyone looked so clean and polished, but I began to notice a sort of haze in everyone’s eyes. Like the lights were on but no one was home.

I soon realized that if you get on the first car of the train, you could be first out of the train and beat the crowds when we pulled into the station. So this is where I decided to board the train.

Since we were early in the train route, the car was virtually empty when it pulled in to our station, but competition for each seat was fierce and it seemed that there was a preordained seating assignment as everyone sat in the same seats.

Because I was usually late to the station, I was left standing as all the seats filled in quickly. This gave me an opportunity to observe my co-commuters for the hour train ride into Chicago.

After many days, I noticed a pattern that my fellow commuter fell into. Since I was so happy to not be peeling pots anymore, I assumed everyone else was as well. Soon I began to see that everyone seemed to be running on automatic pilot.

Since I had time to kill on the train and was not into reading the newspaper as everyone else did in those days before smartphones. I began to make up stories about my fellow commuters on the first car on the 7:15 from Barrington to Chicago.

One of the peculiar people was an elderly gentleman who chastised me for sitting in “his” seat, I started calling 4b. It was the fourth row of seats from the door and it was on the isle and a choice seat in the car. I soon noticed that on Tuesdays he would always wear a blue and white striped sears sucker suit with a yellow bow tie. He was a sharp dresser, but this outfit was a dandy.

Then I noticed he had a specific suit for each day of the week except on Friday, when he went casual. His definition of casual was a blue oxford shirt, starched heavily, kacky pants, also heavily pressed and penny loafers. Definitely a preppy. He always wore the same thing and always had the same hair, groomed perfectly, a medium cup of coffee and the Wall Street Journal.

That was his uniform and it certainly defined him. What was particularly funny was that I noticed so many of the other commuters fell into the same patterns and their life seemed so habitual, I wondered if they were the successful ones my Dad was so impressed with as we grew up in our materialistic world of Barrington Hills.

As I grew up and got my first job out of college, I thought it was the successful thing to do to get a job in the city and get dressed in my suits and commute to my job in a skyrise. I soon became one of those commuters with my routine, and after several years, I began to fall into habits that became increasingly more difficult to change.

Over the next three decades, I became more interested in my spiritual journey and started to question my materialistic upbringing. Then one day, my wife said to me while I was in the shower, “the point of life is happiness”. What? It stuck me like someone just turned the shower to cold. I always thought the point of life was success and making money. Who cares about happiness?

From that point forward, I began to think about happiness and I realized that I was living such a habitual life, I did not even know what things I liked doing much less what makes me happy. Of course, my wife and kids made me happy, but I didn’t even know one thing that I really enjoyed doing that I considered fun.

This realization caused me to start looking at my life and I became determined to make some changes and get some of this happiness.

To my absolute shock, this turned out to be a very hard thing. I soon found that the thoughts I had been thinking for so long had become my beliefs about my life and my beliefs had shaped my habits and my habits had defined my identity of who I was.

 I was completely operating out of my ego and had no room in my life for change. Change was one of the things my subconscious was programmed to avoid. So, when I started introducing change, my life became filled with internal conflict.

As the person I wanted to become became farther from the person I had believed me to be, internal conflict erupted. My ego and body wanted to be in charge of my life and they were going to do everything they could to stop change.

And then came the real estate crash and my life was turned upside down. Since I had spent the majority of my life in real estate, was heavily invested, both monetarily and emotionally and used to a nice standard of life, this change came as a huge shock.

Looking back, it was a huge blessing as it took me out of my subconscious mind and my habitual life and forced me to start living my life on purpose. Over the next several years, we lost everything materialistic we owned and were stripped down to our bare self.

This caused me to rethink myself and start a new life. Fortunately, by now, I was firmly embracing a spiritual connection and began to access this spiritual connection to direct my life. This dramatic change of my life got me out of the commuter mentality and into the adventurer life.

Now I purposefully seek things in my life that will get me out of my comfort zone and into the now, so I can access the divine inspiration that guides us all. It is the same guidance that turns an acorn into an oak tree and fills the forest with trees so abundant, you could not possibly count them all.

One example of my adventurer lifestyle has been the joy I feel when I am out in the woods hiking. My wife and I enjoy it so much we decided to do something that really pushed our physical capabilities. Looking for a goal that would jump start my fitness and do something fun, we decided to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc or the TMB for short.

The TMB is a 105-mile trek that starts in Chamonix France and goes over 9 mountain passes as it winds through the Italian and Swiss Alps until it finishes back in Chamonix. It took us 12 days and was one of the most spectacular adventures of my life.

One of the lessons I learned while on the TMB was the concept of staying in the moment and taking life one step at a time. Shari and I observed that the extreme physical effort required to climb over a mountain and down the other side was more mental than physical.

We noticed that we would only feel tired and our feet would begin to hurt when we were close to the end of the day and we started looking to the finish instead of being in the moment. We also found that we could tell our bodies that we did not hurt, and our bodies would respond. We started saying a mantra: “The longer we go, the stronger we get and the better we feel” and our bodies would reenergize and stop hurting. It was an amazing experience that we repeated over and over again.

One of the remarkable things about being in a foreign county for 36 days is that you are completely out of your habitual mind and every day, and just about every moment, you need to decide, what do I want to do now. And if you do not like what you are doing, you can change it immediately. This was a very enlightening and healing period for us and has us firmly adopting the adventurer lifestyle.

Now that we are home, it is easy to slip back into the ego and the subconscious mind, but I resist at every conscious reminder.   Now I know and have experienced that if you want to change your life, you cannot live in your mind. Your mind can only think of what it can remember. So, if you want something new in your life, you need to access that from the now and that is where Spirit lives.

Accessing my divine power happens only when I am in the moment. When I am remembering the past or thinking of the future, I am in my mind. I now know that I cannot think of all the contingencies to get me out of things that could go wrong, so I should not even try.

I was taught when I was growing up to contingency plan and think of all the ways I could get out of the things that could go wrong. The problem with that is that we are never able to come up with any meaningful contingency plan because the future will always be different than the past. The last real estate crash was totally different than the next one.

When we think of things that could go wrong, the law of attraction brings us more of what of what we are thinking. We are far better off to think of things we want in our life and be in a state of divine inspiration. Now I let the intelligence of the Universe do my contingency planning and trust that everything is always working out for me.

Now when I think about things that make me happy, I have an endless list and have more success than I ever dreamed of because I have the full power of the universe flowing to me and through me. And so, do you.

Comments? You can contact me directly via my AdvisoryCloud profile.

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