Remember the odd old movie shot in the countryside with the general supply store featured on the small town’s main street? Yeah, you know: the one with that sign on the window “Gone Fishing?”
Who on earth goes fishing these days? Most of us are on all the time, armed for any digital emergency with blackberries or iphones. Facebooks, twitters, and with the social media arsenal at our fingertips, we barely leave anything or anyone behind. So, when a couple of friends commented on the fact that I have “disappeared” from my blog in the last couple of weeks, I thought I had to explain.
Well…I did not exactly go fishing – but I did my own equivalent. I did not post anything here, I was not on email all the time and I pulled the corresponding Ewan McGregor and his buddy trip – my own “California Diaries” with my best friend from Greece.
I am grateful we could do this together. I am also grateful we could afford both the time and the money to do this as the financial landscape is not the best for so many people. I realize writing this that gratitude, appreciation and acknowledgment are crucial in making this single event more meaningful.
This was not a simple trip. It was a symbolic journey of coming of age – a point in time where making a choice to smell the roses, taking your time, throwing out the schedules and the routines, doing the unexpected and the unplanned was the only absolute must. I was playing host – she was the honored guest. I took her to all my favorite and “holy” places, the breathtaking landscapes, the buzz, the atavistic power of the redwoods, the ocean mist…
And not surprisingly, we were both happy. Yes, happy – not content, not satisfied, not full – or any of these definitions that we usually refer to when we consciously avoid using the elusive and mostly unknown meaning of the word “happiness.”
Savoring these memories, being grateful and appreciative and “capturing” these moments through photos, blogs, diaries or movies – and life all of a sudden fills up with yet another testimonial of richness. It’s the connections we make that creates meaning. It’s these connections we nurture, feed and grow that move us forward. And often, we need to revisit our childhoods, take time out and feel, see, hear the things we neglect to “sense” in our ordinary and habitual lifestyles.
Do I feel guilty or spoiled for taking the time to do this? I must admit I intellectualized both sentiments. I do have a strict work ethic, and many friends especially back in Greece are worried about the country’s prospects. But again, it came down to an issue of choice.
“Default reaction to life is NOT to experience happiness” says Marshall Goldsmith in his newest book, MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back When You Lose It! Out of coincidence – or it wasn’t one? – a friend sent me the link and an invitation for a reception with Marshall this morning. And things sometimes fall into place. And when you are open to life’s possibilities and you are not afraid to make an occasional unconventional choice – even one that takes you away of the ordinary, life can certainly be rich and full and rewarding.
Don’t you deserve it?
Leda Karabela’s career focus has been building alliances with and among institutional stakeholders, which spans 25 years of experience in international management, public affairs, strategic marketing and philanthropy. Her primary focus has been external audiences, such as opinion leaders, media, customers, and donors.
Today, she is bringing her executive experience into the field of coaching, realizing her passion for people, the ways they click and connect with each other, helping clients discover the power within them to improve their performance, effectiveness and reach. Having held responsibilities for global projects and working with virtual teams in multiple countries for Fortune 50 companies such as BP and Microsoft, she has also led the corporate relations program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and has lived in Boston, San Francisco, London, Athens and Dubai.