It’s a Spring day, still dark, the city is waking. Like any other Thursday, most have a little Friday itch coming on… but on this one in particular, the city is buzzing with the anticipation of baseball season. This week, a lot of folks spent their moments charging through their Mondays and Tuesdays, dreaming of a Friday filled with laughter, friends, sports and sunshine. I’ll be the first to tell ya, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with all of that. Get your chores done so you can go have some fun, we’ve all been there.
However, I will tell you that each day, each moment, each second can feel like Opening Day at the baseball stadium if you choose it to be.
When I am at work, between traffic and weather reports, making coffee and building graphics for our morning news show, I like to think about how many alarm clocks are simultaneously going off at any particular moment. A night of sleep, restful or spent tossing and turning, eventually comes to an end and you’ve got a choice to make. Will today be like yesterday? Was yesterday like the day before? Patterns and ruts can be nasty little devils and our days are certainly filled with things we just simply have to do. My challenge in all of this obligation is this: within all the have tos, the get tos, the want tos and the hope tos, it is time to throw in some alchemy.
Alchemy is a power or process of transforming something common into something special.
Back to the moment when the alarm clock goes off… If we could listen in to all the sounds of the collective waking moment, would you be contributing to the grumbling, cranky groan or a light sigh of taking in engaged responsibility for a new day? Without alchemy, the common response to the alarm is a scowl, an immediate jump into all the things you don’t want to do. With alchemy, the alarm clock is simply a reminder that you get yet another chance to reinvent, perfect, rock, edge closer to whomever it is you have in your mind to become.
An alchemist of one’s day wakes with the realization that the world was made to experience. Here and now, without delay, jumping in… forget that separation and the false idea that some things are special and some things are not. Do you ever find yourself getting tasks done, over with and out of the way, just to get on to the “fun” stuff. Get work done, get the grocery shopping done, go to the gym, homework, housework… all done in order to have more time to watch Desperate Housewives? I hope not.
When we categorize our day in to things we don’t want to do and things we do want to do, we are automatically allowing our minds to slip into the mode of “right now in this moment, I am common and normal”. When we do the fun stuff, our minds lean towards, “This is what I want, finally I finished the common stuff and now I am living”.
With the alchemist’s perspective, there is a heightened awareness of each correspondence, interaction, movement, and task. It is something my yoga instructors refer to often… conscious awareness of breath to draw your focus back to the here and now. When you are asked to focus on something as common as breath, you realize just how complex, beautiful and important it can be. The alchemist sees nothing as common, nothing as more or less “fun” than the rest, everything is an opportunity to be your most alive, creative, alert, engaged, feeling self.
It is easier to be your own alchemist when things are going your way… good moods allow you to jump in and rock those rose colored glasses, but it is the down times when you need the alchemist’s keen eye the most. I recently had a family emergency that made me feel like I was going to lose the most important person in my life. The why and the how doesn’t matter right now, but the heightened level of “this moment really matters” was brought to the forefront of my mind. Would I break down and mope and sulk over what may or may not happen, no. You do what you need to do when the moment is critical. In my case, I made the call to that person and had a real, gritty, somewhat angry talk about things that needed to change and improve. When you transform the common into something special, you carry more potential, opportunity and accessibility than you ever knew you could have.
When I hear the word alchemist, I, like many others immediately think of the awesome Paulo Coelho book by the same name. While that book was life shaping for me and its level of beauty truly unmatched, today’s comparison is slightly different.
Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks.
When asked how he was able to do it he answered, “because the story was already written in his soul”.
When you decide to exude your story of who and what you want to represent, your morning alarm will no longer be a cue to avoid the inevitable, it will be a call to action. The common day is yours for the rocking, if you decide to be the alchemist of your own day.
Back to baseball… An entire season of around 162 games starts with an Opening Day. If a team was only enthusiastic that first day out of the gate, they would fail miserably, and some certainly do. The teams that seize EVERY SINGLE opportunity to be excellent at their craft are the ones that come out on top. Opening Day will get your heart racing because of the feelings associated with that day, a way we all want to collectively feel.
The alchemist in us knows that turning the common in to the extra ordinary is as simple as deciding to see and feel the way we choose. How do you want to feel? Excited? Seek it. Mindful? It doesn’t cost you a thing. Successful? Work your tail off. Truly… we decide what happens and we decide our “luck”.
Here’s to hearing that alarm clock go off in the morning and treating it as an opportunity for the extraordinary to come alive. Opening Day is a new start. So is right now.