One of my favorite lyrics of all time is from Gavin DeGraw’s “Meaning,”

Sometimes our only way is jumping, I hope you’re not afraid of heights.

His words couldn’t be a more fitting tribute to the day that only comes once every four years, right? I know to some, Leap Day is nothing more than a calendar anomaly, a 24-hour period that has to be slotted in to insure the Gregorian calendar remains accurate. To me, however, Leap Day is an important reminder to live wide.

Think about it, we get a free day. A day that only comes along 25 times in a century. Even the name is an encouragement to gamble, to hurl yourself into a situation that promises both big risk and big returns.

Leaping is an immediate admission of a lack of fact. You’re in a moment where a decision is required. You haven’t got the time to survey the terrain. Evidence of viability is spotty at best. Options… are there any options? Basically, you’ve got limited knowledge, little recourse and factors that are pushing you to act and act NOW!

But, like Gavin said, sometimes it is our only way, fear of heights or no. I’ve had moments where leaping was it, and I simply had to have enough faith that, good, bad or indifferent, it was all going to work out. I can’t think of a more exhilarating beginning can you?

Life is Short…

And so is this post. All pith aside, there are moments… sometimes they are a handful of seconds, sometimes they are entire seasons, where you feel it… just how short life can be. God sends us regular alarm clocks to alert us. Occasionally they build to a crescendo, other times they blare like an air horn. What it really boils down to is whether we hear them. I’ve had a buzzer screaming in my ear for some time now, think it’s about time I stopped hitting snooze.

How about you?

Pencil You In

[Ring, Ring]
[Ring, Ring]
“Hi, how are ya?”
“Um, fine.”
“That’s good. Do you know who this is?”
“I’m not sure?”
“It’s your heart. Been a long time since you checked in. We need to talk.”

Imagined conversation aside, I realized yesterday that it’s been a long time since I’ve given credence to my heart. Yes, scientifically, the heart’s primary use is not to be the repository for our dreams and desires, but I’m a writer. I think of things in terms of poetry and romance, so we’re going to ignore science momentarily.

The pace of today’s world makes it really easy to get disconnected from the yearning of your heart. With schedules that dictate our lives down to the second, it’s no wonder those things that feed us, that make us feel a passion for life, get pushed to the side. For example, over the course of the past year, I’ve let my writing get jostled and pushed to a back burner somewhere near China.

Let me clarify. Yes, I consider my blog posts writing, however, I’ve broken the cardinal rule of being a writer over the last 12 months in that I’m not doing it every day, which makes finishing my first novel kind of difficult. I’m ashamed to admit how long it’s been since I started this book, so we’ll quantify it as a long time ago. In my defense, a handful of years ago, I got some advice about tweaking my voice and tone, and the whole thing (i.e., what I’d finished to that point) needed to be rewritten. But I digress. Due to a series of life circumstances that surfaced in the past year, my priorities changed. My focus was redirected to those things, and the recognition of how much I enjoyed spending time with my characters each day began to fade.

Well, those circumstances have now brought me full circle. Though things haven’t changed (yet), a moment of quiet during my drive home yesterday reignited my fire to finish the story I began many years ago. I realized the real priority, what I should truly be penciling in, is that blood that beats my heart. Those things that get me excited and make me borderline obsessive because of the intensity that I feel.

Living wide is just that, living with your arms, heart, soul wide open. Being receptive to what life has to offer and reflecting that light, beauty, joy through the passionate side of your nature.

So if your heart were to give you a call, what would it say? Make sure to comment below.

Your Future is Not Certain

Admit it, once or twice in your life, you’ve shaken a Magic 8 Ball. As you watched those triangled die slosh around in that inky liquid, you prayed that a man-made toy would give you the answers you desperately needed to some highly worrisome issues. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Just like you, I’ve begged for that simple answer. Hoping against hope that I would get some sort of definitive path, laid out for me by such a rudimentary instrument. But disaster always struck in the form of one simple phrase, “Your future is not certain.”

Wait, what? What do you mean? You’re a plastic, onyx orb of truth. By all that’s random, assuredly, you should be able to provide me with some sort of direction, right?

I have to admit, I like certainty. I like being able to cross something off a list and definitively say, I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished that task.

Uncertainty is, in a word, scary. It means risking big, and, hopefully, achieving an equally bigger pay-off. I mean, is it always wise to take a risk on things that are uncertain? Not entirely. But when you live wide, sometimes, you have to gamble. Often this type of bet involves listening to your inner voice. That quiet whisper that says, “What are you doing?” “Why are you going this way?” “Is this what you want or is it what’s expected?”

I try to regularly stay tuned to that voice. Not always is it clearly audible, but mostly, it is insistent. Call it a nagging suspicion or a gut-check situation. I often don’t understand the reasons why, I just point my compass away from what feels off, and try to discern what feels more right. And, unfortunately, much like the Magic 8 Ball, what feels more right is decidedly vague.

So, where’s your decidedly vague feeling leading you? Mine is a little uncertain.

Living Wide Fail

Regret snaked through me the minute I walked out the side stage door. I had blown it. Why didn’t I stay an extra 10 minutes to meet the man who had been in constant rotation on my iPod since 2004?

As I’ve shared before, I am a huge music fanatic. And of all the hundreds of artists I have on my electronic jukebox, Marc Broussard is my absolute favorite. I love him so much that I’ve seen him live nine times. Yet, there I was, at my ninth show, he was feet away signing autographs and taking pictures, and I didn’t wait for a turn. I could have. I could have shaken his hand and told him how much his music meant to me. I could have had an awesome photo to show my grandkids one day… see, I knew him when. I coulda’, shoulda’, woulda’, but I didn’t.

I blew it. I gave over to my thoughts of all the pressures in my life. That I had to be at work the next morning. That I’d been going since 5 a.m. That I felt like I was getting sick. I let all the things that crowd out my ability to live wide guide my decision, and I missed out.

In short, I failed. And I’ve been royally kicking myself for it ever since.

Inevitably, I was bound to fail at this living wide stuff. In Reboot, I detailed how living wide pretty much pushes against 30 plus years of conditioning. And, let’s be honest, not all of the present lessons or those peppering the remaining months of my journey were/are meant to be easy. I recognized that I made a mistake, and when that happens, there are always two questions I ask myself: what did I learn from this, and how can I avoid repeating the same mistake in future?

In this case, I learned not to let once in a lifetime opportunities be overshadowed or clouded by a to-do list. And, that the sacrifice of 10 minutes to capture a standout moment or memory is far too important. In essence, my living wide fail is a living wide learn. It just sucks that I don’t have the picture to show for it.