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Stop The Madness!

Stop the Madness  “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present: the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then
dies having never really lived.”
~ The Dalai Lama

I’ve been quiet again. Whenever I go offline I’m either in my creative cave or I’m slowing down to intentionally create space to think, feel, reflect, and reset. I’m intentionally choosing less so I can live more, create more, and feel more.

As much as I appreciate the beauty of the online world and social media to keep us all connected, and to grow businesses (including my own), I am equally aware and respectful of its mighty distraction and soul sucking abilities.

Time. We never get it back. It’s precious. So precious.

Sometimes we have to slow down to speed up. Sometimes we have to unplug to connect to what matters most. We have to create space, get a little quieter, a little less busy, and STOP THE MADNESS.

It is so easy in our fast, busy, social media crazed culture to get carried away without ever asking what truly matters to us. Weeks, months, years and even entire lives can go by without ever stopping and asking:

:: Is this what I really want?
:: Is this how I want to live?
:: Is this how I want to feel?

I don’t want distraction and information overload. I don’t want to be documenting and sharing as I go. I want to BE in my life now. I want Presence.

I don’t want fast. I don’t want to go in a direction that isn’t aligned with my soul. I want slow, deliberate thought and action.

I don’t want busy. I want a fullness of heart. I want a life overflowing with peace, love, fulfillment, connectedness, impact, soul exhilaration, simplicity, creativity, and abundant time in nature. I want time and presence to look into the eyes of those I love.

I want an extraordinary richness in living.

I’m devoted to that richness. That richness brings joy into my heart.

And I admit, I’m a bit obsessed with feeling good. And with helping others to feel good.

“The point of life is happiness.”   – The Dalai Lama

I often feel like running through the streets (or social media threads) shouting “Stop the madness! Just stop it right now!” I want to flag people down on the street and lead them to a quiet little bench and ask, “What are you up to and why? Where’s it leading you? And do you want to go there? Are you happy?”

I know this for sure, you can’t stop when you have more time. You will never have more time. You must choose to stop the madness. It takes discipline to stop the busyness of life to reflect, ask and answer some tough questions, and course correct if needed.

It takes awareness and discipline to stop doing stuff that truly isn’t raising the quality of your life.
And it takes courage to live who you really are and go for what you really want.

When was the last time you stopped, really stopped, sat down and thought about your life?

I invite you to Stop the Madness and set aside 20 minutes to answer the following questions:

::  Am I truly happy?
:: Am I healthy and full of energy?
:: Is my life full, or just busy?
:: Do I often feel rushed, distracted, or overwhelmed?
:: Do I keep chasing things I think will bring me happiness but just don’t?
:: What in my life isn’t really working for me?
:: What do I love or know I want more of?
:: What would my ideal day/life look and feel like?
:: What would make me so happy that I’d jump out of bed each day to begin it?
:: Do I need to course correct?
:: How do I want to feel?
:: How do I create and live that life?
:: Am I BEING who I really want to be?
:: Do I have enough time, energy, and space in my life for those I love?
:: Am I leaning into my highest and truest potential?
:: Am I fully living?

Good Lord Hollie, that’s a lot of questions! Yep, it is. But really, if you aren’t asking these questions what’s it all for anyway? This is your life.

Just think about all the massive energy, time, and money it takes to maintain your day to day living. If this day to day living doesn’t light you up, why for the love of everything holy are you exerting so much of all your resources to maintain it? Why? Truly, what is it all for?

The following are 3 practices I engage in on a regular basis to stop the madness and to keep myself grounded and aligned with living my truth. I invite you to try them out. You may find in one week’s time you feel happier, have more energy, and are connected more to what matters most (to you!).

1. Take a digital detox.

A 3 day detox is ideal, but if it’s not possible due to work, take a 2 day. It doesn’t even have to be a full digital detox. Plan 2-3 days where you will not check email or get on any social media channels. Stay as far away from your computer and phone as possible. Just stopping those two things will be change the energy of your entire body.

I want you to simply notice how you feel.

My first digital detox was a year ago and since then I do them regularly. As an introvert and a business owner, I thought I loved the online world. I wanted to love it. I’ve tried to love it. I STILL keep trying to love it. But my body and spirit keep giving me a radically different experience when I step away.

Notice what is true for you.

2. Get into nature.        DestinyHike

There is a reason why so many speak of nature as “their church” or that it feels like a spiritual experience. It is! Go for trail runs, mountain bikes, or long leisurely hikes. Go for a paddle. Go outside at night and marvel at the stars. Feel the cool breeze on your face. Breathe. Smell the earth. Lay on the ground. Take it all in. Let it nourish you. It will.

This past month I’ve been hiking as much as possible. It’s a different energy than biking or running. I wanted the slower, almost meditative movement of the hike.

There is a deep, primal, soulful part in all of us that is healed and rejuvenated in nature. Again, experiment. Notice how you feel.

 3. Begin a morning ritual.

Start your morning off with getting centered. Learn to direct your mind, and create your day rather than jumping into reactive mode. This is life changing. Journal. Read something that is positive and that nourishes your mind. Meditate. Visualize. Write out your intentions for the day. Connect with how you want to feel.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. 30 minutes is ideal. But even 5, 10, and 15 minutes is life changing.

We all have the power to create our life experiences. We have a choice in how we feel. We have a choice in how we direct our mind, support our body, and connect our spirit.

Stop the madness and step into being the creator of your own masterpiece.

What makes you happy? What fills you up? What truly nourishes you?

Live it fully.

It matters. Your life matters. YOU matter.

And if I pass you on the street…well…hey, you’ve been warned.

Hollie “Stop The Madness” Flynn

 

Strategic Retreat: What is it? And Why I Took One.

Time Out

 

Strategic Retreat + My “not so new,” but new business.

I’ve been in a period of what I call “strategic retreat”… a time of going inside my head, heart, and soul more. I should say, “more than unusual” because I do hang out in those places a lot. Usually though when I’m in my head and heart…thinking, dreaming, feeling, planning…I am also in massive action mode.

I love to leap. I love risks. I love action. I love knowing what I want and going after it full throttle. Life is short, and there is a lot I want to experience, a lot I want to become. But over the last 6 months, I took myself out of fast action mode and went into retreat mode. I realized to go forward, I needed to go back.

I was at a big crossroads in life. I had recently sold 3 businesses, sold a second home, closed a business, and was divesting out of a 5th business. I had purged a lot of personal belongings, and organized the heck out of everything else in my life. I was on a serious mission.

I was serious about a new chapter in life. Clean sweep. Less is more. Simplicity. Those were my mantras for a few years. And it did take 3 years to “clear my space” because I had built a lot. A lot of amazing things, but the problem was they no longer fit me.

I’m at a point in life where I MUST be in 100% alignment and integrity with everything I do. How I spend my time, who I spend it with, and especially with the work I put out into this world. What or Who I say “Yes” to is very short list. Because to live an EPIC life means saying “no” to most things. Because even too many greats can lead to not so good!

I define EPIC as a life that is Extraordinary, Passion-filled, Inspiring, and Completely aligned. I especially had been feeling that the work I wanted to put out into this world MUST MUST MUST be in 100% alignment this time around. Not 80, not 90, but 100%. I was and am fiercely determined about that.

I had started business #6, Wellness Spark, Inc. a few years back, but I wasn’t really sure the direction I wanted to take it and I didn’t have the time and energy with all the other businesses to figure it out. But this business was where my heart was, even if I couldn’t fully grasp what that was yet. I knew that everything I had ever experienced and accomplished had brought me to this point.

So after all my “clean sweeping, and simplifying” I thought I was ready to roll and started building my business again, but very quickly I sensed I wasn’t going in the direction of my biggest vision, of where I really wanted to go. Something was off. So I stopped. Which was painful, and a very uncomfortable thing for me to do. But sometimes uncomfortable is necessary. And uncomfortable for a short period can lead to extraordinary for a very long period.

I wasn’t convinced my path was right or the destination was where I really even wanted to go in the first place. I take that stuff seriously. Life is short.

Strategic retreat mode for me was about stopping for a bit and figuring out exactly where I was in my life, and more importantly WHO I am, and from there exactly where I wanted to go. The truth is sometimes we get off course. And the truth is sometimes we have to let go of awesome dreams that simply no longer fit.

It’s not about the easy, comfortable path, or even the financially abundant path, it’s about the right path. Right for me. Right for you. That’s what matters.

I knew with what I was feeling that massive action would just carry me farther away from my desired destination. I would be busy and perhaps “successful” but not fulfilled and on fire with what I was building. I wanted ON FIRE! I needed to do some soul searching, ask the right questions, and reorient my life map from there. I needed to retreat a bit to do so. That was the smartest and most strategic thing I could do.

Some of you know, I co-own Odyssey Adventure Racing (this would be company #5), and we put on Adventure Races where you have to navigate the course (biking, running, paddling) with map and compass. There are no volunteers directing you, no flagging or markers to clue you in. You have to know where you are on the map at all times and navigate from there. In these adventure races it is more important that you are going in the right direction over a fast direction. I mean fast is awesome, especially if you are racing, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how fast you are going if it’s the wrong way. Go in the right direction first, then fast.

I’ll repeat that: “It is more important you are going in the right direction, than a fast direction!”

Same is true in life. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we think is “forward movement” simply because we are busy and going fast. But that doesn’t mean we are going in the direction we really want to be going.
And sometimes “success” as defined by society is not truly our “forward movement” in life. We are here to live what we love, full out. Happiness is the goal. The Dalai Lama says that, so you know it’s true!

Another thing in Adventure Racing, when you’re out in the woods, in the mountains and you are lost, turned around, or just suspecting you might not be where you think you are …do you know what you do? You go back to your last known point of origin. It’s hard to make yourself do it. You feel like you are losing time and that you will waste precious energy by going back or by stopping to make sure you are going in the right direction. But the truth is, if you don’t go back or stop, you will most likely exert way more time and energy in the long run. And you may not ever hit your desired point or destination. It’s a strategic retreat.

So the moral of this story:

1. Not only is it OK to slow down or stop, it’s critical to ultimately getting to where you really, really deep in your soul want to go.
2. It’s more than OK to ask yourself what I call “the right questions” or the tough questions.
3. Please for the love of all holy, REFLECT more. Listen to what comes up for you.
4. It’s normal to feel like you don’t have time to slow down. But understand  it’ll save you so much in time, energy, money, and blood, sweat, and tears (OK, maybe that’s just my life!) in the long run.
5. Your happiness matters. The Dalai says so!
6. Your life can look any way you want it. But you have to know what you want.
7. Yes, it might (as in “it will!) take time and work to reorient your life map.
8. The aliveness, alignment, and fulfillment are so worth it!

By the way, I’m full speed ahead with my “not so new” but NEW business. Guess what it’s all about:

EPIC Lifestyle Design + Personal Development + Kick Ass Adventures

And you know what that feels like? Completely Aligned. Completely me.

I’ve also designed a couple of offerings for those of you who are ready to spark YOUR most EPIC life. You can check those out here:
Maverick Mentorship
The EPIC Life Experience

If this helped you or might help someone you know please share or forward along! I’m on a mission to bust the status quo and inspire a revolution of EPIC Living. This happens when we start living our dreams, our highest potential, and life on our terms!

And if you haven’t joined my newsletter – The Spark, hop on below!

Hollie “On Fire!” Flynn

Montvale 5 Miler_ Finish