“To swim in the ocean and play with monkeys.”
This was my friend’s response when I asked him why he was going to Thailand.
When we ask someone a question, we don’t usually get a response that causes us to wonder how we’re living our life. I felt like I was trying to solve a riddle. After hearing Ryan’s response, I immediately went home and started to think about my life. I started to think about how easy it was for someone to tell me they were traveling across the world without much of a plan other than to do something they were curious about.
Like a new mantra, the phrase “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys” began running through my mind, reminding me about how I wasn’t living my life.
It made me realize that I needed to make a shift.
The past few years I’ve been working to grow my own business. Recently, when it’s come to making my dream a reality, I haven’t been doing it from a very peaceful place; instead, I’ve been coming from a place of, “what if it never happens?”
Sharing our passions and being vulnerable can sometimes cause us to question ourselves and the outcome for which we hope. After speaking to Ryan, I thought what could I do to approach my dreams with the same reckless abandon he had going to Thailand.
I came to the conclusion that sometimes going towards something with curiosity as your only plan is the best plan.
Three things happened upon first hearing “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys,” and I want to share them with you. I hope that these tips bring as much peace to your lives as they have to mine.
As I use these, I’m seeing a definitive shift in how I’m actualizing my dreams.
1. Connect with your core values.
At the root of all human behavior lies our values. Whatever action we demonstrate in the world is based on what we’re choosing to value in our lives.
In speaking with my friend Ryan, I realized that wasn’t connected to the things I cared most about in life; I thought that I was someone who valued peace, faith, and freedom, but these weren’t the qualities I was predominantly embodying.
Some of our values change over time, but I believe we each possess a set of core values that serve as our inner guide to personal fulfillment. When we’re consciously connected to them, we’re in alignment and our lives tend to flow.
I know in my own life, whenever I’m experiencing discomfort or suffering it’s usually because I’m out of touch with my core values.
A fun way I creatively connected to my values was Googling “common core values,” the idea being that I would visualize what 7-10 words I would tattoo on my body. I found a ton of words to choose from, but had to really think about which words I’d be willing to permanently carry.
From there, it was easier to narrow down my core values.
Once I had my set, I was able to clearly see where in my life I needed to make a shift—especially when it came to how I was approaching my dreams.
2. Actively and authentically love yourself.
I wholeheartedly believe the most important thing we can do in life is to truly and authentically love ourselves. It’s one thing to understand this on an intellectual level, but another to actively demonstrate to ourselves just how much we really do.
In life, if we’re not our own authentic champions, we wind up giving our power away to something or someone who couldn’t possibly ever give us it anyway.
A simple way to begin is to go shopping for the perfect greeting card, exactly like you would for someone you cared about, but this card is for you. Take time to write yourself all the things you would someone else, get a stamp, take it to the nearest post office, and drop it in the mail.
Sometimes, when we’re working towards something, we don’t necessarily see the results right away. Be it a relationship, diet, or dream. Sometimes, having someone let us know we’re doing a good job and that we’re on the right track is just the nudge we need to remind us to keep going. And who better to give us a nudge than ourselves.
They say that in nature, the antidote always grows next to the poison. To me, this translates to the idea that whatever we’re doing as an act of self-love comes from the same place our fears live.
Our higher selves will know exactly what we need to hear and when we need to hear it most.
3. Use a mantra.
This mantra doesn’t need to have anything to do with meditation, but has everything to do with how we want to feel in the pursuit of our lives. The phrase “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys” has been a daily reminder of the peace I want to embody, while growing a business, pursuing a dream, and living my life.
Like a scent or a sound, using this sort of mantra can instantly shift our perspective and remind us how we want to feel.
If we remain true to our core values, are actively and authentically loving ourselves, we’ll discover the peace we seek is already present and available. Not intellectually, but from the tangible shifts we’ll see unfolding around us and the experience of it in our daily lives.
One last note, if someone confusedly asks me why in the hell am I going to Thailand this summer, I’ll simply reply, “to swim in the ocean and play with monkeys.”
Author: Chris Tompkins
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Gabriela Kucerova/Unsplash