Ep 53: Dig right where you are

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A trip to the beach earlier this week had me thinking about opportunity and childlike wonder. If you’re a kid, there’s not much else to do at the beach besides dig in the sand. It’s where you can create whatever you want, or just see how far you can dig.

How do we rediscover some of that same curiosity in pursuing what we want? How do we find the courage to dig right where we are now?

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Full transcript 👇

Episode 53: Dig right where you are - A group of kids digging in the sand

Hi I’m Lori Miller and this is your Mental Health Moment.

The other night my husband and I found a few minutes to slip away to the beach in the early evening.

It’s one of the best ways for us to have a few minutes to put the stress of the day aside.

We use this time to catch up on anything and process our goals.

And sometimes we just sit there and say nothing.

After we got settled in, we saw a small, young family wander on to the beach just next to us.

The parents had their fishing gear fully in tow.

At the end of a long day, here was an opportunity to cast a line and enjoy the water while the kids have space to run out all their energy before going home.

Their two kids appeared to be about seven and five years old. This looked like an impromptu visit because the kids were still wearing their uniforms from school.

We definitely knew this little family was there because our quiet pondering was broken with sudden squealing and laughter as the kids ran straight to the water.

Those two wasted no time getting to the business of being at the beach.

The youngest one, the little girl, immediately knelt down and started digging in the sand.

She didn’t seem to notice she was still in her uniform. Both of her hands were expertly casting unneeded sand aside and making piles all around her.

I don’t know what she was digging for but she wasn’t messing around about it.

When her brother came back up from the water, she smiled at him and squealed in such delight.

“Hey, let’s dig a bunch of big holes and see how many we can make!”

My husband and I looked at each other and smiled.

I said to him, “Do you remember when your only goal in life was to just see how many holes you can dig? And how many people you can get to dig them with you?”

We both laughed. And then my husband said, “Isn’t it interesting how there’s really only 15 feet between being five years old and digging holes, and being in your 40s sitting in a chair talking about all the holes you’ve already dug?”

He was so right.

We start out curious and eager to see what we can do with our lives.

We don’t give much thought about whether there’s a real point to what we’re doing.

We just know that if you’re surrounded by opportunity, why wouldn’t you just start digging in and finding out what you can do?

But in what feels like just a little bit of time and distance, we find ourselves digging a little less.

After all, digging is messy.

We decide we might get more insight from watching others dig.

This will help us figure out what we still want to do.

Instead of engaging and being curious, we spend much of our time qualifying the value of the effort itself.

Digging just to dig loses its value.

What’s the point in that?

I’m not sure how much real meaning there was for the little girl in digging those holes.

All she knew was that she was at the beach where there was sand and lots of it. And she had two very capable hands.

What else could she do but dig?

She wasn’t thinking about if she should save some holes to dig for tomorrow, or try to make as many holes as she can to please someone else.

And she certainly had no thought for what others around her might be thinking about whether digging holes was a good idea in the first place.

Digging holes was enough for her.

Maybe there’s really only 15 feet between where we are now and where we would really like to be.

How can we get back to that original feeling of curiosity and delight to just be surrounded by opportunity and not even know where to start?

Could our dreams and goals really be as simple as racing to the one spot where we have everything we need to just dig holes?

Maybe it’s as simple as deciding to just dig in to what we want right where we are.

Can we just dig the holes and celebrate that with anyone who will listen?

Maybe this weekend you could find some time to simply enjoy the pleasure of something you love.

Maybe you would get delight in doing something for the sake of doing it, with no internal chatter about its worth or if it takes you somewhere closer to your goals.

How can you reconnect with the curiosity you started out with by just enjoying the dig?

For articles and videos about stress and mental health, visit my website at LoriMiller.me. You can catch Mental Health Moment on Amazon Alexa, Apple podcast, Google podcast and Spotify. Visit LoriMiller.me for info on how to subscribe.

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