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In the Middle of Nowhere

December 18, 2013

By Charlie Badenhop

Recently I visited Peru and Ecuador. Not an easy trip to make, but very special! The Amazon river can be overwhelming and awe inspiring at times.

Taking my trip shortly after my dad passed away proved to be perfect timing as I had the opportunity to step away from work and contemplate my life. Always a good thing to do! As I wrote before, I asked myself, "What do I really want from my life going forward? Who do I really want in my life going forward?" Along the way, here is some of what I realized:

At 65 years old I have the possibility of doing things differently, but on some important level my subconscious mind doesn't seem to realize that I have great possibilities awaiting me. You might have already heard the story I will tell now... A polar bear was brought from the arctic region to a zoo in the States. The living area for the bear was not nearly complete when he first arrived, and he thus spent close to a year in a large cage placed inside his living area. So for months he paced around within the confines of his cage. When his living area was finally complete and his cage was lifted off, guess what happened? Instead of immediately exploring his new surroundings the bear continued to pace around as if the cage was still there! And I must say, I am feeling a bit like that polar bear these days. I am finding it hard to let go of my old habits, so that I can fully engage in the life that is waiting for me. I have deeply engrained habits and my habits haven't changed all that much in the last couple of months, even though the circumstances of my life have changed. Might the same be true for you on some level?

I think it is all too easy to say, "I feel like 'this' due to the current circumstances of my life." But what I have found is that "I feel like 'this' because I am reacting to my life in an habitual manner." The cage has been taken away, but to a large extent I am acting as if I am still confined.

It is important to sit, and think, and feel, and little by little gently remove the restrictions we have placed on ourselves in the past. Certainly not a simple task completed in a day. I feel like I am trying to figure out a complex puzzle that starts out seeming to not have a solution. I do feel that I will eventually solve this puzzle to some reasonable degree, and yet for now, with no clear path forward, I need to sit, feel into my experience, and experiment with ways to become more present. In doing this I become better able to engage in the paradox of my life. Quite a challenge for a guy who likes to get things done!

One of the things I am doing regularly is to put on my headphones and sit quietly, listening to the recordings of my stress management program. Having listened to my recordings many times in the making, and now once again in these last two months, I feel a deep sense of "belonging" as I sit and listen. I recognize my voice, I recognize the beautiful music my friend and colleague Henri composed for our recordings, and I have a sense that I do belong right here right now, in the middle of nowhere. So I sit, not understanding a path forward, "not knowing" what to do next, yet knowing that I do need to be still and listen. And that is my path for now- A path that does not clearly move anywhere. A path that is simply right here, right now, all around me.

If you haven't tried my stress management program yet, you might like to. Hopefully, if you do, you will discover much the same as me. Have a look and a listen to "Mushin Breathing" and you are of course always welcome to sign up for our program. Little by little, you can begin to feel like you are in the right place, right here, right now. Your path is all around you, and sometimes your path requires that you simply sit still, listen, and feel. All that you can! Nothing more, and nothing less.

Here is a link for you to try:

This article was originally published as a musing accompanying Charlie’s podcast Say Yes to Success. Click here to listen to the Podcast. Subscribe to the Seishindo newsletter to receive Charlie’s popular biweekly podcasts and musings (lifetools for everyday’s challenges). - See more at:

This article was originally published as a musing in Charlie’s biweekly newsletter. Subscribe to the Seishindo newsletter to receive Charlie’s popular biweekly podcasts and musings (lifetools for everyday’s challenges).  


About the author: Charlie Badenhop has been working in Japan as a coach and consultant for close to 30 years. His work is based on the principles of Aikido, NLP, Ericksonian Hypnosis, and Noguchi Sei Tai. Charlie is the originator of the human potential discipline of Seishindo. Seishindo is a melding of Western problem solving skills, with Eastern contemplative awareness practices. If you are drawn to better understand the intersection and interaction between your thinking mind and your body, heart, and spirit, then you will likely appreciate Seishindo ( Sign up for Charlie's biweekly newsletter and podcast via the Seishindo website.
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