I met a couple who were visiting from out of town, John and Diane. I ran into them at a pop-up event I was doing, and they decided to come check out the store. Diane was on a mission. John was providing encouragement and support.

The conversations were lively and covered a wide range of topics. However it was a quick exchange that happened near the end of our visit that really stuck with me.

We were talking about the kind of experiences, where once you have them, it takes awhile to process and integrate them. It can be such a slow process that it might take days or weeks. Often we forget we are still in the absorption of the content or experience.

Then John said something about “when we stop learning.., we are done”. Meaning – that is when we die. On one level I get this. It makes sense to me. But then it made me think about the difference between learning and personal expansion.

I have spent a lot of time learning things where I felt like there was very little growth or personal expansion. Or is that true? Is it even possible to learn something new and NOT be changed by it.

This is where I realize I have a limiting belief around what is “valuable” for me to spend time learning or studying! I am still operating from an old paradigm. It is as if I think that anything I spend my time on has to contribute to some goal or end-result. Or, I get no payoff for the time invested.

The truth is that many of the most profound, expansive experiences I have had, seem to have occurred by accident! Certainly not by my design or attempt to control or drive to a particular goal. Those may have lead to learning too…, but I don’t associate them with the leaps in personal expansion or growth that have shaped my life. Those happen automagically!

In this moment there appear to be a couple of ways that I learn. One is using my logical mind to pursue the topic, information or experience which will lead to some pre-defined end result. Usually I think it is going to help me achieve some goal.

The other are Ah-ha moments that I could have never predicted. Perhaps following a series of bread-crumbs that opens up a whole new perspective, personal insight or direction in my life.

One of these ways of learning is determined, focused and driven. The other is subtle, sensory and intriguing. One comes with built-in expectations. The other with surprise and wonder.

Even as I write this, I realize it isn’t always an either/or. Sometimes this unfolds as a combo of the two. Such as when I think I am doing something for one reason, only to have something else materialize as the real payoff, impact or result.

All of this contemplation is really about how much time or effort do we need to put into predefining what we want to “learn”? Maybe following breadcrumbs is enough!

With Light, Love, and Laughter
Charles

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