Over the past month I’ve talked often about going “Into the woods” as my theme of the year. Many of my favorite quotes and ideas involve going into the desert, the woods, or someplace else relatively alone. The point is focused on taking time in solitude and stillness to focus on the truly important.
A few days ago a friend of mine brought up the idea that completely disconnecting isn’t the correct answer either. There’s a balance to be struck between time “into the woods” and staying attached to what is happening in the rest of the world. I’d understood his point immediately but wasn’t sure how to tackle the balance.
Between yesterday and today my pre-“get out of bed” readings happened to be focused on this exact concept. How crazy is that? Here are the two highlights that really caught my attention and have been in my brain all day:
It’s not by eliminating outside influences or running away to quiet and solitude. Instead, it’s about filtering the outside world through the straightener of our judgement. That’s what our reason can do – it can take the crooked, confusing, and overwhelming nature of external events and make them orderly.The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday
Epictetus is reminding you that serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgements, not your environment. If you seek to avoid all disruptions to tranquility – other people, external events, stress – you will never be successful. Your problems will follow you wherever you run and hide. But if you seek to avoid the harmful judgements that cause those problems, then you will be stable and steady wherever you happen to be.The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday
Today I’m grateful for the serendipitous solution to the riddle we’d been discussing last week. While the implementation is never as simple as the concept itself, I’m thankful for the opportunity to see the answer in a way that I can work on.
Last night Dominic went up to the workshop with Becky and I to help on a special project. For Christmas Dominic made me a set of three hexagonal shelves for my workshop. The three of us hung them up on the wall exactly where Dominic had envisioned them. I am very grateful for the thoughtful and handcrafted gift. Along with my toolbox they’ll be amongst my most treasured possessions. As someone who understands how much energy and love are put into the gifts we create for others I hold the value of his present higher than anything I could buy.
In addition to Dominic’s gift there’s been another Kreiling kid doing some additional woodworking over the past couple of days. Gavin decided that he wants to make his own wooden Catan board. Over the majority of the afternoon and evening he’s been working alone in the workshop sanding all 19 of his tiles and the number tokens to go inside them.
Both of the boys are seeing the joy that can be had while woodworking and I’m so happy for that. Seeing something that was a passion for multiple generations starting to take seed in the next makes me smile from ear to ear. Who knows, maybe they’ll dive deeper into it. Maybe they’ll tire of it and move on to something else. Either way, I’m glad they’ve been enjoying woodworking!