The nice thing about having been here before is knowing I’ve been here before. Big presentation? Trust the process. Brainstorm. Write. Read. Revise. Speak. Revise. Practice, practice, practice. I’m thankful for trusting the process. One week away and I’m ready.
For much of my life I’ve enjoyed doing my own thing. Something not going well? Act like Boxer the Horse and work harder. Frustrated? Work harder. This does not work over long periods of time or in pursuit of a noble cause. There’s a time for solo work, but there’s also a time to share the load. Both my old self and current self struggle with remembering that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. My current self and my future self know that asking for help is both a sign of wisdom and the path to true success. Friggin’ ego… must always remember to tell it to zip it in order to accomplish the best of things. Having others around me to help share the load and remind of how much they appreciate the opportunity to help is truly priceless.
As it typed that something seemed to click. Funny how others help me see how I need to grow, my ego was thinking I could figure it out. Trust in others!
Hurricane Season by Billy Pilgrim. Perfect song for the drive home. “Batten down the hatches boys, it’s hurricane season.” So spot on for so many reasons today.
Wrapping up the night on the couch with Dominic playing Connect Four & Battleship was PERFECT!!! I so enjoy the times when he’s in a talkative and playful mood, I’ll soak up as much as possible before he leaves for college in just under a year and a half. Where has the time gone?
Early in my drive to Eau Claire this morning I wrapped up the audiobook I’d been reading. I then went through a practice run of my presentation for next week. After a brief pause of silence in the car I felt compelled to fire up a book I had not read for the first time until late last year. Even though it wasn’t too long ago since I picked I up the concepts seemed to be calling to me. Next thing I knew I was deeply engrossed in Awareness by Anthony de Mello.
I can’t remember offhand how I descried this book in a previous blog and I won’t until after I’m done writing today. What I’m getting this time through it feels like a deeper understanding of the concepts as well as some realizations of the vast gap between who I am and who I am called to be. This book is really pushing me, definitely one in which there is the opposite of comfort. I have been knocked off balance a few times already and I’ve got a long ways to read yet.
What’s interesting was that it called to mind a quote from Father Mark Pierce’s last homily at our church:
If your faith doesn’t make your life more joyful, you’re doing it wrong. Now “joy” isn’t the same as “happiness,” and it is often the opposite of comfort.
Fr Mark Pierce
In many ways that nails the feeling I’m having. A deep sense of peace and calm, and a lot of discomfort. So much to learn, so much to grow into, so much to let go of.
When the day has been a whirlwind like today it is so helpful to pause and chill before sleep. Recently I’ve been reading The Annotated Edition of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. It is a dense and deep read, but perfectly broken into bite sized pieces to relate back to the day. The thoughts often are still fresh upon waking and help guide the day. Pick it up, read with my amber reading light, close it up, and drift off to sleep.
Life is better when you live with someone who is a positive influence in your life. Becky singlehandedly got the rest of our family pumped and engaged in a little community service project we otherwise wouldn’t have done. It was very eye opening on several levels while also making a huge difference in something we love about where we live. By the time we were done we had an awesome sense of accomplishment. Special kudos to Becky and Gavin for all the extra time they put in. Again, life is so enriched when you are surrounded by people who make a positive influence on you. I’m thankful for her influence today and all the many times she helps me live more closely into who I should be.
I also had fun wrapping up a project today. In so many ways my career lends itself to a lack of a sense of completion. There are always more jobs to fill, more candidates to find work for, more coaching to work on, more projects to take on. We’ve even tabbed it “completion deprivation.” One of the reasons I love woodworking is the sense of completion when the project is done. Today I totally soaked in that moment and enjoyed the sensation.
I know, this sounds crazy, but I appreciate hitting the grocery store by 8:30am on a Saturday. So many less people, the shelves are completely stocked. An early-ish shopping time like this is fantastic. One less thing to do tomorrow too! With all the stuff the boys have going on we’ll take advantage of it when we can.
Our half marathon training plan said today was a break from long distance in favor of a 5k. Should be a blast, right? 3.1 miles instead of 8? Done! Except when your first half includes running into 20+ mph headwinds. I don’t know that breathing while running has been that difficult for a reason outside of physical exertion. The wind was constantly shoving itself down my throat as I struggled to breathe. It sucked. That said, once I got my head in the right place it felt good to gut out a crappy feeling run like. Those are the ones that test my resolve and grit. Today I won (actually Becky won, but I beat the suck).
Homemade pizzas after church on a Saturday night just feel right. They can be a it of a pain, but well worth every pokey moment of it. An opportunity to create, experiment, and complete something while making something delicious and doing something for my family. They do so much other stuff for all of us, feels good to do something for them that they enjoy too. Throw in some bonus kitchen time with Gavin and it was a wonderful experience.
Let’s start from the last half and then work our way forward. This is one of those times when the details aren’t necessary. What matters is that I am blessed to have excellent mentors who’ve taught me profoundly valuable lessons. Today I listened to their past teachings and took the appropriate action. Their legacy continues and will sustain. I’m honored to be a link in the chain they’ve created.
On a much lighter note, I’m having a blast carrying on a little tradition I started with Dominic a few years ago. Gavin and I are chilling out and watching the epically amazing 300. Gotta love a combination of action, living values and purpose, and a kinda history lesson all at the same time!
I’ve made this drive at least a thousand times and there are still moments when it seems to be the first time all over again. This morning I pulled over like a tourist to take photos of something I don’t remember ever seeing on this ride. Patches of snow covered branches amongst the bluffs in the state park we regularly hike in.
The intense focus on a single project is incredible. Closing down email, putting the phone on Do Not Disturb, closing the door, and rolling up the sleeves for a single task frees the mind in so many ways. The intensity of the sense of purpose if off the charts once I can tunnel vision on the one project. Time stops moving and everything moves so fluidly, what an awesome experience!
Plans don’t always go as intended. Something shifts, there’s an unexpected twist, or the curveball slices through the air more than expected. All we can do is roll with it. Over the past week I’ve had this happen a handful of times and I’ve had to adjust. No worries, find the new right path, make the shift, and keep on rolling. The knowledge of how flexible one can be can lead to the confidence necessary to adjust in even the most difficult situations.
The power of listening. It is so easy to just hear the sounds of the words themselves rather than deeply listening to to what they are truly saying. When focusing on deep listening my brain sees different connections and help me better determine how best to proceed. I must remember to keep working on this and improving upon this skill.
Isn’t it wild how many more blue cars there are on the road right after you’ve bought a blue car? As soon as we start to focus on one thing we can start to see it everywhere. Once you start seeing it you really can’t unsee it.
After giving my blog post from yesterday time to ferment it seemed as if everything I did today was re-framed through the less of Essentialism. In each activity I caught myself wondering if each task truly brought value to the purpose I am working towards. With the freshness of that lens I was able to quickly start cutting away some of the unnecessary to focus on the essential.
Same type of day at work as I’ve had over the past couple of months, nothing truly different other than the reframed perspective, the essentialism version of blue car syndrome. And it made all the difference today!
I am also very thankful for our after supper walk tonight. Walking after supper means we have enough day light late enough to do it. It meant that Becky and I were both home and able to spend a little extra time together. Getting bonus outdoor time is always a win, especially on days when the running was done on a treadmill. The post supper walk is something I look forward to getting back into as the daylight lingers longer each day.
I had an excellent reminder of the importance of Essentialism today. Even though I attempt to focus on clarity and purpose it is so easy for me to add more and more and more to the pile of tasks without seeming to notice. In some ways it feels as if the gravitational pull of my current lifestyle draws towards adding more and more rather than focusing on the essential few things to be focused on.
While each individual added task, responsibility, or focus may be relatively minor the effect compounds exponentially. The added task may be as light as a feather but the additional feel from all the other obligations causes it to be as heavy as a cannonball. The additional actions all increase by a multiplying effect.
Tomorrow I will work on culling the herd and knocking out some of the additional clutter which has impeded the path. Today I’m grateful for the timely reminder of essentialism.
Another relatively short one, bed time for this guy. I will take all the extra sleep I can tonight, I’ve got a long week ahead!
Most mornings Becky and I have a very choreographed routine as we go from morning run to heading out for work. We know each other’s routine and have found ways to gracefully glide from one task to the next while leaving plenty of space and room for the other. This morning? One of the few times when we’re as uncoordinated as me in middle school sports. Bumping into each other, near misses with cabinet doors, all the timing was off for both of us. Nothing serious or crazy, we still RL it to work on time, but just enough to remind me to be grateful for all the other times when we’re in lockstep with each other.
Dominic was completely exhausted when he got home from practice. He was in bed before we were! I’m smiling thinking about it because he’s worn out from his New Orleans trip. His tiredness is a testament to how much fun he had and I’m grateful for that.
Out of the blue my teammate Grant hooked me up with a bottle of Chik-fil-A sauce at work today! How awesome is that? We put it to good use already tonight on some venison brats. Delicious!!! Thanks Grant!!