When I started finding pictures for Becky’s birthday I noticed that most had something in common…
They were almost all outside!
One of the many things I love about Becky is her passion for the outdoors. Spending time with her outside is usually some of my favorite time. Seeing how much time we spent outside together this past year of her life has me smiling big time!
As I get closer and closer to setting my secret free into the wild I’m getting little sneak peeks into the future. What I’m finding is that the reward is already so much greater than I ever could have imagined.
Through this experience I’ve been able to dig more deeply into what makes me tick and why – and what should make me tick and why I should push myself out of my comfort zone to pursue it. So much self reflection and looking inwardly, working on myself. As this project has recently eclipsed the five year mark this is where most of my focus has been – inward.
As it is slowly sneaking out I’m already beside myself at the ripples outward. I’ve already received a response to it which has made the entire project worthwhile. No, not a monetary response – that was never the intent. Rather, a response of increased joy. My work has brought joy to another – as a result of a very challenging time and hours of writing my pain and hurt have been transformed into joy for another. I could not hope for a better ripple to leave behind as a legacy.
At yoga tonight the sticker on the floor in front of me said “Make a Ripple.” As I witnessed the ripple at the beginning of our practice I could t help but chuckle to myself. Make a ripple? Check!
One of the benefits of daily blogging is something that has taken me quite some time to see. Sure, I know it is happening, but just like trying to notice the growth of a tree it is to be measured in years, not days.
By pausing to write each day I’m taking time to travel inward. Not in an egotistical way, rather a trying to figure out how my brain works kind of way. The time to stop and think really helps me focus on the gap between who is am and who I am called to be. What’s interesting is that along the way this blogging time really has really been helping me see more clarity to the other side of the gap – helping me see where I’m really trying to go. So often I focus on the gap itself and figure out how to close it, in many ways I should be focusing more on the other side, the goal. As I blog each night it seems there’s a little more clarity. I’m focusing on the things which seem most right, the ideals I’m seeing as where I should be working towards.
Blogging has significantly increased the joy in my life through the focus on gratitude. By vigilantly focusing on gratitude I seem to be shaping a better picture of who is should be growing into. What an interesting side benefit of blogging!
Such a list of appreciation today! There have been many moments of insights, beauty, and joy – how best to distill them? After thinking on it a bit, I think there were several nuggets of wisdom to be pulled from the day to help me in the future. In order to help my future self out I’m going to blog some short notes for Future Mike to remember.
The journey can be as rewarding, if not more than, the destination. The scenic drive to Platteville was gorgeous! Driving through the Driftless is soothing for the soul.
Remember the importance of growing slowly. Fast growth is almost always the preference, best often slow and focused growth leads to the best long term success.
Be less quick to judge and remember that I was not so long ago in the place I am now judging.
Time with old friends is always worth the time and the side trip.
Remember my purpose, my calling, and my dreams and be less distracted by tempting diversions. The diversions are the soft sweatshirt to snuggle into in the cold, while the purpose driven activity is often the shirtlessness in the freezing cold. One may be more comfortable, but only one leads to growth and joy.
Giving – such a simple act, rewards exponentially greater than the gift itself. If I remember to give it is an upward spiral of joy and gratitude.
The nature of the rain is the same, yet it produces thorns in the swamps and flowers in the garden. The natural beauty of the hike or the burning of the nettles – which shall I choose to remember and focus on?
What a year it has been for Dominic! He has grown so much over the past year – physically and mentally. Watching him play soccer this year is so much different than last year and encapsulates so much of the change.
Dominic busted his butt training before track season and through the summer and all that hard work is paying off in his speed and athletic ability. He’s grown as leader through helping Gavin and others throughout summer practices. His position on the field is better as he’s put more time into studying the game – similar to how hard he works at studying and class.
So much growth over the past year, so much due to Dominic’s hard work. So proud of the adult he is quickly becoming!
Tonight’s appreciation needs few words. Time for brothers to be together is sacred in a way found nowhere else in life. This evening was a double helping of brother time – experienced as a brother and a father. Both were amazing to be a part of and to observe. My gratitude for the magical moments like this is truly indescribable.
There was something I noticed today which really caught my attention. While writing out some thank you cards I realized just how focused I was. In some ways I was almost in a flow state as I wrote the personalized message in each.
The process was the same for each. Pause and consider the person and why I am grateful for them. Think on the impact they’ve had on me. Consider how much of a difference they made in my life. Change gears to put words to my feelings of gratitude. Write a clear and succinct message that helps them see just how much I value their positive impact. Review the message, think of the person, smile, and sign the card. Nothing crazy, a process of maybe 5-10 minutes per person at most.
During that time the only emotions I had were joy and appreciation. There was no stress, no random thoughts in other directions, no pauses to look out the window or to check my email. 100% focus on the person and their impact – 100% joy and appreciation.
The power of appreciation finds yet another way to impress me. By focusing on appreciation I was also driven into a state of presence. How beautiful is that?
With Dominic in his Senior year and Gavin in his Freshman year there’s a crazy dream I had. It was something I have zero control over and just had to cross my fingers for. They both play soccer and I was hoping they would have a few minutes in at least one game to be out on the field together. I figured if it would happen it would be late in the season for the last couple minutes of a game. LOL – I never expected this!
Thanks to all the hard work the boys put in together during the off-season, Gavin played out of his mind in the the JV game. Because of his hard work, Coach had him sit the bench for the Varsity game. Gavin got his number called with about 12 minutes to go in the first half and got to be on the field with Dominic.
Talk about a ridiculously proud dad moment! So happy for Gavin for busting his butt to earn the opportunity. So happy for Dominic for working with and coaching Gavin to help make the opportunity happen. Awesome, awesome, awesome!