Day 1,879 – Thankful for a Glimpse of the Other Side of the Gap

Pause. Breathe. Relax. Zoom out. Prioritize. Focus. One step. Another step. Breathe in. Action. Breathe out. Action. Repeat. Intentionally present. Enter flow.

What a powerful tool the mind is. Used intentionally the focus is unstoppable. Pause, focus, enter a state of flow. This can be done at literally anytime. Yet I do it far more rarely than I should.

When left reacting to emotion each wave becomes like another would be rescued hoping to save a drowning person by jumping in with them only to be drug down to the depths while adding another victim to the situation. Emotional response to emotional response only compounds and exacerbates the challenge.

Pause to focus, to breathe, and to grasp what can be controlled. Set emotion aside for its proper time and take logical and intentional action to solve the scenario first. Enter a state of flow through focused effort and complete the goal.

Today I was the calm in the center of the storm. I paused. I breathed. I focused. I took logical and intentional action. Emotions were set aside, my presence was targeted at the right task with no distraction. I was in a state of flow until the task was completed.

I realized that I have the opportunity to do this at anytime. I need only choose it. So easy to say and see, so difficult to do. Practice, practice, and more practice.

Today I saw a glimpse of the other side of the gap. The beauty on the other side so close at hand and so difficult to attain. The memory of today will steel my will to practice to work towards it more.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,876 – Thankful for Dominic’s Courage to Do Anything

Dominic is starting to work on his Eagle Scout project. The potential project includes creating a dog park in our neighborhood. The first step before he can even put his proposal together is to ask all the nearby home owners if they would be okay with that.

No worries, Dominic just put on his Scout uniform, grabbed his notepad, and started knocking on doors. How wild is that? Even better, he doesn’t know who more than half the people are! Dominic is basically going out and doing cold calls voluntarily in support of a good cause.

That simple action makes me so proud. It’s be so easy to take the easy way out and find a different project, use a over, or some other form of communication. Nope, he’s grabbing the bull by the horns and has received some tremendous feedback already.

One more reason I’m proud of Dominic, he understands that some of the best things in life lay well beyond the point of discomfort. Never give in to fear when courage is the right answer.

Super proud of you dude! Love you bud!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,873 – Thankful for Walking Meditation and Stillness in the Woods

Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.

Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.

I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.

Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.

If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,872 – Thankful for Inspiration from the Insight of Incredible Teammates and Re-Reading an All Time Favorite

I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many incredible teammates. Not a day goes by in which I’m not thankful for the plethora of strengths they gift to our teams. Their hard work, high energy, and proactive action within our values is impressive. The momentum they’re building is a force to be reckoned with.

Today a few of us paused reality for a handful of hours. Select the office, went to a quiet place, and spent time discussing the future. We shared ideas for potential challenges and their corresponding opportunities. My teammates sharing fantastic insight into how we can continue to grow through the next year – both in business and as a team. The ideas they shared were awesome and the way they worked together to help position the team in a place to really utilize their unique talents was impressive. My mind has been racing with possibilities since we started our conversation.

My incredible teammates inspired me to dream even bigger dreams for next year. Their passion, energy, and awesomeness will no doubt propel us to a wildly successful future.

After spending a lot of quiet time processing so much of our conversation I fire up an audiobook for the rest of my drive home. It’s been a little while since I fired up one of my all time favorite and most impactful books so I figured it was a perfect time to load it up. For the however many-eth time The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is reminding me of the importance of my perceptions, my actions, and my will. For reals, this is one of the most insightful and useful books you will ever read.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,870 – Thankful for Taking a Moment to Focus and Another Proud Dad Moment

Today was a day full of action and activity. Progress was made on many projects, there was a lot of forward motion, and even the things that didn’t work out actually kind of worked out. Everything seemed to go in the right direction, even if it was initially off a little.

There was one specific moment in the morning when I realized my head was spinning. It was difficult to keep a single thought in mind for a second, let alone through completion. I realized the spinning and stopped.

I put on my headphones. I moved away from my computer. I turned on a specific song and then set my phone down on the other side of my office. I sat in my chair and got into a comfortable position. I put my hands behind my head. I closed my eyes. I focused on my breath. I focused on each lyric of the song. I paused my brain and put myself 100% into the moment.

When the song finished I took in one last deep and focused breath. I held it for a moment, and then exhaled. I opened my eyes and smiled.

My world was at peace and I was able to focus on one task after another. Three minutes and forty five seconds which made all the difference today.

At Dominic’s soccer banquet tonight he received an All Conference award for Sportsmanship:

I am so proud of him! His coach recognized and nominated him for this award for the way he plays, owns his mistakes, celebrates others, shows kindness to opponents, and for his attitude. All comments that make me one heck of a proud parent. Congrats dude!!!

Thanks!!!

Day 1,852 – Thankful for Seeing the World Through a Different Set of Lenses

One of my favorite songs, Lucky by Seven Mary Three, has set my brain wandering. The line has been my foundation today.

“Son, time is all the luck you need.”

Jason Ross, Seven Mary Three

Today I’ve been lucky, another day around the world. Another opportunity to live. The fortune to grow further into myself. The chance to practice gratitude for all the splendors of life.

Why this has hit home so hard today is rather interesting. So much of my life I do out of habit, good or bad, for better or worse. When I operate on auto pilot the blinders are put on.

On days like this my mind focuses on seeing clearly and through a different set of lenses. Two questions really put those new glasses on for me.

What if…?

Why?

Today both of those two questions came up for various reasons several times. They helped me see potential paths to a better future, one in which I live into my truest self. The questions led me to some slightly unexpected answers, answers which both clarified and muddied at the same time. No decisions made today, only opportunities created. Time for winnowing will arrive soon, but not yet. More opportunities are to be created before they are to be sifted through.

Quite honestly, these two questions have made my life more complex and yet somehow more simple. The beauty lie in distilling the complicated into the pure essence. While I’d love to boil it all down quickly the aging process is where the magic happens. In so many ways the aging in of itself is the true magic….

So many new thoughts, so many new possibilities, all from asking two questions, all from looking at the world through a different set of lenses.

Today I have been lucky. Lucky to have the opportunity to grow, collect, process, and age. I was given the gift of time.

BTW – I’d be remiss to not mention how much I appreciate our family viewing of Free Guy this evening. The metaphor of lenses comes directly from it as does some of the perspectives drawn today. Fantastic movie with many wonderfully well timed themes for my life.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,831 – Thankful for a Wonderfully Meaningful Short Story – The Artist of the Beauty

I’ve read portions of Walden by Thoreau but haven’t read it all the way through. When I went to order a copy online I happened across a book with that story as well as a handful of others. My plan was to read from Walden through the rest of the book, but last night I felt compelled to read the last story for some odd reason.

Laying in my hotel bed last night I read The Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I could hardly lay still in bed afterwards as my brain was consumed by the tale. The story has been on my mind all day long for a variety of reasons. I have a suspicion that it will haunt my thoughts the entirety of my life moving forward.

I do not want to spoil it for you if you have it read it before and will do my best to describe without giving anything away. If you’d ever like to talk with me about it in more detail I would be happy to.

While reading it there were many emotions stirred in my soul. Grit – the determination to see something through to completion. Self-worth – doing something specifically for oneself specifically because one can and also possesses a desire to do so. The stoic mindset of controlling only what one can control was seen throughout. Belief in one’s own ideals and a refusal to bend to the thoughts of the world. The beauty and simplicity found in nature. The passion that drives one to accomplish great things. Sacrificing desires for the grandest of dreams. The importance of living into one’s true self. All of these thoughts, themes, and emotions in one short story from a century and a half ago!

As I face my own personal trials and am at a crossroads of pursuing my true self this story has inspired me to be the best me I can and to trust and follow my dreams of creating something beautiful. I plan on revisiting this story often both as reminder and warning to help my choose and stay on my right path.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,815 – Thankful for Remembering that I Do Have Time and I Must Choose How I Use It

Simple concept, deep gratitude, and years of future practice before I master it.

Several events reminded me today that I have time. Until I’m dead I will have time. At the time of my death time won’t matter to me anyways. I know my time is limited, but I have time until I no longer have use for it.

How often do I tell myself, “I don’t have time for that”? What a lie I tell myself. Yes, I do in fact have time. What I also have are other options of how to spend my time. What’s really happening is that I am choosing how to spend my time and I am deeming that task not worthy.

I am not unable to do something, I am making a choice.

Today I’m grateful for the piece of mind and enlightenment that come with realizing each moment, each second, is a choice I must make. Am I choosing well? How can I choose better more frequently? Until I am aware of the choice to be made I am unable to grow and close the gap between who I am and who I am called to be.

Today I’ve seen the choices.

Thanks!!!