Day 1,883 – Thankful for Remembering to Listen

Two wonderful reasons to remember to listen today, both for very different reasons.

The first was remembering to listen rather than react. My mind quickly races to an answer, long before a question is asked. If I react too quickly I miss hearing the correct question and answer incorrectly. Pause, listen, think, and then respond if necessary. Too often I’ve responded when response was needed. Today reminded me of the power of listening completely and then responding in due time. Remember to listen rather than react.

The second was remembering to listen closely and attentively in the stillness. The voice can be heard anytime, but I must find stillness to hear it. Create space, eliminate noise, and listen with more than my ears. In that space if I listen closely with my soul I will hear the call. Remember to listen closely in the stillness.

Two simple lessons, both profound. Remember to listen, the reward is so much greater than talking and responding.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,883 – Thankful for Remembering to Listen

Two wonderful reasons to remember to listen today, both for very different reasons.

The first was remembering to listen rather than react. My mind quickly races to an answer, long before a question is asked. If I react too quickly I miss hearing the correct question and answer incorrectly. Pause, listen, think, and then respond if necessary. Too often I’ve responded when response was needed. Today reminded me of the power of listening completely and then responding in due time. Remember to listen rather than react.

The second was remembering to listen closely and attentively in the stillness. The voice can be heard anytime, but I must find stillness to hear it. Create space, eliminate noise, and listen with more than my ears. In that space if I listen closely with my soul I will hear the call. Remember to listen closely in the stillness.

Two simple lessons, both profound. Remember to listen, the reward is so much greater than talking and responding.

Thanks!!!

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 1,878 – Thankful for Opportunities to Exercise My Stoic Practice

It is one thing to read, study, and visualize doing something. It is wholly another to actually do that same thing. While training is all well and good it is easy to think I know how I will respond. Today I had an opportunity to reality test how much my practice has helped.

When something unexpected happens I have a choice to make. All that practice paid off as the muscle memory went right into action and I responded in the way I wanted rather than reacting as I would have. In this scenario it made all the difference.

I was offered an opportunity to exercise my stoic practice today. In some ways I found success and in other ways I found opportunities for improvement. Pausing to think was great, not foreseeing and thinking through the possibility of the change was not so great. The opportunity to learn through real life exercise was priceless and will continue to help me grow and close the gap.

Thanks!!!

Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

Day 1,854 – Thankful for a Filling in the Gap and Gavin’s Cheering Section

My first reaction to seeing the schedule for Gavin’s soccer games in Eau Claire today was a very loud sigh. An 8am game in Eau Claire meant waking up at 5am to get there on time. The 2:40pm game meant a 5 hour gap in between games when we’re 90 minutes from home. That seemed like the worst possible schedule to me. An entire Sunday of soccer, well over 12 hours away from home. Then I took a deep breath and remembered to appreciate the time rather than wish it away.

Becky had a perfect idea to fit in between our games. We drove a half hour west towards Menomonie and did some hiking. The trails were stunningly beautiful with so many colorful leaves drifting slowly to the earth. The sun caught each in just the right light and it made for a stunningly unreal sight:

Afterwards she had the idea for pizza at the Lucette Brewery, the place we ate for Kala & Dylan’s wedding reception a little while back. The wood fired pizza was THE BEST pizza I’ve ever had – dee-lish!!!

We headed back to Eau Claire, ran a couple of errands and then headed back to the field. Rather than being a terrible schedule it became an opportunity to spend more time with my family enjoying the types of things we enjoy doing. It was the perfect way for us to fill the gap in the schedule and looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.

At the second game Gavin had his own cheering section! Becky’s parents and the Hause family all showed up to support Gavin and his team. It was obviously a success as Gavin’s team won the match 3-1. Pretty awesome to have an extra cheering section 🙂

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 1,800 – Thankful for the Patience of Mentors

I think I learned one of the essential skills that makes for an excellent mentor. I’d love to tell you I figured it out through my mastery of mentoring others, but that would be a complete lie. This lesson hit home today as I realized just how patient with me my mentors have been through the years.

I can only begin to imagine how frustrating it must be for them to offer up wonderful words of wisdom over and over and over and over again – in many different formats – using so many different metaphors. And when I finally heed their advice they most likely frustrated when I slowly slip backwards and they have to start working on me again. Talk about quite the Sisiphean task!

I am so grateful that they take the time to continue growing me even when I don’t seem to make progress. The past year and a half or so has helped me pause and see all that I’ve been focusing more and more on implementing their ideas – and they’re working! Their patience has been paying off big time.

Thank you to everyone who’s helped to coach, grow, and mentor me. Thank you for being patient with me as I am sometimes stubborn and a slow learner. I will continue to improve how quickly I implement your thoughts and ideas, thank you for keeping your faith in me.

Thanks!!!