Posts Tagged: adventure


22
Nov 11

May the FORCE miss you

.

No salutation or niceties to start today’s blog.

I am a day late with my blog, I’m focused and on task.  So in my best Soup Nazi accent… “NO NICETIES FOR YOU!”

For you Seinfeld fans I cannot let the reference go by without some Soup Nazi clips.  For some reason you may need to take an extra click to see the video… enjoy.

.

YouTube Preview Image

.

I don’t know about you, but when things are looming, too busy, or a bit intense, I tend to go one of two directions – extremely focused allowing nothing to distract or scattered.

.

Focus is a matter of deciding what things you’re not going to do.

- John Carmack

.

My wife can attest to my face forward in a “world of my own” look and walk.

I’m not in a bad mood… just focused.  I’m a man on a mission and I don’t need or want any distractions.

But of course, since I don’t want any distractions, everything seems to be a distraction.  Nothing seems easy at all.

Have you ever noticed that when time is at a premium, everything that can go wrong usually goes wrong?

I have several things going on that are screaming for my attention and creating the squeeze.  But there’s one that tends to sneak up on me – the Holidays.

It took me years to finally see and understand the ritualistic cycle that occurs.

I am going to ask you a question that seems totally irrelevant to the topic.  Have you ever driven to Atlanta?

Side Note: Yes, I know… weird question.  In some odd obtuse way I will actually try to connect the dots.

.

My wife and I have driven to Atlanta many many times.  We approach the city from the north.

Something weird starts to happen when we pass Dalton, GA (70 miles north of Atlanta).

All of a sudden you start to feel an increased intensity in the traffic.  The cars move a little faster and the drivers slowly become more aggressive.

It’s as though Atlanta has a magnetic force field and once you get within range there is a pull and tension that seems to take over.

I finally learned that the holidays have that same force field dynamic.

You don’t feel or sense it at first, but before long you feel a tug that begins to pull you into the frenzy.  And like a spaceship being sucked into a black hole you feel helpless

The pace seems to pick up just before Halloween and before you know it there starts to be more clutter.  Not the type of clutter in the house but clutter in the schedule and life.

You really begin to feel the pace about the week of Thanksgiving.  After that it’s a 90 mile an hour dodging traffic, driving defensively, “get out of my way”, don’t mess with me, scramble.

This year is going to be different.

Figuratively speaking, my wife and I have decided to take the back roads… not as fast, not as busy, and not as decorated.

My challenge now is trying not to get caught in the pull of the black hole before we get off the main Interstate.

The back roads won’t get you there as quickly… but the view is spectacular.

Wish us luck.

See you Thursday.


21
Oct 11

The best plans… scattered by the wind!

.

Wow, have you ever had a day that is all planned out and you think it’s going to be pretty predictable and then… slam!?  That was my day yesterday.

I had my day all planned out to my liking.  Yesterday morning was nice and leisurely with the expectation of heading to the office, write my blog, handle some client needs, and finish the day early with a couple of easy meetings.

Well, it is Friday morning about 7:30 and I am just now writing my blog.

Most plans are just inaccurate predictions.

.                                                           -  Ben Bayol

.

In reference to the quote above, I say… how true… how true.

As I reflect on yesterday morning I am experiencing an eerie awareness.  It’s the kind of awareness that only comes from the hindsight of reality.

My eerie awareness is that although I didn’t realize it at the time, I possessed a subtle smugness that everything was under control.

I am not talking about a cocky arrogance that proclaims to life that “I am in control”!  No… not at all.

It is the type subtle smugness below the level of consciousness that quietly seeps in when we forget that life has a way of surprising us.

Yes, there is no question we can influence and impact the little world we live in… our little bubble.

But as we all know (but too easily forget) forces beyond us can take our feeble little plans and casually toss them into the wind to be scattered into oblivion.

In essence, we cannot control our life and plans… only manage them.

Thank goodness, the disruption of my plans yesterday was in reality just life clutter not a boulder dumped in my lap.

My life clutter yesterday was the proverbial domino effect – my car breaks down (in the rain), the towing, dealing with the garage, meetings changing, client demands, etc.

.

What I am pleased about, in hindsight, is that I handled the disruptions pretty calmly and unfrazzled.  I pretty much saw it as the “what is” and went about my day.

I can’t say that I have always been… shall we say… calm when life alters our all important plans.

I hate to admit it, but I have gotten pretty pissy when something as simple as someone pulling in front of me disrupting my plan to catch the light.   Sad.. but true.

As I said earlier, the stuff I experienced yesterday was just life clutter.

My wife and I often say, life is full of surprises.  In other words… don’t hang on too tightly to what you have and what you plan because there are no guarantees.

Yes, we are to make plans, set goals, and pursue our dreams.  We are to step out boldly toward the things we want.

But we must never let the pursuit be our purpose.  The plans, actions, and goals are just the visible path to our purpose.

As we all know… our visible path is easily disrupted or even blocked.

We have one of two choices when this occurs.

Our first option is to hold loosely to the plans we make and flow with the adventure of life changes.

The second choice is to tie ourselves to our plans.  But fair warning… you will get the crap beat out of you when the winds of life start to blow and toss your plans all over the place.

Like everything in life… our choice.

For me I’ll take an adventure over a butt whipping any day.

Ciao… see you Monday.


1
Sep 11

Cowboy or Cowboy?

.

Howdy Partner.

I guess I am in a cowboy mood or something.  The greeting just popped out.  What’s really weird is that this cowboy thing had nothing to do with what I was planning to write about today.

What I can say is this, having a loose creative mind can be pretty entertaining if I say so myself.  I never know what is going bounce around in my brain.  It’s a blend of adventure and frustration.

Sometimes it’s tough getting all those undisciplined ideas corralled (uh… sorry for the amateurish cowboy reference… but then again I’m the new bull in the herd to this writing thing… ok… enough).

As I said, I was going to talk about something totally different but my head took off in another direction.  So I had to go back and change the title and pictures.

Side Note: The real cowboy picture is one that I took while on vacation.  The fellow in the picture was to the core… cowboy.  He was quiet, had a strong presence, comfortable in his natural character, and reluctant to have a picture made.

It was a great experience for my wife and I.

.

There is a phrase in Texas that sums up the difference between the two pictures.

All hat and no cattle.

Have you ever seen someone trying to be something they’re not?

There is a sad strange dynamic of obvious and oblivious at play.  To the observer it’s obvious, but to the want-to-be they are oblivious.

The really sad and scary thing is that all of us have been on both sides of the equation at some point in our life.

For the most part I think a lot of trying to be something you’re not is natural.  A person sees something that stirs, inspires or quite frankly simply appeals to them and they take steps to pursue the vision.

That’s not a bad thing at all.  It is these times of exploration where we discover who we are, what we like, and what we want.

Those of you who have been reading a while know that this exploration thing is really important to me.  You cannot have discovery without exploration.

But what is bad, is when a person ends up playing the role and never really finding themselves.  Their identity is a cardboard image… no depth, no reality.

From a distance the casual observer may not see the façade.  But as one gets closer the all hat and no cattle becomes obvious.

Unfortunately, to the cardboard cowboy,

they are oblivious to the reality that everyone sees.

So how do we find out who we are by exploring, but not get trapped in a lie?

We do it with a balance of risk and reality.

I will talk about that on Monday.

Evenin’ cowboy.


4
Aug 11

The “Why” to Where

.

Hello, thanks for hanging out with me again.

As you know I have been regularly writing about this metaphorical journey about growing as a person and going to new places in life.

So today I am back on the journey trail.  Hopefully I will say something that will cause you to tilt your head with a new thought or question.  If this happens, it is a good thing.

“Man’s mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

.

.

I have become more and more passionate about this amazing journey of life.  There is so much for us to grasp and enjoy.  These are good things, deep things and fulfilling things.

Side Note: I am not talking about the cheap thrills of life that sparkle and titillate.  These are the types of things that enamor and trap people.

This is the “fool’s gold” of life.  Unfortunately this is where some people spend their lives digging and clawing for the worthless.

.

Some people may say that they are very satisfied with where they are and see no need to change, grow or move.

There has to be movement or else we stagnate.  Stagnation is a symptom of something dying.

We are meant to live, grow, learn, do, enjoy… right up to our dying breath.

Now here is an important “ah ha” for me.  To me, there is a big difference between contentment and satisfaction.  Satisfied feels motionless or fixed, whereas contentment to me is a state of being gratified, pleased and happy – but there is movement.

Contentment does not mean, nor should mean static.

Personally, I am very content, but not satisfied.   I am content with who I am but not satisfied with where I am.

Side Note: Hang with me.  I am sure this is feeling a bit obtuse.  But hopefully I will be able to make some sense of this.

Personally, I am anxious to see how I pull this together too.  I can’t wait to see.

.

A significant part of this contentment dynamic is tied directly to the title of today’s blog – The “Why” to Where.

It is critical to know the “why” behind our stepping out.

There may be lots of reasons for taking steps in a new direction.  But the multitude of reasons eventually settles into two fundamental and distinct categories.

Are we going “TO” or are we getting away “FROM”.  At first glance you may think that I am splitting hairs with these words but they are totally… I mean totally, totally different in their point of origin and motivation.

A few years ago a friend was considering a new job.  As we talked I asked him these two questions.  “What is driving the decision?”  “Are you going ‘to’ or getting away ‘from’”?

These questions force important soul searching.    “From” is a push motivator while “to” is a pull motivator.  There is a world of difference.

Yes, there are times where our focus is to get away “from”.  But “to” is the greater and more powerful.

“TO” is taking new ground while “FROM” is escaping old territory.

If your primary motivation for a journey is to get away from pain and/or discomfort then any destination free from these ills means you have arrived.

Whereas a journey of exploration and anticipation mean you never arrive.  There is always more to see and do.

This journey I have been on the past few years has been “TO” not “FROM”.

I am very, very content… but not a bit satisfied.

See you Monday.


2
May 11

Are You Trying to Get My Attention?

.

Hello again.

Do you ever get the sense that someone or something is trying to get your attention or send you a message?

If not, it’s probably because you’re not listening.  Sorry to be so blunt but it’s true.

First, I believe that in the area of growing as a person, we never arrive.  There is always more for us to enjoy, experience and to accomplish.

That’s the beauty and miracle of life.

God Alert: Yep, this is one of those times when I will talk about my faith.  And once again, I don’t expect you to believe as I do.

.

I tend to believe that God, because he loves his creation, continually offers us more.  We can never reach the end of what He has for us.

We can settle for somewhere along the journey… but be assured… there’s more.

Because there is more He is continually stirring us to step out and pulling us forward.  Occasionally God may even kick us in the butt to get our attention.

Side Note: Yes, I actually used the word butt and God in the same sentence.

No, I don’t think He is upset.

Some of you may be wondering why I made this a “Side Note”.  Believe me, there are some people I know who would be pretty disturbed that I said what I said.  But, I digress.

I believe that at key points in our journey there is a special attempt to get our attention.  God speaks to us by coincidence, friends and family, situations, and prayer.

So, the question is, are we listening?

I personally have been sensing and hearing a lot lately about making decisions.  I don’t sense  there is anything currently that I need to make a decision about.  But it could be that I may be faced with a growth opportunity soon that requires a decision.

I ran across a couple of quotes that I thought were pretty good and I want to share them with you.

“The highways are full of flat squirrels who couldn’t make up their mind.”

- Unknown

“When you cannot make up your mind between two evenly balanced courses of action, choose the bolder.”

- W.J. Slim

I particularly like the second quote.  It challenges me.

I don’t know what you are faced with.  But I do know that there is more to enjoy and experience.

Take the bold course… enjoy the thrill.

See you Thursday.


31
Mar 11

Easy Writer

.

Welcome back.

When people find out I write a blog I get a lot of interesting questions or comments.

Usually I get the question, “What kind of blog is it?”

Since I’m not sure what they are expecting I say something like, “I write about my thoughts and observations about life… and stuff.”  And yes, I tend to down play the fact I write a blog because… because… I don’t know why.  That is one of my personal flat spots.

They usually respond with a kind, “That’s nice.” Or “That’s interesting.”

I hear their words but in my mind’s eye I see their head tilt in that inquisitive sort of way and their voice cautiously saying something like,

“Ohhh… kaaaaay, and what makes you believe that you have something to say about life that is worthwhile enough for me to intentionally surf the net, find your site and take time to read it?”

This is along the same line of thinking as a friend of mine.  He openly slams people who write blogs.  He says the only reason people write blogs is because they are narcissistic and ego centric.

Side Note: Humm… maybe I need to redefine the term friend.  Anyway, I digress.

.

He blurted out something like, “What makes anyone (only ego centric people obviously- my addition) think that they have something to say significant enough for anyone to read?”

Strangely enough, I ask myself the same question every time I write the blog.

I don’t know, maybe I am narcissistic and ego centric.  I don’t think so.  But then again, maybe his rationale makes me narcissistic.

All of this ties into another question that I am asked periodically, where do you find things to talk about?

Personally, I find it easy to talk about stuff… having something to say meaningful is a different matter.

There are some people who naturally exude substance and wisdom.  Their every word seems to carry a weightiness worthy of examination and meaningful consideration.  I wish I were one.

I, like most, will occasionally (or accidently) articulate a thought deserving deeper reflection.

If I had to guess, my blog is kind of like one of those mystery grab bags where something valuable occasionally shows up.  Hopefully the occasional prize is good enough to warrant the ongoing visits.

Now before you think I am into some sort of masochistic thrashing of myself, I am not.  But with that said, I have no illusions of who or what I am in regards to my writing.

There is actually a point to all of this.

God Alert:  Yes I am going to mention some God stuff.  To my non-believing friends, as you know, I am not trying to make you believe the way I do.

I am providing context as to why I write this blog.

.

Apparently there is something in these writings that seem to encourage people, or at least, make them think.

This is an amazing aspect of being a Believer.  It is the fact that God uses ordinary people and simple words to touch and move us.

I don’t feel particularly spiritual when I write.  But I believe by writing I am being obedient to what He wants me to do.  Those of you who read my early blogs know that writing is not my thing.

But that is the way it works in the Spiritual realm.   Simple ordinary things that are touched by God has the power to transform.

And if there is any good that comes from writing this blog… all the credit and glory go to God.  I sure know that I am not (NOT) capable.

That’s why I continue to encourage you.

Step out!  Step into the unknown and enjoy an amazing ride.

See you Monday.


21
Mar 11

Pack or Unpack?

.

In the last blog entry I tried to unpack why I was stirred by the phrase “to move forward you must surrender something”.

Today I feel the need to poke around on the topic a bit more.  I am not too sure why I feel I want to continue the topic.  Maybe there are some more insights to capture or it could be just an intellectual dance of morbid curiosity.

I do believe part of the stirring of the phrase is directly tied to the beginning of my blog journey well over a year ago.  To move forward in my life I had to be willing to surrender something.

Side Note: If you are interested in how all this got started, my first couple of blog entries in January of 2010 will give you a pretty good flavor for the journey and the angst I experienced.

On the right side of the page are the blog archives.  Just click on January 2010.

.

To move forward there is always the sacrifice of the present.  In the last blog I referred to the Law of Displacement.  The fact that if we want to add more then something must go… good or bad.

Sometimes it may mean giving up good things to experience something better.

Giving up something good is tough. The nagging question is, if I possess something good now, how do I know for sure that what I am shooting for is going to be better?

The answer: You don’t know for sure.  That’s the adventure of life.

Now let’s be real world here for a second.  I am not talking about someone who willy nilly discards good things on an “all in” bet of life.  We are not talking about the fickle adolescent whims of likes and dislikes of things in our life.

So the question beckons, why would we give up a good thing?  We do it because something or someone is calling us to more.  That’s the adventure.

Deep calls to Deep.  I am talking about deep divine stirs that cause us to lift our eyes above the present to realities beyond our line of sight.

If we are open there are times in our lives we sense a compelling call to beyond.  We don’t fully understand it, but it’s there and it’s real.

We can choose to disregard the call and continue a “good” life and possess the good things.  No one would blame us and we have every logical reason not to step out.  The only thing that will nag is the haunting question of… “What if?”

Or we step out and experience the thrill of a heeded call.

It is the kind of step that sucks the breath out of you in a mix of both fear and anticipation.  For me it was mostly fear.

We have been talking about giving up good things.  As strange as it may seem, I don’t think the sacrifice of good things are the most difficult.

This will sound weird but I tend to believe giving up bad things is the greatest challenge and requires the greater courage.

I will talk about that on Thursday.  See you then.


3
Mar 11

No Picasso

Hi there.  Good to see you again.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to take the leap and start painting. 

Me… PAINT?!!!  Yep, hard to believe, me painting. 

Painting, like writing, was a big step.  But when you make such a public announcement like this you better be prepared to follow thru.  This is especially true when the entire family bought me painting supplies as gifts for Christmas, and a friend gave me a very cool easel.

Now before I jump into the perils of painting, let me ask you a couple of questions.

  • Are you willing to start or do things out of your comfort zone?
  • If you do start things, are you pretty good at following thru or do these things die a slow death?  Seriously, do you have a history of unfinished projects or hobbies that lie around becoming tombstones that mark failure?
  • When is the last time you took a big leap to try something new?
  • What one thing has been wiggling around inside that has caught your attention that you may like to try? 

.

 Now these questions aren’t meant to judge, make you feel bad, or present an opportunity to pat yourself on the back.  They are meant to stir and challenge.

Personally, I have absolutely no room to judge.  Up until a couple of years ago my track record was pretty abysmal. 

First, I wasn’t very willing to try anything out of my comfort zone because I didn’t want to look bad.  And to add insult to injury the odds of finishing things were pretty low.  Embarrassing, but true. 

The weird thing about having a history of not completing things or doing things well has the insidious effect of making you reticent to try anything new because the outcome was already determined.  

The last few years have been different.  I can’t fully explain it but the first couple of blog entries (January, 2010 on the right side of the page) talks about my exodus from the safe confines of my small world to a more risky and fulfilling life.

This is why I made a big deal of the one year anniversary of my blog.  This blog thing was an extremely big and risky step for me.  I felt exposed and completely vulnerable.  But I started, I have faithfully continued, and I have done the best I can. 

I am not saying that I believe what I write is that good or meaningful.  But I feel good about doing it and sticking with it.  If it happens to help or encourage someone else, all the better. 

Side Note:  Once again I feel the need to say, if no one reads this blog, it is something I am to do… for me and my journey.  Although writing it has been grueling at time, it has been worth it.

 .

OK, now for my next big step, painting.  I kind of feel the same way about painting as I do about writing, inadequate and vulnerable.  But it is something that stirred, I listened and I’m doing. 

Like writing I did not casually start.  I have taken my time, got things in place and then at the time I felt was right… with palette, paint and brushes in hand I took the leap. 

Let me say that it has not been a pretty sight.  I feel totally weird.  But I must say it has been fun.  It’s fun since I am trying not to put to high of expectations on myself. 

Side Note:  A supportive wife really helps.  I make a few dabs of paint on the canvas that are honestly pretty bad and my wife will find something nice to say.  

She will look at it and say something like, “That’s a nice color.”  She makes it safe to look stupid.

 .

Since taking the leap of painting I have learned something pretty significant.  I have learned that the picture I have in my head doesn’t necessarily come out on the canvas.

I thought all I would need to do is just open a tube of paint, dip my brush and Wa La… masterpiece. 

Oh, did I mention that what I lacked in talent I made up for in naivety.

Honestly I have gotten a bit discouraged.  I am finding that it is not nearly as easy as I thought.  Although it is discouraging I am not deterred, and that’s a very nice feeling.

The learning curve and discouragement are part of the process.  This is normal. 

So what about you?  What are you thinking about doing that you know you should try to do?  Or, what are you thinking about giving up on that you know you should press forward?

I will continue to paint, take some lessons, and have fun.

Just so you know, the picture at the top is NOT one of my paintings.  One of these days I will show one.

Thanks for hanging out with me.

See you Monday.


17
Jan 11

Change Anyone?

Hi there. 

I start with a promise today.  I promise no burrito remarks.  My wife thought it might have been a bit over used in the last blog entry.  Frankly I don’t understand the concern.  I think there’s always room for a good burrito comment in any literary effort, don’t you? 

Okay, now to more meaningful endeavors.  As you know I have been talking about this “stirring” thing the past several blog entries.  Being stirred is one thing but what you do with it is another.

Thinking about doing something is easy.  It’s kind of like an emotional double shot of bourbon.  Thinking feels good for the moment and slowly dulls your senses to reality.  And before you know it the stirring has been put in its place and neatly tucked away till next time.

Anytime you embark on a journey that stretches you, it is a journey into the unknown.  But fair warning, the unknown has the power to paralyze. 

For me, I became paralyzed.  Usually the unknown paralyzes people because the natural default is to fill the void with negative scenarios.

I launched this blog January 4, 2010, but I started thinking about it for a good ten to twelve months before hand.  The fact that I was considering something that was so far outside my comfort zone paralyzed me.

You may be the type that throws yourself into new things pretty easily.  I envy you, I guess.  But there is something about venturing into those dangerous areas of life.  If you feel no danger then you may not be stepping out far enough.

If you truly step beyond yourself then failure is a legitimate likelihood.  You step into that realm and you will never be the same. 

            “A mind stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimensions.”

            – Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

This is also true in regards to personal growth.  Stepping into something beyond us changes us.  You will never be the same.

Now this is where it can get really dicey.  When we change, things around us change.  It not because we are trying to change it intentionally but it occur naturally. 

Usually we try to change things by changing other people… this can be very messy.  Let’s face it; we don’t like it when people try to change us. 

I have learned a long time ago and my mantra has been change affects change

I change, things change.  We tend to be consumed with what changes other people need to make.  I believe more and more in the core of my being that I must be open to who and what I am and change where I need to change.

I change because it’s the right thing for the right reasons.  But changers beware.  When you change, people will want to force you back into the box that maintains their normalcy. 

This is where personal resolve of doing what’s right is tested. 

I am sure that I have shared this before but it is worth repeating.  I always heard that marriage required work.

I’m pretty aware and I don’t tend to be selfish so I thought the work will be things like trying to understand her needs or doing my share around the house. 

When things weren’t going smoothly I felt like she needed to change.  Boy was I wrong.  The work required in any marriage is on YOURSELF. 

If both people are working on themselves it makes a wonderful marriage, not perfect, but amazing.

So, if you are willing to step beyond yourself the rewards are magnificent. 

So I encourage you on your journey to step out beyond where you are.  Try something new, something that stretches you.

See you Thursday.  Burrito Boy… signing off.

P.S.  I just couldn’t help myself with the burrito comment.  And yes, I realize it was childish and silly.


17
Jun 10

Too Far To Turn Back

Howdy.  It’s me again… I survived full disclosure from the last blog. 

The only thing that I am concerned about is if any friends of mine who read the blog wondered if I thought they were boring.  Not at all.  It’s my friends who don’t read my blog who are boring.

But opening up about something that makes me look bad isn’t something I typically do.  But I’m on a journey beyond where I am.  I know that it seems odd to some who read this blog… especially people who know me.  Actually, I have a great life, I am very fulfilled and by the standards of many people pretty successful.

How well you are doing isn’t the proper measuring rod.  It is how much are you capable of?  And how much more there is that you are letting slip through your fingers? 

I am determined not to take the easy way.  I have had several people say that they admired the fact that I am writing a blog (especially writing two entries a week).  I am very appreciative and thankful for their kind words.  But if there is something a person is called to do (and I truly believe I am to write this blog) then there can be no other option but do it. 

The compelling quiet whisper that invaded my heart and head is relentless in its firm gentle way.  It is the quiet whisper that is calling me to venture beyond my comfortable world into the risky business of the unknown.

So I continue to press on… and let me say… it has made life much more of an adventure.   The final verses of Robert Frost’s Road Less Traveled are right on.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference.
…Robert Frost

 

Traveling the path into the unknown and unfamiliar is risky, time consuming and demands investment.  It takes a lot of effort to start and effort to maintain momentum, but the ongoing investment is eventually transformed into passion.

“At some point, turning back is not an option.”

 

When is the last time you tried something for the first time?  Is there something stirring from within that demands attention? 

Hopefully this little blog is challenging you to lean in closely to the voice trying to get your attention.  Life is too short to ignore the “what if”. 

I am sorry if I am sounding a little preachy… I don’t mean to be.  I do want to encourage.  

What is the one small thing that you think you are to do that you’re not doing?  Is there a call you need to make, letter to write, a person you need to forgive, to let go of the failure you hang on too, read that book, go to that church, write that song, or release the rock that you have carried for too long.

For me it was to take that first step beyond the safe wall of self and write this blog.  Thank God I have.

See you Monday