3.29.2020 ~ Solitude

I’ve been reading a leadership book by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin.  Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude, examines why solitude is such an important and necessary practice for leaders.  As someone who leans toward the introverted side of life, and has always appreciated the disciplines of solitude and silence I connect with this book, and the leaders highlighted in it’s pages.

Perhaps solitude is easier to practice during a time of social isolation, but I’ve been reminded, from my reading, about how important the practice of solitude is in my own life.

This morning I didn’t make it to “online church.”  A lot easier for me to not “attend” when I have to engage a screen.  I appreciate the effort, and I know we are living in uncharted times, but watching worship doesn’t do it for me.  Worship is a participatory activity, and for me, it is too hard to participate and engage if I’m not there.   Plus, this morning it was easier to choose another option as technical difficulties were hindering the live feed.

Instead, after a late breakfast and finishing up a 30 for 30 on the Celtics and Lakers my boys started watching yesterday, I decided to practice solitude by going outside and doing some work.  I did not have an agenda, other than to be present , to rake up leaves and sticks into piles and burn them, and to organize one of our storage areas.

The result was just what I needed, relaxing and life giving.  After spending the first hour outside by myself, my youngest son came out and helped.  We were able to practice solitude together, working without much conversation, helping each other and being productive in the process.

Working outside has always been very therapeutic for me.  Most likely something I picked up on our farm growing up.  This morning was no different.

Some people look at social distancing as an island of boredom.  Social distancing, doesn’t have to be a negative.  I invite all of us to embrace this opportunity.  I know the reason we are “sheltering in place” or have a “stay at home order” is because of a terrible virus, but we don’t have to let fear, worry, and being isolated bring us down.  Be okay with being quiet.  Take a break from technology.  Re-learn who you are and what being you means.

In the ever noisy society in which we live, taking a break from the sound and the constant can be very productive.  My times of solitude have helped me think through what I know to be going on in our world and country.  This morning, I just needed to be outside without an agenda.  Tomorrow, maybe solitude will grant me another opportunity to grow.

 

3.15.2020 ~ Connect.

For now, one of the ideas I feel led to highlight in my writing and podcasting (as soon as start) is connection.  Specifically, the understanding that as humans we need to connect with other humans, to be in relationships with each other, and to help each other out.

As an introverted-extrovert, or someone who likes being by himself but also realizes he needs people in his life, I am an advocate for connection because, in my opinion, we are at our best when we live our lives in concert with other people.  We are all on the journey, we might as well encourage and support each other along the way.

In light of our world’s need for social-distancing or social-isolation at the moment because of COVID-19 we might need to make an even greater effort to connect. While some say technology has allowed us to already be more isolated than past generations, I’m wondering if perhaps technology can also help bring us closer together.  (Keeping in mind of course, my ultimate solution for making sure we connect with other people requires a mix of face-to-face interaction and technology, and my tendency would be to lean heavier towards face-to-face interaction.)

But for now, we need to be mindful of what is going on around us, and for our own and others well-being, we probably ought to follow the suggestions for group and personal space interaction we being asked to follow.  If nothing else, a little bit of common sense in light of our current crisis will go a long way.

How can technology help bring us closer together?  Here are just a few ideas.

  1. Reach out to people you haven’t had a conversation with in awhile.  Most social media platforms have a messaging feature, and it is really easy to jump in there and send a quick note of greetings and encouragement.  Even if you just say hi, and ask a simple questions of “How’s life?” the thought will be appreciated.  If you have their phone number a text will suffice.
  2. Call somebody.  Every once and awhile hearing someone’s voice is just better than getting a text message.
  3. Live video.  Use any one of the many video conferencing apps and spend some time catching up, face-to-face via a screen.

At a time when many in our country and world are having to distance themselves from other people for their and everyone’s safety and well being, perhaps we need to make an effort to reach out and connect.

 

 

 

3.8.2020 ~ What’s Been Working for Me

I have found as I read books and listen to speakers about personal growth, success, self-help, organization, etc., that although the wording might be different the concepts are very similar.  I’m learning, this similarity is okay with me, as I’m constantly reading the same types of messages and the familiarity of them is finally starting to sink in.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a of change of heart and desire when it comes to my side projects, like this web-site, and my health and wellness business.  While, I know what has triggered my desire and activity to do more, I also know I wouldn’t be as productive without the help of books I have read recently and over the years.

Lately, I have been consistent on some daily practices I would like to share with you.  These came out of the book THE SLIGHT EDGE: TURNING SIMPLE DISCIPLINES INTO MASSIVE SUCCESS & HAPPINESS  By Jeff Olson, and I have read similar ideas in other books as well.

Here has what been working for me …

In the morning:

  1. Write down three things I am grateful for.  I have a notebook with Volkswagen vans on it that I use for this activity.  My mom gave me the notebook for last year, and my first car was a Volkswagen van, so I like the notebook.  I write my entries in cursive and focus on things from the day before I am grateful for.  They are usually pretty simple things, and I find my outlook on life is much more positive, and throughout the day I am much more grateful.
  2. Read a chapter from my Bible.  I usually alternate monthly between a book in the New Testament and the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.  I read from the New Testament because the books tell the stories of Jesus and His early followers, and the stories are a good reminder for me on how I am to live my life.  I read from the book of Proverbs because there is so much wisdom in this book.  Every time I read through Proverbs I gain new insight I can apply to my life each day.
  3. Read 10 pages from a helpful book.  Sometimes I read more than 10 pages, but 10 pages is my goal.  If I can keep up this pace I can read 3650 pages in a year, which is quite a few books, and learn a whole lot in the process.  The types of books I read are the books I have already mentioned.  They are very helpful as I improve myself, my business, and my life.
  4. Pray.  I have some index cards I keep in my Bible with specific things I prayer for everyday, and then have a spot for prayer needs that are out of the ordinary.

During the Day and Evening …

  1.  Listen to Podcasts.  I have a short commute, but I have to drive around quite a bit for work.  Instead of listening to the radio all of the time I listen to Podcasts.  The Podcasts I like are helpful and encouraging in my life, business, faith, and interests.  I try to listen to positive or helpful messages, as opposed to negative ones, because they build me up, instead of tearing me down.
  2. Exercise.  From March of 2019 through the end of October 2019 my exercise was devoted to training for and running a marathon.  I did a workout to get myself back into shape, then I did a pre-marathon training, and then I did my marathon training.  I ran the race at the end of October, a few days after my dad passed away, and then a few days later I threw my back out.  I had not exercised after my marathon until this past week when I started walking every day.  I went through the winter coaching basketball and would run and play some with my team, but nothing of significance.   Not feeling the pull to run at the moment, I either walk during my lunch, or when I get home I take our puppy and walk for a mile or so.  I’m not running … but the activity has been very good for me.

These are the things that have been working well for me lately, and I’m committed doing them every day because the activity is good for me and makes me feel good.  If one of these things resonated with you, I invite you to try it.  If not, find activities and a routine that work for you.

 

Leap Day Messed With My Watch

Some people use their phone or a wall clock to to ensure they know what time it is.

Not me.

For some time now I have relied on a Timex Iron Man wrist watch to keep track of the time.

I know there is better technology out there, but I like to keep things simple.  After all, we are just keeping track of the time, and they used to use sand in an hour glass.

But this weekend my trusty watch did not know what to do with Leap Day.  You know, February 29, that mysterious day that only comes around once every four years.

I woke up on Saturday, and my watch claimed the date was March 1.  My problem was, I didn’t reset the date until this morning, which was really only March 2, but my watch proclaimed as March 3.

So, I reset my watch and all day I knew the date of today.  I just realized an error though as I forgot to change the day of the week, so while I knew we were on Monday, my watch thought we we were on Sunday.

And as I went to change the day of the week I found the ultimate problem, that the year on my watch was set to 2014.  With a quick change to 2020, all seems to be right with the world … at least as far as the time goes on my watch.

I can rest soundly tonight, knowing the date, year, day, and time are all correct on my wrist watch.

Sweet dreams.

 

 

 

Chris Rice

I’ve been a fan of Chris Rice‘s music for about 20 years.  I think the first song of his I heard and liked was the “Cartoon Song,” but after that I really only listened to and appreciated his work with hymns.  There were two albums that became part of my regular play list “The Living Room Sessions” and “Peace Like a River: A Hymns Project.”

Tonight, as I was looking for some music to listen to while I worked on some projects I came across a new project Chris Rice put out last spring … don’t know how I missed it.  I listened to and enjoyed “Untitled Hymn: A Collection of Hymns” as I worked and appreciated the simplicity of the music and words.

As I listened to this album while doing the dishes after dinner and working on some projects at my desk, I couldn’t help but think about Sunday evening “church” as a child.  I used to love going to the meeting house on Sunday evenings because it was less formal than on Sunday mornings, and every once and awhile we could request which songs we sung.  Usually, if I remember correctly, we sang hymns, which I always enjoyed.

The music tonight also made me think about my dad.  My dad loved hymns … singing them and listening to them.  He appreciated Christ Rice as well.  My dad would sometimes lead worship through singing at our church when I was growing up … probably led some of the request times on Sunday evenings as well.  Sometimes, when I listen to certain songs, I can still hear him singing.

I’m grateful to God for music, and how music helps us connect to Him.