Dreams on the Precipice of Life

It is five days into the new year and I have a choice to make. It is 8:45 pm and I had a long day at work . I have to make the decision to either stick to my goal of posting something everyday or not. I have to ask myself, "Am I really wanting to do this? Do I really want to follow through with this goal?" 

Thankfully, I have a caring wife who encourages me to follow through with my goals, but I still have to decide. I still have to plunk my keister into a chair and write or not.

I made my New Year's goals in the height of dreams and fresh starts that the New Year promises, and now is when it gets real. Now is when I have to either do it or not.

Now is the time for will power, coffee, and accountability.

If you are struggling to meet your goals in the first full week of the new year, you are not alone. You can meet your goals and you will, if you just do it, no matter how you feel about them at this moment.

Make the decision and commit right now to meeting your goals even when it is hard. Even if you missed a stepping stone, jump back up out of the frozen river of broken dreams and get moving. You can do it.


What Happens on a Snow Day

I received a text message three minutes after I arrived to work that said the university was closing for the day. I sighed, then turned the car around and drove the hour back home in the beginnings of a snow storm. When I got home, I promptly got my car stuck in the snow off the edge of the driveway. I spent the next hour shoveling and snow blowing around the car to get it unstuck.

Snow Day Edit

The picture above is a few hours after I got it out, but you get the idea.

It would have been easy for me to get upset or frustrated when my car got stuck, but instead I chose to see it as a challenge, a puzzle, an opportunity to get exercise. The situation did not change, but my perception did. Changing my perception from frustration to challenge allowed me to “just do it” and get the car out instead of focusing on the annoyance and leaving the car until after the snow storm.

I was surprised how much I actually enjoyed getting the car out. It was nice to get out and do something physically demanding. I was able to engage my entire being in the project, physically and mentally, trying to solve the problem on how to get the car out of the foot of snow that lined our driveway.

As I sit inside my warm home with a hot cup of coffee, I cannot help but think what other areas of my life I need to perceive differently. What other impossibilities should I be seeing as a challenge instead of as an impossibility?

A Moment to Breathe

A Moment

In American culture, it is a virtue to be busy. If you tell a friend you are busy, they will respond with their “to do” list and you can bet it's bigger than yours. It takes a big effort to step away from this tendency and take a moment to breathe, to put aside everything and be present in the moment. Last week, I went to a coffee shop before going to teach my class. After ordering, I had about half an hour before I needed to be in my classroom. I sat down at a table outside and pulled out a notebook. I checked my watch and took a moment to breathe. Then I began to write, all the while being conscious of the time. Taking that moment to sit and write reminded me of how long a minute really is, if I am paying attention to it. That single half hour seemed to stretch for hours.

Often as I am running errands, at work, or hanging out with friends, time seems to slip away. I am so involved in whatever I am doing that the day seems to be over in a flash. Sitting down with coffee and a notebook helped me to take a moment to breathe, being fully aware of every second as it ticked away.

I finished my coffee, put away my notebook, and went to class, knowing that sometimes even thirty minutes can seem like a life time. If you are present.

Do you ever take a moment to breathe?

The Moment of Decision

Going to the gym is tough. Since last week I have been waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the gym by 5:30 a.m. Honestly, I think I am a little crazy, but that is not what I want to talk about today. (Maybe another time.) I want to talk about the moment when I wake up to the first beeps of my alarm clock. When my alarm goes off, I wake up and pick it up. (It is my phone.) I turn the sound off and this is when the moment of decision happens. Time seems to stand still and I have to make a choice. Even though I am sleepy and it is earlier than anyone should ever wake up, my brain is coherent enough to say, "Do I get up and go to the gym or do I sleep in an extra five minutes. " Notice my brain does not say, "Do I get up and go to the gym or not go to the gym." If that were the case, I am stubborn enough to say, "No, I am going to the gym," but I might be susceptible to another five minutes in my sleep induced state of incoherence.

If I give in to five minutes, my mind will then say, "Why not five more. Five more could not possibly hurt." I then end up not going to the gym as five minutes turns to twenty then to fifty. It ends with, "You don't have time to go to the gym this morning."

That is why the moment of decision is so important. I have had to become disciplined to say "no" to myself when it is only "five" more minutes. I know from experience that small compromises can destroy goals and lead to larger compromises.

The hardest part for me is accepting the fact that I have a choice. I can either do something or not. I have a choice whether I want to admit I have a choice or not.

The moment of decision is there every time.

The Desire to Create

As a creative type, I need to create something with my own two hands to be happy. It is something that is hardwired into my brain. It does not matter what it is, but I need the outlet for that creativity or else I start to get antsy. The danger comes when I go long periods without an act of creation. I no longer see the details and interesting bits in the world around me. I retreat into my own mind and it limits my ability to see what is going on around me. I stop observing and listening because my mind starts to focus too much on itself. I find that my creativity and inspiration comes from the outside world and when I don't create, I start to build a wall isolates me from my creativity and inspiration.

My wife recently brought this to my attention near the end of May. I had not made a video blog since the last day of April. In fact I had not created anything since then. She mentioned that I seemed a lot more involved when I was trying to find things to make videos about and she missed the excitement of discovery I had everyday during April. Her comment brought me back to reality and I decided to tear down that wall I had been building, hence my recent vlog post and this blog post.

The act of creation grounds me in reality and opens my eyes to the world around me.

Do you have a desire to create? How does the act of creation affect you?

Study Vacation Week 1

I push back from my desk toppling slowly, ever so slowly to the floor. The soft carpet catching me in its warm semi-soft embrace. Post-it notes flittering slowly down around me as exhaustion overwhelms my tired mind. I awaken to an animal nudging my face and breathing its rancid breath as a natural smelling salt to awaken me from my study induced coma. I push my notes and highlighters aside that scatter the floor.

"Coffee!" I cry from a dry throat as I pull myself to my feet. My limbs crack and creak as I pull myself through the thick air towards the kitchen, stumbling only two or three times over my words and my feet.

The hot liquid pours golden brown into my cup and I take my first sip. As the sweet liquid touches the ready embrace of my tongue, time slows and I find myself standing in the present. My mind reawakens and I find myself in the weekend. I glance to my right and left slowly remembering. The first week of the great study vacation has flashed by in a blur and here I stand on the brink of another week of study. The small gap of rest before the decision to leap.

I walk to the living room brought back to the present on a snowy Sunday afternoon. I sit on the couch with my wife, my coffee, my cat, and a book.

I toast the air and breath the relaxation deeply into my bones, knowing tomorrow will bring another day.