Tag: true beauty

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it.  It just blooms.”  Unknown 

 

I’m not much of a gardener, but I appreciate the multiple colors that flowers can bring to a dull landscape or front yard. Regardless of the arrangement, type of flowers planted or the blend of colors, it is always a sight to see them in full bloom. I suppose it is why so many of us head to our local nurseries every spring to plant flowers that bring life, color and beauty to our otherwise simple yards.

Today I found myself thinking about the blooming of flowers and its close correlation to our lives unfolding in different seasons. As we the gardeners plant our choice of flowers in the dirt, we have expectations that we will see the manifestations of our work at some point in the near future. We will do the work of watering and making sure our flowers have the proper nutrients to grow in their environment, all so we can experience the magic of the colorful blooms of our perfected arrangement.

Like a flower, we often have untapped beauty waiting to be experienced and seen by the those that can appreciate its wonder, amazement and vitality. But what if that flower fails to bloom? We immediately recognize that something is not right and we go into the “fix it” mode, because one, we paid for a flower that is supposed to bloom, and two it falls short of the anticipated array we envisioned from the lawn and garden books we studied.

So how does all this tie in to us?  Well if I asked you if you were blooming, what would your answer be? Are you allowing the beauty that lives in you to shine through, or are you hiding it, due to shame, lack of confidence or have you become more comfortable with conveying another version of yourself that has become more your norm and quite honestly, more acceptable to family and friends? As doctor Phil says, “How is that working out for you?

As I have grown in my own journey, I have come to understand that living anything less than my authentic self compares to making a choice to deliberately wear shoes that are one size too small. I will be always uncomfortable, uneasy, irritable, lacking confidence, doubting my decisions, feeling awkward, and ultimately in some sort of pain that seems to linger on. I get it, been there and have lived the life of someone other than myself for many years, and for a diverse set of reasons, but no matter how good it seemed to look or feel on the outside, ultimately I was making the choice to die inside. A slow death that squelched every part of my self-respect and esteem.

There I was smiling on the outside, and crying on the inside. And I knew the reasons, but lacked the courage to do anything about it, until one day I faced my fears after a harsh breakup.

I learned that brokenness is not necessarily a bad thing. Although it feels terrible, it was the process of putting things back together where I learned some of those pieces were no longer relevant in my life or never belonged in the first place. Other parts I discovered were closed off and dormant with a purpose. A purpose that relegated me to silence, doubt and living comfortably in the shadows of life.

So my decision to open those dormant parts were akin to a flower blooming for the first time. My life has never been the same and I continue to press towards higher heights and deeper depths.

How about you? What are you holding back? What are you shielding? Are you letting your flower bloom? The world is awaiting its beauty and aroma.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength in distress, and grows brave by reflection.” – Thomas Paine

Today I took a walk.  Not just any walk, but a walk to clarify my thoughts, reconnect with nature, listen to the trees, adore the beauty that God created and breathe some fresh air.

I am not quite sure why turmoil is the thing that gets us to slow down and take note on what is really going on in our lives, but I am grateful for the moments and I have learned to appreciate the times when I am able to pull myself away from my daily routine and reflect nonetheless.

In these times I find myself becoming hypersensitive to not only what is currently happening, but also very reflective on the many unresolved situations that I have undergone.  Yet at the same time, I recognize what I am specifically dealing with and nature has a way of soothing my mind, reminding me of true beauty, and the (often) many unresolved issues I am facing tend to resolve themselves in the wind, literally.

Today I took a walk.  It was quite warm, so I took water, not only for my  body, but for my soul.  It was time to replenish my soul.  I spied tree stumps that I have walked by countless times, but really saw for the very first time today.  Their story spoke to me.  Why were they cut down, yet still standing decades later?  Will I still be standing in the next decade, and how will my story shape me?  Or how will I shape my story?  How will the unknowns enter my life and affect how I think, live and love?  What will my testament be?

I do not clearly know the answers, but as I walked along the trails in the warm sun, I thought, (sometimes out loud) “I am still an unfinished work.  A creation that God has destined and purposed for great things that are yet to be manifested.” 

However, sometimes we forget, we lose sight and become easily frustrated with the pangs of life.  You know, those situations (and people) that tend to get under our skin.  Those things that easily beset us. Those things that come to try us, test us and confirm that we really believe what we verbally claim to be.

Today I took a walk.  I was out for more than two hours, but the thoughts that encapsulated my mind were timeless.  My childhood and adulthood stood front and center almost simultaneously. I recalled the scent of my room as a boy, as I listened to my mother speak lessons of life to me.  Lessons that I desperately needed today.  I thought about the landscape I was passing on my trail.  It is the same, but different if you choose to look closely. 

Some parts have changed, but the overall scene is the same. Some trees have grown taller, some have fallen to the ground.  The grass is brown and then green, as life comes and goes. I am not the same man I use to be, know matter what others may claim.  My life is ever-changing and God still has His hands on me.  Guiding me in truth and purpose.

Today I took a walk.  I started with many questions and returned with the answers I needed.  My life is ever-changing with moments that I grasp and some I cannot.  However somehow I am okay.  Well more than okay.  I know what I need to know, today.  Tomorrow is another day, another time with its own portion of grace that I will receive then. 

I will not be anxious.  I will rest in what is now, even if “now” is far from what I desire.  The grass grows, dies and then grows again.  I am like the grass that I see on the trail.  My life is not over.  I have seeds still being planted by dead grass.  I am he that continues.  Like you, like us. 

Today I took a walk.  It was life changing.  I spoke to my myself and listened to the eucalyptus trees speak in the wind.  They indeed had a message for me.  Peace, was the message and I received it.  Day in and day out they stand, established by God.  I can be like that tree that sets by streams of living water.  I can be replenished when it is time.  I just need to understand how, and equally understand it may look different then my neighbor. 

Every trail has its own beauty and its own truth (if you will).  Each are the same , but different.  I can always learn something new if I choose to look closely.  

Today I took a walk.  I learned something new, and it was more about me than the trees and wonderful landscape, but I was grateful because this is the story that God chose to share with me exclusively.  And He knew that I would be listening.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” –  Steve Prefontaine

 

I have never met anyone who does not appreciate receiving a gift, whether a small token of appreciation or something grand.  When we take the time to acknowledge someone for anything, whether small or large it usually speaks volumes to their souls. 

I have always tried to teach my children that being thoughtful with what one has will always be greater than trying to buy what one cannot afford.  That said, I have taught them to not worry about buying me a gift (when they were younger) for my birthday, but instead make me a card or do something thoughtful (to me) that cost them only their time.

We live in such a fast-paced world where sending flowers or any type of gift is just a click away, and although I appreciate a nice surprise in the mail, nothing will ever replace the intangible gifts that come along with human interaction and connection. 

Because we yearn so much for human connection, even receiving the best gift will be meaningless without the essential act of being thoughtful, concerned or showing love, so if and when you deliver that awesome gift to a friend or loved one, make sure a bit of your personal touch is a part of the exchange.

As we grow older, wiser and more settled with our lives, we begin to realize that the most important gifts are the ones that cannot be purchased.  The intimate conversations amongst friends and family are surely to be coveted, and often come far and few between, but nonetheless when they come they bring so much of what we long for and need.

I can recall sitting with someone who I hardly knew a couple of years back at a family function.  Somehow we sat next to one another and begin to dialogue about life and the people around us.  Not only was it easy to share, but we both found ourselves being transparent and honest about very personal issues we were facing in our lives at that time.  There was no judgment or angst about diving head first into the various subjects.  Just two people sharing a moment in time that proved to be helpful and rewarding for us both.  

When I think of someone giving away a gift, it is those types of moments that come to mind.  It is those types of moments that bring on life change, impart heartfelt truths and have the potential to leave an imprint on our minds that can carry on for years.  I suppose it is the  type of gift that keeps on giving, at least for someone like me.

What gifts have you given away lately?  The ones you cannot purchase online or in a store.  The ones that may require your time, undivided attention and ability to really listen.  For some this may not even seem like a gift, but I can say with some certainty that the ones receiving it will, and their lives will be better for it.  

I have been blessed to have wonderful friends and family that share the truth, in love.  As they do this, they give away something meaningful to me each time.  Something that I can hold onto, something that is timeless, and more often than not something that fills a void and answers a deep question within.

These are the types of gifts that my heart longs for, more than anything other kind.  They are refreshing, renewing and quenches the thirst of my soul.  

For some, the idea of giving gifts this way will draw a blank stare or create confusion, but for those of you that get it, you know what I am talking about.  I encourage you to continue giving your best gift away.  The world is a better place because of you and life simply is no fun when the givers stop giving.

Of course always do it with wisdom and without obligation, but more importantly do it with and in love.  That is your best gift!

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“Don’t look for love.  Quietly give it away and let it find you back.” – Unknown 

Have you ever been so tired that you can’t see straight?  Well that is me tonight, so I am going to make this short and sweet.  It has been a short, but long weekend.  Know what I mean?  The theme has been “moving”.  Never a fun thing, actually quite stressful whether it is for you or someone else, but nonetheless a necessary evil I suppose. 

As much as I want to complain about helping others move I cannot because at the end of the day, it was done for people whom I love, and in this case, that is what love does.

Even as I am writing this post my eyes want to close, but I am committed to sharing something relevant, current and real every week, so that is what I am doing.

What have you done in the name of love lately?  Like gave of yourself sacrificially for someone else, and expected no accolades in return?  In many cases it is a rare event.  After all, we only have so much energy, but when it is done with pure intentions, it can change a life for the better. 

So the next time someone ask you to do something that causes you to stretch yourself or it disrupts your preplanned events, before you just say no or make an excuse about why you cannot do it, take a second look at what is motivating you to say no.  Perhaps this is one of those moments for you to pay it forward, just because.

This was one of those moments for me, and even though I am completely exhausted and still have to rise up early for my day job, I have no regrets and honestly did it with peace in my heart (well after a little internal battle with myself first).

That said, I have no more words, but do it for love, whatever “it” is.   My bed is awaiting me and I am going to sleep now.  Pleasant dreams.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.” – Pierre Corneille

 

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Like most people I love receiving gifts on my birthday, holidays or the “just because” ones are the best.   The thoughtfulness behind someone taking the time to give you something meaningful to them is a priceless moment to experience.  As I lived a bit and experienced the turmoil and joys of life, I have come to appreciate many different types of gifts.  Ones that I receive as well as ones that I give.  They may not have any material value, but they are indeed valuable nonetheless.  I have come to understand that I have had the opportunity to acquire and learn many of my most precious gifts as a man living my life.  These are unplanned events that seemingly just happen.  But they don’t, because nothing just happens.  In some form or fashion I have relegated an action towards myself by my disposition and choices, or I have inflicted this on someone else by my own recognizance.  What is key for me is always understanding the why and/or the what.  Our roles in life can be the key indicators to where we are on the spectrum of wholeness and the tell-tell sign of where we’re going, or not depending how we’re functioning in them.

I have had several roles in my life.  I’ve been a son to two great parents, a brother to three beautiful sisters, a father to three wonderful children, a close friend to a few special people, an employee at a great company for almost ten years, a mentor/big brother, and one day soon I’ll be a husband again to an amazing woman.  All of these roles have forged and continue to do so, something deep in me that has made me a better man, albeit usually combined with great pain, disdain and many hard learned life lessons.  For each learned lesson (and I emphasize learned, because there remains many that I am still working on) I am grateful for the wisdom and insight that I now possess.  It’s as if each nugget of wisdom has produced a new gift.  A gift that I gladly submit to the world daily.  

It’s not that I feel I have finally arrived at a place where I’m sharing an endless amount of insight for the world to attain through me, but I have arrived at some place.  A place where I recognize I am more than what I was three to five years ago.  A place where I understand my ability to discern, administer patience and recognize potential pitfalls is finally clearer to me now.  A place where I no longer allow fear to be the impetus of my decision-making.  And finally a place where my past desire to appease others or seek approval at my own expense is no longer a factor for how I live my life.

Now when you typically think about gifts, the aforementioned is probably not what you think about.  But if you humor me for a minute I’ll explain.  Webster defines the word “gift” as something that is given to another person, group or organization.  I’ll add that it is something usually desired, preferred or needed by the recipient. That said, when I think of a gift in this context, I believe making a decision to grow as a person can result as gift to another.  Not in an arrogant or insensitive way, but with humility and grace.

There are endless articles regarding broken relationships, heart-break, hurt families and people acting out in mean and cruel ways, specifically in hostile or unpleasant environments.  It leaves us numb, callous and distrustful of others, but what would happen if people chose to act out in a different way?  In a way that was positive, with respect and that gives dignity for all involved, even in an unfriendly situation. I believe it would provide a very tangible heartfelt gift to the recipient of otherwise bad news.  

Rudeness and bad news should not go hand in hand in a relationship.

 

Now I understand when someone treats us poorly, whether through breaking trust, mean-spiritedness or physical and emotional abuse, our instinctual response is to retaliate and protect self.  And in no way am I saying we should not protect ourselves or excuse behavior that is hurtful towards us, but what I am saying is that we should decide what category our response should fall under based on the spirit of the act or accusation. When we make the decision to retaliate solely out of anger or our pain, we ultimately hurt ourselves in the long run.  There are no gifts to be found there.  Only more grief, even if it feels good at the time.  What I also understand is emotions can be crazy and seemingly uncontrollable in the heat of the moment, but when you consider the many heinous acts that have been committed during the heat of passion, you have to ask yourself, “Was it all worth it?”  Hopefully your answer is no.

So as a recipient and perpetrator of both I am fully aware of how it looks and feels to be on both sides.  I have hurt others out of ignorance, selfishness and immaturity, and I have equally been wronged for the exact same reasons.  What I have come to learn is there is a better way.  I don’t claim perfection in this area of my life, but I do recognize that the gift of truth and honesty our by-products of a healthy and whole spirit and produce respect and honor.  My point, retaliation, vindication and unforgiveness are indicators of brokenness within us. The other person(s) may have their issues, but when they are allowed to push our buttons, this becomes about us and not them. That is when we have to ask ourselves, “What is going here?”  Why are they still able to get under my skin?  Why do they make me so angry still, or how is it they can disrupt my day and they are dead?  When we begin this work versus simply reacting to these types of questions, we give ourselves a fighting chance towards becoming whole and having better relationships in the future.  Like a gift we literally give to ourselves.

So as we approach fall and winter and the amazing holidays that come in this time of year, I hope that you will enjoy every good gift that you receive and I equally pray that you will become the giver of the best type of gifts.  The ones that are not necessarily earned or expected.  And at times to the most undeserving.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “My Gift to the World”

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” – Martin Luther

 

 

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I recently celebrated my forty-seventh birthday and as I get closer to that magic number of fifty, I’m realizing there are fewer things that impact me the way they did when I was younger.  Even as recent as five years ago. I’m not sure if it’s the actual age I am or the frickin crap that has occurred in my life along the way, but regardless of my disposition, patience and demeanor about BS and unsolicited drama my mindset has certainly changed over the years.  I believe it is a place we all come to at some point in our lives, at least I hope it is.

That moment when we can look in the mirror and say to ourselves and the world, “Here I am, take it or leave it, because I am good!”  Not that we have thrown in the towel on personal growth and development, respect and care for others or a passion for life, but we refuse to allow others (every & anyone else) to influence how we think and move about in our lives.  I can recall a conversation I had with my father several months ago about the death of his parents.  Once his mother passed away, he was parent-less at around sixty years old. He says to me, “Now that I don’t have a mother or father in the earth, who can tell me what to do?”  I thought about what he said and I get it.  It’s not that his parents were still giving him life instructions at sixty years old, but they were the ones that represented some framework of authority over him.  Now that they are deceased, their influence is as well, so the game has changed forever.  Quite simply he does what the hell he wants without permission or concern for others.  Not necessarily in a disrespectful manner, but more matter of factly.  I ‘ll do it now and ask questions later is pretty much his disposition.  

So my question is, what does it take for us to come to the place when we finally begin to live our lives like tomorrow is not promised, not just in word, but with authentic action?   Maybe the better question is when do we start acting like a grown-up?

Now I understand that by definition being a grown-up is not just about having the freedom to do what you want when you want, but it is equally about taking responsibility for your actions.  However for this post I want to focus on the freedom portion, because as much as we want to believe we live free lives, bound only by our convictions, we are not.  We still remain tethered to past issues, broken childhood promises and our own self-inflicted hang-ups. Therefore we cannot fully live free lives.  We cannot dance like no one is watching, we cannot express our love in meaningful ways to the one we love the most, we cannot dare ourselves to take a different path because we frickin care about breaking the mode, rocking the boat and disrupting the status quo. So we remain on the sidelines of life in bondage to what others will say, what others will think and how others will respond to our now hidden messages, beliefs or ideas.

To remain true to this website I’ll share a personal story, because I love telling my business to the world. (NOT!)  But I realize someone can benefit from it.  During the end of my second, nine-month long marriage, although the demise was mostly my fault, there was a period that I had hope it was going to work out, somehow someway.  Then one day my ex-wife sent me an email that she would be getting the remainder of her things.  I recall that day I came home to an almost empty house and shortly after I was served with the infamous papers and the rest is history, albeit a hard history.  My point in mentioning this is not to highlight that she was/is bad person, but she had made up her mind what she was doing and why she was going through with it.  She did not call me to consult or see what I thought.  She made her decision despite my opinions.  Although I was deeply hurt, I respect the fact (today, not then) that she did what she felt was best for her, period.  If you have ever heard of the, “dropping the mike” phrase, that is what it looks like.  Today I can smile about this and appreciate the strength it must have taken for her to leave our marriage.  She had enough and was done (with me).  I use to think, “I could never just do that to anyone”, but I realize tomorrow is not promised to us (and not that I advocate divorce), but we must choose to live our lives free of what others think about our decisions and why we make them, even if you are the one that will suffer the most from it.

Everyday, like you I am faced with circumstances that force me to make difficult or questionable decisions. Ones that will certainly cause my family and close friends to question my forethought or perhaps my good judgement. Sometimes they get it right.  Sometimes I definitely do seek their guidance, but often times I do not. Why, because I don’t need a permission slip to do what I feel is best for me.  I feel like as long as I am paying my own bills and not borrowing money from them, they have no right to verbally question how I choose to live my life as long as I am being respectful towards them and myself.  And I must be clear that being respectful does not always equate to being nice, it simply means that you’re speaking your truth, whether the recipient wants to hear it or not.

Once upon a time I certainly did care about what everyone thought.  I was like a mouse attempting to hide from a cat.  I consulted everyone I knew just to be sure, but I have learned as I grow wiser and get older those things that once mattered like, opinions of others, misunderstandings from others or the thought of others talking behind my back simply mean nothing to me today.

Now I cannot say if this is due to my age or I’m experiencing a paradigm shift.  Quite possibly it is a combination of them both.  Whatever the cause I am happy to be here and content that I have arrived at this place, at this time in my life.  I am grateful and blessed that I still have both of my parents living and they both continue to enrich my life in very meaningful ways to this day.  However I equally understand that I am now three years short of being a half of a century old and the idea that I require permission or affirmation from them for anything is ludicrous, so why would I think I need it from anyone else?

The answer is simple, I don’t.  So I going to make the latter half of my life better, more dynamic, even more carefree in some cases.  I’m going to live in the moment, and make my next marriage (my last) and love her with the best love I have to give.  All she will know is that, the rest won’t matter because I will be living my best life and living it like tomorrow is not promised.

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We do not remember days, we remember moments” – Cesare Pavese

 

 

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In the last two months I’ve been to two funerals and one memorial for people who I knew as family and good friends.  One thing about death is you never get use to it no matter how prepared you may be.  It is certainly a part of the life-cycle that we all must face at some point, whether we are ready or not.  As I joined in and listened to the families and friends gather in the celebration of life for how these three individuals lived while on the earth, I begin to take note of my own life and what I’m doing with the time I have remaining to live.  Death has an uncanny way of causing us to reflect on life and our inevitable demise, and as we all know the time we have left does not with a guarantee.  So what do we do with the time that we have remaining to live and how do the ones that witness our lives in action actually define if we have lived at all once we are gone?  

An older gentleman that I respect once told me, “It’s all about the dash in the middle Henry”.  In other words, we get an undetermined start date and an undetermined end date, but what we do in between (the dash) is very much determined by you and I.  Although I pretty much understood this intellectually the moment he said it to me, I really didn’t grasp it within my spirit for many years later.  And even at this very moment I’ve been thrust into circumstances that allow me to learn even more regarding the topic.  What is your life?  I ask this question, not to draw the common conclusion about purpose (that’s another post), but this time I am curious about how we define when we truly began to live.  

Chronologically, we all have a date that we were born, but when did you truly begin to live your life meaningfully, with moments that reflected that meaning?  

What particular events capture significant moments for you that depict real living?

 

For some of us we may reflect on getting married, having our first child or facing a fear head-on for the very first time.  Although each of these life events are significant, if we’re not careful we may still miss the moment. Acknowledge these events and others that you choose as only Headings. It is what transpires following these life events, specifically because of them is what gives us the opportunities to truly live.  The choice still however remains up to us, whether we learn, grow and experience life as it could be.  Just because we inherit the title of husband, father, wife, mother or best friend does not constitute that we will embrace the role or grow from it in a meaningful way.  If we’re not careful or thoughtful, we will live these roles seemingly robotically, only fulfilling the expected functions day in and day out as the years whiz by.  Sadly, many people live their lives in this manner, missing out on opportunities to connect with others, truly learn from poor decision-making or to grow with contentment and gratefulness.  

I recently spoke to a person that has a best friend who just experienced a tragic break up.  She was scheduled to begin medical school and now had second thoughts about attending due to the recent demise of her relationship. Not only did this person comfort her best friend with kind words, but she took off of work and met her at the school to help her establish this new life she was about to embark on.  I was amazed at the sacrifice she was willing make to be there for her friend.  When I think of moments that others will reflect on about “the dash” in her life, it is quite clear that this will always be a defining moment in that person’s life.  What is her life as a friend?  The answer is crystal clear.  She was present.

As I reflect on my life, I was a husband twice, a father to two daughters and a son, the son of my parents, a brother to three sisters and a best friend to a few awesome people.  In these roles I have accomplished, failed, learned, disappointed, helped, guided, mis-directed, disciplined, failed some more and grown tremendously.  In times past I would typically look at these roles in the light of failures or successes, depending the circumstance and measure my worth accordingly.  However today I recognize my worth is not merely tied to how well I performed or not, but what I did with the moments I had the opportunities to reflect, grow, forgive and start over.  And although these moments represented the most difficult times that I have ever experienced in my life, they are equally the most significant times of my growth.  The type of growth that does not seek to share mere words so that others will be impressed by what I have learned, but more importantly expose what I am/was ignorant to.  

I have found it is in these times that “the moments” that create indelible marks on the hearts of the ones we love and that see us are scribed and answer the question, What is your life?  

I have always told my children that when someone speaks about me publicly, I want them to be able to identify with the man being spoken of.  I never want them to say, “Who is that guy, we don’t know him.”  I want them to know I am not perfect, but I am authentic.  I want them to have a front row seat to the father and man who I am and claim to be.  This seat comes with close captions of ugliness as well as goodness, but nonetheless real.

At the end of the day, what really matters?  Who I claim to be or who I am?  Several years ago who I claimed to be probably mattered more to me.  I felt I lived up to the expectations of others mostly, yet it was a constant effort of performing, failing and weariness.  I often felt defeated, empty and frequently unfulfilled.  Today I live my life unafraid to pause, think and reflect on my given circumstances.  I first commit to myself and give my best to others one day at time.  I give with intention and say “no” with the same intention.  I refuse to harbor guilt or allow others to deposit their negative, unresolved emotions on me.  I keep it moving.  I keep it positive.

So what will others say about your life?   Will they have to make up nice stories to fill in for the tragic events that you caused or created and never took responsibility for?  Or will they recognize that despite the imperfect life you lived, there was a man or woman who captured dignity along the way by the moments created from your choice to consider what matters is how you lived your life, or what you did in the dash.

 

Keep Pressing,

Hank G

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve always been fond of taking pictures.  Typically ones of my family, nature and a wedding or two.  I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, but every once in a while I will capture something that even strikes me, like this picture does (and I can be my own worst critic).  I was traveling up north and decided to explore a bit.  I exited my vehicle and began to take in the illustrious nature that surrounded me and I found it inviting, waiting for me to discover it and all its splendor.  You should try that sometimes.  Get out of the car during a road trip and discover what is around you. This can be especially challenging for us men, because we’re usually about the destination and the end results. It’s how we’re wired. So more often than not, we may have to consciously choose to go against the grain of our unique ability to focus on a specific task (with sharp precision) while ignoring important things or people around us, or the notion of “making time” on the road versus who’s on the road with us.  Simply put, we can place all of our energy on the destination and unknowingly disqualify the credence of the journey itself.  What good is getting anywhere if we lose sight of why we chose to go there in the first place?  Perhaps it may be as simple as becoming more attentive, slowing down, taking deep breaths and being open to suggestions from others, like the people in the car in this case.  Imagine that.  😉 Your way may be the fastest and most efficient, but an unplanned detour, traffic jam or a short stop at a location you typically pass by going 75 miles per hour may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

The best journeys have rest stops that we should frequently take advantage of.

 

 

 

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So there I was at the trees, standing strong and tall (the trees that is).  They seemed to go on forever up to the skyline.  Something about them amazed me.  I’m not sure if it was the strength they represented, the depth of their roots or just the sheer fact they have been there longer than I have been alive!  What stories lie within their branches? I know it’s just a tree, but this caption left an impression on me.  Maybe it’s simply the fact that I chose to see them, by getting out of my car and reflecting on what it could be from my perspective. Everything and nothing at all.  Think on that for a moment…  Maybe that was the lesson.  Being still in the quiet.  Breathing the fresh air while listening to the birds chirp and seeing this for the very first time in my life and perhaps the last, from this specific location anyway. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I had this moment to reflect on how beautiful life is and all that is around me.  It truly was enriching for my spirit and soul and it only cost me time.  Time I will never get back, but a time that I will always remember because it will forever live in my memories as a significant moment.  A moment I reflect on even now.

For some of us, men and women alike, our lives are always in a hurry.  We are such a busy society, with not enough time to enjoy the beauty that was created for us to enjoy.  How do you slow down?  Have you ever taken a walk without your phone?  How much quiet time do you give yourself per week or when was the last time you had dinner with your family at the dinner table with no television or phone?  I know, an old adage meant for The Cleavers, but I try to do it at least once per week.  You can learn so much, especially from your children during this time.  The conversations are all over the place.  They’re fun, encouraging and most times we walk away feeling a bit more connected, understood and less stressed.  Sometimes the best question to ask with this is not, how do I make the time to do this, but how can I afford not to?  There is so much at stake when it comes to what we choose to do with our time, or not.  As I get older (especially as a parent) I recognize that even if my children live with me as adults, my time and my influence with them changes and I really have less time than I realize to shape them, become their hero or have quality time and meaningful conversations with them.  Therefore I get what I can and make the most of every moment.  Lastly I’ll also state that technology, (however useful it may be) can be a quality time killer.  I don’t allow cell phones at the dinner table, even my own.  When it rings, we don’t answer it.  I learned the world won’t stop and they can always leave a message or simply call us back, and yes, even if the call is mom.  It’s truly a wonderful thing and I’m happy to say, thus far no damage has been done, due to calls missed.

I’m not sure if this is a myth or not, but I have met a few people from the East Coast and they have all said Californians are infamous for making promises about getting together, but we seldom follow-up.  I’m curious what your experiences are with this.  Are we Californians flakes when it comes to spending time with friends and family or scheduling that lunch with a friend and something always come up?  I obviously have an opinion on this, but I would love to start a discussion in the comment section about what your experiences have been.  Please share your thoughts. See my questions below.

 

  1. How often do you have quiet time or dinner with your family?
  2. What does actual quiet time look like for you?
  3. Is the Californian myth true?  Why or why not?
  4. What advice can you give others to slow down and learn to enjoy what they have more?

 

Hank G

 

 

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