There are so many who have lived and gone on before, and so many yet still very much alive, with whom I would love to have a one hour conversation. I've long had a very private list of those souls.
If you could pick 50 living people, and 50 "gone before" people, who would be on your own list? What would be the priority by which you would write that excellent list? What wisdom would you want to glean from each of them?
Every once in awhile I get to check off a name from the "living list." Have not yet tried to connect with any on the other list... :-) ...but their writings do continue to inform my life.
From a fairly new "favorite app" call Red Letter Wake UP, a number of their posts have helped form my thinking for that day. It's well worth signing up for. This one had me wishing I could have had one of those one hour conversations with the likes of Thomas Merton. I have deep respect for his writings:
You can look to the left on my personal blog site (now getting reactivated after some attention to some health issues) for the listing of important books that are currently influencing my thinking. (How many books can one person read at a time? lol) Four of those excellent authors I've the deep privilege knowing. There's a bond with one whom I've counted as an extra special bro for years.
These are some of the sources and individuals who are being used to guide my steps into a future that continues to unfold in ways that are quietly stunning. I believe they could also help you live even more of your own life to the max!
Time did not fly this past week. It zoomed. At almost warp speed. And here we are...........at Friday, again.
The week past? Full. Hard. Rewarding. A bit confusing. Encouraging. Unexpected "not so good news." Pain filled, for some. Over-joyed for others. Re-connections from way back when. New moments with a few. Retooling the effectiveness of my office. Tossing the unnecessary. Focusing on the future. Cheering on growth in those I mentor. Weeping with those who weep. Life.
Waiting this morning around 6:30am for one of the exceptional emerging leaders I mentor to show up for one more round of my gourmet oatmeal, I, looking out our patio window, noticed the first signs of green on our patio trees. Woo, hoo!!!
Even with four inches of wet snow yesterday (most welcome to soak into the dry ground...), I see that Spring'14 is finally showing up. Faint green is beginning to be seen in the developing buds at the ends of the limbs of our trees.
Not trying to be poetic, there is a reason for each season. In nature. In your life. In mine.
In the waiting (some times I enjoy folks being a little late...unexpected breathing room for a few moments...), I came across this poem on Inward/Outward, another favorite blog site that often informs my soul. This helped me begin this day. This weekend. The next hours of my own life.
Keeping Quiet Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language; let’s stop for one second and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines; we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the man gathering salt would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused with total inactivity. Life is what it is about; I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves and of threatening ourselves with death. Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive.
Now I’ll count up to twelve and you keep quiet and I will go.
Pablo Neruda Source: translated by Alistair Reid in Extravagaria
On the first night of our "run away weekend" a few days ago, we went to a movie that had just come out. It seems like we either see a film in it's first 72 hours out, or somewhere in its first 72 weeks. Or, not at all. :-)
This one seemed important, as back in the day, even before we were married I had witnessed first hand up in Central California some of what this movie is about. One trip north I had seen the picket lines.
The movie? Cesar Chavez, directed by Diego Luna. Here is the trailer to the film.(...skip the ad that shows up...) This gives you a brief whiff and taste of what the movie is about. Mr. Chavez created the National Farm Workers Association to stop the financial and working abuse of immigrant workers in the fields.
Michael Pena powerfully played Cesar Chavez. America Ferrera (whom you will recognize from television) very capably played his wife, Hazel. Rosario Dawson played an important, fiesty advocate role.
John Malkovich played the role of one of the upset grape growers. One of his lines really grabbed me as one of the other growers was slamming the "foreigners." John's character, a bit out of character for a moment in his role, reminded his fellow growers that he, too, came from an immigrant family. His from Croatia a few short decades back...thus, he too was a descendant of an immigrant. It was a subtle crack in the grower's entitlement.
Stunning and stirring is how any of us can often forget where we've all come from, by God's unending grace. One more scene moved me the deepest.
Cesar, to gain the attention of the press and to let the world know of the inequity that was taking place, began a fast, a hunger strike, that almost took his life. As events swirled, some times out of control from all sides, he never gave up on his mission to right the wrongs perpetrated against his people. Finally the growers gave in to the demands.
The celebration that took place began with a priest giving communion to those who had worked so hard. Still severely weakened, Cesar, keeping his vow that no food would be taken until they had won, was the first to be offered this sacred moment.
The first food in almost four weeks that passed across his lips was the host, the bread of the Eucharist. Watch for it.
When the priest quoted the often spoken words, "The bread of life.......broken for you," I will own this, I wept. What a powerful moment for me from a number of deep, searing directions.
The thought has often been with me since last Friday night, what am I willing, really!, to die for?
Not to be macabre, but what are you?
The next time I partake of the Eucharist/communion, it will mean something more profound than many of the past moments of that bread passing across my own lips. Ahead of calendar time, this is already defining Easter 2014 for me.
Ever wonder about the when, where, with whom, under what circumstances you may say your last amen? Listen well to a good twist on that. :-)
Yes, this is out of order. Thus begins a four part series with #2. Intentionally.
This may be April Fool's Day, but last Saturday was not. The weekend was full of deep, honest intentional moments. Needed. Necessary. Nurturing.
My wife and I ran away for the weekend. Not far. But far enough. As mentioned in the previous post, I laid aside all computer interaction. Only used the cell phone for directions and reservations.
Some silly friends laughed at my bold assertion that I could/would be off the grid for 87 hours. Sorry, all you careful doubters out there. I did it for 89 hours & 53 minutes.......which took us to 9:53am just today.
Serious thoughts showed up in a varied weekend that we needed. Saturday morning, up early, I went out for a walk/run. Clear day. Crisp. Beautiful.
The goal was 55 minutes of getting a move on.
I made it to 53. I'll tell you what caused me to not meet my goal in a few paragraphs.
We were on the first full day of running away for a much neded weekend of rest and being together. A small hotel, close by, sometimes has "killer deals" on weekends when their population is going to be low. Fortunately, for us, this was one of those weekends.
In LDGs Circle of Life Mentoring Model one of the 8 Dimensions of Life is the Physical. In essence, in brief, the Physical Dimension is defined as our health, wellness, fitness, exercise, rest, nutrition, sexuality.
What has saved me, in part, in this furiously busy and ultra-productive month of March 2014 has been my intentional commitment to keep moving in the correct directions with eating, resting and exercising. Because one the exceptional emerging leaders I mentor locally is the manager where I work out, he, Craig, can vouch for me should you wonder.
Marked right in my calendar, in red, is the when and what I will be doing each day. A red PF means I'm working out on weights and machines at Prestige Fitness in Centinnial/Littleton. W/R means I am going to be doing a walk/run routine, as guided from Jeff Galloway's app about training for a 10K.
This past Saturday morning, giving my precious wife some welcome solitude, I took off for those 55 minutes. Not sure of the distance, (My body lies to me. :-) When convinced I've gone at least a full mile, I find I've only done .7 ) I headed out. The area is extra familiar via car, but I've never walked/run it before.
Almost back "home" to the hotel, I meandered through the parking garage for Denver's Light Rail System. Lincoln Station is the last one south on I-25.
Long story, short...when I was walking past the place where we buy tickets for the light rail ride into town, someone was really polishing the sinage that guides people to the train. They were not just casually wiping away the grime. They were intent on making it shine.
No one was there with this younger man. No one was seeing him, except me. So I moved right on past, since his back was turned any way. He didn't see me.
However, I had seen him.
Keeping up my pace was crucial. I was on a mission. 55 minutes, Mr. Roberts. Keep at it. You have a goal to meet.
However, another mission I've been on lately is to be generous with "honest gratitude." Too often I'm in too much of a hurry, too busy to be thankful.......thanks-filled.
Five steps past this guy who was cleaning the sign, I pivoted, turned back to him and said, "Excuse me. I just wanted to say thank you for doing such a thorough, excellent job of getting these signs in mint condition. You are intent on your work. They look like new. Thank you."
Ready to get back to my pace, I began to turn, when he stood up and looked at me. I guessed he might have been a college age emerging adult.
His serious, curious look turned into a smile when he said, "Thank you, sir. It's my weekend job to keep the signs clean. It's a good break from school."
Then he made one more statement that I've thought about to this second of writing this blog post, to you, the generous reader, "No one has ever stopped me to say thank you before. That's not a problem, because I like doing this. Most people probably don't even know I'm here."
"Thank you for saying thank you!" Back to work he went.
My arrival back at the hotel was 2 minutes "late." I could have kept going. Twas on a mission! Too often I do keep going with my agenda.
The 8 letters that make up a well intentioned T H A N K Y O U is like a tiny seed planted in the fertile soil of a life. The pausing to look the person in the eyes while saying those two words waters that seed. Too often we offer a quick "Thanks!" on the fly by.
Those brief, but potent, moments remind me to be generous and intentional with my gratitude. Each day. Times per day. What about you?
53 minutes was perfect for last Saturday. I did the 55 yesterday before we left for home.
And, hey! Thank you, sincerely, for reading all the way to here.
Remember the slightly taunting line as a kid when someone would say, "Dare, dare, double dare?!!!?" This weekend, + one day more, I am taunting myself. Even both of us, this wonderful wife, and me.
Beginning at 4pm today, we are daring to go off the grid between then and 7am this coming Tuesday, Mountain Daylight Savings time, of course. There will be no opening the computer. There will be no Tweeting, Facebooking, FaceTiming, Blogging. Zip. Nothing.
Of course our remarkable daughter has full access to us via our iPhones. But, even our attention to our phones will be sparse. 2nd, of course, is that if there is an extreme emergencythat cannot wait until Tuesday to notify me/us, and you have my cell phone number, call. Emergencies do happen. Try not to have any, for yourself, first. :-)
I've been wanting to do something like this for a l o n g time. This is that time. And frankly, we're just a bit excited to be unhooked, off the grid, not available, disconnected. You get the drift.
Already, even writing this, and knowing that 4pm today is a short 6 hours away, the quiet surge of freedom is beginning to fill up my soul. Even some of the Denver weather just may cooperate. lol
This picture epitomizes what is taking place within and without my life right now. Even as I type this there is that inward sense of anticipation, like, "Wow...what's around the next bend on this pathway called life?" You may know the feeling...........
Like when something fairly big just may happen.
Like you don't know what the exact outcome is going to be.
Like, what you've hoped and dreamed for is about to take place.
Like you've just won a "zillion dollars" and are about to go and pick up the unexpected, now anticiapted, check. (that's just a creative example of a like...not a current reality, by the way)
Like the baby is just about to emerge from the womb and you are about to hold them, messiness and all, for the first time.
Like you're back to adolesence and are asking "that girl" out for a date for the first time and you don't know if they'll accept. But you are inwardly hoping, like crazy, she will!
Like __________________ , well you can fill in your own thoughts of anticiaption that sends your innards sniggling a bit. lol
It's been a long time coming, as our team has grown and we are moving into the future to launch new phases of what we are about: on Twitter, @ldgmentoring, on FaceBook with our name, Leadership Design Group and we will soon be announcing a new website for LDG...which is 99% ready to go live.
When it's all a GO you will be the first to know in here!
There is not enough vocabulary in the dictionary to express the thanks-filled heart I had when she said "yes!" We've had our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, but I'm sweetly stunned by the grace of all these years.
When we were both the youngest kids in our family, and our parents were in their later 40s, early 50s, we remember them dragging us off to really old people's wedding anniversary partys. Like the ancient 40, 45, 50 years, or more, of marriage. Man, those people were up there. And most, as we remember it, were a bit boring. lol
And now...........here we are at #47.
So what's a man to get his bride married this long?
Here was then. Go ahead and smile/laugh. We have. lol
And here we are with our daughter 90 days ago on vacation.
We rest tonight thankful for the journey we've had. Anticipapting the future together. Grateful beyond words we lived beyond the harder moments. Blessed to the max, are we! We do hope we make it to our 50th year, and well beyond.