All Over the Place
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
I was thinking of the following topics for this post. I have been struggling to select a post topic, ideas for which I keep a long and growing list. As I struggled over the recent days, I remembered how Luke responded when I told him I was having a really hard time with my writing a few months ago: "That's great, Dad! That's when the great stuff happens...the magic!" (True in writing. In life? The teacher has become the student.)
It was ultimately the patchwork quilt approach that came to me (sorry-- no magic or even great stuff). But, perhaps one or more of the patches below will inspire you to act?
BPLS - APLS
(BEFORE PLS - AFTER PLS)
I was thinking about how and why my behavior has changed since the onset of PLS. Alot has changed, and alot hasn't. But regardless,I think all changes I've made APLS have been positive. I reach out more; I open up more; I ask for help; I express more; I tell people how they can help; I say "yes" more; I share more; I pursue joy today more; I see more beauty. I want to and have faith that I can more; specifically, to tackle those parts of me that hold me back in certain ways...(for another day!)
My thought today, though, vectors to a related but different place: What if I pretended long ago-- say 10, 20, 30, or many years ago-- that I had been diagnosed with some sort of chronic illness? Would I have been inspired to change years ago? Maybe my life would have taken a different direction-- not better or worse, just different.
If you don't have a chronic illness today, and I pray you don't, I ask that you take a moment. Pretend you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness and ask yourself--
- How might I be different than I am today?
- What would I do differently today? tomorrow? next week? next month?
- Whom would I call?
- Whom would I write?
- What would I do this afternoon?
- What would I plan?
- How would my approach to life change? What would that mean?
Or maybe you wouldn't do anything differently at all, but I think we may learn something in going through the process...think about it.
A Rainy Ride & A Lesson
Readers of my recent post "Il 'Paso Doble' Con Fabio" know that I've been blessed (almost a miracle?) to be back in the saddle on a tandem bike with my friend, Fabio. As we sometimes do, we planned to meet one morning last week at 6 a.m. in a town mid-way between us-- one that has epic, narrow, quiet roads and hills. The forecast was for a few showers. We've always enjoyed riding in the rain, so the forecast didn't dampen our spirits one bit. I've always felt a purifying sense of soul and connection to the universe and its elements in the rain, especially in the torrential rain-- the kind that creates a kind of fog several feet above the ground.
Well that's just what we got! As the skies opened up with torrential rain, our smiles grew in direct proportion to the amount of raindrops per second pelting our faces. "Yeh, baby! Now we're livin'!", I joyfully proclaimed. The full-on rain and the joy it spread continued for over an hour into our soulful, soul-cleansing ride. Perfect way to start the day, right? Well, almost. Now comes the lesson part...
As we started down the long downhill section with about 10k left to ride, Fabio announced to me something about the brakes: "We have no brakes," he tried to yell calmly.
"Excuse me? What'd u say about the brakes?"
Fabio confirmed, "We have no brakes!"
Standard "caliper" brakes don't have the stopping power on a tandem that they do on an individual bike. They still work, of course, but it takes longer to slow down and stop. However, the rain exacerbates that effect. Torrential rain for an extended period of time will render the brakes useless, we now know! With well over 300 lbs on the tandem between Fabio and me, and the steep extended downhill sections in the town of Harvard, it was kind of the perfect storm. The brakes had gotten worse and worse over the course of the last hour. "OK, we got this last 10k," I muttered with more faith than confidence...
We made it safely through that epic, joyful, adventurous ride, of course, and are now having disc brakes put on the Paso. (Disc brakes provide much more stopping power than caliper brakes, especially in wet conditions.) Always learning!
Me: "How are you?"
Me: "How are the kids?"
Response: "Oh, so busy."
Me: "How are your parents doing?"
Response: "Busier than before retirement!"
Me: "How's the dog?"
Response: "So busy, it's cray-cray."
Me: "How's the summer looking?"
Response: "Busy one."
Me: "How was your vacation?"
Response: "So busy!"
Me: "How about your week at the spa?"
Response: "A busy one."
Get the idea? Is busy the goal? A badge of honor? A sign of importance? A sign of high demand in the Demand/Supply equation? Or perhaps an indication that we've learned one of life's key lessons--
Never Be Too Available; It Is A Sign of Low Demand!
Whether dating, looking for a job, or scheduling coffee with a friend--don't admit to any gaps in your schedule ever!
As for me, if anyone wants to hang, I'm very available and flexible. Did I just say that? I do have one thing to do next month but I can change it; it's just my monthly check-in with myself when I try to clean-up my calendar. I'm afraid that my stock and reputation just took a nose-dive! (But it's true, I'm totally avail and flex and would love to get together!) I am NOT busy.
Which leads me to my next topic...
Purpose or Pleasure?
I'd put this one in the category of "Food for Thought." It's something I've periodically thought about over the years, and I came across an article several weeks ago that framed the topic much better than I ever could. It was an Opinion article in The Boston Globe entitled, "Pursue Purpose Over Pleasure," by Amy Cuddy.
If you had to pick Purpose or Pleasure to pursue and be your life's goal, which would it be? Although I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, I choose Purpose, and believe that Pleasure and Happiness ride's its coattails. I don't think the converse is necessarily true. For me there has always been something hollow I hear in the phrase, "Do what makes you happy."
Amy Cuddy's article is well-worth the read. Here it is.
Joy & Sadness
Can something bring joy and sadness in the same moment? I came across this pic recently (when I wasn't busy), and was struck by the degree to which I was at once overcome with joy and sadness...
So, what do you think...does anything above inspire you to act today?