Slow Down...

I’m too busy. You’re too busy. We are all too busy! I spent the last month doing my own Gallup poll, and when I asked people “How are you?” I listened for the most common response. One word won by a majority: “busy.” I heard about how late you’ve been working. I heard about how many activities your kids are involved in. I heard about the trips you have been on for work and for fun. I heard about the boards you serve on, and I heard you explain how your life feels out of control.

You do realize that these are choices you’ve made, right? Every single day, you can wake up and choose to let the world control you, or you can choose to make positive decisions. Plan your schedule wisely and prioritize health, balance and a calmer mindset.

Have you ever really dug into the meaning of the word “busy”? In Chinese, the word consists of two syllables, one meaning heart and the other death.

The busier we become, the more energy flows to the head and away from the heart.

The busier we become, the more we tend to distance ourselves from others and their emotions.

The busier we become, the more selfish we are toward others. We get lost in the chaos and only talk about our needs, our lives and ourselves. You see, even when you respond graciously and ask, “And how are you?” I notice that your phone is still out and buzzing. I notice that you are looking around at other people, or checking the door to see whom you might run into. I notice you checking your watch, and if I talk slowly, I notice your attempt to speed up our conversation. How do I notice these things? Because I used to rely on those same tricks, and I still fall into the habit of them from time to time.

And sadly, our addiction to busyness keeps us from ever asking why. The less we look into our hearts and reflect, the more we remove ourselves from our authentic purpose.

How does your busyness communicate to others what you value? Are your values in alignment with where you put your time, energy, money and emotions?

(Taken from Journey in the Present)

Be Present

Right now I’m sitting at the airport having breakfast.  My flight isn’t till 11:30am and its 6:30am and so why am I here so early?  Because my son Tyler loves driving me.  Can you believe that?  My 16 year old son loves waking up at 5am and driving me to the airport.  While I normally love our drive and our time together, this morning was a bit rough and I’m not the most proud I’ve ever been as a dad for how I felt like to ride with.  You see my alarm went off at 5am and I was cold so I got up and I got the coffee all set in my stovetop espresso pot to create the perfect cup of java to start the day just right.  Lets be honest right now.  A great day and great cup of coffee go hand-in-hand.  Yet, followed by an amazing cup of coffee, a great day also has a hot long shower in it as well.  But this is when my day spiraled, when I got in the shower, I went to turn on that perfect hot water and nothing!  It was ice cold!  But I had to shave and so I took as quick of a shower as possible and I yet I still can’t feel my body.  But, I still had my coffee waiting for me.  That would make it all better, but I forgot to turn on the burner and didn't’ have time to finish it before I left.  So that's the person that poor Tyler got into the car with this morning…. the guy with the cold shower, nicked face and NO COFFEE.  

So poorly Tyler as he drove me heard things like…
“Tyler, see that car up there about a mile, you should watch that.”
“Tyler how fast are you going?”
“I wonder why you are so quiet today”
“You excited about your shower when you get home?”
Here I was, so excited to have that quality time with him and yet I let my day take over and its only 6:30am.  My day won over my attitude.  I wish I could blame my lack of coffee, but in reality, those days happen.  Our best plans.  Our best hopes.  Our best dreams.  Well, they don’t always come together in the way we hoped.  But, we all need to give ourselves some grace.  We need to remind ourselves that we are human and never, ever, not even for a second quit trying.  

So while I’m writing to you and was beating myself up, I just watched a dad sit with his son as the dad played on his phone and ironically the son did the same. They didn't say anything for the 30 minutes that I watched them. I wonder if that dad thinks about what that he is communicating to his son?  I wonder if that son thinks that those on the other end of the phone are more important then his own son?  I wonder how such actions will teach that son how to communication in the future and if he will have the communication skills needed to drive conversations in the future?  

What would it communicate to others if when we were with them we always put our phones away and didn't check them as they talked? I wonder how contagious it would be to their own life patterns?  So while I had a cold shower and my coffee didn’t brew, I had the gift of quality time with a loved one and while obnoxious, self centered, and critical, it was still a gift.  While I’m sure he won’t remember it, if he does, I will laugh about it.  So here I sit five hours ahead of my flight for the chance to have been present with him.  Would I do it again…In a second.  Did it work this time… it did not.  Did he deserve an apology… he sure did and he got it.  I owned my lens on the day and asked for a snooze on the day.  A chance to restart.  Of course, the good part of the day, its not done and nor is yours.  So, lets keep trying and now put your phone away and be present.

Finding Your Ethos

Honor. A word that has lost meaning in much of our society...rarely used and poorly understood. Originating from Latin, the word is rooted in the concept of nobility and living by a code of conduct. Tecumseh lived honorably, as he lived by an ethos. So find your ethos...

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”

- Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation 1768-1813