Tag Archives: living

A Step Back to Simplicity

“In response to people saying you can’t go back say well what happens when you get to the cliff and you take one step forward or, you do 180 degree turn and take…one step forward which way are you going? which is progress?” – Doug Tompkins (Founder of North Face)

Movies are great.  They move, transform and build on your imagination.  Last night I watched the movie 180° South and it inspired me to write again.  The film is about Jeff Johnson and his journey retracing the epic 1968 adventure of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia.  It was easy to get awestruck by the great cinematography however it was the will, drive and passion of every single character in the film that caught me and my own imagination.

In the movie, Yvon said, “the hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex.”

Tomorrow is Monday and for many, it is one of the hardest days of the week.  Mondays are usually met with a laundry list of commitments, scheduled events or activities and filled with many things that exhaust us before we even start.  Sunday nights are often sleepless for me for many of the same reasons.

As a challenge to myself, I am going to simplify my life this week.  No TV after 8pm, I will read, write or have conversation with my family or even play a game.  I will not schedule anything for me to do other than be at home.  I will wake up in the morning and focus on the moment and not the day ahead of me.  I will take a 180 degree turn and walk back to simplicity.

I will blog within the week and release the results of my week. 🙂

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Jack Layton – Helped us ‘Get it’

I joined the NDP party last Spring. Partially for the policy (I am a little to the left when it comes to politics) and partially for the leader – Jack Layton. Jack Layton passed away one week ago today. His impact to Canadian politics was honest, true and rooted in common values around equality. Listening to Jack was like being in college again. He helped me to remember the idealism of my college years. Whether Jack or his party could have led the country successfully is not a concern of mine. What I did care about was the passion, honesty and integrity he brought to the job. How can you fail with those three awesome qualities?

I was in Denver for a business trip last week. When I left in the morning the taxi wound its way through the side streets of the city. I travelled through a part of the city less known to tourists. I saw crowds gathering at food banks and drop in shelters. I saw their tired faces and large back packs that they carried with their entire life’s possessions. I saw the comradery that they all shared with each other as they lived each other’s reality. I sat there in the car and wondered what would it take for society to ‘get it’? I think Jack was on to something and I hope others saw it as I did. Thanks Jack for helping me to ‘get it’.

Here is an article that sums up Jack’s impact in his last letter to Canadians.

He couldn’t have said it better…..

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton

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Ordinary Perfection

I heard a saying a while ago – “You see the world as you are”. Simple words yet difficult to remember and practice. 

There are times  when I feel energized and inspired by the seemingly ordinary and at other times I don’t even recognize it because I am distracted by life’s many noises.  The other day as I was running, I came across this flower eking out an existence in one of the most obscure places. 

It helped me to appreciate that there is perfection and beauty in those ordinary moments and ordinary places.  Clarity happens often when I run – it helps me to ‘take out the trash’ ( Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior)

Finding something you love and placing all of your focus in it, opens you up to new experiences that were always there.  My post from earlier this year called Remember Silence alludes to those perfect moments – the quiet ones.  Perhaps it’s all about getting in the habit of leaving life’s distractions and noises behind and focus on those activities we love that gets us closer to ordinary perfection :).

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Living Dreams

My posts are infrequent but my thoughts are constant.  One of those thoughts that keep coming back to me hit me while I was running yesterday.  While running westward and watching the sun set below the Rocky mountains I realized how easy it truly is to live a happy and full life.  It all comes down to perspective, attitude and recognition of the perfect ordinary moments in our lives.

The simple words of Martin Luther King Jr. – “I have a dream” back in 1963 came to me and I thought of my dream.  The dream was grand, and the dream was perfect and the dream was simple and it went something like this:

“I have a dream that I can become the dad my children look up to. I have a dream that I can become the husband that loves and supports unconditionally. I have a dream that I can accept and learn from the experiences of my parents. I have a dream that I can become a best friend to my brother.  I have a dream that I can live with passion, honesty and integrity with everything I do.  I have a dream that I can love life, capture its wisdom, harness it, share it, learn from it and contribute to the lives of others.  I have a dream.”

I came across a tune other day that helped me to appreciate the fact that I am living my dreams.

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Your Life is Not Your Own

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the effect you have on people when you are mired in your own thoughts.  I was reminded of that today when I told my son to “move it along” when we were walking back to the car in ~-20 weather.  He told me that he got in trouble for saying that in school the other day (my son is in kindergarten). 

After he told me, I realized I was probably a little harsh when I said it.  That whole situation got me thinking about a similar incident that happened to me when I was younger.  I was a little older (probably around 9) and I was on a field trip.  My class and I were heading back to school on the school bus.  We were traveling through the countryside and we passed a farm that smelled really bad.  I said a comment that my dad used to say to people all the time when there was a foul smell.  Much to my surprise, I got a huge strip torn off me by my teacher for saying what I said.  I know now that what I said was much worse than what it meant to a 9 year old at that time.  I felt so ashamed at that moment but what was worse I was confused (because I didn’t really understand).  I ended becoming a little ashamed of my dad for saying such things and resenting him for getting me into trouble. 

In either case that incident was a long time ago but it came back to me as true as the day it happened. When I heard my son getting into trouble because he was only mimicking my behavior I wondered if he too was ashamed and confused with himself and me?  The interesting point is my son told me what happened to him, I never told my dad.  I apologized to my son and found myself driving home feeling pretty crappy overall.

Realizing that my life is not my own but rather shared (or followed – i.e.Footprints), how do you live knowing what you say, what you do and how you do it may be impacting others around you (especially if they are little sponges like kids)?  All I can do is get in front of it, be honest and hope my kids tell me when I did something wrong  :).

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