What I’m Learning . . .

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I’m learning a lot about myself and life these days.

  • I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for what I need.
  • I’m learning that my dreams don’t magically come true without hard work.
  • I’m learning that my impatience or annoyance is more about my inner state of mind than it is about the one doing the annoying.
  • I’m learning that some people struggle being real and genuine and that’s okay.
  • I’m learning that I also struggle at times with being real and genuine and that’s okay too.
  • I’m learning that being vulnerable is risky but it’s also where the fertile soil is for personal growth and loving.
  • I’m learning that in regards to my diet and health, I’m either progressing or regressing: I’m rarely ever simply maintaining.
  • I’m learning that as a writer, writing doesn’t happen on its own.
  • I’m learning that the best of intentions are rarely ever good enough apart from taking action.
  • I’m learning that procrastinating rarely ever leads to greatness.
  • I’m learning the ability to follow through is more difficult than the rush of brainstorming.
  • I’m learning that time spent on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram does not necessarily count as online research.
  • I’m learning that my wife has the patience of Job most days and she truly fits the description of the better half.
  • I’m learning that sometimes the person in the most need of my love is me.
  • I’m learning that staying aware and present can be difficult when there are so many distractions.
  • I’m learning this world can provide me with awe and wonder every day if I slow down enough to look.
  • I’m learning that peace and contentment originate inside myself regardless of my environment.
  • I’m learning that my children teach me way more about life than I could possibly teach them.
  • I’m learning the answers to life’s questions usually come to me easier when I’m not so desperate to know them.
  • I’m learning that I’m never done learning as long as I’m alive and I’m totally cool with that!

I’m curious what you’re learning lately? Will you take a minute to comment and share?

 

Peace,

~Travis

PS. I’m learning that life is more enjoyable when I don’t take myself quite so serious.  😉

 

Learning

Like a Cat Watching a Mouse Hole

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I had to laugh. The other day I was reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and on page 93 he was talking about the state of presence. I thought I could pull one over on him. He said, “You can’t think about presence, and the mind can’t understand it. Understanding presence is being present.”

“Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself: ‘I wonder what my next thought is going to be.’ Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse hole. What thought is going to come out of the mouse hole. Try it now.”

With a grin on my face and a determination to prove Mr. Tolle wrong I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and like a cat I watched the mouse hole in my mind for my next thought. To my dismay, the hole stayed empty. Twenty seconds, thirty, finally a minute or so had elapsed without a thought so I opened my eyes, turned the page and read on.

I had to wait for quite a long time before a thought came in.

“Exactly. As long as you are in a state of intense presence, you are free of thought. You are still, yet highly alert. The instant your conscious attention sinks below a certain level, thought rushes in. The mental noise returns; the stillness is lost. You are back in time.”

Okay. He got me. My ego so badly wanted to prove the author wrong. I sat there grinning and read on.

“To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.”

Wow! I’ve been white water rafting before so I understand the power of a wild river. Thinking about that experience, those of us in the raft attempted to guide it one way or another but for the most part, we were simply along for the ride. Incredible momentum is an understatement!

So I had to wonder, how many times do I let my mind take over and gain so much momentum that I’m simply drug along for the ride? Honestly, more often than I care to admit.

What about you? Did you try the experiment I mentioned above? How often do you stay present? Or, does your mind drag you along like a wild river?

Happy Sunday!!

Travis

PS. I’ve been working on my What Women Want blog post and there is simply more information than I can fit in one post. I decided I would break it up into smaller posts so be watching for those. Peace.

Plumbing and Power

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Plumbing and Power

Yesterday I met with two different contractors after work–a plumber and an electrician. I pulled into home and before I could get out of my car the electrician was pulling in behind me. Truth be told, I actually forgot that I scheduled the appointment with the electrician. The plumber wasn’t supposed to be there until 5:00 so when someone was pulling in at 4:30 I just assumed the plumber was early. Thankfully I’m building right behind our current house otherwise I wonder how many other appointments I would miss. 🙂

The thing I love about consciously being in the present moment is no matter what I’m doing I can be engaged. There is never any time for boredom when I’m in the present. When I ended one of my previous posts talking about the NOW, it reminded me of picking up a book I read a few years back by Eckhart Tolle called, The Power of Now. The principles in this book have an epic effect on you if they’re applied.

Seems how I’m in the middle of building a house, browsing through The Power of Now has served as a great reminder (being in the Mysterious Flow works like that). Tolle says, “If you set yourself a goal and work toward it, you are using clock time. You are aware of where you want to go, but you honor and give your fullest attention to the step that you are taking at this moment. If you then become excessively focused on the goal, perhaps because you are seeking happiness, fulfillment, or a more complete sense of self in it, the Now is no longer honored. It becomes reduced to a mere stepping stone to the future, with no intrinsic value. Clock time then turns into psychological time. Your life’s journey is no longer an adventure, just an obsessive need to arrive, to attain, to ‘make it.’ You no longer see or smell the flowers by the wayside either, nor are you aware of the beauty and the miracle of life that unfolds all around you when you are present in the Now.”

Some people have a difficult time adjusting their schedule if they forget they had an appointment. Having the unexpected meeting with the electrician wasn’t stressful for me at all. I told him I would set my stuff down and be right out. We got right down to business walking through rooms and talking about outlets and lights and ceiling fans. Even though I was talking and planning for the future, being in the Now was a very comfortable place to be. Things could have turned a little stressful when the plumber showed up before the electrician left but no big deal. I just told the plumber I would be with him in a few minutes and he was welcome to go explore the place.

Have you ever been around someone who quite often says they are worried about something? Are you someone that worries a lot? Or do you know someone who can’t seem to let go of the past or says they are still hurt by something that happened years ago? Tolle continues, “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry–all forms of fear–are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence. Most people find it difficult to believe that a state of consciousness totally free of all negativity is possible. And yet this is the liberated state to which all spiritual teachings point. It is the promise of salvation, not in an illusory future but right here and now.”

I know sometimes I read things too fast and don’t totally comprehend what I just read so if I do that I have to believe you are capable of doing that too. So, please go back and REREAD THE PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH. If you grasp what he is saying it can change your life. There is never any reason you need to live in the past or worry about the future again. That huge lie you told was in the past. The abortion you had was in your past. The relationship you messed up was in the past. On the other hand, stressing about a speech you have to give is in the future. Worrying about getting the plumbing installed before the dry-waller gets there is in the future. Don’t get me wrong, I can focus on the plumbing and strive to get it complete before it is time for drywall, but worrying about it won’t help. “Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” (my favorite quote from one of my favorite comedies, Van Wilder)

Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that living in the Now is the place to be. I can’t promise that you won’t still have heartache or difficult times, but I can promise that you will be able to let go of the unnecessary burdens you are carrying around. The freedom you will encounter will be refreshing and your outlook on life will drastically change. Now is more powerful than you can imagine!

Give it a try!

~Travis

Peace

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I am sitting in my hotel room in Columbus, OH after driving the past 4 hours and I’m reflecting on the events of the last few days. The countryside we drove through was beautiful (even if it was Ohio) and the travel was safe so I am thankful.

During my reflecting I can’t help but notice the peace that has settled inside me these last few weeks. My wife has even pointed out the difference she sees and the smiles that appear more frequently on my face.

In my last post I talked about the property that we have fallen in love with and the old farmhouse that we moved in to. We have been there over three years now and the debate on whether to build new or fix the old was finally settled late last year. Building new was the outcome.

After scouring through thousands of home plans, we are currently entrenched in the process of building. I am the general contractor and I am sub-contracting all the work out. Without sounding excessively obvious, this process can get very stressful at times. Coordinating the work between the different contractors while making thousands of decisions along the way is enough to drive even a sane person crazy.

I bring this up to stress that even while building a house, working full-time, coaching children’s sports, spending time with the wife and kids, and stealing some personal time to myself, there is still a flow to life that can be tapped into. Instead of getting overwhelmed by the numerous obligations, I find its helpful to only focus on what’s in front of me in the moment. Staying centered in the present moment is a key ingredient to having peace and contentment. If I start to get ahead of myself and think about everything that has to be done then I can almost instantaneously feel the peace being bullied out by stress and uncertainty.

How much peace do you have in your life right now? Do you find yourself stressed out and feeling like life is out of control? Take some extra time to breath and focus on the present moment. Instead of focusing on all you have to get done, take time to focus on the NOW.

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