Tag Archives: writing

It’s the simple things that count…

I sometimes think too much about things that are small.  I can spin on quick, seemingly irrelevant interactions with others.  And I suspect I’m not alone.

holding_door2

Like the other day when the person less than 3-feet in front of me, who’d recently passed me, didn’t hold the door.  One of the those heavy doors that snaps back hard when you let go.  You know the kind. 

I get it – this is no big deal – it’s a small thing, but it pissed me off.  Yes, I got over it and in the big scheme of things it’s nothing, but there was an impact, not only to the finger I stubbed, but to my mood.

Small things do matter.  How we interact in the world, with each other, resonates through the world in ways that we don’t understand, recognize, or can see.  If he’d taken an extra five seconds to hold the door for a stranger, that simple act would’ve made a difference.   At best, I’d have received a mood bump.  At worst, I’d have taken his act for granted.  Either way, it would not have given me the opportunity to make a bad choice (yep – no matter what he did, I made the choice to get pissed).

This is one very small, simple interaction.  Think about all the interactions we have every day.  Many of these interactions are much more significant.

Today Words of Balance challenges us to become better people.  The third sentence in the most recent post is:

Take an extra 5 seconds to hold the door for a stranger, sometimes it is the simple things that count.

I know that if the person in front of me would’ve taken the time to do this (and had I made a different choice in reacting) I’d have started my day differently. Interactions with others matter – big or small.  I’ll take the challenge and try to become a better person today. How about you?

Picture from Etiquette Tips, Bring It Back Now!.

A line drawn with the word start on one side and finish on the other.

I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.  ~ John Hanc

from Runner’s World Daily Quote email

In order to finish a 26.2 mile race you have to run the first mile.  And, in order to write a book you have to write the first chapter. 

Jill Weatherholt’s recent post provides some great suggestions for how you can stay focused on your task and be efficient in accomplishing your short term goals, in this case writing.

Finishing a marathon requires focus, effort, and dedication. If we apply the same approach to everything that we do in life – our writing, photography, whatever our interest – we’ll be amazed at the results.  

photo credit: marcus_jb1973 via photopin cc

A cat is hiding behind a desk, with the eyes just showing over the top

When Structure Enables Fear

I love structure.  I’ve invested entire weekends and weeks in learning organizational systems, defining processes, and developing lists with subcategories of subcategories.  I have a shelf of books dedicated to these topics, multiple calendars (paper and electronic), and more folders and trays than I can fill.  I want my life structured!

I want my life planned and so I plan for planning and I check the boxes and follow the path but I never reach the end.  Running is one of the rare exceptions.  You follow the plan, you put the miles in, race day comes, you finish.  But then the question arises – now what?  Many people struggle following their first marathon, myself included, to keep going, but at least you finished the plan.

Seth Godin writes of people who are hooked on hacking life in a recent blog post.  It’s a great post and describes a lot of me.  In addition to losing time in the sinkhole of efficiency, I’ve dropped days of my life into:

  • The perfect office or room setup, organizing the furniture just right
  • Researching forever and never creating (this includes the web, books, Twitter – all the usual suspects)
  • Organizing work instead of doing it

And if I’m honest with myself, I think it’s fear that drives all of this behavior.  I want people to think that I’m smart and know what I’m doing.  I’m afraid of being found out and so I read and research but I never get to the end and so I don’t create.  Hey, it’s safe.

Perhaps that’s why the last line of Godin’s post resonates with me:

It’s possible that your next frontier isn’t to get more efficient, it’s to get more brave.

Yes, brave.  A goal worthy of people who want structure in their lives or live more spontaneously.  If we all can move beyond whatever fear is holding us back we can create a special place for ourselves and others.

photo credit: alasam via photopin cc

Victory!

For those of you who tuned into yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post and were wondering if Sadie was able to claim the orange peel, we’re happy to provide this follow up image:

Sadie catches the orange peel!

We had a blast taking these pictures a couple of years ago.  At the time we had three dogs and we were in kitchen snacking on cuties with the dogs. Sadie is quite food motivated and was willing to perform acrobatic feats to acquire her snacks, so most of the pictures are of her!

Ease of consumption and concise communication are two reasons that photography is a great way of documenting life. I catch myself going through old pictures more frequently than reading old journal entries, and images are much easier to share and reminisce with another than a three-page journal entry. One glance at an image of a shared experience and most, if not all of that experience, comes back to you.

I also love to write.  Writing is a great way to clarify your thoughts and ideas.  The written word can provide additional insights that photography isn’t able to provide, including context, both external and internal, that can be hidden from a photograph.

Combined, the two mediums together can be very powerful.  Throw technological advancements into the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty tasty meal!  This meal doesn’t come without a cost, but that’s another post.  For now, I’m reliving the moment that Sadie captured the orange peel with a warm, happy feeling and a big smile.  I hope that it puts a smile on your face too!

A chart outlining the letter usage within the first 18 posts

When Letters Disappear

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on March 4, 2013.

Prompt:  There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

Through March 4 I’ve completed 18 posts.  When this post is published I will have completed 19 posts, but the data represented above is through 18. The letter e is the most used letter to-date, and the last letter of the alphabet is the least used, only showing up 8 times in posts.

All of this is wonderful data, and I think that I can make it through this post without using the last letter of the alphabet.  This is likely the easiest for people to work around, and while it might be an interesting challenge to pick a more frequently used letter, I’m more interested in the effect of the exercise on the mind.

How many times have you purchased a new car and for the next week you suddenly see this car model everywhere?  As I started to work through this post, whichever letter I selected, I suddenly thought of several words that include the letter I was trying to exclude.  Once we’re attuned to a specific frequency, wow – we sure can find those items everywhere we look or listen.

What this does for me, not unlike the previous post in which I claim that never is too extreme a commitment, is to highlight the implication of excluding a letter from your arsenal.  This begins to limit the possibilities of how one can express herself.  And while this forces a person to think sideways, or outside the box, the limitation may prove so limiting that it’s impossible communicate effectively (can you imagine if I’d chosen the letter e!).

Thus bringing this post to a close.  Another 324 words and 1525 characters that don’t contain the tenth or the last letter of the alphabet.

_____

Chart showing the number of each letter used in this post

Daily Prompt: All About Me

In response to the The Daily Post writing prompt on February 12, 2012.

Prompt:  Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

I chose this title because I love to learn, I love to run, and I love to write.

Learning serves as the foundation for my life, and is enabled and enhanced by physical health and mental clarity.  Through the learning process we make connections in the world, grow, and evolve. In many ways, learning is living.

Running helps me maintain my physical health and is a source of stress relief and mental clarity.  While running, I’m able to let the stress of the day go and meditate.  Sometimes this results in a mental state where I’m completely open and in the moment.  Other times running gives me an opportunity to think through a specific question or challenge.  And sometimes, when I’m running with others, it’s a place where you can have an open, honest conversation with friends.  What’s said on the trail stays on the trail!

Writing gives me a chance to explore ideas and the inner workings of my mind. I’m consistently surprised at what surfaces as I write.  I’m able to gain a depth of understanding and make connections that never would surface without the focus that the writing process creates.  If my writing resonates with others and adds to their life, then I am blessed. I know that I won’t connect with everyone, so my first goal is to make sure it connects with me.

The interrelationship among these three elements forms the foundation of the story of me.  As a blog title, I hope that it’s broad enough to evolve with me.