Creating your roadmap: dreams and futures

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A couple of years ago I was reflecting on the places that I have lived and trying to figure out if there was any reason why I had been attracted to those places in particular. At the time, there really seemed to be no pattern. Each of the places seemed unlikely for different reasons. I never really wanted to spend an extended time in Australia because my mother had emigrated there in her twenties and I did not want to follow in her footsteps. Nepal always seemed to be a hard country to gain a visa for. The States was the place of movies rather than somewhere I was going to end up living even if Colorado has the perfect climate and incredible mountains. Alaska, now there is a far flung frontier, what does anyone want to do moving there?

During our sojourn in Alaska; which really is an incredible place, I wrestled with why. One day it suddenly struck me. On the wall of my room at school I had placed posters and a few pictures from magazines. In particular there were four large images of climbers and guess where the climbs were; Australia, Nepal, Colorado and Alaska. Now I have never done any of those routes but something must have resonated. A seed must have been sowed and nurtured which led to my following through and all this was done at a sub conscious level.

My conclusion is that dreams really are powerful. Creating images of where you want to go is far more productive than looking at roadblocks.

What do you want to do and how are you going to create the images that will take you there?

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Making Lemonade From Lemons

A few years ago my wife Kimberly taught me a good lesson. I was lopping some trees in our yard to make a swing for Cai. Kimberly advised me against cutting a particular limb the way I was and following perfectly felling the previous one I ignored her. Inevitably she was right and the weight of the tree took out the railing of our deck. I was distraught; firstly because I was seeing dollars fleeing the confines of my wallet and secondly my pride had suffered a blow far more substantial than any I had delivered to the tree.

Kimberly calmly suggested we make lemonade out of lemons and consequently with a little ingenuity Cai not only gained a swing he was also soon master of a frigate with rigging up to the ship’s wheel and a slide to leave the deck.

This year has been an interesting one. Following leaving my job and Alaska (where we were somewhat sheltered from the economy) in the summer I have been surprised to find that gaining a new job is not as simple as I initially thought. Over the holiday season we did not have the expendable income we once had and the potential for the festive season to not be quite so merry has been a very real threat. The solution (for me) has been to acquire the keys to the woodwork shop at Cai’s school and some wood from Habitat for Humanity. Cai is now the proud owner of a castle and Kim, well she was awarded a wooden spoon. The thing is that both these presents are probably some of the best I have given, the love and energy that went into them far exceeded the last minute gift I might have bought if I was working 60 or more hours a week. Also, I was able to take Cai into the shop and he helped carve Kim’s spoon. Watching a piece of old dirty wood turn into something beautiful as he uncovered the layers was a wonderful metaphor that was not lost on him.

So some of the things I have gained form not working is spending a lot of quality time with Cai; we walk, bike and go to the museum together. We have become more frugal and thoughtful with our resources. We have come to appreciate the little things a lot more and we plan things out as a family more consistently.

These may be tough times and there may be lots of lemons but the real question is what is your lemonade?

Originally posted in http://denver.jobing.com/Community_Blog.asp

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On Commuting and Being Open to Experience

Originally posted in November

At this time of year my journey to work usually involves a bike. It can be anything from the the whirl of spinning feet and a pulsing soundtrack oblivious to my surroundings, (or worse still people greeting me) to a festival of sensations  as I slowly pedal the two and a half  beautiful miles into the office. Already winter has taken its toll when ice and rubber did not agree and Wil slid clumsily down the blacktop, the cost including a pair of gloves, a down jacket, a helmet and a probable broken finger. It could have been much worse; watching the tarmac from half an inch as I glided over it,  skin buffered by my helmet was sobering and needless to say the studs are now on!

I like to wear headphones, they spike my attitude and allow me to push harder as I disassociate from the discomfort and focus on the task of going from a to b. By doing more and thinking less I become more efficient rather like a dog bounding full tilt, its hinging mid drift drawing air into its lungs. There is a major problem to this detachment though and that is a separation from my environment. I am no longer part of it, I do not feel it in the same way and therefore do not become involved with it. When on the machines at the gym this may or may not be a good thing, on my ride into work I am even less sure.

Today, I left the house in the crisp dark, it was warmer than it has been for a while with the temperatures hovering just below freezing (good news for snow). This though leads to very slick roads so I slowed down. Travelling by the light from a headlamp was like passing through a tunnel so I focused more on sound and smell. The noise of the treads of studded tires were distinctive and reassuring, the travel breeze on my face refreshing, when I came to the fork in the trail, I usually choose left or right around the lake, today I clambered through the beaver’s industry and after striding through the felled trees reached the lake. Now I have never riden a bike on a lake before, the expanse of open ground allowed a pre dawn light to reach the snow that covered the ice and while Cai & I had skated here on Sunday, I was still a little intimidated to push out onto the flat surface knowing I was seperated from freezing liquid by a mear few inches of frozen water. Like being out at night when it is possible to imagine that every shadow is a bear, being out on this lake raised the intensity of the experience. It was a truly sublime experience, the early morning quiet meant I could hear the shattering frost under my tires. The open flat surface allowed far more interaction with the movement of air and the crisp smell of cold, the low light spread a mirage of dancing shadows. I really felt attached to this place and this moment and with that connection came an uplifting. For a while anyway, the black of the onset of an Alaskan winter was blown away, the frustrations of work and home no longer held me captive and in that moment I was extremely content.

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