The possessive case

stuffToday, I’m beginning to list, in a very transparent way, everything that I own. I’m doing it in an effort to pare down and focus on people and experiences instead of things. I’m going to be getting rid of the things that either aren’t useful to me or don’t otherwise bring me joy.

The process is going to take me awhile, but remember that it is the journey (!) and not so much the destination that matters. I’m being transparent about this to help others out – others who might be considering doing the same thing, other than posting it all for anyone to see.

I’ll be working in my office today, and will go on to other rooms of the house, and God forbid the garage, as time permits. You can watch the list grow by clicking on the “My Stuff” menu tab at the top of my blog. It only has a few things populated into it right now, but come back whenever you want to see it grow, and then get smaller. I’m curious to know exactly how many things I own.

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Solace 

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

― Anne Frank

Fighting auto-pilot

Talk about a gorgeous day...

Thoreau said to live deliberately. He went to the woods to do so, and while going to the woods is good for you, living deliberately is something you should do every day, wherever you are.

I call living non-deliberately “auto-pilot” for the obvious reason. Auto-pilot is a mode where you punch in the destination and your vehicle takes you there without a bit of effort on your part. Unless you’re in a car and think that cruise control is auto-pilot, that is, but highway fatalities are a subject for another time.

What is the fatal flaw in not deliberately living the journey? If you said, “for people, the journey is more important than the destination” you are correct, and I award you a gold star. We would be splitting hairs by arguing the relative importance of getting to where you’re going, but you might agree that you should continue living deliberately once you get there.

Different folks might give slightly different answers to what “living deliberately” means to them, but if you don’t, you’ll know on your death bed. Is it focusing on the wrong things? Or is it not focusing at all? Maybe a bit of both. I’m not the guru with all of the answers, I’m someone pursuing truth just like you, like a man walking toward the light of a candle in the darkness. But don’t we all have an idea of what is truly important in life?

Auto-pilot is what robs us of pursuing those important things. I can tell you three things with certainty:

  • If you spend any significant amount of time watching television or scrolling social media (ouch!), you’re on auto-pilot
  • If you aren’t infusing daily life tasks with meaning through association with their end results, you’re on auto-pilot
  • If you don’t nourish both the life of the mind and the life of the body, you’re on auto-pilot.

The ordinary is where living deliberately thrives, not in the pursuit of the extraordinary. Focusing on other people and on experiences both ordinary and extraordinary are what deliberate living is all about. Ordinary means usual. Say that you go to a shop where you are known and walk up to the counter. “What can I get for you?” If they know you, they already know, and when you say, “oh, the usual,” they get right to work. You don’t order the usual because it’s boring, you order it because that is what you like! The familiarity with which you order that ordinary item is also part of the magic of the usual. Even the unusual and the extraordinary, when they happen to us, eventually become ordinary and usual. Again, not because they’re boring, but because we like them.

Force yourself out of auto-pilot. Thoughts don’t always lead to actions, and we filter a lot of static out of our brains on a regular basis, but when your thoughts present you with a gift, grab it and act on it; we were meant to spend ourselves on others. There’s a rush and a buzz as satisfying as a back rub that we get from “paying it forward” and being grateful for the encounters we have every day. Deliberately live the ordinary and the extraordinary; the usual and the unusual. Infuse yourself into them and bring them to life. Your life. Your ordinary and extraordinary life.

 

Holding down the booth

travelshow

Blatantly lifted from indianapolisboatsportandtravelshow.com

Today, I’m volunteering at the Indiana Trails Community (ITC) vendor booth at the Ford Indianapolis Boat Sport and Travel Show at the Indiana State Fairground. Stop by and say high if you’re at the show or in the area, we’ll be in the “quiet sports” section.

There are a lot of great local organizations focused on getting into The Great Outdoors (TM) at the travel show, like Indiana Trails, the Indianapolis Hiking Club, the Central Indiana Wilderness Club. Yes, there is a lot of buying and selling going on, but the crowds allow us one of the biggest annual opportunities to put the word out about the great work we do. Advocating for and building multi-use, non-motorized trails in the state.

Three commitments

Here we go again, as they say! I’m publicly committing myself to three consecutive goals this year, in reparation for my utter lack of seriousness in bikeworthiness. The first is a prep for the second, and the second for the third. The gist is I’ll again be riding my bike every day. I miss it, but I’ve gotten bikelazy.

All of this is leading up to the National Bike Challenge held every year from May through September. Almost half of a year. Many people, to get into the habit for that, also do the precursor #thirtydaysofbiking, which is a commitment to ride every day in April. I’m adding March to that, to get ready for April. So you’ll be able to cassh me ousside, howbowdah?

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be transporting one of my bikes to Bloomington where I work, so that I can ride it around campus as I meet with my building managers, and get together all of the kit I’ll need.

To keep all of you up to date on how well I succeed or fail each day, I’ll be incorporating a feature called BEDposts. These will be short, daily videos from the bike, or literally, “bike every day posts.” I’ve included one of the last BEDposts I uploaded, back when I was still getting on the bike every day, so you’ll know what to expect.

Be looking for them, and I’ll be looking for you in the comments.

Here’s to being small, slow, and happy…on a bike!

Good night, Mr. Sun

To celebrate…

amcWould you like to try for the chance for an movie outing with a friend to help celebrate my new book?

If you missed the launch of “Human Scale Happiness,” you can grab a free preview from my Amazon author’s page.

Click on over to the giveaway page for your chance to win! One of the things I talk about in my book is focusing on people and experiences over things, so I thought that an outing with a friend to go see a movie would be a great way to celebrate.