Learning to Cease.

cease

For the entirety of my life I have heard from people that have seen me out and about.  They all say the same thing.  “I saw you the other day.  You look like you were in a hurry.  I was trying to get your attention but you were too focused.”

Is there such a thing as being too focused?  I think the answer is yes.

We can so easily get focused on a multitude of consuming thoughts.  Our mobile natured lives have made it possible to always be connected to busy.  Any moment of any day we can be doing something in the name of “productivity” We have become accustom to an onslaught of continuous “stimulation” Even our mindless unconscious scrolling on our phones while in a line is a testimate of our addiction to activity & “noise”

Jen (my wife) and I have been working to practise Shabbat – a jewish tradition of resting on the 7th day. I love that the word literally means to cease.  We have made it our JOB to rest one day a week. For a 24 hour period we go dark on our phones.  We do not run errands, or complete  tasks around the house. We cease. We pray. We practise thankfulness. We play board games. We read. We attempt to nap. There was a magical moment when after tobogganing and watching a family movie Jen the four kids and I actually napped simultaneously (it was like a Christmas miracle seriously)

Is our Shabbat practise perfect? NO. It is actually a lot of work to learn how to rest.  I found myself reading parenting books and personal development and felt convicted that I was feeding my desire to “use the time wisely” So I decided I needed to do something I had not done in ages and read a fictional book.  In fact the book I picked up Jen had purchased for me more than 7 years ago!!!!! Jen is just as guilty and has found herself organizing her homeschool cupboard or mopping the floor or even just in conversations surrounding decisions we needed to make.  Our old habits die hard and after a weekend away to do a training and another weekend with a kids function and helping a friend we found ourselves falling back into not observing the day of rest.  Its like gravity we actively have to fight the pull back to habits we have patterned into our lives for years.

The thing I have loved about practising Shabbat is the pour over into the other 6 days of the week. We are recognizing rhythms and spaces in our day to day lives that could lend themselves to “rest” I have been slowing down my walk, lifting my head up, nodding and saying hi to strangers. I have even been consciously taking deep breathes smelling the season in the air, looking at the sky or mountain views, leaving my phone in my pocket or on my desk or in the car.  I worked really hard one day to just sit and sip my coffee at Starbucks like a weird person of the past in a land before smart phones.

The problem is our old habits are so pervasive and our culture so easily grabs a hold of us.  I caught myself this past two weeks slipping back into the HUSTLE habits.  As I passed a women on the sidewalk at lightning speed and got stopped by the changing light at the intersection I whipped out my cell phone tapped the email icon, waited for it to refresh (“any new junk mail yet?) tapped the facebook logo, hit the red notifications button, scrolled through some insta-stories – then realized the light had turned and the strolling women had past me. “Hmmm here you are again Ira.”  I said to myself. Slipped my phone into my pocket, slowed my pace and took a deep breath, glanced over and noticed the sun was shining gloriously on the mountains across the lake a block from where I was sucked back into being frantically preoccupied with productive “busy” noise.

When I got home Jen and I had been having the same thoughts, we need to prioritize and honour that day of rest.

 

Slow down and enjoy life.  It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor.

Hardwired for the BHAG : My Struggles With The Hustle

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I know we were made to dream BIG & we are capable of doing BIG things.

Try this.

Gather a group of people and give them the task of talking about a dream vacation with all limits removed.

There are no financial barriers or restrictions.

Go anywhere.

Anytime.

With anyone.

Where are you going to go?

Who are you going to go with?

What are you going to do?

Then stand back and watch the energy and conversations in the room escalate to a fever pitch. As groups share without restrictions on what is possible the air becomes contagious. The possibilities begin to stack on top of each other. As one dream is shared another is inspired and the territory of the dreams in the room keep expanding. There is such a strong sense and sound of LIFE in a room full of people dreaming BIG.  It is the same as the energy I have felt on a flight that is heading to Hawaii as opposed to a commuter flight full of business travellers. People are just friendlier, more polite, more forgiving, more available, more present to the moment and life.

So here has been my struggle.  Boarding a daily flight to destination Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) but riding there with a commuter flight vibe.  I spent a lot of time as 2019 closed out looking back over the past year(s). The GOLD contained in looking back is you can honestly re-evaluate the emotions and mindsets that drove the past years behaviours but with distance and a lot greater perspective.

My conclusion was in 2020 I will DO LESS, so HE can MOVE more. I believe my life has been dominated by a pervasive HUSTLE and my identity can dangerously get wrapped up in my work and accomplishments. Wrestling God for the controls instead of resting in a greater all knowing scheme that my human mind cannot even begin to comprehend. For many years I have been taking on more than I was meant to bear, all while  being encouraged and applauded by the daily onslaught of our “HUSTLE while others sleep” culture.

So I started asking myself “how has that been working for me or the world at large around me?”

The answer.

It’s not.

So I am in the midst of a new season wrestling with the gravity that pulls me daily back to how I have always done things and the need for consistent reminders to do LESS.

I started this year with 3 books that say it all.

(1) Atomic Habits By James Clear all about focusing on the small daily habits that can have remarkable impact when stacked upon across a year.

(2) To Hell With The Hustle: Reclaiming Your Life in an Overworked, Overspent and Overconnected World By Jefferson Bethke

(3) The Ruthless Elimination Of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World. By John Mark Cormer

Writing or journaling helps me organize my thoughts so as I navigate the lessons being learned I thought I would hold myself accountable to it by blogging my thoughts. I also know what connects us humans is our shared struggle and my hope is the words and lessons shared may inspire or help someone else with the same struggles.

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RE-WRITE YOUR ANTHEM

MUSICI am so thankful for music and what it does to the mind and in turn the body.  It has a way of firing us up and turning our attitudes around.  With some mighty goals set for my year ahead I know getting my head right (especially on the days that I do not feel like it) is paramount to accomplishing a goal.  I love the Jim Rohn quote

“For things to change you have to change. For things to get better you have to get better.”

Moving to a NEW point requires us to re-write and wire the anthem we play about ourselves in our head daily.  That is going to take some work, some repetition. Having a plan is not good enough (it is important) but it is not enough.  Accomplishment is reserved for those who execute the well thought out plan.  The plan may change as you go because through execution you gain wisdom and insight but no amount of thinking about it will provide the same results as DOING it!!!

When I do not feel like it I default to prayer, worship music, and high energy tunes with lyrics that reinforce the right mindset.  I may even get crazy and jump up and down and shout out loud and then use that Mel Robbins 5 second rule and count down from 5 and execute.

5…4….3…2…1… do it…get to work.

My current get your assets moving tunes to help reenforce the anthem I am declaring over the next year can be found below.

Run Run – The Rivals 

Make Way – Aloe Blacc (ego aside on this one – I want to make an IMPACT – leave a legacy)

High Hopes – Panic! At the Disco

Multiplied – NEED TO BREATH

Could Have Been Me – The Struts 

Get Your Hopes Up – Josh Baldwin

You Can’t Stop Me – Andy Mineo

What tunes are fuelling your anthem over the coming year???

 

 

 

 

When You Recognize Your Toolbox Sucks

tool boxWellness is all about collecting the right tools. We all have our go to tools that we have collected and used for many, many years.

Going on a wellness journey is all about really taking a HARD look at those tools. Being honest and asking the tough questions around whether your tools have been building wellness or tearing it down in your life?

Identifying destructive behaviour patterns is initially painful because you become AWARE of your slip ups but you feel incompetent when it comes to dealing with them. Successful tool replacement involves the willingness to see the vulnerability through and the belief that it will be worth it and your efforts will pay off! You need to concede that you will not have it instantly all figured. Figuring it out means a commitment to gracefully navigate the continuous effort needed to break through.

When you put together your toolkit is it not like you go out and buy brand new tools all at once. You slowly build up and upgrade your existing tool case.

STOP believing there is some sort of magical switch, where you wake up one day and Santa Claus himself gifts you with a BRAND NEW fully loaded set of tools to do life with. With consistent effort you will upgrade your tool box. As you learn and grow you will reach in and grab an old familiar ineffective tool – all you have to do is recognize when you have done it – toss it and don’t be so surprised when it finds it’s way back in your tool box along your journey. Wellness is not allowing defeat to settle, disappointment is certain just don’t let it make a home.

Keep your head up and keep recognizing what you don’t want to keep and continue tossing it until you one day realize your OLD familiar, frustrating go to tool is no longer there, it has been replaced by a tool that builds your wellness as opposed to tearing it down.

When The Dream Is Hard

WHEN DREAMING IS HARD (2)When the dream is hard.

Remember…

It is supposed to be. Passivity produces nothing worth writing home about.

Remember…

The view from the mountain top is in proportion to the terrain you were willing to transverse to get there.

Remember….

It is not about what you will GET but what you are willing to GIVE.  Your dream is worth it when it is an answer to someone else’s prayer not just your own.

Remember…

You can’t teach what you don’t know. The wisdom needed to keep climbing is a dreamers greatest gift.

Remember…

You have all you need.  Do not let the spirit of lack convince you, you are missing what you need to keep going.

Remember…

People can’t help but poke holes in your dream in order to justify and reinforce their own decisions to stay put, settle and stop dreaming.

Remember….

Do not be afraid of imperfections. Your most attractive human quality is your imperfections. The appearance of perfection is like repellant. Your authenticity will win favour.

Remember….

Never despise small beginnings.

Remember…

Settling certainly is an option….but you were not made to settle.

Remember….

Two mindsets reside in the human brain upon waking.  You get to decide which one you train up and give a VOICE. The one convincing you to lay down your weapons in the midst of the battle or the one that reminds you of the GOOD you are fighting for.

Remember….

Your life depends on it.  Proverbs 13:12 ”Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”