We're more than aware of the amount of loss that has been sustained by the flood which is why we were initially hesitant to make light of it through our card this year. But if we're being honest, there's really no other response. It happened. We grieved the loss. We're moving forward. Same as everyone else. And we've heard countless others share similar sentiments to ours, that, "if we don't find the good in this situation, we'll be overwhelmed by the bad." So we're finding the good.
You can't escape it.
It bombards you at every turn and is embedded into your heart from the time you're born.
It's the need to belong. We're communal creatures and we long to know that to someone... somewhere... we belong. Mostly we just want to be a part of a club that meets in a treehouse and has a top secret password like "open sesame." But for those of us not fortunate enough to get in with the cool kids, we just want to know we're loved without condition.
About a year ago I was feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of things that I had promised myself that I was going to start doing and had dropped the ball on. French, coding and piano just to name a few. All noble pursuits, yet they all seemed to fall off the wagon because life just got in the way. It wasn't that I lost interest or decided they weren't worth it - I just found myself struggling to fit them all into my schedule on a consistent basis. Because of these abandoned goals I began getting pretty upset at myself. If these things were important to me, why were they constantly taking a back seat to everything else?
Minimalism. It's one of those trendy things that's mildly controversial as well. So we see people becoming minimalists — or at least believing that they are — around every corner. But you want to know a secret? They're home or their office will soon be full of stuff before long. It isn't just your collection of things that needs to be simplified... it's your wants. After purging your home of unnecessary items, you'll find yourself right back where you started in a year if you never learned to quell the incessant desires of a 21st Century mind.
As human beings, I believe that ingrained within us all, is a natural instinct to create. You can argue that you don't have a single creative bone in your body but I call bull. Having been made in the likeness of the Creator of the Universe, I think that we're built for creation. For making something that didn't exist before. Writing a sentence. Composing a song. Cooking a meal. Choreographing a dance. Developing a business strategy. Building a sand castle. It doesn't require complexity or years of skill and experience. It only requires that you bring something with meaning into existence that didn't exist before.
Space is a beautiful thing. Yet it's often seen as something to be filled rather than something to be left alone. All that inhabits the space we live in, work in, play in - it's all visual stimuli. We're engineered to be visual people and as such, are easily distracted and consumed with the visual stimuli around us. Though we may not think something catches our attention, it does. If only for a split second, our mind is filtering through dozens of things before it can rest on the task at hand. Knick-knacks, keep sakes, gifts, crafts, junk, trash, long-forgotten memos... over time, little things begin to build up. Simplifying the space that we live in is an important step toward enjoying that space.
Everything we do tells a story. From our career, to our volunteer efforts, to the way we raise our family — it’s all a part of a narrative that is your life. And the story that we tell is largely up to us. Of course, you have circumstances that impact the way people see you, but even in those moments when you’re cast in a negative light, you have an opportunity to respond and that response, as you can imagine, tells a part of your story.
A lot’s changed in the last 30 years. We’ve been forced to answer questions that we’ve never had to ask before. Questions like, “should I enter my credit card information online?” And there had to be an adjustment period to gain a measure of comfort with that — for some, it’s still going on. But that’s to be expected, I supposed.
As I grow up and try my hand at this whole “adult” thing, I’ve been putting a lot of thought and energy into the idea of investments. Whether it’s stocks or real estate, passive or aggressive, dividends or no dividends, simple or complicated, there are an endless number of strategies and theories that claim to be the best way to invest. The more I do my homework, the more conversations I have and the more I ask myself what I truly want out of life, I’ve begun to realize that the theories that steer the way we invest also steer many other areas of our lives.
Any time I take a step back and assess my life, I arrive at one of two conclusions:
- Stress: I’m overwhelmed because I’ve been trying to balance too many things at once
- FOMO: I’m missing out on so many things in an effort to focus on a few important things
And I’m sure I’m not alone — FOMO (fear of missing out) and stress are two of the most common symptoms of the common (wo)man. Not surprisingly, there’s a simple solution to both: viewing your life in 4D. To view your life in 4D, you have to incorporate the dimension of time; after all, your life exists along the continuum of time, not simply in the present. Let’s take a look at each issue adding in the perspective of time and see how it changes things.
Throughout time, there has been a practice of apprenticeships that have only recently begun to disappear. Apprenticeships allowed young men and women to choose a craft and learn at the side of a master craftsman. It gave them a practical, highly-educational approach to learning a skill. While traditional education would require a student to wait until tests were handed back days, sometimes weeks later, apprenticeships provided students with immediate feedback and tangible consequences to their mistakes. This hands-on form of learning under a master provided them with a key element of success: knowing where you want to be. The man or woman training them embodied who they were to become through their training. A master.
One of the most interesting metrics by which you can refine your type was by whether or not you are a healthy version of your type. I’m not referring to how physically fit you are, but rather how balanced you are as a person. There could be a healthy 3 and an unhealthy 3 standing next to each other and, though they’re the same personality type, they would seem very different. The unhealthy 3 would display the 3’s weaknesses in very obvious, damaging ways. The healthy 3, on the other hand, would display the strengths of the 3’s type and will have a more balanced response to life.
When we look back through Scriptures we see God using the wilderness as a space in which He can communicate with His people. He called Abraham into the wilderness to tell him of His promises. He called Moses into the wilderness to manifest Himself through a burning bush. He called Elijah into the wilderness to speak through a gentle whisper. He called Jacob into the wilderness to speak to him through a dream.
Friendship is such a unique relationship because of the diverse nature of them. It would seem that relationships are tracked along this slow incline of a timeline. So the longer you’ve known each other, the better friends you should be. Time would seem like a good gauge of friendship in my opinion. But what I’ve noticed is that the timeline has very little to do with the actual depth of the friendship. One friendship could come into your life and within moments, it’s clear that you’ll be best friends for life. Others, after months or even years of living life with them, still haven’t made it past the “phase of life” sort of friendship.
The mineral Pyrite is an iron sulfide with a pale yellow hue and metallic luster that gives it the appearance of gold earning it the nickname “Fool’s Gold.” So while, on the surface, it has the appearance of value, in reality, it’s just another rock. I feel like life can present you with a lot of Fool’s Gold that looks really wonderful at first glance. But on further inspection, you realize you’ve been given a dud.
Think for a moment about every good story you’ve told. I’m willing to bet they all have one thing in common — a challenge. Whether it’s a ring that must be cast into the fires of Mount Doom or a nose-less, power-hungry wizard who must be defeated, there is always a hardship or an obstacle or a trial that makes the victory at the end seem sweeter.