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Life, work, love, relationships—all of them are wonderful, but they can often be difficult and painful too when the gaps appear. It's those times when things seem to be standing completely still that can be hardest to overcome. Mind the gaps.
Pay attention to those empty spaces that open up like gaping holes in a career path, in meaningful relationships or simply in our states of being. A void that feels hauntingly real and seems to demand some kind of immediate action.
They can appear like blinding sunlight light bursting through a row of tall tress.
I'm learning that being deliberate in pushing through those gaps is an essential part of maturing and nurturing long term growth—by allowing my life to
root right where I am planted.
I have become most discontent when feeling that overwhelming need to try and fill those gaps—to try and fill the great divide between the certain and uncertain. Something shiny and new used to replace the old, those hours of mundane and the same old sameness of daily living.
While new things quickly draw our attention away, some day they too will become old. It's those old things which have withstood the test of time that are valued most in our culture. Like old coins, cars, cameras, vinyl records and Matchbox toys. The better the condition they're kept in, the more value they possess.
To accomplish this it takes deliberate care and nurturing as they make the journey through the long years into maturity right past the gap from new into obsolete then onto vintage. I would insist we do the same with those we cherish. Before you trash it all, first be mindful of the gaps.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Viktor E. Frankl
When I took off to Spain this summer with my wife Terri to serve the Edge Project for an entire month — I left with unending hope hidden in my heart.
I hoped to learn from the students I came to serve and it was my deepest desire that something I brought to the table from my life experience would not fail to inspire.
Although I cannot quantify the latter, I did learn something incredibly valuable from the group of students there, many who came to theEdge Project from all over the United States. I learned that living in community together takes patience, it takes time to develop along with the ability to listen and invest with an open heart.
I realized that I must be willing to quiet the noise of my own judgements and opinions in order to hear the passion and heartbeat of another. It takes risk, something that's easier said than done.
Since coming back home to Seattle in August, with my fond memories of Spain now far off in the horizon, I am realizing that my desire to inspire was unwittingly left behind in baggage claim. I did not understand that until this very moment, as I woke this morning at 5:55 am with a new clarity of purpose.
While I'm not certain exactly how I lost sight of my true north – I now see that my passion to inspire, encourage and cheer on others to conquer giants along with their fears is the very blood that keeps my heart beating.
When did I forget how to love dangerously? How did I lose sight of my mission and begin to bow to the fear of failure — the pain of rejection?
When the voice of self doubt began to capture my thoughts and the noise of fear began to raise its volume in my head, I froze — I was stuck in a house of mirrors.
Author Seth Godin spoke about the best way to get unstuck in this way:
"Don't wait for the right answer and the golden path to present themselves."
"This is precisely why you're stuck. Starting without seeing the end is difficult, so we often wait until we see the end, scanning relentlessly for the right way, the best way and the perfect way."
"The way to get unstuck is to start down the wrong path, right now. Step by step, page by page, interaction by interaction. As you start moving, you can't help but improve, can't help but incrementally find yourself getting back toward your north star." Godin says.
Getting unstuck now seems so simple, because I'm free to do it all wrong – free to awkwardly stumble on my way back to finding true north. I'm willing to not see the ideal end in sight.
More than anything, I want each day to matter again – to not take my life for granted as I sink down into my big leather chair feeling numb and perfectly useless.
Sometimes we are the last ones to know that we've lost our way – the last ones to know how desperately we've needed a lifeboat.
In the end – you win some and you learn some. I’ve found the love that's been lost.
I wanted to call my friend Scott this morning and tell him what an amazing time I had last night with his family at dinner. I met Scott, his wife Liz, and two daughters Emily and Hilary when they lived across the street as our neighbors for way too short a time. They've since moved a few blocks away which means our visits can't be random sidewalk talks anymore, they have to be scheduled.
If you placed Scott in a line-up with a bunch of other guys and asked me to pick out a new friend, it would be difficult for me to identify him as one of great ones. I've always been totally blind that way. But being neighbors for several years made my pick much easier. In fact, our friendship seemed inevitable, because we're both loud and love to talk. Did I mention that we also laugh really loud too?
I came across this photo on Post Secret today and it immediately captured my heart. It left a small dent in my soul when I realized how true it is. I shoot photos often, but rarely do I point the lens at my own life, at the things that are meaningful to me.
I shoot mostly striking sunsets, lake reflections or light bursting through a wall of trees. I'm really glad now that I took so many pictures of my family this summer while on vacation in California and with my wife Terri on our trip to Spain. Life does change way too fast and it's easy to forget what truly matters.
The idea in this photo is beautiful—it's simple and for me it affirms the power of our lives when we rub up against each other. Sometimes for only a passing moment, but the impact can linger for a lifetime.
Thank you for this gift anonymous person living on planet earth. You made my day. You matter.
Like an unexpected car accident, there are some life altering events
that don't allow for a do-over. Our personal relationships are bit
different, though sometimes they may feel like a total car wreck, a
do-over can be the best place to begin when attempting to unravel an
offense. The kind of offense I like to call a flesh wound.
A do-over is a simple way of partnering with the one's we love to
administer amazing grace into a thoughtless moment of mangled insensitivity. A
do-over serves as a non-confrontational way to admit that we've seen our
error and the horrible chain of events it brings.
"When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter." Seth Godin
It's been sometime since I've posted anything meaningful here on One Man's Highway. This life affirming story "Just Keep Going", written by my close friend David Goad, is one that should not go unnoticed. It's a moving tale that involves his daily ride to work on a commuter train, but on this one ordinary day, David crashes head on into the extraordinary.
"I suddenly snapped out of my bubble. Here was some homeless kid, riding the ACE commuter train with a bunch of 40-something executives like me, just trying to get
from one place to the next. To be honest, I usually walk right by
homeless people, occasionally throwing a buck or two into a can." David Goad
When life begins to imitate love, the kind of love that places someone else above ourselves, it's only then that we begin to realize the deepest human connections in this world. Equals in our own human condition.
“The only wealth which you will keep forever is the wealth, you have given away.” Marcus Aurelius
Regardless of how much personal wealth we individually possess we have each been granted great power for change. While it makes sense right now to take a position of caution managing our personal finances, we must resist the temptation to stop giving.
The power I'm speaking of has more to do with your own ability to influence the life of someone who is in need of your wealth. One measure of tested insight can cause ripples of growth and change for someone who lacks your super powers. You possess a unique wealth of knowledge, experience and influence that to others is like gold. Your wisdom can be a game changer to the less fortunate.
When I look at my experience working as a creative director or with raising two teenagers, I see no end to the wealth of knowledge I have within reach. I have an abundance to give, even if it's as simple as encouraging someone by taking a call or answering an email that would otherwise be easier to ignore living in this age of instant communication.
I encourage you to open up your life today and give a portion of your wealth. Give something that's meaningful, a part of you that will multiply through the lives of others. Don't hold back. You have so much more to offer than what you're electronically pushing to the bank. When we measure our ability to give by our bank statements, our true wealth and value is ignored.
1 Once upon a time, computers were really large, had very little memory and were extremely expensive. Now computers are really cheap, compact and have tons of memory. They've become an addictive obsession, stealing the time we used to spend together just hanging out.
2 Once upon time, there was no way to call or text someone from a crowded movie theater, a bathroom stall or a baseball game. Those events were considered sacred. Now with cell phones no event is considered sacred, not even a funeral.