The Pebbles in Your Life

When I think about living a better life, I am always thinking the question:

What can I add to make it better?

As a matter of fact, it is almost always a question of what I can add. Rarely is it what I can take away. And though I have made many reductions in my life, there is still much that can be taken away.

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoes.

Muhammad Ali

Life is a battle. Whether you are actively pursuing the hero’s journey or just trying to survive another day, life is a battle. We all want to feel good. We all want to achieve homeostasis in our bodies, minds, and souls. What we are looking for is balance. And this is more than what we can add to our lives, it is also about what we can take away.

I don’t watch much television. But a few days ago, I watched an A&E biography of Steve Austin. Steve Austin may go down as one of the most popular wrestlers of all time.  This episode was a fascinating account of his career, but there was one segment that stood left an impression on me. At the height of his fame and popularity, he had to go to the hospital the night before a match. Why? Even though on the surface he was the epitome of health, he was out of balance. His daily routine was to wake up, drink coffee, then drink multiple energy drinks through the day, followed by enough alcohol to pass out at night. Eventually, his body could not take anymore, and he went to the hospital in a severely dehydrated state.

In Austin’s case, the default mode was to always add more. He was continually on the road and in the limelight. His body paid the price. But that wasn’t the only price he paid; his personal life also suffered. Was the fame worth it? Fame, like fortune, comes and goes. But on this earth, we only have this one body. If we are always adding and never taking away, we will eventually pay the price. We will be in a state of dis-ease.

There are many pebbles in life causing us discomfort. If we cannot remove them, then the journey to our lofty mountain peaks will be much more difficult. Learn to remove them before they completely halt your climb to the top.

Feature photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash

I’ll Step Aside While You Create

Hope 10/12/2019

Alec loves to draw. He loves to fold paper into different shapes. But after countless boats, airplanes, paper wallets, and swords, my wife and I told him to stop wasting all that paper. Looking back on it, I am starting to think the cease and desist order was a mistake.

Alec wants to be a creator. He wants to imagine something and then make it come to life. Is this not the same thing I try to do? No one, at least anyone I ever paid attention to, has told me to stop writing. Why should I tell him to do so? Because he is wasting paper? I waste paper every day on little notes to myself. I could do a better job of conservation, but I never do. I save my conservation efforts for plastic. Besides, paper has probably never been cheaper in any other time in human history.

What if Alec’s dream is to be an artist? What if it is to be an origami instructor? Who am I to derail his dreams? Instead, I should honor his dream and encourage him to go after it.

My son, let your imagination run wild. Fly and see where that freedom will take you.

The man who has no imagination has no wings. –Muhammad Ali