If you were wondering where I have been for almost a month, the title sums it up. I have sat down for a few minutes a few times but something distracting kept coming up. Priorities being what they are, unfortunately, this blog is fairly inconsequential in comparison to the other issues. But don't think that I wasn't thinking about it, often.
I'm trying to get re-organized and to get my feet going in the direction they are supposed to be pointed. But even my attempts to do that seem a little clumsy. But I did take the time over the last month to add some "me" time in and that seems to be working out, for at least a little bit of the day.
Today I went with the family to the beach. We have a guest staying with us for a week and when my wife asked me what I wanted to do today, I said that is what I wanted to do. You do have to understand, however, while we live within a very short walk from the beach and go there pretty much every weekend, it is not my normal choice. See, the whole thing about going to the beach means the herding of three young girls is involved, and getting them in swimsuits and slathered with sunscreen is about as easy as fishing with a volleyball net. Then there's the packing of the stuff, of which there is lots. And of course, we have to put on sunscreen as well, which I won't mince words about: I hate sunscreen. But as you can tell, I met with mild disbelief when I said it's what I wanted to do.
So while getting to the beach is almost a total inconvenience, being there is different. My wife likes to relax and tan, read a magazine, and try to sleep (I doubt she ever gets a chance). The girls have to categorize all the marine life, socialize with the tourist kids, build at least three big holes, eat (and for Honora, that is full-time), and beg me to do stuff I really don't want to do, but am reluctantly willing to do most of the time. I like to keep moving and the thing my brother-in-law got me hooked on is hunting for shark teeth.
And thus the lesson in this lengthy explanation of why I haven't been here. Today, when I found one of those elusive shark's teeth, I gave it to our guest as a souvenir. She was grateful, but asked if I didn't want it. While I keep a few of the teeth, I usually give them to my kids or if there's some child nearby who has never seen a shark's tooth, I'll give it to them. And today when I gave away the tooth I had just found, I realized why I liked looking for them.
It is literally the one time during my entire week when I am focused on something and have nothing else occupying my mind. I mean, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about work or wondering why my five-year old was battling the undertow, but those thoughts (well, I'm kidding about the undertow part) are really on the periphery. My phone is back up at the chair and there's really nothing to distract me other than my own thoughts.
Part of the art of searching, I have found, is that I discover more teeth when I stop looking and just see the teeth rather than to look for them. Sometimes it's the angle of the sun, or sometimes it is a certain color or the position of the tooth that strikes me as odd, but it isn't easy to find them and so going to the beach and finding two or three each trip is pretty rare, unless you are Uncle Michael, who is the world champion shark tooth finder, at least according to his brother in law and his nieces. I usually don't go away without finding at least one, but more than that is really pushing it.
But the whole state of mind is important. That is, we all need to find something that gives us pleasure, or at least allows our mind to go into neutral, in order to stay sane. When I was young, I worried when I wasn't thinking about something. Now, in what I consider to be a more enlightened moment in my life, I realize that it is more important to occasionally disengage from the world, to put all those concerns aside for a few moments, and to clear out the junk that accumulates in our heads from everything we deal with daily. The important part in our lives, really, isn't necessarily what we can fill up our minds with at every moment, but about creating space to let more in.
I have been struggling trying to find a special something to put in my blog, like the Weekly Weasel or the Microcoaching ideas. I spent a lot of time, a month almost, trying to figure that out. Then today I realized, it's not what Firehouse Zen is about. This blog wasn't meant to be work, it was meant to enlighten. Those who get it will come back and they'll bring their friends. Those who don't get it, won't. If you read what I say here and it strikes a chord, great. And if not, try again later, because maybe it will. But more importantly, I need to go back to insuring that what this blog is about isn't being the best or the most read or crammed with the most information. It needs to be about whatever that need is at that moment. And if you like it, share it and whatever will be, will be.
I promise to stop trying to live up to the daily grind and go back to doing what I do best. And if people like it, they'll be back. And that's about the best that anyone could ever want to be.
Also on Firehouse Zen …
- Zen Shorts – March 21, 2013
- Looking Toward The Horizon – December 3, 2012
- Don’t Raise Your Voice Unless You Are Willing To Raise Your Fists – March 31, 2012
- Leadership That Matters, Part 20 – June 25, 2012