Get on the Path

Ever since visiting the Grand Canyon in 2012, I’ve had this goal of doing the Rim to Rim hike.  It’s a hike from the North Rim of the canyon to the South Rim and is a very unique hiking experience with some beautiful scenery.  Many describe it as a bucket list item.  However, aside from wanting to do this hike, I haven’t taken much action to make it happen… until this week.

After talking about it with my wife we sat down, picked some dates and made reservations with a hiking outfitter to do the trip in 2017.  After I made my reservations, and paid my deposit (I had to commit money, so I’m all in!)  I felt great, because I had taken action that will cause this event to happen in 2017.  The part that was so interesting to me was how easy it was to just take action.

I often find myself researching or continuing to think about doing an activity, when instead, what I really need to do is take the step before me.  Put even more simply, I just need to take the action I know I need to take.

After I hit Submit on the on-line registration form, I wondered to myself why it had taken me so long to do this.  If it was that easy to get on the path to achieving this goal, imagine all the other goals I could achieve over a lifetime, if I just take action and get on the path.

How awful would it be to get to the end of life and wonder how different our things could have been if we had only had the courage to take initiative and get started on the path toward doing some things we really wanted to do?

Is there anything you’ve wanted to do, that you keep thinking about, but have yet to take action on?  If so, take action today.  Stick your neck out there and do something that commits you to getting on the path and seeing it through.

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Checking in on You Bucket List

So what’s on your bucket list?  Whether written down or kept in our head, we all have a list of things we’d like to accomplish before our time on Earth is up.

Here’s a follow up question:  How many items on your bucket list have you checked off in the last 12 months?  Not as many as you’d like?  Me neither.

For me, the biggest barrier to checking off bucket list items is my own lack of commitment to consistently take actions that will bring about the items on my list.  Put another way, my biggest barrier is… me.

Here’s the good news, though:  If I’m the biggest barrier, I am also the strongest force that can propel me forward toward checking things off my list.  What a great thought that is!  I’m not required to wait around for others to light a fire or make things happen for me.  I can do that all on my own, by simply choosing to take action.

The same is true for all of us.  If there’s something you want to do or experience in this life, all you have to do is start making plans and taking action to bring it about.  Consistent effort over time toward a goal is a powerful force; a very powerful, bucket-list-checking-off force.

So, 2 final questions:

  1. What items on your bucket list still remain unchecked?
  2. Will you act as a barrier or a propelling force toward bringing them about?

Stop and Ask

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”  ~Socrates

An unexamined life can certainly be worth living.  Actually, it can probably be quite fun and, to a degree, free of the stress that comes from examining one’s own life.  If you’re not examining your life, you’re not worried about whether you’re making progress toward your potential or cultivating and using your gifts and talents wisely.

However, the problem with an unexamined life is that when it is drawing to an end, we may realize, only too late, that the body of work we’ve created with our life is not what we had hoped for, or what we would like to have done with it.  At this point, we may determine that if we had it to do over again, we would have paid more attention to where we were going.

I think it’s important to regularly stop and examine our lives. How else do we know if we’re making progress toward the things that are important to us if we don’t stop long enough to assess whether or not we’re on course?

One of the best ways we can do this is to determine where it is we’re trying to go in life, and whether the path we’re on is taking us there.  If it is, great!  Stay on course and keep checking in with yourself to make sure you’re not straying off course.  If you find that you are off course, or have never been on a specific course and are lacking direction, spend some time with paper and pencil (or any medium you prefer to capture thoughts) and ask the following:

  1. Where do I want to go?
  2. What do I need to do to get there?
  3. What’s the next step I can take to start moving in that direction?

Then take that step today!

We could have fun on a journey but be disappointed with the destination if it’s not some place we’d like to be.  Examining one’s life is much like consulting a map, or stopping and asking for directions as we travel.  It’s how we ensure that we’re on a journey toward a destination we’d like to reach.

Words

Would you ever walk around deliberately throwing pointed darts at people, hitting them with a club, or punching them in the gut? Of course not!  In fact, if we did, we’d likely get arrested!  Yet everyday people are equally, if not more, careless with the words they choose to launch at others.

Words are interesting because they don’t have any preference on how or for what purpose they are used.  They are amoral and only become positive or negative based solely on how we choose to wield them.

Look at the contrast between the attributes of positive and negative words:

Positive Words Negative Words
Encouraging Discouraging
Affirming Tearing down
Loving Hateful
Caring Hurtful
Compassionate Condemning
Healing Crushing
Life saving Hopeless
Enduring Enduring

 

Our words have an impact on people, especially on those closest to us.  And though they can be positive or negative, they are often not soon forgotten.

This underscores the importance of the awareness we should possess regarding the words we use and how we’re treating others with them.  Are we being careless with our words or are we using them to encourage and edify others?  If we could see a visual representation of the words we’re delivering to others would they resemble sticks, darts, clubs, and stones, or would they look more like a smile, a pat on the back, a high-five, and a hug?

We do have a choice regarding the words we use.  They leave our lips wrapped in our intentions.  Let’s intention to deliver positive words that bless others versus cursing them.  When we do, we’ll likely notice that the words we receive from others are kind and positive as well.

It’s Time to be Intentional

How many times has a scenario similar to this happened to you?  You’re talking with a friend about something fun you’d both like to do and someone says, “That sounds fun!  We need to do that!”  You’re both genuinely interested in the event, and have every intention of scheduling a time to get together and make it happen.  But you get busy and the event, along with everyone’s excitement about it, gets pushed to the back of everyone’s mind, where it is soon forgotten until the next time you get together with this friend and the topic comes up again… and the cycle continues.

This was the same cycle me, my wife, sister, and brother-in-law have been in for several years regarding a day trip to Oregon’s Fruit Loop in the Hood River Valley.

Hood River Oregon is known for its agriculture, specifically apples, pears, and peaches.  (Once you’ve had a Honey Crisp apple from Kiyokawa Family Orchards you’ll be spoiled for life!  No other apple will ever compare.)  The Fruit Loop consists of a bunch of farms, orchards, and wineries in the area that sell produce and other regional goods they produce.  While the Fruit Loop is open most of the year, for my wife and I, fall is the best time to attend.

hoodriver

Anyhow, my wife, sister, brother-in-law and I finally decided that September 24, 2016 would be the day that the 4 of us would at last go to the Fruit Loop together.  It turned out to be a perfect day!  The weather was sunny and in the mid-70s with spectacular views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.   We picked Honey Crisp apples right off the tree, sampled delicious seasonal fruit, along with jams, jellies, and pastries, and ended the day with a late lunch at Mt Hood’s Timberline Lodge.  A beautiful end to a fantastic day!

This trip reminded me about the importance of being intentional about making events like this happen.  It’s too easy to just say you want to get together with folks and do something special, and then never make it happen.  However, but I would argue that it’s also pretty easy to get out the calendar and pick a day make it happen.  Being intentional is not that hard.  Especially when we realize the positive impact it can have on our lives.

What about you?  Are there activities you’d like to do that you’re putting off for no good reason, or people you’ve been meaning to connect with that you never get around to putting on the calendar?  If so, I encourage you to go get your calendar or send an email to those you’ve been meaning to connect with and set a date to make it happen.

It’s time to stop being too busy and start being intentional.