Leap UP, and Move!

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My maternal great-grandmother was born on 29 February sometime before the turn of the 19th century.  I remember her being in her 90’s when she left us, and through the years my memory of her has faded.

But on this particular 29 February, seems fitting to remember her.  After all, my parents — at least my dad, anyway — are approaching Nana’s stature.  Certainly their needs are now similar.  They really can’t do much on their own any more.

This timeless riddle comes to mind:

“It walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three legs in the evening. What is it?”  It’s a person:  a baby crawls on all fours, an adult walks upright on two legs, and the elderly often need help walking, as with cane.

I don’t recall what assistance Nana needed with “activities of daily living”, but I do recall her being friendly, and well…old.  🙂  My mom’s not so much like that yet, but my old man…?   He seems older ever time I see him lately.

I’m bound and determined to stay engaged with them, maybe now more than ever.  For myself and for them, but also for my little kids.  Not sure what they’ll remember of Grammy and Gramps when they’ve left this earth, but I hoping they have some recollection.

As we pass Day 60 since a stroke left my dad pretty well helpless, I’m also focused on what I can do to stay as healthy as I can, as I age myself.  Got a lot more to do, and more people now that rely on me.

So I’m trying to stay UP right in every way:  physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.  Big part of that is to keep moving, and being open, and trying new things and staying humble, and keeping a sense of humor.  As my dad’s speech therapist said recently, “Motion is lotion”…which I translate to “Keep moving!”

I’m sure gonna give it my all.

Oh yea, and if you’ve only got a fuzzy idea of what Leap Year is all about, and how wide-spread the idea is have a look here.  Once again, Wikipedia comes through.

Friday Faves, Issue #29

This week’s list is dedicated to the people in Syria and Iraq trying to survive the winter in the midst of chaos, war, deprivation, and suffering.  Not all that uplifting on the face of it, but the perseverance of the people is for sure.

Destination of the Week:  The Harim Mountains, over which many walk to reach safety, with little in the way of resources or belongings.  It’s their families, and the clothes on their back.

Quote of the Week:  “They received us with open arms.”  A refugee man speaking of his arrival to government-held personnel.

Band of the Week: Get your Jalal Joubi on.

Meal of the Week:  So much to choose from. 10,000 years of cuisine. Dabble away.

Website of the Week:  Let’s not forget the Kurdish people.  Don’t know much about them?  Have a look.  Kurdistan is thriving, relatively speaking.

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REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome.  Love to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse there. My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Even Flow

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This phrase came to mind when I was sitting in the daily morning meeting at work.

“Even Flow.”

I’m like most people, taught to create to-do lists early in my school career as a way to manage my time and get my work done.  I think I learned about the practice in the my Study Skills class in 4th Grade.

When I got into the professional world someone gave me a little volume about time management.  One of the central themes and related tools was creating a “master task list”,  where everything went you had to do.  I started using composition books about ten years ago to maintain my master task list, which I still maintain and use regularly.  The goal is the same:  Create and Maintain an even flow in my work efforts, to get things done.

Even with the master list though, I find myself making a little scribble list on my notes paper when I’m sitting in meetings, to further hone my focus for any given day.  I review the master list, and then make a scratchpad list to attack for the day.  It’s a good exercise, at least for me.  Sort of like stretching before a run.

The master list is like the workout schedule/plan, the scratchpad list is the stretch before I hit the streets.  It gives me an even flow of how I want the work efforts to go, provides the proper mindset and assures readiness for the day ahead. And then what?  ONWARD into the day with focus and good attitude ~

What’s the bonus in all this?  When the title  of this post came to mind, so did this classic 90’s grunge song by the same name  ~ Enjoy.

ENFJ

When I was in college I took a Myers Briggs personality test.  I discovered I was what they call an “ENFJ”, in MB Speak.  The group of friends I took the test with immediately said, “That’s you, lud!”  Yes indeed.  I’m an ENFJ through and through.

Fred Wilson wrote a piece on his blog today about personality tests and shared his “type”, which inspired me to share mine here.

Among other things, here’s the lowdown on an ENFJ, per Myers & Briggs.   A person with this personality type is:

“Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.”

That description pretty well nails who I am, and what I’m about.  I connect with all types of people (no wonder in other pysch parlance “attachment” is important to me),  I try to find the good in everyone, and encourage others to be the best they can be.  I want to inspire and lead to this end.

That’s what this blog’s about.  That’s what I’m about.

You might ask, “Why should I care about my personality type?”  Well, understanding yourself is one of the most important things you can do to set and pursue your goals.  What’s more, it’s one of the fundamental building blocks of living a happy life.  And this blog is part of what makes me happy and fulfilled.

So for all y’all who plug into Half Full, All GOOD?  Thanks for helping me realize my dream.  It’s what any ENFJ would aspire to.

Who’s in your cadre?

We humans are meant to be together.

We are social animals.  Much (most?) of what’s been achieved in human history could not have been accomplished otherwise, I suspect.  Individuals certainly do big things, but not without support.

That’s the key to this little insight.  We ALL need support.  We all need a little pick-me-up now and then from those around us.  Good energy from loved ones, from family, from friends, from co-workers, from strangers, from acquaintances.

We all have that network of folks that make up the nucleus of our day-to-day.  I call that my “cadre.”  What’s that you ask?

Merriam-Webster defines “cadre” thus:  a group of people having some unifying relationship.   The unifying relationship in the context of this post is those around you every day.

You want an example of who’s in my cadre?  Well of course there’s my wife and kids.  A little smile or touch or positive exchange with any of them provides a nice boost.  Then there are a couple people at work who in particular share a joke or a good story that gives the shot in the arm.

But then there are those folks I interact with frequently…but I don’t really “know” them.  It happens when we cross paths, nearly every day. When it happens I feel like the world is aligned and I thus look for more good through the rest of the day.

These are people like the paper delivery man zipping around the neighborhood in his truck, the “bike man” who peddles by me most mornings before sun-up on his way to work, and the lady running her dog through the same neighborhood most every day.  When I see any/all of them, I have a little check mark that goes on my mental list for the day.

What does it all add up to?  A whole lot of GOOD.  When we’re open and ready and together in some fashion, that’s how it often goes. We get the GOOD we need from our cadre. However you define it for yourself.

Friday Faves, Issue #27

Good Golly Miss Molly, it’s Friday AGAIN.  And that means it’s time for another edition of the Friday Faves, Issue #27.  Soak it UP, it’s GOOD for you.

Destination of the Week:  Thuwal, K.S.A.  On the Red Sea.  In the shadow of Jeddah.

Quote of the Week: “Good.” ~ Jocko Willink.

Band of the Week: “Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers” – UP and coming. Check ’em out here.

Meal of the Week:  Wedge Salad.  With a heavy drizzle to glob of Blue Cheese Dressing. YUMMY.

Website of the Week:  Think of this as a big bucket of GOOD.  Go ahead.  Dip in and see what you can find. Mark Twain was my muse this eve. Get UP and get started.

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REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome. I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse there. My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Desiderata

This poem hung on the wall in my parents’ house when I was growing up.  Don’t think I ever read the whole thing while I was living there.   But it’s become one of my favorite texts for crystallizing a life perspective by which I strive to live.

The piece was written nearly a hundred years ago, by a man named Max Ehrmann.

I hope these lines speak to you, and if so, please feel free to share.   We can all use a little GOOD sprinkled into our day.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Originally shared in this blog via Issue# 5 of the “Friday Faves” ~

Stay Calm, Be Disciplined, and…Be Happy

ZazenI was considering two goals early this morning during my regular K-9 Circuit (a two-mile march through the neighborhood in the pre-dawn darkness that’s become my ritual during the week).

The first goal is, “not letting life get to you.”  In other words, handling the usual trials and challenges and unexpected circumstances that inevitably come up with a calm response, sans the emotion that can take you off your game, unravel you, etc.

The other goal I was thinking about focused on productivity. At certain times we all end up with a lot on our plate. Some of us live in a constant state of activity with demands on our time. Others have more of an ebb and flow to what’s required of them. Either way, we’re all busy some of the time. And it’s during these times that we usually want to be as productive as we can be to get things done.

With these two goals come two helpful (if not earth-shattering) insights.

First, we tend to feel like “life is getting to us” when we’re busy. If not busy, life tends to get to us when we’re faced with things that stir emotions, things we care about. It could be a relationship, it could be an important project at work, a personal goal we’ve set for ourselves, whatever.

The insight is, “life getting to us” just means we care a lot about whatever it is we’re focused on, whatever we’re trying to accomplish. It might mean that we’ve run into obstacles (for-seen or otherwise), difficulties that present challenges to our work.

The important point here is, DIFFICULTY IS JUST PART OF LIFE. It doesn’t need to invoke angst. Rather, it should strengthen our resolve, spur our creativity, energize our efforts to persevere.  Don’t stress out, STAY CALM.

The other insight, related to productivity, is this:

We strive to be productive so we can accomplish the things we care about. Be it at work or at home or somewhere in between, working to be as productive as we can be means we care about the time we’re spending engaged on whatever the task may be.

If we have a lot of tasks, it means we’ve taken on a lot of activities because we care about them. The longer the list, the more things you care about. And that’s OK. A perpetual to-do list means you’re deeply engaged in life, and STRIVING TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. For yourself, for others.

The thing to focus on is not how long your list is, but your DISCIPLINE, how focused you are to do what’s necessary to check items off the list.

So the next time you feel anxiety, angst, stress, etc. try this:

1) Pause and take a step back

2) Take ten deep breaths.  Feel the Calm.

3) Remind yourself WHY you’re doing what you’re doing

4) Reset your DISCIPLINE

5)  Be HAPPY now, as you re-engage and move FORWARD

Friday Faves, Issue #26

Lots packed into today, so let’s get after it.  Enjoy this edition of the Friday Faves, Issue #26, to lifT you UP.

If you enjoy it, please share with your peeps to further the GOOD.

Destination of the Week:  Mt. Sterling, Kentucky.  Amazing what you find when you look around.

Quote of the Week: “…top coat, top hat…I don’t wear it ’cause my wallet’s fat…”

Band of the Week: The “Little Old Band From Texas”  ZZ TOP…still killing it after all these years.

Meal of the Week:  My kids love these…and quite frankly, so do I!  String Cheese = yummy little protein snack. And a whole lot more.

Website of the Week:  Eat better, get healthy, feel GREAT.  HERE.

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REMINDER:   Your comments are always welcome. I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say, GOOD or otherwise.  If you fancy twitter, you can follow more of the muse there. My handle is @jhludlum ~

Enjoy the weekend!

Onward

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Lots of thought this week about motivation, energy, enthusiasm, resolve, fortitude, and also the opposite: lethargy, obstacles, sudden difficulties, unexpected delays, crushing defeats.

I’ve thought about how to maintain the former and minimize the effect of the latter.  I’ve considered various voices and strategies that can be employed to accomplish just this objective, to stay on a positive path and make progress towards goals in the face of inevitable challenges.

Boiling down all the good ideas that I’ve come across, one particular theme crystallized for me today.  MOTION.  MOVEMENT.  FORWARD PROGRESS.  The thread amounts to one thing:  Taking action, doing SOMETHING, rather than freezing up, unable to respond to whatever life brings your way.

If we get into the habit of motion we create our own momentum.  Making progress forward of any kind, no matter how small, is the key.  That very action is one of the main sources of positive force that will generate all those favorable traits listed at the beginning of this piece.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times for rest, relaxation, reflection, etc.  That’s really the dichotomy.  We human beings all need those breaks, those periods of recharge for our bodies, minds, for our souls.  But when that rest is complete — by circumstance or by choice — the way to kick-start yourself is simple:

Get UP, and GO. Move. Take action.

It’s the very action itself that is important.  That’s why exercise or physical activity otherwise is so critical to our overall well-being.  It’s therapeutic and healthy and necessary to MOVE.  Everyday.  Or most days, anyway.

Taking action is also how we work through difficulties.  It’s the ONLY way.  If you fret and stew and worry and lament you only extend the time you’re in the difficulty.  Moving forward is the only way to get through it.  If you’re in a slump, in a rut, the response is simple — not easy, but simple — don’t allow yourself to wallow, force yourself to move forward.

As Winston Churchill once put it, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

So, get UP, and GO.  It’s the only way to live.

ONWARD.