Shine On

Where your spirit is

It’s been quite sometime since I added some new thoughts here. Last night, I was finishing a Netflix series called ‘The Gift’. It’s set in Istanbul and is better with subtitles than it is with the voice over in English. (The acting connects more in the original language, even if you do not speak it.)

There’s a scene where a character is guided to focus on their pain…

People say where you hurt the most is where your spirit is.

The Gift ~ Netflix TV series.

Much of my writing on this particular blog captures my spirit when it is hurting. This is an obvious double edged sword as I personally do not want to hurt and yet savor being in touch with my spirit.

Numb and Move

Pain is not the only conduit to our spirit. Throughout much of the last year, I’ve worked to numb and move despite the pain that I felt.

I started 2019 recovering from a failed relationship, struggling to make ends meet trying to keep my nose above water in a home I was challenged to afford alone. I dove into some new opportunities, in parallel as I had no option to abandon the work that was paying something, even though not enough.

Just as the new opportunities were getting a little traction, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I took on even more in the aftermath of his passing, working with my family to hold things together for all of us.

The seeds of very old web development opportunities started sprouting and by mid summer I was engaged in 3 different businesses, business development for my father’s former business, web development for my old business and systems integrations between ERP / CRM / Automation tools in the new business.

I’m a web developer by profession mostly these days. I haven’t written professionally since the financial crisis started in 2008.

I numbed myself in staying busy. I started to contain and get caught up on some of my financial problems. A new relationship rekindled out of the ashes of the previously failed relationship. I enjoyed summer a bit. I encountered a couple odd injuries during yoga, and my practice of the same faltered.

Life was generally going in positive directions. I was not living in balance. However, I was correcting some deficiencies from times when I was mentally/physically/spiritually more in tune.

My Aunt passed away in the fall after a rapid fight with cancer. The onset of cancer was sudden and the fight lasted a few months and she was gone.

Again my family and I were dealing with another loss. At the same time, one of my large web development projects came to an end soon after. It had been a chaotic project with biweekly changes in direction from the client, their team and a series of 3 different CEO’s. The chaos of this project had driven me nutty and at the same time, the money had helped me fix a lot of things.

I did a lot of good work, but was not allowed to do my best work. It conflicted me when it arrived, as it happened and since it ended.

The rest of the year saw a mad dash to wrap up other projects ranging in size from large to medium to small. Without the anchor of the large project that had ended, every week and month felt like a struggle to make ends meet.

Christmas felt like it would be my undoing trying to make ends meet let alone make a holiday for my children and family and make a trip to bring them all together come off.

With non stop work, and help from my mother and family, I made it happen. It was not easy to get into any kind of holiday spirit.

Just Surviving with a bit of Life re-Building

December of 2019 was a month where I just tried to survive. I kept telling myself, I don’t think I can get through another holiday like this. I don’t think I want to try anything like this again.

And yet, I also remembered my Father’s ability to pull out all the stops to bring Christmas together. He loved Christmas. The rest of the year might be great or it might be terrible. He might have behaved poorly or well, but during Christmas, he’d try to atone for everything.

In so doing, it could make christmas awesome and sometimes very stressful too.

He saved my Christmas a few years back at a time soon after my divorce when I was in a place that seemed like yet another rock bottom.

The weird thing about rock bottom, is that this is often where we find our spirit, where that pain allows us to connect. Its the place where the seeds get planted and from which the roots nestle in and we grow out of the ground again.

So in the current holiday, I told my departed Father that I loved him everyday and did my best to make due. I accepted some of the gifts offered and this helped as well.

I made it all the way to January 4th, where I sit now on my yoga mat looking out on a gray day with the sun not quite breaking through the clouds.

I came home from the holidays with a coughing chest cold that had me wiped out for a good 2 days. I survived through the beginning of the month and can pay most of my bills. This was an important accomplishment as none of this was certain 4, 3 or 2 weeks ago.

It wasn’t even certain 48 hours ago.

I have entered 2020 with many of the same conditional driven anxiety that I brought into 2019.

Things are very different Now

I came into 2019 fighting to survive. I made new opportunities and opened up to new options. I said yes to almost everything that was thrown at me.

I used wisdom to say no to a few things.

Staying busy and taking on more helped fuel me through the year. This is and had long been one of my super powers. The more I have to do, the more I am able to get done.

Too few things to do is my kryptonite and the source of procrastination and ADHD or whatever.

Things are different now, because I was able to get caught up on a lot of things in 2019. I got caught up on many debts (not all, but many). I took a big financial hit to help buy my youngest daughter braces, completing a trilogy and I’m still paying off half of this.

I invested a lot of time and money in a new aspect of business. Its a new area of work for me that allows me to wed my experience and skills and education in finance and accounting with my web development and business development skills.

I’m in the midst of taking my new systems integration and automation medicine.

A few years back I put together a vision board or two that put me on a path to automating more of my business. I can not personally scale. I needed better systems and processes to bring the magic out of my head and into an actual business. I had operated like an artist for many years. I needed to systematize the art, so that it could scale and help more people.

I needed it to scale such that I could earn enough to move beyond surviving.

I’m making that happen now. In November, I started consolidating and merging my former systems into a single integrated unit.

In a business sense, I’m aligning the mind body and soul of my essence in business in a way that I can manage it and grow it with others in the future.

A 2020 plan emerging

I do not have my resolutions or plan for 2020 ready yet. I am still finishing up some important action items from the end of 2019. These are some problem areas that need attention.

Finances – I am working on a fast track plan to clean up the rest of my finances this coming year. There have been several problem areas in my life that I simply had no way of addressing in a few of the last years. I’m getting other things sorted and can tackle these soon.

Health – For several years, I have started to envision a future where I might leave meat behind. It started just after my separation years ago. Back then I ran like crazy and then lost a lot more fluff when I took up yoga 6 days a week. A few months later, I met my girlfriend who introduced me to some amazing foods. She is not a vegetarian and yet through choice and necessity looks at foods as part of her medicine. The long and short of it is, she helped me experience that healthy food can be prepared in ways that taste amazing. In 2020, I may or may not go meatless. I’m going to approach my food differently. I’m renewing my focus to emphasize a lot more plant based foods. I may even go vegan someday. Not ready for a commitment, but definitely headed in that direction.

Business Growth – I have lots of work to do here. Again, I need to finish my 2019 work and develop this more.

Travel – This has not been easy over the recent years. Its been several years since I traveled on a regular basis for work and personal reasons. This year I am changing this. I am long overdue to make travel a central part of my life.

Writing – And finally I get to what I am doing in this current moment. I need to make space and time to connect with my writing spirit. I know how to connect with my spirit even without having to focus on the pain. I can also do this through nature, through dance, through beauty, through food, music, story, art. The thing is that I’m alone mostly. There’s a part of my (fun to observe) ego that needs to be witnessed. If I don’t open up and share my spirit, then its just a tree falling in the woods unobserved, unheard. If I don’t write it, its as if I wasn’t there at all in too many ways.

Shine On

So I will make more time… I will allow more time to write again and share the connection with my spirit with you. Whether you are just one person or many, alone or in the lonely company of others, I’m hear. I’m trying to shine and hope to witness your shine on as well. I am not the tree alone in the woods waiting to fall alone and unobserved and neither are you

We are the rays shining and radiating out.

Happy New Year!

Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

As it Comes together…

A great weekend summarized

It’s a Sunday afternoon, just after noon.  I’m sitting at a shaded table near the white water rafting loop overlooking the stage where bands play in the evening.  I just finished a terrific yoga sessions under the trees on the opposite side of the US National White Water Center.  It’s a beautiful partly sunny/cloud day. The clouds are helping keep the temperature perfect. There’s a regular shifting breeze that is earning a lot of props too.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a terrific morning running a 5k with my youngest daughter. It was a spring Girls on the Run race.  Both of my daughters have participated in Girls on the Run over the years, multiple seasons and years in a row.  After the race, I went paddle boarding with friends. I was on a paddle board, they were in kayaks, their beagle in a doggy life jacket.  

Yesterday was perfect and today is working out terrifically too.

The line of the suns rays are inching across the table I’m seated at towards my laptop.  Mentally, I’m telling myself that I’ll stop writing when the sun gets here, end the reflections and move forward again with my day…

I’m looking forward at my day tomorrow, my week coming, my summer, and my future.  

I need to do some planning.  I put off updating my 6 month vision board a month or two back.  I need to get back on track with this.

I was busy living, busy building my life. Sometimes, I was stressed and anxious and hanging by fingertips. Sometimes things were flowing and working well and easy. There was no constant scenario.

  • I was not broken all the time.
  • I was not functioning all the time.
  • I was not successful all the time.
  • I did not fail all the time.
  • I did not make mistakes all the time.
  • I did not ‘do it right’ all the time.
  • I did not learn from every mistake all the time.
  • I did not mis learning opportunities all the time.
  • Nothing happened all the time. There was no constant at one end of the imaginary scales of my mind.

However, even in the absence of a constant, there was a trend that sort of plotted out with hills and valleys going up and down and up and down and scattered away from a correlation line with occasional outliers…

I persisted throughout.

I did continue to make progress. I built momentum and kept at it, even when I wasn’t moving at all.

I was able to maintain a level of mindfulness more often than not.

There were days when I was uncertain and thought it might all fall apart.  But it didn’t.

So on with my week planning….

I need to identify some needs, turn those into goals, maybe create a list of things that can start to get me towards those goals. 

I do not need the magical plan that will solve all of my problems and cover every little problem or exception.

I simply need a quick push start…

I’m on a motorcycle or a bicycle with no kickstand. I have no way nor the talent to balance this thing while sitting still.

I need to get going to achieve balance. I know how to do that.  (Some other day maybe I can learn balance without momentum. Maybe that’s what monks in a monastery do?  maybe that’s a grass is greener on the other side perception, because I have no idea really what monks do.)

Listing the Needs…

  • I need to line up some largish projects for the next couple months.  
  • I need leads on largish projects.
  • I have several ongoing medium sized projects.  They are not enough to sustain me alone.  I have recently completed other largish projects so I have a little momentum going already.  
  • I want to build on that.
  • I need to automate small things.  In a lot of the work that I do, I believe there are opportunities to automate the steps in the processes I perform.
  • I really need to do this.  I need speed and flexibility.
  • I need to be free to solve larger problems with more complexity. 
  • I need to dive into some data analysis projects to grow in my ability to perform ‘conversion optimization’ and a number of other deeper skills involving my ongoing work in marketing in general.
  • I need some classes for this. These are easy to find. More importantly, I need some projects to run my new skills and education through.  Preferably, I need some projects that are 60-70% comprised of things I am very skilled in and include 30-40% of new things. 
  • I need to write.  I need to write about what’s going on with me as I am here. I need to write for my own business and use some of the same skills that I provide for a number of my clients.  I need to apply my own mojo to my own business to bring in those leads and larger projects, just like I do for some of my clients.
  • I need to continue finding more balance with my health and physical healthy lifestyle. It is something that helps keep a happy positive perspective that can fuel my work and make it easier for me to connect with clients.

Losing the focus and riffing

When I mention balance, I mean that I need to insure that I do not over due it physically, injure or exhaust myself such that I can’t get other things done in my relationships or work.  

This last week has helped me see that my health is important to me, but I can’t just ‘top off my cup of health’ and then slowly drain it with work.

I’m working through a number of small injuries this weekend. They mostly come from not doing enough on a regular basis and then trying to ‘catch up’ and over doing it physically.  

The sun is approaching. Its a about 4 inches away. The clouds are coming and going in a way that makes me forget my writing deadline set in the a sunbeam coming from a ball of fire that I recently sent my email address to on a mailing list for NASA.  I love space and science fiction.

The Beatles are singing “She loves you” on my iPhone as I write.

She does love me.  And I love her.

I’m writing with my nearsighted glasses on.  That makes it a bit difficult to see the screen, but the breeze is such that if I don’t wear my glasses, I get a bit of dust in my eyes. I forgot my sunglasses in the dusty parking lot.  🙂

It’s ok.  I’m just flexing in yet another way.

As I have increased my exercise this week, I have also worked to purge the house of sugary foods.  Some of that I let go by throwing it out. Some of it I let go by eating it!

I’m losing weight slowly.  I don’t have a lot to lose, but there’s some balance to achieve here.  I’ll get there.  

Throughout my life I’m either maintaining weight, or I’m losing some fat or I’m gaining fat or I’m losing muscle or I’m gaining muscle.

Sometimes I’m doing a couple of those things at the same time.

Currently, I’m losing fat and gaining muscle, so the weight is shifting slowly.

That’s totally ok.

Weight is just one gauge.

I track it not to obsess over my weight.  I could care less.  I’m tracking it to be mindful of where I am.

I have some new bicycle tubes (literal tubes, not hypothetical tubes like the motorcycle or bicycle in my head that I mentioned above…. real tubes that will be delivered by Amazon Prime in 2 days, or at least that’s when they were supposed to be here as of 6 days ago.

Anyway when they get here, I’ll add biking back into my mix.  Initially I’m gonna short for 2 miles per day.  That’s not much.  I’m specifically looking to keep it short, short, short.

Not overdoing it

I’m going to keep doing the other things I’m doing at the same time I add biking into my mix.  (yoga, running, walking, pull ups, upper body stuff, weights, yard work)

I’m almost hungry now.

It’s time to wrap this up.

Maybe I’ll get that vision board started today.  Make a pass at it at least.

If the first draft sucks, I’ll do it again a different day.

Bob Marley’s singing ‘Satisfy My Soul’, that’s what I’m working on.

Finding a way to satisfy my soul, working towards my purpose here on this rocky rocket ship spinning around a sun that is itself firing across the galaxy such that my planets own path is a spiral forwards into the unknown.

I’m spiraling my soul forward.  Repeating some stuff, but not really because I am thousands of miles past where I did the same things before.

I’m in the same place and I am definitely not in the same place.

Time to go and make some magical soul stuff come together again!