Tag Archives: growth

A New Foundation

I love it when life inspires me with dots. For my regular readers you understand, if you’re new to this blog, dots are moments in life that connect to reveal a theme or idea that I share in a post. Yesterday, life provided two dots to highlight an important aspect I had been thinking about.

In the morning I was reading the book, Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep, while waiting for my wife to complete her doctor appointment. I read through the part of the story when the earthquake devastated the neighborhood except for Miss Whitlaw’s home. “‘Papa always built well. He said he wanted a house that could hold a herd of thundering elephants -’ … No one had constructed the houses along the street as well as Miss Whitlaw’s father had built his” (pg 157).

At the time, I was just enjoying the story, not connecting any deep life themes. Until about an hour later when we headed out to get groceries.

I know it is hard to see, but this house is having a new foundation built underneath it. You can see how the ground underneath of the house is being dug out, you can see sunlight toward the back of the hole. They have half the road blocked off for the trucks and the excavator. There are temporary supports in place. Putting in a new foundation looks like a lot of work, but it can be done.

As I am prone to do, the metaphor of a foundation connected in my head, maybe because I have used it before in a blog post about parenting (“Trust Your Foundation“). However,  this time I connected the metaphor to our personal foundations, which are built with the help of our parents in our younger years. If the foundation is strong at the beginning, like in the book, we can withstand an earthquake. It doesn’t mean the house isn’t damaged, but we will be standing after the storm.

Not everyone has that strong of a start. People can feel lost in this life. They can feel like they can’t withstand the troubles life brings, but the second dot makes an important counterpoint. With some hard work, any house can have a new foundation. You have to dig deep, find the support you need, then take the time to build a new foundation for your house to rest upon.  

Our foundation is the base of our everyday life. The foundation supports our goals and provides us a stable home to live in. Our foundation will be tested in this life, there will be storms. We will stand or fall based on how well we built our base–even if we are older, working on a new foundation.

2 Comments

Filed under Life

ACTION!

Life takes action.

Well, it takes action if you truly want a deep, fulfilling life. This post will be longer than normal and has some resources to follow to learn more.

There are two major aspects of action; the physical and the abstract. The abstract is our mental, emotional, and even spiritual aspect of our lives. Both parts work together to create our life, but I will look at each part separately before I bring it together.

Right now, especially with smartphones and computers, we are not as physically active as we could be. We think we are active because we respond to a notification on our phone. (Here is a quick and interesting article from TechCrunch, “The Psychology of Notifications”.) Technology is cool and can enhance our lives in many different ways. Yet, how do we spend our time on our phones or computers? Check your screen time. It will tell you.

Again, I am not against technology. Life is more than the screen though. The physical act of doing something brings us a more fulfilling moment because actions help create or strengthen our emotions. The article, “Action Creates Emotion,” from Psychology Today highlights this connection. Different theories and studies show that physical actions can change our emotional state for the better.

Yet, it is hard to get moving. There are a number of factors for each of us. Technology is a major one, but not the only one. Job demands. School. Hardships in life. All of these can keep us down, keep us stationary. That is why action in the abstract aspects of our life is important.

Again, the abstract is our emotional, mental, and spiritual states.

I have what you might call a “dad-ism” I use to help me keep perspective with people; “We are all works in progress.” I wish it was true for everyone, but it helps me keep a perspective of growth. I strive to grow in the abstract part of my life. To be a better man, a better husband, and father. Working in these areas take a different kind of action, but it is still action that creates a life filled with joy.

The phrase “growth mindset” is popular in education and the workplace. It means that a person understands that they can continue to learn and improve their skills in school or the job. But what about life? Well, we do now have life coaches, self-help books, and you can Google the keywords and get results from Psychology Today and LinkedIn. The advice is good, but it takes action.

How do you take action in this realm of life? I will share a few ideas (which you will also find in different resources), but honestly, each person has to find their own path…

1. Quiet time: This might look like prayer, meditation, or coffee on the porch. However you find it, find time and a place to be quiet, to reflect, to listen to your inner voice. This time allows us to consider our thoughts. Even challenge our own beliefs. The article, “7 Reasons Why You Need Quiet Time,” from Psych Central expands on this area.

2. Read (I know, English teacher coming through): OK, what I really mean is to learn. A book is a great way to learn, but we can learn from other people’s stories, pop culture, or just observing the world around you. Any type of learning expands our thinking and understanding. It can help us strengthen our skills in the area of physical action.

3. Challenge yourself: This component is personal because there are different ways to stretch ourselves. This is both a physical and abstract experience. You can remove sugar from your diet for 30 days. You can listen to a song from a different genre. The idea is to discover more about yourself. Test your strength. Remove bad habits. Challenge different parts of yourself.  A great TEDTalk to watch is “Try something new for 30 days” by Matt Cutts.

Life.

We discover the meaning from what we do.

We live deeply by becoming who we are.

That takes action. Physical action and abstract action.

What are you going to do today?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Life

Life Thoughts: Pruning

So I was mowing the lawn last night. Headphones on, music on shuffle. Thinking about life.

And as I was mowing the edge of our landscaping, I noticed how each plant was in a different stage of growth. But all of the plants still had signs of winter, of dead material that was still visible.

Plant with dead stems and spring growth

Then I had a weird thought… What would we look like if our growth was as visible as plants? What signs of our old self would be visible? What would our growth look like?

It is still early for the plants around our house. Some have almost shed all the dead material and are close to being in full bloom. Others are still at the beginning stages of growth with more dead stems than green leaves. But isn’t that the same for us? Each of us at different stages of our development. Individually fighting through the dead material so that we can fully bloom. And, like the plant pictured above, that stage of shedding our past is not pretty. It takes time and nurturing.

No matter what stage you are at in your season of growth, summer is almost here. Take some time to finish pruning winter’s effects so that you can bloom.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life