Paradise is Sharing...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Clearing the Trail ...

Today we are getting wet, heavy, tree-bending snow. Sipping my coffee and watching the pines bend while the woods dress their naked limbs in drapes of white velvet, I thought back to years ago, when I would wake up and this type of snow meant one thing - snowmobiling season.

Excitedly, we would rush through breakfast, suit up in our long-johns, boots, scarfs and snowmobile suits. Adventures of flying through the fields and to destinations occupied my mind.  I couldn't wait to rev up my machine and ZOOM ZOOM!  Racing outside I stop dead in my tracks when I see my Dad trudging from the garage with a gas can, axe, chainsaw and shovels in hand. He loaded them up in the dogsled he already had hitched to his snowmobile. I groaned. I knew today would not be the day for fast-paced trail adventures. Today, we had to clear the trail.

Once we were packed up, we zoomed across the fields, white powder floated up behind us,  and swirled around us in a frosty frenzy. My brother and I raced each other for pole position - but that is where our need for speed ended as we crept to the edge of the field and entered the deep canopy of the woods. Then the work commenced. The trees bowed down like a maze of marshmallow covered tunnels. I often got confused as to where we were, grateful my Dad was there - he knew this trail like the back of his hand, despite the feeling of having stepped through a wardrobe into a foreign snow encrusted Narnia. Downed tree after downed tree, we would work, clearing the way. Saws buzzing and echoing into the valley, I felt like we might as well be out in the Alaskan Tundra.  Mile after tedious mile, we cleared our section of the trail, and eventually run into another group of snowmobilers who had cleared the trails from their houses. Seeing the other group coming in our direction made my heart skip. We had made it! The work is done! Exhausted, we headed back home in the moonlight.

My friends would tease me - why work so hard to play? I knew that once we had worked hard to clear the trail, we reaped the rewards of a fun filled winter. Once the trail was clear, the real fun begins. It made all the hard work and labor worth while. Not only were we able to get out from the farm, but now our friends were able to get to us. Our fields buzzed with friends and neighbors meeting up, racing the fields, building bonfires to warm our hands, and enjoy the sparkling winter sun. Snow-shoers flopped by with their dogs, and cross country skiers skated by on our smooth, freshly dragged trails. The day or two of breaking through the trails with chainsaws and axes were a long distant memory.  The fun was so infectious, that sure enough, the next time we had a tree-bending snow, I would forget all about the fact we had to clear the trails all over again.  I did notice, the more frequently we got heavy snow, the less we had to clear the trail the next time.

Had we decided to skip the work to get to the prize of riding the trails, we would have gotten snarled and caught up along the way. Our snowmobiles would have gotten stuck and damaged, or worse, riders could have been injured.   An inexperienced rider would surely have gotten lost trying to distinguish where the trail began and where it ended had we not cleared the way.

As the fat, fluffy flakes lazily plop onto the tree branches outside my window, I think about all the trails in my life I need to clear.  Right now, looking at my goals is like looking at them through the gnarled up, twisted branches weighed down by tree-bending snow.  I sometimes feel lost in the white out, disoriented as to where I am, and not sure I can find my way.   The terrain looks foreign to me.  

I think about the dog-sled full of tools I have - experience, knowledge, intuition, wit, charisma .. amongst others.  I think about the trail-masters I have in my life -the people who have been on the trail before, who know how to navigate it - whether its smooth sailing, or blocked with twisted obstacles and challenges.  People who can show me how to use my tools and resources to cut down the obstacles, and how to mark the trail so others can join me.  I think about how amazing it feels once the work is done, and how that hard work resulted in fun, enjoyment and community.   I start to get excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work clearing, because clearing is the first step towards the reward.

Tell me, what trails do you need to clear to get to where you want to go?

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is Clearing the Trail...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A million things to do ... and everything to say...

"I tried to schedule time to be creative, but my creativity missed the appointment"....

It was said jokingly by one of my clients, but as I laughed, I also felt a pang of truth - I had been doing the same.  I realized I've been so caught up on scheduling my life to make it all fit, that I hadn't fit in the most important parts - ME. 

It reminded me of the time management parable - I haven't put the big rocks in first.  Problem is, I didn't realize how big the rocks are until I am trying to cram them into the container. 

And so, determined to fit creativity into my day,  I sit with a blank screen of endless possibilities in front of me, and I get twitchy.  I should be studying. I should be preparing my presentation for tomorrow.  I should be getting on that new marketing material.  I should be preparing for the kick-off teleclass for my Mastermind Groups I am having in March.  I should be doing my taxes...

A sip of coffee and a deep breath later, the blank screen before me takes on new meaning.  I have a million things to do today, but very little to say.  How can that even be?  

What are your important rocks?
Perhaps it isn't the size of my to-do list I need to manage - but the weight. 

Reviewing my mile-long to-do list, I wondered - what meaning does my busy-ness have?  What significance?  Most of my list is tedium - taxes, paperwork, cleaning. Why do I feel compelled do these tedious things?  I decided for kicks to write down the value I have that is tied to each task.  Well, because I value honesty and integrity -  I will do my taxes.  I value taking pride in what you have, therefore I will clean my house.

I notice that with each value I think of, I could write an essay on each.  "Taking pride in what I have" reminds me of my Dad carefully greasing his tractor after each use - cleaning it until you could see your reflection in the John Deere green paint.  You would think he was entering his tractor in a parade the way he polished it each day.  His tractors are his pride and joy - they are a direct reflection of how the world sees him.  People don't even have to speak a word with my father to know what his values are - they just have to visit his farm.

Paradise is making a mark
I wonder -are my values showing through my work?

When I complete this list, will people see what I feel?

Certainly, this exercise is making me feel very differently about my to-do list... .no longer is it a list of tedious chores, but a direct statement of my values.  I may not have a John Deere Tractor to spit shine, but the end result is still the same - the finished product is an outward reflection of me.

As I scan down my to-do list, I see "Write New Blog Entry" - I mark it off, and realize it's not about marking things off my to-do list - it's about making a mark.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is making a mark....