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Everyday Glory

We all grow up with aspirations & inspirations for life, so what happens when we reach adulthood? Finding ourselves “in a rut” or “trapped in a cubicle”; lost in a world that promised us so much more. What happened to your inspiration? What happened to fighting your way to glory? And when did you lose all the power to do so?

When I think of glory, I imagine a football coach giving an inspirational speech; a player making an impossibly athletic & willful move to win the game – blood, sweat, tears and victory.

The problem is that our glory is a picture painted by symbols of what we believe to be victory or success; the ultimate glories of life are forgotten because the idea of success is what we chase instead of fanning the embers that lights the path towards true glory & success.

In other words, success is not a thing or an end goal, it is an action – a continual action of adapting & creating in order to build up to your ultimate goals. I think that we all have one big-huge-out-of-this-world goal, but do we expect to just magically have it one day without putting the work in?

When we think of people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, professional athletes – we think that they are just talented beyond belief. Heightened, superior intelligences & abilities; they are the superhumans. But none of these people just stumbled upon success. Of course they are extremely talented, but to assume that is the only factor that led them to the top is absurd. Hard work, curiosity and a desire to learn, improve, & innovate is what separates them. The countless hours spent reading, coding, practicing, learning, succeeding, failing – it’s all about the quality time you pour into your passions.

The ultimate glory in life stems from the seeds planted by your everyday victories. It is easy to see yourself trapped in your situation or lacking motivation, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. If you are unhappy with your job, then move on. But ask yourself if you’ll be happy in your next role – or will it unfold the same way? Sometimes it is not the environment you are in, but what you are feeling within. When we struggle, I believe that people want to overcome – but people also do not want to fail! So rather than continue to fail they decide to move on. I think it is important to remember that failure is temporary & in the present moment; it can be painful, but it is only temporary!

There are millions of opportunities for success before,during & after failure – persistence is the key to overcoming failure, and failure is the key to evolving your ideas & strategy.

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5 Ways to Prevent Pullin’ Weeds

There is nothing that seems like more of a waste of time in the world than pullin’ weeds! If you’ve ever worked for a Grounds Crew or Landscaper, we all know that this task is reserved for the grunts & freshmen. The typical, “I don’t have anything for you to do, so go break your back pulling weeds and let me know when you’re done”. Almost always confusing you, thinking that was the secret maintenance signal to go “get lost” & come back before lunch. But I digress…

As a gardener, weeding is viewed through a much different lens – but not too different, bottom line is that it still sucks! Weeding left undone will only continue to multiply, so as hard as this is to do, just keep on it every single day or pick a couple days a week to dedicate to the sacred art. When they start poppin’ up, it doesn’t seem like a big deal – but you also don’t think you need a haircut until you already look like one of the Beatles.

  1. Weed Barrier Fabric – There are so many options in this category. Woven & non-woven ground covers are pretty ideal because they will allow water & nutrients to pass through them while suppressing weed growth. This eliminates the need for installing irrigation, although adding that to the garden is never a bad idea! Plastic mulch will suppress weeds while helping retain soil heat & moisture. You may be able to water the plants @ their bases, but irrigation in the form of soaker hoses or drip irrigation would be much more ideal (article coming soon on irrigation in the garden). Biodegradable paper mulch is the last fabric-type of product that I have heard of. This is basically kraft paper & works to suppress weeds through a more natural means. Over the season it will begin to breakdown & the great thing is the convenience of not having to remove it at the end of the season – a much more sustainable option with no waste!20170523_163135-1
  2. Mulch, Straw, and Rice Hulls – The first 2 options may look familiar, but you’re probably wondering what rice hulls are or could do for the garden – we’ll get there! With mulch & straw it is important to make sure you’re getting clean product with no viable weed seeds. Mulch should be free of dyes – this is not like your landscaping mulch. The point is for weed suppression & water retention, not necessarily the aesthetics of the color. I’ve never used straw, but with fellow gardeners I follow on Instagram, it seems to be working! My only worry would be the wind blowing straw away – anybody with experience, please comment & enlighten me! Rice Hulls are relatively new to the horticulture world, and most growers use them in pots, not necessarily on the ground. Since the hulls are parboiled, they are free of weed seeds, and they come in compressed bales of 7 or 30 cubic feet bags – so that would go a long ways in the garden! Basically the rice hulls will work in the same way as straw or mulch – suppressing weeds, but loose enough to allow air & moisture to pass through.
  3. Square Foot Gardening – I try to plant things as close as possible, so that I can get as much food as possible, plus the dense planting proximity will help suppress the weeds. This year I had a bed planted with garlic bulbils (Bulbils form when a garlic scape is allowed to mature & they take a couple years to mature). Since the bulbils grow very thin, I also had a ton of weeds popping up. Once Kyla & I pulled the weeds, we planted Tomatoes & Lettuce in any possible open spots. It’s working well so far & I’ve been pulling weeds as I prune the tomato plants – luckily I have ground cover or plastic mulch on my other beds & won’t have to do much weeding there! 20170528_200254
  4. Harvest the Weeds – Believe it or not, a lot of ‘weeds’ are nutritious & some are even considered ‘superfoods’. Here is a link to flowers & weeds that you can harvest & eat: 13 Edible Weeds and Flowers.
  5. Water & Pull – This is the good ole-fashioned way to garden. Water your plants and then go down the rows & get to pullin’! Weed-pulling while the ground is soft is optimal because the weeds will easily uproot.

Happy Gardening!

 

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The Power of ‘Just Showing Up’

Everyone has something that they’re passionate about – or at least have hobbies they really enjoy. For me, that means weight lifting & yoga. I absolutely despise when people say, “half the battle is just showing up”. It sounds… arrogant? lazy? cliché? The problem is that it is too simple a solution – or is it?

Part of the reason that people don’t get things done is that they think about it too much. You’re worrying how you’ll fill the rest of this article with words if you just dive in & don’t meander around the problem for a little while first. You will sit & think about the best way to stretch for 15 minutes instead of systematically stretching for 15 minutes. Why are we so subconsciously scared to head towards completion of something?

Last night I saw that episode of The Office where they were talking about New Year’s Resolutions (I have a problem with The Office, but I am expanding my horizons with other shows). Again, everyone is talking about their resolutions & how hard it’s been to keep them or how quickly they faded away. Michael Scott, the sales manager, asks “what is wrong with you people? Since when is pretty good okay? Can’t you stick to anything? Then he goes onto say how his goal was to floss & he did it @ 12:01.

Not every goal is that easy to accomplish, but every goal is that easy to get started. The extremely difficult thing about an ongoing goal such as weight lifting, running, or any daily activity is that it can be difficult to summon the energy & willpower to get moving. And beyond that, these goals are rolling & results are not instantaneous – at first, there are no true goals being met other than… showing up day after day.

This is not sustainable, “to just show up”, but it is mandatory to success. Every step towards the goal is a step in the right direction – every intentional step is a stride in the right direction. I believe that with showing up, intention must inevitably follow. Being active in the present makes you aware of what needs to be done – just showing up is like being thrown into the ring with wild animals & you must adapt to survive.

Some of my best workouts have come from days when I’m just not feeling it, or I’ve had a slight headache all day. If I force myself to follow through, there is much greater satisfaction in overcoming not only your goals, but also your Self.

Our bodies are well-equipped with a stress-response system & I believe that is what helps you succeed in the ‘just showing up method’ – that is, the fight or flight response. Through evolutionary psychology, our stress has been thought to manifest itself in one of 2 ways Fight or Flight – stand & fight the threat or run away from it. Both will lead to the ultimate goal of survival – but that is the difference between our primal ancestors & us – they fought just to survive life & we are fighting to live the best life.

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Life & Luck & Faith

I have just recently started writing again & just can’t stop! It is so freeing & relieving to smear your thoughts on the blank canvas of LinkedIn Publisher or WordPress. Of late, my goal has been to spread Optimism & Realism through my interpretations of life & situations. In an article I published last week called “Life & Luck”, I wrote about how many things have been slopped onto my plate, and the ultimate lesson was that life happens – how you handle it will determine your success.

One thing I wanted to weave into this lesson, but wasn’t sure how to, was the concept of Faith. For some reason, with ~$10,000 of potential costs from replacing my furnace & AC, I was able to stay positive – I felt that everything would be okay even though it was far from it. I didn’t get a feeling of anger or anxiety, I didn’t question my luck or why God would do this to me.

Sometimes, things just happen. The good thing is that on the other side of that coin is the fact that sometimes, things just work out. No matter how tough life gets, or how nasty a curve it throws us, somehow it all works out in the end – and usually works out for the best.

When I look back at my life, the toughest of times, I never think to myself, “I really wish I knew that in high school.” Or, “if I could go back with the knowledge I have now…”

It’s limiting. It’s stupid. And without my roughest, toughest tests in life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

You can sit around & believe that life has it out for you, but I promise – they’re out for us all, not just you! The difference in life is always the how of things. How do you react when your environment pushes on you? How do you sustain being you & preventing yourself from freaking out?

I believe this is where Faith comes in – this doesn’t have to be specifically tied to Spirituality, but for many people it may be. Faith, in my mind, is trusting in the forces that are beyond your control – belief that you are in the right place @ the right time & everything will fall into place; it’s all part of the Grand Master Plan. Some may call this serendipity or intuition, and I believe that Faith is something rooted in those ideas, but still so much deeper & all-encompassing.

Wikipedia defines Faith as, “Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to an entity, promise, or engagement.”

I think that the semicolons & ‘or’ that is listed in the definition could be switched to ‘ands’ – in other words, this definition looks like 3 different definitions, but I think they are all an embodiment of the whole picture of Faith. This is not 3 separate definitions, but helps to explain & set-up the relationship-like nature of Faith (I’m having flashbacks to Philosophy class; Kierkegaard anybody?)

This 3-part definition sets up with a couple things. Confidence in a person or thing (the self & others). As it relates to being loyal to the thing of Faith & to the world – it is interesting how they use obligation in this part of the definition, but then go deeper on the third section stating that it is fidelity to an entity, promise, or engagement. Fidelity is defined as faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.

To me, this demonstrates that Faith is its own entity, but part of a 3-part system including the Self, the World, and belief in a higher order & higher power to things; a relationship to the Divine in Life – and not only that, but belief that everything is happening exactly as it should – and if it isn’t, good things are on the horizon.

Live your Life.

&

Make your own Luck.

&

Have Faith.

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Shot on my phone @ Charleston Falls Preserve, OH