newthingsold

The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Month: September, 2014

A weird tangent.

Here is an obvious statement: life goes in cycles.  On a macro level, mankind experiences birth, development and maturity, age, and death.  Climate data demonstrates warming and cooling trends (which irresponsible consumption of resources may or may not be causing more drastic trends).  Even in my own life I experience cycles: lucidity, stress, anxiety, depression, equilibrium, and back to lucidity.  And thus begins the tangent.

Remove part of the cycle and the whole becomes incomplete.  When a newborn infant dies unexpectedly, there is something that shakes each of us fundamentally because that child skipped the entire cycle of life.  Life needs everyone of the parts.

Which got me thinking about eco-systems (I bet that is exactly where you thought I was going).

If permitted to choose where a person were to be if they had the choice to wake up and randomly discover that they were not where they were when they fell asleep, no one would pick the desert.  A desert is one of those places that not many would choose to be.  That said, if a desert could literally speak, would it beg for water or to become more of a tropical paradise?  Would it complain that no one ever associates it with anything good and spend every waking moment praying for deliverance from the plight which Nature has inflicted upon it?  Or would it remain quiet and contented, realizing that this is exactly where and what its intended position is in the world for this place and time?

Its condition which is determined by nature is not something that can be changed, so is there a point in complaining if it could?

Sometimes I get frustrated and want to complain about things that are out of my control, as if complaining about them can somehow put them under my control.  This is when the wisdom of the Ancients comes to mind.  Jesus challenges a group of followers, asking them: “Who by worrying can add one extra hour to his life?” (Luke 12:25).  Another wise man, Jim Morrison, puts it like this: “Take it easy baby; take it as it comes.”

In conclusion, life cycles and Jim Morrison may have nothing to do with the baby foxes below, but it sure makes for interesting reading doesn’t it?

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Hearing voices.

If you’re like me, once in a song, maybe it’s one you’ve heard many times before, maybe for the first time, in any case jumps out at you.

 

It latches on to you and you can’t shake it.

 

This is one of those songs.

“Hearing Voices” -Anberlin, from their final album LOWBORN

 

I feel lost, conflicting thoughts course through
Clarity, she’s gone, don’t know a thing I thought I knew

Everyone wants to see Heaven
But no one wants to say goodbye
Everyone wants to see Heaven
But no one wants to die

Can’t escape this feeling (fears are born inside)
Can’t escape this feeling (how can I deny?)

I hear voices (voices) in my head
The choices (choices) I can’t contend
I hear voices (voices) and they all know your name
They all know your name

Trapped inside a cell that I built myself
Failed so very beating, cold, dark, and lost

Everyone wants to know God
But they’re afraid of what they’ll find
Everyone wants to know God
But they want to live like he died

Can’t escape this feeling (fears are born inside)
Can’t escape this feeling (how can I deny?)

I hear voices (voices) in my head
The choices (choices) I can’t contend
I hear voices (voices) and they all know your name
They all know your name

I built it all, I built it all around
I heard it call, it doesn’t make a sound
Was in my hand and now I see believe
I hear you left, I know you’re here with me

Can’t escape this feeling (fears are born inside)
When this feelings moves you (how can I deny?)

I hear voices (voices) in my head
Can’t stand a ghost when the ghost’s not dead
I hear voices (voices) and they all know your name
They all know your name.

Setbacks happen.

The unexpected happens.  Many times the unexpected can seem like a major inconvenience or challenge.  “Setback” is a two-part word, SET+BACK.  Set means “to force to sit or into position.”  Back means “in the region behind or previous.”  To be set back means to involuntarily be placed behind intended position.

Setbacks are out of our control.

Today was supposed to be presentation day for my Speech class; they were working so hard on the other pieces of a project that they were not prepared for the speech.

Setback.

So the option is to stress out and get upset over not being able to move forward as planned, or take advantage of the situation and use it as a learning moment to teach more content since the students identified they were lacking in that area.

Setback= Opportunity.  If we are open to it.

I would like to say my first instinct was to leverage the moment and not stress out.  I still stressed out.  But only for a moment.  Then I regained my perspective, and today has been the best day of the week so far.

How do you handle setbacks?

It’s time to start having fun again.

Life has been stress for me lately.  Maybe it’s been that way for you too.  This school year has brought new challenges that I would not like to have to figure out how to overcome ever again.  I teach a class where a technology teacher and I (the speech teacher in this case) co-teach a class of 40+ students.  I teach two sections with one teacher and two with another.

Two weeks into the year, one of my co-teachers resigned.

Suddenly.

Leaving me with 84 students in two sections of class to educate.

Now what?

 

I would like to say I dealt with it rationally, but instead I dealt with it emotionally and let panic sink in.  Panic induced stress.  Stress induced a headache.  A headache interfered with how I performed in the classroom, as well as my general disposition.

And then I started reading…

In his book The Sacred Year, Michael Yankoski discusses a gallon of water and that if a person stretches the molecules of a gallon of water out so that they are thin as the atoms, one could cover many square miles in area with that water.  However if that same gallon of water had its water molecules stacked one on top of another, the gallon of water could reach the center of the Earth.  The question posed is whether our focus is on doing many things but only at a shallow depth or focusing on less and going deep in what we do.

What I came to realize over this weekend is that it is not my job to do the job of two teachers and do it misearbly.  It is my job to teach my content and be 100% AWESOME at it.  My gauge that I was not succeeding is that I was not having fun in the classroom.  It is time to start having fun again.  And then as if it wasn’t enough, I was listening to Propaganda this weekend and the song below came up.  I’d been so focused on the stuff that I was missing out on being present in the moment.

What are the additional things you are doing you should just stop so that you can do less things and do them 100% awesome?

P.S.  My wife’s blog has a much higher page visit count at this point, so do me a favor and pass this blog post on to someone you know who could benefit from reading this.  Thanks!  -GCG

I’m ready to start dancing.

This is a review of Robert Benson’s book Dancing on the Head of a Pen.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a writer must be in need of feedback of other writers. This idea is especially true of writers who want to want to become even better writers. Not everyone will ever have the privilege of attending a writing workshop with Robert Benson, but thanks to his work in Dancing on the Head of Pen, it is still possible for the writer to benefit from Benson’s vast knowledge and expertise on the craft of writing.

I enjoyed this book both as a product to sit and read, and as a sort of textbook of tips and advice on writing. Some of the practical pieces of advice include things which seem obvious, such as know one’s audience, read others’ work, and get feedback from others. But it seems all the more critical to do when eloquently explained by Mr. Benson. This is a short volume whose only weakness is that at times it could seem to go longer on anecdote and less on tangible example for writing tips. I do, however understand that this is more memoir than Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, an equally exemplary book on the craft of good writing techniques.

Dancing on the Head of Pen is a good book for any writer to purchase, read, and return to from time to time. The stories are good for a short read, and the tips are things which when placed into practice become invaluable for the writer.

I received my copy of this book for free through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for writing a review of the book. I was not obligated to post a positive review; the thoughts contained are my own.