Friday, March 12, 2010

Awesome Things Volume VIII

Being ordinary. We all want to be great. So much so that 90% of all people think they are in the top 10%. The truth is that most of us are ordinary despite what our parents tell us. The good news is that being ordinary is OK. Ordinary people are the "salt of the earth". It's ordinary people who show up for work everyday. It's ordinary people who get the job done. Being ordinary is not the same as being second class. Ordinary people can still be all they can be. Ordinary people can still do great things. They may not change the world is such a way that gets them in the history books. What they do is usually more subtle but no less effective.

Sitting cross legged in the grass, under the warm sun, practicing Zen with my granddaughter. Like most children, my granddaughter is full of energy and a little hyper. I've been teaching her to focus and to be still. Last Sunday we sat in my front yard like two Buddhas. Such moments are what make being a Pa Paw so great.

Sunshine and warmth. It's been great to have some sunshine and warmth. You can open the windows and get some fresh air in the house. You can go for a walk. The birds are singing. Spring is in the air.

Rain. It's going to rain this week. You may as well accept it. We need a good soaking rain to wash away all the salt from this winter's snows.

Pizza. Pizza is my favorite junk food. I have loved it since I was a child, especially a really hot, fresh pizza right out of the oven. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Books! I love books. When people ask me how I learned to write so well, or how I happen to know something, my usual answer is that I have read hundreds of books in my life. If you ask my granddaughter what I want for Christmas or my birthday, she'll say "Books and CD's". Book stores are struggling these days. I fear that books are going the way of many things and may disappear. I haven't bought into the new electronic books. I like the smell and the feel of a real book. Books not only educate us but they can take our minds and imaginations places our bodies will never go. I don't care how many degrees you have, if you don't read on a regular basis you are not really educated.

A really good sandwich. This past Wednesday I went to the restaurant across the street from my office. One of the specials was a "beef and cheddar panini with lettuce, tomato, and horsey sauce". I decided to give it a try and it was very good. When singer/songwriter Warren Zevon was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he was asked what he was going to do. He replied, "Enjoy every sandwich". His response is a good mantra for life. Life is not something to be endured. It is something to be enjoyed and having a great sandwich for lunch is one small way to enjoy and savor life.

Artistic Expression. Yesterday, after I returned to the office from my daily walk, I stopped in the lobby of my office and checked out the employee art on display for this years "Fund for the Arts" campaign. Most of it was very good. I think there is an artist in all of us just dying to get out and find expression. I did not write for public consumption until I was 50 years old. I started sharing "daily thoughts" with co-workers via email and when I stopped I had almost 600 people on my distribution list. Now I have a blog and people all over the world read it. As of yesterday I've had almost 11,000 people from approximately 20 countries visit it. Until I started writing and discovered that lots of people enjoy what I write, I never thought I had any talent. Everyone needs to find their gift. All of us have one.

Sleeping in. Nothing feels like a Friday. Like most people I am sleep deprived. I am not the kind of person who goes to bed early. I stay up late and my alarm goes off every workday at 6:00 AM. Most nights I only get about six hours of sleep. I know what you are thinking. You've read somewhere that old people don't need that much sleep. Very funny. By the end of the work week I think I have lost the equivalent of a complete nights sleep. I am dragging on Friday nights. In my youth I would go out every Friday night, party, and howl at the moon. Now I just look forward to going to bed with the knowledge that my alarm is turned off and I can sleep in on Saturday morning. I don't sleep the day away. Usually I get up about 8:30 AM when my body feels rested. It is one of life's simple joys to wake up naturally. However, this doesn't happen if my granddaughter spends the night. She will wake me up early, raise the blinds and say, "See, Pa Paw, it's light outside. Time to get up and make your coffee".

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