The Journey

PERCEPTION

Recently, I began using social media. With a book soon to be released, what better way to let my friends, and I have many, know that the book will be available. I chose this platform because it allows us to connect and communicate across long distances, many of my friends are working far from home now, as I have done in the past.

It wasn’t surprising to me, with the great diversity of friends that I have, that there is also a great diversity of viewpoints and opinions, which a few are happy to share, whether solicited or not. sometimes a flashy meme appears which casts whatever the poster disagrees with in a negative light. The post receives praise from those who agree and is denounced by those who disagree.

No matter the individual’s beliefs, he or she shares what they believe to be the truth. Belief makes truth for no one but the believer. We all want to exist in a world that our beliefs tell us is good and when something threatens that, it is perceived as being bad. Each of us creates our own reality in this way.

So, what about good and bad being a perception? Maybe, instead of questioning other’s beliefs, ie; why do you support (insert name here), we should be questioning our own beliefs? Isn’t that what discernment is? (Why do I become so angry when they mention this group or that group?)

There are some good people that I know who’s views are completely different than mine. I know because they advertise their opinions for all to see. Why should it offend me that this person has different beliefs than me. We share the common value of wanting what’s best for our world, we are just at different stages of the journey. (Not to say one is better or farther along)

Then the comment comes; believe what you want, just don’t push it on me. If we question our own beliefs instead of other’s beliefs maybe we would realize that neither belief is good or bad and we can focus more on our shared values, like making the world a better place.

To Do List

I’m sitting in the quiet of the early morning, sipping coffee, waking up, thinking of the day ahead. Every morning for thirty years. It is a habit. A list written on the pages of time, etched in my mind: Wake up. Drink coffee. Read ten pages. Write ten minutes. Get dressed. Go to work.

This daily routine is automatic and key for having a good day. This mental list is ingrained and has contributed to my success in my career. What about goals? Do they just happen by accident? Is it luck? Often people have success and don’t know how it was achieved except that they worked hard. There’s a little more. There was a formula, a list. It may have been written down. Most successful people tell us to write our goals down. I do.

There is something that is incredibly motivating about writing a list of things to do and then putting a check mark next to it when complete. It could be a simple and mundane as taking out the trash, but when there are ten simple items checked off the list, suddenly the house is clean.

What if this is applied to goal of being a successful published author? Write ten minutes, check. Set up publishing company, check. Have book cover designed, check. You get the picture. There are hundreds of seemingly insignificant tasks that need to be done in order for me to enjoy the success I’m looking for and each one is important

Looking at a hundred tasks that need to be completed can seem overwhelming, so often we avoid doing anything at all, which leads to not accomplishing goals, which leads to frustration. seeing a list with several items crossed off gives a sense of accomplishment even though the future results are not yet seen. It becomes motivating and creates enthusiasm for putting in the effort.

Write another list, cross it off and feel more motivation. Soon you can look back and see all of the seemingly unimportant tasks have come together and become progress toward a goal. Now, there is something tangible to look at instead of just a vision. Seeing this evidence of progress creates more motivation to continue and you proceed with renewed energy. The pump has been primed and the water flows. Don’t stop pumping. Keep writing the lists. Keep checking off the tasks. Do the little things. Move forward.

Look back when your goal is met and bask in the glory, but not too long. Create another list for the new goal. Now that you’ve experienced the power of making a list, there’s no stopping you. It all starts with the list.

Everything You Are Is Found In Alignment

Alignment- To be in correct, or appropriate relative positions.

Recently I have been having a flare up of the sciatic nerve. Anyone who has experienced this knows how painful it can be. Part of the reason for the pain is that the discs are wearing out as they naturally do when we age. The other reason is that the spine tends to misalign with normal activity. When I am out of alignment a few trips to the chiropractor usually puts everything baack in pla. I should visit on a regular basis, but I don’t.

It has been many years since I have had an episode of this magnitude. This time the pain has knocked me out of commission for two weeks. My family has been waiting on me hand and foot. as I’ve sat on the couch days and paced the floor nights. I have a list of tasks that I am working on in order to achieve the goal of publishing my next book and get our house built but I have worked on nary a one of them in the month of January. I have had a lot of time to think. I have thought about the pain, I have thought about the future when the pain will be gone and I have thought about what I can do to prevent it from happening again.

Recently I began to think that maybe something is wrong other than physical. Maybe emotional , spiritual or psychological, after all. There is a true mind-body connection and nothing outside of ourselves heals us. The human body heals itself and we can only allow it to do its work. I wondered if I wasn’t allowing my body to heal itself. Maybe I have been so busy lamenting the pain that my focus has not been on the fact that my body is in a constant state of renewal? My wife has been a great help in keeping me focused on health and vitality.

During this time it has been difficult to get out of the house. but I have gone several times to the homesite and taken pictures. Some are included at the top of the page. Being out there brings a sense of peace that is hard to duplicate anywhere else.

The pungent aroma of the creosote bush and the scent of the fresh, brown earth mingle in the air, crisp and clean. I fill my lungs until they want to burst with joy, holding my breath until the oxygen is depleted and the remaining air is pushed out through my pursed lips. I breathe in and do it again, hold for a count and, whoosh, there it goes again. My arms go limp and fall to my sides, tingling with relaxation

In those still, quiet moments when the sun lingers in the saddle and casts its orange glow across the land, I know I am where I belong and the pain, like the slowly fading sunlight dips away for a moment and I am in alignment.

Macuahuitl

In The Legend Of Zip, the hero is gifted with a Peregrino’s Staff, or walking stick. It is made of wood and has rubies set into a carved eagle’s eyes. During the journey he discovers that the staff can be used as a macuahuitl when he places an obsidian blade along its edge. Following are some of the facts I learned while researching this fascinating weapon.

Macuahuitl is a Nahuatl word meaning hand stick, or wood, and is a weapon that predates the Aztecs in Mesoamerica. Made of either oak or pine it has grooves carved along the edge of a paddle where obsidian blades would be embedded and secured with an adhesive, probably bitumen. It was widely used by the Aztecs and other groups in Mesoamerica.

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass and was used extensively in Mesoamerica in utility and ritual. Hunting, weaponry, agriculture and butchering are among some of its uses, as well as grave goods and artwork. Obsidian blades can be sharper than a high- quality razor blade.

Only one example survived the Conquest of Mexico and it was part of the Royal Armory of Madrid until it was destroyed by fire in 1884. Drawings of the weapon do exist and there is a carving of a warrior holding one at Chichen Itza.

The Macuahuitl was used for close range battle and was designed to maim rather than kill, though surely it did do that also. There are reports of decapitated horses, though modern experiments didn’t necessarily prove that.

The American Southwest has a deep history and during the course of writing this book I learned so much more than I was taught in school. It seems that our focus is only on European history and our stories and legends are centered in that structure. There is a deep history here that we are only now beginning to learn and understand. I was excited to learn so many new things and I hope that this article will pique your interest Enough that you will learn some new things also.

Find Your Why

March 21, 1992. This is the day I was initiated into the pipe trades. I started my career in late May of 1991 and was told at the time that I had to work for six months before I was eligible to be initiated. From that moment on being sworn into Local 469 became an overwhelming passion. It was an obsession. I had been told that before one is initiated, the apprenticeship can exit an apprentice for any reason so I was bound and determined to get initiated at the first opportunity.

I worked hard. I was enthusiastic. I did everything I was directed to do with a smile on my face and I never missed a day of work. I showed up fifteen minutes early every day. I had a mission; to be a journeyman. That was the goal, but I had a why. Every worthy mission has a why. It is the fuel that feeds the engine. It is what kept me in the sandy parking lot at one of my early jobs changing out the U-joints on my AMC Ambassador long after the last journeyman had gone home and the sun had crept past the horizon.

What was it that made me so determined? I threw the opportunity when I was eighteen years old. I had begun the apprenticeship and decided it wasn’t for me. Seven years later, I had my why; three children who needed a secure income and healthcare. We weren’t even married at the time. We were flying by the seat of the pants, but it was time to get serious.

I poured everything I had into being a success. I went above and beyond on each and every task, in fact one evaluator commented that I was over-enthusiastic. Time came for us to sign up to get initiated and we were told that the cost was five-hundred dollars, payable half before initiation and half upon graduation. Only one thing stood in my way; money. I started out making $6.60 an hour. That was about three dollars over minimum wage. Two hundred-sixty dollars a week. I wasn’t quite the high-rolling pipe fitter then. Out of those wages we paid food, rent, utilities, gas; you know the deal.

Anyone with a grasp of basic math can figure out that this young family didn’t have much left after depositing the paycheck. Most of the apprentices in my class were younger (I was 25) and single. I couldn’t figure out why some of them didn’t get initiated at the first opportunity. Priorities, I guess. Lucky for me, the apprenticeship allowed us to make payments on the $250. At that time I don’t think I had ever held that much money in my hands at one time. For the next ten weeks, I went to the office and gave $25. Giving that money was a sacrifice, but with my wife’s budgeting, we did it, together. I did not do it by myself. All success I have been allowed to achieve is shared by Nadine. In this business the spouse definitely has to be on board during the good times, more so in the lean times.

Nowadays, I don’t think there is a fee for initiation. I think the Apprentice wages are now a little higher relative to living expenses. I’m not assuming that it’s easy. I’m sure it’s not. I went through it, my father went through it, and every man and woman who has strapped it on has gone through it. The five-hundred dollars it cost to become a proud member of this organization was a small price to pay for the rewards that I have reaped over these thirty years.

I have had a great career, sure there have been challenging times, but the good far outweighs the bad. I always wondered what brought people back to work long after retirement. Part of it is the money, but you get a sense that you belong to something that is greater than you are alone. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. If you are young and just beginning, or maybe you’re in the middle of your career wondering if there is more to this. Look around at any other line of work. See what benefits they have. Ask what kind of education was needed to get into the career.

This career will never be perfect and there are always going to be problems. The challenges we face today may be different than the challenges we faced thirty years ago, but they help us grow and become stronger, if we choose to learn and adapt.

Remember, if you’re struggling in the early years of your career, we all struggled. We all sat the bench, we all hit the road. I hope this note finds you with much success and much success in the future.