The year is at an end. 2010 is in the books. What was done, is done. Any achievements are completed. Any unfulfilled dreams have to be moved forward to 2011’s list or left behind as “what might have been’s” or as anchors tying you down. (Have you ever thought of unfulfilled dreams as things that you should’ve dumped long ago to make room for what matters?? Think about it now…)

I’m not as prepared for the new year as I’d like to be. But you know what? Time marches steadily forward – ready or not. There’s nothing special about starting over on January 1st. Well, other than the fact that there are thousands of people starting along side of you. It’s a massive launch from shore. But there are so many vessels that aren’t sea worthy and their captains swim back to shore while the water’s still shallow. Others wander around in the bay and never make it out to sea. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little more time and starting out a little late, but in a condition to persevere.

On the other hand, there is always the adveturer’s option. Launch out. And with what you have on board and the inventory of your wit and skill you make due with what you have. You navigate while on board. You adjust, adapt, and overcome.

I, for one, will be trying a little of that this year. There were some projects I wanted to start in the new year, but it’s here already. I also had a few “paperclip” activities I wanted to have rolling right along by now. But I got sick for a few days (oh, it was a nasty bug..!), and I’ve dropped my habits. But I can pick them up in one day – how hard is it to move a paperclip once again? It’s not.

So I start the new year a little disorganized, but the ship is underway. A new year. A new beginning. There’s much to see out there on the horizon. The only way to get to it is to … launch out.

What are you doing? Are you taking that first step? Are you gathering a few last minute supplies? Comment about it in this post. I’d love to know what others are up to in the voyage of your life.

Happy 2011 to you! God willing we won’t be the same this time next year.

This is an illustration from a book I read. Illustrations have a lasting effect and help us to cement a concept into our brains so we can retain in for a long, long time. The principle is a combination of “get up and do something” and “it’s really hard to keep at it.”

Here’s the basic premise – try this challenge: Pick an activity to engage in. Make it a relatively small or insignificant one. For example, decide to pick up a piece of clutter and put it in it’s place. Or how about emptying a trash can, or doing one push-up, or even moving a paper clip from one location on a desk to another. Once you’ve decided on a task, see how many days in a row you can consistently complete that tiny task. It sounds easy, but try it and you might find it’s harder to remember, or to rationalize why you’re persisting.

You see, for me it’s the starting that’s the problem so I haven’t even faced the persistence issue yet! But I have decided that there are a few things that, no matter how senseless they seem, I’m going to endeavor to do and track my progress. Don’t worry, I’ll update you on how it’s going. Consider it a practice run to launching out.

Why don’t you try it yourself? Let me know if you can pick something minuscule to do, and then tell me your record for how many days (or time periods if you are doing it weekly or hourly or whatever you decide) in a row that you can keep it up. I’d be curious to see what kind of records can be made and broken.

So what do you do during the times in your life when the wind isn’t discernible and your sails lay limp against the mast?

I’ve felt a little like that over the last week or so. My productive time is in the early morning, but lately (including today) I’ve had to go in to my 2nd job to get a few things done before I have to be at my 1st job. What, did you think I just sat around and philosophized in blog posts for a living?

This has been disappointing as I was trying to build momentum during those morning hours to make some progress. However, pouting about a change in the wind or our circumstance does no good. We just need to adjust and take advantage of the new situation. For me this has meant grabbing extra sleep in the morning hours. I know that won’t last long. Soon I’ll be back to my early morning bright eyed ways. So the extra sleep has been nice.

So when your sails aren’t catching any wind, there are still things to do. There’s an opportunity for rest. Rest is just as important as activity. We build up our reserves are allow ourselves to regenerate and repair while in repose. We can look around the ship and see if anything needs attending to while our attention isn’t to the wind and wave. Is there any tidying up that can be done, minor repairs, inventory checking, or even charts to be consulted?

There are still things that can be done, even when we are in a dead calm.

I’ve read and read about the need to set goals, to make a plan – to chart a course even!

Is it really necessary though? I wonder. When you learned to walk, did you sit down and map it out? “First I’ll just get some leg strength by standing there holding on to the coffee table. Then I’ll try to move over and slide along the edge of the couch. I’ll do a little bit of ‘free standing’, and finally I’ll take a step when mommy notices and crouches down and holds out her arms.” Maybe you’re too young to remember if you did or not.

How about learning to ride a bike? Did you sit down and map out your 90 day strategy? Or did you see others out there having fun, look at the bike propped up in the shed and decide you were going to figure it out. You dabbled a little around the yard and in the driveway. You probably had some nasty falls there at the beginning. But you just went out and did it. There was no Gantt chart, you didn’t have staff meetings. You wanted the “freedom ride” experience, so you got on your bad little cycle and peddled away! (And if you’re around my age, you probably did it without a helmet or elbow pads! Amazing lack of planning there…)

So what do you want to do? Are you holding back because of a lack of a plan? I have talked a lot about my sailing metaphor for life direction. But you know what? Sometimes you just “take the boat out for a spin.” If your not careful, that can lead to memorable adventures. Some memories you just have to laugh about later – after their over, but some that are treasured thoughts that last a lifetime.

Are there times when you can’t see your way through? When you aren’t sure where you are going? Or maybe there are times when you don’t even know where you are! How do you navigate through times like these?

Since our sense of sight is so integrated with everything we do each day, we not only depend upon it – we definitely take it for granted.

So what do you do when your sight is clouded by situations, such as weather, or by natural deterioration or injury?

We are left to rely on instruments. The most common would be corrective lenses for our eyesight. But there are also navigational instruments like the compass and the sextant to help us figure out where we are so we can know where to strike out towards where we want to be.

I plan on putting together a series of posts to expand on this idea and see where it takes us. What lessons can be learned? What applications can be made to help make sense out of our lives? We will see.

If you have any ideas or thoughts or suggestions of your own, I’d love to hear them.

I had a thought on how to express the fact that no one is perfect, it goes like this.

I once came across a group of perfect people, unfortunately they wouldn’t let me join them.  I won’t bother telling you about them, because they wouldn’t let you join them either.
Is that mean to say?  Or does it help bring home the point that I’m not perfect, and it’s likely that you aren’t either.  Does it have the right impact.
I am paralyzed by the concept of perfection.  I struggle to produce an article, book, picture, audio, video, or software program, because “it could’ve been better.”  That kind of attitude keep great thoughts and ideas from being shared into the marketplace.  The ability to get something “good enough” and get it out there, along with self-discipline and consistency… wow I have some things to work on in my life.  Hey, how about a better attitude, a cheery disposition, and a little less grumbling and complaining while you’re at it?
Is that too much to ask?

This episode is a bit of an experiment. I was out of town when the podcast was scheduled to air, so I pre-recorded it and scheduled it to post at the regular time. I’m very excited to see how that turns out. That means if I got really organized I could schedule lots of things out in advance. Hmm, how does one become organized to do such things? Maybe we’ll find out! Take a listen.

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I would appreciate knowing what you think, be sure to leave your thoughts and comments!

This week has been crazy – too much caving in.  I’ve had some encouraging thoughts sent my way though. One was this song performed by Stephanie Wilson (who I still see in my mind as a 6 or 7 year old little girl…) and her friend Savana Seals. I think her parents video taped it and I grabbed the audio. I sure hope I don’t violate any laws doing that, but it’s done – so enjoy it.

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I was also sent this little quotation from my friend Gail. It’s from the book The Desire of Ages about the life of Jesus.

When brought into trial, we are not to fret and complain. We should not rebel, or worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble the soul before God. The ways of the Lord are obscure to him who desires to see things in a light pleasing to himself. They appear dark and joyless to our human nature. But God’s ways are ways of mercy and the end is salvation.

Let me know what you thought about the song, I’ll try to pass the word along.. What do you do when you get overwhelmed by the waves of life?

I am trying to get organized around here.  There needs to be places to stow things away as well as shelves to set things out for display.  Now that I have the podcast episodes coming out fairly regularly, I didn’t want to mess up the main stream with random and mundane musings.  So I set up a log; appropriately titled the Captain’s Log (would you use a semi colon there?  A comma just didn’t look right… anyway).

I’ve been looking for a place to just enter a quick note that is public enough that I feel that I’m accountable to the wide open Internet, but out of the way enough that it’s not bothering anybody.  Talk about schizophrenic goals!  I’ve tried other things: dedicated sites, third party hosting, and even software in the cloud.  None of these seemed to work.  And since Set of Sail is themed on helping a community to “journal the journey” together, why not put my journey out there as ‘Exhibit 1’?

Well that’s the idea behind this anyway.  Maybe I’m making too big of a deal about this.  Now if only I can get Posterous to recognize this setup I’ll be rockin’.

For better or worse, I’m finding myself squeezing in another episode.  Maybe I should listen to this one again myself.  I talk about the things that you have to do right in front of you to reach the destinations that you want to reach “some day.”  You can’t complete a journey without launching out.  That first step is a requirement to getting there.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Enjoy.