Chap Stick Cap Stop

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January 12, 2012

This morning I was working with a group of seventy 6th graders, and giving student volunteers a chance to go into the middle and signal the stop cut for the entire group. We were experimenting with various ways to signal the rumble to stop non-verbally, and there were some very stylish and inventive signals taking place. The students were lovin’ it.

One of the students volunteered… so everyone else rumbled, and he went out to the center of the circle (“orchestration spot”). Then he held up a stick of Chapstick lip balm. All seventy of us stared at his hands. He lifted the cap off the Chapstick, looked around at everyone, and then brought the lid back down onto the Chapstick… and the rumble stopped in perfect unison!

Howls of laughter erupted all around the room.

Surfing 2-4-13

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Sunday morning I went to the beach. The surf was good and the weather was great, but the scene was shocking. My three favorite local spots had more guys in the water and cars parked along the road than I had ever seen before. I go to the beach to decompress, not to haggle. The thought of paddling out amidst a hundred other guys was nauseating. So I opted to drive for an hour and then hike for another entire hour in order to surf one of my favorite un-crowded spots.

I wasn’t prepared for the hike, brought the wrong backpack, had no food, was only wearing sandals, and my ten foot-long-board was brutally heavy. My surf session cost me an entire day, $25 in gas, and significant personal discomfort. And I woke up the next morning with so many aches and pains I could hardly move.

But ever since, as I work, email, text, manage my bills and negotiate traffic, my thoughts keep drifting back… back to the beach… back to the feeling of my toes in the sand… the surf all around… the sublime enjoyment of the sea.

When I’m surfing, the exercise, the rhythm of the waves, and the natural beauty of the beach always make me feel happy and relaxed. As each set of waves passes by, the rhythm takes over, and everything else just slips away. You forget about your concerns. Your internal chatter calms down. You unwind. As the hours pass and you settle deeper and deeper into your session, all your worries wash away, until your thoughts are only about the beauty of nature around you, and how stoked you are to be a part of it. The steady rhythm of the waves, paddling and breathing is all that matters. I cherish the days I surf. I enjoy it every single time I paddle out.

Make time for the things you enjoy most.

They recharge us for the days and ToDos ahead.

Prioritize nature.