Moments — words to live by...


It came about in a conversation. We were talking about the challenges of the day and I was struck with how profound these words were, “I will find a way to make it happen”.

I suppose the struggles of the day and how we work through them are not new, but there is a realization that countless others have walked the same path, said the same things, and that this is something that connects us throughout the ages; offering up a profound insight.

nosce te ipsum 

(Know Thyself)  

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

(I shall either find a way or make one)

Memento mori 

(Remember that you will die)

Time smoothens everything and history reflects our memories, interpretations or simply represents good public relations; these may be the words uttered by philosophers, great military men and have adorned great temples — or maybe not, we may never truly know. You can be assured though, these words (and countless others) have been spoken long before the conversation of this day, and resonate just as profoundly.

In the current vernacular, these words make for very good Guiding Principles to live by—

 Know who you are, what you are good at (and not good at), and be comfortable with it; make things happen and don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done; don’t take any of it for granted because this precious, fabulous life is shorter than you think.

My words. Not theirs (to the best of my knowledge).


As credos go, it may be the most important...


There are reasons we needed to move seven cubic yards of gravel through 175 yards of forest to a meadow (that’s 160 meters for those of you who prefer the metric system). And because of this task, a number of facts got researched on the Internet —

  • Seven cubic yards of gravel will weigh between 16,800 – 20,300 pounds (6,616 – 9,205 kilograms)

  • You can use either a two cubic foot wheelbarrow or a three cubic foot wheelbarrow for this kind of work.

  • There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard

  • On average a cubic foot of gravel weighs 330 pounds (or about 150 kilograms)

  • Approximately six shovelfuls (heaping) make up a cubic foot

  • There are somewhere between 9 and 14 wheel barrow trips per cubic yard (depending on the size of the wheel barrow and how much gravel you put in it)

  • The maximum sweat rate for a trained athlete is about 2-3 litres/hour; this results in a 2-3% decrease in body weight (I’m not an trained athlete and definitely a “sweater”, so let’s say it’s more for me)

The pile was something we had been working on over the past couple of weekends and my goal was to move what was remaining so we could get onto other things — I affectionately call it Egyptian slave labour because it involves moving stone from one place to another without dying on the way.

With food and water to power my way, one pile got smaller while another got bigger — and as the day progressed, my sweat soaked shirt started to weigh on me and I needed to set the wheelbarrow down more regularly between piles. As I dumped the last load I said to no one, “I’m done”; I wasn’t making a statement but rather a realization that there was no more I could do.

I wasn’t finished moving the pile of gravel and I wasn’t quitting — I was just spent, and could do no more.  

When I came back to the small pile I tried to motivate myself to finish it off — there really wasn’t much left but I couldn’t; I had done my best and after giving it my all, I fell short. What else can you can ask when you have done your best and there was no more to give? (As an aside, is it me or does life seem like one big meme.)

I should also point out that all of this was accomplished while staying true to the Egyptian slave labourer credo, “Do it without dying on the way”. Because after all, there is always tomorrow and you’re still alive to make it happen.


Beware the siren of comfort...


Putting aside the minor offences of breaking and entering, destruction of property, and theft (if you considering eating someone’s porridge wrong), Goldilocks’ real crime was instilling the expectation of comfort —

“ This porridge is too hot; this porridge it too cold; this porridge is just right”

“This bed is too hard; this bed is too soft; this bed is just right”

And for her efforts to be comfortable she doesn’t even confront the bears she burgled, but instead just ran away. I know they’re bears, but still… show a little backbone.

It isn’t just out of the blue I find myself maligning a cherished childhood story but instead it’s a transference after hearing about the membership response to an email from my local fitness club which was sent about the problems with the air conditioning. It never dawned on me that so many people required perfect conditions to engage in some physical fitness — to suggest an increased risk of heat stoke because the temperature was 27 degrees instead of 22 degrees is more than just being misinformed about the tolerances of the human body. Even after the air conditioning was fixed I overheard a member say they turned the temperature down because they like it cool when they work out (I wonder if even Goldilocks would say, “WTF?”). Maybe this has to do with the perceived rights that come whenever you pay for something — much like the person who overreacts when they didn’t get enough cold foam on their Iced Double Cappuccino with Caramel and Cold Foam… and then insists on talking to the manager.

I’m trying to wrap my head around people going to a place that by its very nature is meant to put their mind and body under stress, put undo burden on them (literally), and challenge them… but only if they are comfortable while doing it. Maybe it’s simply a misalignment of expectations or maybe they’re not reading the same pithy motivational memes that I am.

“If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.” (from the Internet)

“Most everything that you want is just outside your comfort zone.” (from the internet)

“To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” (from the Internet)

Of course I want to be comfortable as much as the next person but it’s just a rest stop on an incredible journey for me — at the very most it’s a place to reenergize, catch up on your sleep, and plan for your next adventure. When we get too comfortable we stop learning, growing, exploring , and doesn’t prepare you for anything..

“Lean into the discomfort — because Mother Nature isn’t really that concerned about how comfortable you are when you get outside.” (I made this one up)

If my thinly veiled contempt for people who complain about the temperature is too cryptic, I’d like to suggest the following pen and paper exercise — draw a line down the middle of the paper; title the left side “What I’ve learned when I’m in my Comfort Zone?” and title the right side “What I’ve learned when I’m out of my Comfort Zone?” Take some time to fill it out and let me know if the right side isn’t more meaningful.

As a side note, it’s very hot out today.