Finding your element

Being in your element means that you are comfortable in the situation, capable, and performing at or near peak. It’s important to be I. Your element.

Finding your element is a bit more challenging. Sometimes it’s not the obvious choice. But sticking with it, not giving up, and creating it for yourself can be just as rewarding.

A good day

Many things can make a good day. For some it’s the grandiose, while others enjoy the simpler pleasures. According to Japanese poet and zen monk Santōka:

“Days I don’t enjoy; Any day I don’t walk. Any day I don’t drink sake. Any day I don’t compose haiku.”

And there you are – an easy path to a good day.

Are you open to feedback?

We sometimes find ourselves in completely insular situations. We maintain tunnel vision, ignoring that which is around us. When feedback comes, we can all but ignore it, or, worse yet, attempt to kill the messenger.

But being open to feedback is critical to both success and growth. It can be the razor line between success and failure.

Friday dispatch

The biggest thing: the vaccine. I received J&J’s vaccine this week. Admittedly, the day after was a hell of a hangover. But I’m glad to play my part.

What I’m reading: Beowulf, new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley. I first read a translation of Beowulf nearly twenty years ago. In reading this, the la gauge is updated and it feels way fresh. Also, she really did her research.

A quote to consider: “Who can own a tree? Who can own a rock? Only the Great Spirit.” – Ernest Gods to Camp.

It takes years

I remember hearing once that if you read every day for seven years about a topic, you could consider yourself an expert in that field. Even if you knew nothing when you started.

Time is needed to become someone you want to be. And, since the time is going to pass anyway, why not just spend it (at least some of it) in working to better yourself?

Under the Sea

“There’s an estimated $60 billion worth of treasure on the ocean floor, nestled in the wreckage of what researchers believe are around three million shipwrecks, the vast majority of which we’ve never seen.

For a culture that excels at exploration, we’ve left plenty in the unexplored depths. And even more is there than what we’ve deposited.

I believe that everyone wants to make a discovery. That seeking something within the unknown if a fundamental human need.

And even in failing, the journey of discovery is what legends are made of.

Translations

Picked up a new edition of Beowulf, this one a new translation from Maria Dahvana Headley. Translating is a tricky business. I do a little myself, from Japanese to English (though, not well.)

In reading this Beowulf, I’m struck by how the story stays the same, yet differs. And that can come from perspectives of the translator, or knowledge of the language, or many other number of variables.

When reading a translation, you’re also viewing the internal workings of the translator’s consciousness. It’s a highly rewarding experience.

Navigating uncertainty

When we look around, it seems like everyone is navigating their lives a little (or a lot) better than we are. We try to emulate, to position the uncertain ahead of us in some semblance of order.

What we don’t realize is that everyone else is just doing the same.

You can’t know what someone else is feeling, or thinking, or going through. Everyone is just putting on a mask of keeping it together. Only the very special people in our lives get to see the truth behind how we face uncertainty.

And that is okay.

But where’s the egg

It’s Easter, and yet another holiday embroiled in worldwide pandemic mode. However, I’m reminded of walking the Easter markets of Prague several years ago.

There, I discovered kraslice, the art of hand painting eggs that far exceeds the American version. They are “hand-painted eggs made in the tradition of the Czech Republic using wax and permanent dyes.”

It may be sometime before I again leave the country, but this Easter I can recall fondly the travels abroad.