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Archive for the ‘Epiphanies’ Category

Be Prepared

In Active Learning, Aha!, Confidence Course Facilitator, CPR and First Aid, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on September 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Long before Doomsday Preppers and the Disney’s movie The Lion King with its sinister lyrics to the song Be Prepared, there was Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship by Lord Baden-Powell. More recent television and movies based on the theme of preparedness include the 20 or so shows listed here: http://urbansurvivalsite.com/20-best-prepper-survivalist-shows-netflix/

What is it about our fascination with survival? Why do so many people worry about the so-called “End of Days” or why has the Center for Disease Control prepared with such vigor for a Zombie Apocalypse? The answer to these last two questions continues to evade me.

That said …

With a quick walk about my cabin, I found evidence for my own preparedness. Two examples …

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Yep, I must admit that I've found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Yep, I must admit that I’ve found some interesting reading while preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Recently I was called on to perform a “pick off” at the place where I work as a senior challenge course facilitator. Now before anyone gets upset or over reacts, the climber was unharmed and in fact wanted to immediately try again to climb our Alpine Tower. There were no cuts, no bruises, no harm, no foul — and this climber successfully re-climbed our tower to the first platform!

One more thing … I’m not posting this article today in pursuit of any congratulatory praise. My role in this incident was simply a part of my job — like a fireman who might climb a ladder to rescue a kitten from a tree. But we learn and re-learn from such drills. I know that I’m going back to work soon to inventory the gear that’s in that rescue bag.

Hmmm ... What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful  "pick off?"

Hmmm … What should I grab from this rescue bag to perform a successful “pick off?”

Okay … I’ve delayed enough. Here’s the real reason for this post …

When you think of the motto: “Be Prepared,” what comes to mind? Are you someone who thinks through the various scenarios of your day mentally rehearsing your options and thinking about how you’d like to respond to the day’s challenges? When was the last time you checked the glovebox of your car for a first aid kit? When was the last time you inspected the fire extinguisher that’s under your kitchen sink for that stovetop fire should those fried chicken wings get a little too crispy on game day? And if someone were to choke on one of those wings — due to their food going down the wrong pipe after their favorite team scores a touchdown — do you know how to dislodge it? When was the last time you enrolled in a Red Cross First Aid course?

Today I invite you to take one small step toward preventing a future accident or incident. Restock your first aid kit that’s in the trunk of your car. Check the batteries that power your smoke and/or CO2 detectors in your house and home. Prepare a list of supplies that you’ll purchase before the start of autumn in preparation for winter. (Note: Buy now before the merchants artificially raise their prices for the pre-winter rush.)

Be prepared.

From Janus’ Point of View

In Coaching, Epiphanies, Facilitating Genius on January 3, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Janus_coinThe winter holidays are history. Most folks will be returning to their place of work. The gyms are likely to remain crowded for a few more weeks as folks who made fitness-related resolutions haven’t (yet) discarded them.

January is the ideal month to look back upon the past year as well as focus on the future.

  • What projects started in 2015 are worth continuing?
  • Which of the many new habits you’ve resolved to start will pay dividends by spring?
  • What behaviors need you modify or eliminate before February?
  • And if these challenges seem too hard to tackle alone, who might you call upon within the next few days to help you shape a better future?

And for those fans or followers of this blog who’d like to contact me, here’s an on-line form to streamline our (re-)connection.

Please do contact me if you're willing to work at making 2016 a better year than the last one.

Please do contact me if you’re willing to work at making 2016 a better year than the last one.

Think Outside, Redux

In Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies, Leave Your Comfort Zone on June 7, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Q: Why did the black bear cross the road? A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

Q: Why did the black bear cross the road?
A: Obviously, to avoid the hikers who were out celebrating National Trails Day.

 

Yesterday, I saw a bear! And last week, I saw a six foot long, black rat snake sunning itself after a mid-day shower. Several days before that my wife, son, his girlfriend, and I; drove along Skyline Drive and spotted deer. Which wasn’t too difficult as one young whitetail was grazing nonchalantly behind the Big Meadows Lodge as we were enjoying a few Margarita Blues & a Speakeasy Sour.

There’s something special about getting outdoors and reconnecting with nature. Some folks enjoy the solitude. Others may wish to go ‘glamping‘ (a trend with roots planted by the rich and famous from the West Coast). Regardless your persuasion, I encourage you to ‘think outside.’ I didn’t say ‘think outside the box’ — unless you view your house, apartment, or cubicle as a ‘box’ — but rather simply think outside, no box required.

So to encourage those who may have returned from their outdoor sojourn or to hear from our glampers who take their smart devices into the woods with them, please share your comments and observations. Or add your name to this contact form so that I may more purposefully share future stories which may appeal to those who go ‘Into the Woods’ or claim to be members of ‘We Are The Wild.’

Here are a few images captured on my hike #6 on National Trails Day.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

The Appalachian Trail just north of Elkswallow Wayside & Picnic area.

After working to 'make your mark' at the office all week, to 'leave no trace' is good advice when going into the woods.

After working to ‘make your mark’ at the office all week, to ‘leave no trace’ is good advice when going into the woods.

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

Look closely. Is this a spider or some other insect?

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The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here's one place where it crosses near an overlook.

The Appalachian Trail parallels Skyline Drive thru most of the Shenandoah National Park. Here’s one place where it crosses near an overlook.

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Panoramic view from Rattlesnake Point Overlook

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural 'umbrella' with its canopy.

Sometimes you get lucky during a rain storm and the forest supplies a natural ‘umbrella’ with its canopy.

Here's a selfie taken as  proof that hikers don't melt if caught in the rain.

Here’s a selfie taken as proof that hikers don’t melt if caught in the rain.

Note: The first Saturday in June has been designated as National Trails Day by the American Hiking Society. The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine sponsor the Dirty Dozen Wilderness Hike Challenge.

Think outside, no box required.

In Aha!, Appalachian Trail, Epiphanies on June 2, 2015 at 5:19 pm

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

#WeAreTheWild
#DirtyDozenHikeChallenge
#IntoTheWoods

… These are just a few of the hashtags used by those who are participating in the “Dirty Dozen Hike Challenge” co-sponsored by The Wilderness Society and Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine. There’s little I need to say about this event. You can Google it and/or friend their Facebook page. But the best thing to do is to answer the call.

… Here are a few photos from my first five hikes. Enjoy.

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Appalachian Trail marker at the north end of the Shenandoah National Park

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Hiking into the woods along a blazed trail.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Stream crossing along the AT.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

Waysides and campsites are great places to stop.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

If I were a bear, this might be a good place to rest.

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Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Some kind and generous soul left some mushrooms in a yellow bag.

Occasionally you'll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

Occasionally you’ll find a boardwalk that protects sensitive wetlands.

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Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Jake the snake might have been stepped on by another hiker.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Inside view of a hut on the Appalachian Trail.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

Just checking the map before heading south along the AT.

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Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Spectacular vista atop the Skyline Drive.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

Yep, I had to climb those rocks.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

I nice place for a quick, cold shower.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My son and his girlfriend came along on a recent hike.

My lovely wife joined us too.

My lovely wife joined us too.

I don't think you're supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

I don’t think you’re supposed to eat these but they sure are colorful.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

Well maintained trails are everywhere.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

The honeysuckle made for a sweet smelling hike.

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Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A view of the falls

A view of the falls

Stream crossing

Stream crossing

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a 'gentle' rate or slope.

A great hike parallels the ridge line and climbs at a ‘gentle’ rate or slope.

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

Interesting growth (fungi?) looks like cabbage

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

The Appalachian Trail can be quite peaceful when hiked during a weekday.

Deadwood serves at 'food' source for shell-like growth.

Deadwood serves at ‘food’ source for shell-like growth.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

These flower-shaped growths are quite delicate and look like a bouquet of flowers actually.

Toadstool sans toad.

Toadstool sans toad.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

I wonder is this is a black truffle. Probably not.

Slug on orange-red 'mushroom.'

Slug on orange-red ‘mushroom.’

This 'mushroom' reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

This ‘mushroom’ reminded me of the dancing shrooms from Fantasia.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

There were large fields of ferns under the trees which looked like good places to camp along the AT.

You've got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

You’ve got to love a well marked trail. These signposts are at nearly every crossroad.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

Three perfectly shaped wild mushrooms. I wonder if this variety is edible. Perhaps I should do more homework before my next hike.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

This sign was near my turn around point for hike #7 and located where the AT crosses Skyline Drive.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you've covered so far.

Armed with a map and aided by these mile markers, one can easily estimate how much of your hike remains ahead of you and how much ground you’ve covered so far.

By the end of the day, I figured that I'd live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.

By the end of the day, I figured that I’d live my walking stick behind for a future trekker.

There are 3 types of people in this world.

In Communication, Epiphanies, Hero, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on January 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm
Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Statue of Chris Kyle, American hero and author of American Sniper

Just yesterday, on the MLK Jr.-federal holiday, my wife and I went to see the movie, American Sniper. This movie is not for the faint of heart. But I encourage you to see it. Witness for yourself the story of a true American hero, Chris Kyle. Form your own opinions and, please, share these with your family and friends.

For me, the most telling aspects of this film are the following lessons:

a) Early in the movie we overhear a father teaching his children by way of a parable:

“There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs … Now, some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world — those are the sheep. And then you got predators who use violence to prey on the weak. They’re the wolves. And then there are those who have been blessed with the gift of aggression, and the overpowering need to protect the flock. These men are the rare breed that live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog.”

Chris Kyle was a sheepdog. And I’m betting that he’s still on watch as a member of St. Micheal‘s legion of angels ready to do battle against evil if called on again.

b) At the theater where I saw this movie, you could have heard a pin drop as the final credits of American Sniper rolled on screen. This AMC movie house was sold out and unlike when I’ve watched other war movies or action flicks at this same theater, no one let out an inappropriate hoop, holler, or even muttered one sarcastic word. Which leads me to my final point.

c) Now as for the comments by comedians Bill Maher and Seth Rogen or the acclaimed film-maker Michael Moore … Well, I don’t think that they are evil wolves. Rather, they are sheep. They live in and profit from a relatively safe environment made possible by men and women like Chris Kyle. And to put a finer point on this stick … It’s my opinion after watching the news and reading a few so-called news stories trending today, there’s not a ram in the bunch.

So the next time you run into a veteran. Do more than just thank him or her for their service. Smile. Shake their hand. And if you are in a hiring position — for this is Linked In, the social media network aimed at business — grant them an interview and give our veterans a little credit for standing up, stepping forward, and filling the role of sheepdog.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force

In Epiphanies, leadership, Leave Your Comfort Zone on September 12, 2014 at 7:08 pm
Shoulder patch for the Mighty Eighth Air Force

Shoulder patch for the Mighty Eighth Air Force

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum just north of Savannah, Georgia. This was to be a day trip for my brother-in-law and I. Our wives were to enjoy yet another day at the beach and out shopping in and around Hilton Head Island, SC. Paul and I took advantage of a “guys’ day away” from the blazing sun and too much sand in our swim suits. But I digress …

While at this museum I asked the docent — a retired Colonel from the US Air Force — about the research library that was upstairs. His eyes lit up when I mentioned that my uncle had served in the Mighty Eighth. His eyes saddened and mine teared up a bit when I commented that I’d never met this uncle since he was shot down over Germany during World War II. But then he encouraged me to visit the research team upstairs and to learn more about this not-so-distant relative.

So what did I learn?

M/Sgt George A. Lesko was a senior non-commissioned officer responsible for several aircraft. He was mainly a part of the ground crew responsible for preparing the bombers for daily missions over enemy territory. He flew one — and only one — mission as the Top Turret Gunner in a B-17. The record states: “Shot down by fighters and crashed SW of Ulm, GR on the return from a mission to Landsberg am Lech, GR on 18 Mar 1944 in B-17G #42-31966. KIA.”

We will never know why he chose to man the twin .50 caliber machine guns that day. Was he checking out the aircraft in-flight? Did he volunteer to take the seat of another crewman? Did he step up because he wanted to experience for himself what a combat mission was like over Germany?

This we do know; he completed his mission and died a hero.

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On a related note … I recently attended the 35th reunion of the West Point Class of 1979. While at the Academy, I enjoyed catching up with many of my classmates. We told a few tall tales; reliving our experiences from time spent at the Academy and also while serving in the Army. More importantly, I had a chance to speak with today’s cadets. I am certain that they too — like my Uncle — will do their duty. God bless them and may God show mercy on those who doubt the resolve of today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines. “Bombs away.”

What will be your verse?

In Epiphanies on August 12, 2014 at 7:10 pm
What will your verse be? #RobinWilliams was truly extraordinary. #RIP_Robin_Williams

What will your verse be? #RobinWilliams was truly extraordinary. #RIP_Robin_Williams

2014 – 1970 = 44

In Epiphanies on April 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm
The first Earth Day was in 1970. So what have we learned in 44 years?

The first Earth Day was in 1970. So what have we learned in 44 years?

Consider the lilies of the field

In Current Events, Epiphanies on April 21, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Pope Francis prays for
an end to conflicts worldwide.
Lord, hear our prayers.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Half full or half empty

In Aha!, Epiphanies, Facilitating Genius, World Cafe on April 9, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Half full, half empty;
it does not matter so long
as the pot’s still on.

1/2 full or 1/2 empty?

1/2 full or 1/2 empty?

This seemed a particularly fitting haiku after yesterday’s post.

Now is the time to pour another cup of joe and continue working.

Have you ever wondered how much our work is fueled by cycling between beer and coffee?

Hmmmm … It seems that I’m not the first to have this thought. Perhaps, you too, have proclaimed, “Eureka!” between trips to the pub or coffee house.