Intense Focus

I ended 2017 with a series of what I’ll refer to as annoyances … stuck in ATL during the infamous power outage (which required a lot of rescheduling), experiencing plumbing issues in my new place, and finding out what I thought was a flat tire was in fact a cracked wheel which I discovered during the coldest day of the coldest week of the year.

Not enough to stop me but just enough to divert me from what I needed to be doing and sufficiently time consuming to slow me down.

I had to consciously and intentionally wrest my thoughts from drifting into “why me” and focus on “what is my life trying to tell me now.” I got “be still.” And so I got still.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

Inhale Hopeful, Exhale Despondent…
Inhale Happy, Exhale Annoyed…
Inhale Reframe, Exhale Stuck…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Expanded Focus

We understand the concept of focus yet we don’t always apply it to our everyday lives. We give what is wrong, what is warped, and what is downright wicked WAAAY too much attention. In fact, we frequently act on what we don’t want which only gets us more negativity.

What if instead, we poured our energy into what we DO want, what energizes us, and/or brings us joy? What would that look like? How could that change things?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Inhale What is Right, Exhale What is Wrong…
Inhale What is Pure, Exhale What is Warped…
Inhale What is Noble, Exhale What is Wicked…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Lost

I am convinced that I never really lose anything. Forget? Frequently! Misplace? Often! But truly lose? Almost never!

That belief has been borne out in the recovery of countless things, to include a laptop left in a restroom, in an airport, in a different town, over a Christmas holiday when the lost and found was closed. Yikes! But I wasn’t anxious because, you know … I never really, truly lose anything!

Except thoughts. I sometimes lose thoughts. Which is why I try to write things down…

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ~ L.M. Montgomery

Inhale Belief, Exhale Being Bothered…
Inhale Conviction, Exhale Uncertainty…
Inhale Assurance, Exhale Anxiety…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Culture of Consistency

I love Alabama Football! It’s not just because I’m an alum, but because the program under Nick Saban has been the model for how to create a culture of success. The team-first attitude demonstrated by the leaders and most of the team reflects a recruiting focus, not just on talent but also on temperament.

That “team first” attitude is why Alabama is consistently in the national conversation and has won five of the last nine National Championships. And from the looks of the talent, they’re not done!

President Barack Obama is presented an Alabama football jersey during a ceremony honoring the 2009 national champion Crimson Tide football team.

Roll Tide!

“First of all, you’ve got to have a vision of ‘What kind of program do I want to have?’ Then you’ve got to have a plan to implement it. Then you’ve got to set the example that you want, develop the principles and values that are important, and get people to buy into it.” ~ Nick Saban

Inhale Vision, Exhale Delusion…
Inhale Plan, Exhale Happenstance…
Inhale Execution, Exhale Procrastination…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Real Freedom

The time to be patient … the time to linger … the time to focus fully on life’s divine flow … that is real freedom.

“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.” ~ Steven Wright

Inhale Patience, Exhale Chaos…
Inhale Lingering, Exhale Rushing…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Constriction…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Living Values

After stressing out about arriving late to some early morning meetings, I realized I wasn’t honoring my value of easing into my day. I was committing to someone else’s timeline and not recognizing my commitment to myself.

So I recommitted to not rushing my refuel time before I start my day. I’m already feeling at peace.

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” ~ William Blake

Inhale Live Values, Exhale Abandon Values…
Inhale Commit, Exhale Forget…
Inhale Self-Care, Exhale Stress…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Priorities

Knowing your purpose should allow you to organize and prioritize your activities. But if you know your purpose and continue to align yourself with something that’s not what you’re supposed to be doing…

If you continue to say yes to things that are not aligned with your vision or values…

Or if you feel guilty about saying no and you talk yourself into doing something you know you shouldn’t be doing…

Then you’re going to be out of balance and experience stress.

“Every human being must have boundaries in order to have successful relationships or a successful performance in life.” ~ Henry Cloud

Inhale Prioritization, Exhale Unintentional…
Inhale Alignment, Exhale Guilt…
Inhale Balance, Exhale Instability…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Rejuvenation

One of the things I most enjoy about this semi-retired phase of my life is the time to occasionally be leisurely in the morning. I am so grateful for the time to sit in my favorite meditation spot, feet elevated, knees on ice, coffee and water at the ready for as long as I need to pray, to think, to meditate, to read, to write or to just be still.

Just as sleep rests and rejuvenates my body, my morning routine restores and renews my soul.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” Mathew 11: 28, MSG

Inhale Rest, Exhale Rush…
Inhale Restore, Exhale Deplete…
Inhale Renew, Exhale Exhaust…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

Be the Light

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be the light, see yourself in others and show them love.

Inhale Light, Exhale Darkness…
Inhale Sight, Exhale Fear…
Inhale Love, Exhale Hate…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

What Have You Done for Me, Lately?

Jalen Hurts was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama in 32 years. For the entirety of his freshman season, the media marveled at his composure, his toughness and his leadership.

Hurts was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, briefly a part of the Heisman discussion, and took his team to the National Championship game.

In that game against Clemsom, Hurts led what seemed to be the Championship drive…before the avenge-minded, generational talent, Deshaun Watson threw the winning touchdown with one second left in the game.

Hurts was one second away from leading his team to a National Championship as a freshman. And that failure fueled him and his team for the following season. Unfortunately, in his next Championship appearance, Hurts seemed to run out of gas. Thankfully freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was able to infuse some energy.

In the aftermath of Tua’s electrifying second half performance, the media and even some “fans” have been dismissive of Hurts. It’s as if the now sophomore leader had somehow changed and become less of what was celebrated just the year before.

I would say the opposite is true. His composure, toughness and leadership never wavered during or after the game. In this crucible moment, Hurts has elevated his leadership and demonstrated the kind of team first attitude that experts say is necessary but very seldom seen in a leader.

“…we have two good quarterbacks on our team…both of them made a great contribution to the success of the team this year…two fine young men who really respect each other and have worked hard to help each other all year long.” ~ Coach Nick Saban

Inhale Team First, Exhale Me First…
Inhale Team Commitment, Exhale Selfishness…
Inhale Team Success, Exhale Failure…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe