Archive for February, 2014

Monday, February 24th, 2014

This winter just doesn’t want to let go. I’m not sure, but I may have written the same thing last time I visited my blog. If I did I won’t apologize because it’s true. The cold began in late November and has continued right through today. The weekend gave me a glimpse of spring, but it was fleeting. The birds sang loudly in the morning and the sun warmed the air enough to start melting a lot of the snow. As I inhaled I could smell it even though it seems so far away right now.

As I said last time………..spring brings new growth. That means it’s time to leave behind the cold and misery of winter. It’s easy to understand how depression can settle into the depths of even the strongest souls that wander through the north country. When the daylight hours begin to extend into the evening hours a new hope comes with it. Many people find happiness with more daylight.

I’ve always been fortunate enough to have a few winter hobbies that consume a lot of my time and energy. Sometimes I’d like the winter to last a little longer so I have more time to perfect my crafts. This winter I’m not sure what I need. I’m searching for some ambition, which I seem to have lost over the last few months. I’m still torn about my next project. Should I start the novel or should I stick to the narrative style books I’ve already written and do another one, which wouldn’t take too terribly long?

After talking to my good friend and fellow author Bob Elinskas a few weeks ago he gave me an idea I should probably consider. He thought it would be good if I could use some more of my own experiences and incorporate them into stories about others who hunt in the Eastern Adirondacks. It actually hit the spot when he spoke about it. There are a lot of people who I’m sure would be more than happy to tell their stories.

The next few weeks should give me time to sit back and analyze all of the possibilities. After that process is over I’ll have to decide what path to follow. Since we all choose our own paths I’m sure my feet will direct me down the one that is best for me in my current situation. Only time will tell where my feet will lead me……………………..follow me and you’ll get there shortly after I arrive.

From the Classroom to the Workplace

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

It’s amazing how many people are affected by bullying. Bullies come in different forms, but they all share similar characteristics. In one of my recent visits to a primary school I was amazed when I stood in front of 150 students and asked for a show in hands from all the kids who get bullied. More hands than I would have liked were raised.  When I asked how many kids bullied other kids I was amazed to see some students actually raise their hands.

As I started speaking to the crowd I knew I had their interest. I shared a few stories to ensure them that everyone, no matter who they might be, has been affected by bullying. It happens in school, in athletics, in the neighborhood, and even at the workplace.

Bullying in the workplace can create an unbelievable amount of morale problems. If it isn’t properly addressed it can gain speed and create a disaster. I’ve seen it first hand. When the bullying begins most people will complain, but nothing will be done because of fear. The fear of the bully or what might happen if a complaint is filed becomes the primary concern of the person affected. Eventually the person loses hope, gives in, and takes on the same qualities as the bully so he or she will become accepted. At that point the acceptance leads to more power for the bully. Once the above scenario takes place it splits the employees down the middle because sides are set and the line in the sand turns into a cavern.

Trust is lost and respect goes with it. As the bully gains more control he or she will continue intimidating others in order to achieve more power. If enough employees recognize the problem they will begin falling like flies. The people who leave are the ones who decide it isn’t worth the fight to expose the issue. The people who challenge the intimidator become a target because the bully cannot mentally handle if someone doesn’t buckle under their pressure.

I’ve witnessed this many times, but never more than the last few years. It’s a shame to watch such good people cave in because they lose all hope. It’s even more of a shame to see people leave their jobs because they can’t handle the unprofessionalism of others.

If you encounter this type of thing in life make sure to stand up for yourself and remain confident. Confidence will carry you through many things including petty stuff like this that sometimes demolishes even the best of people.

Although the weather has been horrible this week the longer hours of daylight are a sure sign that spring is on the way. With spring comes new growth. I’m ready to grow and sprout new leaves.

A Look Back in Time

Monday, February 17th, 2014

I got out of bed around 6:30 on Sunday morning. It has been a long time since I got up early to head to an indoor target archery tournament. I was on the road by 7 o’clock.

After setting my cruise control at 73mph I let the tension out of my body and enjoyed the ride. The fresh snow was still relatively white, which was somewhat surprising since it had been on the ground for almost two days. There’s nothing better than fresh snow before it gets tainted with debris.

As I continued driving a lot of thoughts from past years moved in and out of my head. Since I was headed to the annual Guan Ho Ha Vegas Tournament I remembered the very first time I ever attended it, which was almost 20 years ago. I had never shot in an indoor tournament and didn’t know what to expect.

When shooters were called to the line for the first scoring end I can recall my heart rate accelerating. My breathing was shallow and rapid. I was in a place I’d never been. Instead of letting the emotions overwhelm me I decided to embrace the nervousness and just do what I always did………………shoot my bow to the best of my ability. If I did well I would be happy and if I didn’t I would do everything I could to improve the next time around.  Before I knew it we were adding scores. I couldn’t believe how quickly it was over.

I never got ahead of myself and I shot one arrow at a time without thinking too far into the future. I walked away that day with a first place finish and an award for the highest score of the tournament. To the day it’s still one of my best moments in competitive archery. It gave me something I would need to succeed when I started shooting in national events. In the years to come I would win that tournament a handful of times.

Eventually I ran into problems with nervousness. Although I could still shoot very well I had a hard time reaching my peak performance in competition. It hindered my ability to shoot consistent scores and ultimately led to my loss in interest of the sport.

Now, with a second chance after surgery I’m ready to address the problem and set a goal to fix it. I will get back to the level I used to be at and I will use the nervousness to my advantage. I will harness it and shoot my practice scores in tournaments again. Although I can’t practice as much due to the surgically repaired shoulder I can still visualize and rehearse mentally. I look forward to the challenge. Now that I have set goals I’ll map out a plan to achieve them. A person without a goal just has hope. A person with a goal has something to look forward to. I will no longer hope I do well. I know I will do well again.

………………after a look back in time a new journey has begun. Set your own goals and begin your journey. Good luck.

Archery: In search of a quiet mind again

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

This is the first winter I can remember since I was quite young where it hasn’t given us any relief since late November. In the last few months we’ve only had a few days where the temperature has stayed above 25 degrees for a full day. I’m worn out both physically and mentally. I can’t get enough rest lately no matter what time I retire to bed. Today I came home from work, ate dinner, and passed out in the recliner for three hours. Now, as I write this, it’s 8:30 and I’m ready for bed. I’m hoping this brutal cold begins to let up in the next couple of weeks. I’ve had enough.

In early January I decided to attempt shooting in an indoor archery league for the first time in three years. I couldn’t shoot the year before surgery, the year of surgery or the year after surgery. Although I felt good enough to give it a try this year I’m not sure if it’s one of the better decisions I’ve made. I’ve had a lot of tenderness in the neck and shoulder area, but I believe it’s related to the muscles not being in shape for the required repetition of the shooting process.

It has become evident that my mind is no longer quiet when I’m at full draw. I used to hear very little monkey chatter as I drew, aimed, and released. This year I’ve heard nothing except monkey chatter. My inner voice talks to me non-stop, which has hindered me from achieving the scores I used to shoot on a regular basis. While I’ve had two above average rounds neither one of them is close to my best. There are days when I feel very close to regaining my old form, but the voice of negativity seems to creep in at inopportune moments.  I’ll continue fighting the fight and see where I end up by the end of the 10 week league. I have a feeling I’m going to come out on top in late March. I feel very close. It’s like being in the woods and feeling like I’m very close to seeing a deer. Very rarely am I wrong. It’s an inner sense that is unexplainable to most people. The power of positive thought almost always wins out over all the background noise. If I continue pushing forward on the march toward achieving my goals I will surely make progress.

Archery has brought a lot to my life. I’ve tried to give back as often as possible. Sometimes it’s something as simple as giving someone a nock if they break one during a round. Other times I might offer to work on their bow in my press. Since archery has given me so much I feel the obligation to help people. It’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve done. There’s nothing like watching someone become extremely accurate with a bow and arrow and achieving results they only dreamed of in the past.

A few years ago at this time I was told I would never shoot a bow again. Although it was quite realistic I never believed it. I figured I could beat the prognosis if I had surgery and gutted my way through the rehabilitation process. At times the rehabilitation seemed like it wasn’t doing a thing. It got so bad that the doctor asked me if I was even going to therapy. My range of motion didn’t improve in six months post-surgery, but I continued on. Many people asked why I bothered, but I knew if I gave up I would never have a chance to improve. Nine months into rehab I started to feel a little better. Now, I can shoot my bow and throw a ball again.

I might try shooting in tournaments this spring and summer if I continue making progress. I need to work on my mental game in order to be successful. I’ve started doing visualisation exercises to help me achieve a few goals I’ve set. I can’t wait to track the progress.

Shedding Your Skin

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

I’d like to say that I haven’t had the time to write, but I’d be lying if I put that out there for others to read. Instead, I simply haven’t made the time to write, so I decided I need to change that. Writing has always freed my mind. When I sit down at the desk and start pounding words out on the keyboard I’m often transplanted into places I didn’t imagine going 10 minutes before I sat down. Sometimes those places are dark and other times they’re bright and sunny. No matter where the road leads I just sit back and enjoy the journey. In the process I hope that I gain something from the time as well as anyone who chooses to read what I write.

Lately I’ve spent some time trying to get organized. I’ve set a few goals and it’s time to start outlining plans to achieve them. In the process of cleaning I’ve found a few things that surprised me, some that saddened me, and others that brought a smile to my face. All of these things were items from the last seven years. I knew it was time to throw some junk in the trash. As I gathered old papers between my hands I happened to read a quote I had written on one of them. Amazingly, the quote fit perfectly for where my mind has been over the last month.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”

Many people get caught in a routine. As time passes the routine becomes cemented into their way of life. We become accustomed to what we do and begin to plan our lives around our daily schedules. Life can become monotonous in many ways even if you’re still doing the things you like. Although you follow the routine you always have some wild and crazy thoughts of what you might do if things were different. I’m guilty of this and I’m sure some of you are as well. When these ideas pop into our brain it might be time to take a step back and examine them. At first something might seem like a crazy idea, but with more thought and research it might just be something that gives you freedom. A snake can’t continue growing unless it sheds its skin and we are very much the same. In order to improve our condition we must shed our old skin. That’s where the saying “there’s no reward without risk” comes from. The people who have the ability to take chances are usually the ones who end up  on top. The people who aren’t afraid to fail are usually the most successful ones because they’ll keep trying until they succeed.

I’ve found a few other quotes during my cleaning and I try to address a different one every day. I like the stimulation my mind gets when I read quotes and analyze them. I can tell I haven’t written in a long time. My writing is choppy and needs a lot of work. Writing is like any craft in the fact that you have to practice a lot in order to be at the top of your game. Hopefully I can make the time to start practicing again, especially if I plan on reaching my goals.