Great Smoke at the Smoking Lamp

Fuerte by Done Diego This is one of the new Fuerte line by Don Diego. It is a fine burning smoke from Nicaragua that is full bodied but not overpowering. One thing I liked about it was that even though I lit it unevenly, it took care of that all by itself. It evened out the burn into a nice straight burn and never went crooked again. No relight or touchup necessary.

And what could be better than enjoying it in the company of my friends at The Smoking Lamp? I have known Lola for years. And Debbie and Lindsay are wonderful too! If you didn’t see the article that Ken Burger of the Charleston Post & Courier wrote about pipes, with a nice interview with Lola, you really should read it.

Back to the cigar though, this line is fairly new, but I think it will do well. This torpedo was reasonably price at about $6.50 and lasted for nearly two hours. Not quite in the “value priced cigar” category, but really close. And at $6.50 you could afford to smoke it fairly often without driving yourself broke.

Time For Family

Americans do not take vacations. That is what I was told last night by ABC News as I sat watching TV on the couch with my family. What they also said was that when we do take our vacations we take shorter ones and we tend to do work, such as check email, while we are away. With that all members of my family turned and looked at me. Of course I let out the expected, “What?!” But they were right. That is me. They were also right when they told me that perhaps I wouldn’t need blood pressure medication and such if I would take more time off and learn to relax.

Wife and puppyInterestingly enough I have a consultant from Canada at my work right now. He was telling me about this thing called “Family Day“. Basically it sounds like the powers-that-be in Canada came to the same conclusion so they established this holiday called Family Day so that people would be forced to spend some time with their family. Great idea, but isn’t it a shame that the government has to mandate it? Do we, and I am including you people up in Vancouver and Alberta here, do we really prefer our work to our families?

On that note I am proud to say that I did take last Friday off and spend it with my wife. You can see her with a puppy in the picture. And I spent the rest of the weekend in various activities with my kids and other members of the family. What I am not proud to say is that I also spent a large amount of that time on the phone with my office or using my cell phone to email. In some ways the ability to stay in touch has freed me from the office, but in many other ways it has just tethered me back to it.

What I would ask you is this, are you sacrificing your life and your time with family and friends for work? And when you do take time with them, are you lessening the quality? Are you at your kid’s game, but on the cell phone the entire time? Are you on vacation, but sneaking off to check your email on your phone.  If you can commit like that to your work, why can’t you commit like that to your family and yourself?

Where Do You Find Your Peace?

Unitarian Universalist CeilingI read this post on Steve Whitehead’s blog and it got me to thinking about inner peace and what we find peaceful. Then, as I sat in the Sunday morning service at the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Charleston yesterday, I began to consider it again. OK, so my mind was wandering a bit, but it seemed appropriate at the time. In the story from the above blog, the king says,

“peace does not mean to be in a place where there
is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to
be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in
your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

I began trying to relate this to my own life. I must admit that recently I have been trying to find peace by finding a way to withdraw myself totally from the noise and trouble. What I have begun to come to realize is that I need to find my own peace, my own way, within that noise and trouble. If you look at many of the people we admire, such as Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy or whomever, we admire them not because the extracted themselves from noisy and complicated situations, but because the were surrounded by those situations and yet had an inner peace that allowed them to rise above and transform some of that chaos into order.

Now I am not saying that I can do this on any of the order of magnitude of those gentlemen, but I don’t have to. And neither do you. What we do need to do is rise above the chaos in our own lives so that we can view it in such a way as to be able to make sense of things and take some control. Scratch that. Control is too definitive a word. We need to be able to offer guidance in situations that are beyond our control.

As I was writing this and preparing for another hectic workday, I pulled up one of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits. I try to do my writing and reading of blogs in the morning before work as it helps to focus my day. Anyway, today’s entry at Zen Habits is 17 Unbeatable Ways to Create a Peaceful, Relaxed Workday. How serendipitous, and a great way to start the day and the week.

So tell me, where to you find your peace, and what do you do to help create it?