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My grandfather was a humble man and he would have had mixed feelings about being the center of attention today. On one hand he would have appreciated having everyone he loved here in one place. He loved connecting with others. On the other, he was never big on talking about himself.
To a young boy, distracted by everything, a grandfather is a lot like a mountain, larger than life. I don’t mean just in stature, though my grandfather was tall. I don’t just mean in personality though my grandfather laughed a lot.
A mountain is just always there, since the beginning of time as far as the boy can measure it.
A mountain is so sturdy, so dependable, so unchanging, that it’s easy for the boy to forget it’s there even when it was right in front of him. It was just part of the boy’s landscape, like the sky or the ocean or the sun rising every day in the east.
No matter how far that boy traveled, no matter where in the world, without realizing it, he always knew where he was in relation to the mountain. It’s how he always knew exactly where he was. The mountain was always there in the background for every special occasion: Birthdays, holidays, graduations, house warmings, hospital visits, weddings. It was natural to assume the mountain would always be there.
But people aren’t mountains after all. They live for a time and they die, leaving those behind them to carry on as best they can.
Or are they?
The boy, now a man, still navigates his way through life using all the lessons he learned in the shadow of the mountain. He wears a hat outside, takes it off indoors (especially at the table). He’s learned the importance of family. The man is awed by all the love and fellowship that gathered in the great shadow of his mountain.
My grandfather outlived many—maybe most—of his friends and yet still he was always connecting with new ones, a gift of his I always admired.
And the man realizes that the mountain that was his grandfather lives even larger inside his own heart. And this gives the man peace. If the mountain of my grandfather made a positive impact on any of you, then I hope you also recognize him inside your heart and that this may also bring you peace.
So today, in honor of a man who in his lifetime was a marine, a painter, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a great-great grandfather, a friend to so many, and a mountain of love and light to his family, I invite you all to see—to really see—the mountains in your own life’s landscape. Love them and appreciate them and don’t forget to visit them once in awhile (mountains like that).
Don’t forget that you that you too may be a mountain in someone else’s life, someone who looks at you like you’ll always be there. I think my grandfather would have wanted you to know that that’s okay, it’s the nature of being a mountain. There will come a time when there will be a hole in their universe and they too will pause and reflect on everything that you did for them. For everything that you shared with them. For all the ways you connected with them.
Grandfather, for everything you’ve done for me, for everything you’ve shared, I thank you. My world—our world—was a happier place for having you in it. I will always carry your spirit with me, you will always be my landmark and I will always love you very much.
Apparently I started my phone’s stopwatch 46 days ago and forgot it was running…that’s one long laptime!
I don’t remember why I started it. Can one “butt dial” the iPhone stopwatch?
Dear “Health food” companies: We appreciate your attempts to replace cane sugar with other natural sweeteners like stevia or agave. However, they’re still sweeteners that may not be good for the body. May we ask you to practice making your products unsweetened all together and allowing each individual to add the sweetener of their choice if it must be added at all?
Ditto on artificial colors. Without a doubt your marketing focus groups are telling you that consumers expect a food to have a certain color. Please ignore those focus groups. We don’t need the dyes.
With much love,
The health-minded consumer
Have you ever stopped for a moment and turned around to look back at how far you’ve come? Late last year I was blessed to go to Peru, specifically Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. Its the stereotypical story of a man traveling the world to find himself. I met a lot of new people on that trip. I’ve been touched in so many ways. I learned a lot on that trip. Here I am, and I am changed. There are many more miles between us. But still we are never far from each other.
Hi, all. Its been a little dream of mine to publish an essay on one of my favorite mindful e-zines, the elephant journal. The essay represents some of my thoughts on how I see compatibility in relationships.
Have a look at Three Pillars of an Outstanding Relationship and tell me what you think!
I’ll explore other ideas about relationships and spirituality soon, hopefully in future editions of the elephant journal!
Hi, all. I’ve been writing a little music and practicing the fine (and difficult) art of audio engineering. Have a listen and let me know what you think.
Have a look and tell me what you think.
A colleague pointed me to this article on disruptive innovation and how businessman and author Clayton Christensen recognized how disruptive technologies really work: They don’t compete with the etablished technologies at the high end. Rather they attack the low-end (less expensive, and often less performing) and eventually supplant the high end by getting better and better.
Here’s a great quote from the article, entitled “Disruptive Genius.”:
The theory of disruptive innovation lies at the core of his success. It grows from the distinction between sustaining technologies and disruptive ones. The former produce incremental improvements in the performance of established products: disk drives, for example, might offer faster speeds and greater memory storage. In contrast, disruptive technologies are “innovations that result in worse product performance, at least in the near term,” he wrote in The Innovator’s Dilemma. Yet, “Ironically…it was disruptive technology that precipitated the leading [disk-drive] firms’ failure.”
He explains that disruptive products are typically “cheaper, simpler, smaller, and, frequently, more convenient to use.” They tend to reach new markets, enabling their producers to grow rapidly and—with technological improvements—to eat away at the market shares of the leading vendors. In his book, Christensen shows how, between 1975 and 1990, successive generations of disk-drive technologies—14-, 8-, 5.25-, 3.5-, and 2.5-inch drives—disrupted the markets of their predecessors, and then were themselves disrupted. When 8-inch drives emerged, for example, their smaller capacities held no interest for mainframe-computer manufacturers, the principal customers for 14-inch drives. But the smaller drives matched minicomputer-makers’ needs—and with annual gains in performance, they eventually made inroads into the mainframe market. A similar pattern recurred with 5.25-inch drives and desktop computers, 3.5-inch drives and laptop computers, and 2.5-inch drives and notebook computers. Established companies are “held captive by their customers,” in Christensen’s phrase, and so routinely ignore emerging markets of buyers who are not their customers.
It’s not the customers you have, its the customers you didn’t know you had who wanted something a bit different than what you were offering.