Where have you been?
Fair question. But honestly I was surprised you asked (I was recently asked about the next blog post). Actually I have been working quite a bit in the studio, selecting a new color palette and refining my process for creating clay coasters, but I am just not ready to share that work yet. So instead of talking about my work with clay, I can share a quick update about some other areas of my life.
While searching for a better way to connect with my kids, I stumbled upon gamification in a new light. Like many of you I have used elements of gaming to promote a healthy lifestyle (for example: wearable devices to track steps), and we also elements when developing software. But this time around I was really interested in how it could be used to create a framework to help me achieve goals across all areas of my life. The best example I found was Level Up Your Life, by Steve Kamb. As I said, originally I was looking for a process my kids might adopt. But the more I looked into it, I found it was a great implementation of basic Kaizen techniques I am already using… breaking big challenges into small steps that are easier to accomplish. And this particular book did a fantastic job combining Kaizen with a Nerd’s backstory. So in a nutshell, I tried to help my kids and ended up helping myself. Go Druids!
Now another key point of Steve’s book, is the story of how he created Nerd Fitness. At first I was interested in the hype around the online gym. But the more I investigated, the more I could see it was fantastic fit for my lifestyle. So now I am Leveling Up and creating fun personal challenges to improve life. So far I have big challenges focused on Cooking, Exercise, Yoga (more on that later), Ceramics, and Backpacking. I have made real progress in all areas since ready this book. I cooked three meals this week, working out on a regular schedule to “beat the boss” and reached my goal weight. And best of all, I am having a blast doing it.
Back into the woods
Another benefit of reading the book was a chance to slow down and examine my life. One of the themes I discovered in this process was a movement away from the outdoors. While I often had the opportunity to get back to nature, I found that I prioritized other things as more important. So last month I stop making excuses, and went backpacking with a friend down to Zaleski backpacking trail in southern Ohio (close to the Hocking Hills region). It really was fantastic. We pushed our bodies and selected longer, more challenging trails. It was a perfect time to take a break from our busy lives, and let our minds soak in the simplicity and beauty of nature. We hiked about 15 miles the first day through some formidable elevation until we were exhausted. Selecting a camp site high on a ridge, we had just enough time to setup our hammocks and make dinner before a rough storm broke over the camp with heavy rains and plenty of lightning. But by morning the skies were clear and ready for another day on the trail. Because of that trip, I’ve decided to get out at least once a month for the next six months. That is going to mean some serious cold weather camping, so I need to learn some new skills. But I am up for the challenge.
Did someone say Yoga?
As part of my desire to be more healthy, I first dusted off my knowledge of Tai Chi. But while Tai Chi is a beautiful art form, I felt that my body needed a fresh start in a new direction. So after deciding flexibility and core strength were more important than self defense, I picked up Yoga (many people may argue that Tai Chi also offers those benefits, but I think it really came down to needing a fresh start). So now I am practicing yoga every other day (alternating with my workouts). My routine may be very simple, but I can already feel positive results. So putting together the exercise, time in nature, eating better and yoga… my body is feeling great.
But the studio really is alive and doing well. Small incremental steps that I look forward to sharing with you soon.