Author: Dennis Ritchie

Still Standing

A journey of a thousand miles begins by standing. Standing up is important. Standing back up is even more important. Because the question isn’t what can you accomplish the first time you try. It’s what do you do the first time you fail? Because no one gets it entirely right the first time. We learn this first as toddlers. It’s reinforced by life itself to the point that it’s as basic as gravity. What stands up must fall down. We all know this. But that doesn’t make standing any easier. This blog, for example, is a continuation of a blog I started several years ago. Then we moved and things got put on hold. When I started back I had a better idea of what I wanted to do. All good. Positive spin. Then my primary client closed the doors and fired everyone. I started over after changing almost everything in my life. But not everyone. Then my mother had health issues and I had to stop and take care of her. Now, I’m starting over – again. This time Mom lives with us. Life is very different. But we’re still standing. That’s the point. Photo by mikebaird via...

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Outside of Yourself

I read a study that said walking your dog in nature lifts depression better than the best drugs we have available. If walking your dog helps, then what about walking with these guys? I have more to say about our trip but this is a great start. Do what you can to get outside your own head and experience the world around you. Inside your head can be a scary, lonely, non-inspirational place to live. Encouragement is out there to be found.      ...

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Reason 1.0

You only need one reason to get out of bed in the morning. This is very good news! Because finding your reason turns out to be the most significant thing when it comes to your career, your happiness and, in some cases, your survival. You see, multitasking is a myth. The way our brains are wired, we can only think of one thing at a time. I know it doesn’t seem like it when thoughts roll over each other and we interrupt our own train of thought so often we can’t find the track. But studies show it’s the truth. Even women, with their much ballyhooed multitasking ability, are simply shifting quickly from one single thought to another, to another. Mind you, I’m not pretending to understand the intriguing mysteries of the female mind. I’m just repeating the research. It seems that even you ladies, who can stand interruptions, distractions and group discussions that would give me a panic attack, are simply shifting channels faster than my one track mind. Which is surprising, considering what I do with a remote control. Be that as it may . . . Thinking only one thing means we only need one reason, for getting up, for working, for surviving. Needing only one reason turns out to be a great thing. Because during a crisis it’s difficult to think at all. Hormones, adrenaline...

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Moon Flowers

“They only bloom at night,” she said. “And only once.” I had never heard of Moon Flowers, which is not surprising considering the things I don’t know about flowers. “I think tonight could be the night. I tried once before but I forgot and missed it.” The fact that Suzie and I were visiting her sister on the only day of the year the Moon Flower would bloom and that I had my new camera with me set me on a mission. I’m prone to that, finding missions. This one was a good one – using all of my limited skill to capture the fleeting nocturnal beauty. That night the flowers did bloom. My first attempt failed, and my second and third. I finally got a starkly shadowed, glaringly bright shot with the flash but it didn’t begin to capture the mysterious quality of the white flowers in the darkness. Everyone quickly grew tired of my project and went back inside. The mosquitos helped. Later that night, unable to sleep, I came up with a solution. Using a tripod, a flash muted with Kleenex and the distant light of two cell phone flashlights, along with some patient help from my indulgent wife, I got this shot. The next morning they were still blooming due to the clouds and shade of the tall surrounding forest, though slightly wilted. I took...

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Until You Try . . .

What do professional Class V whitewater river guides do in their spare time? They rock climb and kayak and whatever this is . . . Josh Hoppstadter and Summer Wofford  had no idea they could do it. They just thought it would be fun to try and happened to be good at it. This was their 3rd attempt with a total of four hours worth of practice. I have a feeling it would take me a little longer. They did it for the same reason I first picked up my Dad’s guitar. Or tried the piano. Or moved to Nashville with no firm job. Or left for the mountains with only a fresh dream in front of me. They did it with no proper research and no university training. They did it knowing they could fail completely. And they didn’t care. Because they knew, instinctively, that the most dangerous thing a person can ever do is to never try. Because the potential of life is always in front of us. And only the memories we make lie behind. Our defining abilities are imagination and courage. Because, to begin with,  that is only and all that we...

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