Of Being Intentional & Paint Your Wagon

PaintYourWagonI work 10 hours a day doing my “regular” job, and then I come home and work, another 5 or 6 hours, building the infrastructure of what I hope will be OUR club.  Between learning about Twitter, Facebook, HTML, Hosting services, marketing services, podcasting, blogging and social media best-practices, not to mention keeping up with my club-related reading and film viewing, I am exhausted. The good part is that I love doing the club work. It’s fun. It’s rewarding. But I’m still wiped out each night. If I remain wiped out, I get irritable and miserable, even nasty of temperament, and that’s no good.

So, what do I do?  I watch a cowboy movie or television episode. Thank The Lord for Hopalong Cassidy and Gunsmoke!

Years ago, a friend observed that I was wiped out, grouchy, stressed, etc.. Being a good friend and a professional counselor, one day, at an early morning, Saturday breakfast time, he said, “Rick, what do you really love to do?”

I went along with him. “Reading,” I said.

“What type of material do you love to read? was his next question. I wondered where he was going with all of the questions, but I continued to go along.

“I enjoy reading Civil War and Western History magazines,” I replied.

“Okay,” said he, speaking, now, suddenly, very tender-heartedly, while looking me directly in my eyes, “I want you to intentionally go home, intentionally have fun going through your favorite stack of those magazines,  intentionally forget about all of your concerns and intentionally spend time reading and thoroughly enjoying your magazine!”

Being such a good friend and a skilled counselor, I did as he told me to do. Now, 20 years later, I share, with you, the gift and lesson: be intentional.

I did go home and I did, intentionally, go through my whole stack of magazines, until I discovered my golden selection. I then intentionally thought about where to read it: the neighborhood park.  I then intentionally picked up a nice cup of coffee, intentionally chose a perfect shade tree, intentionally removed my watch and intentionally committed to forgetting concerns, except for enjoying the stories in my magazine. Two hours later, I had finished the magazine, my heart was light, my energy high and I took my wife, Carol, and our kids, Christopher and Sarah, out for a country ride, where we stopped by a pumpkin festival.  I intentionally heeded my good friend’s advice and, through intention, I followed through on my plans and was far better off than I was at the beginning of the day, far better off than I was at the beginning of the year!

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so the saying goes.  But it’s far worse than that, let me tell you. All work and no play makes Jack a miserable, nasty-tempered, tired and stressed out boy. And that eventually causes everyone close to Jack to become miserable, nasty-tempered, tired and stressed out.

What, in life, is not accomplished through intention? Brushing your teeth?  No.  How about going to work? No. The truth is that everything, including your own emotional preservation, has to be done with intention. Intentional PLANNING and intentional FOLLOW THROUGH.

Every day, I intend to spend 30 minutes watching The Rifleman or reading a Western comic book or reading a book on the history of cowboy actors, directors or film making. And my afternoon goes better and I feel better, once I’ve followed through.

Every Friday morning, I intend to get excited about my Saturday afternoon, Hopalong Cassidy Living Room Matinee, with my 27 year-old daughter and my wife.  We are up to Number 6, out of 66 hour-long movies that comprise the whole series, and it is wonderful.  I sit with my feet up, the backyard breezes gently blow the window curtains, we indulge in popcorn and soda, and enjoy Hoppy (William Boyd) and Arizona (Gabby Hayes) engage in friendly bickering and adventure.  A bit of Heaven comes down to our family room. But, did you catch what I said, at the top of this paragraph?  I told you that I “intend,” on Friday, to “get excited” about my Saturday event! Since when do little kids get to be the only ones that get excited about something in the future?  In this regard, and in many others, we need to foster, in ourselves, a sense of being like a little kid.  Be intentional about getting excited!  It helps in many, real ways.  You’ll feel it.

We must recharge, daily and on the weekends. We can do this recharging by spending time with family and friends, going to church and engaging in private, leisure activities, like watching a cowboy movie or reading a cowboy magazine (okay, so I’m biased).  The important thing is that we be intentional about planning and following through.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Encore Westerns Channel is showing Paint Your Wagon, a must see musical western, starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin. If you’re a serious cowboy movie fan, you’ve got to see and hear these guys singing, you’ve got to see this classic film.  Check out the Encore Westerns Channel website for the show times in your area. You gotta love this Encore company!

The movie came out in 1969 and it’s based upon a musical play by Lerner and Loewe.  They’re the same two guys that brought us My Fair Lady, so you can see why the film works.  Eastwood and Marvin are, obviously, not professional singers, but they do a good job and they were wise, good sports to take on these singing roles and do their own vocals.  Actually, Marvin’s rendition of “Wand’rin’ Star” is perfect.  And I still sing the song “They Call The Wind Mariah,” when nobody can hear me, after 40 years. I first saw the flick when I was about 15.

The story sometimes makes me uncomfortable. I won’t say why here, but tell me, later, how you felt about it, but it is set against the 1849 California Gold Rush.  The acting is strong and the cinematography and direction excellent. The title is not offered frequently, so catch it now, if you can. Be intentional.  And if you want to double-up on the re-charging time, watch it with a friend or family member.  Make time for yourself and let me know how you enjoyed the movie.

Here’s a YouTube link to the movie’s trailer (gotta love the web): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBYlM3R9ExA

Well, that’s it for this week.

At some point, later this year, I will be launching the club and then these blogs will probably turn into Alerts that are pushed to members only.  So, when I launch, please join the club and let’s start a revolution. By then, I should have amassed enough of these writings to give folks some insight on whether or not paying for my writings is worth it. But there’ll be a whole lot more than my writings that members will get from a club membership of about $60 a year; you’re gonna love what I’ve got up my sleeve, and I can’t wait to see what elements you members add.

We’re going to work, together, to bring back, into full vigor, our old, beloved friend, the American cowboy movie. I’ve got an unstoppable, strategic plan that has been approved by everyone with whom I’ve shared it. It’s going to work, and working it is going to be a huge blast, and you’re going to be the folks that can say “I was there at the very beginning!”

So, stay tuned in to me, get your cowboy movie (and television) friends to follow me, and I will reveal that unstoppable, strategic plan, over the course of the next few weeks and months.  Pay attention, especially, you devoted, old timers, like me, and pay attention, you young folks!  You young folks are integral to this unstoppable, strategic plan.  I Want You!

In the meantime, from me and my dad (who I lost about 16 months ago), remember its always better to say your nightly prayers laying under a tree, on a starry night. Remember to find something to smile about when you’re feeling down.  Remember to keep this world’s trail dust out of your eyes, because you gotta be able to see to help someone.

-Ricky Bowden






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