Pipe Smoke, Clarity, and Black Coffee.

You can look just about anywhere in the self improvement community and see people talking about it. They will swear that it has changed their quality of life and how they couldn’t imagine life without it as being paramount to their sanity and mental health.

So what am I talking about?


Now, hold up before you roll your eyes and stop reading. I get the same way when I see it, too. I imagine sitting eyes closed, cross-legged on the floor with candles in a completely silent room. And just like you, I think to myself, “Who the hell has the time for all of that?”

As for me, I run a business, I work a job that demands over 50 hours a week, I have a wife, nine children, and a really big dog. How exactly am I supposed to get all of that taken care of and still “meditate”? Besides, that’s just a bunch of hokey eastern medicine crap, right?

Well, the problem is that I had the wrong idea about meditating. Turns out, I had been doing it all along.

The older I get, the more hectic life becomes with owning a business and being a family man. I have found that setting aside time to be completely alone with myself has become more and more important. With so many different things pulling me in all directions at once, it can be difficult to face them effectively if I’m not in the right mindset.


Every morning I wake up at the same time before everyone else. I get myself ready, make a pot of coffee, grab a cup, and head out onto the porch. Once outside, I just stand there quietly. While sipping my coffee and smoking my pipe, I listen to the train in the distance, the corvids, and other creatures that have taken up residence in the woods around my property. I soak it all in being sure to not let my mind wander to some unchecked box on a to do list. I stay in that moment. A Man standing on the porch, drinking black coffee and enjoying his pipe.

These few hours each morning do more for my state of mind than anything else in my life. The silence and the fresh air help to peel back the layer of funk leftover from the previous day and allow me the freedom of all obligation and worry. In the winter, the struggle to endure the frigid air is an added and welcome distraction from the long list of tasks that lie ahead.

Truthfully, I enjoy it in the winter more than any other time. Standing there in the cold with the wind in my face as I try to keep warm is a daily dose of much needed voluntary discomfort. A discomfort that is missing from the lives of many today. Spending our lives in comfort has softened us and taken away the satisfaction that comes from victory over anything uncomfortable.

Isn’t that a shame?

Think about it. When was the last time that you felt GOOD because you accomplished something hard? If it’s been a while, there’s a chance that it is bleeding over into other aspects of your life and you can feel deep inside you that you’re missing something. That is what those dark and cold hours alone on my porch bring me every day. The calling in my soul to endure the elements as is Mans very nature.

That’s my meditation.

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