Be Productively Relaxed in your Pursuits

This is my favorite photo of my dad and me. Gazing at it always brings me comfort. I can’t count the number of times I’ve visited with him there… now is one more.

Amid these tumultuous times…

I am inspired by an experience my dad shared with me about an epiphany he had when he was a 47 year old man… a revelation he experienced while solitary skiing along a secluded cross country trail. Things were not at all easy. He had been working through difficult times that created, what seemed like, insurmountable tenseness and anxiety.

The key for his willingness to transform parts of his life came when he stopped on the snow trail and looked up through the trees. Daddy described how a word came to him, born in the moment…


From a single word, my father found a level of self-awareness he admitted he hadn’t expected to find that day…

“It’s a very naked feeling when one realizes what a small life he’s lived… and that a completely new approach has to be evolved.

I’m somewhere now- moving painfully, slowly in a better direction… I’m reaching the point where I’m about to set new goals. No pursuit can be accomplished on a predictable and continuous basis without going about it in a productively relaxed manner.”

Alex C. McLean

Forty-six years later, abrupt changes in political, social, and health norms create, what can feel like, insurmountable tenseness and anxiety in my life. I thank my dad for sharing his life-changing experience… written in a letter I received from him in 1974. I’m grateful to be able to hold his words in my hands. He’d be pleased to know how much his letter still means to me. My dad always could put difficult times into perspective. These are, to use my dad’s words, those naked-feelings times. I sense that, at some point, we all will conclude that new approaches have to be evolved in order for our lives to go forward in a civilized, healthy, respectful, productive, and meaningful manner.

I believe if I can apply his revelation to approach the social, political, civil and Covid-19 pandemic challenges, “in a productively relaxed manner,” I will be better able to go about setting those new goals. My hope is to grow and view the world with goals that result from unbiased judgment.

Love, justice, equality, health, kindness, growth, understanding, and compassion are not to be taken for granted. Thank you, Dad, for inspiration… I will do my best to demonstrate willingness to move in better directions.