Monday, November 22, 2010
What do these people have in common?
* Jackie Gleason -- actor & comedian
* Kate Smith -- singer
* Minnesota Fats -- professional pool player
* Robert James Keeshan -- TV's Captain Kangaroo
* William Conrad -- actor
* Rodney Dangerfield -- actor & comedian
* Santa Claus -- Christmas star
* Cass Elliott -- singer
* John Candy -- actor
* Roseanne Barr -- actress
* Luciano Pavarotti -- opera singer
* Pillsbury Doughboy -- product pitchman
They are or were (some have passed on) overweight!
But do we think of these real people and fictional characters as fatties or do we perceive them as accomplished professionals and lovable imaginary creations?
When I think of Jackie Gleason, for example, I readily think of the Honeymooners TV sit-com, the Smokey and the Bandit movies and his dramatic portrayal as the famous Minnesota Fats.
When I think of Kate Smith and Cass Elliott I think of their beautiful voices raised in song.
And can we ever forget the antics of Captain Kangaroo who provided so much laughter when we were kids?
It is a shame that some overweight people are the harshest critics of others like themselves. But I believe that most overweight people have more respect for others in a similar situation, walking and having walked the proverbial mile in their shoes. Most of us know the frustration, embarrassment and insecurity of being overweight and I believe most of us do not think someone has to be famous for us to understand their plight and to look past their weight to the person they truly are.
So why do people look at some other people and see a person who is overweight and yet look at others and see past their weight? Is it the familiarization they have with those from the list above and others? Is it because of the power of the personalities of the famous people that causes these critics to see them merely as people?
Don't we each want to be judged by who we are and not what we look like? Don't we all want to be respected and treated with dignity despite our weight?
Then let's make it a point not to be one of those critics who find joy in poking fun of others who are heavy but who can not see that they are exactly like those they judge. Let's support others who are trying or who would like to lose weight. Let's show them this site and offer suggestions, if they want them, on healthy eating and exercise. Let's show them the many inspiring stories of people who have lost 25 or 60 or 200 pounds or more. Let's build up their confidence that they, too, can succeed if they try.
In other words, let's apply the Golden Rule and treat others as we would like to be treated. For in lifting up others we gain so much more for ourselves than we can ever give away. If we can help one person who is crying on the inside because of their weight , we will have accomplished something far greater than anything else in the entire world.
We will have given them hope.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"If you are open to it, happiness will find you."
When I posted that to the friend feed this morning I did not anticipate the lesson would present itself today, but I am thankful it did.
As I drove home early this afternoon, I passed an event in a shopping center parking lot. Lots of motorcycles and a smoker pumping out wonderful food smells. Also lots of men and women in black biker gear. But the food smell drew me in. I parked and talked to a few members of the "Wings of Gold" motorcycle club who explained they were having their annual fundraiser -- t-shirts, jewelery and other gift items for sale, raffles and all you cared to eat buffet for $10.00.
I went into the bar/lounge where lunch was set up and was faced with a roomful of black-clad bikers. I was only the third person in there not in biker garb. But I was immediately greeted and welcomed, paid my money and began the circuit of smoked chicken and pork, meatballs (one of my downfalls), various pasta dishes, desserts (I refrained) and numerous other dishes .
I found a table I could stand at, began enjoying the meal, listening to the music played by the live D.J. and looking over the crowd. The longer I was there the more relaxed I became.
Several people passed by and asked how I liked the meal. We talked about the fundraiser and the different charities the club assisted. I finished eating and wandered to the gift tables set up outside, found Christmas presents for my young niece, my firefighter nephew and my sister. Almost bought myself a beautiful black onyx ring but none would fit. Guess I need to lose a few more pounds. Had a nice conversation with the women selling the items and several more bikers who were also looking.
Although I do not frequent bars , one waitress told me that this one was home to a large number of charity fundraisers, often more than once a month. She laughed and said yes when I asked her if I'd be welcome if I didn't drink, unless they had a diet cola .
So, for today, the stereotype biker image was not what I perceived during the time I spent there. The people were friendly and outgoing and the food was absolutely delicious .
Will I stop there again? Not to drink or to hang out, but if there is another fundraiser underway when I pass by, then sure I will. Because, as posted, if we are open to it, happiness will find us, even in unexpected places with people we normally would shy away from. I learned, too, to take people as they come, that friendliness most often draws friendship in return, as does respect and politeness.
I enjoyed 90 minutes of happiness, good food and pleasant conversation I could have easily passed up if I hadn't been open to stopping to ask what was going on.
How about you? It may not be a biker event in a bar, but do you allow yourself to be open to trying things you normally wouldn't? Do you open yourself to happiness?
If not, think of what you could be missing and the people you might meet, perhaps at a yard sale, or church or school bake sale and carnival, a neighborhood get-together or numerous other activities that occur around us every day. All we need to do is open ourselves to new experiences and let the resulting happiness flow through us.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
I read once that the seed is an apple you can't yet see. Much like the thin person inside many of us we can not yet see but the one we dream of every day. Sometimes, though, our dreams lack size and conviction and stymie our progress. Do yours? Or do you believe you can move mountains with enough determination?
Victor Hugo admonished that we should "Dream no small dream." Do you dream and think big like the cartoon character Hagar the Horrible? One day Hagar and his young son sat on a log together as Hagar tried to teach the boy about the magic of thinking big. For an example, Hagar held up a string with a peanut tied to its end. "What's this?" he asked his son. "A string with a peanut on it," was the reply. "No," Hagar said, "it's an elephant lure."
Many people dream small dreams and have small goals because they have never allowed themselves to believe they could attain greatness. Their lives have been ones of insignificance and lack of accomplishments. They do not believe they can reach skyward and grab a star .
This is the thinking we need to wipe off the slates of our minds. We need to imagine grandiose challenges and develop a conviction deep in our souls that we can not only reach those challenges but surpass them.
Dreams have no expiration date. We may not reach our goals and fulfill our dreams overnight. Nothing worthwhile rarely is. But if we keep our eyes wide open, our focus straight ahead and realize that some dreams may take a lifetime to come true, we will eventually reach higher plateaus than we would have ever believed possible.
Imagine the first space scientists gathered in an obscure lab discussing space travel. Is it believable that their goal was to build a ship that could reach the clouds ? Of course not. They dreamed of reaching the moon and Mars and beyond to undiscovered galaxies. They thought and dreamed big and consequently have capsules still racing through space after years of high-speed travel.
Dream big. Allow your mind to be unfettered from the constraints others will try to put on your thinking. Naysayers are plentiful. Ignore their small-minded thinking. Pursue life with vigor and steadfast determination. Believe that nothing is impossible. Believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Yes, seeds are apples in disguise. Johnny Appleseed knew this as he sowed his fields. He didn't dream of one apple tree but had a big dream of an entire landscape covered with such trees.
So, when we experience those moments when our faith is tested, our resolve is weak and our determination falters, let us remember that those small seeds can create enormous orchards that feed multitudes of people and remind ourselves to dream BIG!
Friday, November 19, 2010
Have you ever felt like a dinosaur, out of touch with the world? I did recently.
I was sorting through some of Mom's things from after she died and discovered a large collection of 45 and 33 1/3 rpm records. I put the ones I had with them, set up a record player and listened to music as I went through more boxes. Then I made the mistake that really made me feel as outdated as an old Model-T Ford -- I called my young nephew and held the phone so he could hear the record.
"Hey, Bobby, how do like this music?"
"Pretty cool, uncle Lou. What radio station is that?"
"It's not a radio station, it's a record."
"What's a record?" This from a boy whose younger brothers and sister barely remember cassette tapes as preoccupied as they are with their I-pods and MP-3 players.
Talk about an having old-timer moment.
That's how the world is today. Advancements in technology occur nearly every day, making it difficult for some people to keep up and to keep from feeling outdated.
But there is one very important way we can overcome such feelings -- stay in touch with people. Call them, email them , send cards and actual letters, meet for lunch or church or group activities. People are real, with emotions and feelings that machines can never express.
When you are happy , real people, your friends, family, co-workers will be happy for you. When you are feeling down , a close friend can be a supportive sounding board. People are what is important in this technologically advanced world, not machines.
We can love a person and have that love returned . No machine can do that. We can share joy with a person, joy that a machine can not comprehend. It is people that keep us grounded, not machines. Experiencing the thrill of holding a new-born baby , getting married , sharing our life's achievements and disappointments with a person provides us with the human contact we all need. No machine can do that.
So, yes, some of us may feel like dinosaurs as far as technology goes, but as long as we remember it is people who enrich us, we will forever be far from extinct.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
As I looked at this picture of some gorgeous flowers in Japan, I was struck by the tree's shape, sort of bent and gnarled and curved over, not at all the perfect posture of the majestic Redwoods in California or other trees around the world that reach straight toward the sky .
But, to me, this tree's attraction lies in it's obvious imperfection and it reminded me of how many of us are judged by others because of our imperfections, such as being overweight or balding or too short or taller than average or because of a physical deformity or for numerous other superficial reasons.
When people judge like that, I believe they deprive themselves of seeing true beauty that is visible if we accept that not everything nor everyone is perfect. We're all different sizes, drive different age vehicles, live in different kinds of homes, wear different clothes, have different types of jobs, or no job, and a plethora of other differences that make each of us unique.
So, why are some people so quick to judge?
Could it be because they, themselves, feel insecure and think by demeaning or belittling or judging others that they in turn will then feel better about themselves?
But imagine what the world would be like if all of us wore the same clothes, same colors, same shoes, drove the same kind of car , lived in the same kind of home , were the exact same height and weight. It would be a pretty bland and boring world, wouldn't it?
When we see someone who is not "perfect" let's look at them for their inner beauty and their strength of character. Like looking at a Bonsai tree versus a Redwood versus an orange tree or like the one above whose beauty is a result of the effect of years of nature upon it.
We age and change appearance. We are thin and we are heavy
. We have smooth skin and skin that sags. Changes occur and there is nothing we can do to stop them, changes that mold us into the individual people we are, full of experiences and knowledge and skills that are vastly different from those of all other people in the history of the world .
When we are tempted to judge someone for one or more of their traits, let's remember the picture of the tree, a tree that is bent and gnarled and curved over and see beyond it's imperfection to it's natural beauty and realize people are just like that tree, if we only look past their so-called imperfections.
Get An Email Alert Each Time IUHRYTR Posts