Wednesday, March 10, 2010
When I am not blogging or writing I actually do work. I don’t call it work. I call it getting paid to have fun. It was a goal of mine for a long time and about ten years ago it came true. It was the culmination of dreaming and believing in a lot principles and ideas when other people gave me one of those odd sort of looks. The thing about my job that I enjoy the most is guiding people through a process that helps them reach their goals and objectives. It doesn’t matter whether they are personal or professional goals, just as long as they reach them. I believe that when we start reaching our goals it becomes a legal steroid for our self esteem.
Most of our goals are long term goals that require a lot of effort and diligence and all the really great stuff we learn from each other every day here in Sparkville. They are noble and worthy goals and just talk to anyone who has reached one of those goals and they will puff their chests out with pride. But they do require us using an awful lot of our internal resources to reach them. If you are not in a habit of enjoying your successes you can run out of steam in a hurry… just ask me!!! I know from personal experience.
What do you want to do that’s fun? I mean right now, while you are reading this blog. What’s your daydream? (I keep wishing for a full head of hair) Why don’t you do it?
A goal can be something as simple as planning a day of shopping with some friends or going to an athletic event. It is something to look forward to, something to be excited about. I know tracking every last bit of food that goes into my mouth is important but I don’t get up in the morning look at Joan and say “I am so looking forward to tracking my food today, honey. Care to join me?” I look to have some sort of fun to look forward to each day.
A good goal should provide us with stimulation. I had two very crazy short term, fun goals. I wanted to be in the nightly parade at Disneyland and I wanted to have my picture taken with Snow White. I achieved both goals. I have a pin to prove I got to march in the daily parade. (I got to dance with some large bug) There is a picture on my desk of Snow White and I. (The cast member who was portraying her did an excellent job. She asked me where I was from and when I told her Kentucky, she asked me if I had come all that way on horseback!)
Big deal John. I agree. But it was fun planning them and I got to tell my friends and family about them and my children still roll their eyes when I bring them up. They caused me to ask myself what else I could do? It got me in the habit of setting goals, reaching them and in the process feeling better about myself.
I am getting healthy so I can be happy. Losing weight, working out, and smoking cessation are all activities that help us reach our goals. They are a valuable means to a wonderful end. This is the most important lesson I have learned so far in this journey. All of the things I do every single day are activities that will lead me towards my life goals.
That’s why I am in the habit of setting daily and weekly goals that serve no one but me. They are fun things but every day when I flip over a calendar page I have something to look forward to. And I do. Then I put a gold star after my name because I deserve it.
I hope you do to.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
My wife looked over my shoulder as I typed the heading and said, ‘Are you sure “undependant” is a word?”
I laughed. “It is now.”
I am a dependant person. In many ways I depend on the good things in my life. They are as someone once said “the fabric that is me.” They are my family, my friends, both three dimensional and virtual. They are my principles and my values. They are my compass. Without them I just drift.
I have struggled with my weight for what seems like a life time. My self esteem was tied to that number. If it went down I was wonderful. If it went up I was a complete and total failure which meant it was time to bring out the donuts, which meant thirty minutes later I was in a sugar induced state of depression contemplating my total and complete lack of value. I was so ashamed. Here I am this bright eloquent, charming person, who is so quick to help others and he can’t even help himself. I would look in the mirror and I would avert my eyes. If you really knew me you would hate me.
I was dependant on a number of things but mostly the scale. It ruled my life. Ever go weigh yourself before you decided whether to have a candy bar or a piece of fruit? Ever get to feeling kind of shaky and go to the scale to make yourself feel better? Ever go buy a new scale because the perfectly good one you have had for only a month, “just couldn’t be right?”
I would begin a diet and my total and complete self esteem was tied in to “the number.” If it was a big one, I would do the happy dance. If it was a gain I questioned my entire worth. I would dread weigh in day. I was dependant.
I don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, I am conscious of what the scale says. It just doesn’t control me the way it used to. How come?
In the past three months I have worked very hard on discovering myself. As one of my Spark Friends said, “Flying high sure beats digging deep.” Amen. It’s nice to stand up and cheer, give yourself gold stars when things are going well. It’s difficult to dig the foundation to sustain those wonderful feelings. But every time we find some dingy old box in our metaphorical basement shouldn’t we give ourselves a gold star anyway?
What was I really saying when I looked in the mirror? I was questioning my value as a human being. It wasn’t about the additional hundred pounds hanging off my frame it was the lack of value I saw in myself. This stunned me because I have always prided myself on being positive and upbeat and all that other cool stuff. It was a wakeup call.
I am working very hard on being happy. The weight loss is a manifestation of my happiness. Yes, I weigh once a week, but with each successive week I am less and less dependent on what that number says. I am building confidence in what I do during the week. I am beginning to know that if I follow “my plan” I will get good results.
I believe in me. I believe in what I am doing. I spend forty minute each day exercising. I would like it to be at the same time each day but it always isn’t. Some people I know tell me I should push myself harder, do more, be more. I will, when I am ready for it.
I have a plan and my plan allows me to grow which allows me to shrink. I couldn’t have done it without starting to live a complete life that wasn’t dependant on a lot of negative factors.
My journey is blessed by my family, by my friends and by this wonderful process I have embraced.
I am “Undependent.”
Monday, March 08, 2010
Steve was orphaned at birth. He spent the first eighteen years of his life in orphans homes. At age eighteen he joined the Navy. After four years in the Navy, Steve used the G.I Bill to become a gemologist or as we call them, a jeweler. Steve lead a comfortable life in a major Midwestern city until the day Sadie called.
Sadie was one of Steve’s “high end customers.” After forty years of marriage Sadie and her husband were getting a divorce. Sadie had caught her husband in the back seat of their Lincoln with a young lady of questionable virtue and a significant amount of marijuana. In the divorce settlement Sadie was now the proud owner of an industrial manufacturing company. She didn’t know anything about running a company nor did she want to. So she called the only person she really trusted, her jeweler.
Sadie’s instructions were clear. Get the place ready to sell. Since her husband’s interests lied elsewhere for the past five years or so things weren’t in great shape. Steve, by his own admission, didn’t have a clue. He was a jeweler.
He told me years later that he tried very hard to employ basic common sense. Apparently it worked. Eighteen months after taking over the company was showing a profit and all of a sudden Sadie didn’t mind owning a manufacturing company.
I asked Steve one time what motivated him and he shared with me that his life was a series of challenges and just as soon as he would deal with one challenge another would pop up. He had no family, no real friends when he was growing up.
He opened his desk drawer, smiled at me and pulled out a sheet of paper.
“I found this when I was in seventh grade. I am not sure who wrote it but you can keep it. I have plenty more.” He said.
A copy is hanging on my office wall. I have sent it to countless friends over the years. I share it with you this morning because it seems so appropriate in our journey towards health.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are.
It maybe near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit!
Steve has been dead for close to five years, but I wont ever forget his lesson. Have a good Monday
Sunday, March 07, 2010
I decided to change my workout music yesterday. I was getting tired of listening to the same stuff. It’s not that the music is bad but when you have 1,256 songs on your IPod you can choose from a wide selection. So as I am walking around the track I decided to go old school --- Kansas. I had always liked their music and it has a good beat. Maybe it was where I was emotionally yesterday but the words to the first song, The Wall, caused me to literally stop in my tracks. It went something like this:
“I'm woven in a fantasy, I can't believe the things I see
The path that I have chosen now has led me to a wall
And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost
It rises now before me, a dark and silent barrier between
All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
Okay, so I am not your average run of the mill, sweating to the oldies sort of guy. I’ll bet I have heard that song a hundred times and never really listened to it. And please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about gloom and doom. Quite the contrary. As I finished my exercise here is what I came up with, and it caused me to smile.
If you had told me a year ago that a forty five pound weight loss would be number four or five on the list of things I was proudest of I would have suggested you go get drug screened. I am very happy with my progress, so far. I am happier about the person I am becoming. I am becoming John. I am slowly, but surely getting rid of those things that are keeping me from being and doing all the great things I want to do. I believe my self awareness is what is driving my healthier life style. I have always believed in this but I never knew how to put it all together. But as I listened to the song a few times I realized that there was this wall between” All I am and all that I ever want to be.”
No blame. That’s hard not to do. I have to let go of the blame and I have to realize that things were as they were just as they are now as they are. No one is too blame for being unhealthy other than me. No ones to blame for poor habits
other than me. No one is too blame for all the excuses, except me. There is a wall.
I went to church last night and I thanked God, for that minor revelation. I saw, as I prayed “What I needed to do.” Or so I think.
Just about that time my inner voice spoke four words: “A Moment of Faith.” Between me and you I hate it when that happens.
The wall comes down during that one moment of faith when I made the choice to just have faith just let go. It was God saying “Give it all to me John. You can’t handle all of it anyway.’
Inside of me there was this uncomfortable silence. I had always thought an entire host of angels, saints and assorted holy people would show up at this moment and cheer. Instead it sat before me, a decision. I heard this voice tell me I was loved no matter what.
“All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
So I let go. It is really hard for me to explain the next few minutes. I felt this tremendous sense of release along with this awesome feeling of awe. I just sat there and it was like everything was okay. Then I got scared to death. Then I started crying. Joan is used to me crying so she just patted my arm. The lady on the other side of me probably finished Mass in the next county.
I am not the rose colored glasses type of person. I am not trying to make this all sweet and surgery. It was inside of me another moment of awareness and peace. Without being disrespectful it was a holy moment.
I offer this to you not as a “Look at me aren’t I wonderful sort of moment.” I offer it as a sign that no matter what happens, no matter how often we stumble fall or fail, that one moment of faith can sustain us for a long time. I was faced with a decision. I want to be healthy and happy and I want to help other people do the same. I will never be perfect but as I learn to use my gifts and talents, I can become a ray of hope to others
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Before I write this morning post I want to stop and thank those of you who posted responses to my blog on healing yesterday. It is my normal practice to respond individually to each person with a short note. However, lol, I did not get home from my trip last night until close to 8pm and I was tired. So please accept this universal thanks for all of your support, your comments and especially your love.
Sometimes I think I would rather feel just plain old miserable as opposed to feeling “off.” As I said yesterday I hadn’t been with Karen for awhile and while I wasn’t really anxious, I wasn’t my usual confident self. You might say I loathed what I thought might happen. At any rate, things got worse before they got better. When I walked into the office yesterday, Karen’s secretary commented on how good I looked, wanted to know what I was doing to lose weight. I told her how much weight I had lost and she did a sort of fist pump and said “Go John.”
Karen was standing in her office door and made a scowling motion with her face. Her secretary looked at me and whispered, “Sorry!!!” I took a bit of consolation in the fact that I am not the only person Karen has a hard time getting along with.
I am not sure what I was expecting to happen yesterday. My goal was to get through the day civilly. I had this nagging feeling inside of me that there was something here I was supposed to learn. I was just missing it.
I had lunch with one of Karen’s coworkers. He and I hadn’t talked in a long time. He lost a family member recently and is going through some serious health issues. He told me once that outside of his family I know more about him than anyone else. So as we sat and ate our lunch, he just let everything spill out. As I listened to him I began to think. “How damn selfish you are, John.”
I mean, I am worried about some very small and petty ongoing argument I have with someone and this guy is stuck in a well of despair. It made me recall exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
My motto has become “Helping Good People Become Better” I do that by bringing hope to people in situations where they may not see the hope. That’s my “gift.” I gave up trying to figure it out a long time ago. I just do it.
I took my eye off of the ball. I was so worried about Karen and what she’d say or what she’d do that I’d miss that I may have missed a lot of opportunities to be present to other people who’s need to heal was just as great as mine.
I went back to our afternoon interview session and I wasn’t worried about anything other than the six people I was charged with interviewing, and yes they took a little longer than normal because I made a very conscious effort to be present to those people who were sitting across the table from me and not worry about what Karen thought. I felt whole. I felt like I had done the right thing.
On the way home it struck me that I will never change the way Karen thinks or feels, all I can do is be present. All I can do is in the truest sense of the word, love.
While there is a lot of water under the bridge and while I don’t think we will ever be best buddies I think I can look at her as the child of God she is and begin to heal that hurt inside of me.
The humor God presented to me is that the real healing here has to come from inside of me. Then I am more capable of being present to other people.
"Just love and let God worry about the rest."
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