Friday, December 14, 2012
Every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas I take some time to reflect on what I accomplished this past year and what I am looking forward to in the next year. I shut down the computers, turn off the cell phone and let everyone near and dear know I'll be out of touch for a bit but I'm okay. Some of it is positive, some painful to review but always, always insightful and loaded with learning.
One year I went to Disneyland in Anaheim and sat on Tom Sawyer island at a picnic table for hours on end just soaking up the energy that flowed from that place. Later I found a small park right outside of Newport Beach. It looked out on to the ocean and I saw the most amazing rock formation reflect a late afternoon sun.
When I finish I have my mission statement for the next year. I share it with clients and friends and this year, after a good few days on my deck, I'll share it with you.
Sunday, December 09, 2012
(If you are looking for warm and fuzzy, soft, uplifting and encouraging this day please stop reading. This blog is designed to make you (and me) very uncomfortable, introspective and finally moved to take some sort of action. I warned ya.)
It’s not about us.
It’s not about the Spark points, the fitness minutes or the consistency awards. It’s not how many times are angelic mugs are held up as examples of health. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, blogs you write or weight you’ve lost. A family living in an abandoned vehicle will never know or much less care.
What matters is how much hope you find within yourself and how much of that hope you share with others.
We’re a selfish group aren’t we, so immersed in personal achievement, so justified in our journey and our many goals and we fail to look to either side and see those who haven’t quite put it together as of yet. Our role, our goal is to bring hope. The larger picture, the fiscal cliffs, the malaise and despair in our world dictates that you and I give and give and give. Instead we smugly take. We “deserve” laud, honor and praise for putting both feet on the ground each day and breathing. At least that’s what we say to ourselves.
Please, please don’t respond to this blog by telling me, chapter and verse, of all the great things you do for yourself and others. I’ll counter with a tome larger than War and Peace of my perceived greatness, love and giving. It is not now and never will be enough. We were placed on this plane of existence to give to each other, not doubt, be skeptical and withhold. If we gave enough hope to the person beside us then the world would look, taste and smell just like the greeting cards.
Yeah, you’ve worked long and hard. Go look in the mirror, smile, doff your cap, take a bow, do whatever. Yeah, you are special, acknowledge your gifts and talents and the light you bring to this world and please and very kindly get over it. Go find someone sweating quietly, overcoming insurmountable obstacles each and every day simply to exist and survive. Look for someone who was abandoned, lost and has given up. Go find them!!!
Bring them hope, and be that hope
Thursday, December 06, 2012
We all have our morning rituals. Mine involves a bit of prayer, a bit of meditation and then I read from the revised and expanded “Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia” by Rob Brezsny. It’s one of those books you can sit on your lap, and page through in a leisurely fashion. There’s no chronological order, you skim through the chapters and glean something that’ll start your day in the right way. If you get an opportunity, pick up copy. Pronoia, by the way, is the positive practice of ridding our universe of paranoia. Be warned it involves smiling and laughing and actually reaching out to other people, some of whom you may not even know ----- Yet. That brings me to this morning’s story.
Elaine works at McDonald’s. She works from midnight until eight in the morning. Most of the time, she works the drive-through window. If you are a fortuitous student of my previous blogs you are aware that each morning I get Joan a cup of coffee and myself a glass of unsweetened tea to begin our day. We’ve gotten to know Elaine well. So well, in fact, that when I pull up to the drive-through all I need to say is “The usual.” Elaine has a rough job. She stands in a window all night with little to no human contact and sometimes I believe, that wears you out as much as hard labor. Elaine is a little older than I am, her kids have all left town and with her quirky sense of humor once told me that her husband left long before the kids did. This morning, as with every morning, Elaine and I exchanged our obligatory greeting and as I handed her the money I notice she was grinning wide. “Why are you in such a good mood?” I asked, “It’s really been a beautiful day.” She responded. “I got to spend yesterday with two of my favorite nieces and we went to the animal shelter and I came home with not only one, but two kittens. I let them sleep with me yesterday afternoon. It was a good day off.”
Her smile was so serene, so content and soul full of Pronoia. I drove away happy, humming a little tune knowing my day started in an amazing way. As we hustle and bustle through this time a year it’s good to know there are people in this world like Elaine who take some positive and simple joy from curling up with two kittens and then share that joy with the rest of us.
I warned you. Pronoia involves smiling and laughing and actually reaching out to other people, some of whom you may not even know ----- Yet.
Monday, December 03, 2012
It all started when I made the decision switch from peanut butter to cream cheese on my whole grain, low fat waffle. I made the move because, after all, cream cheese has less calories and peanut butter. A day later, I noticed a weird rash developing around my elbows on the back of my knees. At first, I wrote it off to being heat rash from running in and out of the gym and not being very dry. However, the rash persisted, and it was driving me crazy.
My doctor told me she was 90% sure that I had some sort of reaction to what I was eating. She sent me, to an allergist. Let me say right off, that I really appreciated the allergist’s common sense approach to dealing with this issue. He told me that I had two options: I could go through a series of painful tests that would determine what foods I might have sensitivities or allergies to or I could begin a food elimination diet. He gave me some literature to read and suggested a hierarchy of food sensitivities in the order they most occur. They are as follows: dairy, red meat, sugar, and gluten. He suggested I begin by eliminating dairy from my diet and monitoring the reactions. I walked out of his office thinking “No problem!” That, I found out, was easier said than done. I was not aware of how many things that went in my mouth actually contained a dairy product and to add to my pain and suffering I never realized just how much I would miss cheese! I am originally from the state of Wisconsin, you know, “the Dairy State.” I had this image of the state fathers driving me to the state line in pointing towards Illinois banishing me and allowing me never to return. I would no longer be a Cheese Head.
I have been at this elimination diet for a week now, and the rashes have disappeared and a pleasant byproduct is that I feel significantly better. I will tell you, however, that it’s been a bit of an adventure finding things I can eat that won’t produce a negative reaction. Saturday evening I took a bite of a piece of peanut butter pie Katie had made and was itching all over in about 15 minutes. So a new and exciting journey begins and I really hope it’s dairy, LOL, because I don’t want to have to get rid of anything else.
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