Monday, April 05, 2010
By all accounts Saturday should have been picture perfect. Joan and I went to the mall with our granddaughter where she got her very own personalized Chicago Cubs baseball hat and as a bonus Grandma Joan took her on the carousel. The carousel is conveniently located right in the middle of the food court, (Funny how that worked out, huh?) so that no matter which way you choose to turn you are faced with a lot of things that, well, they are just not good for you. Cookies, pizza, steak on a stick with greasy, cheesy potatoes……
I sat at a table while they rode the carousel. I waved every time they passed by. All of a sudden out of now where, as I sat in that there with temptation taunting me at each turn, I was overwhelmed with frustration.
“Is this what it’s supposed to be like forever?” I wondered. “I’m gonna sit here and just be so overwhelmed because my lunch choice is starvation or a slow death by watching my arteries close centimeter by centimeter?”
It had been a hectic morning. I had a really quick breakfast. It was healthy but it was quick. The ride to the Mall normally takes forty minutes but because of road construction and a very odd detour it took us ninety. The parking lot was full. It just went on and on and on. By the time this wave of frustration hit me I had originally planned on lunch right around then.
Spending time with a very energetic four year old can make you forget whatever else you are preoccupied with. There is no classification in the Spark Exercise section for “Chasing a grandchild all over hells half acre.” I forgot about being overwhelmed until I woke up around five Sunday morning.
I lie in bed trying to orient myself when this voice inside of me said very quietly but emphatically, “Don’t forget about your dreams.”As far as I knew, I didn’t have any dreams last night.
“Oh, THOSE dreams.”
Sometimes I get so caught up in the calorie counting, the search for better food, the different sort of exercises, the weigh in’s, the challenges and all that really positive and tangible stuff that I forget about my dreams. My dreams are what make this march towards health worthwhile. My dreams are the real reason I do all this. My dreams become the pay off foe all the hard work and the frustration I feel at times.
Before I met all you wonderful folks and began Sparking; my dreams consisted mostly of really bitter thoughts about how I had been cheated out of a lot of things in life because I was fat, and lazy. Never mind I was the person shoving all that food in his mouth and never mind that I was the clown laying on the couch, belching and wanting to take three naps on a Saturday afternoon because the sugar he just ingested would supply a small country for about a week. It weren’t my fault, it was God’s fault, fates fault and whatever president was currently in offices fault. It was never mine. Dream were something you had at night, and most of them scared the snot out of me.
When I started the journey to locate John and remember who he was under that molten mountain of chocolate and fried foods I started to dream, dreams again. It’s the stuff that keeps my engines revving. It gets me excited. All of this reminded me that along with the nutrition and the exercise equally important is locating the authentic me.
My dreams are achievable and all of them depend on me being John again and that is my biggest John does a lot of cool things that are all part of his dreams!! Those dreams are what sustain me when that wave of frustration over whelms me and makes me feel like I am stuck in quick sand.
One of the things we are asked to do when we begin the Spark journey is to make a collage. That collage represents our dreams. Successful people know that this journey isn’t about simple endurance; it is about that “spark,” that deep down motivation that is our dreams.
What about your dreams? How often do you think about them? Do you dust them off every now and then and recall how they get your juices flowing? I am guilty of forgetting and when I do, I begin to lose focus.
The biggest lesson I learned from all of this? Invite my dreams out for a cup of coffee once a week and get to know them better. They are as important to me as the air I breathe.
I’ll share one:
I hope you see your dreams come true too!!!!
Saturday, April 03, 2010
My very first video blog. I have never done this before so I am not sure how the quality will show up on your computer.
Friday, April 02, 2010
My granddaughter is coming for Easter. This is wonderful on so many levels. First, the energy level ramps up tenfold in the house when she is around. Don’t make any plans for “me” time” unless it directly relates to her. The term whirlwind is an understatement. When you are four and a half there in an unlimited supply of energy and the dirtiest word in your vocabulary is “nap.” (As I get older it’s becoming my favorite word!!!)
She brings something really unique to the table. It revolves around the glow in her eyes and the fact that she really believes in magic. Not the kind of magic you see on infomercials, the kind of magic a four year old believes in. She knows there is an Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. No, she has never seen them or talked to them. (She has known since age three that the voice on the other end of the phone is not Santa but me) She knows what the rules are and she is happy to abide by them. She will walk into my office count the pictures she drew that hang on my wall, produce one more from behind her back and walk away with the smug satisfaction there will never be room for a Picasso or Monet as long as her art work is hanging there.
She calls just to say hello and there are always lots of giggles and “I love you's.”
She believes in the magic of life. She believes in having fun. There are no deadlines, no bills no worries about economies, healthcare and military involvement in a strange land. She goes to the park and immediately creates relationships with the hundred other kids vying for the slide, swing and monkey bars and they spend about fifteen seconds working everything out and viola the fun begins and doesn’t end until some adult who is tired of sitting on a wooden park bench comes to end it.
She simply believes in magic and it oozes out of her pours every time you talk to her. There is a “what can we do next” look on her face all the time along with high anticipation of fun. Too bad we can’t hold onto that for eternity. The day will come when the mantle of maturity will be thrust upon her and she will be miserable like all the rest of us. She’ll watch CNN and FOX and all those other purveyors of doom and she will grow sad.
Not if I can help it. Next to my wife, my granddaughter has taught me more about life in her short tenure here on this planet than anyone else I know.
I know longer watch the news. If I am going to be upset with someone or a group of someone’s I am going to arrive at that conclusion all on my own. A few weeks ago she sat down with me and gave me one of those “we have to talk.” looks. I had been pulling her braid when she turned her back to me.
“Pappy,” she began. “If you don’t quit doing that, then I am not going to play with you anymore.” She smiled, gave me a hug and turned around again. Case closed. Do what you are supposed to do or I don’t roll with you. I won’t lose any sleep over it and please be quiet I am watching a cartoon and oh yeah I love you.
I watch the weather and the sports scores. I read things that lift me up not weigh me down. I make a conscious effort every single day to find something mystical and magical about my life and the people in it. I am “growing down.”
My granddaughter has taught me to believe in the true power of the beauty of this world and most of the people in it. She causes me to look for magic and fun as I look for health and happiness. She shows me it’s not found in the pages of Fortune, Forbes or The Wall Street Journal, but in a quiet afternoon, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk.
So I take you my dear Sparkies with me today and challenge you to look only for the magic today because it’s been waiting for you to acknowledge it in your life
Big Hug, big grin.
Wanna go play on the swings?
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
We all recall our major victories. The first time we were able to walk, run, cycle or swim without feeling like we were going to die. Maybe it was the first time we stepped on the scale and saw that the hard work, education and determination was really starting to pay off. We keep them close at hand, because we know there are those moments when we need them to help keep the momentum going forward.
What about the small victories? The daily things that if you had to explain them to another person it might take all darn day and you fear they still might walk away scratching their heads going “What the heck was he talkin’ about?” the things that mean something only to us.
We will have gray days. They are days when no matter how many mantra’s we utter, how many invocations we pronounce, we still feel all blah. We behave in a robotic manner and method. I call it “walking through green jello.” You read blogs and postings and Oh yes………… you want to Spread The Spark, just maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Wonder what my calendar looks like for 2011?
I am learning to identify and savor the small daily victories. They are the good decisions I make on a daily basis that no one notices but me. I might be the only one who gets something from them but sometimes, despite the wonderful support I get from those who love me, (That includes you.) I still need that little push only I can give.
I would like to share a small victory with you from yesterday.
I went to dinner with a client at a restaurant I had eaten at many times before. It’s not the kind of restaurant one of the spark coaches would sing praises about. Exceptionally good food, but possibly the only healthy thing about it is the sign that exhorts you to wash your hands when you leave the restroom. The owner knows me as do some of the serving staff. So when I walked in last night, and they gave me the “Gee we haven’t seen you in forever,” and all the big hugs being spread around it was a good feeling.
I know they have chicken on the menu. It’s just hidden between the steaks and chops. I dodged that bullet successfully with chicken and steamed veggies plus a small salad. The worst was yet to come. This restaurant has a dessert tray to die for. I suspect a few people have given the massive sugar content.
There were eight of us at the table. Our server went around the table. I could hear my heart pounding. “What ya gonna do dude?” (That voice always sounds like Hulk Hogan) The server is standing right next to me and she looks down.
I am looking down at the table. Moment of truth, mano a mano.
She looks like someone just left her a three dollar tip on a hundred dollar bill. Five minutes later here comes the owner. He leans over to me:
“Everything okay John? You didn’t order dessert.”
“Everything is fine Mickey.”
He bustled away to greet someone else. I had a cup of coffee, enjoyed the convo with my dinner companions and gosh I felt good. I wanted to stand up in the restaurant and do the Tiger Woods fist pump.
I know it’s a small victory. I got back to my hotel and told Joan about it when I called her to say good night.
“You know,” she said. “It’s okay to have a bit of dessert every now and then just as long as you don’t go overboard.”
“I know, but not tonight.”
A very small victory but one that carries me into today. One that I can dig out when I need and give myself one of those “Hang on a second John, remember when…..” Joan was right, there is nothing wrong with a little dessert every now and then
This journey isn’t about punishment.
But I had to know I could resist the urge and temptation and it may be a small thing but I am all grins, and its not even six am yet.
Look out world
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