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
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sometimes this journey is so happy and so full of joy as we move forward that we forget about the pain.
It may come in a snide comment, a giggle or an odd look. Someone may comment on a part of our anatomy and all the good will and all the self esteem we have built up inside of ourselves over the preceding days, weeks and months goes right in the trash can. We over hear people who we thought were our friends make remarks about our weight or our eating habits because I mean if we are overweight we have to be eating like some sort of barn yard animal. We send furtive prayers to heaven and fight to hold the tears back.
No matter how much my wife tells me how proud she is of my progress, no matter how many friends and clients say “wow,” all it takes is one insensitive jerk to send my self esteem crashing down like a paper house. Yes, I am overweight. Yes, I did have poor eating habits. I am changing that.
Why do you take so much joy in making me feel miserable? You are scared. You read correctly Mr. or Ms Insensitive Jerk. You are scared of something you can’t explain and so you comfort yourself by belittling me.
What are you scared of? You are scared you are going to look like me one day and like some ancient sort of voodoo religion you grind me down in front of other people in the hope that it will act as some sort of antidote. I mean, my goodness, what if you gain fifty pounds and lose all your friends?
Oooo, oooo, oooo!!! I got an answer for that one! I joined Sparkpeople in December. I have more friends today than I can count and every day I get a Spark Mail from someone who says “Keep up the good work!!!”
See how foolish prejudice can be?
It doesn’t stop the pain of someone asking me what my due date is. It doesn’t stop the hurt when you get left behind by the people who have judged your value and your worth by your size.
Enough John!!! What do I do? Sit in the cornet like a quivering mass and feel sorry for myself? Nope. If you do that you may never, ever be truly healthy and happy.
Admit you are vulnerable, admit you are weak at times and it becomes so darned overwhelming that you cant deal with it. It happens to me three or four times a week. I get all shaky when someone who really doesn’t know me implies I am “less than” because of my weight. I know if I don’t deal with it in a positive manner – quickly, I will deal with it by binge eating. I will deal with it by throwing my emotional hands up in the air and saying “What’s the use?”
So here are a few things I do to get my equilibrium back where it belongs:
My kids used to say “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” That person who made that insensitive remark was conditioned to do so at an early age. In my mind it is no different than people who are prejudice against others because of race, gender or national origin. The whole system of fear is wrong. But let me ask you something? Can you look yourself in the eye and tell yourself you have absolutely no prejudices at all? I have no hair. Sometimes I have all sorts of evil thoughts about those men who do. Irrational? You bet!!
When I do coaching work with individual clients, I ask them to make a list of things about themselves that are great and wonderful. I ask them to choose one thing per day for thirty days. Trust me, this is difficult. The first few days are easy, and then it gets really tough, then easy again. Each day I ask them to concentrate on the one great thing they identified in themselves.
At the end of thirty days they have a sizable list. I ask them to review it every morning or when they start feeling a bit shaky. I do. I look at thirty plus wonderful things about me and one tiny imperfection, that I am working on to correct and that insensitive remark seems to vanish.
Finally I am working on not being my own worst critic. Yes, I make mistakes and I stumble and fall, but I ask myself this question every time I feel the walls closing in:
“If all your progress halted today and you never made another step forward could you still love yourself?”
My goal is to make the answer I strong and firm, “YES”
We cant ask the world to accept us until we accept ourselves. We cant break down a wall of fear until we begin working on being transparent.
I couldn’t have done what I have done so far without you.
Don’t ever forget that and neither will I
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