JOHNTJ1   68,005
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Defining Success and a Big Thank You

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEEMAWEST 8/26/2010 12:26AM

    You sing much better than I do. LOL

Great blog, as always. I love being involved in beta testing. Sounds so technical!

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DOLLBABE56 8/25/2010 9:43AM

    Well thank you too John! I think I'll go check out your BlogSpot!

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HDHAWK 8/24/2010 10:20PM

    I hope your presentation was a success! I'm sure it was! Enjoy your time in Nashville!

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KELLEA927 8/24/2010 6:58PM

    Thank you! What a great message and so true!!

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WANDAH3 8/24/2010 6:17PM

    Thank you for another wonderful blog John. I believe that your session today was a complete success...because you are a success in my eyes and in the eyes of many of us here on SP. If in someway we contributed to your are welcome and on the same have contributed to ours.

Enjoy your time in Nashville,

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/24/2010 4:47PM

    I know it's gonna be emoticon

You are such a positive person!

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LUVMYK9S 8/24/2010 4:28PM

    I hope your seminar was well received this afternoon as I am sure it was! Thank you for sharing.

"If you're telling the truth it isn't bragging." Love it!

Sometimes its hard to give yourself credit for your own accomplishments.

Have a great Tuesday and a great trip!

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JENNY888 8/24/2010 10:30AM

    I hope your presentation today is everything you want it to be and that I know it will be.

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DANAB1106 8/24/2010 10:01AM

    I knew it! I knew as soon as I "meet" you what industry you were in because I used to represent motivation speakers and corporate trainers. I am so glad you do that because you are so so talented.

Oh I so needed this today! I have the biggest self worth issues, but I am getting better. It's one of those where I have acknowledge the issues.

Thank you John for each of your posts and all of your comments. I really hope you have a great trip.

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/24/2010 9:47AM

    Hehe, I loved the singing. I totally agree with your sentiments about self worth and saintliness. Oh, I am right there with you that Spark is for so much more than diet and exercise. Thanks as always for your words of wisdom, and I hope you enjoy your time in Nashville!

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SARAWALKS 8/24/2010 9:39AM

    Thanks, John! Your 5K experience inspired me last night! Happy Tuesday to you too! emoticon

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NJMATTICE 8/24/2010 9:32AM

    Good Luck with you presentation this afternoon. I look forward to hearing how it is received. Have a good one!

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SWEETMOMMY41 8/24/2010 9:29AM

  thanks so much for sharing,John. you are welcome! have a wonderful day!

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ELLYN63 8/24/2010 9:22AM


Good morning, and thank you for starting off my day well! emoticon

Good luck on your seminar this afternoon.

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ZURDTA- 8/24/2010 9:04AM


"If you're telling the truth - it isn't bragging." Excellent motto!

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WISEONE68 8/24/2010 8:48AM

To bring back an old phrase, and I may date myself here--"You are the BOMB!!!"
I have found through my journey--since 2001 when I first started Weight Watchers (my first REAL effort at weight loss) that there is SO much rich information, encouragement, and REAL caring out there. In the WW meetings I received so much info; as an employee for WW, I learned even more; and, here at Spark, even more.
If you can find a way to "bottle" that, and present it in a way to help others---then GOOD FOR YOU!!! Sounds like you are using what you have learned, put it alongside your talents and gifts, and are using it to help others. That is what this is all about, right??? Wonderful!
I am proud to call you "Friend"! Hope your day goes well and the new seminar is well-received!!!

Blessings, Friend!! emoticon

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When Real Growth Comes From Real Pain

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday was supposed to be an oasis at the end of a busy and chaotic week. It turned out to be a desert island. I had a personal training session scheduled at nine and a massage at one and the rest of my day had been cleared so I could get ready for a labor seminar I am teaching Monday-through Wednesday in Nashville.

My personal training session went great until five minutes before it ended. I got very sick to my stomach and thought for about five minutes I was going to pass out. Usually I have two meals in me or a meal and a light snack before my workout. Friday I had only eaten breakfast and a light one at that. Not only did I feel embarrassed but I physically felt crummy. But there was hope!!! I had my massage at one and I felt wore out and drained when I arrived. The massage didn’t help much. As she explained when she finished, massage often thins the blood and since I had almost passed out that morning I was going to feel a bit crummy. By Saturday morning I felt great, but Friday at two I felt like a large boulder had landed upon me.

I went home and sat in the living room staring off into space. I started questioning everything I ever did and wondering how in such a short period of time it seemed like everything I touched crumbled apart. (Read any of my blogs over the past few days. You will get the picture.) Two of my friends here had written really insightful and open blogs about being “people pleasers.” That weighed on my mind as I sat there. They were describing me to a tee. As bright, witty and handsome……….. Okay you might argue about the handsome part……. as I am there is no real reason for me to feel as insecure as I do at times. I have a really hard time relaxing and feel that if I am not busy I am pretty worthless.

I am reading a book by Joyce Meyer and it’s about her road to health through diet and exercise. One suggestion she makes is that when you are faced with a dilemma you can’t figure out or your willpower is in short supply, ask God to do the “heavy lifting.” So I did. Be careful what you ask for…………

I was thinking about my kids. They are great. We are proud of all of them just like you are proud of yours, no matter what anyone else says. They’re your kids!! I thought how I don’t tell them that often enough, how proud I am of everything they do and then I got that queasy feeling again. It has to do with stuff I haven’t dealt with.

In a nutshell my mom and dad have never told me they were proud of anything I have ever done in my life. Now the rub is that they never told me I was bad, they just told me anything I ever did could have been done better. When I started losing weight and was featured in our local newspaper my mom wanted to talk about how my brother had lost weight also. Not one word of praise. I hadn’t seen my mom and dad since Thanksgiving. They are getting older; they are both in their eighties so if I get a chance to see them I take advantage of it. Last Sunday we drove to Milwaukee from Chicago to spend the day with them.

When my mom walked in here was her first comment. “Why isn’t Paul, (our son) getting married by a Catholic priest.” No hello, no hug, just that. I just sort of looked at her. My dad says “When Mary and Joes kids get married I know they will marry Catholics and be married in the Church.” (Mary and Joe are my brother and sister.) Geena is Lutheran, her dad’s a deacon in their church and that’s where they want to get married. That’s my life. Whatever I do there is usually something wrong with it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bash my parents blog. I was clothed, fed and generally taken care of. I was just never affirmed as a human being.

So as I am sitting in my living room Friday and I begin to realize why I had become such a people pleaser. I always felt I had to better to be equal. I always felt the whole world felt like my mom and dad did. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and once we started having kids it transferred to them. Let go on record by saying I don’t think I was really terrible growing up. I did normal kid stuff but no real biggies. I am different from my brother and sisters in how I think and mu opinions. My parents also believe I don’t have a “real job” because I work from home, etc. I moved away from Milwaukee when Joan and I married, my brother and sisters kids attended five star universities while we always told our kids the most important thing in life was to be happy.

As all this whirled through my mind I cried. I cried because I was hurt, because I was mad, and because why couldn’t I have seen this sooner? It was a crummy weekend. I felt like I was detached from everything and everybody. In one respect I had “seen the light.” In another I kept wondering why they didn’t love me as much as they did everyone else.

I was angry. I was angry with me because I hadn’t seen this sooner and taken steps to fix it.

When I woke up Sunday morning I realized the only feelings I could control were mine. I went to the gym and I proceeded to run a 5K on the track. I had never run that far in my life. I cried the last lap. Bawled like a freaking baby, and they were tears that cleansed me. They were tears that were happy tears. I did it!! I posted my accomplishment on Spark and on Facebook. One of my Spark friends has also become a Facebook friend and she sent out congrats as many of you did on my accomplishment. But then a funny thing occurred. I started getting congrats and accolades on Facebook from people I don’t even know. For a while they were exploding my cell phone. Gosh it felt good.

You take recognition, you take love, and you take praise where you find it. It may not come from where you want it to come from, but love is love and if it comes sincerely, it’s equal to any other. You start to realize you are not alone and that now that you understand the obstacles in front of you, you can work to remove them. It’s all mental. The picture in your mind has to match the one you live. It’s a struggle for sure, but one that’s worth it in the long run.

Thanks to my two friends who got the ball rolling by having the courage to be open and vulnerable about themselves. You helped give me the courage to open up too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WANDAH3 8/24/2010 7:39AM

    John, how wonderful that you have reached such a milestone in your life. Congratulations on seeing and being your own validation! It took me years also to get to the point of where I realized that any true and meaningful validation had to come from within. Yes, it is nice to receive from others, but it's only when we get in touch with our spirit inside and believe from within that we truly set ourselves free. You my friend, make me humble. Thank you.

Have a wonderfully blessed week.


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TEDYBEAR2838 8/23/2010 9:57PM

    You are emoticon
You are LOVED by your Spark Family!
You are made by God and HE DON"T MAKE NO JUNK!

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MOMTO3BOYZ2000 8/23/2010 7:56PM

    John, thank you for your post. I think you might be surprised how many of us has felt that way in the past. And while you don't want to lay the "blame" on anyone, it helps to understand or come to grips with some of the feelings that we have kept deep down inside...scared to let them surface. But they need to be brought in to the light and dealt with...that is the only way we can move on.

I hope your week goes better than your weekend!

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CLOVER2 8/23/2010 7:07PM

    This one hits pretty close to home for me. I haven't talked to my mother in months, I was living with her to help take care of my dying dad, when she couldn't emotionally do it anymore. After he died she changed, the cruelty she would shower on him then became mine. She would say things to me that were incredibly cruel and always hostile and sarcastic to the max. Finally when she hit me during a fight I knew I had to move out. She moved in with my cousin and any time I was around her at some point would just have to say something cruel. I almost made it one day, I was on my way to the car and thought that maybe this time it wouldn't happen. No such luck...the knife came out. Her lot in life then became my fault, if I hadn't moved out none of the things that happened after that would not have happened, all I had to do was do as she said because "I'm your mother and you WILL do what I tell you!" This to a 56 year old woman. Now the problem is that the longer I go getting in touch with her the harder it gets to make that step. The guilt is constant, but I don't think I can take pulling a knife out of my back too many more times. Especially when it's someone who is supposed to love you. Thank you John, you are so inspiring, but what to do, what to do??


Comment edited on: 8/23/2010 7:30:35 PM

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HDHAWK 8/23/2010 6:54PM

    I am a people pleaser too John. Unfortunately, my children have a father like your parents. My son finally decided to go to school to be a motorcycle mechanic and my younger son wants to do something similar when he graduates. Of course, they've been told to find a job where they "use their mind, not their hands in order to make more money". I support them in whatever they do. At the end of the day I want them to have passion for whatever they choose to do and to be good people.
I have some of my own "issues" to work through as well. I'm glad you're sorting through some things for yourself John.

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GEEMAWEST 8/23/2010 5:20PM

    OMG John!! I think we have the same parents!

Congratulations on your personal breakthrough and your 5k. That's awesome. And you are awesome!! Don't ever let anyone convince you otherwise.

Love, Cheryl

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MYRNACARRIER 8/23/2010 4:35PM

    Thank you.
Forgiveness and possibility.
What a wonderful gift we give ourselves when we see our struggles through this lens.
I must remember also to affirm my children and my grandchildren.
I will print out this blog to continually remind me that "small things done consistently create big results". How profound that effect on someones life.
Thank you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Good grief, John. What is wrong with your parents?? The next time they say something that you feel criticizes you or hurts your feelings I want you to promise to to tell hem how it makes you feel. Tell them like you told us. This blog was meant to be shared with them. I can guarantee they don't realize what they are doing and if they do then it's better for you to know the truth. Maybe in the time they have left they may be able to make this right. I can't believe that they would not be proud of a son like you.

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LUVMYK9S 8/23/2010 3:33PM

    Thank you for being so open with your feelings ~ great blog!

My parents were divorced when I was very young and I never really had a close relationship with my father. I know my mother tried her best, and I know she was just trying to push me to be better to reach my potential, but I never thought I was quite 'good enough'. Thank you for the reminder to tell my son how proud I am of him and that I love him just the way he is!

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SANDYK4BAMA 8/23/2010 3:26PM

    Wow. Everytime I read your blogs I am so stunned that someone else thinks like I do, feels like I do, and now, was even raised like I was: never ever good enough, someone else did it better, etc etc etc. I expect that is why we feel and think the same, because that's exactly how my growing up life was. Now if I could just have that cleansing cry ~ but it wells up, then I get mad, and it just eats a hole in me. Maybe you can coach me on that part some day, or maybe someday, when I just can't take it anymore, it'll all just come running out like yours did. I hope to someday be as enlightened as you are, and please know, you are sincerely one of my heros. You touch my heart everytime I read about your journey. Thank you so much for sharing!

I Love You, man!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 8/23/2010 3:09PM

    Wow, with different people and different circumstances this blog could be about me as well. I do not understand my mom and I never will. I also know that the way she perceives me is more about her than me and that I cannot change her or make her love me the way I deserve to be loved.

I have been trashed by well-meaning people who think that I am cold and uncaring by putting my well-being ahead of my mom's. I envy people who had ideal upbringings and have healthy, happy relationships with their parents, but I also want to tell them to put away the rose-colored glasses and accept that the rest of us might not have been so blessed!

You are doing very good things for yourself and facing down this pain will free up a chunk of your soul to do other wonderful things. While I am sorry you have experienced so much pain, I also thank you for sharing it. I am quite alone in some areas of my life, and today you closed a gap for me.

In the words of my favorite therapist, "sometimes family is best loved from a safe distance". In my words, "I try to love them from outside the splatter zone"...

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JAMJOJAM 8/23/2010 1:18PM

    As I read your story and about how you cried when you finished running the 5K, I had tears in my eyes. Way to go, you rock and you are also a great writer. emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 8/23/2010 12:55PM

    It's funny how much our parents can affect us even LONG into adulthood. I'm glad you finally made a realization that you needed.

My Methodist mother and Catholic father were married by a Catholic priest who told my father that my mother would never be a good Catholic, but would honor the contract she had to sign promising to raise her children as Catholics in order to be married by a Catholic priest. While she did as promised and raised us all in the Catholic church, none of us currently attends a Catholic church and half of us have joined the Methodist church. Funny how her own beliefs were passed to us even though we were raised differently.

As for your son and his soon-to-be bride, thank goodness you have the good sense to know that it's best not to unduly influence your son's choices. My step-daughter was dating a nice young man whose mother decided she didn't like my step-daughter simply based on religion - he and his family are Catholic, my step-daughter is not. It's a shame that so many people can't see beyond their own religious beliefs and accept that no one religion is perfect for everyone.

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BOURNBABE 8/23/2010 12:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 8/23/2010 12:02PM

    I am glad you are finding that affirmation that you needed earlier in your friends on Spark and Facebook. That type of affirmation can be just as valid as the affirmation from your parents. Recognizing the hurt and also seeing the best in your parents at the same time is a big step, just as finally running the 5K was also. Yes, you are right. It is a mental thing. You have taken the physical steps to get where you want and now you are taking the mental ones. Congratulations John.

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GRANDKATZ 8/23/2010 11:37AM

  John, your blog has opened up some thoughts about my parents. They did the right, clothes, shelter, but neglected the emotional part. I really only remember the criticism and put downs. Anyway you have given me lots to think about.

Congrats on your 5K run. A wonderful accomplishment!

emoticon emoticon

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NJMATTICE 8/23/2010 10:57AM

    Making some nice progress! Way to root out that old baggage and move forward. I'm proud of you! I am continually moving toward total forgiveness. It is a daily task. Keep on top of it, Johnny!

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LOOKY-LOU 8/23/2010 10:44AM

    Well John, you made me cry this morning....thank you for sharing such a personal story.

Now, I am off to tell my kids how proud I am, and how much I love them...thank you for the very important reminder!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 8/23/2010 10:02AM

    My parents are in their 80s too. I wonder if it was a generational thing? They often tell me how wonderful my siblings are... are they saying I'm wonderful to them? Ugh!

I'm so proud of your 5K. I cannot wait to post that very thing. I wanna be an athlete!

Great job!


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GETFIT2LIVE 8/23/2010 9:44AM

    It is not until we face our pain head on and where it came from that real healing can begin, John. Affirmation from our parents is the deepest need a child has, and when it's missing, it affects us in the very core of our being. My parents loved me and cared for me well, but somewhere along the line I got the idea as a child that I was somehow not quite as good as I could be or should be; if I got a B, it should have been an A because I was 'capable of more,' that kind of thing. (Children are the best recorders of information but the worst interpreters.) I hope all the well deserved affirmations that have been coming your way will help fill in the void somewhat and allow you to heal deep within.


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STORMTMB 8/23/2010 9:38AM

    I was verbally bashed by my Mom on my birthday 2 weeks ago, both in my birthday card that she sent and on the phone when she called. Same as what you described. Not even an "I love you" just busy telling me what I don't do for them. Hurt so much that I cried myself to sleep. I know where you're at. Most people think I'm cruel or weird for not being close to my parents (or wanting to be) but I have too many stories like what you described - and darn, it hurts.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YOGINI_JACKIE 8/23/2010 9:22AM

    "Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bash my parents blog. I was clothed, fed and generally taken care of. I was just never affirmed as a human being."

--I totally know what you mean by this, and although my parents were very supportive, I was often made to feel small when I was at work, even after slaving away to make sure everything was perfect.

I agree with your comments towards the end though--your affirmations may not always come from the source that you are expecting it (read: your parents), but what matters is that there are people out there who appreciate all the good that you do.

Congratulations on running your cleansing 5k!

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DOLLBABE56 8/23/2010 9:00AM

    It is wonderful that you and Joan have been so loving and supportive of your children - especially given you experience. You are such a giving person. Yes, it is a shame, and it is hurtful to not get the support and love you deserve and are due - you are worth it and so much more. Your children are very lucky to have a dad like you - in spite of your own parents. It is what makes you you! A terrific, caring person. You have begun healing. We are all here for you.

Comment edited on: 8/23/2010 9:01:07 AM

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SARAWALKS 8/23/2010 8:25AM

    I am so happy that this "knot" has begun to untangle for you. It is amazing how much can be healed by the light and the mercy and the comfort of the Holy Spirit! I'll be praying for that, for you. emoticon

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TIME4AFITME 8/23/2010 8:17AM

    I can so relate to some of that. Congrats on the 5K


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NANN66 8/23/2010 8:04AM

    I admire your courage and I so can relate to what you wrote!!!
Thank you!!!

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EDWINA172 8/23/2010 7:55AM

    This really hits home. Is sad that we don't get what we want from the one related to us. A kind word. Recognition. Is not too much to ask for. We shouldn't even have to ask. Makes the old saying, "friends you pick,'re stuck with" ring so true.
I'm so proud of you and your 5K. There is no going back.

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ZURDTA- 8/23/2010 7:34AM

    Oh John - your parents sound like my mom. And so I too am a people pleaser - for very similar reasons. I am glad you managed to clear you head about it all - cleansing tears - and hope you have a much better week!

Oh yes, and congratulations on running the 5K - that's just brilliant. I cannot run just yet - but I will get into it once my back is stronger.

"The picture in your mind has to match the one you live. It’s a struggle for sure, but one that’s worth it in the long run."

So true - so very true.

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HONORINGGOD 8/23/2010 7:28AM

    Wow some of that really hit home! emoticon emoticon

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HONORINGGOD 8/23/2010 7:28AM

    Wow some of that really hit home! emoticon emoticon

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My Struggle With A 5K

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Availible on YouTube at:

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JLYNN311 8/23/2010 9:08PM

    Hey you awe inspire me! I haven't run in 25 years, but I can walk 5 miles. Maybe I can do a 5K run one day like you!!! I am happy for you. Keep it up!

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HDHAWK 8/23/2010 6:47PM

    John, I'm so happy for you. I hope you're very proud of your accomplishment! I have no doubt you'll be running that 5k outside in no time!

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LUVMYK9S 8/23/2010 3:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Congratulations on meeting your goal! And darn right you SHOULD be very HAPPY and PROUD of yourself! You set out to accomplish something and you did it! Great job!

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DEE797 8/23/2010 1:04PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon on running your first 5K emoticon

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JENNY888 8/23/2010 11:43AM

    John, this is awesome. You have worked hard and have earned all of our congratulations. Keep meeting those goals.

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CATHERINEL66 8/23/2010 7:02AM

    Hey John, congrats to you on your "breakthrough" run! I had a similar experience after hitting a meander with my running ... and it was like a bolt of "wow" achievement! Good for you! And yeah, it's amazing that it really IS all mental (I had been blaming the heat/humidity!).

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CUBFANGIRL1 8/22/2010 9:56PM

    Good for you for accomplishing what you set out to do! I hope you are very proud! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AQUABUNNY 8/22/2010 8:23PM


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DOLLBABE56 8/22/2010 8:20PM

    Wow John! YOU DID IT!!!! I am soooo proud of you. And, through your success I am given the courage to reach for my goal too. Good on ya!

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BSAGE47 8/22/2010 8:02PM

    John, I am so inspired. Look at you! When you started out I was sure it was about your struggles and your struggles only but but when you started accounting for the end of your run today and victory you were describing, I was crying, literally crying.

GOOD FOR YOU. Awesome Job. emoticon

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BAM0827 8/22/2010 7:58PM

    Congrats to you!!

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BEANPOD77 8/22/2010 7:18PM

    Awesome ! Awesome! Awesome! So happy for you John. It's quite an accomplishment. I was also glad to see that it made YOU happy..So true, that so much of running is mental. One seasoned runner said to me, " it's not your body that will let you down, or cause you to stop, it's your mind" There will be days when it will be a struggle and days when you feel like you could run for ever..It's ALL normal.
I am always so excited to read about others as they "graduate"..Six months ago I could barely say the word "run" and now I do it 4 x a week..and look forward to it!
Thanks for sharing your experience...I cried too. (when I ran 5K, and listening to your experience.It's quite emotional and wonderful to share with others.

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JURI62 8/22/2010 6:57PM

    Congrats John!!! I'm still hitting the wall, so you are inspiring!! I did walk/jog 5k outdoors yesterday, which to me was amazing.
God Bless!

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JUSTFOXXY 8/22/2010 6:34PM

    Congrats on your 5k! I remember training for a 5k to take place in December. Don't know what I was thinking with me living in Michigan. The road was icy and although the race sponsors said the roads would be salted, I was downright scared. I didn't want to throw away all my training so I went home and did the 5k on my treadmill. I already had my race packet so i even wore the fleece scarf that came with the packet. I think I sweated off an inch or two on my neck. I called it my Jazzy 5k. I believe you have every right to claim this as your JohnTJ 5k.


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EDWINA172 8/22/2010 6:30PM

    How awesome for you! You should be very proud of yourself. Running is VERY mental. You are stronger than you believe!

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SARAWALKS 8/22/2010 6:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Thanks for sharing! Wonderful story! I am inspired. emoticon

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STILLPOINT 8/22/2010 6:19PM

    I'm very happy for you!!! Congratulations friend!!

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    Way to go on running a 5k! You are so right, a lot of running is mental, and we all struggle sometimes, but you can and are doing this!!

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Dealing With The Clutter

Friday, August 20, 2010

In thirty six years of marriage there is only one thing about Joan that ever really irked me. Her side of the closet is a mess. She has a ton of shoes and they are sort of piled there with some belts and some boxes and only God knows what else and well it just drives my anal retentive, well defined sense of order up the wall. Did I tell you I was toilet trained at 18 months? My mother sat me on the commode with a book and I sat there until I produced the desired result. To this day I can’t use the rest room without having something to read. But I digress.

Joan’s closet is the perfect metaphor for how I feel right now. There is so much crammed in there that none of it makes a lot of sense. Ten pounds of sugar in a five pound sack. More on my plate than I can eat. You pick one and you won’t be far off.
We got personal training, power pump, C25K, and then I went out and got the ten minute workout for Wii. $14.95, what a deal!!! I am reading three books, trying to write one myself, juggle some new clients, and work on a DVD that will launch the new training program I am rolling out. There are three blogs published regularly, my web master graduated from college and shut down his server. I am designing a new web site, and looking into a business Facebook page.

On top of that my massage therapist thinks I am her therapist. What do you do though when the woman could snap your neck with one twist? I haven’t been to church in about five weeks and if you try to point all this out to me rationally and reasonably, well it’s like trying to explain heaven to a bear!!! Is it any small wonder that I believe I am eternally stuck on a seventy four pound loss? I am not happy. I am not sad. My mood swings like a trapeze!! Happy one moment, sad the next, no ability to focus on anything. The harder I try the slower I move. I am failing.

My closet needs cleaning. I am doing too much and as I wade through this mess called my life I realize that nothing good happens when you are trying to get into or out of a room and can’t find the door simply because you can’t see the door.

Sometimes I just want to be normal. I want to be like those skinny people on TV who drink wine, eat caviar and wear size zeroes. So I push and I pull and I get damned impatient when it all doesn’t happen overnight. It all comes from this massive misperception I have of myself. I have always felt that in order to be equal I had to be better. You run a 5K then I’ll run a 6K. You exercise an hour a day I have to exercise two hours. If I'm not better I am not loved.

I was a mess until this morning. I get a daily meditation via email that’s titled God Calling. I’d like to share part of it with you because it spoke to what I am feeling:

“And so to My followers today, as then, there come the shame and remorse and contempt of themselves, of the weak selves. They meant to be so strong and brave for Me. And then I have to protect them with a shield of love, or never could they have the courage to fight and conquer. But this facing of the real self has to be .
That is a stage in development, but only a stage. What use the glad wings of a butterfly if it remained Earth bound, weighed down with the thought of its contemptible past? And so now today I say to you , that you are not to dwell for one moment on your sins, and mistakes, and faults, and bad habits of the past.
You must be as one who runs a race, stumbles and falls, rises and presses on to the goal. What avails it if he stays to examine the spot where he fell, to weep over the delay, over the shortsightedness that prevented his anticipating and avoiding the obstacles?

So with you, and I lay it on you as a command -- no looking back. Give yourself, and all you have ever met a fresh start from today. Remember no more their sins and failures, or your own. The remembrance is a current of disappointment that hinders the swimmer.” From God Calling

Tomorrow I’ll sit down and clean my closet and put things in some workable order. I’ll reflect on my successes and realize that well, if you don’t love me, there is not a damned thing I can do about it, so worrying about it isn’t going to change it one way or another.

Have a great Friday. Time to clean out some closets.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 8/23/2010 7:07AM

    Ugh! I've been there!

I started working with a professional coach (yes, for work, not working out) in January of 2010. She really helped me prioritize my life in ways that I probably could have done on my own, but I think being pushed and walked through the process was worth its weight in gold.

That sort of evolved into spark ... and a holistic house cleaning of my life. Even super heroes can only have so much on their plates, and multitasking *really* doesn't work.

You have my support in whittling that to-do list down to a human level. Do it and give yourself a chance to shine .... otherwise you're setting yourself up for not just failure, but negative coping with the stress of it all. :( Don't want that!

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AZCUPCAKE 8/22/2010 9:38PM

    Oh, John, these thoughts you expressed in this blog are PRICELESS. I love the whole thing. I want to read it again tomorrow when my own fear of failure is 'large and in charge' of me, instead of ME being in charge of that fear. You are so right on in so many different directions, all I can do right now is nod my head and agree with you wholeheartedly. I DO know why your massage therapist thinks you are her therapist! It is because you are so unlike so many people who focus only on themselves. You really CARE about others, and it shows. Unfortunately, there's no doubt people "dump their junk" on you oftentimes because you are so understanding and kind. It is a compliment, but you just don't happen to need ONE MORE HAT to wear, and people don't think about that!

I hope you know how wonderful it is that you share so much of yourself with all of us. I look forward to every single blog you write or blog-video you do for us. Every morsel of your words is like cake that is actually GOOD for a body! If that makes any sense. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights time and time again! Truly precious!

By the way, my husband said to tell you his father used to hold his labor union meetings in Serb Hall during the 1950s and 60s....what a small world, is RIGHT! emoticon emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/22/2010 12:50PM

    emoticon POST!

I'm in the process of cleaning out stuff too. It's a big mess and sometimes I just don't know where to start. So I think I'll procrastinate a bit longer and get to the mall for a nice long walk. Then maybe I'll tackle another box of stuff to be sorted.


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MOMTO3BOYZ2000 8/22/2010 7:50AM

    Thank you for your post! I think we all tend to over do it a bit sometimes and need to remember to just slow down once in awhile. There are so many things I want to do now that I never thought of before and part of me wants to do them all NOW. I have another blog that I was trying to keep up with, but I had to let it go because, unfortunately, there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. You just have figure out which is most important and concentrate more on least for the time being until another "NEW" thought comes into your head... :)

You will make it past the 74lbs bump and I can't wait for the report when you do!

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WALKNLOVE 8/22/2010 6:26AM

    I am right there with ya John. I think the key is holding tight to THE ONE who teaches us all things and leads us into the truth....on what things we need to do to be better people and all that that encompasses.The secret is listening to his voice directing & guiding this & not that, hire this trainer, have you considered this web person, drive this way today. He speaks a lot.We rarely slow down to listen.We try to do it on our own & then wonder how we got into this mess.

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    I'm a person who thrives on being busy and having a lot on her plate. But you can have so much that it becomes a cause of stress. I make lists and when I do I ask myself what the most important thing on the list is and then I prioritize them all. Sometimes I can get it all done. Sometimes not. I don't stress and dwell on it. Most likely there will be another day.

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SARAWALKS 8/21/2010 10:41AM

    oh emoticon
LOVE your blog and your sense of humor!
"The remembrance is a current of disappointment that hinders the swimmer.”
Yes yes yes yes yes!
So pressing find the find the floor...
And let some of those "shoulds" self-destruct!

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HLPRATT 8/21/2010 10:25AM

    Wow- just reading all that's on your plate makes me tired. Of course alot of things are accomplished by small steps over time. Just keep in mind the small steps and keep making those.

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VTORIA3 8/21/2010 5:08AM

    Great blog, John. Life's busyness can impact our life in many ways, in particular, destroying our focus, ability to can cause us to feel like a little mouse on a wheel. The core of your blog, the driver that can create such busyness, was a profound introspection and "God's Call" lovely balm for the soul. Lately, I'd been wanting to deepen my spiritual walk on and everyday basis and I believe finding this new resource was "God's Call." He does work in mysterious ways, doesn't He? Feeling a little used? You should be. But in a good way.

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PAMNANGEL 8/20/2010 6:43PM

    Take a time out, inhale, hold it...hold it....let it out. Repeat.

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HDHAWK 8/20/2010 6:36PM

    This is my life right now. I should be losing 5 lbs. before my wedding in 2 weeks, but the harder I try the more I struggle. School started yesterday so I'm also very busy with that. I keep holding my breath, knowing that in 2 weeks life will settle down. Try to delegate some things or put some on the back burner. You're only one person and can only do so much in a day.

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CLOVER2 8/20/2010 6:29PM

    Thank you for your post on my page. You do realize that you have a fan club of about half a million people, all waiting with bated breath to see how you are each day, and what bits of life and wisdom you want to share. It hurts me to see you suffering, but I read what you have to say and know that you can help yourself as much as you help me! You ARE strong, one of the strongest people I know, and you know just where to go when you don't feel that. Any given day we all face being "alone" but we aren't, not ever. We have each other and that is one of the best gifts God has given us.

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DEBRALGARY 8/20/2010 3:23PM

    Have you seen the TV show Hoarders? Your blog reminded me of that show. emoticon

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JPRICE217 8/20/2010 2:34PM

    You certainly do have a lot on your plate. Way more than I could handle.

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JAMJOJAM 8/20/2010 2:11PM

    What a wonderful analogy of being in a race, and when you fall don't stand there and look at where you fell and give up; press on and reach your goal. No looking back. emoticon

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WORKINGSTIFF 8/20/2010 2:11PM

    "Sometimes I just want to be normal.I want to be like those skinny people on TV who drink wine, eat caviar and wear size zeroes."

Hey there John. I hate to tell ya, but those "skinny people on TV" are not real and the skinny people in real life have issues and problems. It comes with the "being human" part.

I heard a saying once, "Everyone you meet is carrying a burden." Do they all wear their burdens for others to see? Is each person's burden the same size as everyone else's? No to both. But nobody gets through this life unscuffed.

Are you busy? Yes, indeed. But even better-you recognize that this doesn't make you feel good and you want to do something about it. And THAT, friend, will make all the difference.

You'll figure it all out, I'm sure.

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SLY_REDUX 8/20/2010 1:46PM

    Oh my God, you're me, except with testosterone!

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LUVMYK9S 8/20/2010 1:12PM

    WOW! And I will never feel like I have too much clutter in my life again! emoticon

You are putting too much pressure on yourself to do all and be all. You are special and important just by being John. And who's to say what is 'normal' and heck! why would you want to be that when you are so much more!

You have made great progress in your journey to better health ~ you are an inspiration and motivator. Never doubt that you are loved just the way you are!


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MSSUNBUG 8/20/2010 11:23AM

    Yes, Yes, YES. I always relate in some way to your blogs, John, but this morning's is a direct line to my OWN brain. I was going to write a similar blog today--and I still will, but now I have some new/additional things to think on before I do. I'm in need of some mental, physical, and spiritual house-keeping, house-cleaning, re-organizing, and de-cluttering. It's always nice to see I'm not alone.

Thanks for sharing this!

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JENNY888 8/20/2010 10:37AM

    I love the thought of a God Calling daily email. I signed up for it also thanks to you. Yes, the language is a little difficult to follow but there are many great concepts in the message to be gained.

Prioritize and figure out what works for you and what doesn't. Don't burn out by trying to do too much and keeping too much. This is something I struggle with myself. I think I am making progress in that area now though.

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BOURNBABE 8/20/2010 9:34AM

    Bah, you've got to stop reading my mind. Was awake last night trying to figure out why I held my self to a standard I wouldn't visit on my worst enemy last night. lol.
Thanks for sharing. Might need to engrave this on my forehead.

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STORMTMB 8/20/2010 9:17AM

    Whoa, Dude, don't even try to do all of that!!! My suggestion is to step back and prioritize this weekend. Decide what stays, what's on hold for a later date and what gets discarded. We will love you no matter what, but you'll be happier for it and that's what really matters.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/20/2010 9:08AM

    In our quest to become 'better' we can also become overwhelmed and try to do too much. Peace to you my friend as you 'declutter' some things and wisdom in what should go and what should stay. Something I heard recently that I have been chewing on and seems to apply for you as well: What seems like death to the caterpillar, God sees as a butterfly. We need to learn from the past while letting go as well; it's a hard balance to find, but it's worth the effort.


PS: I do websites and web hosting if you need help there. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 8/20/2010 9:07AM

    First paragraph - TO MUCH INFORMATION - LOL

As for the rest, I'm right there with you, except in my case I may not have enough on my plate (so to speak). My youngest daughter started her job yesterday. My eldest started back to school to earn another degree. So, I am alone except for Poppet (my dog) and Teazer (my daughter's cat). Maybe it is time I start searching for a job. Seriously searching. I don't know.... I'll keep you posted.

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KAT573 8/20/2010 8:55AM

    I have to say, I am of a slightly different mind; I think avoiding or discarding that which was our past, tends to be an illusion that creates stumbling blocks as we forge forward stubbornly 'denying' or ignoring those parts of us; sort of like trying to stuff the wrong boxes in that closet without realizing we might need to adjust shelving, insert rods of a different length, height, create drawer space or move it....or, as an artist, to take the shards of the past and create a mosaic of meaning.

And in that sense, you DO stay within who you are, (and you DON'T become preoccupied with being better than them, so much as bettering your position, attitude, space of who you are NOW relative to who you want to BE), you DO own all of you, and you DO have a say in how you perceive what now seems to be a mess, and to order it, in a way that makes for much smoother navigation; but NOT static; Life is organic, and so it is always good to come back and see if some more modifications need to be made in our ''closets" as we grow in Life. emoticon

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NJMATTICE 8/20/2010 8:45AM

    God still talks funny, eh? Seems the Creator of all language could communicate in a little more straightforward "speak". Seems God talks a lot. Could have gotten to the point sooner. Maybe God likes the sound of his/her own voice? " Live in the NOW." A great point. I like the part about running, getting up, running some more, oops! I fell again, now I'm up, here I go. . . (seems Nancy likes the sound of her own "voice" as well) Thank you, John (if that is your real name) for starting my day off with some good intellectual nutrition. I did read some "frantic" into your situation. Be careful not to crash and burn. Find your peace. Then all the busy-ness of life will flow. Have a Fabulous Friday.

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KATHRYN1955 8/20/2010 8:45AM

    I just finished commenting on one of your other blogs, and now have just read this one. I realize there is a fine line between that pushing oneself too hard (obsession?!) and just "being". I keep saving new recipes, new exercises, new workouts, new motivational thoughts etc. etc. and then become overwhelmed and rebellious and do nothing! Comparing my progress to others only adds to the inertia. Somewhere in the midst of all the information, we need to find our own way that works for us.
Maybe "good enough" for a while is not such a bad thing.

"Give yourself, and all you have ever met a fresh start from today. Remember no more their sins and failures, or your own. The remembrance is a current of disappointment that hinders the swimmer.” Since I have been swimming, I felt quite drawn to this part of your quote. It truly is our perception of our "sins and failures" that hinders our progress.

Here's to fresh starts....our way!
Take care,
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EDWINA172 8/20/2010 8:40AM

    I have the same massive misperception of myself! Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? It makes no sense?! To be better is to be equal. Where did I learn to do math?
I'm having a bit of the same mood swings. Feeling a little burn out, over whelmed and stressed.
Guess I should clean out my closet and rearrange my things too.
Have a great weekend. Thanks for sharing!

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DWROBERGE 8/20/2010 8:29AM

    I find getting rid of stuff is good for the soul. Go for it.

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......... And Then There Are The Days Things Go Right

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I was looking for a way to make a point this morning and as I puttered about I just couldn’t reach out and grab hold of anything. Nothing seemed to suit the message I wanted to convey until I read a response to yesterday’s blog. It wasn’t so much the response that struck me but the quote the Sparker is using as their profile icon. MESEATURTLE says “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”

Amen. I should just end here and let all of us dwell on that for a day or so.

I wrote yesterday about kicking myself in the butt for slacking off from time to time and some of you wrote back basically saying, “Hey John, you have accomplished SOMETHING!!!” Yes, I have and I want to keep accomplishing a whole lot of something’s not only in my health journey but in other areas of my life. But what I thought I’d do this morning is share with you some of the things I do when things are going well and when I do these things on a consistent basis things go well more often. (I know “Duh, John.”)

1. “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”

I can find a million reasons not to begin my day by being active. The biggest one is time. There is work and social commitments and well, you name it. I have found that when I do something, anything for the first twenty minutes of my day I feel so much better throughout the day. It’s like I get this infusion of energy inside of me. Usually it’s nothing to heavy or taxing. I may walk around the neighborhood for twenty minutes or so. I may ride my bike and get all the kinks out. It not only raises my heart rate a bit it but I get a chance to look at what I have going on that day and start making plans on what’s going to get done first. I find I am more alert and focused and when I do my cardio or personal training later in the day I am more focused and the workout is so much better because all eight of my cylinders are firing.

2. “Lunch hour should be a full hour.”

I made this commitment when I realized that on days like Tuesday of this week I got up uber early and headed off to see a client. It wasn’t practical to invest the first twenty minutes of my day getting active. But……… I will block off a full sixty minutes for lunch. That time is not to sit and graze. I’ll eat a sandwich or a salad and then I’ll get up and walk around, pedal the cycle for fifteen minutes or so. Nothing to drench me in sweat but again to give my body some consistency in motion.
I have all but stopped scheduling luncheon meeting with people. I realized it was an unhealthy behavior from my previous life that gave me an excuse to eat poorly. If the only time a client has is between noon and one I will acquiesce. Most people understand when I tell them I have that slot filled. Most importantly it allows me to control what’s happening to me.

3. R-E-L-A-X

Even if it is only for ten minutes, sometime in the middle of my day I lean my head back. Close my eyes, forget about everything and relax. It is the total and complete opposite of what I do in the morning! This ten minutes or so is to disengage. It’s a pause, a break or whatever you want to call it. I use yoga breathing as a relaxation technique and when I commit to doing it consistently it has great benefits. I am prospering while having panic/anxiety issues plus I get this massive dose of melancholy on a regular basis and this ten minute respite clears the deck and allows me to focus on the positive values in my life.

4. There is no substitute for a good sweat!

I am fortunate to have the resources to be able pay a personal trainer. Beyond the two sessions a week we work together she has crafted a workout schedule for me that has me doing a variety of things six days a week and then taking one day off. Two of those days are personal training days, one day is a body pump class. The other three days are cardio days and right now that involves training for a 5K. I am up to 2.3 miles!!! Go me.

5. “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
There are many people in this world who are a whole lot busier than I am right now and manage to get a lot more done than I could ever imagine. I believe more and more every single day that if I find more reasons to do things and less excuse not to do things, I will be a healthier and happier John. I am finding that the real struggle has nothing to do with food or exercise or other peoples demands on my time. It has to do with the battle I wage in my head each and every day. It is all about choosing what path I am going to walk down.

6. Sleep is good!!
I have found when I do some light exercise two to three hours before bed I sleep much better. It may be walking around the block a few times, picking up sticks and weeds in the back yard or pruning my garden, but I have found that when I end my day by kicking myself into gear a bit, I sleep better and wake up feeling rested.

When things go right, this prescription makes for a really happy and motivated John

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RJFERRARO315 8/20/2010 11:22PM

    What great insight! I like hour lunchs too...never could understand why my company prefers 30 minutes. emoticon

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CLOVER2 8/19/2010 9:55PM

    Thank you know, one of the first things I do when I get online is to see what you have written for that day. If there is nothing I am disappointed, but I always know there is always tomorrow! This post was interesting to me, because over the last few days I have realized that you really are human, with human doubts and failings, just like me! I seem to have put you somewhat on a pedestal, and I keep thinking how could I possibly do the things he does?!? He's so strong and so sure, how am I EVER going to be there? But I can see that you have days just the same as mine.

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    You have some really great tips for better health, John. If you follow them you just might live to see 100. emoticon

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    Excellent blog, John. I find that I am my worst enemy when it comes to finding time to work out, etc. as well. I remind myself every day the path I have chosen and it's a great path! I am healthier than I've ever been and I'm going to be stronger and in better shape than ever before too long. It's all about choices and we're making some great ones here!

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JERIBERI1 8/19/2010 2:15PM

    John, this is fantastic!! Love this blog emoticon

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GREENFROGGIE9 8/19/2010 11:07AM

    Lunch hour should be a full hour.

This one is key for me. I usually take an hour for lunch in September, but for the rest of the school year, I work through lunch, usually while eating lunch. Then I come home so exhausted, that I don't feel like doing ANYTHING healthy.

Thanks for the reminder to take time for myself during the day.

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GETFIT2LIVE 8/19/2010 11:04AM

    I love that statement, too. It reminds me to just get out and do it, whether it's running or strength training or Zumba or something else. I do like the idea of committing to making lunch hour a 'sacred' time; I'm terrible about just eating at my desk and working right on through lunch, but why not block that time out to go for a walk, slip into the conference room to do some stretching, or take a 10-minute 'relax' time instead? Thanks, John--and congrats on the progress towards a 5K, you're doing great!

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STORMTMB 8/19/2010 11:00AM

    This one nailed it for me: " I am finding that the real struggle has nothing to do with food or exercise or other peoples demands on my time. It has to do with the battle I wage in my head each and every day. It is all about choosing what path I am going to walk down." So true! Have a great day, John!

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STILLPOINT 8/19/2010 10:58AM

    That's A LOT of things going right. I honestly believe we are simply tweaking....sometimes it's a step back sometimes even 2 - it's okay....we're doing our best and even when the scale doesn't show it, we are still growing.

You're doing great!

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JENNY888 8/19/2010 10:37AM

    Thanks for the wisdom.

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GEEMAWEST 8/19/2010 10:27AM

    Makes perfect sense to me! emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 8/19/2010 10:06AM

    Great advice John. I'm at my best if I exercise in the morning. I am definitely NOT a night time exerciser! Oh, my husband and I will walk Poppet, and when it isn't so hot out we taken a long walk after dinner, but that's about all I want in the evenings. And that makes both of us happy.

I find also that I need to "rest" mid afternoon. It does help to refocus.

Thanks for the blog!

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KAT573 8/19/2010 10:03AM

    Great summary! I was dwelling on the common issue many of us have, that 20 minutes in the morning is NOT a distraction but the beginning of focusing and energizing which brings much stronger quality to all actions thereafter, and the sum is always greater than the day we choose to feel there aint time.
Keep on keeping on!

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NJMATTICE 8/19/2010 9:57AM

    Enjoy the days that go right and prepare for the ones that don't. Keep up the good work.

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MINENA1 8/19/2010 9:54AM

    Awesome blog!! emoticon

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MABTE52 8/19/2010 9:51AM

    I like that prescription. will print it out and pin on my wall!

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