Tuesday, January 11, 2011
It snowed last night. It was the soft powdery kind of snow that is easy to dust off your car and sidewalk. It means an extra fifteen to twenty minutes to get ready and after all, who isnít rushed most mornings to begin with? I took the garbage out and decided now was as good of time as any to dust off the car. I like early mornings, they have this sacred feeling to me. The world hasnít started moving yet, everything is quiet and I think clearer. I finished my car and spied my neighbors van. I walked over and dusted off both their cars and then went across the street and did theirs. This story would sound very poignant if those people were elderly or infirmed and couldnít do it themselves. By my calculations they are fifteen to twenty years younger than I am. But thatís not why I did it.
While I was brushing off my own car I started thinking about how awfully wrapped up in my own little world I can get. I become so consumed with John that I become myopic. There is only MY world, MY journey and MY health. Donít stand in front of me too long or youíll get run over. One of my Spark Heroes wrote a few weeks back that they became healthy when they stopped obsessing on being healthy. Iím over simplifying here but you get the point. I donít, and shouldnít kneel before the scale or the calorie counter and worship or adore it. If I become so obsessed with me, what I look like what size I wear and how far I can run, well in the end Iím just a skinny person who is unhappy. When I take the gift Iíve been given and even if itís in a very small way, share it with other people, then my journey becomes easier and brighter. Itís not all about me. It is, but it isnít. I have been given a gift and I am empowered to share that gift with everyone I meet.
So I walked over and brushed off Paul and Carries car and then Imeldaís. Maybe, when they looked out and saw that some snow gremlin saved those fifteen minutes today they could finish their cup of coffee and have that conversation they have been meaning to have. They might be able to finish their cross word puzzle and it just might make a snowy day seem sunny. I donít know and I donít care. I did it freely and I did it because it meant someone elseís day was lighter and easier to bear. It wasnít a huge thing and most likely theyíll never know.
I have seen such small acts restore peopleís faith in themselves and the world. I have watched people summon the resolve to make it one more day because of a small random act of kindness. So today I am going to commit three and I ask you to join me. It doesnít count if you plan ahead, LOL. When the opportunity presents itself do something for somebody and it would be even nicer if they never knew who did it. Itís as much a part of this journey as the fruits and veggies. Call it a good deed, call it what you will, I promise you will feel better about you when you do.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Despite my best positive efforts, right mindedness and attracting all that is good and holy into my being, the virus of the week and its companion, a sinus infection laid me low yesterday. I felt so bad that I didnít even feel guilty about not going to the gym. At the same time I am not a lay in bed sort of person. My mind is always working on something and I canít just lay there!!! So I sat in the big over stuffed arm chair in the living room and read. I wasnít in the mood for anything pithy or deep. I read magazines. I walked away with a few tools Iíd like to share with you; stuff that I know will help me reach some of my goals. So I thought Iíd share since my head is so darned congested that no deep and meaningful thought will find its way through.
First an article from Family Circle. (Yes you read right, Family Circle) There is a web site called HabitForge.com. It suggests that it takes twenty one days to change a habit. You go to the web site, enter a behavior and your email address and each day you get an email asking you if you met your daily goal. I decided to choose junk food. (For whatever reason I have developed a weakness for it recently, especially Cheetos and fries.) When I reach my daily goal it adds to my total. Should I stumble and fall, it resets my counter. The supposition is that once I reach twenty one days of consistent behavior I wonít be inhaling Cheetos. Iíll keep ya posted on that one.
Next up was the big kick off for 2011 in Cooking Light. I love this magazine!! The kids get it for me each year for Fatherís Day. The recipes are great, very tasty, and each recipe has the nutritional information at the bottom. They supply you with a shopping list for each recipe which I find really handy. This yearís program is calledĒ Cooking Lights 12 Healthy Habits Program.Ē Each month they will introduce a healthy habit. Januaryís is Eat More Vegetables and Fruit. I know this isnít a news flash to us Sparkers but sometimes guys; I get my fill of veggies. The link I followed to get to their web site gave me all sorts of ideas to spice up my veggies without drenching them in cheese and animal fats. You can look at that article and much more at http://www.cookinglight.com/healthy-living
Finally, I read an article in our local newspaper about a personal trainer here in KY who has created an online, virtual gym. She has a library of her personal training workouts for clients plus she does live video classes during the week. I thought this was really great. She charges 29.99 per month. I love this concept. As a business traveler I can use the motivation while on the road. Her name is Dawn Bland and you can check her web site out at www.dawnbland.com. Great thing about this process --- No Adds.
So thatís my wisdom for today. Iím not feeling much better but on the bright side there are still more magazines to read.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
Since Iíve known her she has probably sent me more than one hundred emails. It was just yesterday though that I noticed those words at the bottom of the page.
ďThank you for all you do to make this world a better place to live. ď
Maybe Iíve become a bit jaded as I grow older. I look at those closings as throw away lines. I put them in the same category as ďHave a nice day!!Ē I donít doubt their sincerity; Iíve become sensitized to them. Maybe the planets were aligned properly or maybe the Holy Spirit decided we were going to have class on Saturday morning, but my friends closing stuck with me all day. I go motoring through this world so self-consumed that I lose track of the effort other people put forth in their daily lives that make my life better and this world more comfy. It wasnít until I got to the gym that its full impact struck me.
We have a new fitness instructor, a very young lady right out of college. She works Saturdays, Sundays and cleans the equipment and make sure itís lubricated. I watched her yesterday and the thought entered my head that her very small act, the cleaning and polishing made my world better. It assures the equipment is in working order
What about me? I laughed a bit inside. I donít often see myself making this world a better place to live in. But I do, I really do, and so do you! If I really believe I am worth all the effort I put into myself and I deserve to be healthy and happy and successful in my life then surely I am making this world a better place to live in. I have to, simply by the fact I exist and I am this chubby little ball of positive energy hurtling through the cosmos spreading peace and joy. But I donít see myself that way. I can see you making a difference but not me. I just see my faults. I am self-deprecating. I get very uncomfortable when you are nice to me. I see myself not as an asset but simply as doing this stuff so I can pay some ancient debt for being a fat doofus!
Before I went to bed last night I realized that I do make this world a better place to live in. Maybe itís not on a grand and global scale. Maybe some days itís nothing more than a squeeze of the arm or a smile, but my being here makes the world a better place. My friend DUTCHIEKIWI shared her holiday Spark blog with me yesterday. What struck me so deeply were the beautiful pictures of her, her husband and kids all smiling and having a great time and you could tell they enjoyed each otherís company. It was like she bottled some sunshine and sent it my way. It made my world a better place. I could almost feel the hug leaping off the page. I sit here this morning drinking tea and doing some sort of tribal dance to whisk away the sinus infection thatís going to send me to immediate care here in a bit. Those beautiful pictures made all the difference in the world. She made my world a better place to live in.
ďThank you for all you do to make this world a better place to live. ď
The impact of those words my friend sent wonít be lost on me again. I impact your life and you impact mine and while we may never sit down and eat a salad with low fat dressing together we are bound by this wonderful desire to leave this place better than we found it.
ďThank you for all you do to make MY world a better place to live. ď
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Yesterday was my last chance to get a fitness class in for the week. I had intended to go to yoga Monday night and Joan reminded me we had a commitment. Wednesday I was planning on attending Upper Body Blast at three thirty. I got really excited. So did the client that called at three needing my help. Yesterday was going to be different!! I had a client visit in the morning. It was a two hour car ride each way, so I got up at five, showered, meditated, ate breakfast and headed out. I planned on being with them until noon and then a two hour car ride home put me back here at around two. Plenty of time for Lower Body blast at three thirty. (Thatís in the ideal world where I have a full head of hair.) The client had a laundry list. I didnít leave until around three. I donít need to detail the rest.
Last night I was one depressed John. I was looking forward to those classes and they didnít work out. The more I thought about it the more I realized I could do one of two things: I could stew in my own juices all weekend, get a mask and a gun, rob a bakery and soothe my anger, or I could look for a way to make peace with all of this because as the clean version of the old saying goes ďStuff happens.Ē
I have no control over the past and little control over the future but the present, right in front of me, is within my grasp. My schedule for the next two weeks is worse than this past week. There will be no chance to do any of the three classes I am interested in until roughly February 1. But what can I do? First I came to terms that my job is really nontraditional. Itís not nine to five, itís not always Monday through Friday, and as my loving wife will tell you it can be awfully difficult to make plans unless you put them on the calendar three months in advance. Thatís the life I decided to live. I love it and my work and Iíve been successful at it. However, it often gets in the way of my health journey. Itís hard for me to get a routine in place.
I went to Target, found a nice calendar that I could carry around as well as a black pen and a red pen. When I returned home I copied my schedule for next week using the black ink. Next, I took the red pen and worked out an exercise schedule. I left some room to move things around should my schedule change. It gave me a chance to think about how Iím going to exercise the two days Iím in West Virginia next week. I found some peace. I realized that Saturdays and Sundays for the next six weeks are going to be dull, dreary and with little to do. Sitting right up the block is my gym and while I may have to nip and trim on my week day workouts I will have all Saturday and Sunday to get in a few good workouts. It sure beats the snot out of sitting on the couch and repeating ďDonít eat the cookies, donít eat the cookies.Ē I found some peace.
If someone told you this journey isnít difficult they lied to you. Itís challenging, difficult and often full of self-doubt and pain. Just ask anyone who has reached their goal. What I have found from following those people is that amidst the tempest in the tea pot, they found some peace and that peace helped them cope with the difficulties. I learned this past week that you canít sit around cryiní about what didnít happen. Go look at yourself in the mirror, smile and ask yourself ďWhat can I do today?Ē I did.
Iím headed to the gym. The past is well its past, LOL
Thursday, January 06, 2011
My baby sister recently turned fifty and she sent me this email earlier this morning. I am not sure of the source and neither was she but I think it's some pretty good advice.
"For a lark yesterday, I tweeted 12 things that I wish I had known when I was 25. Maybe they'll help a 25 year-old person you know. Or you!
1.) So I'm 50 today, and I'm going to tweet what I wish I knew at 25. First up: Stop worrying so much! It's useless.
2.) Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
3.) There's no right way to pray, any more than there's a right way to be a friend. What's best is what works best for you.
4.) Remember 3 things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You're not God. This ain't heaven. Don't act like a jerk.
5.) Your deepest, most heartfelt, desires are God's desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.
6.) Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God's grace.
7.) Don't worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.
8.) You can't force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying!
9.) When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else's life falsely. So our real-life loses out. Ie, Compare and despair.
10.) Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.
11.) Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I'm so happy for you! Why not? Yes.
12.) Final 50 y.o. lesson: Peace and joy come after asking God to free you--from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate."
Hope you have a great day.
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