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The Wisdom of Winter

Monday, January 24, 2011

I struggle every January. I keep hoping and praying that through some extra ordinary miracle I will wake up and we will have by passed the cold, sleet and snow and the trees and flowers will be in full bloom and that means my demeanor will be that much brighter. I abhor the gray days. They weigh on my soul. No matter how much activity I create, no matter how optimistic I become (Hear The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow humming in the background.) I cannot seem to overcome the feeling that I am walking through a sea of Jello. There is no great joy in my workouts, no marvelous inspirations. Well you get the picture.

Between me and you and the millions of others here I am tired of feeling like this. Itís an energy drain, a drain on my creativity and just an overall bummer. I could surround myself with inspirational messengers, posters and songs but I have chosen to do two things:

I will say ďthank you.Ē I will lift my eyes towards the heavens and be grateful for this opportunity to simply exist in the province of Godís love and let that Divine sun light warm and heal my soul. I will understand that for every spring there has to be some sort of winter.

I will learn what I need to learn from this winter of my life and soul.

I know, not really profound, not very long and eloquent but some days that wisdom comes from listening to the January wind howl all around you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 1/29/2011 9:37AM

    Winter has always been the time I've put weight back on. Reading your blog made me realize that this Winter, I've continued to lose, howbeit at a slower pace than in the Summer when I'm more active.

I just got back from the tropical island of Providenciales, where my son got married last week. One of the locals told me that they have about the same weather there ALL the time. There are no seasons there (even though there are monsoon rains and tropical storms at times. He wanted to come to Canada so that he could see some snow. I don't especially like Winter, but I think I'd miss the 4 seasons if we no longer had them.

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WATERMELLEN 1/27/2011 8:46PM

    My daylight sun lamp is really doing it for me . . .

>plus a whack of cross country skiing!

"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" (Shelley)

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DEE797 1/25/2011 12:00PM

    It's gray and gloomy here as well. I dislike winter also. Let's keep positive thoughts and getting in some form of exercise each day. Do not let the gloom derail all your hard work. emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/24/2011 10:34PM

    I hate winter too and have S.A.D. and it sounds like you do as well. Get some full spectrum light.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/24/2011 10:11PM

    Now ya got the spirit John


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ANEPANALIPTI 1/24/2011 5:01PM

    It was perfect. And thanks, I feel CRUMMY TOO RIGHT NOW!!!!

Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 5:01:27 PM

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AZCUPCAKE 1/24/2011 4:04PM

    You are very adept at turning a negative into a positive, and your weather situation is definitely a large obstacle when one is tucked inside where it is cozy, and in order to get some activity into the day, a venture into the great outdoors is mandatory!!! I was shivering just reading your blog today....hang in there, John! Spring is coming!! emoticon If anyone can endure through the winter, YOU CAN!!!

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SILLYHP1953 1/24/2011 2:40PM

    I think winter is the time of deep inner reflection and that seems to be what you're doing!

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GIRANIMAL 1/24/2011 2:23PM

    I actually think this is very profound! There's a lot of wisdom here.

This is the time of year when I lose my patience with the cold and dreariness of the season as well. But I do make an effort to find things about it to be grateful for when I can. This morning it was a really pretty single snowflake on my scarf. That got me through the second half of my mile+ walk to the train. emoticon

And trust me, I fully expect to employ more of those to get me through the remainder of the gray days!

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GEEMAWEST 1/24/2011 1:56PM

    I feel exactly the same way.DH does too. He wants to move to warmer climate but I refuse to leave the grandkids. Gotta have priorities.

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CMBELISLE 1/24/2011 12:38PM

    Sunny here today - I'll try to send some your way. I can deal with the cold a lot better when there is sun. Hope you have a great week!

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NJMATTICE 1/24/2011 10:58AM

    Turn up the music, John. We are having a gray, wet, rainy, cold Monday here as well. Granted, it's not as cold and miserable as Kentucky here, but it can have the same effect. So, I'm blasting the tunes to pierce the gray. And dancing around like a kid. That chases the blues away. So, did you discover the wisdom of winter? Perhaps the real gift of winter is that it makes you get in touch with that sunshine within. It's there. Go get it.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/24/2011 10:05AM

    I read recently that Monday,January 24, is the most depressing day of the year (I am probably not saying it quite like the study, but you get the idea). Gray days, short sunlight, cold and dark; it feels like spring will never come again. Always winter but never Christmas, like in Narnia. There is much to be learned in this season, however. Spring would not be so sweet or welcome without the winter, and there are certan crops that must have the cold to produce abundantly. Spring WILL come again, and we will be stronger for staying the course through the winter. Dosen't make it feel any better right now, though.

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GRACENFAITH 1/24/2011 9:56AM

    Just keep having your BAD days...Bad = Blessed and Delivered! And remember God makes every day special for each of us. Have a blessed Monday!
emoticonWalking with Christ

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DEWBERRYJAMIE 1/24/2011 9:27AM

    Yes, I understand how you feel. I love winter, but the cold really seeps into my bones and makes it hard to get out of bed. One foot in front of the other!

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/24/2011 9:11AM

  Yea I feel your pain.. I do not like winter.. I am a transplant from the Florida sun into the cold dead prairie of Kansas. Every winter when I am outside cleaning the ice of my windshield of the car to go to work, I remind myself I must be crazy for staying here.One thing nice about winter though, we have the promise of spring and a brighter day to come..much like our life's..keep singing makes your heart and happy and warm.. have a wonderful day emoticon

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JESPAH 1/24/2011 8:51AM

    Hey, I hear that. SAD affects a lot of people. I have found, at least, it does pay to be lighter and fitter. But these are still dark days. Be gentle with yourself, my friend.

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MYUTMOST4HIM 1/24/2011 8:44AM

    I love this blog - it is profound, simple but definitely profound

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My Mothers Prescription For Health

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Joan and I were cleaning out a closet the other day when we ran across a box of old photos. Most of them were from when we were both younger and I was much thinner. When we were married in 1974 I weighed one hundred fifty seven pounds. I was twenty years old almost twenty one. After we rearranged the closet I began thinking about the differences between now and then. Thatís when I recalled my momís diet and exercise regimen.

My mom and dad grew up during the Depression and while we never lacked for anything we lived as if poverty was knocking at the door. Honestly, until I went to college I thought everyone lived like we did. But I digress. I started thinking about how I ate then and how I eat now and a lot of the changes that have occurred not only in my life but in society in general.

We were allowed to drink soda twice a year Ė Christmas and July Fourth. There were four of us and we went to the liquor store with my dad and we each got to choose four bottles. That left eight slots and my dad filled them with white soda and sour mix to go with the bottle of brandy he got one a year for company. The rest of the year we drank milk and water. If it were really hot outside my mom might make a pitcher of Kool Aid. Soda was a treat and I donít drink it today at all, but it seems itís everywhere you turn.

The same held true for dessert. My mom baked cookies on Monday morning and put them in two jars. One jar always had peanut butter cookies and the other held either chocolate chip or sugar cookies. When we ate all the cookies we ate all the dessert for the week. On weekends my mom would make an apple pie every now and then and dessert for the most part was considered a real treat. We had butter at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. I thought everyone ate toast dry!!

If the weather was nice, this in my momís definition meant no rain or gale force winds and little or no chance of a blizzard, we were ushered outside. My mom hooked the door and if you wanted to come in you better be dying. In other words if we werenít in school, cleaning, or doing homework we were outside playing, in the fresh air, with balls, bats, jump ropes, bikes and all that other neat stuff we pay gyms to provide us with today. We would come in for lunch and then went outside again until dinner and then back out till the street lights came on. We walked everywhere that was walk able, which included going to see if a friend was available to play with you. Using the telephone to ďchatĒ was unheard of.

Donít misunderstand, I am not complaining, not one little bit. My life was pretty simple and I didnít know anything any different. With some common sense nutrition and a lot of sunshine and exercise I was healthy. My mom will be eighty next month and my dad eighty seven in July. They pretty much live the way they always did when we were growing up. Until my dadís macular degeneration got too bad they would walk to Mass every morning. Round trip that was two miles. With assistance, my dad still goes to water aerobics twice weekly. My mom attends all sorts of classes and even though she refuses to admit it she is an accomplished artist in the areas of painting, ceramics and knots and sews like no one else I know. She does use the internet and has a cell phone.

One of my goals for the next year is to simplify my life. The grocery store near out house is about as far as the one was when I was growing up. When we need milk, bread, or eggs I am going to start walking to get them. Itís the little things that push you over the top sometimes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JPRICE217 1/28/2011 1:50PM

    Great blog. We all need to make our life more simmple. Enjoy.

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GOANNA2 1/28/2011 6:11AM

    What a wonderful blog John. Brought back many memories.
I am about your vintage and remember playing outside after
school and on weekends. We hardly ate meat, except Easter
and Christmas and the rest otf the year we ate a lot of fresh
vegetables and pulses. Soft drinks were unheard of.

I credit that for our good teeth today. I don't drive and am trying
to walk to the store and not relying on my son to drive me.
I remember the milk being delivered and also the ice to put in
the ice boxes. Life was simpler then and I am trying to live a
simpler way mainly because of circumstances but I, like you,
will try little steps to a healthier lifestyle.

You can do it emoticonBest of luck. It really is just putting
our mind to it and following through and like the ad says JUST DO ITI

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WALKNLOVE 1/24/2011 5:35PM

    You had a great lesson teacher at home. Most of the greatest lessons we learn in life are at home. So as you learned from your folks, our kids will learn from us.May all who come behind us find us faithful! As always, thanks for sharing! :) P.S.My grocery store isn't far've got me thinking!;)

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/24/2011 5:10PM

    I think thats great that you're going to do that. :-)

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AZCUPCAKE 1/24/2011 4:13PM

    You described my own childhood regarding the time you spent outside playing, visiting with friends, and not using the phone EVER, unless the grandparents wanted to hear their grandkids' voices between the holidays! What wonderful memories. We even hated to go inside to EAT, because that was cutting into our neighborhood playtime!! Every mom had a different way of calling their respective kids in for mealtimes, and those lunchtime meals NEVER included soda or desserts. Times sure are different these days.

I applaud you for your idea of walking to the grocery store for the essentials that are needed between the "big" shopping trips....I have been doing just that since last fall, when my son started taking my car to high school on early morning marching band practice days. Instead of buying another car, we decided to make this one-car-between-the-two-of-us thing work, and so far, it really has!!! I have found that time is relaxing and peaceful, AND I cannot just impulse-buy a carton of ice cream because I have to WALK it home, and it would probably be SOUP by the time I got home! Living in Phoenix (yes, even in January) has its advantages this way, haha! Thanks for another wonderful blog, John - it is always a pleasure reading about what is on your mind! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 4:14:11 PM

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GIRANIMAL 1/24/2011 2:20PM

    Even I remember the part about being outside unless you were in school, cleaning or sick, and I am a bit younger than you. My elderly landlady laments all the time about how quiet the neighborhood is, how there used to be kids running around nearly all hours and people out on their porches. Seriously, when did this shift happen?

I think your plan to walk for groceries is a great one. I am happy to say we have broken our car habit except for things that require it -- laundry and larger shopping trips. Otherwise we walk or bike just about everywhere, and I am soooooo grateful to live in a city that allows it!

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TRIPLE_EMME 1/24/2011 10:03AM

    I really enjoyed reading this blog entry.

I was watching "Chicago: The Boomer Years" last night on PBS. Quite a few people that were interviewed talked about playing outside and coming home when the street lights came on.

I applaud you on your goal to live more simply. I wish you the best!


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CATHERINEL66 1/23/2011 10:40PM

    One of the big messages I'm getting right now is to "slow down". So I hear you with this!

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TIME4AFITME 1/23/2011 9:41PM

    Sounds nice really

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TRISH2229 1/23/2011 8:43PM

    I like this blog John. It encourages us all to reflect on our own childhoods. Yours sounds similar to mine except we always had dessert after dinner! Usually fruit or applesauce during the week. My folks also grew up in the Great Depression and are now in their eighties. Mom was a baker so we always had good stuff on the weekends and holidays. That's how I developed my love of baking. My motto in recent years has become - bake and take. I can bake it but then I have to take it out of the house and give it away. As you can imagine - my neighbors love it!

Its amazing your mother uses the internet! Good for her. I'm happy your folks are still able to exercise. Mine are mobile but have difficulty.

I too long for a simpler life. emoticon

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BTINTERNET 1/23/2011 7:26PM

    What a great retrospective. Yes, there are modern conveniences that are nice (like being able to blog with someone five states away!) but our family was much the same way - very much a Depression/wartime mentality on some levels, and with interesting benefits/side effects. I wish we lived in a walkable area - I think that's one of the horrible things about suburbia, and will definitely influence my next choice of home (if there is one).

Thanks for sharing (as always!)

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DOLLBABE56 1/23/2011 7:00PM

    I remember there was this metal box out front near the door. That is where the milkman delivered our milk in glass bottles and the cream at the top of the bottle was only for mom and dad. I believe we also got our butter from the milkman too.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/23/2011 6:05PM

  you are so right John.. I can really relate to the way things were back then.. I miss those simplier times.. I think the kids of today miss out on alot by sitting at the computer all dayshe says, as she sits at her computer all

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GEEMAWEST 1/23/2011 4:45PM

    This sure brought back some memories. We were also ushered outside to play daily. We lived in the L.A. area and even played outside in the warm rain. I never called my friends. Back then it cost for every call you made and the kids weren't allowed to use the phone at all. Now my grandkids want to call the kid that lives just 2 houses away to see if she can play. No Way!! Not in my house. Out you go kiddo.

Those were the days! emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 1/23/2011 4:44PM

    My life was similar to yours, too, and my love of books came from no tv in the house until I was 14. Walking where we wanted to go was normal, asking to be driven somewhere was unheard of. I'm not sure today's kids would know what to do outside if they were pushed out the door without their cellphones. We'd have to go with them and bring back some memories.

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AFRESHSTART2 1/23/2011 4:11PM

    emoticon blog!
Your blog took me right back to my childhood days. I enjoyed the stroll down 'Memory Lane'. My children and grandchildren(the older ones)like to refer to those days as the "back o' time" days to which I would remind them that back then people were more inventive, friendly and trustworthy, and also that there were fewer cases of obesity. As many of the posters below inferred, going back to basics(in some aspects) is a sure way of getting us back on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

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    I lived a much simpler life growing up too, though not as austere as you. I actually eat better now than I have ever eaten in my life and I rarely ever eat out unless I have too. Dessert here is fruit unless it's a holiday or birthday. I drink milk or decaffeinated tea or water. A sugar free soda rarely. No cookies in sight. LOL.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/23/2011 3:15PM

    Sounds so familiar, John! Simplifying life is one of my long-term goals as well. Too much stuff, too much busyness, too much of everything--it all adds up to slowly smother us the way weight has been doing for years. Your mother was and is a wise woman (look at her son!).

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HLPRATT 1/23/2011 2:52PM

    My parents also lived through the depression and one thing I learned was never to waste anything. To this day it pains me to throw away something that might still be usable. And I always cleaned my plate- because that was the right thing to do. It's amazing to me that the time period of the depression can reach so far into the future and affect future generations. And some of it the effects were for the better.

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HDHAWK 1/23/2011 2:39PM

    Sounds like my childhood. We were never inside, but always out playing some sort of game with friends.

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SARAWALKS 1/23/2011 2:08PM

    Oh yes, I remember those days! Only thing very different for me was, we lived out in the country and the only place I could walk on my own was to the neighbor's house, just out of sight of mine. But we did not drive to town (7 minutes away) more than a couple of times a week. My mom canned or froze everything we grew in the summer and fall and my dad hunted.

As an only child, I read a lot, didn't play outdoors as much as you, especially in the winter! Long distance phone calls meant something was wrong. A movie was a special special event! I did develop an addiction to homemade bread, which at first my mom would bake in a wood-burning stove. Homemade biscuits, batter bread (made in an iron pan with cracklings from fatback, the fatty part of the bacon that we avoid today). MMMMMHMMMM!

Some eating is healthier today, but people got much more exercise in the course of their ordinary days back then. I still remember how much work it took to wash the clothes in a wringer washer and hang them on the line (or around the dining room near the oil heater) to dry.

I've started walking to the grocery and to Lowe's and anywhere else within 3 miles of my house. It DOES make a huge difference. And I'm paying less for gas and for car insurance as a result!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/23/2011 2:09:37 PM

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JUNEAU2010 1/23/2011 2:06PM

    I like your plan of walking to the grocery store. I wish I could do that! There is a store very close to me, but my budget requires I shop in a different city, so it requires I drive....

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GRANDTO4 1/23/2011 12:11PM

  I am the same age, and my childhood was so similar! I remember sometimes having mustard sandwiches for lunch, because we were out of lunchmeat and peanut butter. Seemed normal to me. I recently showed my grown daughter a Better Homes and Gardens magazine from 1948. She was fascinated, and my 7 yr. old granddaughter could not imagine a world without TV, computers, microwaves and cell phones. My daughter was amazed at the amount of physical labor performed by "housewives". No wonder they were thinner then!

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DIASTER 1/23/2011 12:07PM

  How spoiled we have become in this society. You brought back so many memories. We always walked to and from school, the library, and the grocery store. We did not pay the gym for that privilege. McDonalds was for a special occasion , and they only had one size of

hamburgers and fries. Have you yet discovered that we spend so much time gathering "stuff"then as we get older we are spending time getting rid of the same stuff. Agree that we would all probably be happier with a simpler life style

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JENNY888 1/23/2011 11:53AM

    I enjoyed you talking about staying out until the street lights came on. That was the policy in my home also. This brought back memories.

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/23/2011 11:20AM

    So, true. WE all need to get back to the basics AND treating others as we would like to be treated.


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DEBRITA01 1/23/2011 11:04AM

    A good blog about living life more simple. In our over-indulgent world, maybe we need to get back to basics...we'd be healthier.

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Finding My Default Setting

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I was lying in bed around four this morning and the thought struck me that I really wonder how many times I get off course because I confuse who I am with what I do? I think it happens a lot. I rolled over on my back and started to ďdefineĒ me and I realized after a few minutes the picture I painted had a lot to do with things ďI did.Ē For example, how often do I say, ďIím a writer,Ē Iím a coach,Ē or ďIím a runner.Ē All of these things define me through things I do and ultimately lead me to comparing my activity to other peopleís activities and accomplishments. Inevitably I will always find someone who is better, quicker or brighter and the negative destruction begins. I donít know if it ever happens to you. It sort of crept up on me, gradually, through my life. My value, my sense of worth, all built on a stack of activity and accomplishments. I look around at other people and use them as a yard stick or ruler.

So where is my ďdefault setting.Ē Who am I versus what I do? It took me a few minutes to come up with it, distill it down into words that were ďinactive.Ē (Thatís a difficult thing to do when you are programmed towards using ďaction wordsĒ all the time.)

I am a child of God. I was created in His image and likeness. I am a reflection of God. I was created, good and pure and holy in the truest sense of the word. God loves me unlike anyone else in this universe, galaxy or world can love me and for Him, my existence is good enough. When I embrace that definition, which isnít really all that often to be quite frank, the energy I produce radiates and mirrors that love and reflects it to other people. When I accept other people, donít judge, donít compare and simply allow myself to love and be loved. Thatís my default setting.

You may refer to God in other terms, formats or conditions; I donít think it bothers him/her. I think the main concern is that we find our way back to who we really are. All the other stuff may be fun, enjoyable and teach us some sort of life lesson, but I think if I set my sights on just being me, Iíll have enough to do. It almost sounds like itís not enough doesnít it? Itís almost like that voice inside of you says ďThatís it?Ē Itís hard to accept help and love from other people. I felt really weird the other day after I wrote what I call my ďmeltdown blogĒ and I received this outpouring of support, affection and love. Part of me said ďStay away, Iím not used to this happening.Ē Another part said ďThese people must think Iím really messed up.Ē

The Miracle inside of me rises to the surface occasionally and I get a glimpse of who I really am in the eyes of my Creator. There are times we are called to take and times we are called to give and times we are called to be and bask in Divine love however we define it. I laughed a bit as I rolled over. How do you put into words that you have a goal of running a 10K in ten weeks and allowing God to show you who you really are.

I drifted off to sleep until the dogs came in at five, whimpering to go out and eat. Joan rolled over and reminded me it was my turn. I didnít think it would do any good to let her know Iíd just discovered I canít be defined by my activity. She usually has a good comeback.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AZCUPCAKE 1/24/2011 4:19PM

    Wow. You really provided us with some amazing food for thought with this blog. I thank you with all my heart for that. There are times when a person's self-worth is WAY TOO TIED UP IN how much money they make or what their "title" is - I know I fall victim to that way of thinking too often, and end up discounting myself because I feel like I can never measure up to those who make a bigger "splash" in the pond. Thank you for the reminder of our worth in God's eyes. Nothing could be more important than that!!! emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 1/24/2011 2:06PM

    It's still amazing to me how everything you have to say is a great reminder for me. And that applies to when you're feeling "off" or "on," so no more of this malarkey about us thinking you're "messed up." emoticon

There's a school of thought that says our job is not to know the "how" or "why," but only the "what." You've identified "what" you are so gracefully here -- a gift from your Creator -- and that lets "how" that manifests and "why" just flow. Good job, dear friend! Now, next time I get all ridiculously judgmental and identify myself as an editor, a friend, a girlfriend, etc., can you just forward this to me? Yeah, thanks. emoticon

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CATHERINEL66 1/23/2011 10:36PM

    This weekend I was listening to the Dalai Lama's Art of Happiness audiobook and writing down some notes and thoughts.

One of the concepts that he spent a lot of time on was your true self, that divine being of light, and how we define our worth. The lesson trascends philosophical perspectives -- because the idea is that if you base your self worth on shakey ground (wealth, power, accomplishment) -- it will dissapear when the illusion of (wealth, power, accomplishment, or stuff) does away.

So, moving into the vision of that divine being of light, or child of God -- is something that none of us do enough. It's that time of prayer, connecting with our true self/God, that serves to broaden our perspectives, and lead us to what's really important in life. :)

Nice blog!

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SILLYHP1953 1/23/2011 4:36PM

    I enjoy your sense of humor, very dry. And the other day maybe everyone was thinking that we are all the same.

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ACIMPEGGY 1/23/2011 2:19PM

    Great blog, John!

Remember, honey, the Course teaches giving and receiving are the reason is when we give, we're really giving to ourselves.

Also, dear one, Spirit has no gender. Although, I admit, most of us refer to God as "Him."

Have a great week...I've decided to subscribe to your blogs. emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/22/2011 10:56PM

    LOL. Men are so competitive!! It all boils down with being your own personal best and not comparing your self with others. You won't be Lance Armstrong or Bruce Jenner but you can be a terrific John.

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GEEMAWEST 1/22/2011 8:34PM

    You're a good man, Charlie Brown. emoticon

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TRACEY5280 1/22/2011 5:44PM

    Ah, makes me think of the verse - "Be Still". In the quiet hours of the morning is when clarity came. I love this blog on some many levels. It took a deep, intense, lying in fetal position meltdown for me to walk the path to learning just what it means to be loved as a precious child of God. It has freed me from so many fears and is truly living. The phrase that I heard during that time that has really stuck with me is "the only being that is perfect is God". Putting myself in pretty lofty company I was! Keep fighting the good fight. You're authenticity is refreshing and encouraging.

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/22/2011 5:36PM

    Absolutely beautiful. Agreed-100%! You know I didn't think you were messed up at all ,cause if you're messed up, I'm messed up, we're all messed up! :P



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TEDYBEAR2838 1/22/2011 4:59PM

    "God loves me unlike anyone else in this universe, galaxy or world can love me and for Him, my existence is good enough."

Well, it's time you thought about it more often!

Such a great blog. We all love you! and we're here to support you.


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NJMATTICE 1/22/2011 3:54PM

    Nice early morning thoughts. I like the purity and clarity. Must have come from being close in proximity to the Source. As I read, I felt that peace that comes from seeking out God's wisdom for your life. And I enjoyed the giggle that comes with the humility thought. I love when those bubble up. God has a divine sense of humor. Keep reminding yourself of who you really are and you'll be doing God' s good work. That will be a gift to us all!
Have a great Saturday.

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JENNY888 1/22/2011 3:17PM

    This is a very interesting concept John. I have been thinking more and more myself lately about who I really am. I like the "default" concept.

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SARAWALKS 1/22/2011 2:53PM

Anticipating retirement definitely gets you thinking about this!
I have many projects I want to do when i retire - but it's good to remember my projects aren't me, any more than my work is.
When you are single and live alone, it's so easy to become too wrapped up in your work and I have, many times, especially when i doubted my ability to earn a living as a musician.
Finding "me" in these circumstances can be tricky, and you have hit the nail right on the head.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/22/2011 1:23PM

    What a great discovery, John! We all need to find our 'default setting' and learn how to stop defining ourselves by what we do. We are, after all, human BEINGS and not human DOINGS. It's not that we can't or shouldn't strive to do things, but we must not define ourselves by those things. Well said!

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JUNEAU2010 1/22/2011 12:31PM

    I'll bet you and Joan share those comebacks! :)

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KELLY40222 1/22/2011 12:22PM

    John you have a great 'default setting'!

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HDHAWK 1/22/2011 11:06AM

    Well John, if you're really messed up by having a meltdown, then so am I. At least you're not alone! I know I define myself mostly by my job because that's where my passion is and what I know I'm good at. Wish I were that confident about other areas in my life.

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Finding A Bit of Insight or The "Ah-Ha" Moment

Friday, January 21, 2011

One of the reasons I decided to help people as a career is that I wanted them to see and believe you didnít need to be perfect to be successful. I am living proof of that, LOL. I wanted people to see that you could still have some bumps and bruises and still be happy and healthy. Recently, Iíve hit a few bumps myself, really big ones. The kind that jar your teeth. You have been there and done that and you know it is not a pleasant feeling. If you didnít read my blog two days ago, go back and read it. It pretty much summarizes how I felt and in many ways still feel. I just didnít know why, until this morning. Somewhere, somehow this light goes on in my head and while the gloomy clouds werenít whisked away at least I understand the ďwhy.Ē

First, the back story. (I always have a back story.) A good life coach has a coach of their own. Iím fortunate enough to work with someone who specializes in coaching coaches. We talk once a week for about an hour, mostly about how I am doing in making progress towards the goals I am working on. Itís a productivity session not a therapy session.

Back in December, my coach asked me what big change Iíd like to see in 2011. Thanks to some of you, who pointed a few things out to me along the way, I realized I have control issues. In other words in order to feel safe and secure I have to have a lot of control over my environment. Itís really silly if you think about it. Not much changes in reality, just inside of me when I try and control things. I have always had a fear of not having enough money. Itís one of those stay awake at night sort of things. My response to that misperception was to keep a tight fist on our expenses so I knew where every penny was. The problem is that my mind isnít a financial mind; it just likes to control things, LOL. Joan is much better at managing money.

I decided in early December that as of January 1 Joan would take over our finances. She was more than glad to do so. Initially I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off of me. Soon, I started feeling; well I started feeling ďweird.Ē I was nit picking about the way the house was kept, the way the dishes were stacked, what we were eating, when we were eating itÖÖ Now none of this dawned on me until this morning. I went to the grocery and had no cash. In the old days, that being last month, I always kept cash. Itís not that I canít have any, itís just that I got out of the habit of keeping money in my wallet. So I am grumbling and groaning as I drive to Kroger and it hits me. Whatís really upsetting me is the fact Iím no longer in control and the ďother John,Ē AKA my ego is revolting. I took away a precious part of the control freak that lives inside of me. He doesnít care for that at all and like a little kid throwing stones at you, he is acting out. He is throwing everything at me heís got and that means all my weaknesses magnified by ten.

If you want me to feel really insecure just attack the way I look or the fact that I am not perfect and never will be or make me feel alone. Can you say ďbasket case?Ē Part of me is rebelling against my desire to be healthy. The caterpillar doesnít want to be a butterfly; it wants to crawl on the ground. There is a huge battle inside of me.

That revelation brought about a modicum of peace. I cocked an eye skyward and one of the tings I really love about God is that He is God. There is never a lecture. He listens to me and then lets me know He is happy for me and we go on.

I react better and can plan better when I know what is going on. When I know the ďwhyĒ I can usually figure out how to deal with it. I know I have to quit dealing with it alone. Thatís another part of my journey. I have a tendency to want to do it all by myself.

The big change I see in me is that I want to tackle these issues. Being torn apart emotionally isnít a lot of fun, nor do I look forward to it. I only look forward to the end result. If you build your house on a foundation of stone, it can withstand just about anything.

Iím healthier today than I was yesterday and Iíll be healthier tomorrow then I am today. Right now, thatís enough for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHERINEL66 1/23/2011 10:28PM

    I spend a lot of time humming mantras and zenlike statements in my head. Especially because I'm such a control freak and I have to wean myself off the crutch of the illusion. I work really hard to remind myself (as many times as needed, and I need to remind myself a LOT) -- that God is bigger than my issues, my fears and my compulsions. Whew. And that I gotta hand over all that negativity wound up with that control illusion, because after all, I HAVE to make room for more love, peace and joy in my life.

And my friend, I believe that you are doing the same thing on your path.

I am really impressed with you handing over the financial management to Joan. Way to go. I can't wait to see what you do with that extra energy you've just freed up!

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DUTCHIEKIWI 1/22/2011 5:15AM

    Being in control.....

Oh yes, I know how you feel, as I'm much the same even though I am the first to admit some things I'd better not be in control of ;0)

But letting go can be such a relief. It's a learning curb, and slowly but surely I suppose we all will get to the " insight" stage of our lives...

Maybe I make no sense... but then again.. I'm still searching too...



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CARTOONB 1/22/2011 12:06AM

    Letting go of the control is tough. Doubly so if you've got a Little John inside you throwing temper tantrums. I'm glad you've figured out at least part of the reason you're feeling off. Hope you get the rest of the way to "on" again.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 1/21/2011 11:10PM

    Maybe you and your wife can handle the finances together. It might give you some peace.

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JUNEAU2010 1/21/2011 7:05PM

    You could have written this blog about me. Wonderful insights!

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GRANDTO4 1/21/2011 6:55PM

  John, you're doing some great work on the control issues. You should be very proud of that! I was much more stubborn. It took losing my marriage, business, income, house, car and every dime before I listened to the voice that said "I am enough." I don't regret anything that has happened - God has blessed me so much - but sometimes I wish I had paid attention sooner!

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MYOWNHERO 1/21/2011 5:13PM

    Love that line "the caterpillar wants to crawl around on the ground". So true!

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HLPRATT 1/21/2011 12:09PM

    Since I work in the healthcare field, I see alot of people with control issues. They come in with notebooks and every illness and treatment outlined and generally years worth of history. In a way they are good patients because at least they are interested. But then you have to try to explain to them the limits of the tests and labs that we do. Also the fact that medicine can't fix everything and lots of uncertainities exist. I can just see their anxiety increase. It's not just medicine, it's life in general. It's always hard to give up our control.

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/21/2011 12:07PM

    Yes, knowing what's really behind things helps a whole lot. It's tough to make changes when you don't know why you're doing something (at least I know it is for me!). There is a part of me that does not want to go along with this whole healthy living thing, but learning how to deal with that is part of the process, isn't it? I'm so glad you're figuring out what's going on behind the scenes, John; for some of us this is a long journey, and that is actually a good thing, because it gives us time to work through the internal stuff that is behind the way we've been living to make a permanent change. Keep going, sir; you're worth it!

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SILLYHP1953 1/21/2011 11:35AM

    I liked your sentence, "the big change I see in me is that I want to tackle these issues". That's where I am now, finally. I've been beating around the bush instead of jumping into the bush. I've been reading the books instead of doing the lessons inside. I"ve been replying to my friends blogs instead of writing my own. Your struggles and insights really help me sort through my own. Thank you.

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/21/2011 10:28AM

    Giving up control is always very hard. I sometimes think control goes along with perfectionism. We are so afraid to fail, we try to make the world around us be ordered to our sensibility. These are wonderful insights. How wonderful that you have a coach to help you through this.

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MISSROCKABILLY 1/21/2011 10:15AM

    "Iím healthier today than I was yesterday and Iíll be healthier tomorrow then I am today. Right now, thatís enough for me."

So true, and excellent motivation to keep moving forward, even if it's just a day or step at a time. You have come so far in the time you've been on spark, I know you will eventually get to where you want to be, and we are all here to help you get there.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/21/2011 10:07AM

  beautiful as always John and full of insights.. I really enjoy your blogs in all of them I find things I can relate to....we are alike in the fact sometimes we find ourselves off the beaten path but somehow we always find our way back....have a wonderful blessed day

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GEEMAWEST 1/21/2011 9:41AM

    You're definitely growing, John. And hopefully you'll never stop learning. I'm so happy to hear that you're on the upswing.
emoticon emoticon

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SARAWALKS 1/21/2011 9:41AM

    What a blessing that you have Joan who is good at managing money!
That's one of my big fears too...not having enough money, running out of money when I am old and gray and decrepit, having to be alone in a nursing home with a lot of people that I don't like who don't like me...all the fears connect...
In grad school when I was really on the edge financially, I used to find money on the ground whenever I was really worried. Not a lot, but some...I think the most was a dollar bill...
I think it was God telling me, "I've got your back..."
Hard to believe that sometimes! emoticon

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Begining Anew

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A very long time ago a priest once told me ďGod creates from nothing and until we are nothing God cannot create.Ē I believe I felt the hand and breath of God yesterday not only through my despair but in the real out pouring of love I felt from each of you that took the time to write some words of encouragement. In that darkness I felt a bit of hope and then felt the clouds break up. I hit bottom.

I spent a better part of yesterday reflecting on what everyone had to say. Lots of wisdom there. I decided a few things:
Iím going to concentrate on being healthy. That means Iíll eat within my calorie limits, eat the food that promotes health exercise when I should. I believe that when I do those things, along with getting enough rest and spending time with me and for me, that the scale will reflect those commitments. Iím not fat, Iím not skinny Iím just John.

To that end I will believe I am worth it even on the days I donít feel that I am. It means I keep the afore mentioned commitments. It means, slowly but surely I am on my way back. I decided that looking healthy isnít always being healthy.

Thank you, each of you that took the time. Baby steps and one day at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACEY5280 1/22/2011 5:30PM

    It is from hitting bottom that growth springs forth. You may be "just" John, but you're blossoming a bit more as each day passes.

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ZURDTA- 1/22/2011 10:12AM


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DUTCHIEKIWI 1/21/2011 2:12AM

    Iím not fat, Iím not skinny Iím just John.

That, is the best thing I've heard all day!!!

Thinking of you!!



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    Learn to love your self as you are, John. None of us are perfect and we all fall short sometimes. It doesn't make us unworthy or any less lovable.

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DEE797 1/20/2011 7:31PM

    WooHoo....John is back! emoticon emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 1/20/2011 7:15PM

    I am so glad to see this blog. I was concerned.

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HDHAWK 1/20/2011 7:14PM

    A lot of baby steps, but we still get to our goals eventually. Glad you're feeling better!

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KELLY40222 1/20/2011 4:46PM

    Glad to hear you are back in stride! Way to go John!


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MYOWNHERO 1/20/2011 3:05PM

    Amen and amen.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NJMATTICE 1/20/2011 2:07PM


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DGILBRIDE1949 1/20/2011 1:00PM

    Welcome back! emoticon

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SILLYHP1953 1/20/2011 12:56PM

    I was really glad to read this blog today...yes, you are John and you are here.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 1/20/2011 12:43PM

  you are loved ..By God, by the Universe, and you are worthy...I knew you would find your way...much love and light to you my friend

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GIRANIMAL 1/20/2011 12:36PM

    There he is! emoticon

Welcome back, John! emoticon

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PRINCESSNURSE 1/20/2011 12:21PM

    emoticon Perservere!

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STEELKICKIN 1/20/2011 12:10PM

    That's the spirit. A determined and beautiful spirit indeed.

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ANEPANALIPTI 1/20/2011 12:04PM


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GETFIT2LIVE 1/20/2011 11:58AM

    Wise words from the priest; it's not so much that God breaks us down to nothing as He allows us to discover we are nothing without Him. One day at a time is good, and it's all we have, really, isn't it?

Yes, you are worth it, no matter what you feel like on any given day; thank you for reminding me that I am, too. Doing what you know your body needs (eating healthy, keeping reasonable portions, staying active) pays off in the long run, and it builds that healthy lifestyle we aspire to have. Thanks so much for sharing both the victories and the struggles; it helps us all to know that we can make it through the dark times, too, because we're not alone in them.


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GOLFCHICK2-0 1/20/2011 11:54AM

    Sometimes a person spends so much time holding everyone else up, that they drop themselves. Think about what you would say to another person who feels the way you do right now. Look in the mirror and say it to yourself.

There is a reason why there are almost 700 SparkFriends on your wall. It is your cheerful support and advise.

Keep on fighting. We'll be here to hold you up until you are ready to stand tall again.

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TRIPLE_EMME 1/20/2011 11:51AM


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MCDIDDLYD 1/20/2011 11:48AM

    Hi John, You have a great outlook on life and through the Lord be your side. You can do it! Sometimes I have to go to the Lord in prayer. You are right just take it one day at a time and you will get there. Be proud of yourself for you have made the frist step. I wish you all the best!


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BRYLIA 1/20/2011 11:44AM


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