Thursday, June 16, 2011
So very many of you take time from your own busy day, your own challenges and struggles and your own journeys to support me on mine. Some of you I have known for a very long time. some of you I just met yesterday. My family knows who you are because when you are in need or when you reach a goal, drop a pant/dress size, run your first 5K, participate in your first triathlon or simply wake up one morning and realize, like I have, that you are worth all the effort you have put into this endeavor.
I pray for each of you, sometimes collectively, but please know that not a day goes by that I do not take you with my on my journey and adventure. When I teach a seminar I often use you as an example of courage and strength.
I dont write back to you very often and when I do it's only small words of encouragement. Some days my life is like a whirlwind and the next thing I know it is time for bed and I've had 8,765 responses to a blog and how do I thank them?
Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I dont write to gain recognition, rewards or fame. Part of me writes for me, so I can spill out on paper the things that knock around inside of me. Part of me writes because I simply love doing it. A larger part of me writes because if I can share on ray of hope to someone else then I have done what my Creator asks of me.
Thank YOU. You are loved, appreciated and respected. I am glad you are part of my life. you are more real than many people in my own neighborhood. You are considered a close friend.
All of you.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I had a bad workout yesterday. I dotted all the “I’s” and crossed all the “T’s” but I still walked away feeling uninspired and not very motivated. I walked to my locker and found that not only had someone walked in front of it and down the aisle with extremely wet feet but had also sat on the bench with what I hoped was a wet swimming suit. Bad, just got worse. I’m trying to get undressed without letting any part of me touch the wet floor or seat. I gave up and got two large towels, threw one on the floor and mopped up the wetness. I took the second and dried the bench. Feeling moderately relieved I headed for the shower. The hot water relaxed me and when I finished I reached for my towel, only to find I had left it in my locker and was now standing in a pool of my own water. Ugh!!! I got dressed and prepared to leave when Mr. Miller came around the corner. Mr. Miller is almost ninety years old and there is no such thing as a five minute conversation with him. He has proudly told me that in the fifteen years our gym has been open he has only missed three days. He looked at the shirt I had on, it had a Louisville sports team emblem on it, and asked me how much I knew about Louisville. I told him we’d lived there for over twenty five years. Did I know where the Portland section of Louisville was? His mother was born there. Yes, I did. We talked for a few minutes and he looked up at me. “I think I’m going to hell.”
“How come?” I asked
“I wished the Second World War hadn’t ended before I got a chance to kill the enemy.” He responded.” I was in basic training when they dropped the bomb and I never got a chance to shoot any of those people. I still wish I could shoot a few!!!” I reached for my gym bag and started to inch away. Mr. Miller kept looking at the ground. “They killed my brother……” he started. “ The Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. They dropped a bomb on his ship and he died two days later.” ”For the next half hour I listened as he talked about the events of that day, how he had contacted shipmates of his brother, and how he believed his brother might have been married. He cried a lot and every few minutes he’d look up at me. Sixty nine years later I saw in his eyes the same love and pain and admiration he had for his brother the day he left for the South Pacific. I saw someone who cared very deeply and hurt as much as he had the day he found out his brother had been killed. I sat down on the bench and simply listened and for a minute I cried with him.
“Do you think I’m going to hell?” He asked me.
There are a lot of questions I believe I can answer, this wasn’t one of them. “Honestly Mr. Miller I can’t tell you how I’d feel if someone killed my brother. I’d like to think I could forgive, but I’m not sure. I do know this, people like your brother, millions of them over the years, sacrificed their life so you and I had the freedom to stand here talking to each other, being able to say whatever we want and not have to worry about being scared to say it!”
Mr. Miller just nodded and put on his swimming trunks and headed for the pool. I sat down for a second and realized the countless numbers of men and women, yesterday and today that get up each morning with the sole job of protecting me. They don’t get to choose whether they want to protect some people and not others, they simply do it. They wear it like a mantle, proudly yet unassumingly. I get to have my bad days because of them. Mr. Miller’s brother never had a chance to have a bad day at the gym. He just did what he thought he should do.
Yesterday was Flag Day in the USA. I forgot to remember until this morning.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
I read a story once about a teacher who was given a list of her students on the first day of class. Next to each student’s name was a three digit number. At the bottom of the page was the exhortation “CONDEFDENTIAL.” The teacher assumed these large numbers represented her students IQ’s. She locked the paper away in a safe place, went home, scrapped her lesson plan and prepared a new one that was designed to teach and develop geniuses. After all, that’s what the paper implied. Her results were no less than astounding. Students in her class who had been average or those who had been borderline were treated like geniuses and so they began to act like geniuses. This included high grades. I’m quite sure the teacher received a few accolades herself. After all, her class not only ranked first in the school, but in the district as well. Shortly before Christmas break the assistant to the principal visited the teacher after school one day. It seemed that the teacher had neglected to turn in her student’s locker assignment sheet at the beginning of the year. The teacher looked confused.
“It’s the sheet of paper with the students name and a three digit number after the name,” said the assistant.
“Oh,” the teacher replied.” I thought that sheet was a list of their IQ’s”
“We can’t give you those,” said the assistant. “Those are CONFIDENTIAL
The teacher left for winter break disheartened. She thought she had been blessed with a group of geniuses. A friend suggested she continue to believe the students were all highly intelligent and teach them as if they were. The teacher said she couldn’t. She knew differently.
I’ve been living with a weight plateau of sorts for close to a year. I know what you are going to say: Everyone has them, everyone goes through them, and it’s a fact of weight loss. Want to know something? I can tell you the day, place and time that mine began. I can tell you why it began. I read an article that said EVERYONE goes through some sort of plateau during their weight loss. It just so happened the article I read was written by someone who went through this three year agonizing experience and ended by saying something to the effect that “You can run, but you cant hide.”
Now………….. Before you prepare to fire off a response let me say I have no physical reason for not losing weight. My thyroid is operating fine. My cholesterol levels are in line. I have no food allergies that create mayhem in my body like other people have to endure. My only reason for plateauing. I know there are people whose weight loss journey has been stymied by a host of medical issues and once they found the best protocol to deal with them, they began to move towards their goal. One of my BFF’s here went through physical agony for a long time until she found an enlightened doctor and a good solid nutrition program.
I’m talking about John. John read he was going to plateau and so he did. As I was walking this morning it dawned on me that my super developed mind created a really subtle way to halt my journey. Reaching my goal and dreaming all the stuff I’d dreamed of doing is a little too scary for me some days. Some days I don’t want to be the genius in class. I want to hide in the corner. I get scared, I get nervous and OMG what if I fail? Do you know how dam#$d embarrassing it is for me to look at my weight ticker and see it gathering dust?!?! It got so bad I removed it. So I take solace in the fact that “EVERYONE” plateaus.
I’m scared of success. I got so used to being the fat guy who breathed hard and when things started going the other way I really freaked. Oh, I didn’t run up and down the street screaming. I just created a subtle change and learned to live with. Like the teacher who believed in geniuses I’ve believed that everyone reaches a point of failure. I know people here at Spark, good dear friends, who hit extended plateaus and simply gave up.
Our minds are amazing tools. I can convince myself of anything if I believe in it strongly enough. So it’s back to square one, back to losing weight, getting healthy and being a success.
Uhm, what plateau?
Friday, June 10, 2011
Yesterday afternoon my friend Ron was comatose, non-responsive and his close friends and family had resigned themselves to the worst. He had been in a coma for slightly over a week and the doctors were not giving a good prognosis.
I went to the gym last night and when I returned Joan told me she had received a phone call. Ron was awake, walking, feeding himself a regular diet and basically knew who everyone was. Sometime in the early evening he had sat up in bed and smiled.
He has a long rehabilitation road ahead of him but his doctor said this was nothing short of a miracle.
Just thought I'd share
Thursday, June 09, 2011
When Lisa sat down at the table she was crying. Not the big tears, but the ones you needed a Kleenex for. She looked as if she’d been crying for a while. Lisa is one of my clients. I work with people in her situation who have a limited income or are in adverse circumstances. I tell them the maximum I’d charge and the minimum. I tell them to pick either or a figure in between. It’s a matter of trust and honesty and if I can’t trust them and vice versa there is no sense working with each other. Surprisingly most people choose the middle figure. I know they are financially strained but I’ve found that a person’s dignity is more important than a lot of things and if I didn’t charge something most people feel that its charity. I would help someone and have; pro bono if they just couldn’t afford anything. My business clients pay about ten to fifteen times the hourly rate Lisa does and I feel I have an obligation to put something back and help people. You might call it an intention.
Lisa was crying because at the last moment her child care option collapsed and wouldn’t be available. Lisa is a single mom; she is raising her daughter without any support from anyone else. Right then and there if I could have taken a picture of Lisa and put it in the dictionary it would have gone next to the definition of “lost.” I asked her if she tried the YMCA. She told me they had started their program the day before and didn’t have an opening. I smiled. I’d been on our YMCA board for three years. The current Program Director was a former client and as most clients end up becoming…………. A really good friend. I excused myself for a minute and called my friend. I gave her Lisa’s name and she said that she would find a place for her daughter and yes there was scholarship money available for her. All she had to do was come in and sign some papers.
When I got back to the table the tears dried up for a few minutes. Lisa’s next issue was life insurance and how she was really worried that if something happened to her there would be nothing for her daughter. I smiled. We have a friend who sells life insurance and had some of the experiences similar to Lisa’s and is younger to boot. She agreed to meet with her and set something up.
I left Lisa smiling, got in the car and headed on my way. I had vinyl to pick up, a toilet to buy and more paint. In between all of that I had a few more clients. By three in the afternoon I was stressed out and worn out and I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for Joan to come out of the grocery when it hit me:
I had just had the best day in a long, long time because I had done something for someone else with no motivation of “What’s in it for me!!” I invested part of my day doing something for another person. It felt so, so good. I sat in the car and smiled, then I cried a bit and then inside of me the clouds parted and a huge ray of sunshine burst through and gosh I felt so good. There is a song and part of its lyric went through my mind. “A good day is any day that you’re alive.”
Yesterday morning when I checked my account balance the big check a client owed me had been deposited into my account the night before. A few minutes later, our contractor told me my office would be ready to move back into sometime today. Maybe one had nothing to do with the other but I really believe that taking the time to give to someone just so they could have peace of mind…………..
We like to use the saying “What comes around goes around,” to refer to people who have done something selfish or wrong. I think it refers to everything. I think the more I go out of my way to help you the more I will be helped. It’s not about me. It’s about us!
BTW: I still can feel that bolt of sunshine. My problems aren’t gone; they are just easier to manage. If you are reading this it could be because you care, with thought of yourself
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