Do Forward

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Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

You’ve heard the term “do over”. Typically it is combined with a lasting feeling of regret. Why would you beat yourself up if you did the best you could, with what you had, at the time you did it?

Whenever we have some goal we want to accomplish, or a continual way of doing something, we study, learn and practice with the intent to become better. Sometimes our goals include a competitive event or testing of some sort to determine our proficiency. And then the self-judgement sets in and we wish for a “do over”.

Why not look at it from a different perspective and consider it a “do forward”? Ditch the regrets, the shame, the sadness, even the anger and focus forward instead of backwards. Looking back keeps you stuck backwards. How can you envision your future if your gaze is on what you should have done? See each new moment as a brand new opportunity to stretch, to grow, to reach beyond what you though you could do. Why would you want to do over if you could do different?

Think about the movie “Ground Hog Day”, in which the character woke up over and over to the same day. Sure, it may have been an opportunity to do something different, but it was THE SAME DAY. The environment was never different and neither were the people. So by doing over, you never get the chance to experience something new.

Maybe the day you had your competitive event was crappy weather. Would you want a do over in that? No, you’d rather have better weather. Maybe you had a mild cold the day you took your test. Would you want a do over with a runny nose, or would you rather have good health?

By doing forward, you open yourself to new possibilities, a new environment, and the ability to bring a new you to your event. Imagine what you could do.

Mediation Meditation

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Yes, you read that correctly. So let’s take a look at the meaning.

Mediation uses a third party to resolve a dispute. Meditation helps you access your subconscious for insight, relaxation and ideas. For this purpose, consider that your conscious mind and body are in dispute about something you would like to accomplish. Your subconscious is the neutral party, because it holds all the skills, brilliant ideas, memories, knowledge and most of all, the neurological wiring to make sh*t happen. This part of your brain can tell your conscious mind and body that they can do this thing, whatever it is.

Let’s say you want to want to improve your golf score. Now, I know nothing about golf so if I don’t explain this correctly, forgive me and make your own mental correction. Every time you tee off, the ball sails off to the right. You’ve changed your stance, your grip and even your – ahem – balls and the damn thing continues to make a perfect arc. (There IS perfection in something.) So why not try meditation to improve your skills?

Find some time and a space where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. No phone, no music, just you and your thoughts. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly in and out. Feel the tension of your day slowly draining down from your head all the way through your body and out your feet. You will know that you have begun to relax when random thoughts start scrolling through your head. Don’t worry about them; most people think your mind should be clear. Not necessarily true, just don’t fixate on any particular one of them. Keep breathing until you don’t notice any of your surroundings, and your focus is somewhere in your forehead. This is when you can begin to access your subconscious.

Now visualize yourself setting up to tee off. Ask your subconscious how to make the ball go straight. See yourself making the swing and the ball going straight down the fairway. Now say to yourself “my mind and body hit the ball where I want it to go”. Repeat this several times so you train your brain to instruct your body what to do. Make this a practice and watch how your golf game changes. Who knows, you might even make Tiger a little worried.

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

You Want to be a Football Hero

quarterback-4363871_1920Football season is upon us and players are vying for first round position. All guts, no glory, as they say and you see many a young quarterback launching the ball for all it’s worth and hoping for the game-winning touchdown. Careers are set or lost on a weekly basis.

What if you had to live your life like the NFL? Sixteen chances to win and move on to the Super Bowl. A moment of glory to be immortalized in a statue and documented permanently. At least it gives former players something to do each week.

It may sound as though I am demeaning football. Not at all, I’m glued to the television each week to see what the Broncos are going to do. I cheer, cuss and throw popcorn at the screen trying to make my own touchdown. And usually not all that successful either. I confess to not knowing a whole lot about the game, but I just love the passion and athleticism. I can tell who is having a bad day and who is focused upon winning.

Winning isn’t everything. I’ve heard that saying too. Oh, but it is! It’s all in the personal view of what it means and the level to which it is taken. The Super Bowl is a huge deal, but so is threading a sewing needle when you can’t see for sh*t. Like me. Writing a page a day for a book is just as important as busting the ribbon when you cross the finish line. Winning at life is another saying, but who really knows what that means?

Our journey here is to grow our spirit, in order to grow Spirit, and experience giving and receiving love. Sounds rather simple, but everyone’s journey is complicated. If you compare it to a single football season, you aren’t totally sure of what you are going to get. You might know ahead of time which teams you are going to play and who is on the roster, but then it is a guessing game. Any single one of the players could be having a bad day due to illness or minor injury, and you know they usually play through most of that. That little bit could throw off the rhythm of the team. Just like at your workplace when the go-to person is out sick. It could also be later in the season and some of the players are sidelined with a more serious injury. Think about that if you are older and had made life plans of traveling or some such and your partner has become permanently disabled. You now have to re-strategize your game plan. Maybe your partner is okay with you traveling with a family member or best friend, while they stay home and enjoy their poker league. Just like in football it is all a matter of attitude and adjustment.

So you can still be a football hero.

Breaking It

keyboard-393838_1920I’ve taken a short break from blogging. It wasn’t intentional, just too many things going on that kept me out of creative thinking. I don’t lament the time lost, because sometimes circumstances work in our favor to give us a break.

Taking a break from anything can be healthy. If it is physical exercise, you give your body a chance to rest and recover. If it is mental activity, such as studying or work logic, you give your brain a chance to reset and balance. Taking a creative break does the same thing from the opposite side.

A break is a temporary, short-time-frame rest. A long-term break may be a sign of something bigger like burnout. Lacking desire or interest in something could be that it truly is no longer relevant in your life, however, if the lack of desire or interest is widespread it can be a sign of depression.

Depression is a treatable disease. There are many resources and methods that are readily available. Don’t allow this to overcome your life when there is help.

A break can be as simple as a short nap. Taking a walk is a nice break when you have been sitting awhile. Reading a book, listening to music, playing with a pet or child, fixing a cup of tea or coffee, having a healthy snack and especially meditation are various forms of relaxation. The important thing is to do the opposite of what you have been doing.

Just don’t break anything.

Pi-Lot-es

pilates-3799327_1920I love Pilates. Once you learn the movements, you can do Mat Work anywhere. Bedroom floor, back yard, hotel room. I consider that it saved my life.

I’m convinced that I developed bursitis in my hips from an often-prescribed medication. I won’t name it, in case Big Pharma starts poking into my life. Let’s just say most cardio docs want you to take it. I can’t prove that it happened, but it coincidentally occurred right after I began taking it. I stopped the prescription quite a few years ago. The constant pain in my muscles and joints was not worth the small risk of not taking it. I had to stop exercising because of the pain.

And then I discovered Pilates. The manager of fitness programs at our rec center suggested I try it. The teacher was phenomenal and taught the Classical version. When I began the lessons, it was hard work. I was still on the drug and didn’t have a lot of muscle strength. I still had pain. Some in-depth research made me stop the meds and within three months, everything changed. Sure, I adapted to the routine, but the biggest gain was no more pain.

I love Pilates.

It’s been eight years since I first laid down on a mat and stuck my legs in the air. (Yep, most movements are like that.) You will hear that Pilates is all about core strength. They are not kidding. I am often amazed how much I now have. Why core strength? You might think it’s all about the abs. That is part of it, but it is so much more. From your neck to your knees, everything is connected and has the most impact on your daily life. Getting up out of a chair takes core strength. Good balance requires core strength. Lifting your arms in the air requires strength in your shoulder girdle. Without it, you might become one of those rounded-shoulder, shuffling elderly that we too often see.

Going to a class is fun. Since you are laying down most of the time, you can’t really see what anyone else is doing so there isn’t much competition. However, it is really impressive when you see someone do the inversions so effortlessly. You can do it by yourself. You can do it with a friend. (Sounds dirty, but it’s not.) You can do it however often you want. I try to do a short routine every night before bed. It helps to “untwist” me, so to speak, from my day. You don’t get all sweaty and cardio so it doesn’t affect your sleep.

A whole lotta Pilates is really good for you in every which way. Anyone up for the “Hundred”?

I Wants It

barbecue-2098020_1920You remember Gollum from “Lord of the Rings”. An emaciated creature who craved an empowered gold ring. A craving so intense that nothing else mattered. I doubt that even a junkie would be that far gone.

Cravings are powerful. I’m sure you’ve experienced them in some form or another. Like OMG, nothing will do but you have to have a bag of chips before you die of starvation! Not likely, unless you are on “Naked and Afraid”, and even then they would rescue you before death.

If you are of average weight and maintain it, cravings are fairly normal. They typically signify unmet needs for fun, excitement or love. Basically, you are bored and food fills a hole. If you struggle with being overweight or are a chronic dieter, then food cravings and overeating signal unmet emotional needs. Overeating often springs from anxiety or depression. I am not a doctor, nor am I providing a diagnosis, but if you struggle with these issues please see a doctor or therapist. Life is too short, and you are missing out on too many good things so make your overall health a priority.

Real physical hunger comes on slowly and your stomach tells you it needs fuel. Emotional hunger swirls in your mind and triggers taste sensations in your mouth. Poor nutrition, blood sugar swings, alcohol and drugs mess with your brain chemicals – especially serotonin – and cause even more cravings. Give your body the proper fuel and in return, it will provide you with energy and feel-good chemicals so you want to get out and enjoy life. Good trade-off, I’m thinking.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I have been overeating. Nothing extreme, but I’m looking a little poochy. Ick. And not for anything in particular as that points to different needs, such as salty-crunchy for anxiety. So I decided I needed to look into my need for food.

Sometimes we overeat for simple reasons: obligation – someone brought cookies to work and you don’t want to hurt their feelings; not wasting – you ordered the food at a restaurant and don’t want to leave a full plate, although a doggie bag is always an option; taste – it’s damn good!; boredom – snacky foods give you something to do; true hunger – eat too fast and eat too much; tired – hoping it sparks energy. These are a few of the reasons we shovel in more than we need.

Well hmm, I think those are my reasons.

I’ve b*itched about my work plenty, but it is a long day from waking to coming home. I have plenty of responsibility that goes from all-out-balls-to-the-wall to sitting and waiting. Anyone that does accounting work understands those cycles. During the boring times, I eat. During the stressful times, I work through lunch, go home tired, eat to refuel and have a drink to unwind. The perfect combination to build tummy fat. Because of all that, I have set aside some activities that I would normally enjoy doing – like I don’t have the time and energy for them. I know, practice what you preach. Eating has become the new enjoyment. Therein lies the problem.

Using food as a replacement for getting your needs met is a bad idea, but instead of focusing on food as the enemy search for the root. Give yourself permission to have fun. Schedule some free time in your day, just for you, to do something you love. Practice self-care. Give your relationships some attention. Hug your friends. Get out in nature and soak up a little sun. Maybe do some energy work. The third chakra – Solar Plexus – is at the navel. It governs personal power, so it may be said that a little tummy fat protects your power. Maybe your personal boundaries need a little work. The second chakra – Sacral – is directly below and governs pleasure, emotions and addictions. A definite connection. If you sit at a desk all day, like me, then the two probably get squished into one muddled energetic glob.

Hmm. Addictions ending up in the stomach. Better get up and stretch, but not for another cookie.

I wants it. . .

 

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere

IMG_20190505_132400079 (1)Alcoholism is a serious and debilitating disease that engulfs the mind, body and spirit. It can contribute to any number of health issues and can result in death. From my research, alcoholism can be a coping mechanism for deep, personal issues. It is a sad waste of a beautiful human life.

There is no doubt that drinking alcohol can be fun. A summer afternoon, an evening cocktail party, wine pairings, all are fun gatherings with friends. A cold beer after yard work. A “topping off” after the completion of a project. All reasons to offer a toast. But anything in excess is unhealthy for your well-being.

When you are super stressed, it is easy to reach for a cocktail to numb your nervous system. It may be helpful for the moment, but you’ll wake up in the middle of the night just as restless and edgy as you started. Instead take a walk, or engage in some other mild form of exercise. Meditate. Read a book. Work a puzzle. The idea behind stress relief is to focus your thoughts on something that relaxes you, which will help you do actions that relax your body.

Treat alcohol as a treat, and just because it’s five o-clock somewhere doesn’t mean it needs to be five o’clock every night.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

Storm-ward Bound

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DENVER, CO – MARCH 13: 16th Street Mall of Denver is covered by snow on Wednesday. March 13, 2019. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Yesterday, March 13th, Colorado experienced a “bomb cyclone”. WTF?! A meteorological term for a drop in barometric pressure that exceeds 24 millibars in 24 hours. Another WTF. The radar picture does look like a cyclone. All I know is that it was an awful blizzard to drive in. Never mind that major highways were closed. Never mind that stoplights were covered in snow or not working. Never mind that the Governor called out the National Guard to get stranded motorists.

What was I doing on the road in a blizzard?

Because my workplace decreed that we all needed to show up for 3 hours of work. And then get sent home in the midst of the blowing snow. WTF.

Unless you are having a heart attack and need to get to the hospital, there is likely nothing you need to go out in a blizzard for. If you need to get home from someplace, then you probably shouldn’t have been there to begin with. Starbucks and most liquor stores were probably closed. You probably don’t need them either.

What is it that compels people to hop in their cars in the midst of wildly blowing snow? Last week, the news stated “the mountains are CLOSED”. That means don’t go there or you can’t go there. An avalanche took out I-70, the interstate highway that goes over the mountains. People were caught in that. People ski in that. With an avalanche pack that becomes a balloon. Might I say once again, What. The. F*ck.

When there is a blizzard or any other serious weather disaster, employers please tell your people to stay home unless you are in the business of saving lives. You just make it difficult for those who do to get to those people. If you are an adrenaline junkie, stay home and surf Facebook. There is plenty enough adrenaline-boosting juice obtained from reading troll comments.

Stay home, it is not worth endangering your life for either a momentary thrill or to read a bunch of time-wasting emails.

Soooper Bowl Sunday!

football-3814958_1920It is almost Kickoff time and by now, most people are drunk, stuffed with food or wide-awake and ready for the game.  Whether you are rooting for the Rams, the Patriots, or the “ahem” Saints (sorry guys) a fun time is sure to be had by all.

Remember boys and girls, it is a game to entertain you this afternoon and not something worth driving your car off a cliff for.

They say traffic is especially bad after a Sunday football game loss.  People get way caught up in the NFL, and why not?  It is millions of dollars of revenue for many companies.  Do you think about buying Budweiser when you see a cute Clydesdale colt romping around?  Or do you develop a taste for Doritos?  Whatever your pleasure or poison, the advertising will have you thinking about a purchase.

And then there is the legendary “star”-studded (you sure that was a malfunction?) half-time entertainment.  I doubt anyone will forget the beautiful purple rain of Prince.  R.I.P.

What is it about the Super Bowl that compels us so?  Aside from just sports fans, I think it is fun and excitement in the midst of winter.  If you can’t afford a beach getaway, a championship football game is one way to take your mind off artic weather and piles of snow.  Although it is 61 degrees in Denver today.

Maybe you don’t care about football at all.  Okay.  Maybe you are stuck at work and hope for a few moments to check the score.  Maybe you got carried away and put down a bet (make sure it is legal) and are worried that you might not have enough to pay the rent.  Shame, shame, fun stuff always comes AFTER necessities.

How ever you are spending the day, just remember that winning always comes from putting in the time and effort and the belief in yourself.  Go team!