Things That Begin In The End Zone!

nottheend-on-flickr

Image via flickr.com

Few things will matter more than our own definition of success. 

Standing on the sideline, helmet in hand, I dreamed of being a star. I wanted the coach to call my number. I was eager to be in the game. Baseball had come easy to me. I had established myself as a top player. This was the first year I would experience the gridiron. I was among the smallest on the team. I wanted to be a running back. In my mind I had moves. I played them out in my head. Twisting and turning, avoiding tackles. In my imagination I was fast. I could see myself blasting through the line of defense and breaking into a wide open field. I would cross the goal line untouched, spike the ball, and do the dance. Teammates celebrating, fans cheering!

Opposition!

It was amazing, down right disgusting, how many people wanted to spoil my dream. We were losing badly when the coach called me over, sent me in with the play. I was to get the ball and run straight up the middle. The two defenders I was supposed to run between had to be criminals. They were way too big to be legal. How they looked from where I stood off the field was quite different from how they looked up close. I immediately changed my mind. My imagination betrayed me. My mental pictures of jubilation had been tackled by fear. I just knew this would be the last thing I ever did.

How could I trust knees that were shaking, palms that were sweating, and a coach that was willing to offer me up as a sacrificial lamb? There were plenty of people on the field, lots of people in the stands, I never felt so alone. Time moved so slow when I stood watching others play. Now that I’m on the field, things were moving way too fast. Before I had a chance to call my mommy, to ask if she could come and get me, I had the ball in my hands. I took one step before those behemoths smashed me into the ground, laid on top of me, and took my breath away, literally.

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Image courtesy of Raphael Love via flickr.com

Choose Wisely!

We aren’t meant to do everything. Even if we are good at many things there will always be things we were never meant to do. Doing something because we think it’s the way to affirmation, acceptance, and inclusion can put us in the worst possible place. We don’t have to be limited to just one thing. But, we should only do those things that emanate from authenticity, those things that bring us life. What brings someone else life might kill you. Or, at least, prevent you from living the life you were meant to live. In football, you can make fantastic plays. Astound the crowd. Gain yard after yard. But, if you don’t get into the end zone you don’t score points. Without enough points you don’t win!

Know The Score! 

I’ve seen teams make, more yards than the other team and, lose. I’ve watched as a team is beaten up. I’ve seen them fumble the ball, throw interceptions, fail miserably and avoid losing. No matter how horrible they were, how many mistakes they made, when they got into the end zone they celebrated like nothing bad ever happened. It didn’t look pretty. It certainly wasn’t text-book. Yet, they still found away to win!

Life is just like that. It has its own end zone. Sometimes we fumble the ball because we’re trying to live the dream someone told us to have. We get intercepted by an unplanned life event. There are times when our play can only be described as messy. Confusion reigns when we can’t break through what holds us back. Replacing a non-working game plan, with a new one, is a good way to change the outcome, in the game of life.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

When you let go of failure, get over the past, you begin to move the ball down the field. The end zone is where an ugly process no longer matters. Mistakes, ignorance, poor performance aren’t explained in the score. You enter the zone where negative thinking, self devaluing, and not knowing who you are, ends. Despair yields to triumph.  You stop chasing pretty rainbows and pursue the crown of your own clearly defined destiny.

I think a good definition of success is: Winning in the End! 

Many things begin, where other things stop,  in the end zone.

What’s your End Game?

 

Daily Prompt: Recharge

via Daily Prompt: Recharge

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Image courtesy of youtube.com

What a day! I have nothing left. This is the way I like it. Pouring out the last drop of oomph I have left in me. Everyone has their own version of fun. I have mine. I enjoy the sweat dripping from my brow. My muscles burning as I tax their limits. Deep, life saving breaths, keep me feeling alive.

I remember the first time I witnessed camaraderie. Sports introduced me to shared goals. I took notice of how connection formed around a hoop, a home plate, or a goal post. Funny how so many things begin in an end zone. Even individual sports like tennis required a team of coaches, trainers, and practice partners.

I caught the distinctions among players. It was like a dividing line. A mark of demarcation. Some participants were only there to have fun. Pushing themselves to discover their limits, to explore potential, or to become great was not of interest to them. The minute it becomes too competitive they look for the exit.

The warrior mentality is evident in the other group. Win at all cost. Take no prisoners. Besting an opponent, for them, is like blood to a mosquito. They crave the adrenaline rush of high-octane challenges. They want to know. They have to know if they’re good enough to become great. When they walk off the battlefield, of competitive play, they ask themselves one question; is that the best I have in me?

I was good, but, not good enough. I made it to the minor leagues and that is where my aspirations ended. I would not play professional baseball. I had made my decision. Many thought I was wrong. I was an accomplished tight end receiver. Fast, agile, with good hands. I liked football, just not as much as I liked baseball. Could I have made it in football? We’ll never know.

Accepting, my fate in life, I moved into the workforce. I had taken the summer to settle my disappointment. I knew I would still have to deal with all the comments meant to encourage me. Some would share their thoughts about my choice of sports. People who believed in me have a right to their own disappoint. I knew it would pass, for each of us, in time.

I will follow my dad and two older brothers into the oil fields. It’s hard work, but, it pays well. There’s a future in it. Possibilities for promotion are there for the taking. I will ask my girl to marry me. We’ve known each other our whole lives. Dated since the ninth grade. Everyone expects us to wed. I’ve never considered another girl. Sally Jane is the only woman I’ve ever wanted.

I can see us with a beautiful home. At least three kids. Maybe a couple of dogs. I know we’ll be happy together. We’ll find our bliss. Raise our family. Reach our goals. We’ll find a way to live the dream. I’m determined to not let my failure, to turn pro, make me a loser. It’s over. The faster I move on the better my life will be.

I didn’t see it coming. It was my first day on the job. Nobody warned me until it was too late. The last thing I remember, before I woke up in the hospital, were the voices screaming, watch out! When a pipe is about to burst there’s a sound that regulars recognize. They know to run. There was a loud explosion that sent a piece of steel straight at me. The force was incredible. I lost both of my legs.

Sally Jane takes me to see the boys play football on Friday nights. She has never left my side. Our twin sons are great athletes. As my wife wheels me to my favorite spot on the sideline, I go to work. I can’t get out of this chair but I don’t let that stop me. I don’t even let it hinder me.

I yell and scream. Flay my arms around. Jump up and down inside. I give myself a thorough workout cheering for my sons. I’m so proud of them. Sometimes our side wins and sometime we don’t. They leave it all on the field and I leave it all in the stands.

We arrive back home. I recharge, so I can do it all again!

rickamitin.com

 

 

Who’s The Most Qualified?

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Image courtesy of John Goodridge via flickr.com

Here’s the question; what kind of sandwich is not too fattening? The answer; half a sandwich. See how easy that was? Man by nature is a problem solver. Try to imagine life without electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing. Things such as X-Ray, DNA, and MRI are solutions to dilemmas. Don’t forget about planes, trains, and automobiles. If there is a problem there is an answer. From the Theory of Relativity to the Periodic Table we are known for figuring things out.

We Don’t Always Like Answers!

According to Crime Clock, one person is murdered every 31 minutes. One person is raped every 1.9 minutes. One home is burglarized every 18 seconds. Every 4.2 minutes, an elderly person, is the victim of violent crime. One child is reported abused or neglected every 34.9 seconds. What happens to our problem-solving skills? Does wisdom run away from home? 

  “If you don’t work you don’t eat. Keep your hands to yourself. If you can’t afford to buy it you don’t get it.”  

  Is common sense really that distasteful? Is it so bitter we can’t drink it? Is it so tough we just can’t chew it? 

First Do No Harm!

Whether the oath is actual or implicit we’re right to expect more from ourselves. Our prisons house not only the down and out but, the up and out too. Many positions that were once held in high esteem have seen better days. Men and women have broken public trust. Turned service to others into a dirty word. Greed is the root of unrest. Yes, you can find entitlement thinking on our welfare rolls but, if you want to see our worst cases, go to the Halls where Justice is Suppose to Be! I challenge you to find greater selfishness than the people sitting behind desks of power. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. - Lord Acton

Harsh Remedies Not Harsh Blame!

Human beings make mistakes. The humanitarian in us forgives. The god in us restores! You just can’t find Jesus to escape the consequences of your actions. Being sorry you got caught has never been the same as being sorry for what you did. When you see the energy employed to beat the system you realize there is enough creative juice to stay above the fray. It comes down to choice!

It’s a popular misconception that the phrase “First do no harm” is part of the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors. While it is implied, the actual statement, is not formed in the pledge. What if we made it a part of our commitment to ourselves and to each other? What if the rule formed the basis for all human interaction. What if I never had to question if you are cheating me. What if you knew, deep down, the person you’re doing business with would never defraud you. What if you could trust that every one of your relationships would always put you first? Would that change the world. Would it change your world?

Cynicism Is Too Expensive! 

Skepticism is a currency that will surely bankrupt us all. I mean, really. If we can’t change the world why bother to change ourselves? C’mon man! It starts with us, always! How did so many of us become addicted to the kool-aid? And how did we get such an abundant supply? Every flavor imaginable designed to numb us from reality. The water of life is found by me genuinely caring about you! And your well-being.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Awake! Come Alive! Get in the Game. Show up for yourself. You will make a difference for you and for me! Lying is for people who don’t think they’re good enough. Denial is when people think the truth is too terrible for human consumption. You’ve never been that bad – or – that good, for that matter! Decide what you really want. What’s really important to you. Then, hire yourself to get the job done. You’re the only one qualified to build the life of your dreams!!!

How are you putting yourself to work?

 

 

 

Abandoned!

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Image courtesy of Bala Sivakumar via flickr.com

What’s The Best Way To Do It?

Driving down a country road we’re on our way, to somewhere. My uncle Carl noticed a car, up ahead, pulled to the edge of the road. He mentioned they might be having car trouble. As we got closer, their car door opened and a puppy was thrown out. The door closed and the car sped off. I was a young boy. I’d never had a pet before. I asked my uncle if we could pick up the dog and take him home. He hesitated, then stopped the truck, got out to collect the puppy.

The little fellow couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. I remember he was black with a white spot on his forehead, just above his eyes. I jumped out to follow my uncle. Just as he reached to get the dog he jerked his hand back. He said, oh man! I asked what was wrong. He said the dog is sick. Told me to look at his eyes. They were swollen with thick fluid leaking out. I felt really sad. My uncle said there’s nothing we can do. We got back in the vehicle and drove off.

My uncle explained he didn’t know what kind of sickness the pup had. It could be something dangerous like rabies. He couldn’t take a chance. He knew I was disappointed. I’ve never forgot that puppy. I asked my uncle what would happen to the dog. He told me, most likely, the puppy would be dead soon. He may starve or a larger animal might get him. He was alone, in the middle of nowhere, abandoned!

Sophisticated Component!

We can dress up our choices, decorate our decisions, and disguise our intentions. We can be reckless, foolish,  and selfish. What we can’t do is discharge personal responsibility. We can certainly be irresponsible. But, we will always be accountable even if we never give account. Satisfaction, contentment, and tranquility are also being auctioned.

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Image courtesy of Exile on Ontario St. via flickr.com

I drove past buildings in a number of our cities. Boarded up, neglected buildings. Weeds growing out of control. Plywood windows marked with graffiti. Some broken glass and doors barely hanging on. What disease did these neighborhoods have? Why were they left like a sick puppies on the side of the road?

The executive came down, a sharp dressed man,  from the 21st floor to grab a hot dog from the corner stand. He knew Gonzales. He worked the corner for a long time. What Gonzales didn’t know about Michael and what Michael didn’t know about Gonzales is the exact same thing. Two completely different positions. Status, prestige, and material possessions totally removed from one another. The isolation they, felt inside, made them blood brothers. I recognize both of them.

Gonzales believed he wasn’t worthy. He thought he would never be good enough. He loved his family but felt like a failure for not providing better for them. Michael believed he wasn’t worthy. He thought he would never be good enough. He was a workaholic scared of being seen as a fraud. These men have pronounced a life sentence on themselves. Their fathers were not there for them. What disease did they have to be left, like sick puppies, on the side of the road?

… 

Broke because of corruption on Wall Street. Broke because of infidelity. Broke because of spiritual abuse. Broke because of selfish ambition. Broke because of molestation. Broke because of parental betrayal. Broke because of jealous rivalry. Broke..Broke..Broke!

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Image courtesy of Chris Devers via flickr.com

ABANDONED!

We can all do better. We can start today. Choose a pet, a building, or a heart and fix it!!!

Sight Management!

 

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Image courtesy of Tabitha Kaylee Hawk via flickr.com

Perception is Reality…  Nonsense! 

If my perception is off everything I think and feel is off. I’m living the reality of my perceptions when my perceptions aren’t even real. I can’t see reality. I’m in an alternate world. To see clearly I have to get the lies out of my sight.

Once I Was Blind!

I have discovered, if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive anyone. For many years I tried to get over things, forgive people, make sense out of chaos. I educated my head but my soul remained aloof. I kept moving forward with sleep in my eyes. Constant eye checks had me trying one corrective lens after another. Each promising extraordinary vision. I was blurred enough to try other people’s glasses. The reality is, you will need your own, in order to bring your life into focus. When I stumbled severely enough, to have to forgive myself to survive, nothing anyone ever did to me mattered much.

The commonalities among us can’t dismiss our individuality. We have different capabilities, capacities, and callings. Not everyone reaches the depths of despair. Some people’s sight deficiencies are on the surface. They don’t require much to see clearly. Other people have retinal detachment. No generic reading glasses from Wal-Mart will fix their sight problems. This group is prone to worsening of the outer visual field. Impossible to see the whole picture. When corrected, they tend to see further than most.

Fresh Eyes!

Nearsightedness will take care of things up close. Farsightedness will handle things far away. If the condition is astigmatism you’re struggling to understand yourself. Why am I like this? we ask. Blurred or distorted, at some degree, in all distances. When the cornea is irregular it doesn’t refract light properly. Two-thirds of the eye’s optical power is impaired. Vision is fixed, out of focus. When the cornea separates from the layer underneath it has to be repaired internally. Clarity is an inside job!

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Light is fast. If you travelled at the speed of light, you would navigate the equator 7.5 times a second. Light has to be bent for humans to benefit from its illuminating qualities. The eye and the earth are round for a reason. The curvature of the eye lens, can be adjusted to “tune” focus, slowing light down enough to process it. We gain knowledge, or think we do, only to admit we have so much yet to learn. Even unlearn, sometimes. In our physical realm we orbit meaning and purpose.

In the same way surgery can enhance our ability to see, understanding brings clarity, to perception. Miracles are light at full speed. They happen so quick it’s easy to miss them. Some people have unbelief. Some want you to stay blind. Some will be mad at you, even unforgiving, because you took too long to see. Some might resent that you’re no longer groping in the dark. You might experience those trying to cover up their own blindness by insisting your sight isn’t really restored. All are defects in vision.

It’s not where you are that’s important it’s what you see from where you are that matters!

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Being able to see is good. Seeing clearly is even better. People who gain clarity rarely want to go back to confusion. Peace is the result of detachment correction. Seeing through distortion, blurred vision, and bringing your life into focus is sight management! 

How are you managing your sight?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attention!

Pay Attention Tau Zero flickr

Image courtesy of Tau Zero via flickr.com

My uncle Tony was more like a big brother than an uncle. I was about 13 years old when he joined the Marines. I made a decision to follow his path. As soon as I was old enough I would join too. I was sixteen and a half when I completed my paperwork. I had to wait until I was 17 so my mother could sign for me. Then I could get a physical and be sworn in. On January 12, my birthday, mom signed. On the 13th I passed the physical, was sworn in. On the 14th I flew to The Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. On the 15th I was sure I had made a mistake.

Everyone had been so nice. Helping me. Being patient with me. I walked the terminal and found my way to the designated area where I was met by a military representative. Others joined us there and we were loaded on a bus to be transported to the base. I was excited and apprehensive. When we arrived we were given instructions on how to exit the bus and what to do next. I took notice of a serious change in attitude. The good guys disappeared.

BootCamp Cpl Caitlin Brink flickr

Image courtesy of Cpl. Caitlin Brink via flickr.com

The people barking out orders were not nice. They addressed us men as ladies and sweethearts. Sarcastically, I might add. Some of the guys weren’t moving fast enough to suits these men wearing Smokey Bear Hats. So, they surrounded some of the men shouting in their face and ears. I didn’t like it. Not at all. I had the feeling I had been misled. This didn’t look like the time of my life. Even my uncle Tony, who was no longer on active duty, didn’t tell me about all this. I was having a Private Benjamin moment. Those Drill Instructors got my attention.

WE DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT!

Perhaps nothing says more about us than what we give our attention to. From cultural distinctions to our funny bones we are diverse. Serious issues, such as faith or politics, keep some engulfed while others could care less. Some expect to earn what they get and others expect everything for free. Selfishness and generosity vie for our attention. One thing I’ve observed about happy people is, they give attention to things of substance!

This business about “do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” has a lot of play in it. Sometimes we are just too impatient with difference. But, indifference carries its own poison. My journey into the military was a defining moment. Lesson number one became very clear; don’t run from anything, always be running toward something. I got away from many things I wanted to get away from, but, I landed squarely in some things I didn’t want. Some things I didn’t know enough about to know I didn’t want them.

NEVER TOO LATE FOR PROGRESS!

Be-younger.com on flickr

Image courtesy of Be-Younger.com via flickr.com

The addendum to lesson one is; Knowing what you don’t want is one thing. Knowing what you do want is another. Hate gets terrible gas milage. Burns up precious energy and requires constant attention. Dissatisfaction drains vibrancy. It’s deceitfully occupying and the pay is horrible.

I have things that make me feel alive. Things that excite me. Make me want to jump out of bed in the morning. I want more of those things. The things that give me life are the things I’m paying attention too.

What has your attention?

 

Shine!

Where you start

Sometimes the details take over the story. When reality gets buried you’ll have to dig. You become the diamond in the rough. The circumstances that wilted innocence, tried to stomp the life out of you, and filled your mouth with self chastisement has never affected your value. They only disguise it.

Carbon Buildup Means Nothing To A Diamond

Not everyone has the same path. But, we all do have the same destination. In between the cradle and the grave is the potential to shine. Diamonds are formed, in the area called the Mantle, between the earth’s crust and its superheated core. A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well. When the temperature reaches about 2700 degrees fahrenheit and, pressure is equivalent to 400 grown men standing on your foot, carbon becomes diamond.

Diamonds are formed in a depth where no human can survive. Heat and pressure explode the jewels to the surface where they can be discovered. They begin as larger stones. The goal is to cut the biggest diamond possible while removing imperfections that lessen its value. If the diamond is cut too deep or too shallow, light will leak out of the bottom, making the center dark and dull. All the stuff we humans do to ourselves, and each other, are the imperfections to be cut away. We are just underneath the errors. When confusion is extracted, priceless is revealed.

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” – Rumi

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Image courtesy of guildhalldiamonds.com

We can talk about, magnify, even embrace the carbon that hides the gem. Those terrible, disgusting, violations that camouflage our virtue. If all we ever elevate are the layers that need to be removed we’re likely to miss our lives. If the theme of your life is what went wrong, it’s time to get a life. If your community only talks about what you did wrong, it’s time to find your people. Perfection is not what you let in it’s what you let out!

Light only leaks from human cuts. Light isn’t trying to come or go. Its desire is to be, remain, and sustain.  Our attraction to bright, shiny, glitter is simply a desire to find a match for our internal longing. PerfectMatch.com can’t touch this. A perfect mate is a life giver. A lifter, supporter, and fulfiller. Light gives and we give what we receive. We are healed when what we give away leaves us satisfied. Takers upset the apple cart. Two halves can only create a ouchiemama! (used literary license)

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Image courtesy of flickr.com

We just aren’t suited to court devastation, date hollow-grams, and romance pain. Nor to find our pleasure in brokenness, darkness, and separation. The only way I know for a whiner to become a winner is to change the water into wine. From the pink and colorless Sparklers to the deep blue of Hope Diamonds, the world’s premier stones vary in size, color, and origin. The Oppenheimer Blue is the most expensive diamond to ever be auctioned. Selling for 57.5 million dollars. Hard to believe it was once a charcoal lump buried too deep to be visible.

The worst that can happen is to die a buried diamond. Hidden in the carnage of imitation. Mine the precious stone that is you, and Shine!

 

Can You Spot It?

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Image courtesy of quotegram.com

When our children were toddler’s I used to say to my wife, if anything happens and you decide to leave, the kids stay with me. A few years later, when they were teenagers, I said to my wife, if anything happens and you decide to leave, the kids go with you! The philosophy governing my grandson’s status is very clear; Everyone is expendable except, him. A little humor can go along way to keep you sane.

WISDOM- knowledge you actually use

I revamped my internal operating system some time back. For many years I approached everyday without being deliberate. I accepted feelings, thoughts, and actions as the collective summation of who I am. I viewed shortcomings, deficiencies, and flaws as permanent spots. Weaknesses that I felt guilty about. When shame took root I had an abiding sense of fatality and impending doom! I learned; what you think about you bring about. Doggone these irrefutable laws!

Taking control of your life means you don’t just observe. You’re not just a bystander. You can influence yourself. Make an impact on your daily life. Create positive outcomes. You can literally like the person you are and the life you’re living. There will always be the distasteful to deal with. From irate customers to irresponsible drivers. Some unpleasant things will continue to offer you ways to use patience. I’ve been told I have all the patience I could ever need, simply because, I never use any of mine. (Proud to report improvement!)

RESOLUTION- a firm decision to do or not to do something

There are four things I insist on every day! The decision to make this a daily ritual is, arguably, the best gift I’ve ever given to myself. Any day I can, check these off my to-do-list, I declare a great day. Time to celebrate!

  1. The Sweet Spot – Laugh so hard your stomach hurts.
  2. The Soft Spot – Cry over someone else’s pain.
  3. The Strong Spot – Help make life better for another person.
  4. The Solidarity SpotRefuse to think  destructive thoughts about myself or others.

This is my unfolding story and I’m sticking to it!

One of my favorite quotes;

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Image courtesy of quotesgram.com (unknown)

Your family, friends, strangers, and service workers provide abundant touch-spots to exercise goodwill. I love to write the note of encouragement, make the call to cheer someone, or affirm a person online. Pay a compliment to a cashier, look a security guard in the eye when I greet them, and acknowledge people by name. Connection is a choice. You will never run out of chances to make someone’s day!

A moment is waiting to take your breath away.  Can You Spot It? 

 

 

The Elusive Mortarboard!

Do Over by LPCF On Vimeo

Image courtesy of LPCF via Vimeo

It would be nice if I could say that I’ve kept every commitment I’ve ever made. I could say that but, of course, I wouldn’t be telling the truth. Some foolish, misconceived, and emotional vows had to be let go all together. And some well-meaning intentions had to be clarified. Other declarations required a do-over. I’m still longing to seize certain desires in the depth of my soul. (reasons for living)

There’s one promise, I made to myself, that has remained constant. I will forever be a student of life. My devotion for learning, understanding, and meaning has never needed motivation. Periods of despair, darkness, and confusion always succumb to the greater pledge of finding the light. From my childhood until now, I learn.

What I don’t know troubles me. I recognize it as fear. A carryover pattern from feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, and something missing. As I’ve gained proper perspective, and insight into reality, I’ve been successful in eliminating dominating negatives. Self-defeating self talk, wallowing in self-pity, mourning a life I thought I should have had nearly caused me to miss my life.

The could have – should have – would haves of life can be thoroughly debilitating. The ever-present “now” is the ticket to paradise. It’s never to late to get it right. For yourself. For those you love. Simply because you can. Comparing is chaining yourself to a journey that was never yours. We are bombarded with ads, about 5000 a day, specifically designed to make us believe we, can’t be what we want to be, unless we buy what they’re selling.

Prom on en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Whether it’s designer shoes, the latest technology, or motivational roadmaps if we aren’t convinced of our own inherent value we are prey for the prophet profit. Financing the seller’s dream. Nothing wrong, in my opinion, with enjoying the best of everything. If you can afford it. If it doesn’t enslave you. If it doesn’t prevent the real you from emerging. The untold riches aren’t in what we get. They’re in what we give!

I didn’t make it to High School Graduation. I’ve always been sorry I didn’t attend the Prom. I hear it was a lot of fun for many. I haven’t walked across a stage to receive a Degree. A number of Certifications and Licenses has been my institutional achievements. I’ve devoured as many seminars, workshops, and courses I could manage. I’ve read hundreds of books. I’ve had the good fortune to be around people who inspire me. I’ve also experienced shyster’s, con artists, and gamers. Part of my higher education is being able to differentiate.

I’ve gotten over my lack of formal education much better than some have gotten over their B.S. I do have an appreciation for the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice for all those who spend years in the classroom. And use their acquired skills to make the world better. I also hold in high esteem, everyone who stays in school, outside houses of learning. When I see all the social chaos, lack of corporate integrity, and governmental corruption I know the wisest and brightest aren’t the most visible.

mortarboard on pixabay

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I do feel regret over academic shortcomings. Not because of what someone else might think of me. But, because of my love of learning. I will stay a student for as long as I’m alive. I hope to avoid my Cap and Gown for years to come. Part of my romance with life is keeping my mortarboard elusive!

What do you think about your level of knowledge?

 

A Belly Full!

FatCat by wackyvorlon on flickr

Image courtesy of Paul Anderson via flickr.com

Laughter is the best medicine. According to helpguide.org “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. It boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.”

Feeling rundown? WebMD admonishes you to give your body a boost — with laughter. If people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off, says Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and laugh therapist. (who knew) Having been a regular sit-down comic, performing for free over many years, I’m about to stand up and get paid. Laughter by itself might not be a cure-all. But working in concert with a positive attitude, the support of family and friends, a good sense of humor can pay huge dividends.

It is believed that we change physiologically when we laugh. William Fry, a pioneer in laughter research, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would reach after just one minute of hearty laughter. And laughter appears to burn calories, too. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study and determined 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories. (Is this diet featured on Dr.Oz?) If I can bottle, and patent laughter, I’m gonna be rich. Oh yeah, carbs will still be a problem. Shucks, portion size does matter. Exercise too? Dang it!

Terminator by Paul Townsend on flickr

Image courtesy of Paul Townson via flickr.com

I’ve been without a laugh before. I can attest it’s no fun. Personally, laughter has saved me, many times. A good old-fashioned belly laugh can transform you faster than two shots of 5-Hour Energy. (My own opinion. No supporting data available) More of my own insights reveal real life experiences, of deep laughter, can set you free. It’s also sustainable. Tip: Keep thinking about what made you laugh so hard. For as long as you can. Before you return to what occupied you before you laughed. Hey, if you don’t have your own plan use mine until you do. Just sayin!

The latest research also shows that laughter, humor, and happiness play a key role in longevity. My analysis is this; if you go around like you’re the designated bump on a dill pickle you might want to go ahead and make your final arrangements early. I know everything isn’t laughable. Certainly not to everybody. We were walking to a cooking class with our grandson when a bird, totally without regard for human life, did the unmentionable on his head. I’m not usually a hunter, but if I had Schwarzenegger’s machine gun, or even David’s sling shot there would be one dead bird laying in the street in downtown San Francisco. Our boy didn’t think it was funny. And it wasn’t. But his reaction was. I hid my chuckles the best I could.

I’m getting dressed one morning. With pants and shirt already on, I slipped into one sock when, the phone rings. I throw the other sock over my shoulder. I’m in a hurry but the person on the phone isn’t picking up on the signals. I finally escape Ma Bell only to find my other sock is missing. I conducted a thorough investigation before filing a missing sock report. I took the one sock off and put on another pair.

I head down the road and decide to make a quick stop at the store. I rush in, find what I want, head for check out. Standing in line something catches my eye. I look down to find the missing sock had mysteriously returned. I didn’t ask where it had been. I just reached up, graciously took it into my hand, and placed it in my pocket. My sock had come home. It was an intimate moment I desperately wanted to be alone with. Scanning my immediate surroundings, for possible intruders, I locked eyes with a woman who obviously had violated my wishes.

Missing socks by Casey Decker on deviantart

Image courtesy of Casey Decker via deviantart.com

Yes, she was laughing. At me! I had to laugh too. On the way out she asked me how long I had looked for the sock? I know it’s not nice to laugh at other people. And, if my intuition is correct, I’m too late to give you permission. You’ve probably  already had, a belly full, at my expense! Well, you’re welcome. Here’s to good health!

I invite you to share a personal funny in comments!