Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Can You Escape?

The picture here is of my storage unit. It's exactly 6 miles away. I'm pretty fortunate that it's climate controlled and in a reasonably nice section of town. But, there's no electricity so the TVs don't work and I have to bring a battery-powered radio.

However, if you notice, I have a ton of books, some dumbbells, there's a couch on the right-hand side and a fold-up TV tray I can use as a desk. The light in the hallway is motion sensitive so it doesn't go off until long after I leave.

During this crazy time we all need somewhere to which we can escape. It might be your bathroom, bedroom, closet, garage, attic, car, a walk,...it doesn't matter. You just need somewhere you can get away from it all; at least for a little while. 

And, I don't necessarily mean the escaping you do online. More often than not you're going to see things (political, etc.) that crank you up.

I'm talking about just. getting. away.

Now, I hear ya. If you have small children or are caring for someone you have to be close. If that's the case you have to escape into your mind. 

But, be careful. One of my psychiatrist friends says, "When you're in your own mind you're behind enemy lines."

Try this: Find a picture of a place you would like to go. Outdoor scenes are best. You might want a picture without a lot of other people in it. 

Find a few minutes in which you can breathe deeply and really get into the picture. Imagine sun on your face and sand under your feet if it's a beach scene. Get into the cool air if you are in the mountains. 

If you can do this simple exercise for only 2 minutes (your mind will wander and you'll have to bring yourself back) you'll find yourself slowing down...getting a little calmer. It's a simple mindfulness exercise. And, Studies show that if you do it twice a day your blood pressure starts going down.

Not a bad trade-off for a couple of minutes.

This is a time in which lots of us are out here near the end of our ropes...as the saying goes, "Tie a knot in the rope and hang on!" 

My suggestion is tie that knot verrrry slowly and focus on it. 



You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

If You Are Having One of Those Days


Some thoughts from a blog waaaay in the past...

Need a Thought for the Day?

I'm having one of those days in which I need a lighter thought; something to take my mind off what is going on and put it onto something that has nothing to do with the challenges I'm facing.

If, by chance, you're having a day like that, too, here are some of the thoughts I'm using to attack the blues:

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.
2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire. 
3. It's always darkest before the dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.
6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of your car payments.
8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you. 1
0. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.
14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
17. Duct tape is like "The Force". It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

Monday, January 13, 2020

You NEED to Get This!


Holidays are past; let’s get started on the new year, the new decade! 

The greatest service I can offer right off the bat is to suggest, cajole, arm-twist and beg you to grab a copy of legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp’s new book, Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of Your Life

You should see my copy. i've underlined so many passages the pages look like they are bleeding ink.

I'm going back and reading it again with a yellow highlighter and am finding lots of ideas I missed the first time.

One of the biggest points is that, as we age, we often believe that energy, the ability to get up and get after life, wanes as we age. Tharp's point is that as long as we stay in reasonably good shape we can do the things we want to do, we don't lose out because we can't get up and out of that Barcalounger.

The book is a little pricey at $27, but it is the best get-it-done book I’ve seen in at least a decade. 



Saturday, December 21, 2019

Three Words

The six, giant Scrabble letters on the bookcase by the door of Chapel HIll’s Franklin Hotel bar spell, REFUGE. Just what I need.
Earlier this week I posted a crazy GIF on FB with a fully-dressed guy falling into the surf with a skimboard while his jeans fell down around his knees. I labeled it “My Decade.” It got a lot of laughs and  comments. I’ve continued to watch it because it cracks me up. But, there’s a ton of truth in the image and the message.
The past decade started with a major challenge and they’ve lined up, one after the other. You’ve had times like these, I’m sure. If you’re trying to live a life that matters you’re bound to step in it on a regular basis.
I just dropped some friends off at a party over here and they’ll call when they’re ready to head home. They asked why I wasn’t going to the party—as I’m sure the hostess and host will. I was invited but, tonight, this week, this year, the end of this decade just doesn't seem to be a time for mixing and mingling. I figured this would be a good place to have one glass of wine.
Chapel Hill during the holidays is waaaay different than any other time of year. Kids are gone for Christmas so every restaurant and bar is, well, available. It’ll be in the high-20s tonight so sidewalk traffic is light and, right now, it’s just me and Matt the bartender.
You would think that in a high-class, high-dollar place like The Franklin the bar would look more like a country club’s. You couldn’t be more wrong. The floor is cement, the furniture is what you’d see on a patio and the backlit bar shelves are made of plumbing pipe and 2x6’s; functional, easy to clear and clean. In fact, the only similarity between this place and a country club bar is the clear to dark, dark brown colors of happiness on the shelves.
You know, if I’m in a bar tonight this is probably where I need to be. Football on the silenced, big-screen and upbeat music just loud enough to be perfect. Matt is rockin’ a great Fedora from Goorin Brothers up in PA that made me smile. He’s not chatty as I was 40 years ago, tending bar up Franklin Street at Spanky’s. He’ll speak if spoken to, but he’s not going into 20 questions.
Having worked behind a bar, I often find some of the best life stories come from folks in that position. In fact, a few minutes ago I asked, in my chatty self, “In a thousand words or less, what’s your story?”
Matt thought a second and said, “How about three words…to be continued.”
To be continued.
That’s why I came here tonight. To hear that. 

The 2020’s…to be continued. Just what I needed.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Underwear? Again?!!!

Two weeks from right now there will be a bunch of happy people, a bunch of disappointed people and some sad folks.

The happy people will be with whom they want to be, getting what they hoped and looking ahead to a wonderful day!

The disappointed people will be with folks they wish they weren't, not getting what they hoped for and counting the minutes until Dec 26.

The sad people may be alone or missing someone who was with them in Christmases past; maybe not getting anything; and seeing Christmas as just another day.

I've been some or all three at various times and I've learned a few lessons:
- Christmas is what YOU make it. It's a gamble to rely on others for your holiday cheer.
- It's OK to be your own Santa Claus. In fact, some of the best presents I've ever gotten came from ...Me.
- While all religions don't celebrate Christmas they all have central figures who were giving, caring, loving and all-in when it came to helping others; that is the basic Christmas lesson--and gift.

Finally, exactly one week after Christmas is the New Year which, if you look at it in a positive way, is the best gift of all. You get a new year--and, in this case a new decade--to start over, make some changes if needed and put the past in the...past.

What will you do during the next two weeks to try and have your best Christmas ever or, at least, a Christmas you can enjoy and appreciate.

Let's Holiday UP!!!

Monday, November 4, 2019

AAAIIIEEEE!!!! MY EYES! MY EYES!!! Oh, wait, it's morning....

What’s the first thing you do every morning? 

No, not that. 

I mean, to what do you pay attention? 

Believe it or not, your first focus of the day tends to set the tone for the rest of the day. 

My late mother-in-law used to say, "If you wake up killing snakes you'll be killing snakes all day long."

Ok, well, I appreciate country wisdom as much as the next person...but, you get the meaning.

First thing in the morning I do some stretches in bed. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not doing some sort of heroic workout...I'm just doing some simple movements to (at 67) make sure all the parts are working.

Then, I sit on the side of the bed and, out loud, say, “Thank you.” And, “It’s going to be a great day.”

Now, let's be honest; sometimes neither phrase comes out very enthusiastically, but it’s a positive start.

What could you see, hear, say, feel or think that would start your day off in a positive way?

I have a friend who does a meditation; I tried that and immediately went back to sleep...sitting up.

I tried the early morning workout...3 times...and I distinctly remember thinking on the way back home after the last one, "Just shoot me."

Over the years we all come up with habits that get us out of bed in one way or another. Try a couple of things that are positive and see what works.

One other thing I do is check out Pinterest.com before I go to bed. I search, "Positive Quotes" and read one or two before retiring, so I'm setting my mind in a positive way. 

Then, in the morning, right after I do the "Thank you," and "It's going be a great day," I check Pinterest again for another positive quote.

Here's what came up this morning, "Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every now and then or the light won't come in," by Alan Alda.

Maybe it's time to give your rise-and-shine routine a little scrubbing.