Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Oprah and Oreos


I often wonder if a couple of centuries from now folks will remember Oprah like we remember philosophers from ancient times. I love her wisdom here: "If you catch yourself eating an Oreo, don’t beat yourself up; just try to stop before you eat the whole sleeve. And then try to do better tomorrow." 

Lots of us beat ourselves up over all kinds of life issues; personal relationships, work stumbles, habits we wish we didn't have, and body image. Science has long shown us that negativity of that sort hurts us physically and mentally in a variety of ways.

Recently, we're discovering that gratitude has exactly the opposite effect. Researchers from UCLA to UNC-Chapel Hill are discovering that taking a little time to think about what we're grateful for boosts our immune system and heart health, and calms our nervous systems. 

I know it sounds like our third-grade teacher, but when you start beating on yourself ask, "For what am I grateful?" 

And, be specific. Think in terms of specific people, situations, or sensations (ex. feeling healthy or laughing). I did it the other day and it worked! I was grateful for Vanilla Oreos! I just tried not to eat a whole sleeve.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Who Would Have Guessed?


Last night, I had the opportunity and pleasure to speak to 75+ college men at a dinner at UNC-Chapel Hill. They were a delightful range of races, nationalities, areas of interest, and future hopes and goals.

I was candid about my more-than-checkered college academic career and reasonably open about the successes I've had during the 40+ years since my undergrad days.

Most of the folks who knew me back in the early-70s might not have predicted my life would turn out as it has.

I told them I'd love to have a device that would allow me to see them all 20 years in the future because I knew many of them would become extraordinary successes. 

My final point was that, so often, the key to success is simply trying; making the effort. Being willing to risk--or not care about--the possibility of failure. 

And, the trying doesn't have to be a huge step...it can be a small one...a first one..that leads to the second step, and so forth.

Neither you nor I are 20 years-old with the majority of our lives in front of us. But, if we're breathing...we can try. Something small. A first step.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

So, What's Your Problem Today?

In April I'll turn 70 and the whole issue of aging has been chewing at my britches for about 6 months. As usual, I've turned to books, online info, and talking to friends for guidance.

I just finished reading Life, Part Two: Seven Keys to Awakening with Joy and Purpose as You Age. Great book, lots of wonderful thoughts.

One of the suggestions for pulling our minds away from the constant yammering about whatever is bothering us is to put things into perspective.

Which leads to...The Laniakea Supercluster. I know, I know, it sounds like a wonderful kind of candy! But, actually, it's a cluster of galaxies of which we and our Milky Way are tiny parts. In fact, the Laniakea Supercluster holds 100,000 galaxies.

BTW..."Laniakea" means open skies or immense heavens in Hawai'ian (not sure about the spelling on that).

Why is this important? Well, I'll agree that our problems range from stub-our-toes annoyances to daunting mountains of life-threatening challenges. But, they are the issues we all have to deal with.

However, what if we understand that we are relatively simple creatures on a blue ball in a heaven that is so immense that...ok, ok...think about it this way. Look out your window and find a blade of grass or a rock/brick/pinecone and understand that that is us and all the other surrounding visuals are the rest of the universe. Kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Now, take that perspective and find one good thing you can do today...the thing that helps you and/or helps others (that's a REALLY good choice) and do that. Finding perspective and doing something good that takes your mind off your issues are wonderful ways to move forward.

If you want to learn something today check out this beautifully-produced video about the Laniakea Supercluster. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rENyyRwxpHo

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

How Do You Like My New Sweatpants?

 For Christmas, I received two pairs of black sweatpants. They fit great and I love wearing them. They're new, so I don't wear them just anywhere, I'm somewhat selective. 

But, I have an older pair that serve as my knock-around pants during cold weather--I'm one of those guys ya'll talk about who wears shorts until it's around 45 degrees. 

And, I don't just throw any of my sweatpants in a drawer or box. I fold'em over hangers. Now, this is the interesting part. Any hanger will do its job, hold the pants. The newer pants, though, get the nicer hangers while the older pair gets one of those hangers with the bent, cardboard tube crosspiece.

I don't know that I gave my hanging strategy a lot of thought, it simply seemed logical; new gets new, old gets old.

Here's my point: Too often we make decisions that impact our lives and we don't put much thought into the decisions. And, as time moves on, those decisions can have incredibly negative impacts.

I try not to "talk old." You know, those comments that begin, "When I was your age..." or "I'm so old that..." I believe the more we blather those inanities the more we believe ourselves to be old and our minds start limiting some activities, efforts and ideas we might otherwise attempt.

There's a wonderful and scary thought that we are the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time around. So, if you spend your time around folks who talk old it's a pretty sure bet that some of it is worming it's way into your brain and behavior.

Do yourself a favor, every now and then slow down a little and listen to yourself--listen to others. We make unconscious, automatic decisions about how we see the world and what we say. Maybe your view and your comments--or theirs--aren't doing you any favors.

Now, where'd I leave my glasses?

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Our Minds and Monsters


Wouldn't it be nice if we could turn our minds off for a while and we had an alarm that, when the alarm went off, our minds would start cranking back up?

Over the years I've had times in which I used positive affirmations,  pictures, music, and movement as ways to pull my mind out of the darker places. Then, I'd get slack and stop using my tools and my mind would--as if pulled by gravity--slide back to the negative...to the monsters.

We often can't control what pops into our minds, but we CAN control what we do with the thoughts. And, we certainly are able to decide where we maintain our attention.

We all have monsters...when they pop up decide you're going to put them in a box and put the box in a dark closet...far, far away.

Monday, September 20, 2021


I could use your help. For the past dozen years or so I've been circling a roundabout and as I look down I can see that I only have about a quarter tank of gass left so I could use some of you who are sitting in the back seat to suggest a turnoff.  

It isn't that I haven't gotten anything done. I've created a few books, presented over 170 webinars in the last 20 months (that's new), made some new friends,  and bought more books--that I've yet to read.

The problem is that I've continued to do the same things. I'd say I've lacked direction, but that's not exactly right...my direction has been round and round and round.

Recently, in hopes of a direction/goal/inspiration, I've been going through a LARGE stack of articles, a bucket of notes/notecards/torn piece of paper with thoughts and ideas, and a dozen notebooks filled with daily lists, MORE ideas and snippets I thought were interesting. 

The intriguing/frustrating/disappointing thing is that the notebooks are revealing the same thing over and over. Found a notebook from 2014 with the phrases, "What do I really want?" and "What would make me happy?" A sheet from 2 months ago had the same questions.

So, how do you make life decisions? What worked for you? What did you try and it didn't work? None of us have a bottomless tank of gas. And, just because taking your foot off the accelerator may slow you down it doesn't increase the length of the trip, it'll just seem like it.

How have you decided to get off the roundabout?

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

I'm Sorry


        My friend, filmmaker Onur Tukel, recently posted on Facebook that with all the “days” we have we need an Apology Day. It’s a day you’d reach out to someone you’ve wronged and say, “I’m sorry.”
Interestingly, Australia has National Sorry Day on May 26 and it’s a day on which citizens do exactly what Onur suggests.
In 2003, Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton starred in the romcom, Something’s Gotta Give. After having a heart episode that pushes him to reconsider his life Nicholson visits past relationships and apologizes for his behaviors. 
        In 2010, I did something similar and it seemed to help some folks, and me, find closure. Any effort like that is certainly a challenge. And yes, there were a couple of people who had the opportunity to say exactly what had been on their minds.  
        I’ve started thinking, again, about to whom I’d reach out if we had a National Apology Day. Whose toes have I stepped on? How might I have embarrassed someone? 
        How about you; anyone you might reach out to?

If you think this message might help someone please pass it on.