Monday, August 28, 2017

We Have Got to Settle Down!

For the last half-hour I’ve tried to think of a way to broach a subject that, by even mentioning it, will probably prompt some of you to immediately click off to another site.

You simply won’t be able to handle the stress. You’ll immediately think, “I’ve heard all I need to hear about this in the last few weeks!” 

I certainly understand.

I’ve come at the topic a variety of ways; thinking that if I could ease into it some of you might give this a chance. I realize not everyone thinks the way I do—Thank Goodness!—but, in the United States, today, we’ve got to get to a point that we are willing to hear the other person out.

So, let’s address the issue head-on.

College football begins in earnest on Saturday…there, I’ve said it

My best friend—among others—teases me about watching decades-old games on ESPN Classic throughout the off-season. Hot outside? Hurricane coming? I’m inside watching Texas vs Arkansas from 1984 with Earl Campbell playing for Texas, and Darrell Royal coaching the Longhorns and Frank Broyles on the sideline for Arkansas. Hearing Keith Jackson and Ara Parseghian’s voices calling the game tells me that the world is as it should be.

And, I don’t have to be sitting on the couch staring at the TV. I can simply have the game on kinda low as background noise and the screen acts as artwork that I stop and gaze at every now and then as I pass through the room.

Now, here’s my point: What calms you down and tells you that you can make it; that you can get through the day, do what you have to do, and have the life you want? It might be meditation or prayer, seeing your kids off to school, listening to a certain type of music or your special song, appreciating art…you need to know what does it for you. 

You need to have something that doesn’t cost an arm-and-a-leg in money or time takes you to that special place/feeling you need to keep going when times are tough. Seriously.

College football does that for me.

This summer has been extraordinarily stressful in a variety of areas. Two things have kept me from standing on top of my house baying at the moon: ESPN Classic and the knowledge that, even if it’s a downpour this weekend, I’ll be able to walk into Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill to see the Heels.

What positive influence does that for you?

The fact that this weekend starts the college football season means that, at least until January 8, 2018 (the BCS National Championship Game), I’ll calm down, know that life is good even with the challenges, and remain convinced that Clemson fans really are just NC State fans who’ve had lobotomies.

Go Heels!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Walking Zoey, Food Lion Bag In Hand

A friend of mine has a Miniature Schnauzer and sometimes, as a sign of friendship/goodwill/patience, I walk Zoey.

Now, what I’m about to say may not sit well with some of you, but here it is, I’m not much of a “little dog” fan. Their barks—at anything, everything, and nothing—always sound like gargling marbles and that manic, the-house-is-on-fire! running around tends to get old fairly quickly.

I like bigger dogs. 

Although, to be honest, I don’t own a dog nor does a cat own me. 

Folks who know me remember that I used to room with a cat, Magic, a Blue Point Persian, who was about the size of a small lion. Magic would lie atop the tall bookcase next to the front door and swipe at people’s heads when they walked in; which was lots of fun to watch.

I can tell you that walking around the neighborhood with a little dog on a leash and a plastic, Food Lion bag in my hand is not my idea of a wonderful stroll. However, doing a good deed, getting a little exercise and being entertained by Zoey’s sniffing adventure is not a bad way to spend a half-hour or so.

My point is that we often have to do things that, on the surface, aren’t things we’d be choosing to do at that moment if we had a choice—which, most of the time, we do have if we think about it.

But, we make choices and the choices often place us in experiences we have a…how to put it?…low level of enthusiasm for.

When facing these experiences we have more choices: Grin and bear it, complain, grin and complain, suffer in Stoic silence…or do something about it. 

The doers, the make-it-happen folks, the positive thinkers always encourage us to do something about it. Which makes sense, if it’s an issue worth doing something about.

Sometimes, though, the best action is to just suck it up, move through the situation and keep…mmm…moving. 

If it’s a really tough situation, Winston Churchill had the best advice, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Walking Zoey certainly isn’t that bad and, at 12 years-old, she is experiencing some chronic health issues from which she may or may not recover. 

And, while I’m not that big on little dogs, I am a fan of Zoey. 

And our walks.

I’m just not that high on the Food Lion Bag.

Share this with a pet-lover, maybe they'll smile.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to Keep From Going Blind During the Eclipse

Even the North Carolina Department of Transportation has lost their minds over the eclipse. On major highways the big NCDOT signs now say, "Eclipse August 21, Expect Heavy Traffic, Plan Ahead"

A friend was looking online for eclipse glasses and found 3 pair for $, I'm as interested in the eclipse as anyone, but for $299 I can drive to Charleston, sleep in my car, visit the bar at the Francis Marion Hotel and watch the eclipse on television and it'll cost me a lot less than $299.

So, if you really want to safely experience an event that used to make primitive tribes throw virgins in volcanoes with hopes their gods would bring the sun back, here's what you do....

go get a box from the likker'll need one that is rectangular and usually holds 6 fifths...Jose Quervo or almost any cheap vodka box is the perfect size...

tear the flaps off the top

flip it over and poke a hole about the size of a big pencil 2/3 of the way up one end...if you want more complete instructions, poke the hole 1/3 of the way down the box from the end that is now the top and is glued's that?

now, on eclipse day you stand with your back to the sun, put the box over your head and position it so you can see a round spot of light on the end you are facing.

As the eclipse progresses you'll see the shadow of the eclipse begin to cover the light'll be just like watching the eclipse without actually looking at the sun...and you won't hurt your eyes!!

However, you should print this blog out so that when your neighbors call the cops, "My neighbor is standing in the middle of the street with a box on his head!!! I think the Trump stuff finally got to him!!!"'ll be able to explain that you simply didn't want to spend $299 for glasses that would make you go blind.

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Question of the Day

Heard a question yesterday that may have changed my life.

While driving I was listening to Wayne Dyer (if you don't know the name you need to go to YouTube and check him out) and he said, "How would you treat yourself if you were who you believe yourself to really be?"

In our hearts-of-hearts we know we are good, kind and successful. We may not show the expected trappings of success, but we know that, if we learn and do certain things, we'll achieve the success we know we deserve.

Unfortunately, we spend too much time beating ourselves up...and yes, we could be slamming ourselves or simply bumping ourselves around with generally negative thoughts.

Over half our thoughts are of a negative nature; over half our conversations are, in one way or another, of a negative nature.

While our "Negativity Bias," the tendency to look for and expect the worst, kept us safe when we were living in caves it slows us down now.

"How would you treat yourself if you were who you believe yourself to really be?

If you know someone who might benefit from this message please share it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Are You a Caregiver?

Caregiving is one of those life experiences that can be so wonderfully rewarding and so crushingly stressful and sad...all at the same time.

Are you are caregiver or do you know someone who is? 

Many of you know that a few years ago I created a video, Care for the Caregiver...won a National Caregiver Friendly Award from Today's Caregiver Magazine...just posted this ebook...Caregiver 101...101 Tips for Keeping Caregiving From Making You Crazy!!!...if you can use it, check it out...or, share with someone you know who is facing this challenge. 

If you are interested in the video it's on Amazon...just check out "Care for the Caregiver Mike Collins"...

here's the book...

Good Luck!!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Let's Go to the Beach for 2 Minutes

Whataya think about the picture?

If you're like me the first thought you have is, "I wish I was there!"

So, why not be there?

I'm going to ask you to take two minutes and hang with me on this....I promise you'll like it.

You want to really get into this: Focus on the picture and imagine yourself standing barefoot on the beach at the edge of the water. You're wearing shorts and a light shirt or top. You have cool sunglasses on and, if you need it, a hat of some type.

Imagine the feel of the sand on your bare feet. Take a few, slow, deep breaths and imagine a wonderful fragrance. It could be flowers off to the right, someone grilling down the beach, or the light, salty fragrance of the ocean.

Feel the warm sun on your face, arms and legs. A way to understand that you are too much of a grown-up is that you can't imagine this without automatically thinking, "OMG!!! Sunscreen!!!"

So, just chill out for about one more minute.

You hear the water lapping up on the beach and you feel the warm, wetness of the sea on your feet.

You look around and see how beautiful the beach, the sea and the sky really are.

Now, just relax into it.

This whole exercise takes about 2 minutes...and, if you're like most people, if you really get into it your heart rate will slow down a little and your body...and mind...will relax.

What you've just done is a mindfulness exercise...and doing it, or something like it, is REALLY healthy and good for you mentally and physically.

Enjoy the beach.