Friday, March 13

(UN)Healthy Living…Part 4…the Final Act

Well, it’s been a fun little jaunt through the wonderful things that we do to ourselves, but I want to talk about just one more thing before wrapping this one up.

Let me ask you a question…and really, take a few moments to honestly think about the answer to this question. No one else will know your answer, just you, your heart, your spirit, and the little aliens that are reading all your thoughts. :-)

Do YOU think that you are good enough?

Now…some of you might be wondering, “What the hell is he getting at THIS time??!!”

And truly, that’s fair. The question itself is a little ambiguous.

Good enough? What does that mean? By whose standards? In what areas? Really…what in the hell are you talking about mister?!

Good enough. In other words…words that for certain you WON’T honestly contemplate…How’s your self esteem?

We live in a world today that forces down our throat a certain stereotype and standard. You all know it without even thinking about it.

Women are supposed to be a size 2 to 4. Blonde. Aggressive in business and fragile with lovers. Master of all things and also, a great mother to any and all children that might happen along.

Men are supposed to be built like athletes. Charming, leaders of business and homes, tender with all people, yet able to conquer and defend at a moment’s notice. Upstanding fathers and role models, all.

Now…I know that I try to live up to that particular standard myself. And in many ways, I think that I do a good job. I make my mistakes and learn my lessons and do better the next time.

However, MANY people are severely impacted by the standard that society and the world have placed upon us. They see themselves as failing time and time and time again. They internalize their mistakes and hold them against themselves.

In short, their self esteem and self worth becomes tied to how well they measure up to someone else’s standard.

Sadly, they don’t realize that almost NO ONE achieves 100% success in meeting another’s standards. It just doesn’t happen.

So, what’s my point today? Good question! :-)

Simply put…don’t determine your value as a person based on someone else’s criteria for success.

KNOW that you have great value, to many different people. You have value in MANY different areas. But you as a person have great worth regardless of what anyone else thinks or says. You are you. And there’s no one else in the world that is you. No one else has lived and done what you have, in just your way. That makes you special.

No outside standard should be able to diminish who you are. Your own value and self worth need to be based from the inside. On WHO you are and on your HEART. Those are things that no one can judge, because no one can see them. Discover yourself, learn about YOU, and love what you see.

Remember…

“You are unique…just like everyone else.” :-)

Now…shut up and go play!

Thursday, March 12

(UN)Healthy Living…Part 3!

You know…when I think about all the different ways that we as people are killing ourselves, I get so amazed. Some of it is SO easy to avoid. And yet, I find myself doing some of the things that I KNOW I shouldn’t.

I could make a list and just put it here, but that’s of absolutely NO help. I know this, because lists rarely help me to make any sort of progress in self improvement. :-)

So what should we talk about today??

Uncontrolled emotions? Procrastination? Pride?

Or maybe our skills as actors? :-)

Yea…let’s do THAT one…

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,”
– As You Like It - Shakespeare


It’s probably one of the most commonly used clich├ęs in the world. And one that is, unfortunately, very true today. How many different parts do YOU play in any given day? And more importantly, how often do you get to simply play yourself?

I’d be willing to bet that, with a few exclusions, most people play their parts all day long, every day. We play the expected roles of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends, lovers, workers, bosses, etc. Some of these roles accepted, while others are forced. And through them all, we are expected to be the best at all times, in every role.

You’ve seen the people that get completely caught up in this. They can’t get out of a certain role, even when it’s not required of them. They are the BOSS, even at home and with their loved ones. These are the people that become SO consumed with the role they are playing that they lose sight of the person playing the role.

How often we slip into that mindset sometimes. We WANT to be the best, of course, and so we push and strive and work for what is expected of us.

But tell me…who is pushing you to play the role of just you? Anyone?

Often we find that the role of self is pushed WAY into the background. Sometimes we even lose sight of it completely.

Want to know something? We CAN be playing every part expected of us…AND still be ourselves. It takes a bit more work, and you have to realize that you might not hit all the expectations for your other roles, but your performance in them will be far more honest.

See that’s the problem with playing all the roles that we play. Oftentimes we play them independent of each other and try to become what is expected of us in each. Then we run the very real risk of disassociating our inner core from the roles we play. That causes an internal conflict that in turn, causes major stress. We start to see our roles as separate entities, hats if you like :-), and each different hat brings out different emotions, stresses, behaviors, etc. It’s almost like massive personality disorders. :-)

It’s difficult to pull all your roles together and mash them into a single performance. But it’s possible, and really, even necessary that we do. We need to live as ourselves, from our inner core and our heart, and let the other roles settle around us, like coats or clothing. Layers that we can take on or off, but which take their shape from what’s underneath.

In the words of a rather green sage…”We’re like onions. We have layers.” :-)

Wednesday, March 11

(UN)Healthy Living…Part Deux.

OK…so, we’re going to see exactly how many parts we can get out of this. :-)

We just talked about the value of laughter in your life. Tell me…did you laugh any yesterday? How about today? It’s one of the easiest things you can do to extend your own life. Hell…if I wouldn’t be dressed in that nice tight white jacket, I just might laugh ALL the time. I mean it!

So what are we going to talk about today? Oh!! I know…

We hear people saying all the time that you need to “Understand your place!” and usually it’s said as a bad thing.

“Well, he just didn’t understand his place.”

Or even better, you get the quaint aphorisms like, “A woman’s place is in the home.”

BLAH!!!

Understand your place…what a load of crap! I mean that with all my heart. If I asked you if you understood your place…could you REALLY answer me? Oh, if you’re like me and are going to be a smart ass…you’d say something like, “Sure…my place is at Atlantic and Hodges. A nice 3 bedroom apartment actually.” :-)

The world we live in today provides us with an amazing amount of stress in each and every moment. If you are constantly told that you don’t fit in, treated as if you don’t belong, or expected to try to be something you’re not, then you’ll eventually explode from the stress.

“Your place” is right here in this world. Living your life to the absolute BEST of your own ability. “Your place” is following that inner core of values and beliefs that make you an individual. “Your place” is right where you are, for good or for bad, because at this moment in time, you can’t be anywhere else.

So often we watch people that try to climb out of where they are. They are focused and determined. And really…good for them if they make it. But for every one that makes it, hundreds (if not more) don’t and they fall back to where they started, or lower.

Oftentimes, when we get completely focused on rising above where we currently are, we look for any opportunity to make that jump, and we miss everything that’s happening around us. It’s almost as if it becomes an obsession for some people. That crowning moment when they can give the world the finger because they WON!

Did they?

I think a lot of our world’s stress comes from the fact that, no…people don’t understand their place. They refuse to see the beauty of where they are, the opportunities to be the best person they can be in THIS moment, and usually, the wonderful hearts and spirits of the people that are around them WHERE THEY ARE NOW.

Do you understand your place? Can you name it and describe it to me?

I can.

It’s right here.
This moment.
This breath.
The place where I can be me.
The time when I can be happiest.
The only people I care to share it all with.

It’s called…the NOW.

:-)

Tuesday, March 10

(UN)Healthy living - Part 1.

“Why SO serious? Let’s put a smile on his face!”
– The Dark Knight - The Joker


Each and every day we all hear the same complaints from the people around us. Hell, we’ve probably even made the same complaints ourselves. Everyone is looking for a healthier way to live. We have more types of fat now than we did 20 years ago, and they are all bad for us in some way or another. :-) We know more about cholesterol, protein, carbohydrates, etc, than ever before. And at some level, we’re all concerned about it.

But what about the other, just as important, parts of a healthy life? Do we give equal time and research on those things?

The short answer is…No. :-)

It’s said so often, that it’s now considered an Old Proverb (yes…I tried to look it up), that “Laughter is the best medicine.” And only recently have our learned scientists actually validated it.

So, why is laughter good for the body? And is it more than just that?

Check out the fun info that I found:
• It reduces pain and allows us to tolerate discomfort.

• It reduces blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and nondiabetics alike.

• It improves your job performance, especially if your work depends on creativity and solving complex problems.

• It synchronizes the brains of speaker and listener so that they are emotionally attuned.

• Laughter establishes -- or restores -- a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people

• It helps your blood vessels function better. It acts on the inner lining of blood vessels, called the endothelium, causing vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood flow. In other words, it's good for your heart and brain, two organs that require the steady flow of oxygen carried in the blood.

So, there you go. It’s good for you to laugh.

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.”
- Jean Houston

Laughter opens a door inside of you. One that is constantly trying to open, but that we force shut, because it’s “not an appropriate time to laugh”. We all have this belief that our laughter is not going to be accepted in certain times and places. OK…I might be able to see the validity of that…maybe…like at a funeral. Unless something REALLY ridiculous happens…like they drop the casket. :-)

But in reality, laughter tells the body that certain chemicals should be released. Chemicals that help keep us sane and mentally under control.

"Mirthful laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity. In addition, mirthful laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of these same key immune responses. The physiological effects of a single one-hour session viewing a humorous video has appeared to last up to 12 to 24 hours in some individuals," Berk noted, " while other studies of daily 30-minute exposure produces profound and long-lasting changes in these measures."

Laughing is something that we are built for. Think about it for a second. How many times have you laughed inside, or behind your hands, because that was the first reaction you had? It relieves stress and makes a tense situation less.

“You can fake an orgasm but you can't fake laughter.”
- Bob Dylan

Sometimes you just can’t help it. That should tell you how vitally important it is to your body and spirit that you just can’t control it. And really, you shouldn’t.

Let’s face it…this world is funny. The things that happen in and around the world are sometimes simply too ridiculous to face without a laugh.

And sometimes…the things that happen in the world are simply too tragic to be dealt with using any other weapon than to sit down and laugh till you cry. It’s what preserves our hearts in good times and in bad. And I think it should be a standing doctor’s order. “Laugh each and every day.”

And just remember, “A man that can laugh at himself…will have a lifetime of entertainment.” :-)



“Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche