How do you treat your friends?

It was suggested that I read the book Just One Thing, developing a Buddha brain one simple practice at a time by Rick Hanson, PHD.  I read the first chapter today and wow does it hits home.  The main question out of the first chapter is “Do you treat yourself like you would treat a friend?”

Many of us don’t treat ourselves nearly as good as we would a friend or even a stranger.  Why don’t we do that for ourselves?  I know I’m guilty of treating others better than I treat myself.  I’ve been seeing this theme come up a lot though on places like Facebook.

I like the way the book’s chapters are laid out. It’s met to be kind of a workbook.  You can read and process as fast as you want or take it slow and digest each practice it talks about.  Each chapter states the practice like ‘Be For Yourself’.

The first part of the chapter talks about the practice in your standard self help fashion.  Then it talks about how to apply it in daily life.  It gives you general times and ways that it may apply in your daily life.  Then it tells you how you might apply the practice.

I would recommend the book to those who are looking to person growth and development.  I am finding the book easy to read and apply to my daily life.  It presents the practices in easy to understand terms.  Then gives you specific examples of how to apply the practice.  Check it out!

When you take good care of yourself, then you have more to offer others, form the people close to you to the whole wide world.

I’m grateful for …

  1. Catching up with old friends (Myron) that you run into at the grocery.
  2. Old friends (Diane) who are still in your life.
  3. Current friends who will always be in your life (Susan).

I’m curious about…

  1. Being self employed
  2. Living abroad
  3. How to manage my day better

I’m surprised by

  1. How I treat others better than I do myself.
  2. How it’s so foggy in June.
  3. How I can be hungry an hour after eating lunch.

Unexpected surprises and delights

Today I attended a meeting at there was a guest speaker talking about changing peoples behaviors.  There was a lot of things that I saw in the presentation that I thought really applied to my daily life.  It’s funny how you can start to pick up things like this when you pay attention or are looking for them in everyday life.

One of the things that was discussed was really looking for an creating opportunities for Unexpected Surprises or delights in life.  I don’t know about you but I can tend to focus on the negative a little too much.  So if you start to create rewards for your small victories and celebrate then it brings a certain level of positive vibes into your life.

So I talked about being grateful before but he brought up 2 more things that would help in this positive outlook on life.  1) What are you curious about?  2) What surprised you today?  WOW that makes total sense because I actually find myself being curious and surprised by things going on around me.  Oh he limited his to only 3 since there were these other questions.

I’m grateful for…

  1. I’m grateful for my coworkers who gave me a ride to out off site meeting today.
  2. I’m grateful for apps that track buses so I know how long it will be before the next bus.
  3. I’m grateful for speakers with a relevant and good message at meetings.

I’m curious about …

  1. I’m curious why sometimes it seems like my battery depletes faster
  2. I’m curious why people eat vegan stuff…
  3. I’m curious how or why some people are ambivalent about life

I’m surprised by ….

  1. I’m surprised that the temperatures are so different between my home and work.
  2. I’m surprised at how different I can feel after having a single date.
  3. I’m surprised that I lasted 30 minutes on this new exercise machine at the gym!

What do I want in life?

So one of the things I’m trying to sort out now is what’s next?  Sometimes in life that’s not a difficult question.  A lot of the time you’re either happy or unhappy and that drives the choice.  At this point in life I’m kind of complacent and that’s not a happy feeling for me.  I like a forward motion in my life.

Currently I have a contract job till October.  That’s good because I have time to search for my next job.  I need A job so that’s not really a question.  So I’m asking myself do I search exclusively for another contract job or a full-time position that will have benefits and a stable paycheck.  There’s part of me that is a realist and says I may not have this luxury.  I may need to take what I can get.  The nice thing is, knowing when the end is coming I am able to start looking now.

So, I don’t think that really answers the bigger question.  What do I want in life.  It’s a question that puzzles me in some regards.  I am normally trying to advance in some way.  At this point I don’t feel that I need to advance.  It also feels like there are some smaller more attainable goals that need to put in place.  These goals are potentially what is missing from my life.  The problem I am now faced with is are these goals what I want?  Wait, we’re right back to the question “what do I want in life?”

So that’s where I stand today.  I need to start a running list of goals or maybe I should call them desires. Oh lord maybe I just came up with another list that I need to start with first.  Then, from that list write a list of goals.  What else goes with goals but priorities. So desires, goals and then priorities.  Well that sounds like a good place to start.

Oh so my first goal is to write a post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I’ll try to collect my accomplishments and add them into my post.   Some of my updates will get posted on Facebook.  So check back and see where I am with my list and goals.  Please leave your comments or questions.  I want to hear from you.  I don’t believe I know everything and I may need help staying focused.  So a little helpful advice from time to time is great.

What am I grateful for today?

  1. I’m grateful for great friends (Scott, Susan and Sarah to name a few) that make me smile at the mere mention of their name.
  2. I’m grateful to know my friend Kimberly who’s worlds different but could be a better friend.
  3. I’m grateful for eye sight because there are so many beautiful things to see in the world not the least of which is a blue sky.
  4. I’m grateful that I get to meet amazing people (Beth) at work and weave them into the fabric of my daily activities.
  5. I’m grateful for the ability to write this and know that my friends and other will support me.

I’m grateful, are you?

So I’ve been thinking more about how to be positive in my daily life.  I’ve heard of different things but the one thing that seems to strike a cord is a gratitude journal.  Simply acknowledging the good things in your life in which you’re grateful. Simple enough, right?

What am I grateful for?

  1. I’m grateful for my cousin Scott, a wonderful friend.
  2. I’m grateful for Karen, a great boss.
  3. I’m grateful for my workout partner Rick, without whom I wouldn’t be going to the gym.
  4. I’m grateful for an empty BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) car on the trip home.
  5. I’m grateful for my very good friend Susan who’s always there for me.

Today I ask my boss if she grew up in a home where she was encouraged as a child.  I don’t really remember that about my childhood.  I remember the majority of my childhood being humiliated and bullied.  It was hard growing up different in a small backwater area of central Ohio.  I think that was the first time that I really ever spoke about my childhood and what it was like unemotionally.  Normally it’s a conversation filled with sadness or anger.  It wasn’t until I went to college that I found my people you might say.

When I went to college at Otterbein University (College) it was the first time that I met other people like me.  Funny thing is some of you might be thinking I’m talking about gay people.  That’s not it at all.  This was the first time I met other people my age who sought to further themselves with education.  Men and women from small towns around Ohio who came to college to better themselves.

As a member of the marching band we arrived at Otterbein a week before school started for band camp.  My first day I walked into my room and there sat my roommate, a football player.  I was a little shocked but made the best of it.  His name was Mike and come to find out his sister was a violinist with the Dayton Jr Philharmonic.  So he was OK with the band geek thing.  To this day I still have friends from Otterbein that I met in the band program 20+ years ago.

In today’s discussion I was able to say and feel that I’ve really accomplished something in my life.  In terms of education I went to Otterbein University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.  I went to Ohio State University for the better part of a year and did their Masters of Education program.  Last but not least I went to DeVry University and received a Bachelors of Science in Information Technology.  Which may I add I maintained a 4.0 GPA while working a full-time job.

Image That’s pretty freaking impressive for a kid who came from a family who doesn’t value education, grew up in a house where you could see the wind blow the curtains (the window was not open), where the blanket I slept with froze to the outside wall one winter, and a whole list of other stuff if I really thought about it.  Yes we lived in poverty and we were poor.  I never really thought about it though because my parents made the best of it.

So today I say I’m grateful that I’ve had enough ambition to move forward and do what some may call impossible in my life.  I’ve received education.  I’ve traveled domestically and internationally.  I’ve worked for major companies.  I started a company.  I’ve bought a home.  I’ve lived in New Orleans and San Francisco. I’ve made friends from so many countries I couldn’t even begin to count.  Man, that’s something!

Today I posted on Facebook the following message. “I stumble along through life. I haven’t really sought out as much as I dream of.”  Well my stumbling has allowed me to do far more than I’ve ever acknowledged.  In my stumbling I’ve met so many WONDERFUL people.  I’ve played tuba in places that are amazing and beautiful.  I’ve sang songs that have made people cry (not because it was painful).

“I stumble along through life. I haven’t really sought out as much as I dream of.”

For a kid from Knox County Ohio I’ve done pretty darn good!  That’s the truth, my truth!  I’ve come a long way baby and I’ve still got further to go!  So I’m grateful for somehow, someway finding my way to where I am today.

Turning the page and continuing my journey

ImageOver the last year I’ve been working on self improvement.  First I was working on getting my weight under control.  I had been gaining weight slowly for decades now and it was time for it to stop.  So I’ve dropped about 45 pounds.  Then came the fact that I need to start going to the gym.  I was doing lots of walking but I still have this beer gut that I need to work on loosing.

Also there’s been work to do on my general outlook on life.  That sounds far easier than it actually is for some reason.  I have a lot going on for me and there’s a lot of things going right.  Lets take a look a couple thing…

  1. I had a stroke 3 years ago 
  2. I picked up and moved across country
  3. Oh did I mention when I moved I didn’t have a job

So life could be far more difficult than it is for me.  I could be physically impaired due to the stroke.  I could be mentally impaired by the stroke.  I could be without a job still. Even worse I could be living back with my parents because I don’t have money to live on my own.

So this week I’m dedicating lots of time to getting my attitude adjusted.  I’m going to work on getting a positive outlook on life.  I’m going to leave those negative thoughts that creep into my brain on the side of the road.  I’m going to be grateful if it kills me gosh darn it!

So as part of my life I’m going to work on posting here.  Sometimes it won’t be much but it will be something.  Maybe I’ll take my word a day that I do and start posting it here.  Making the sentence I create using the word a positive thought for the day.  I’m not sure how it’s going to work but I’m going to work on making it work.

So thanks for all the support and I really appreciate any feedback you may have about my post. Sometimes people laugh at this but I wasn’t an English major so I’m sure my writing could use some help.

Baby steps and realistic goals for a Monday

So I came home after my work day and I wanted to keep on task.  I talked to my roommate for a while but I got back on plan with breaking out my viola and practicing.  I did that for 30 minutes.  Sad to say but that’s about as long as I can focus when doing that.

I made my dinner of about 5 oz of beer sausage and friend cabbage and cauliflower.  I ate my dinner at a steady pace so I didn’t feel like I was inhaling it.

I worked on my resume so that it’s up to date and ready if needed.  The finally I went for a walk to meet my activity goal for the day.  I did pretty good. I actually topped out at 127% of my daily goal.  I walked about 3.5 miles down to the Castro and back home.

That’s what I did today!  What did you do?  I think writing this is going to help me focus and be more accountable.  Small steps to making my life a little more organized and productive.

Catch you guys later!

 

How do you keep motivated?

So I missed writing a blog post last night.  I went out to dinner with some friends and so that put me off my game a little.  I did however walk home afterwards so I was able to meet my activity goal for the day.

Once I got home I did some work on one of my small businesses.  I did some planning for a website I want to start also.  I went out to a professional site and reached out to find someone who could help with design.  That is a major piece of the puzzle that I can’t do.

The one thing I noticed over the last couple days was that I hadn’t turned on the television.  The television is always my downfall.  Once it comes on I get sucked into it and almost never leave.

Tonight I walked all the way home from the BART stop.  That’s about 1.5 miles with some pretty decent hills.  Once I got home I was exhausted and I made myself dinner.  While food was warming up I checked on some stuff on my laptop.  Well I found that it was frozen and so I fooled with it for a while before getting rebooted and one thing lead to another and you guessed it, I ended up on the couch with the TV on.

So now as I was discussing it earlier I need to find a happy middle ground where I can do a little work and rest watching TV or what have you each evening.  This way I don’t end up resenting any of my goals and get some down time since I do work 40 hours a week on top of everything else.

Have suggestions or comments feel free to leave them…

 

Focus is my weapon and procrastination is my enemy!

"Practice Mute"
In case some of you don’t know, this is a viola.

So I came home tonight and I got right to it.  I am on a mission to stay on task and focused to being productive.  Once I get home I have a horrible tendency to sit down and turn on the TV.  That never results in anything good normally.  So tonight I came home and here’s what I acomplished!

  1. Practiced Viola
  2. Washed the dishes
  3. Made a healthy dinner (Salad)
  4. Washed 2 loads of laundry
  5. Folded 2 loads of laundry
  6. Worked on one of my small businesses
  7. Waked 1.3 miles (Daily Activity Reached 109% )
  8. Wrote this blog posting

That was far to productive to do every night.  I would be considered OCD and and over achiever if I did that every night.  So now I need to figure out a happy medium.  Some middle ground where I can get certain chores done each night but yet have some down time.

If you have any suggestions leave me a message.  Maybe we can expand upon it and make it a blog post.

 

Monday evening thoughts

Image

So I just came back from a walk.  I went out specifically to meet my daily activity goal but it gave me time to think.  Walking has always been good for that one specific activity.  It lets me think, collect my thoughts and work through things that my be plaguing my mind.

So this year seems to be self empowerment.  I’ve taken on some personal growth activities that may seem pretty daunting to some.  To meet I’m just trying to move forward with my life.  I get to this point where I feel stagnant and I need to do something.

What I need to do isn’t always clear.  It can be simple or more complex.  This year it’s meant a couple different things.

  1. Lose weight
  2. Learn how to play a new instrument
  3. Create a small business

These are all monumental things by themselves but I’m taking on all three at once.  Why I’m not sure to be honest.  They all deal with different parts of my life and they are major parts of my life.  They are three things that make me happy.

So I’ve been going to Weight Watchers now going on 4 months.  I’ve lost 21 pounds and I can feel a difference.  I’ve been increasing my activity by using their ActiveLink.  At first it didn’t seem to be to bad.  I knew that my activity level wold increase but I didn’t think it was going to be that bad.

I walked from the 24 Street Bart station to Castro Street on my way home tonight.  That’s 1 mile with a pretty decent hill.  That wasn’t the only activity today.  In order to meet my activity level for the day I walked down my from my apartment to the Castro and back home.  That’s about 1.25 miles each way.  I’m happy to report that I topped my goal at approximately 114%.

As for learning a new instrument I’m working to learn how to play the viola.  I’ve had 5 lessons and the teacher tells me that I’m a natural.  It’s slightly frustrating because I want to progress faster but it’s all about forum and I’m still in the learning stages.

Last but not least is the small business.  I have two things that I’m working on right now.  I need to do more work with them so that they develop but I do have them started.  They aren’t profitable yet but I’ll work on that because the one can be.  Like anything it just needs more time and attention.

So I’m going to try to focus more and use this blog to keep track of my success or short comings.  I don’t plan on any short comings but it’s good to be realistic that there will be some along the way.  If any reader has any input I would greatly appreciate constructive criticism.

Status update

So I’ve been remiss on posting for a couple of weeks.  I joined Weight Watchers and I’ve watched my diet.  Last weekend I went to the grocery story and I found that my purchased was 90% produce.  I am trying to keep everything out of the kitchen that would be ‘bad’ for me on the ‘diet’.  So it’s been a lot of salads, fruit, and new veggie dishes.

So earlier today I went to my Weight Watchers meeting where I weighed in like I do each week.  This week I lost another 3 lbs.  That’s a total of 8 lbs.  It’s a good feeling to know that I’m losing weight.

I’m not seeing the changes yet but I know that it’s going to take time.  According to the charts I should lose about 100 lbs.  That’s a little more than I can imagine for myself.  If I could actually make it that far I think it would be amazing but I think if I take it 1 lbs at a time, I’ll be just fine.

Also I’m gaining my focus and trying to keep the negative out of my life.  It’s not easy but I find that I’m getting better at it.  I’ve walked for exercise, taking online courses, and reading to help me gain perspective, be positive and feel like I’m being productive.