Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Disproportionate Inequality and Oblivious Inequity

“Whether you're gay or straight, with a physical disability, your skin's a different color, it's absurd in this age to not be aware and be concerned of the inequity in rights.”
~ Carson Kressley ~

The Disproportionate Inequality and Oblivious Inequity
(Say that three times fast!)

I must first state that although inequity and inequality sicken me, I do not have a lot of personal experience being on the receiving end. Yes, I am guilty of being a straight, white, middle-class male, but please do not hold that against me. My soul and spirit are a compassionate human, and I believe that we are all interconnected and must support one another. You cannot possibly walk up to a person you know nothing about and make a judgment. You cannot see their story or know what they have been through. In some cases, their story or their feelings are none of your damn business.

 There are countless people that suffer from inequity and unfairness in general, for a myriad of reasons. How can anyone think it is fair for laws being interpreted one way in a specific area and different in another? Laws that are enforced or interpreted differently due to the color of a person’s skin, or their economic level, can never be justified. People go many years of their lives without feeling safe or comfortable expressing their love for another because they are of the same gender. 
People struggle because they do not identify with the gender that they were born into. Hell, I think if most of us were honest we would say that we don’t really feel like we fit in anywhere.

Housing projects have led to concentrated poverty and severe racial segregation. Many believe that “the American Dream” is possible for everyone that could not be farther from the truth. In what fairy tale rational is this feasible with people living in public housing earning an average yearly income of around $14,000, is beyond comprehension? An estimated 68% of people in earn between $5,000 and $10,000 a year which puts them in the extreme poverty category. 

Why is it that it is easier for many to hate someone than it is to get to know something about them? We fear that which we do not understand, so take time and get to know people. Go out this weekend and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Revel in the difference and the similarities, while you learn something about each other.

Treat each other with peace and compassion, remember that no one is more or less significant than you.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Are the Grains of Sand in Your Shoe?

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe."
~ Robert W. Service ~

What Are the Grains of Sand in Your Shoe?

Think of a time that you were walking along and you noticed a pebble or some sand in your shoe. Did you stop and dump it out, or continue walking and allowing it to bother you? Most times I think we shake or tap our shoe and move it and keep walking. Only to have it move back and continue to bother you.

If we keep going long enough and it is only mildly irritating, we can go pretty far while tolerating the pain. Why do we all do this? It is similar to the story of boiling a frog. If you drop a frog in boiling water he will immediately jump out to get away from the pain; if you put him in room temperature water and heat it slowly, he will cook. The pain is not strong and unbearable, it is gradual and he tolerates it. Does this mean he is strong? No, it means that he is cooked.

We continue allowing something to slowly eat at us, aka the grains of sand in our shoe; and slowly, we are cooked like the frog. It would be much easier to take the shoe off and dump it out, but it is easier to gradually go on in pain. What are your grains of sand? How long have they been in your shoe? Take the shoe off, shake it out and walk comfortably.

We owe it to ourselves to take that shoe off, shake it out and walk comfortably. It is not easy and the sand will come back from time to time, but we must get it out and, this part is important, leave it there. If we do not leave it, we did not solve anything. We do not have time to keep sand in our shoes because we do not know how long we are here for. Festering about something is a waste of the time that we have.

It is our responsibility to support each other and help to clean out our grains of sand. With the sand gone, you can focus on what you want and where you want to go. Be in control of your destiny and never give up on yourself or each other. How many times should your child try to walk before it is okay to let them quit? Would you tell them “You have been trying and it is not working, you just need to give up”? Hell no, you would never say that, we say “take my hand and walk with me”.  

So I say to you; shake the sand out, take my hand and walk with me!  Thank you for reading this. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Conceivably Healthier World

A Conceivably Healthier World

People say that in a capitalist environment, you have to have winners and losers. I will give you that part; what I have a problem with, is when people can justify billionaires in mansions while another lives under a bridge. There are children going hungry while others waste gourmet food served on expensive china. When we ask why that is, the most common answer is because that is the way it is and has always been. They don’t want it enough, they aren’t smart enough, they don’t have what it takes, they… Who the hell are they and who are you to answer for them?

We as a people need to rebuild our education systems, our corrections systems, and our economic systems. We need to treat mental health as a priority and not something that needs to be hidden away or ashamed of. We need to put children first and make sure that they have what they need to carry them into the future. We must teach children to understand that they are here for a reason and can accomplish anything that they chose and anything is possible. Never tell a child that anything is impossible or can’t be done.

Many of us have been broken at one time or another; look after each other. Be kind and considerate to those around you. Have the potential repercussions to others in mind when you act. Engage in acts of kindness for the simple reason of acting in kindness. Act as if you can make a difference, and you will. Act as though it matters, because it does. What could happen if we treated each other with love and respect?

What is inside of you that if you shared it would make the world just a little bit better? Evil always takes center stage because it makes for good news stories. How about shining your light and outshining the bad. We know the saying that ‘hurt people, hurt people’, but what about ‘good people bring out the good in other people’? Break the cycle of the hurt, and build on the good. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Justification - My Excuse for Failing to Engage with the World

“My disability was my justification! It was my excuse for failing to engage with the world.”
~ The Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict ~

Justification - My Excuse for Failing to Engage with the World

The quote above carries a lot of weight with me right now. It is what I have been feeling and doing for the past few years, and for a good part of my life. I have said before that sometimes being in the dark place can almost feel comfortable and somewhat safe. It is far from safe, but, since it is what you are used to it becomes familiar.

I now realize that I was using depression and it’s symptoms to disengage from the world. The more detached that I become, the more isolated I would feel. When I reach the feeling of isolation, it gets easier to “justify” my feelings of sadness, depression, and lonesomeness. The word justify has been used by Carpenters, years ago, talking about fixing a crooked wall. So, in our mind when we try to justify something, our mind is trying to fix something that needs to be straightened. If you notice yourself “justifying” something, step back and figure out what it is that you are trying to straighten.

Basically, whatever condition that you are dealing with, can become your excuse for not engaging with the world. We have to guard against numbing ourselves to the world and those around us. We cannot shut people out and then be upset when they are not there. Many people will not work hard enough, or understand what is happening, to stick with you when you push them away.

Justification can keep us in a vicious cycle, no matter what behavior we are justifying. It causes hatred, and mistreatment of people, and in this case, to us. I believe that this is a big part of treating us and everyone around us better. Stop treating yourself like crap and you can begin treating other’s better.     

Knowing this will not stop me from being depressed or feeling anxious, but it is another tool for me to use. Hopefully this will shorten the length and depth of the trips to the dark place. Let's treat each other like people and not objects.   

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Question Everything You Have Been Taught

Question Everything You Have Been Taught

How long do we as a people ignore the wrongs that continue to be done to others? How have people been able to pretend that they don’t know how bad some groups have been treated for so many years? How can so many live in such a fantasy land way of thinking that, if someone does not have all that they have, it is not their problem? Is there a way to really make a difference?

Injustices have been waged upon people since the beginning of time, in the name of power, religion, money, hate, prejudice, fear, and desire for control. Too many times these are disguised under a misguided veil of righteousness. More people have been killed in the name of one God or another, than have been killed in natural disasters… (I’m going to let that sit there a minute). That only opens up more questions.

There are so many circumstances and examples that I do not even know where to start. One that stands out (the others are no less important) and is continuing to go on right here in the “Land of the Free” is the oppression and systematic destruction of the Native Americans aka Indigenous People. This began in 1492 when Christopher Columbus “discovered” the New Land, never mind the millions of people who were already living there. The events that took place over the subsequent four hundred years must be labeled what it was, genocide. Go ahead, I dare you to try and find that word in a US History school book, used to describe these events.

During the 1800’s, Manifest Destiny, this was the doctrine or belief that expansion of the American continents was both justified and inevitable probably eased the minds of some European-Americans. One means of control was the creation of reservations and agencies that were under the control of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Eventually it would be illegal for the Native American’s to live anywhere but on a reservation, and by the white man’s rules. Many if not most of their practices and languages were outlawed.

In 1890, there was what some called a battle; most called it a massacre at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. 150 Native Americans were killed including many woman and children. The Seventh Cavalry (which suffered defeat at Little Big Horn) was chosen for this attack. Some say that Jesuit Priests, who felt threatened by the Ghost Dance Movement, egged on the situation because this was a site of the Ghost Dancers. After the massacre the ghost dancer went underground and all but disappeared.

This short post only scrapes the surface of what happened but it was far from something to be proud of. The people who caused these events or looked the other way are not people to look up to. It is past time that true history be taught to our children and wrongs be righted.

There will come a day when people of all races will put aside their differences

~The Prophecy of the Rainbow Warrior~
"There will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences. They will come together in love, joining hands in unification, to heal the Earth and all Her children. They will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Many creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time; the great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish, drawing sustenance from the breast of our Mother, the Earth."

We can only hope!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Passing on Knowledge and Chances to Young People

“Young people need models, not critics.”
~ John Wooden ~

Passing on Knowledge and Chances to Young People

I realized that I have been AWOL from my blog for a little bit. Part of that was getting back in the swing of work, healing, and I have been writing in a different forum. I began writing a story geared towards young people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and the general f’d up period of being a teenager.

The idea is to let them know that they are not weird, a problem, or alone. A lot of us have grown up with these things and were taught through society to hide the feelings that don’t fit in. Whatever makes you up as a person is just that, and you will change and learn new things as you grow, but you are you. You should not have to be “accepted” by people around you in the sense that they try to make allowances for you, but you should be loved unconditionally.

I am not sure how long this story will be or where it goes from here. What I do hope is that I can somehow get it into a kid’s hands that need to hear that they are “normal” whatever that is. If that one young person reads it and something in there helps them feel better and more accepted, then, it has been a success.

This past Friday at work I had a chance to practice giving a kid the benefit of the doubt, with the help of a very level headed coworker I must admit. I had already given this kid a chance because he was not completely truthful during his interview about some experience. Here it was, Friday of his first week and he was not at work to start his shift. I initially took this personally and as a slap in the face for giving him a shot. Looking for a voice of reason I asked two coworkers for reasons not to be at work and not to call. They gave me a couple, one of which was “sometimes things just happen”. Damn the reasoning, but it bought him some time. I filled out his termination paper but said I would wait until 9:00 (two hours past his start time) to send it.

He flew in the door at 8:36 am and told me he would be right back to talk to me as soon as he clocked in. I told him to wait right where he was since I was busy on the dock. I finished what I was doing and turned to him, disappointed and very irritated. He began immediately telling me that it would never happen again, that his phone dies and that was his only alarm clock, told me how sorry he was and how much he needed to keep this job. My initial response was for him to go back home and I would let him know what I decided to do. He continued to tell me how much trouble he was going to be in if he lost this job right now.

I told him to go clock, get with his trainer and that we would talk later. I assured him that this didn’t mean he was keeping his job. For the duration of the day, I maintained my disappointed and irritated look whenever I saw him. He came to me after he clocked out at the end of the day to get my final decision. I respect anyone, especially a 21-year-old who knows that he screwed up, to not just sneak out at the end of the day and just show up Monday hoping all is forgotten. I went a little scared straight on him and told him that next time there would not even be a discussion. He was now playing with two strikes. He thanked me for the opportunity and let out a huge sigh of relief as he walked out of my office. I hope it pays off.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Wound Like a Clock Spring

“Everyone has a breaking point, turning point, stress point, the game is permeated with it. The fans don't see it because we make it look so efficient. But internally, for a guy to be successful, you have to be like a clock spring, wound but not loose at the same time.”
~ Dave Winfield ~

Wound Like a Clock Spring

It’s funny, I sit here knowing my blood pressure is high and waiting for a PT and a nurse who will come here today and tell me it is high. The more I think about that the more it stays high…hmm, see a trend? The funny part is that I was thinking to myself, why would my blood pressure not be high right now?

I have had two major surgeries in the past four months, I have not been able to run or do a real workout in over a year, I can’t walk the dog or put the trash out, and as much as I love them both, I live with a fourteen-month-old and a first-time mother. Before I get in trouble for that last part, hold on. She does an amazing job, but always feels like she should be doing more, better, and everything else a new Mom feels. I a left out the part that says that I am fifty-three years old and have been cooped up for three weeks (for a second time) and I can’t drive for another three weeks. I must be totally reliant on others to go anywhere or do most anything. I don’t think it is helping that we are in the waning days of winter.

 So, my question is not why is my blood pressure high, but more like why isn’t it higher?
I know this sounds like a bunch of grumbling and you are right, it is. But, I had to get it off of my chest. Like it or not, I’m trapped! If I could I would take a tent and a small backpack and go hide in the woods for a week. For now, it looks like I will have to be satisfied with short walks around here until I can do more.

I have been working on a story that I am writing, so it is not all bad. I’m not sure what I will do with it but I think it is coming along nicely. Thanks for letting me bitch for a minute.

Until next time (I promise something more positive), Later!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Adventures in the Dark Place – the trip is not for everyone

Adventures in the Dark Place – the trip is not for everyone

People who have not taken extended trips to the dark place will have trouble understanding just what it is like. They will think that you can control depression and simply stop being sad, grouchy, or negative, whatever the case may be. Trust me there are so many times that the dark place is visited and you never have any idea that I am there.

Sometimes it can be somewhat predicted by a major life changing event, but other times it comes out of nowhere. Maybe a song plays, a smell can be a trigger, thoughts are always a danger, or a sad negative person “shares” their energy with you. Whatever your triggers are, you will get to know yourself well enough to feel these episodes coming on but you rarely can stop them from coming.

We learn how we best deal with them and push on with life. After all there are responsibilities to tend to; family, children, pets, work, and others who need you. If you are ‘lucky’ enough to be functional during depression episodes, then you just push on anyway. I know some who suffer from major depression and they cannot function at all, others who push on until they reach a breaking point and then melt down before moving on.

My deal is neither of those situations; I keep moving forward and keep my head just above the quicksand. At times, I might get a little short tempered, or quiet and numb, but all the time tired and burned out while trying to maintain a front. Many of us will say “I’m fine” when most of the time we are anything but fine.

So next time you are with someone who is suffering; try being there for them even if you don’t really understand. Silent support is welcome as much as verbal. Let them know you support them, that you don’t fully understand their feelings but you are there for them. Sometimes it is better to talk things out and other times it is best to go for a walk in the woods with a good friend and just talk and spend time together. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Why Can’t People be Honest When You Try to Help Them?

Why Can’t People be Honest When You Try to Help Them?

Why can’t people be honest when you try to help them? Yes, some circumstances are touchy subjects and you have to be careful. But, when you spend time building a relationship and show them that you are honest and looking out for their best interest, I don’t get it. 

Since being put in a position to hire and fire as a means to build my team I have chosen to groom people and build on their strong points. In that time, I have taken four temporary employees and hired them to full time and attempted to hire three more. I currently have one to show for it. One left for a better opportunity close to home, another started missing days after becoming full time, one had to make two separate emergency trips to Mexico during critical times of the year, another made a similar emergency trip and I never heard from him again, while the last two failed two different parts of the hiring process that they had to know was a risk. 

I know it is always a risk trying to hire from the temp ranks but, I really felt like these were good moves at the time. So, do I suck at judging and hiring people or do I allow people to set me up for failure? It is really frustrating to feel like you are doing the right thing and what is best for others and continually have it thrown back in your face. 

I will continue to build my team even if it means looking like a dumb ass from time to time. I expect a lot of my people but I give a lot of myself too. One of these days I will get these issues figured out, but until then I will continue to fine tune things. I cannot give up on them or let them think that I will because that is what everyone else has done to them in the past. 

I am done ranting and banging my head on the wall for tonight, thank you for listening.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Is There Hope for this Irrational, Sick Sphere? We Better Hope so.

We are all in this together

Is There Hope for this Irrational, Sick Sphere? We Better Hope so. 

"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
~ Norman Vincent Peale ~

How can we live in such a sterilized, self-absorbed, protective bubble? People want to say that the world is messed up but they are not willing to roll up their sleeves and do anything about it. When bad things happen; some look the other way, as if you don’t see it, it is not happening or more likely you won’t be expected to act.

There have been countless civil wars, genocides, and human rights violations that have gone on since the beginning of time. Many of these events have been all but ignored by media and the international community. Even though we know these things happen, they are incessantly disregarded in the “Beige Realm”. 
Image result for Aleppo
Devastation in Allepo Syria

It is disgusting that the media and many people are more interested in Donald Trump and Kanye being seen together or what is happening with Brad and Angelina than the atrocities in Syria and all over the world. The US continues relations with China and Saudi Arabia despite daily human rights violations, but as long as we get our cheap products, oil, and a doorway to the Middle East, it’s all good.

I guess it should not surprise me that it is so easy for people to turn a blind eye since it has been happening here since stepping off the Mayflower. At some point regardless of race, culture, religion, or sexual orientation, we will need to come together as one and salvage what is left of human dignity. If that does not happen, I fear for us all. 
What are the answers? I certainly do not know but I am tired of this world and everyone in it being filled with pain. What if we each commit to small acts of kindness every day? Can that help or will we eventually be engulfed by all of the evil? I do not mean to sound pessimistic but what has to happen for people to care? 
Please join me in passing on good intentions and trying to bring kindness to our small piece of the world. One act, one portion, one person at a time. I wish peace to everyone reading this today. 
Thank you for reading this and continuing to follow my journey.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Sometimes I Wish I Didn’t Know Now What I Didn’t Know Then

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
~ Heraclitus ~

Sometimes I Wish I Didn’t Know Now What I Didn’t Know Then

Last December my wife and I had a beautiful, healthy new daughter. For her everything is brand new and a realization of many years of hopes, dreams, and struggles to have a child. For me it has been all the wonderful things you would expect it to be, along with considerable anxiety and inner turmoil mixed in. It had been around thirty years since I dealt with newborn stuff.

There were the normal concerns; if I could even handle the responsibility, would I have the patience, when she is ___ I will be ___ years old, so much for getting out of debt and someday retiring. Subsequent concerns began to take over my head. I am not the same person I was when I did this before. I approach the world more critically and from a deeper perspective now.

Very incendiary subjects like religion, US history, and even Santa Claus are examples of topics that I am going to have issues dealing with this time around. I want her to learn compassion, empathy, and diversity and right now we live in a very “beige” community. And of course, being realistic while remaining positive is always a challenge. I already feel bad for her teachers.

We now live in a much more litigious world than back when I was chasing my sister’s and then my daughter’s boyfriends off years ago. I’m guessing that I should not say “I’ll only need to kill one of you and the word will get around”, or show them my Samurai swords or rusty shovel and tape measure. Trust me I will get my point across and besides, I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying “whatever you do to her, I’m going to do to you”. Either way, I guess I will need to be more diplomatic this time around.

Now a little something for the fathers. You look to your wife for fulfillment and once the baby is born, she gets ALL of her fulfillment from that baby. So, step back, stick your pride and your needs on the shelf because not one part of the first year is about you. If you have anything important to say to your wife, write it down. She is not listening; she is going in multiple directions at once and totally focused on the little one. There will be moments when you come home from a rough day and your child comes to you and gives you a big hug or a big smile. The best is when they snuggle into your shoulder and go to sleep.

I am in no way painting fatherhood as a negative thing, I am simply being realistic. Like any major life changing experience, you have to learn as you go and work at it. I could not be more thankful to my two older daughters. They dealt with me during my on the job training years. Although I am not an expert, I know a lot of things that can and will go wrong. I have screwed up enough to learn a few things.

Thank you again for reading to the end! Stick around and follow me on the journey into the dark recesses of my mind. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Movement is Life ‘revisited’

“Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
~ Carl von Clausewitz ~

Movement is life ‘revisited’ 

Today has been a week since having the surgery. Although I have a long way to go; I can see the progress I have made in just a week. Last night I was able to go through all of my therapy exercises on my own. And when I am in the kitchen I sometimes leave the walker in the middle of the room where I can reach it while working around it.

Normal every day activities take longer to complete and you have to think things through before starting them. It is always funny and humbling to find the things we take for granted. This morning while the Physical Therapist is here we are supposed to take a walk outside. I feel like a kid waiting for the recess bell to ring. Not that I am excited about going out but my shoes have been under my chair for an hour already.

My dog is out with the dog walker right now getting some much-needed exercise and fresh air. He has been very patient with the situation even though he does not really know what to think about it all. First, I was gone for a couple of days and now there are new people coming and going every day. He is a good dog and keeps close tabs on me and what each person is doing to me. (He just got back and took up his spot right at my feet.)

Don't be jealous of my T.E.D. Hose

I have been picturing getting out in the woods on the trails again, which for some time I thought might be gone forever. I can’t wait to introduce Riley to exploring in nature. She already loves being outside so my wife and I hope to build on that enthusiasm. (I’ll be back, my therapist is here)
I’m back; she added four more exercises to me and I got to walk outside! I asked her how long I would have to use the walker and she said not much longer by how well you are doing. When we got back in she had me practice with the cane. She then told me to fold up the walker and use the cane unless I was going a long distance. In case you could not tell, there was a lot of excitement in that last sentence!

A very dear friend said one time that “Movement is Life” and she could not have been more right. It has been such a very long time since I have felt this much hope and enthusiasm. I am officially on the comeback trail starting NOW! Talk to you soon.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Without Hope, Little is Possible and Everything is Difficult

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Without Hope, Little is Possible and Everything is Difficult

For the last two plus years’ hope has been slipping away from me while pain and depression ruled every waking hour. As I sit here now, almost 48 hours after surgery I am in pain, but it is a different kind of pain. One that eventually will go away and lead to healing. The weeks to come will not be easy; as a matter of fact, I will need to work my ass off and once I am healed I will begin preparing for the second operation three months from now.

The biggest difference is I finally feel some hope returning to my world. It was increasingly discouraging and frustrating to lose almost all range of motion in my hips and legs, to struggle taking my dog for a walk or play with my daughter. I know recovery is not going to be easy but really, what is easy that is worth a damn?

This operation was a huge unknown for me and it was frightening thinking that someone was going to cut into me. I did some research with the help of my wife and found the best hip surgeon in this region. He did his job and now I have to do mine, which is recover and prepare for the next one. At least I don’t think I will be so anxious about the next since I have something to compare it to now.

Well, this was a short post but I will be home for a few weeks and I plan to right more while I am recovering. As always, thanks for your time. Talk at you soon. I guess I’ll post this after I get home, I can’t get the internet to work. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A full plate in a dark place; a recipe for chaos

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
~ Desmond Tutu ~

A full plate in a dark place; a recipe for chaos

My Mom had this figured out because she never moved on to the next Item on her plate until the first was gone…but I am not talking about food. I am talking about when things are coming at you from every angle and you are feeling like gravity has doubled.

Not at all looking for pity, only being honest. Which if you have been reading this blog for any length of time you should be used to. Like they say; honesty won’t get you a lot of friends, but it will get you the right friends. If I find myself not being honest I will have to switch to fiction writing because there will be no point anymore.

So back to the full plate. Lots of people will give you well-meaning advice like; one day at a time, look at all the good things in your life, and many more clich├ęs. Thank you but trust me, when your “good days” are the days that don’t suck, those although true, don’t carry a lot of weight. Karma might be a bitch but depression is a mother f’r that does not take a day off or sympathize with what else you are dealing with in your life.

All I can say is that you need to find someone that you can talk to who will listen and not judge. It can be a trusted friend but don’t rule out a professional. Like anything else just because they get paid for what they do it might not mean they are the right professional for you. Shop around a little if you need to. Don’t assume that the degree on their wall means that you can relate to them.

It helps to have at least one person who knows what it means when you say “talk to me Goose” and if you don’t know what movie that is from we cannot be friends anymore. Just kidding, we can be friends after you watch Top Gun and say it’s time to buzz the tower. Seriously though, find that person that knows you well enough to listen and understand.

Until next time. Thanks for getting to the bottom of the page!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Looking Back at Three Years of Blogging. Thank You For Joining Me!

“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It's a journey of discovery - there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”
~ Rick Warren ~

Tomorrow is three years since I started this blog. I did not know where it would take me but my hope was that if one person read something that helped them get through some event or time in their life, then every minute was worth it. If I reached one person to know that there are other broken, F’d up people out there and they are not alone, then my mission was accomplished.

This has really taken on a life of its own in many ways. I did not want to use it as a place to preach or complain, but it was a place for me to be open and honest about my feelings and things that are important to me. It is a place where if someone really wants to know me, this is where you can do that. It has always been easier for me to write than talk so, this is the perfect forum.

In the three years since I have been doing this I am humbled to have over 8,000 page views from every corner of the world. Some places that I had to look up to figure out where they were. I was not sure how people would take this much honesty when I started but, I have received a lot of support in doing this. I don’t worry as much about the posts being polished as I do making them honest and sincere.

It may never have even got started without the encouragement of Miss Lindsay, and I cannot thank her enough. Writing is such a great outlet for me as well as allowing me to reach out to others. I was also honored to be a guest blogger on which can be seen at .

As always, I thank you for keeping me company on this crazy journey. I will talk to you soon and wish you peace and love along the path you are following. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Now is Not a Time for Sitting in Silence, it is a time to Stand!

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

Now is Not a Time for Sitting in Silence, it is a time to Stand!

If you ignore something that you know in your heart is wrong are you not at least partially to blame? For a long time people may not have known the truth but the facts are easily accessible if you care to look. The history of America that most of us have been taught is somewhere between a glorified fabrication and a sickening string of lies.

Before you call me unpatriotic or a bleeding heart liberal I ask you to take off your red, white, and blue tinted glasses and check the facts, open your eyes. This country was no more discovered by Europeans than if you like your neighbor’s house and move while they are at work. It was stolen and a war was waged to eliminate the millions of people already living here. If our government chose to acknowledge this type of activity by someone else it is called genocide…unless of course you are a little poor country without much to offer, sorry Darfur and Sudan among others. History calls it Manifest Destiny which is a nice sounding way to make people believe that ‘God said it was okay to kill these people and take the land’.

We as a people have had many opportunities over time to allow the indigenous people live their lives as the peaceful human beings that they are, with dignity and grace. Instead our government waits for them to give up or die off so they can hopefully be forgotten for good.  Well, it has been five hundred years and they still hang on to their spirit and beliefs, even though most live in deplorable poverty.
I was ignorant of the real history when I was a child but I am no longer ignorant and will no longer be silent. So, you continue celebrating your fake holidays and telling your fables. I will not be a part of that and I will do my best to teach my children not to be silent either. It is far past time to welcome these people and stop talking about it and do something.

Right now hundreds of tribes are banding together to protect something that all of us should be interested in. The Dakota Access Pipeline could easily cause massive destruction to the Missouri River and affect many lives in the process.  Today the National Guard will be used at the sites when the judge’s decision is given. Remember Kent State and Birmingham, Alabama, or the FBI debacle at Pine Ridge?

Educate, Spread the word, and Stand with the Standing Rock Sioux!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kick Dirt in it and Shout "F You, is That All You Got?"

"You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for all of them."
~ J. Askenberg ~

Kick dirt in it and shout "F you, is that all you got?"

We have all heard the saying 'Fall down seven times, get up eight'. How do we know that the eighth time will be the last time? What guarantees does life give us that we will stop getting knocked down? The answer is, there are no answers to these questions. We have to just keep getting up and moving forward looking for the positive light ahead. 

Sometimes it feels like life gives us more than we can handle. We can sink lower and lower as challenges and problems come in rapid fire succession. It is all to easy to fall into a pattern of excepting defeat and allowing ourselves to stay down instead of preparing for another blow.   

This is where you have to realize that your brain is being rewired to accept and be comfortable or feel safer in your dark place. This similar to what happens when you are making good nutrition decisions and exercising. The neuro-pathways in your brain adapt to your patterns and fire in the order which it now believes you want to go. Believe it or not, it is easier to change to bad habits that it is to good. 

Think about a muddy slope for just a minute. If you are at the top and sit down and give yourself a push, how long will it take to reach the bottom. Now picture trying to claw your way back up. You would have two choice; sit there and wallow in the mud (which you probably will do for a while), or you could patiently climb out. 

Don't be afraid or to proud to ask for a hand up at these times. Trust me it sucks being stuck there and it sucks worse to be there alone. The thing is that you are not really alone at all but good luck convincing yourself of that. Most times you can not see the mud on the outside but if you look a person in the eyes with an empathetic heart, you can see it there. 

Let's take care of each other and once we get out of the hole that has imprisoned us, kick dirt in it and shout "F you, is that all you got?" Keep your eyes and heart open to others. Ask for help if you need it, offer help if you are able. As always, thank you for joining in my sojourn through life. 


Link to Resources:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Be a Man (whatever that means)

Be a Man (whatever that means)

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
~ Frederick Douglass ~

People say ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’; I don’t really buy that completely. It can build character and to a point makes your resolve stronger, but it breaks you down as well. I am not advocating giving up or hiding behind excuses either. I am saying be realistic with yourself and know your limitations.

Many people see talking to someone about your problems and feeling as a weakness. When in fact it takes a lot of strength to admit that maybe you need some help. Especially for men; after all, we are taught our whole lives to suck it up, be a man (whatever that means), and be strong. The problem being that no one tells you how to do all of these manly things.

If you catch yourself telling a boy or young man to man up or any of the previously mentioned phases, please step back and think about the consequences. Boys must be taught that it is perfectly okay to be caring, loving, and sensitive to their's other’s feelings. As a matter of fact everyone could benefit from this human characteristics.

Jumping down off my soapbox now but remember to treat each other with care. We all have our own stories playing out and struggles you may know nothing about. Seek out someone who can help you get through whatever it is your are going through. 

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Life is Short and we are Gone in the Blink of an Eye

“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.”
~ Jimi Hendrix ~

Life is Short and we are Gone in the Blink of an Eye

This morning the world lost a beautiful soul and I am more than finished saying goodbye to people I love. I have long wondered why she seemed to understand me so well when others did not. Although she was good at hiding it, I believe now that her soul was just as troubled as mine. It may sound selfish but I am not ready to deal with this at all. In less than a year I have lost two women who were vital to my existence.  I feel very much like the guy on the Don’t Break the Ice game with people slowly tapping away at the ice I stand on and that ice is getting shaky.

I have so many fond memories of Sister Nancy and will miss her always. One of my favorite pictures of us is her wearing her habit and me as a young boy. She told me once that she was so happy that she began to cry and I reached over and wiped her tear away. I wish I could have protected her from suffering any pain in her lifetime. She never once judged or questioned what I was doing and supported and loved me unconditionally. 

The fact that she was a Nun meant that she always had an image to live up to and the fact that she was a Sister in the Roman Catholic Church I’m sure made that image more difficult to uphold. She was a fun, loving, caring person who gave of herself and got little back in return.

If you love someone let them know because life is short and we are gone in the blink of an eye.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What does depression feel like you ask?

"It's often difficult for those who are lucky enough to have never experienced what true depression is to imagine a life of complete hopelessness, emptiness and fear."
~Susan Polis Schutz~

What does depression feel like you ask? 

Some think it is being sad, in a bad mood, or grumpy. That’s cute, but don’t fool yourself it is so much more. People want to know what caused it, why are you not happy? Well, there is not always an answer to those questions or explanations to the feelings. 

In my case anxiety seems to be one of the major things that fuel depression for me. For me, once depression sets in I feel isolated, tired, alone, heavy, and dark. The best way to describe it is being in quicksand in a dark, dismal place and no one sees you. People walk by but I feel invisible. 

There are days when I feel a little better and I can smile or even laugh, and without warning, it drags me under again. Because anxiety is a trigger even good stress can set things off at times. I absorb energy that is around me so it is critical not to be around negative people or situations.    

Darkness is a powerful force which quietly baits you at times, whereas other times it grabs you by the ankles and pulls you in against your will. What we have to be vigilant about is using the dark place as a safe place to hide, which can happen when you go numb. Just be careful not to take up residence there.

Think about the conversations you have had with people regarding injuries or medical things. Have you had conversations about colonoscopy, catheters or other not pleasant topics? Watch a ball game and you will see a dozen commercials for erectile dysfunction. Now, tell someone you have been having some issues and you are thinking of making an appointment with a counselor and you might with you said you had ED instead, which is completely wrong.  

Starting Saturday May 7th my friend Julio will begin a run across Wisconsin to raise awareness of mental health and Defeat the Stigma that is tied to it. Follow and support him at 

Most of all, check on your friends and family and get help if you need it. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Human Side of Managing People

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
~ John C. Maxwell ~

The Human Side of Managing People

I have worked with and for many different people over the years. I promised myself that given the chance to lead and manage people, I would always treat people like people. This along with an awakening of sorts led me to this point in my life.

For many years I felt trapped by my experience in jobs which I was good at but were not fulfilling. I thought I was doing that again eight months ago, until I came to realize that it is not what you do; it is how you do what you do that matters. As Eckhart Tolle would say, combining my inner and outer purpose.

Soon after starting this job as Distribution Center Manager I was asked point blank “so, how long are you going to be here?” It was apparent pretty quickly that these people have been through the ringer in the past and trust was not going to be won easily.

I made it my mission to earn their respect without fear, create a team atmosphere, and be the boss that my employees deserved. I do not take the use of the word team lightly and I don’t mean “my team”, we are all a team. Are we perfect? Of course we are not, I have yet to meet a human being that was perfect but they know they have my support.

I obviously do what is best for the business or I would not be here, but I never do that over what is best for the person or people. I’m sure that it would be less stressful for some to take a more detached approach with employees, but that is not me. In a couple of cases I cared more about them keeping their jobs than they did and they were given a chance to pursue other opportunities.

In my interview I was told by the (now seeking other opportunities) VP that I was going to have to rule with an iron fist, threaten and fire a bunch of people, and that my way would not work. I am not one to disregard and ignore what a boss tells me to do but…I did it my way and it works. I am not their friend and I have high expectations of each and every one of my people but would not ask them to do something I would be unwilling to do myself.

I can’t say enough how lucky I am to have the boss that I have because he has allowed me to mature as a leader more than I even knew that I could. He allows me to make decisions, mistakes, and grow which has done wonders for my confidence. Teaching and sharing my knowledge from many years around warehouses is only a small part of my job now and I don’t feel like I am wasting my time or missing my calling.

Thank you as always for reading my ramblings! Until next time remember that everyone is fighting their own battle so be kind.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Exponential Regression of Progress; Why I Can't Run or Tie my Shoes.

“Life is not an easy matter... You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.”
~ Leon Trotsky ~

The Exponential Regression of Progress; Why I Can't Run or Tie my Shoes.

For the past five or so years I have been losing flexibility and range of motion in my hips. For a long time I had myself convinced that it was tight hip flexors. Recently the pain and discomfort combined with no longer being able to tie my shoes or cut my toe nails led me to getting x-rays. This confirmed that I have arthritis in both hips, which in turn brought me to see a hip specialist.

Further x-rays revealed that the arthritis is combined with multiple bone spurs and my fear of having surgery is going to become a reality. On top of that I may not be able to run again for a long time, if ever again.  I have a long road ahead of me and a lot of decisions to make.

Whether or not I get to run remains to be seen, but I will not be able to train for anything serious. My best race is going to remain a last place finish in a 25K with no chance at a marathon or 50K distance. Ironically, I renewed to become a lifetime member of the Trail Nerds just before I had to stop running. My hope now is that my wife, daughter and I can volunteer and team up for some course sweep duties in the future to stay involved.

I can deal with the pain and loss of range of motion, try cortisone shots, or have surgery. Because of my work schedule I may need to wait until after the first of the year to have surgery. It looks like the surgery will be a resurfacing of the hip joint. If that is not possible, he will have to do a total hip replacement. Three months later doing it all over on the other side.

Right now I am trying to digest all of this and see which direction I will go. On thing that I don't want to here are comments that begin with "At least..."  I have to drop weight, get mentally prepared, and using low impact exercise and weight training, get into the best shape I can. They have the technology, they can rebuild me, but I won't be the six million dollar man.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

We Must Live by our Principles While Being Empathetic to Others and be Ultimately be Able to Put Ourselves in Their Shoes

We Must Live by our Principles While Being Empathetic to Others and be Ultimately be Able to Put Ourselves in Their Shoes

“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a sh*t how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
~Caballo Blanco~

Last night my wife and I had a babysitter and went to see ‘Run Free: The True Story of Caballo Blanco’. It was nice for us to get out for the first time in what feels like a long time.  We got to see some people from the Trail Nerds that we have not seen in a while as well. It felt funny to not have the baby with us but was a nice and much needed break (actually prescribed by our pediatrician).

 If you read Christopher McDougall’s bestselling book ‘Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen’, you already know who Caballo is. Until seeing this movie last night; he was an interesting character in a book I really like, but now he represents much more.

He wanted to be left alone by the parts of society that he felt clouded his focus and to live in a world of respect, peace, and altruism.  He brought people together and continues to even after his death. I realized that he was not only a character in that book, but a major reason it was written versus being a magazine article and he brought it all together, literally. By simply being himself, he changed countless lives with little expectation from his actions.

While there were some people who used his race and his causes for their own benefit, he remained true to his principles. The race was designed to put food in the hands of people who needed it and this was a prize for participation. Many if not all of the non Tarahumara participants donated their corn and winning back to the Tarahumara people who it was intended to feed.

This is obviously about Mika True, AKA Caballo Blanco but at the same time it is about living a life with purpose and intention which is what I hope to do. It is important for all living being to coexist in a synergistic and symbiotic relationship, it is vital to respect each other and imperative that we love each other.  We must live by our principles while being empathetic to others and be ultimately be able to put ourselves in their shoes.

So there you have it. Thank you Caballo for getting me through runs in the past while I thought of your running philosophy, and thank you today for aiding in my continuing awakening process.