Monthly Archives: May 2008

Play Day

If you aren’t playing well, the game isn’t as much fun. When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid. – Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. – Heraclitus

There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness. – Gelett Burgess

Today was a play day. No work unless it was working at playing. No playing unless it had nothing to do with work. Erica and I just went through the day and did what we felt like when we felt like it. No agenda really; just following our impulses. The only thing we really had planned was to go to a movie. Everything else was impromptu.

It’s important to have days like this. Your mind begins to unwind and your body relaxes. Most of us see ourselves as what we do; work, relationship, a particular role and etc. When you stop and play every now and then, you begin to see yourself as something more. You start to connect more with you really are.

It’s important to give yourself these moments in time. When you pay yourself with days of play, the return on investment is priceless. It’s a great strategy for happiness.

Erica and I found it funny that time seemed to fly by today. It’s because we were focusing on the present moment. I think we’ll do more of that on Sunday.

Have a great day!

Michael

Challenges Make Us Grow

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. – Peter Marshal

l used to think that it would be really nice to live a life that never had any issues, no difficulties, no problems, and no confrontations. I now strongly and rightly believe that was an immature view of the world and of life. We really don’t grow that much if everything always works out. We would stagnate becoming robots with no passion.

I’m glad for the difficulties that life has brought me and/or I’ve brought to myself (depending on your belief system). I’m appreciative of the challenges that I’ve faced regardless of whether I’ve been successful or not. I now relish all the problems and confrontations I’ve been involved with. All of these things combined with everything that has happened in my life has made me who I am right now.

And I’m happy about who I am, the good and the bad, the strong and weak parts. I didn’t get to this feeling overnight. It took a little over 40 years. But, wow! It’s a great place to be. The sooner you can get there, the better. But, ultimately, it’s all about getting to that place where you are okay with yourself with little or no judgment.

Really, it’s never too late to realize this. Once you do, your life will be even better. For me, the realization that I was okay with myself allowed me to release the judgment I was holding on to about all the “mistakes” I had made in my life. My logic was that if I liked who I was now, then I was also okay with all the things I had done that had made me who I was today. That obviously included all my mistakes. So, with that realization, a great weight was lifted off my shoulders as I didn’t have to berate myself anymore for past misdeeds. I’ll never forget that moment of pure clarity. It forever changed my life.

I’m fine with the fact that it took me 40 years to figure it out. I have no problem with that at all.

Anyone can do this. All you have to work on is being okay with who you are right now. Do whatever it takes to get to that point. You’ll never regret it.

Michael

15 Days to Chapter End

It’s a good time to leave my career. I’ve been feeling that even more strongly as the days wind down. Emotionally, it’s been a bit like a roller coaster ride. Some days I’m okay with it and others I seem to be staring at an immense abyss. Clarity and relaxation come with acceptance.

I’ve told myself that I like adventure, but I’ve found that sometimes when you are face to face with the advent of an adventure, it can be uncomfortable. I’m relaxed about that now and look forward to what is about to happen.

My last day is Friday, June 13th. Now, most people would view this as a terrible time to leave and a bad omen. For me, though, it confirms the “beauty” of the timing of things. For my entire life, Friday the 13th days have turned out to be some of the best in my memory. The number 13 has not always been associated with bad things. It’s more of recent historical trend.

Regardless of your belief about Friday the 13th, I look at this day as a perfect ending and perfect beginning in my life. That’s all that really matters.

Have a great day!

Michael

Yoga – Second Class

Last Wednesday, in my blog titled “Resistance to Yoga“, I talked about my difficulties in going to the first class. It had been quite challenging to close down the mind chatter that was trying to get me to stay home and not go.

This week was a little better, but I was feeling resistance again last night to go. So, I made up a silly prerequisite that said, “If my yoga teacher doesn’t call me on Wednesday, then I won’t go to the class.” She called me this morning at 10:05 and asked if I was coming to yoga tonight. Of course, I had to go now, since my prerequisites had been met. :-)

The class ended up being really good. Surprise! I felt just a little bit stronger and little less tight than the previous week. Last time it took me 4 1/2 days for my hamstrings to recover. We will see how things go with this second class.

I’m glad I went, as I feel that each time I make the choice to go in the face of heavy resistance, I gain a little bit more control of my life. It may sound funny but that is what my inner struggle around this feels like.

Chewing away at a difficult change can be a good way to gradually work through it. Before you know it, the change you want to make has become a new good habit.

Have a great day!

Michael

Start With a Dream

Start with a dream. Maybe a dream that is personal and small, but worth doing. Then dream a bigger dream. Keep dreaming until your dreams seem impossible to achieve. Then you’ll know you’re on the right track. Then you’ll know you’re ready to conjure up a dream big enough to define your future and perhaps your generation’s future. – Vance Coffman

How big is your dream? Does it seem fairly easy to achieve? Do you think about your dream everyday, every hour, every minute?

Have you ever written your dream down in a journal? Do you share your dreams with your significant other or friends? Is your dream continually growing and changing; becoming more refined as you become clearer about what you desire?

Dreams form a vital link to being happier. Having dreams and thinking about them will lift your mood. As your mood lifts you’ll increase your ability to dream bigger.

If you don’t have a dream, start one. Like the quote says; make it small at first and then grow it. I really like the concept that you’ll know you are on the right track when “your dreams seem impossible to achieve.”

Here’s to your dream!

Michael

900

I play a game called Geocaching. I’ve been playing since February 2004. Last year I didn’t really play the game that much. Supercomputers in the Rockies are working on figuring out the reasons why.

It combines several things that I love to do; explore, travel, technology, figuring out puzzles, hike, walk, photography and just getting out in nature. I’ve been working on getting back into shape so I’ve been doing a lot of walking and hiking over the past two weeks.

Geocaching is helping me to fuel that goal. I’ve redirected by mind so that it focuses on finding the geocaches and it doesn’t notice that I walk many miles in the search. This plan works for me.

For over a year I’ve been really close to finding a career total of 900 geocaches. I made a goal just a few weeks ago to reach 900 by the end of May. Today I finally made it.

Some might say it’s a small goal, a silly goal. I disagree. No goal is really silly. If it is something you want, then it’s important. Plus I’ve lost 3 pounds since I started the intense walking/hiking again. Not bad for a silly goal.

Michael

Blood, Sweat and Tears

I was up in Northampton, Massachusetts this weekend with Erica. She was at a show and I was there to play. Of course I helped out a little bit in the booth.

Right next to Erica’s booth was a lady selling ceramics. Her husband was Steve Katz, one of the original members of the 1960’s band Blood, Sweat and Tears. How cool is that. If you were listening to music back then, you may have remembered the hits “Spinning Wheel” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.”

We chatted for a bit, not about music that much, but about the new Amazon Kindle. It’s like an iPod for books. I was amazed as I could literally have hundreds of books, newspapers, blogs and etc. at my fingertips on one device. It is a first generation machine and expensive but I think it will change the way we do things, just like the iPod.

Steve was a good guy and very into the Kindle. I wish him luck on his current tour schedule with the band.

Michael

Our Imperfections

We’re all of us a little greedy… We’re all somewhat courageous, and we’re all considerably cowardly. We’re all imperfect, and life is simply a perpetual, unending struggle against those imperfections. – Sidney Poitier

Not one of us is without imperfections. Some have more, some less. Many don’t like to admit they have imperfections. But it’s the nature of humans to have imperfections and deal with them.

It’s also vital that we learn to accept these imperfections. Many of us struggle with that simple task. We tend to berate or hate ourselves for our imperfections. We repress the negative feelings that this lack of acceptance brings up. And in doing that, our lives are not as happy and fulfilling as they could be.

It took me most of life to finally accept my major imperfections. (Don’t tell anyone, but I’m still trying to deal with a host of minor ones.) Once I got to the point of acceptance, I found that some of those imperfections were easily improved on while others just didn’t seem to matter anymore.

Another quite amazing outcome of my own acceptance was that other people were more accepting of me also. Hmmmmmm. I wasn’t expecting that one. That was quite a revelation. But, paradoxically of course, their acceptance didn’t mean anything to me anymore. The most important person (me) had already accepted myself.

Acceptance of myself continues to be a great life lesson. I look forward to where I’ll be in another 5 or 10 years.

Have a great day!

Michael

Sunny Friday

Beach Pond view from Hemlock LedgesI left work early as did everyone else. My company calls it “early release” and it typically happens right before a three day weekend. I quickly drove home, grabbed my GPS receiver, some water and my camera.

I decided to take a hike this afternoon as the week had been long and somewhat challenging. A lengthy hike was just what the doctor ordered. The sky was partly cloudy with many patches of blue sky. The temp was 75oF. It was a perfect afternoon and shouldn’t be wasted sitting inside.

I went down to one of my favorite hiking areas in Rhode Island; Arcadia Management Area. Here’s a link to the topo maps for the area.

Deep PondI hiked on a trail that went to a body of water called Deep Pond. Before getting there I made a slight detour and walked along a trail that took me to Hemlock Ledges which gave some very nice views of Beach Pond (top left photo).

After enjoying the views I traced my steps back to the turnoff to Deep Pond. After another mile of hiking I arrived at this lovely pond (see photo to the right). I spend a little bit of time here and then headed back to my car.

Overall the entire hike was about 3.20 miles which was just about right for me today. I got to enjoy the beautiful weather and spend some quality time under the forest canopy.

It’s the kind of therapy I was looking for. :-)

Michael

Yosemite Reprise

I took a number of photographs during my Yosemite adventure last month with my daughter, her boyfriend and Erica.

Here are some of the best of the hundreds I took :-) :

One note: the waterfalls shot in the last set (04-25-2008) are actually outside of the south entrance to Yosemite Park. It was a beautiful spot we discovered on the day we drove back to Sacramento.

Michael