Ice Bucket Challenge and Opportunities

I’m always on the look out for opportunities to give to some cause.  I don’t have a lot to give but I am always so happy when I”m able to.  Unless you’ve been living in a cave that doesn’t have WIFI, you’ve no doubt seen the ice bucket challenge that has been raising money for ALS research.  I was recently nominated for this challenge and I made a video of it.  I’ll warn you, however, I’m a little awkward in front of the camera.

This challenge is pretty funny.  The whole world seems to be doing it, which is nice.  I feel like we’ll look back on this in 10 years and say “remember that time the whole world came together and did something positive?”

This isn’t usually the type of charity I feel called to give to.  I don’t mind giving to charities like this because there’s a need but I generally stick to giving to the less fortunate.  My wife and I decided to give to another medical research program that doesn’t do experiments on embryos.  We’re very much pro-life and ALSA.org does embryonic stem cell research.  Our organization is called The John Paul II Medical Research Institute.  I don’t mean to use this blog as a way to push my agendas.  At the end of my video my wife asks me who I want to nominate for the challenge.  I told her no one because giving should be a personal decision.  Where you give, is your calling and you should give where you feel happiest giving.

ALS is a terrible disease.  I hope a cure is found soon.  If you aren’t familiar with this disease I highly recommend you read “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom.  Albom is a very talented writer for the Detroit Free Press.  He also hosts a daily radio show.  When I was growing up in Michigan I would read his columns and his books.  Normally, he is a sports writer.  This book is about him visiting his old college professor every Tuesday as Morrie dealt with ALS.  I finished this book on a flight to Los Angeles in 2001.  I had to choke back the tears so the rest of the passengers on the flight didn’t think I was a nut.  It’s an amazing book and I highly recommend you read it for the life lessons as well as the ALS awareness.

Be well.  Be positive.

Anxiety vs Will Power

What if having will power against anxiety only makes things worse?  Or maybe it would be relying on will power alone to combat anxiety.

I can do some incredible things with will power.  I’ve gone on some diets that have been very successful, I’ve committed to workout plans for long periods of time and I get out of my house every day despite having social anxiety.  But will power doesn’t fix my anxiety.  I’m not sure forcing myself to do some of the things I do really help or they might even exacerbate the situation.  Sometimes I just have no business being out and about with as much anxious energy as I have.  It’s like a drug addict saying “ok, today I’m not hitting the pipe!”  By the next day they’re still addicted and haven’t dealt with the problem that causes the addiction.

There are times when life is an uphill battle and I’m only working to keep the battle going, not end it once and for all.  There are days when I feel like I’m trying to run uphill during an avalanche.  Maybe, just maybe, a better solution would be to stop fighting and take the chair lift instead. So what are my battles?

I struggle with… well… er… ok so my battle is with me.  There, I said it! It’s me! I’m fighting myself.  Like some sort of lunatic. It’s a brain that never stops rambling on and on and me who buys in to everything it tells me.  As they say in 12 step programs, it’s time to let go and let God.  To have faith that everything is working for my benefit.

I’ve been meditating the past couple of weeks.  Not only have I been meditating but I picked up a book about meditation, strangely enough, called “The Buddha Walks Into a Bar…”  My plan is to become quite proficient in meditation that I can quiet my mind end the battle that I’m fighting against myself.

A Rainy Orlando Morning

“Tim!”, my wife urgently stated as I opened my eyes and rolled over.  “I forgot to set my alarm and it’s 7:25!”

It was 10 minutes past when I normally get up to get my girls ready and off to the school bus.  My 6 year old was not in the mood to wake up.  As we rushed to get ready and then ran out the door we started on our walk to the bus.  In that moment, everything changed.  The sun was shining bright and there was a calm breeze causing the leaves on the trees to rustle in a symphony of sound that seemed to be trying to get my attention.

And then the thunder.  “But it’s a perfectly clear day?”, I thought to myself.  There it was again.  Not loud but it confidently made me aware of it’s presence.  Nature was definitely speaking to me this morning.  As our walk continued, my girls’ frowns turned to smiles and we chatted as we briskly walked and made it to the bus stop just in time to see the bus pull up.

I paused for a minute and made sure they got on safely and then waved as the bus pulled away.  It was now the loneliest time of my day.  The moment my girls are whisked off to school and I’m standing there seeing them as they disappear behind the trees.  And then my journey back home.  There was more thunder and I could see clouds peeking over the trees.  I heard another parent say “rain is coming.”  Indeed.

By the time I got home, although I was tired, I felt a sense of calm.  My little dog was there to greet me at the door and then took her seat next to me on the couch.  Nature had gotten my attention, asked me calmly to slow down and now I had the morning to relax, anxiety free.

Is Fear a Byproduct Of Our Culture?

Our culture breeds fear.  Our culture is so wrapped up in what might kill us that we are constantly telling each other that we must be afraid.  Afraid of the Republicans or the Democrats, afraid of terrorists, afraid of economical problems, afraid that we may catch some disease and die.  Look at any news website or in social media and see what people are talking about.

Sure, you’ll rarely see a news article that directly tells you to be afraid.  Fear is a byproduct.  It’s something that happens when you constantly hear how awful things are.

The last few years of my grandma’s life were spent sitting in her apartment watching cable news.  When my grandpa passed away she withdrew.  Here is a woman who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.  She was stronger than this.  Her and my grandpa worked hard their whole lives to be able to enjoy themselves when the work was done.  They taught me not only to work hard but to play hard and enjoy every moment of life.  So from 2003 to 2012 when she passed away, it was hard to watch her sit around and become more fearful of the world.

“Corbin, KY!  Remember that!”, she would often tell members of our family.  That was where we were supposed to meet in case of a national disaster.  I always wondered why Corbin, KY.  Maybe because most of my family lives in Michigan and I’m in Florida?  Maybe it was because there was a Sonny’s BBQ (her favorite restaurant) and the original KFC (another favorite of her’s)?

The sad fact is that she spent nine years worrying about something that would never happen.  Another sad fact is that there are millions of us who are captivated by what we see on TV or read in papers, magazines and online that we become fearful as well.  I remember a few years ago reading an online forum where people were discussing ways to keep their kids from getting the H1N1 flu.  They all seemed so crazy talking about how millions of people were going to die and how would they be the ones to survive?  H1N1 came and went and we barely think about it anymore.

Someday we’re all going to die.  Not many of us know how or when.

This week I decided to stop paying as much attention to politics as I do.  Politics for me is like college football for other people.  I wave my little flag and cheer for my favorite “players”.  But politicians spread fear to push their agendas.  Politics divides us as a society.  I’ve lost friends because of politics.  It’s time for me to step aside and not worry so much about politicians and politics.  I know some people will say that’s UnAmerican.  I’m ok if you think that.  I don’t agree but I can’t fight over such things anymore.  It’s causing me to lost my humanity.

I’m going to spend more time reading and when I start running again next week I’m going to be outside more.  I want to experience life and build relationships instead of focusing my attention on horrible things.

Be well. Be positive.

Love In Abundance

Love.

Have you ever stopped to think about the terms “fell IN love” and “fell OUT of love”?  I’m starting to wonder if these terms describe real things.  Do we suddenly gain or lose love or was that love there all along?  Scientifically, we could describe the feeling of love as a chemical event in the brain.  But why does that happen?  There has to be some sort of spiritual force behind the whole thing.  Perhaps it comes from our spiritual side.

I don’t mean to be too new age or hippie sounding.  I just wonder if maybe we should rethink this whole concept of love as we understand it.  How much love do you have right now?  Is your love tank full?  Does it ever go empty or maybe it starts to run low like your gas tank in your car or your energy levels?

If I’m truthful with myself and start to look back in my life, I don’t think there has ever been a time when I’ve said “gee, I’m kind of at my love limit at the moment so I’ll have to love you tomorrow.”  Never!  As much as I love, I ALWAYS have room to love something else.  I can love every strand of hair on my head, every grain of sand on the beach (seriously, I do!), every beautiful bloom on every flower I pass in a given day, every tree with every leaf on it and STILL I have room to love everyone I see, hear about, think about, encounter….

There is no end to the amount of love that you have.  I don’t know where we put it all but start giving out love and you’ll only find that you have more to give.  You have an unlimited supply of love!

Be well.  Be positive.

Setting My Focus Upward

I haven’t written in this blog for a few months.  I regret letting so much time pass.  I guess the good thing is that I had a fantastic summer but the bad thing is that my head is a little unwound.  Maybe I have some excuses… I had a house guest staying with us for a couple months, the kids were out of school, we went on vacation for two weeks…  The nice thing about life is you can always get back up and get moving again.

So school started yesterday and I’m up early every morning in a quiet house.  My wife’s school starts next week and it’ll be even more quiet.  I’ve started reading and meditating again and today I’m getting back in to this blog.  Next week I’m going to start running again.  I have been entertaining the idea of getting a YouTube channel going where I can talk about some of my thoughts and share some of my experiences to go along with this blog.

I’ll share more tomorrow but I wanted to get this post out to let all of my followers and followers-to-be that I haven’t abandoned you!

Be well.  Be positive.