#627 Alone with no Phone

Posted by frank December - 15 - 2014 - Monday 1 COMMENT

A couple of weeks ago I dropped my phone and cracked the front glass.  I took it over to a friend of mine who has a small shop on 7th Ave in which he sells phone accessories.  He told me he could bring it over to a guy and have it fixed but it would take an hour or so.  I was meeting a business associate for coffee so I left the phone and headed toward the coffee shop.

I think I reached in to my pocket three or four times, reflexively, on the way to the shop to grab my phantom phone.

 

When I got to the coffee shop my guy hadn’t arrived yet so I reached for the phone again to check email or whatever.  As I sat there, unconnected I felt uneasy.  I had not been alone with myself like that for quite some time.  Whenever I wait for anything, I have two email accounts, text messages, twitter, Linked in, etc. to check to see what’s happening second by second.

 

This morning as the train made it to the tunnel on the way in to Penn., most of the riders woke from their morning naps and headed for the door.  I took notice that, literally, every one of them had their face in their phone as they waited for the last 5 minutes of the train ride.

 

I don’t know that I want to pass judgment on this as being good or bad, I just wonder about the uneasiness I felt when I was without my phone.  It kind of reminded me of why I quit tobacco; I hated the idea of something controlling me.

 

NOTE:  With the year drawing to a close it is time to begin to formulate your motto for 2015.  What will the theme of this year be for you?

 

2014 Motto:  Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Everyday

#626 Bad Call

Posted by frank December - 8 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You chose the life you have so far.  You chose what last year, last week and yesterday were like for you. 

Choice is not blame.  When bad things happen, many of us look for a reason why, as though we can be blamed for our own cancer or horrific accident and trace that malady back to a choice we made. 

This is not the choice I am talking about.  I’m referring to the choices that make up the texture and flavor of your life and those choices may be overt or tacit.

If I treat you badly haven’t I then chosen to be treated badly by you?

If I fail to greet or engage those around me haven’t I chosen loneliness?

If you are unhappy with where you are review the choices you make each day.

 

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

All about ME! #625

Posted by frank December - 1 - 2014 - Monday 1 COMMENT

When I was younger I had no sense of my projected image.  Meaning that it never occurred to me that other people may perceive me in a way that was different than who I thought I was.
I know; not too bright, but that’s how it was. Additionally, I was a show-off; always looking for the spotlight.  So imagine this young man, uninterested in listening and inept when it comes to taking social cues meant to shut him up or tone him down, vying for attention, only to be whispered about in the corners and cattily reviewed after his exit.  That was me before I learned a bit (and am learning still) and matured some.
I met someone over the holiday weekend who reminded me of that me; trouncing every story with an over-the-top personal anecdote and spinning every conversation back to himself.  I watched as people noticed and objected to his behavior with their body language while he was there and then trashed him after he left.
I thought a lot about this a lot and, at first, I thought that maybe people were being unfair and not giving him a chance.  After all, he was new to the group and maybe just trying too hard to make an impression.  But the harsh reality is that if he persists with this behavior, the body language will get more severe or he will overhear something hideous about himself, or he’ll get called out in a group and then growth can begin.
If you’ve ever watched Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, try to undo social problems in a dog you’ve seen him put the problem pooch in to his pack of dogs and then observe as the pack quickly straightens out the bad behavior.  It’s almost instant.  And here we thought we were the superior species…

​2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

#624 With Age Comes Wisdom

Posted by frank November - 24 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Don’t be surprised if I do King Arthur lines for the next week or two.  I just saw Camelot again and he is just chock full of wisdom.

 

King Arthur: “I am too young and too old. Too old not to be uncertain of the fears that may be phantom and too young not to be tormented by them.”

When I heard this I knew I would want to remember it.  It reminds me a lot of the Marcus Aurelius quote; “I am an old man and have had many worries, most of which never came to pass.”

We are an anxious society with Xanex sales going through the roof.  Anxiety comes from worrying about mostly phantom fears.

Are there things to be concerned about?  Of course.  Do those valid concerns number as many as we fear?  Of course not.

The beginning of the Serenity prayer made famous by AA covers this subject well:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Live.  Let life come.  Plan of course but know that you can deal with most things thrown your way when they get here and know that most phantom fears will never arrive

2014 Motto: Mindful in every moment and Grateful for every day

What do YOU think #623

Posted by frank November - 17 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You are the origin of your thoughts.  You think about what youchoose to think about.  Moreover, you act on those thoughts.  There is no action without the precursor of thought.  Thought is the mother of every action.

If you accept this as true, how important is it to govern your thoughts? 

If you think all day about how miserable your life is what are the chances that it will go from misery to joy?

If you think all day about how badly you feel what are the chances that you will feel good anytime soon?

My friend Gina recently told me a story about a woman she met on the street in Manhattan.  Gina saw a statuesque woman up ahead of her dressed like a movie star from the 1940’s with high heels, straight seam stockings, a shimmering dress and a fancy hat walking with a bounce to her step and looking like Ann Miller in her prime.  She was so intrigued by the fancy costume she hustled up next to the woman to have a closer look.  That’s when she learned that this was not some young hipster but rather a 90 year old lady!  Gina was amazed at the woman’s ability to even walk in those heels let alone with the spring in her step and confidence she exuded.  She introduced herself and they chatted for a few minutes.  The woman told Gina that she was indeed 90 years old and living alone but still danced and loved to dress well.  Gina asked her how she managed to stay so youthful or something to that effect and the woman gave her the key to life and reinforced today’s message about thought.  She said, “I wake up filled with joy and excited for the day.”

 

She may have conditioned herself to wake up that way but I promise you it was a choice at some point in her life.  She could wake up lamenting her age or focusing on people she’s lost or her aloneness, but instead she wakes up filled with joy and excited for the day.

 

What are your thoughts upon facing a new day?

 

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

Personal Responsibility #622

Posted by frank November - 10 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I have to admit that I live in a bit of a news blackout.  I do look at Yahoo news in the morning, cruising the headlines, so that I’m not totally unaware. As a general rule I do not watch TV news or listen to radio news for more than a few minutes.  I do want to know that Cuomo was reelected but I don’t want to know that some nine year old shot his six year old brother and it seems to me that the news is filled with more of the later.

 

Anyway, I did catch a story that I have to share.  Citi-Bike is a service in Manhattan.  There are bicycles all over the city and subscribers to the service can swipe their card and jump on a bike to another Citi-Bike depot near their destination.  The news I heard was that a seventy year old man who is in the City-Bike program crashed and injured his head.  He is now suing City-Bike because they did not REQUIRE him to wear a helmet.

 

Deborah and I watched a Jim Rohn video clip this morning.  If you don’t know Jim Rohn, America’s greatest business philosopher, you should.  He is deceased now but his books, CDs and video lessons live on.  Jim’s primary message is one of personal responsibility.  “Life gets better when you get better.”  “Things won’t change until you change.”

 

Imagine a society in which such an abdication of personal responsibility as the helmet incident above can actually become in a lawsuit.  I’m sure that Mr. Rohn is turning over in his grave.

 

This man will actually stand in front of other adults and say, “I should be compensated because I used this bicycle service but no one required me to wear a helmet, and I fell and hit my head and it’s their fault.”

You’re SEVENTY for God’s sake!  Someone has to REQUIRE you to wear a helmet? I have jury duty in December.  With any luck, I’ll be on that jury and give him another bump on his noggin.

2014 Motto: “Mindful in every moment and grateful for everyday”

 

 

#621 Take the High Road

Posted by frank November - 3 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The other day a song I’d forgotten about came on while I was driving.  It was The Blind Boys singing, “Take the High Road” The opening lyric is, “Take the high road through the valley if you want to reach the Promised Land.”

The Blind Boys are singing bible references about getting in to heaven but I thought about that line more secularly.

On Friday, my friend Larry and I were talking over a nice breakfast at the diner and the subject of “Calling someone out” came up.  When do you make a big deal about someone else’s behavior?  Do you endure a slight insult or make a point of it?  How about mistakes?  When do you turn a blind eye and when do you correct? When you overhear something about you or hear it second hand do you address it or do you take the high road?

 

Of course there is no universal answer to this.  It is a matter of individual judgment and choice.  What you may take to be just a slight, I may see as a massive insult.

Getting back to The Blind Boys.  It seems to me that their opening lyric is a nice mantra and may even make it as my motto one of these years.

Day to day, I’d like to take the high road, and not feel the need to address every snide remark, bump on the street, dirty look or lie uttered as truth.  “The valley”, for me, is the temptation to strike back or to do less than my best, or shade the truth, or mix with people I should avoid and the Promised Land is a successful life.  Not success as in a seven-figure bank account, but my definition of success; the one that has me in the rocking chair as the end approaches, looking back without regret.

Voyeurism #620

Posted by frank October - 26 - 2014 - Sunday 1 COMMENT

 

I will not do a reality TV rant.  It’s too common and too easy, but my observation is that we seem to have become a society of watchers, viewing the world through the lens of a camera and that’s just not good

When my daughter Christine got married she asked her guests not to take pictures as the ceremony ended.  When she turned to the crowd after being pronounced “Husband and Wife” she wanted to see them…not half their faces and the back of their iPhones’

I love having the pictures and videos I have preserving some great memories.  I’m not down on pictures or video, I’m down on the lack of interaction; on the proliferation of cameras instead of eyes.

I want to do things and be fully engaged.  I want to absorb the moment I’m in, not voyeuristically, with the camera seeing what’s happening, but me, IN IT, up to my elbows, feeling every emotion.

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

Just do it #619

Posted by frank October - 12 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

YESTERDAY YOU SAID TOMORROW

#618 Addiction

Posted by frank October - 5 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

How many of you can relate to substance abuse or addiction?  I, for one, am addicted to tobacco.  I don’t use tobacco now but the addiction remains because tobacco feels good to me.  I like the drug.  Whether your drug is tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or self-pity, addictions are tough to overcome. What you just read is correct.  Self-pity is as addictive as drugs.  The problem with self-pity though is awareness. At least a heroin addict knows he is addicted.    

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others.  We are barraged with images of superstars with charmed lives we should aspire to, and in this age of easy debt, Botox, plastic surgery and liposuction, it is impossible to know if that person you’re comparing yourself to is real or if their outside situation remotely resembles their inside reality!

 The SP addict may draw conclusions that everyone has it better than they do.  According to noted author Dr Jeffery Bernstein, self-pity is highly addictive and difficult to quit and stems from this unenlightened, unfavorable comparison to others.

Some of the difficulty with quitting self-pity is that it feels good.  SP addicts like the obfuscation of the “why me?” question.  It makes it seem like what they pity about themselves is out of their control and trying to talk themselves out of self-pity is like going to the enemy for advice on how to win a war; the inner dialog is the core of the problem!

The answer on this one is outside.  Honing gratitude skills is key as is getting outside of yourself and helping others.

Dr. William James, the father of American psychology said, “If I ever felt myself getting depressed, the first thing I’d do is go across to the poor side of town and find someone to help.”  Seems to me that that would work with self-pity too for the same reason; it takes the emphasis off of SELF.

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”