A Few Words on Being Useful


Be Useful - It is a wonderful lifeMany people chase happiness as the ultimate goal.  This is flawed in many, many ways.

Many leaders also tell us to follow our passions.  This is not too far from the truth, but not exactly right either.

As humans, we can exist.  We can live everyday by simply eating, sleeping, using the bathroom, and being zombies.  We exist for the sake of existing.  This is fine, but striving for something better usually makes life more interesting.

Over the past week, I found myself sitting in my apartment in San Antonio, enjoying YouTube, books, and all the great things the internet has to offer.

I started to notice how alone I felt.  I started to consider that I was an extrovert instead of being the introvert I always thought I was.  Then I realized something was missing from my life.  Something of use, perhaps.

And that was just it.  Being useful to the world around me.  While I am exploring career opportunities, in recent weeks, I’ve spent quite a lot of time alone, working on projects here or there.  These projects are quite solitary and really useful only to myself.

While many of us chase happiness, I think the real goal in life is to be useful to your community.  That is, you are providing value, giving back, and participating in your community on a regular basis.  Doing these things on a regular basis has been quite devoid of my time for the entire year.

I was sick for six months, I left my job to take time off, and now I am able to realize the value of being useful.  Being useful not only helps us be a part of our community, but also provides us with an opportunity to socialize, build self-esteem, and even make our community and others better.

As you become useful, you will share a bit of yourself and others will share a bit of themselves with you.  This sharing of experience is a vital part of life and is essential to living longer.  Those with high quality relationships with others tend to live longer.

As you go through your day, think of the ways you are being useful to those around you. Engage with the people around you and discover what makes them useful.  Stop chasing happiness, stop searching for your passions, and just be useful. The rest will come.

Change of Scenery


Part of me feels guilty for taking a trip while “out of work.” But the truth is, I am on sabbatical.  I am taking the time I need to recuperate and get my head back into the game for a grand 20-year (maybe more) finish to this life.

When I left that horrible job and horrible company, I contacted a great friend of mine and asked if a visit could be arranged.  The response I got back was, “of course, but come in September”.  So, here I am.

I have been in San Antonio for 2-months now, but it feels like so much longer.  Perhaps it is the heat, humidity and general urban experience.  Urban living is so unnatural, at least to me.   Getting stuck in traffic, being separated from my beloved nature (trees, mountains, water), walking the concrete jungle, and facing my fear of crime, are experiences manufactured by the complexities of modern civilization.

After making some arrangements, the cat and I left for Santa Fe, New Mexico on Friday the 13th. Luckily, we didn’t die or get slashed by Jason on the trip, but we did arrive in Santa Fe for lots of rain.

Gorgeous New Mexico, food for the soulThe contrast between San Antonio and Santa Fe is mainly in size, beauty and temperature.  Both towns have a remarkable history with native peoples, the Spanish and numerous governments over the years.  The added benefit of Santa Fe include the nearby pueblos, fantastic scenery, and the milder summers (but cold, snowy winters).

Roughly 48-hours in and my soul is happy for the change of scenery.  The intimacy, closeness of nature, abundant arts and culture, and a culinary scene to inspire wannabe cooks, are taking their effect on rejuvenating my soul. With inspiration and relaxation in abundance, perhaps it is hard to truly feel guilty about taking this trip.  Perhaps this trip is an important stepping to the next 20+ years?

Stretch People! Stretch!


stretches for triathletesOMG! It hurts! It hurts so much a grown man wants to cry! Just cut my leg off, PLEASE!

Seriously, it does hurt.  My left quad has a pain like none I’ve felt in a long time.  Why? I overdid my workout and I didn’t take the proper care post workout.

Yes, I had a nice thick luscious protein shake within 30minutes of my workout end.   BUT, I didn’t stretch. Nor did I foam roll.

Stretching is a great way to wind down from your workout.  It is also a great way to get into the workout mindset.  Stretching is about preventing injury to cold muscles and it also helps worn muscles to recover post workout.

So, stretch! Even better, foam roll! A combination of foam rolling first, then stretching will help keep your limbs from cramping up.  Also, drink a protein shake and drink plenty of water.

Stretch again before you go to bed.  Some athletes also start and end their day with a good stretch.  If you need some inspiration, check out these stretches for triathletes.

Stretching and foam rolling is not only a meditative way to keep your muscles in good shape, but they will also keep a grown man from crying. Get to it!

 

Tear It Down


give yourself a breakTear it all down.  Go ahead.  It is okay.  Just be a merciful.

After a disastrous first half of 2019 and the need to establish a more positive path forward, I needed to tear myself down.  I needed to reduce myself to my most basic self.  Let go of adult responsibility (to a point) and let my inner kid out.

  • Dairy Queen, oh yes!
  • In’N’Out double double with animal fry, heck yay!
  • Sleeping in till noon, why not?
  • Binge on Hoarders, sure!
  • Wear my pajamas all day and not even shower, YASS!
  • Look for a job, hahahahaha! no way jose!

Let the boundaries, let the rules, let the adult critic inside take a week or two off. Let’s be a kid again. Eventually, the adult in me will come back, fresh and new, and help me rebuild and move on as we near the 2019 holidays.

What will this adult rebuild?  Not sure yet.  Between junk food binges and Hulu outages I have been exploring thoughts.  Some of these thoughts are more realistic than others.  One thing is certain, a career change is imminent.  The new career will not be dependent upon the technology that is tearing up our society.  I have spent so much of my life behind a computer, I feel my time is served.  I just need to listen to myself a bit more and let Mr Adult in me formulate a plan and find more balance between what is real, myself, and that technology no one can escape.

 

Reflecting on Spirituality


Nature is my spiritual placeOur spiritual beliefs are a key part of accomplishing goals.  For many, many years I considered myself an atheist.  I only went to church when I was forced to, mainly for a family friend’s event.  Instead, survival from the family dysfunction was my spirituality.

When you live in a household without the stability, love, and nurturing psychologists claim a child needs (read The Absentee Mother for more), you revert to survival which includes being the invisible kid, having no preferences for your birthday, and going with the flow.  Since I couldn’t be me as a kid, I lived in a fantasy world in my mind.

Then I found anthropology.  Through this discipline I learned that humans have created numerous belief systems over the thousands of years of our existence. Believing in one god or multiple gods separated cultures spiritually.

Religion has been used as a means to profit. During Manifest Destiny, Christianity and other European religions were used to classify the Native Americans as savages and that the “land” needed to be civilized.  It was all in the name of profit, expansion, and nationalism.

If you believe in god, that’s great!  You believe! If you believe in many gods, that’s great too!  Having a spiritual platform is key to happiness.  Even atheists have a spiritual platform; they may not even know it.

For me, I reflect back on my life and recognize my own makeshift spiritual ways.  While honesty, hard-work, and perseverance align with my need for survival as a child, I realized something deeper after I graduated from college.  My need for nature to be an important part of my life hit me like a Greyhound bus one morning.

Nature is our life blood.  Without trees, oxygen, sunlight, vegetables, and animals, we simply do not exist.  In fact, many ancient religions incorporated nature into their beliefs and practices.  Agriculture required an understanding of the earth’s cycles.

What has come of this reflection is something which leans toward Stoicism.  A philosophy from 3rd Century BC, it is a belief that logic is the way, not our emotional reactions.  The world is unpredictable, but we do not need to be unpredictable as well. In fact, we can find happiness in failure.   We only control what we can control.

As I said before, I always believe hard-work, truth, and perseverance are key to a good life. Due to my childhood, my emotions tend to get in the way at times.  Therefore failure was never a good option and when it did happen, I lost myself almost entirely.  Of course, you get through it by understanding, learning, and adjusting.  Sounds a bit stoic?

For me, nature is my church.  A good hiking path, a grand canyon view, a creek-side rock are all places I can let my soul go and listen to myself.

Stay tuned… more on this later.

A Sunday Quote and Weekly Exercise


One of the things I do everyday as I plan my day ahead is find a quote that draws me in on a random topic.  I write this quote at the top of my bullet journal daily planner page for that day. It is part of my morning routine and sets a wonderful feeling for the rest of the day.

While I would love to publish a daily quote video, or at least a daily quote post, I thought I’d start off with a Sunday Quote.  A quick and easy video with a quote, commentary on why it sings to me and even a small exercise for you to do during the week which relates to the quote.

So, here we go, my first quote video, nicely interrupted by the cat.

You can purchase “Relaxation on the Run” by Jay Winner, MD at the following link: https://amzn.to/33JX2G7

Today’s quote:

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” – Alfred D’Souza, clergy

This week, when you feel like you can’t action on something, STOP and get your daily journal or a sheet of paper.  Write down what action it is you can’t take.  Then spend a few minutes writing down what obstacle is in your way.   Review the obstacles and determine which ones are real and then make a plan to overcome.  Better yet, forget the obstacles altogether and just do the action you feel you can’t take.

Please share your responses here, on YouTube, and Twitter.

Check back next Sunday for a new quote.