Except Your Life Can Be Better

When I was a small child I thought I would do something big. I would change the world all by myself. Give the world a gift that would make the world a better place. I was going to do big things.

I decided instead, actually it was decided for me, the world was not ready for what I was going to do. I decided that I would not do that thing I was going to do to improve the world.

That decision left me with nothing to do. I had no real goals. I had no urge to accomplish a certain thing. I had no interest in making world size changes. This was confirmed by my two doctors, speaking to my parents while I was in the room with them. ‘He will be OK at many things, but he will not be really good at any one thing.’ It was decreed in that moment, or so I believed, that I should be a jack of all trades and a master of none.

I went through some years trying to do just OK at everything. Never trying to excel at any of them. What was the point. I already turned my back on what I could have done. Those mighty men in their white coats decreed my future. My parents believed it, so who was I to think differently.

As a child, I noticed some people lived their lives emotionally stunted. They matured to a certain point and then stopped growing. People were very good at this, but not that. Some people knew how to manipulate others, but did not have it in them to use that manipulation to help others.

Other people were strong spiritually. They could have moved mountains if they weren’t scared to try. I think they never had the thought to try. They could move mountains if they wanted to, but something was in the way.

That something is the word ‘except’. I would be a rocket scientist, except I’m not smart enough. I would play in the NBA, except I joined a gang instead. I would go to college,  except I am thinking about dropping out of high school.

Except is a powerful word. We all could create the life we want, and surpass all our dreams, except. Except something got in the way. Except, we went this way, instead of sticking it out. Except, the other was was easier.

When I thought I was old enough to make a difference, I had forgotten what I was capable of. I forgot that I had the ability to change the world. I might have remembered, except for whatever reason I chose not to listen to myself tell me I could have a different life. Except for those rare moments when I remembered what I thought I would do, and think, “Yeh, I could do that, but this is easier. Everyone expects this of me.”

We have the power in us to change our world. Except we keep forgetting we can change the world. Except it is easier to treat every day as the day before. Except we now accept that ho hum and boredom is good enough, except when we remember we do not have to live this way.

We have something in common with cats. You can not make a cat go anywhere when standing behind it. At least not without the cat wanting move. The old saying is, “Like herding cats.” Neither can you push a limp spaghetti noodle.

It’s sort of funny on some level. I have known this all my life, but I thought if I said the right thing, wrote the write words, I could, through sheer willpower change the world into a better place. Except, like a stubborn two year old, I refused to see that there were few exceptions to how the world worked, and herding cats or pushing limp noodles takes a lot of energy.

Except for when I forget, I am giving up on changing the world by pushing. I am one person, and I can not by my words or sentences change you or anything. Except I am sure I will forget this thought, and say more, and write more.

Instead, I will continue to grow myself. I am as long as I am alive, I am a work in progress. I try this, and I do that. As I fail often, success seems to be more frequent. I like to think I am figuring it all out, except I spend time trying the same things over and expect different results.

It is okay to be different. Except when I forget. Except when I forget I am not here to change the world by myself.

I now accept new ideas as possible and correct, except when I forget. Once I remember, I give a new idea a try, except it doesn’t always work for me the way it did for another. Stuff happens, or not.

Everything we know about the world we live in is probably only partially true. Maybe we get two thoughts right, and one thought wrong. Maybe we play games with ourselves so we can pretend this is how is is, except when we choose not to pretend.

From here on out, except when I forget, I will lead by example. I will no longer try to herd cats, and push limp spaghetti noodles. I will continue to make my life what is best for me.

Except I hope you to come to feel this way too, and join me. Except I hope you decide to add excitement into your life. Except I hope you fail once or twice before making your life the best life possible.
When I was a small child I thought I would do something big. I would change the world all by myself. Give the world a gift that would make the world a better place. I was going to do big things.

I decided instead, actually it was decided for me, the world was not ready for what I was going to do. I decided that I would not do that thing I was going to do to improve the world.

That decision left me with nothing to do. I had no real goals. I had no urge to accomplish a certain thing. I had no interest in making world size changes. This was confirmed by my two doctors, speaking to my parents while I was in the room with them. ‘He will be OK at many things, but he will not be really good at any one thing.’ It was decreed in that moment, or so I believed, that I should be a jack of all trades and a master of none.

I went through some years trying to do just OK at everything. Never trying to excel at any of them. What was the point. I already turned my back on what I could have done. Those mighty men in their white coats decreed my future. My parents believed it, so who was I to think differently.

As a child, I noticed some people lived their lives emotionally stunted. They matured to a certain point and then stopped growing. People were very good at this, but not that. Some people knew how to manipulate others, but did not have it in them to use that manipulation to help others.

Other people were strong spiritually. They could have moved mountains if they weren’t scared to try. I think they never had the thought to try. They could move mountains if they wanted to, but something was in the way.

That something is the word ‘except’. I would be a rocket scientist, except I’m not smart enough. I would play in the NBA, except I joined a gang instead. I would go to college,  except I am thinking about dropping out of high school.

Except is a powerful word. We all could create the life we want, and surpass all our dreams, except. Except something got in the way. Except, we went this way, instead of sticking it out. Except, the other was was easier.

When I thought I was old enough to make a difference, I had forgotten what I was capable of. I forgot that I had the ability to change the world. I might have remembered, except for whatever reason I chose not to listen to myself tell me I could have a different life. Except for those rare moments when I remembered what I thought I would do, and think, “Yeh, I could do that, but this is easier. Everyone expects this of me.”

We have the power in us to change our world. Except we keep forgetting we can change the world. Except it is easier to treat every day as the day before. Except we now accept that ho hum and boredom is good enough, except when we remember we do not have to live this way.

We have something in common with cats. You can not make a cat go anywhere when standing behind it. At least not without the cat wanting move. The old saying is, “Like herding cats.” Neither can you push a limp spaghetti noodle.

It’s sort of funny on some level. I have known this all my life, but I thought if I said the right thing, wrote the write words, I could, through sheer willpower change the world into a better place. Except, like a stubborn two year old, I refused to see that there were few exceptions to how the world worked, and herding cats or pushing limp noodles takes a lot of energy.

Except for when I forget, I am giving up on changing the world by pushing. I am one person, and I can not by my words or sentences change you or anything. Except I am sure I will forget this thought, and say more, and write more.

Instead, I will continue to grow myself. I am as long as I am alive, I am a work in progress. I try this, and I do that. As I fail often, success seems to be more frequent. I like to think I am figuring it all out, except I spend time trying the same things over and expect different results.

It is okay to be different. Except when I forget. Except when I forget I am not here to change the world by myself.

I now accept new ideas as possible and correct, except when I forget. Once I remember, I give a new idea a try, except it doesn’t always work for me the way it did for another. Stuff happens, or not.

Everything we know about the world we live in is probably only partially true. Maybe we get two thoughts right, and one thought wrong. Maybe we play games with ourselves so we can pretend this is how is is, except when we choose not to pretend.

From here on out, except when I forget, I will lead by example. I will no longer try to herd cats, and push limp spaghetti noodles. I will continue to make my life what is best for me.

Except I hope you to come to feel this way too, and join me. Except I hope you decide to add excitement into your life. Except I hope you fail once or twice before making your life the best life possible.

Enjoy Life More, Weigh Less, Get Happy

I was reminded of something I used to know, which I had forgotten. What I was reminded of is, “Put the Bags Down”. Many of us without realizing it do what is called stamp collecting. The stamps we collect are little slights, inconveniences, small problems we can not immediately solve such as frustrations, boredom, and other nitty irritants that get in the way of our otherwise perfect moment of our perfect day.

We wear over our clothes an old shirt. On that old shirt without being aware of it, we put little sticky notes of whatever little incidents occur in our day to remind ourselves, lest we forget, of how things are not going our way at the moment.

My biggest series of stamps are about back ache. My back went into spasms a few years ago. (I would not recommend back spasms as a good way to spend a month or six.) From time to time, my back feels worn out, on the verge of aching. I have without realizing been saving these sore back stamps over the last few years. Pulling them out when I felt the need to feel sorry for myself.

Last week, I was watching a short video about putting the bags down. ‘Bags’ being life’s little problems. I was guilty of wearing that old shirt with my collection of sticky notes of back aches interfering with my day. Also as my focus was being distorted, I would occasionally add another sticky note about something I found irritating in the moment as my back hurt.

Halfway through the video, I  decided to take off my old sticky note covered shirt, and place it in a bag and put it out in the trash bin. Holding on to past problems does not allow one live in the present moment. Old problems hinder and hamper the good of the moment as are when live in the present.

We have lived our past, and we are able to some extent shape our future. It is living in the moment which is most important. The present moment is where good and not so good things happen. By not living in the moment, and wearing our old shirt with the sticky notes on it, we miss the good things that are going on in our life, and instead look for reasons to add another note to our shirt.

Spend your time in the present moment, enjoying all the goodness that is present and around us. Bad things will happen of course. Bad things balance our life and help us see all the goodness we enjoy each day. Keeping track of problems and focusing on them makes us lose sight of the present and the good things that are happening in the moment.

So what things should be thrown away? The list is long, but it can be done throwing away a few items at a time. Hate, anger, jealousy, envy, are a few of the things you should not carry around with you.

Thoughts about your looks or personality can capture a lot of sticky notes. Who cares if you are fat, skinny, have a big nose, a poor smile, big hands, or small feet. These things make difference to how you experience happiness in your life. Is your birthday any less special because you are different? Does a sunny day, or good meal with friends or family taste any different?

Be happy in who you are and let go of the baggage you are carrying around about yourself. A swimming pool, lake or ocean does not care if you entered the water in a sweat suit or a string bikini. Just give it all up and start living your life for the good things in it. Anything in your life that is keeping you out of the moment is something you should put in the bag.

Sometimes these emotions find there way back. They sort of sneak back into your life when you are not paying attention. If this happens to you, just bag ’em up again, and throw them away. After a few times they won’t be able to sneak back into your life.

Join me and remove that old shirt covered with sticky notes and old stamps which are records of your lives problems and frustrations. Place that old shirt in the trash. What is done is done.

Saving sour and sad reminders of our past to replay over and over, takes us to a place where we spend our time validating past issues and more importantly allowing them to manifest again in the present moment. Life is lived in the moment. Life is not much fun, when it passes you by because you are wallowing in the past.

 

Money For Nothing and Chicks For Free

Money for nothing and chicks for free – MTV Song, Dire Straits, 1985. I think this is fitting for the beginning this post. Maybe the ending too.

Cruising the Internet last week, I ended up looking at search hits about subliminal advertising, or subliminal messaging. The things you do when you are bored! There was so much nonsense and half truths. Maybe I am immune to them, and they do not effect me?

I started almost skimming the articles from links I clicked on. One link after another, with some amount of blah, blah and nothing to catch my focus. I had been skimming for too long, and it showed up in the last article I had time to read.

From previous articles, I learned that people respond better when they have responded before in a positive manner. For example, a homeless person walks up to you and asks you for the time. It seems outwardly an innocent request, but it is anything but.

The homeless person is changing your relationship with each other. By asking you the time, they become someone you are having a dialog with. They are asking you to do something for them, “Do you know what time it is?”, or something along those lines. Now you have an exchange of dialog, and you have a loose attachment.

Now the homeless person, being successful with the first request, goes on to their real point of the relationship encounter. They now either ask you something else that doesn’t matter, or they ask you for something, usually money.

Of course now that the homeless person is part of your circle of friends you are more likely to give them money, food, or otherwise fulfill the request. If you walk in the city, you have been well trained to respond to this situation.

This explains why children usually reserve what they really want when in a store for their third or fourth request. They know from previous times, their third or fourth request is more likely to be granted than their first few requests for some toy.

Then I found the article that surprised me. The article was about how our brains filter out information as we watch, listen, or read. Same as when we already know the story before the person talking finishes talking. We know what is going to be said, and simply fade the sound to white noise. I was already to this point, skimming and half reading, looking for the jewel in the ground, so to speak.

…you are in a conversation for someone, a person of the opposite sex, with whom you may want to pursue a romantic relationship with. I was skimming along having mostly ignored a few previous paragraphs as they did not seem important. There were some questions, where I totally missed the whole question. Even after prompting to read it again I misread the question, and had to compare the quoted question to the original.

You ask three or four simple questions that are always likely to be acted upon. Remember the Homeless Person? You ask other questions that are always likely to be answered with ‘yes’.

Do you think diet is important to a happy life? Me too, good food makes for a healthy body. Do you think exercise is important to a happy life? I do too. In fact I try and walk every day. Do you think sleep is important to a happy life? I know I feel better when I get enough sleep..

So you agree with me then that diet, exercise, and sleeping with me are important to living a happy life? If so, what are some of your favorite healthy foods? What do you do for exercise? How many hours a day do you sleep?

Listening to advertisement of products that are trying to break into their niche market operate in a different way. They use little three or four word phrases like, Feel better fast, Power you body, buy now, send money, easy payment, improve your mind.

I was so amused by this idea of being manipulated, I had this conversation with six people, three women and three men. One woman asked me to repeat what I said three times. The men for some reason listened better than the women.

Until last week, I thought I was aware of all these ad bombs, yet I thought I was immune. In general conversation, I now see how often they are being used, and perhaps we are not immune. We are always being training to respond to requests, whether in advertising, or person to person, or general commentary.

Erasing Risky

The second and last Cat, Risky died last week, heading towards his nineteenth birthday, which is quite long for a cat. I suppose this post is about erasing a long time pet and family member from your life. Risky was an odd cat, so maybe my erasing him seems a little odd in itself.

I knew when I came home Wednesday eveningt and found blood pools around the living room and hallway, Risky was running his last race. He had been throwing up for about five months, but nothing like this. Not this amount of blood. There was so much blood I thought it had to be half of what was in his body. It looked as if a knife fight had taken place in the living room.

I found him on the bed, his normal spot for that time of day. Laying there he looked normal, eyes clear, and indifferent in that cat sort of way. When he atood, I knew it was as serious as I was afraid it would be. Instead of standing, Risky shivered, tilted, and wobbled as he tried to stand up. By late Thursday evening he seemed to have quit drinking, and by Saturday morning I was on my way to the vet to make arrangements for him.

Risky didn’t come back home with me after his first car trip in almost fifteen years. The erasing process has started. One empty pet carrier and no Risky inside. I emptied Risky’s cat box as there was no need for it now. I put it in a plastic bag with the scoop, and put it in the garage. I swept up what clay litter pieces there were to sweep. I gave the floor a quick wipe.

I picked up Risky’s cat beds, three of them, where he slept in the daytime depending on the time of year, all three beds by windows. On my hands and knees, I scrubbed at the blood stains in the carpet for the second time. It made little difference, the blood stains are semi-permanent I think. I washed his food and water bowls. I could not put them away yet.

Sunday I worked. When I came home, I started collecting whatever cat toys were in sight. There were a couple dozen toys, hidden under the couch, in the corners, under things. He was given a lot of toys over his almost nine-teen years. I collected leftover cans of soft food and the partial bag of dry food. I bagged them to give them away on Monday to someone with a cat.

Tuesday, I collected the last of Risky’s toys as I vacuumed the carpet to clean it again, for the second and where the spots were, the third time.

Wednesday, I steam cleaned the carpet, picked up a few more toys that hidden away. I vacuumed the curtains to remove his hair from them. I need to do this a second time, just not right now. I washed and dried the throw Risky slept on when he was on the bed, and the blanket that was below it.

I cleaned out the freezer of a half dozen small baggies of hamburger meat, and “on special” trout fillets Risky doesn’t need any more. I threw out his cardboard scratchers. Every day I wonder, where he is, or what is he doing when I hear a noise, followed an instant later by remembering – Risky is dead.

As this happens I think about my two trips to the vet on Saturday. Standing outside the closed door each time, once by myself, and once with Risky in his pet carrier. How painful I found it to take two final steps, open the door, and take two more steps to the desk. It was even harder to talk.

I don’t know how long it will be before Risky is erased from the house. Every room, most of the furniture, and so many small noises, and lack of small noises have his memory in them.

I think this is a good thing. It reminds me I am alive, and I have feelings. It also reminds me I am mortal, someday it will be me, and this is how life works.

It has been two weeks now and company has arrived. It was a simple thing to tell them Risky died. I skipped the details. As the outside door opens and closes over the last few days, I keep thinking, Risky is going to get out. Then almost as quickly, I remember.