Two Strikes, You’re Out…

I think it’s a pretty fair assumption to say that war is a horrible thing. Although will will, by definition be a winning side and a losing side, I think we can all agree that everyone loses when war becomes the only viable option. It should be obvious that I would oppose war, given that it kind of goes against the whole “don’t spread suffering” thing that we Buddhist likes to tell people. But in an effort to let go of this morning’s sarcasm (like I could ever do that), there have been countless wars throughout human history; many of which we don’t even know about as they haven’t been covered by mainstream media.

Every war and/or battle has its horror and losses, but few have resonated with the world quite like the dropping of the atomic bombs “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Japan has always held a special place in my heart, as I’ve grown up and been exposed to its history and culture almost more so than my own. And once in a blue moon, while researching one thing I’ll stumble upon something else. This brings me to Mr. Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

I was following a routine for a while where I would write about an influential martial artist that either inspired me through their films or impressed me and drew me to the martial arts through their skills. But it dawns on me that the martial arts incorporates a lot of values that are rarely discussed. Things such as indomitable will, perseverance and survival instinct. And those values can be inspiring as well. Yamaguchi’s story resonates with me, because it shows how indomitable a person can really be, even when faced with lethal devastation.

To provide a bit of background, Yamaguchi was employed by the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as an engineer. On August 6th, 1945 he unfortunately found himself in Hiroshima when “Little Boy” was dropped. He had been in Hiroshima for a period of time on business, and was a only a couple of miles away from the spot that Little Boy exploded. He suffered several injuries, including temporary blindness, ruptured eardrums and radiation burns. But he managed to make his way to a bomb shelter and take refuge. He spent the night in this shelter before returning to Nagasaki the following day, which is where he lived.

Now, I want all of you to think about this for a second… A massive explosion takes place, miles away from where you’re standing. Not only does it still manage to knock you off your feet, but you find yourself temporarily blind, deaf and burned. But you still have the sheer strength of will and wantonness to survive and crawl yourself to a shelter. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty badass, all things considered. I don’t know if I’d have that much fortitude and I think that a good percentage of people in today’s society would likely curl up into the fetal position ad wait to be rescued. I’ve seen some people do that for non-lethal injuries. But I digress…

On August 7th, 1945 Yamaguchi returned to Nagasaki and on the morning of August 9th, he reported to work. Are you kidding me??? I’ve seen coworkers of mine call in sick because their SPOUSE didn’t get enough sleep but this guy survives a nuclear bomb drop and goes to work just over 48 hours afterwards, despite being injured? Like I said… badass! Anyway, to add salt to the wound, Yamaguchi was at work describing the Hiroshima blast to his boss when “Fat Boy” was dropped on Nagasaki. Once again, he found himself at a couple miles away from the blast and survived once again.

Despite being present at both atomic bombings, Yamaguchi went on to live a long and reasonably healthy life before succumbing to stomach cancer and passing away in 2010 at 93 years old. He kind of reminds me of my grandfather, with the exception that my grandfather was a soldier when exposed to war. The takeaway is that Yamaguchi was an engineer, a civilian and the unfortunate reality is that the innocent always pay a cost when wars are fought.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s story is inspiring to me because he continued to push on and fight, despite the deadly adversity he faced throughout that period in history. He was a husband and father of two daughters and live nearly a century. His will to survive was incredible and if nothing else, the man deserves a tip of the cap for his work ethic. I’m pretty certain that if an atomic bomb got dropped in Regina today, I likely wouldn’t be reporting to work a couple days later and discussing it with my boss as though it was nothing.

There were apparently many people to survive both bombings, but Yamaguchi became the only one recognized by his government as having done so. Either way, he may not know of the impact and influence he’s had on the world as a result of his will to survive. But he definitely inspired me. It’s important to keep on fighting the good fight and survive no matter the obstacles you face. You’ll be all the better for it. ☯

The Comforts Of Home

Working from home may seem like a dream come true, but it can carry it’s own set of problems and difficulties that our animal brains simply don’t recognize when faced with the prospect of staying in our jammies while working. More and more as time progresses, the possibility of working from home is becoming more of a reality, as most companies and corporations work towards trying to maintain social distancing among their employees and to prevent unnecessary in-person contact.

Until recent years, working from home was a possibility reserved for private business owners, multi-level marketing or “direct” marketing salespeople or for people under special circumstances, such as a physical handicap or a family situation that didn’t allow for work outside the house. But since it’s 2021, and almost every conceivable administrative job hinders mostly on the digital frontier, more people have been staying at home to work since employers have not only been allowing it, it’s been encouraged.

Despite this reality and like everything else in life, working from home includes some good, some bad and some ugly. I’ve read a number of different articles, most of whom have provided the same basic recommendations for working from home. And since I’m too lazy to link almost a dozen different articles into this one post, let’s just go ahead and call the following list “my opinion,” shall we? But based on this reading and some of my own experience, here is my top ten things to remember when working from home:

  1. Have A Morning Routine: This is a big one, and the most consistent one I’ve found in all my reading. Make a pot of coffee and much down a bagel while checking Facebook? Sure. Have a hot shower and make the bed? Absolutely. Just make sure that you have a dedicated routine that starts your day. Doing this programs your brain to understand that the day is starting and will help to shake of the vestiges of at-home fatigue;
  2. Maintain A Fixed Schedule: This is another big one, as many people feel that working from home without supervision makes it easier to spend the morning binge-watching a show and getting to work in the afternoon instead. But doing this will not only affect your productivity and make it harder for you to have any “get up and go” once you DO start work, eventually your boss will likely notice the lack in productivity and you may suddenly find yourself being “that employee” who isn’t keeping up;
  3. Have A Dedicated Workspace: Yeah, okay… I’ll stop saying it because they’ll ALL be big ones. This is SUPER important because the area you decide to work will be the area you associate with work. My wife was working from home at our kitchen table for the longest time while our infant son grew through his first year and she needed to be on hand as he was nursing. But it was chaotic because the table was always loaded with work materials during meal times. Plus, with two destructive children in the house, there’s always the possibility she’d have some of those materials damaged. Both of us now have a corner of the house that’s dedicated to our respective work. And for the most part, our kids stay clear of it;
  4. Schedule Breaks And Observe Them: This seems like a redundant point to make. Most people would be inclined to think, “I take breaks during my day…” Maybe, but the question comes in the form of how MANY breaks you take and when. Treat your day as you would if you were at the office. Take a lunch hour (or 30 to 45 minutes, depending on what your company’s policies permit) and take the number of breaks appropriate to maintaining proper health. People tend to forget that remaining in a seated position for hours on end does a whole bunch of bad stuff to the human body. This can include bad posture, spine and back damage, development of chronic pain, not to mention it will affect your metabolism and likely make you go out of your mind from staring at a screen too much, which bring me to my next point;
  5. Move Your Eyes Away From Your Screen: Since you need to get up from your desk every once and a while anyway, you should be having your eyes focus on something natural that isn’t a screen. Stay off your phone, stay off your tablet and keep your eyes away from any surface in the home that “projects” light. Take a few minutes to look outside and let your eyes adjust and focus on something else. If you feel the need to check emails during your break, then it isn’t a break. Sources vary on how often you should be standing up. One source says ten minutes of standing for every half hour. Another source says fifteen minutes for every hour. That’s the one I usually opt for;
  6. Continue To Develop Yourself: Sitting at home to work may give you the feeling or impression that “this is it,” as in you won’t be doing anything different than what you currently are for the duration of your remote work. You couldn’t be more wrong. Be sure to get on your supervisor and make your career goals and intentions clear, voice your training wants/needs/expectations. Once that’s on the table and your boss is made aware of what you want, start looking into it. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been online to look up courses, seminars and training. This shows that you have some initiative and if added to a reasonable learning plan that outlines how it would benefit the company, you may even have some of it paid for. And considering the amount of institutions that provide online learning, just about anything is possible, nowadays;
  7. Be Professional: This likely won’t be a popular opinion with most of my readers and it can be SO easy to attend that scheduled Zoom meeting with no pants on. But you can never be prepared for what MAY happen, so you want to maintain an air of professionalism while you work. Imagine you’re asked about something you need to to go get, so you have to crab-walk your way off the screen in order to avoid your boss and co-workers seeing your polka-dotted Hanes? Getting dressed for work is a definite start. Despite any video meetings you have on the go. This is a bit the same as having a morning routine. Getting yourself dressed and ready for work programs your brain to associate it with working. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like associating my pyjamas to work;
  8. Be Mindful OF Your Health: This is a pretty straightforward one, but even if you’re sitting at home to do your work, you want to ensure to take proper care of yourself as it relates to a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and paying attention if your physical and/or mental health start to feel like they need a refresher. This brings me to my next two points…;
  9. Maintain Contact With Your Boss and Coworkers: It can be pretty easy to feel like an army of one on a secluded island when you’re doing all your work from your home office as opposed to an office setting where you can chat, socialize and take breaks WITH coworkers. There’s a lot to be said for that social aspect, as it helps to bind people together towards common goals. So whether it’s Zoom meetings or stepping into the actual workplace on occasion, be sure to keep open lines of communication. It’s definitely not a Nerf gun battle, but it’s better than nothing; and
  10. Go Outside: One of the things I’ve always had difficulties with is being cooped up in an office environment for 8 straight hours. I’m the type of person who needs to be moving so stepping outside the house a few times a day, whether on breaks or during lunch, will help get you through the slump by getting some fresh air, sunshine and gets you out of the house. If you wake up at home, work all day at home and then go to bed at home, it can start to get a bit overwhelming to be inside the same four walls, 24/7.

There you have it, folks. Hopefully these can help or give advice to anyone who may be working from home for the first time. Some of these are a bit on the subjective side, which is why I’m considering this an opinion piece as opposed to citing a bunch of sources, but a simple Google search will also provide all sorts of tips, suggestions and recommendations for keeping proper care of yourself while staying at home. Further that, it’s important to remember that if you have Diabetes, all of those health factors become aggravated as just about EVERYTHING affects Diabetes and blood sugar levels. So you need to be certain to take proper care of yourself.

Last but not least, working from home doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help and resources when you need them. Even if you happen to be working from the comfort of home, you have every right to be provided what’s needed to do your job properly. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for something if you need it. ☯

Fat Rolls Down Hill…

Before everyone jumps at me and decides to lynch me in a city square, let me start this post by premising the fact that I’ve never been the type to call a person fat… I totally agree that this is a derogatory term; one that’s been an issue since society’s perception of a pleasing form has been slim and muscular. It hasn’t always been so, but this seems to be the preference for now and considering the depth of society’s sensitivity towards being labeled or name-called, I want to be sure that everyone understands that when I refer to “fat,” I’m talking about the actual substance that causes weight gain and obesity. I’m not here to body shame or name call!

Now that I’ve clarified that I’m not some judgmental jerk and that I’m simply trying to help, let’s discuss what fat really is. Contrary to popular opinion, body fat isn’t limited to one’s gut or hanging off the arms. There are two types of body fat. The first is subcutaneous fat. This is the stuff that sits just underneath the surface of your skin and makes your gut look distended. It’s what’s getting poked on the Pillsbury Doughboy. But I digress… The other type is visceral fat. This is the nasty stuff that gathers around your heart, arteries and other organs. All caught up? Good. Now, let’s talk about this fat…

There are a lot of reasons behind WHY a person will accumulate an increase in gut size, including poor dietary choices, lack of physical fitness, alcohol consumption and in some cases, medical or genetic predisposition. I know that even I’m guilty of having gained what I like to refer to as the “COVID-19 pounder,” which refers to the nearly twenty pounds I’ve gained since the world turned into a lockdown nightmare. Diabetics will generally have difficulties with weight since insulin is a hormone and blood sugar management can make slimming down a bit difficult.

But for people in general, it can be a simple matter of just getting up off the couch and doing something. ANYTHING! Even if it simply means going for a walk. Work and lifestyle can often make it difficult as well. I know that when I was doing shift work, it played absolute hell on my fitness routines. Working overnight meant that I was usually blasted during the day and didn’t want to work out. Lack or poor sleep will also throw a wrench into your gut-slimming efforts. That’s why one needs to INCLUDE all the aforementioned aspects, fitness, diet, proper rest and good lifestyle choices, into one’s daily life.

In some cases, and the reason I’m actually writing this post, one faces a “chicken and the egg” scenario… What I mean by this is that a person will gain a bit of weight and will want to burn it off. But some excess of weight may make that person lethargic, tired and lacking in motivation to actually exercise. The result is lack of exercise and poor dietary habits will cause more weight gain. Wash rinse and repeat. I have a friend who is actually facing this scenario. He’s gained a significant amount of weight over the past few years and finds himself unhappy with the state of his body.

I’ve been trying to have him come work out with me, but he’s convinced he wants to start to his own because he wants to slim down first, despite my stating there’s no judgement. The problem is, he isn’t starting. This means the weight goes nowhere, he lacks exercise and fitness, and his shift work is dragging him further down the flubber rabbit-hole. He continues to be unhappy, which leads to further lack of motivation to do something about. Chicken and the egg. Brutal.

Just to be clear, fat is something the body needs. If you were to have absolutely NO body fat, you’d have organs malfunctioning, electrolyte imbalances and all kinds of nutritional deficiencies. A person needs at least a few percent of body fat. But trimming body fat is easier than it sounds and can involve nothing more complicated than eating more vegetables and lean proteins, cutting down on carbohydrates and overall calories (notice I said cut down, not eliminate) and exercising regularly.

Don’t let the current state of the world and lifestyle get in the way of your overall health. Even if you have a family who absorbs most of your free time, it’s very hard to take care of them if you don’t take care of yourself first. So don’t let yourself slip into an endless bad cycle. get up off the couch and start moving. As I often say, anything is something more than nothing. Just do something. ANYTHING! ☯

WD-40 And Duct Tape Aren’t Always Enough…

I was having an interesting conversation with my Endocrinologist, two weeks ago while we were busy high-fiving and patting each other on the back for an excellent A1C result (which you can see my excitement in the video I posted here). The conversation involved telling me that I was a very “boring” patient, because I took care of myself made an effort to maintain and control my Diabetes as opposed to allowing it to control me.

He explained that he occasionally spoke of me to some of his other patients (without using my name or personal information, of course) in relation to things they should be doing and he wanted my opinion as to what I felt the success of my treatment was attributed to. I gave him my usual spiel about exercising, trying to eat well and testing my blood sugars often, but the biggest factor I provided was the WILL to do those things.

It’s no secret that uncontrolled blood sugars and in fact, Diabetes in general can cause a person to be without energy, drive and ambition. Most importantly, a person who has suffered through Diabetes for any number of years will often just throw up their hands or hang their heads low and say, “Fuck it…” before indulging in an easier lifestyle and all the vices and poor health choices that it includes. And that’s where I differ from the norm…

The body is a complex machine; one that requires constant attention and maintainance. And that’s not just an expression. Although biological in nature, your body IS a machine, with a shit ton of complex and delicate moving parts, functions and movements. You need to fuel this machine in the form of food consumption for energy, patch up and repair when there’s damage and provide supplementation and medications, as well. And all of that is controlled by a meaty computer processor that’s protectively encased in an armoured helmet. Not least of which is that we have a tail pipe that vents gas and expels waste like a vehicle.

Even the most high-end and sophisticated engines will eventually seize if hey aren’t maintained, lubricated and fed the appropriate types of fuel. And the superb machine that is your body is no different. I’ve had this discussion with a number of Diabetic associates that I’ve had over the years (most of which are unfortunately already deceased). Although it can be easy to just eat whatever’s laying around and whatever’s easiest, one needs to put in the effort to eat fresh foods, lean proteins and portions that won’t cause you to balloon up like a morbid, meat-based beach ball. I’m partial to salmon and tuna steaks, and enjoy a carb-free meal of fish and brussel sprouts at least twice a week.

Exercise is already an integral part to keeping oneself healthy and it’s no surprise that it would be all the more important for someone with Diabetes. I’ve struggled for years against weight gain, blood sugar levels and better body chemistry, all of which can be manipulated and improved through exercise. And to be honest, unless you’re part of a club or formal fitness club that you’re paying for, it doesn’t have to take huge lengths of time. At home, I keep my workouts limited to thirty or forty minutes. This allows for a good sweat, an increased heart rate AND it allows me to opportunity to get the workout done before my children make me wish they were old enough to wear sparring gear! The point is that you can hammer out any variety of workouts in the short time that it takes you to watch one episode of whatever you’re binge-watching at the moment.

Between food and exercise, you need to pay close attention to your insulin levels and blood sugars. Maintaining those two aspects of your Diabetes in conjunction with food and exercise will guarantee an increased longevity and less chance of serious Diabetes complications. Most Diabetes complications are permanent. Although you can get SOME organs replaced, there’s never any guarantee. You can remedy an amputation by getting a prosthetic, but this ain’t a sci-fi movie. You won’t be hustling around with a cybernetic limb. At least not yet.

So knowing that it could help you live longer, be healthier and feel better, one would be inclined to think that this would be the only motivation you need. But unfortunately, this is rarely the case. You need to WANT those things. You also need to recognize that stepping up and putting the effort is the ONLY way you’ll get them. An important part of it is to ask yourself what you have to fight for.

Personally, I’d like to live long enough to see the potential birth of my grandchildren and grow old with my wife. I can’t do that if I have a heart attack in my forties because I ate like shit and sat on the couch day in and day out… So folks, work hard at keeping your engine running. It’s the only one you’ll get. And once you’re dead, there are no backsies! So work hard, eat well and make the effort to make all your medical appointments. Your engine will run smoother, longer and you’ll get to reap the benefits that come with a longer, happier life. ☯

Is This Thing Even On???

You know, it dawns on me that I’ve been writing in some given way, shape or form since I was a child. In fact, my mother recently discovered a short story I had written and given to her when I was about ten years old. It was about 32 pages long and contained a story set in the far future involving cyborgs and fighting for freedom. Not bad, for a ten year old. I didn’t think anything of it and just wrote it for fun.

Through junior high and high school, I toted around a 300-page spiral notebook in which I spent class writing an exciting story about a subterranean world that was run by children. Think “Lord of the Flies” meets “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.” In fact, I had a childhood friend who used to read a chapter at a time as I wrote it. Despite getting caught by a number of teachers, they usually encouraged my writing and were supportive of it; albeit not in class. I ended up giving my friend the notebook prior to graduation when the story was finished. All things considered, I wish I had kept it.

But those things have always kept a fire lit within me to write. Even my chosen career has seen me develop the ability to research, take comprehensive notes and write explicit and detailed reports that would be used for legal and court matters. This is one of the reasons why, when things at work went awry and I got sent home (where I sit idle, to this day) I wanted to find a way to continue to maintain those writings skills, that ability to research and provide explicit and detailed writing. The end result is this blog.

I wasn’t sure what would come of it, when I started. I wanted to write about something I knew, hence the Buddhism, Karate and Diabetes aspects. If I’m being honest, I didn’t assume I would grow a readership and was simply writing for the hell of it to increase the above-mentioned skills. But as my posts became longer and more intricate, I started to realize that there was a significant level of satisfaction and gratification to seeing the number of views and likes I would receive on a given post.

Given that I’ve been a blogger for over two years now, I look back and recognize that some of my posts have been funny, informative, occasionally inappropriate and sometimes bordering on rude. But I’ve built myself up to almost 300 followers, which I consider to be amazing. I wouldn’t have assumed that this many people would take an interest in what I write. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and communicate with people from around the world in a way I likely wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t started this blog.

Where am I going with this? Well, I’ve worked pretty hard at making all of this work. I research most things I write about and maintain reputable sources, usually citing them in the actual posts. I spend hours at a time in front of a keyboard, editing and changing until I feel it reads well. I recently started a YouTube channel related to this blog, where I can discuss topics that maybe don’t REQUIRE research and I can just pour out my thoughts. I’ve even overcome my personal dislike of mainstream social media and The Blogging Buddhist has its own Facebook page.

I consider one of the advantages of the current pandemic (if there really IS any advantage) is the fact that I’m home and can contribute all this time and effort to writing the posts I do. The flip side of it, is that I’ve been assuming that the pandemic has freed people up to READ as much of my blog as I write. But this doesn’t seem to be the case. On average, I get about a dozen people who read my posts on a given day. That’s less than 5% of my viewership. I’ve aired almost a dozen videos, with more in the planning stage and being edited but I only have 4 subscribers to my YouTube channel. And both of those are linked and cross-posted to the Facebook page on a daily basis.

Honestly, it’s been difficult to see other blogs and webpages that basically have nothing to them, with thousands upon thousands of followers. I don’t like admitting to jealousy and I dislike the thought of jealousy even more than admitting to it, but it can’t help but rear its ugly head in this situation. There’s a blogger out there who writes ABOUT blogging. That’s it. And the irony is that every few months, this writer basically repeats donation requests through PayPal to the point where it constitutes begging, because he doesn’t hold a traditional job and needs money to feed himself. Somehow this joker has almost 36,000 followers.

Everyone has their own journey to take, and I would never try to take away from the reason a person has for writing. It just irks me when you have someone working so hard on the one side while having someone who basically phones it in on the other, and the latter has over a hundred times the amount of followers. This is where some uncharacteristic bitterness comes in. I’m sure I’ll center myself and let it go, but sometimes you gotta vent. Am I right?

At the risk of making this post way longer than I intended it to, I bring all of this up for a reason. The reason is because today marks the 365th post in a row without missing a single day. This means that I’ve been posting daily content for literally a full calendar year, without missing a beat. I consider this to be a personal goal that I’ve achieved, and one that I’m happy with. At the end of the day, I write because I want to maintain my skills and share the information I’ve gathered over the course of my chaotic life. And because I love it. That’s got to be the most important reason. When the day comes that I no longer enjoy researching and writing on these topics, that will be the day I shut down The Blogging Buddhist permanently. Until then, I’ll just have to keep plugging away at it. One post at a time. Keep reading, folks! ☯

Virtual Karate Dojo

It should come as no surprise that just about everything has moved to some sort of online forum in the past year. In my household, we’ve even started doing some shopping and Costco orders online and had them delivered; something we had never done prior to the pandemic. Considering that most things have been slowly moving towards online options in the past decade or so, the pandemic has been that last little push that was needed to force us to do everything else without face-to-face-contact. This week, the karate club I train with started having classes on Zoom.

Our Zoom Meeting Dojo (That’s me in the blue!)

It was a strange and different experience, that much I can say. As you can see from the image above, we all met via Zoom and took instruction from Master Harding as he guided us through an hour’s workout. It was interesting to see everyone who had made do with whatever space they had available in living rooms, basements and home dens. I was among the lucky ones that had a large, open space to work with that included my black, foam workout mats. But as I’ve written in previous posts, karate doesn’t require much more than a four by six-foot space to train in. And the group proved that, over the sixty minutes that followed. ☯

Keep Pushing Hard…

Life doesn’t care about one’s plans. That’s one of my most frequently used sayings across all the forums I post on, and many people feel that it has a negative connotation to it. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. I repeat this short phrase, almost like a mantra on a daily basis because it reminds me that I need to keep pushing and working at everything in life. And so do you. It isn’t intended as a negative thing, it simply represents the fact that if you lie on the floor curled up in a little ball instead of getting up and working at making things happen for yourself, nothing ever will.

And this leads to suffering in one’s own life. As I’ve written about before, Buddhism has this lovely concept of Four Noble Truths; the first two being the acknowledgement of suffering and the second being that this suffering is caused by us. I always like to push it one step further and point out that most of one’s suffering is self-inflicted. It’s for this reason that it’s important that one takes the necessary steps to get up and go.

A good analogy that I’ve used on others before, is to think about the remote control to your television. When I was a kid, you had to get up off your ass and turn the dial in order to change a channel… All three channels that you HAD, depending on how well your rabbit ears were aligned. Yes, I’m THAT old… My point is, modern televisions involve remote controls and many models don’t even feature physical buttons on the actual device anymore. Times have somewhat changed.

Now imagine that the batteries in your remote are dead. If you sit back and wait for the incidental chance that someone will come along and change them out for you, you’ll likely go without the binge-watching session you had planned. Especially since no one likely knows your batteries are even dead. So, maintain your own batteries. Keep yourself charged and moving. Batteries are a good analogy, too! Like a friend of mine has told me, “Be like a battery… Some negative, some positive but all power.” Man, I gotta get that printed on a t-shirt! Daryl, if you’re reading this, beers are calling, damn it!

I guess what I’m trying to get at with this poor attempt at a Monday motivation, is that there’s no turning back. Most people live regretting the past and wishing for the future and in doing so, miss out on the present. Life is hard. It’s not MEANT to be easy. If it were, where would the challenge be? That’s why the expression is “going THROUGH hell,” not “getting to hell, suffering a bit but turning back eventually.” Shit happens, bad things fall in our laps. But we owe it to ourselves to keep fighting the good fight, no matter how hopeless or tiring it may seem. No only up is through, so you need to keep pushing.

Instead of saying I regret that, say I look forward to this…
Instead of saying I wish I had, say I WILL!
Instead of Too bad that happened to me, say I will protect myself and learn from my mistakes!
Instead of I failed, say I made a mistake but I’ll recover and win!

Y’all get what I’m throwing down, here? Does it makes as much sense in print as it does in my head? Sometimes the thoughts in my head sound great but they tend to move faster than my fingers can type, so it doesn’t always have the desired impact. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to cut yourself a break. Mistakes and hardships are how we learn and grow. There would be no progress without it. As long as you’ve learned from it and you refuse to stop fighting, you may lose the occasional battle but you’ll ultimately win the war. ☯

How I Discovered I Had Type-1 Diabetes

I’ve been a huge fan of Cobra Kai since it was released to YouTube and I was absolutely over the moon when it came to Netflix and even more so with the release of Season 3. About a year ago, I scribe to Mary Mouser’s channel and discovered that she was Type-1 Diabetic as well, and she had made a rather heartfelt and emotional video about how she was diagnosed and how’s it’s affected her life. In that spirit, I decided to do the same and the video below explains the when and how that I was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes in 1982, and the impact it’s had on me. Enjoy! ☯

The Perfect Hemoglobin A1C

One of the biggest challenges faced by Type-1 Diabetics is maintaining a good A1C level. I’ve been struggling with it for most of my life. In fact, in 2014 I started with an A1C of about 8.4%, which is a level that’s considered to be the beginning of a dangerous level. In this video, I explain exactly what an A1C is and the fact that for the first time in over 15 years, I achieved my goal of dropping below 7.0% with a result of 6.9%! ☯

Two Conditions By The Same Name Are Not Created Equal…

You know, I’ve often written about the things I don’t like being said to me or assumed about me, in relation to my Diabetes. I think this is a common issue for most folks; everyone has SOMETHING they don’t like to hear about their specific health condition, lifestyle, choices, etc… But one of the most common misconceptions people have about Diabetes is the difference Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes. There are a number of other “sub-types,” which I covered quite a while back in my post Everyone Has a Type… but Type-1 and Type-2 are the most common and the most “well-known.” I have that in quotations because it’s amazing how little the general population actually KNOWS about Diabetes.

Every once in a while, I write a fresh post to explain the generalized difference between Type-1 and Type-2. The population at large seem to confuse and even combine the two on occasion, and the questions and “suggestions” I sometimes get from people can border on the ridiculous and dangerous. I once had a guy who claimed to be some sort of holistic healer, who claimed that he could heal my Diabetes by having me sustain myself on a diet of nothing but cruciferous greens and no insulin. Hmm, sounds FASCINATING but I wanna live…

To give you the general difference so that this post doesn’t wind up being a mile long like they usually are, Type-1 Diabetes is a condition known as “insulin-dependent” or “juvenile” Diabetes (although I haven’t heard it referred to as that last one in a long time). It happens when a person’s own immune system attacks the body’s insulin-producing beta cells, leading to the required insulin injections. Although some Type-1’s will continue to produce insulin in small amounts, eventually the pancreas stops producing insulin altogether. There is NO cure (yet), only treatment. It’s a lifelong condition and usually takes hold early in life due to its nature, although some people are diagnosed much later (my father was diagnosed as Type-1 in his 50’s).

Type-2 Diabetes is a much different creature. It usually has to do with your body’s ability to respond to insulin the way it should. It usually has to do with the body’s insulin sensitivity, which is important to remember since most people attribute the condition to obesity (even if that’s only a possible factor and not a definite one). Perhaps the pancreas doesn’t produce the amount of insulin required or the body simply doesn’t respond to it appropriately. That’s the gist of Type-2. It can be treated in a number of different ways, including diet, exercise, oral medication and in some cases, insulin injections as well. Although there is no cure for Type-2 Diabetes, its effects can be reversed through proper diet and exercise so that oral medications are no longer necessary. Type-2’s CAN potentially progress to become Type-1.

It can be frustrating when someone offers the “miracle cure” they saw an ad for on FaceBook or tells you to “just eat this or that” in order to cure the condition. The take home lesson here is that there is currently NO cure for Diabetes. It’s a dark passenger that stays with you for life. And if someone tells you they have Diabetes, don’t be shy to ask what type they have. Most of us don’t object to reasonable questions and you may learn a thing or two that will prevent putting your foot in your mouth. ☯