Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice…

Trust. It’s an important and valuable commodity in today’s society. We need trust, not only for professional and social reasons, but for our continued mental health. Going through one’s life without having someone to confide in and trust would cause a level of solitude that would be detrimental to deal with.

In fact some studies have shown that lacking, or being unable to trust others can cause certain long-term physiological and social problems. These problems can include isolation, depression and feelings of not belonging; all of which are important issues that need to be dealt with in order to live effectively in a modern society.

I personally believe that trust is an almost symbiotic aspect of a relationship. It’s difficult to build a relationship with others unless you’re able to have at least SOME level of trust. But then how can you trust someone unless you’ve gotten to know them in some sort of relationship? It can be a bit convoluted.

Psychology Today posted a really good article that examines some of the more physiological reasonings behind trust. The article can be read here:

I like being able to trust. Knowing that I can speak freely and openly with another person is important. I mean, we all need someone to confide in every once and a while, right? But unfortunately, we sometimes learn the hard way that saying a little too much can be hazardous and can lead to finding out our acquaintances were not as trustworthy as we hoped they were.

Protect yourself. Above all else, we all need to learn to trust, but protect yourself. Be certain that what you share with the other person won’t have a negative and hazardous results on the harmony of your life, should they violate your trust and reveal it. ☯

Challenge Is Key

I recently saw an inspirational quote that read, “Someone once asked me ‘Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?’ I replied, ‘Why do you assume I see two roads?'” Life tends to be difficult in ways that often seem unfair and often unnecessary. But life is not meant to be easy; it is meant to be built upon and goals are meant to be fought for.

One of the big problems with reading and studying as many books and subjects as I have, is I often have difficulties remembering my sources. Nevertheless, the above written quote carries the echo of someone who has fought hard through the daily grind of life and chooses to do what’s necessary.

And what is necessary in life? One of the things I’ve come to realize in the past two years, is that we waste a LOT of time. Think about how often within a day that you check your social media, binge watch shows or perform trivial activities that are typical of today’s modern living.

If you have time for any and/or all of those, then you certainly have time to workout and set goals for yourself. People often say to be mindful of what you put into your body. Although they are usually referring to food and nutrition, this concept applies to your life in general, as well.

Not mine, but certainly fitting…

If you expose yourself to constant negative sources of influence, people who complain, who are lazy or who don’t have your best interest in mind, then you’re only doing yourself a disservice.

I’ve been bombarded by a lot of negativity in the past couple of years. The sources of that negativity would surprise some people, but the idea is to work to overcome it and move forward. Despite the stage of life I’m in, I believe I have enough fight left in me to change paths to accommodate a happier and more positive life.

Want a suggestion on how to grow that positive life? Don’t hate. Let it go. No matter how badly others may have wronged you or caused you hardship, forgive easily and move on. Most of all, forgive yourself. When it’s all said and done, this will allow you to move forward towards your preferred goals.

I used to dream about reaching certain goals that I have now accomplished. They seemed impossible back then, and I often faced adversity that I didn’t think I would ever overcome.

It dawns on me that the difficulties I currently face are simply part of the next wave of adversity I need to overcome to reach the next stage of my goals in life. It may not be easy, but we all need to keep at it. No matter how small your goals or how little the accomplishments you reach, you’re still one step ahead of the person who’s standing still. ☯

Get Stung By Some Knowledge

That time of year has come; when my home and property seem to be fraught with wasps. When my family and I first moved into this house, we had an old apple tree in the back yard. As the bounty of apples fell from the tree, they’d rot and scores of wasps would swoop in to feast on the carcasses. This made it difficult for our dog or my son to play in the back yard as there was a constant threat of these pests stinging any of us.

So, what purpose do these bastards serve? In truth, they are actually useful within the context of nature. We tend to consider insects like wasps to be pests and that they do nothing but cause a bother. But they actually do have some uses. Let’s do some learnin’…

Wasps often get confused with other flying insects. What I can say, to describe them, is that they tend to be slim, hairless (unlike bees) and have black and yellow bodies. Wasps include yellow jackets and hornets, which is why many people tend to refer to a wasp as a hornet.

One of the flying demons, making himself at home on my kitchen window

Based on some fossil records of the wasp, the insects have been around for millions and millions of years, and much like the Great White Shark, have remained almost completely unchanged since the those times.

Unlike bees, wasps don’t pollinate. However, they are considered a predatory species and help with the control of pest insects, such as mosquitos. So despite how aggressive they may seem, they do actually lend a hand in ways we don’t tend to acknowledge.

That being said, they DO tend to be aggressive can sting if approached and disturbed. Wasps are a lot like bees and have a venom sack attached to their stinger. They differ from bees in that their stingers are smooth, so they can sting repeatedly. Their stings can cause allergic reactions in some people and multiple stings can be fatal in small children.

As an appreciator of all things from nature, I try to focus on the actual contribution to the ecological well-being of our environment. They may be pests, but they do their part to contribute. Much like some people we may encounter. ☯

It’s Never Too Late…

Regret is a hell of a thing. Sometimes it can consume you, if you allow it to overcome the important aspects of your life. I’ve often written that one cannot allow oneself to have regrets as the events you might consider regretting have led you to the here and now; and if you could change those events to prevent that regret, you would seriously alter the person you’ve become.

I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to defeat every stereotype that’s been thrown at me. And having Diabetes has certainly made that challenging, let me tell you. Controlling and maintaining my health has always been a priority and I’ve worked hard to KEEP it a priority.

But in recent months I’ve begun to slip. A work out less a week here… An added beer or two a night there… Apathy and laziness have snuck up on me without even noticing. I’ve told myself, “Oh, I’m just tired, I’ll get back at it tomorrow.” Then tomorrow comes and I certainly don’t get back at it.

A good sweat and a little pain can go a long way

I think it may have been equal parts self-pity and self-generating laziness. The less you do, the less energy you have to get to where you need to be. But last night I was reminded of the importance of never stopping one’s physical development and health.

I was reminded because I saw the potential result of that laziness. Weight gain, reduced mobility, latent health issues and difficulty breathing… It’s amazing how much damage can be caused by not being physically active.

Don’t be afraid to try heavier weights. If they’re comfortable to use, they’re not heavy enough

I feel it’s time to recommit and buckle down. I couldn’t believe it when I looked at my workout log and realized I only worked out once, last week. Time to up the ante and start getting back into shape. Sometimes we need to get shaken a bit and have a little reminder to bring us back on course. ☯

Tempus Fugit

Time flies… I’ve been hearing that expression, Tempus Fugit, all my life. But did you know it’s actually a misinterpretation? The actual Latin passage from the book reads as Fugit Inreparabile Tempus, which basically means “it escapes, irretrievable time.”

Time really does fly. I find myself often wondering how I got this far. I’ve often had obstacles in my way that should have ended my life; Diabetes, comas, insulin resistance and a score of natural causes too long for me to enumerate.

I still remember the morning I woke up without Diabetes for the last time. I recall feeling groggy and disoriented. I made my way to the bathroom and then sat at the kitchen table. My father was gone to work and my mother was setting out a bowl of cereal for me.

My parents had noticed that my weight had fluctuated and my mood had changed significantly in previous weeks. I had started wetting the bed for the first time since I was in diapers and I was an insufferable little jerk. Even more so than I am now, if those who know me personally can believe it.

A few moments into my breakfast, and I unceremoniously passed out into my cereal bowl. The next thing I remembered was waking up in a hospital bed. I only had a mild understanding of what was happening to me at the time, but the diagnosis was clear: Diabetes Mellitus.

From that moment on, my life was forever altered. The path I would be led on would be different in ways I wouldn’t understand for years to come. I often find myself wondering how my life would have turned out had I not been diagnosed with Diabetes. Would I have been more athletic? Would I have made different choices or pursued different things in life?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced a wicked number of things in my life. In fact, I find myself acknowledging that if my end of days came tomorrow, I would have no regrets as I’ve done and experienced more than many do within this life.

I don’t know anyone within my circle of associates who has travelled the world, overcome their own illnesses and shortcomings and meet any challenge head on and usually overcome those as well.

But as I sit back and take stock of where I am in the here and now, I have difficulty focusing on how I got here. A man in his forties with a family, kids, a home and career… And in the midst of all of it, exploring new venues and new possibilities that may once again alter the course of my life.

Sometimes it happens that way. As I’ve often said, friends, life rarely cares about our plan. When one door closes, we’re often so busy wondering why that we ignore the one next to it that has opened. Your path may not always be the one you want, but it can turn out to be the one you need. ☯

Wisdom Comes From The most Unlikely Sources…

That’s a simple truth, isn’t it? How often have you watched a television program or a movie, or been walking down the street and heard someone say something or overheard a particular song lyric and had it speak to you? Perhaps it reminded you of advice that was given to you by someone important in your life.

While I was out and about today, I noticed two men arguing with each other. The first was an employee of that particular establishment and the second appeared to be a customer.

The employee was walking away from the customer as they argued when I overheard the customer say, “I don’t think that’s right. That isn’t the way I understood it…”

The employee followed up by saying, “How is that my problem? That’s you, that’s YOUR perception! Why would you assume that your perception is my responsibility in any way?”

I have to admit that I was missing a HUGE chunk of the story. It was playing out like a bad soap opera in front of my eyes, but without some context as to how this conversation started, all I had to work with was the scene playing out in the moment.

Now with the lack of said context, what I saw was a frustrated customer trying to explain something to an employee who appeared to have decided the conversation was over as he was walking away. Poor customer service, to say the least. But I digress…

My point is, his comment resonated with me. I’ve often heard people say “I can only control the words coming out of my mouth, not your reaction to them.” And there’s a significant truth to this. We walk through life on a daily basis and react to things based on our perceptions. How often has someone cut in front of you while driving? How often has someone made a comment that seemed inappropriate or rude to you, even if that wasn’t the person’s intention? What kind of a reaction did it elicit from you?

Our perceptions are how we interpret the world around us, so it becomes critically important that we be able to do so sensibly. What sounds like something negative to the recipient may have been intended as something positive from the sender.

That’s why we need to communicate better with each other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, clarify and seek out more information. This can help to eliminate conflict and ensure that you’re getting the intended message. ☯

Please Use Other Door…

I was running errands this morning and when I tried to exit a retail location with my cart, I came face-to-face with a woman who was trying to walk in. We shared a confused look. She was confused because I wasn’t getting out of her way. I was confused because there are large, blue signs that read “please use other doors” on both glass doors that should’ve signalled the woman that she was entering by the wrong entrance and I couldn’t grasp why she’d foolishly walk into the wrong doors. Although I shouldn’t automatically assume that this woman could read, one would think she could have taken a hint from everyone else entering by the other door…

This is a common trend that has become more prevalent these days. It seems that most people are so rooted in their own “little world” that they disregard basic instruction from outside sources. And you can see it almost everywhere; from people who park in handicap spaces without a permit, folks who leave their shopping carts in the middle of parking lots or take up two spaces for their car, people using their cell phones while walking and almost barrel into someone ahead of them (and then keep right on going without any regard or apology)… One of the worst ones is travelling along a high speed roadway and having someone pull into the space I’ve left as a safety pocket between myself and the vehicle ahead of me. That gap was there so I could brake safely in the event of an emergency, not so you could squeeze your jacked-up Chevy pick-up truck in front of me, causing me to brake suddenly. Douche.

But before I allow my temper to compromise my self-control, let’s examine this phenomenon a little deeper. As a martial artist, and given my chosen career path, I consider being firmly aware of my surroundings to be of the utmost importance. But even to someone who doesn’t have this experience or similar training, awareness of one’s surroundings is kind of important. Especially if you consider that most people will walk out into traffic without looking both ways, simply because they believe they have the right of way. They don’t stop to consider that the driver may not see them in time to respect their right of way. This is why we teach our children to “look both ways”, but that’s a lesson that doesn’t seem to carry into adulthood.

According to an article by the Association for Talent Development, “we can take in thousands of bits of sensory data in seconds, cross-reference that data against the information stored in 140 billion brain cells in a micro-second, and retrieve memories of everything from a recipe, to our first date, to our current project plan from the same group of stimuli. And that’s just what we are thinking about on the conscious level.”

Pretty impressive, right? So why the hell can’t the average person just follow simple instructions and courtesy while out in public. A part of the above-noted article seems to be of the opinion that with everything happening on the conscious and sub-conscious level, it’s no wonder that some people don’t quite seem to be paying attention.

Part of the issue may be that we now live in a world where our digital devices provide our conscious mind with all the stimuli we can handle and the simple tasks in the real world depend on our body’s automated functions instead. This is similar to walking into a street sign while your eyes were lowered, reading a book. Not that I’m speaking from experience, of course…

A serious part of our survival depends on our ability to pay attention. This has always been true, throughout the evolution of humanity. And that truth is no less a reality now.

We live in a world of faster machines, increased crime rates and constant hazards and dangers, but our minds have stayed just as fluttery as they always have been. We need to pay attention. We need to keep our eyes up and watch what we’re doing. Our very survival may depend on it. ☯