The Return Of The Mack…

Wow, okay… So I made it all of a little over two weeks without logging back in and checking on my blog. A shameful display of weakness, for someone who recently posted that they were stepping away from blogging and even closed down their facebook page. But in recent weeks, I’ve continued to get frequent notifications, not only of posts being read and liked but a strange things has been happening; my followership has been increasing.

Like many bloggers that I, myself, have followed, I recently made the decision to step away from writing. Back in January of this year, I took a step back as I had achieved my goal of writing 1,000 posts in a row, without missing a day. It was a reasonable achievement for myself but it left me wondering what was next, from a writing perspective. I decided I would continue to share what I knew, but on an ad hoc basis, as opposed to daily.

But one day, I sat in front of the keyboard and not only could I not come up with something pertinent to write about, the frequent and constant interruptions that prevented me from posting caused a knee-jerk reaction on my part that led to my stepping away. Given my usual compulsions, I had to jump on to check stats and I had been receiving all of these notifications. So, here I am and here we sit, once again pounding the keys in an effort to touch the world.

I guess my blog will stick around for at least a while. What the hell, right? I closed down the facebook page and I think it’ll stay closed, since the majority of my Facebook friends never bothered to follow it (even though I requested) and it wasn’t getting the traction I would have anticipated. In the interim, it will be good to see what ideas I can come up with, though the summer. Maybe I won’t have to regurgitate all my old posts. Time will tell… ☯️

All Good Things…

Ah, the 1990’s… They gave us so much. Setting aside the fact that I graduated from high school in the 90’s (yes, I’m that old), the early 90’s also gave us the finale to a much-loved and anticipated follow-up to the original Star trek series. I’m writing, of course, of Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG hit the airwaves in an unexpected manner, giving us the follow-up series that Trekkies never knew they needed. When the two-part finale aired, it was entitled “All good things…,” a play on the old saying that all good things must come to an end. I felt it a fitting and suitable title for today’s post as, you see, today will be MY last episode, or post, I suppose…

I started this blog all the way back in late 2019. It originally started as a means for me to keep my writing skills sharp. Writing, much like anything else, is a kept skill; one that becomes lessened or lost if one does not use it regularly. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” may be an apt analogy. When I originally posted, my intention was for this to be a photography blog, if you can believe it. I absolutely love flower and nature photography and my first post was a gallery of various flowers I had photographed during one of my trips in New Brunswick. I’m totally not kidding! You can check it out right here. Those flowers bring back some memories…

Somehow, within a short period of time, I immersed myself in writing this blog and did the same thing I do with everything else; I gave myself goals. My first goal was to expand my own horizons and research capabilities. Through that lens, I began writing about the two things I felt I knew a reasonable bit about: martial arts and Type-1 Diabetes. Before I knew it, I threw my own faith in the ring and began writing about Buddhism, as well. The Diabetes and martial arts aspect developed into fitness & health, writing motivational or opinion pieces as well as the occasional “just because” posts that made me feel good. Somehow, since publishing that first post on February 27, 2019, I’ve managed to write 1,480 posts (not including this one) and have amassed 573 subscribers. Although not quite on part with the modern day “influencer,” and I use the term lightly, it’s not too shabby for someone who started to write on a whim and simply grew from there.

My goals were reasonably simple. On the larger scale, I wanted to share what I knew. I also wanted to keep my writing skills as sharp as a could. On a smaller scale, I wanted to write a post each day for a week. Then a month. Then a year. Then I challenged myself to go for broke and write for 1,000 straight days in a row, a goal that i achieved on December 10, 2022. I found myself asking what’s next and this was perhaps the beginning of a downward slope that would bring me to the here and now. I believe I’ve reached a point where I’ve gotten from this blog what I started out to do. I have maintained my writing skills, which are now in heavy, HEAVY use in the job I started two years ago. I’ve reached the goals and milestones I set for myself and any further or lengthier milestones would just border on the absurd at this point.

I believe I’ve shared reasonable, well-researched information to allow readers to consider possibilities and do research of their own, never professing to be a medical professional or to know better than anyone else. I’ve written on almost every fitness, health, martial arts and Diabetes-related topic I could think of, some being so obscure that it seemed almost a stretch (you can scroll through my posts to find the ones on bowel movement colours, if you need an example). Although I would have never thought it possible, I believe I tapped out my creativity. After all, I did manage to pour out 1,000 posts in a row. How much more could I possibly do?

As with all things in life, there is a balance. For all the good and the enjoyment I’ve received from writing my blog, there has been some negative. I recall getting into a heated debate in my comments section from a very unpleasant young lady who took offence to a post I wrote about meat. THAT was fun. I’ve also had a number of individuals who have unfortunately thought it was their place to question, belittle and demean some of my posts, either in the comments section or to me directly. In a sense, even those were beneficial as they often led to posts about scrolling on by or not commenting on things you don’t agree with. But all in all, it has certainly been a positive experience, one I think that I shall always remember fondly and without regret.

Writing this blog hasn’t garnered the kind of traction I had eventually come to hope for. But I know that I have reached some. And for me, that’s more than enough. My posts will be here, at least until I ultimately decide to shut the account down completely. So I take some comfort in knowing that to some extent, people can still find my posts, read my writing and come to allow their thinking to be stimulated. And for one such as I, that’s all that can be asked. I may eventually come back to my blog. Or perhaps writing here has opened the door for me to pursue something bigger. You know me, always another goal. And that’s what’s important in life; to never let yourself grow stagnant and always keep pushing forward. Stay healthy, stay hydrated and check your blood sugars frequently. Doing so will ensure that I will be here sometime in the future to continue this writing. And it will ensure you’re here to read it. Food for thought… 🙏☯️

Genkyu Nashi…

You know what really grinds my gears??? Just kidding, this won’t be that kind of post. At least not yet; I have a tendency of getting myself worked up on occasion but at the moment, I’m mostly looking to bring up a strange tendency I’ve noticed online. Since I write a blog that often focuses on karate and have subscribed through social media to a number of martial arts pages and websites, the good ol’ online AI’s have made it so that all the “suggested pages” and such usually have something to do with karate. This isn’t a bad thing, especially since it often allows me to learn about other styles, other techniques and methods and interesting subject matter. There is, however, one thing I’ve noticed that seems to nag at me; there is rarely any mention of Uechi Ryu…

I started to notice this trend some time ago when I read an article about top ten karate styles. The usual contenders were mentioned, Shotokan, Shito-Ryu and Wado-Ryu… And no list would be complete without the inclusion of Kyokushinkai, which everyone seems to think is bee’s knees of karate. Oh, I have no doubt that Kyokushinkai has its effectiveness, but I don’t believe that it is truly the “ultimate” way, considering that the proper fit of any given martial arts style is subjective to the practitioner. But when you hear about karate, the majority of the time, it will be one of the styles listed above. Which once again raises the question as to why Uechi-Ryu is rarely if ever, brought up.

For those who are less familiar with Uechi-Ryu, the style was created after its founder, Kanbun Uechi, studied under a Chinese martial artist named Shu Shiwa. Uechi studied with him for over a decade and even opened a school of his own in China. Uechi called the style “pangai-noon,” or “half-hard, half-soft.” Uechi returned to Okinawa and refused to teach ever agin, after one of his Chinese students allegedly killed one of his neighbours. It wouldn’t be until the 1920’s that Uechi would begin teaching students in Okinawa and the style was renamed in 1940 to Uechi-Ryu Karate-jutsu by his students and son. When Uechi passed in 1948, his son, Kanei Uechi, took over leadership of the style and renamed it simply “Uechi-Ryu.”

My style is unique in its focus on hardening the muscle and a combination of contained, focused circular and linear movements. We don’t focus on crossing long distances as many other style do, nor do we dip and lean quite as much as other styles do. Many other styles and martial artists have claimed that Uechi-Ryu is more effective at self-defence than its more offensive counterparts. But yet, when you look up top ten most renowned karate styles or something of the like, there’s almost never any mention of Uechi-Ryu. And I find that odd…

At one point, I posed the question to Sensei and his response was that our style was subtle and traditional and because we cared nothing about competition or how many students we created, people knew less of us than they knew of other styles. Maybe that’s the case. Who knows? there’s a really good video on Jesse Enkamp’s YouTube channel that talks about the ins and outs of Uechi-Ryu karate. I’ll link the video below. ☯️

It’s Treason, Then…

Before I even get into the actual content of my post, I have to say that Star Wars’ prequel trilogy is largely underrated. And the Emperor’s line in Episode III, when Mace Windu and senior members of the Jedi Council finally approach him and recognize him as the Dark Lord of the Sith is iconic. If I was facing a number of skilled, experienced Jedi, I might not be so bold and calm as Emperor Palpatine was. But the line was fantastic, no less. I’ve often made a case for the fact that Jedi are basically just martial artists with modern, energy-based weapons. Even their robes are reminiscent of a karate gi… But I digress… Let’s get on with the subject of today’s post…

There’s a strange phenomenon that occurs for martial artists; it happens when one begins to gain skill and experience and begins to believe that they’re actually “good.” Now that I’ve achieved the age, wisdom and experience level that I have, I understand that being “good” is simply a state of mind and that one is genuinely never done learning the martial arts, regardless of one’s rank. This is something I came to learn the hard way, with some unfortunate happenstance, which I was recently reminded of. That brings us to the here and now, where I’ve come to see that the phenomenon is still quite prevalent and exists in some way, shape or form.

When I was in my early 20’s, I reached a point that I consider to be the pinnacle of my physical skills. I had speed, skill, accuracy and knowledge. Because of these factors, I became arrogant and boastful; something that isn’t becoming of a traditional martial artist. I reached a point where, even when I taught others, it was done through the lens of someone who knew better than they. It reached a point where I became frustrated and even angered by Sensei’s continued scrutiny of my knowledge and skills. It reached an unfortunate point where I thought I knew better. It reached a point where I even skipped on classes where I felt I was being slightled.

Sensei felt this change in me, probably before I even felt it in myself. It didn’t help that his son, one of my best friends, was in the same position as I was. We had conversations about how tired we were with the repetitive training, the constant drills that we’d already mastered, etc… It got to a point where for the first time, I did something I had never done before at that stage in my life; I started to skip out on training in favour of trivial things. I shot pool with friends. I went swimming in the forest. I hung out with my girlfriend. it last almost three months before I snapped out of it and realized I needed to go back.

When I finally returned to the dojo, Sensei acted as though i had never left. It wasn’t until I managed to get him alone after a class one night, when I asked him about what had happened. he explained that he knew what I was going through and had, in fact, gone through it himself. He knew that there would have been no convincing me that I needed to go back until I realized it myself. A part of my inner ego had to be permitted to inflate and pop on its own before I would recognize that this was exactly what I was dealing with; my ego. only once I realized that I didn’t know everything, didn’t know BETTER, could I start to recognize that martial arts is not a journey one can walk alone.

And that’s the lesson… Sometimes, one has to allow oneself to become built up before one realizes the only solution is to break it all down to allow yourself to grow. As the old saying goes, it is hard to fill a cup that is already full. Ego takes up a lot of space. If one is unable to set aside one’s ego, one will never truly be able to successfully learn and progress within the martial arts. Food for thought… ☯️

Til Death Do You What…?

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “[…] in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Considering the taxes I’ve paid since making my transition into the adult world, quite a number of years ago, I can attest that taxes are not something one can avoid. At least not legally, but that’s another post for another day. The focus of today’s post is death. Most people are leery of death and the concepts behind it. One of the things that allows us as people to make our way through life and work towards goals and find some semblance of happiness is the fact that we seem to be programmed to live without constantly being aware that there’s a finish line and there’s nothing to do to avoid it.

If one were to wake up every morning acknowledging that they’re going to die, can you imagine the kind of chaos that would ensure in the world? People would stop trying. Goals and achievements would come to a screeching halt, crime rates would increase dramatically and the ones who don’t necessarily covet their existence quite as dearly as others would take foolish chances and perhaps bring upon their end sooner than would have otherwise taken place. Problematically, there are some who DO live this way. The results are never good, per se, and there is always the question of what happens after we die. The big problem is that we are programmed to survive, often whether we want to or not. And as I once read in a book by one of my favourite authors, survival is a motherfucker!

We are also biologically programmed to ignore death, preserve ourselves and push forward, which is why for most people, their first thought in the morning isn’t “wow, I’m going to die someday.” The concept of death frightens most people, whether because of their inherent, biological will to survive or because of the unknown. For many, knowing what happens to our existence after death could potentially bring peace. Especially if it could ever be proven that there is some level of existence beyond this mortal flesh. on the flip side, much of what I described in the previous paragraph would come to pass on a high and more extreme level, if humanity ever managed to confirm life after death.

It’s a topic rife with contradictions, since most people avoid the topic and become uncomfortable talking about it. But it’s ever-present nonetheless and I recently had the opportunity to deal with a matter that brought some of these thoughts and concept to the forefront of my mind. When I was young, despite having Type-1 Diabetes, the concept of death was always a bit of a mystery to me. It wasn’t until my own doctors suggested that I would die in a short number of years due to my condition that I awoke to the question of what happens beyond the grave. Given that I was raised by a devout French-Catholic mother, there were plenty of religious concepts thrown into the mix, which were nothing more than extremely confusing for a young child.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, when my brother passed away from all his illnesses, that it really brought it home for me. It was my first time genuinely dealing with the concept of death and seeing it in its horrible reality. In some ways, many ways, I was fortunate as my brother spent the majority of his life suffering and death brought an end to that. It was one of the driving factors that motivated me to take my life and health into my own hands and ensure I would continue on and live a full life. Three and a half decades later, I’m still alive and very-much kicking, karate pun FULLY intended.

My recent experiences have once again raised the question of what takes place after death and ultimately, does any of it matter? As a people, different cultures have different beliefs and customs behind what happens to our remains after we die. Generally-speaking and only from my own experience, folks here in the western world generally bury or cremate their dead, include religious ceremonies of whatever faith they follow and believe. The ceremonies are given almost as much status and importance as the death itself but the painful reality is that such ceremonies are usually only of import to those who remain; the dead don’t care about such things.

I once read an article written about the concept of life after death where the writer stated that at this point, given the number of people who have claimed to have experienced something beyond consciousness, near-death experiences and such, we should start to consider WHAT happens after death as opposed to IF something happens, since it appears evident that is some activity that takes place. Modern medicine and science have provided plenty of information about everything the brain does to try and keep the body going when it knows it’s dying, which causes the whole “bright light ahead” thing, as well as other aspects that people have attributed to dying. People have reported being “outside” of their bodies, watching as doctors work and were able to hear everything. Since science has somehow confirmed that our sense of hearing is one of the last to cancel out after death, perhaps that could be easily explained, as well.

It’s a fascinating topic, if one doesn’t mind the morbidity of it all. And I don’t pretend to know what happens after death but I will admit that like most, I’ve often been curious. I often turn back to what I once told my dearly-departed aunt, when I visited her for one of the last times as she was dying of cancer. I explained that no matter how one viewed life, there was the possibility of something beyond death. If your life was rooted in religion and your faith was grounded, your beliefs would explain everything you needed. You could find comfort in those concepts. If you have no religion or happen to be an atheist, one still needs to acknowledge the scientific aspect, which is that our bodies are proven to be driven by a measurable form of energy. This energy is seen in the current that controls our heart, maintains our brain activity and I think, contributes to making us who we are as a person. And as we all would have been taught through basic high school science classes (at least the ones we didn’t sleep through), energy never ceases to exist nor can it be destroyed; only moved or transformed.

So not matter what manner of life you live, one could argue that there is an explanation of the afterlife, whether your life is rooted in the theological or the scientific. The question simply remains of what, exactly, will that look like. The bad news is that no one knows for sure. The good news is that since there’s no avoiding it, we will all, eventually, have our answer. The takeaway here is to continue to live one’s life to the fullest and recognize that although sad and includes a deep sense of loss when someone we love passes on, it is part of the natural cycle of life that all living things must observe. Birth, life and eventually death is a something we all will experience. But there’s nothing saying that death deserves our time or attention until our time comes, of which we are usually blissfully unaware. Morbid food for thought on a Sunday morning… ☯️

The Bunny Hop Weekend

This weekend was Easter weekend, which has carried different meanings for me throughout my life. Having grown up in a devout Catholic household, it signified the period of time where Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross for humanity’s sins, only to resurrect a few days later. It was an aspect of the Bible that I came to know quite well as a child, with religious movies representing Christ’s resurrection playing on the television all weekend and frequent sittings at our local church (sometimes more than one church). As I grew into adulthood and Catholicism’s hold on me released, I slowly forgot about Easter weekend. Hell, I didn’t even get to see it as a long weekend since, as a police officer, statutory holidays meant nothing for my work load.

In recent years, I’ve been lucky in the sense that I get that additional day off, making for a three-day weekend. That can be nice, especially from the standpoint of getting some additional rest. However, as I grew into parenthood, I came to realize that the weekend also came to symbolize bunnies, chocolates, candies and egg hunts. Having grown up with Type-1 Diabetes means that I didn’t experience most of those things as a child. One would think that this would mean I would enjoy going through it with my children but things of that nature are often less fun when you have to be the adult who cleans up after everything that’s done to entertain one’s children. Although I do very much enjoy the Easter jelly beans I received. They’re good times… But I digress…

Typically, my family would travel up to my in-laws, as they’re the only family we have nearby. With my family being all the way in New Brunswick, my wife’s parents are usually the host of our holiday travel plans. We’ve been pretty lucky in the fact that we’ve been the only ones who not only live afar and require accommodation when we travel but also have children. This means Grandma and Grandpa would not only receive the pleasure of our company but get to see their grandchildren for any given holiday weekend, as well. But as life moves forward, families expand and not only are two of my wife’s siblings married now, they also have children of their own. The conundrum this causes is that, much like at my mother’s home in New Brunswick, there is no longer any room to accommodate everyone.

Although getting together as a family is still important, not only over the holidays but as a general practice, fitting that number of people into one residence is not only impractical but can cause friction that one should not have to deal with over a holiday visit. With that in mind, my wife and I took things in a different direction this year and sent our oldest son, Nathan, up to stay with his grandparents for the long weekend. My sister-in-law was travelling through Regina on a trip of her own and offered to bring him up on her way back. He left last Friday and is scheduled to be picked up by my wife tomorrow while I’m at work.

With only one child to entertain and the fact he’s a toddler and doesn’t care where we go, we spent the weekend browsing designs for the bathroom renovation we should be starting soon. We took the opportunity to eat out a couple of times, one of those meals was at my favourite eatery: FatBurger. I consider myself to be a bit of a burger connoisseur and FatBurger has the best damned Mushroom Swiss burger I’ve ever had in my life. I had the opportunity to catch up on a significant amount of laundry and we even changed things around slightly in the living room. As an added bonus, I took today off as an extra day, although I know myself well enough to know I’ll likely check work later.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good and quiet long weekend. Tomorrow, I get to start back at a fresh new office as my location has changed. That should be an all-new adventure. It’ll be interesting to have my entire organization on one floor as opposed to spread out across three floors. As with all things in life, there will be some good and some bad. I’m looking forward to see in which direction this new office will tip the scales. Happy Easter to all those who celebrated this weekend. ☯️

Another One Survived…

I somehow managed to muddle through another year without having to deal with the ridiculousness of April Fools’ Day… Throughout the year, I’ve been the victim of a number of different pranks in both my personal and my professional life. Everything from having my jacket sleeve filled with shredded paper or having one of my coworkers spritz a touch of pepper spray into my coffee. In the event you’ve never been pepper sprayed, it works by reacting with the mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth, mostly. So if you take a sip of it when it’s in your hot coffee, you may not notice it right away. But once it hits the inner lips, son of a bitch…

For the most part, playing pranks on friends and family can be hilarious and somewhat harmless. It’s when you do something that causes mischief or interferes with the general public that it becomes problematic. For example, one year I had a batch of kids who would constantly move a park bench into the middle of main street and put a toilet bowl on top of it. It would be pitch black and the middle of the night, so there was no finding who did it. But it was dark enough that a vehicle coming down the street could potentially collide with it. We’d take the time to remove it and as we’d patrol, we’;d find it back in the street, minutes later. Cheeky bastards! Working on the evening of April Fools’ Day was the worst day to be a cop, followed closely by Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

So, where does it all come from? I mean, I’d be lying if I said I never played a few creative pranks on friends in the past. But why do people feel that they need one specific day on the calendar to get all their mischief out of their system? Depending on the source you dig into, the calendar may actually be to blame… I found a couple of different sources behind April Fools’ Day’s origins and all seem to stem from the same general story. So, I’ll share a snippet from

“Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.”

Since I grew up in an environment with a heavy French population, I can confirm the French part of the explanation. I remember the paper fish thing from my early years in grade school. Sources go on to describe some different traditions in different countries, kind of like how Halloween has different backgrounds in different countries, as well. But depending on whether you’re the one playing the pranks or receiving them, enjoying it as a fun little escape from the everyday hum-drum of life is subjective to the recipient. I can’t recall if someone managed to get one past me last year but this year, I was lucky enough that April Fools’ Day took place on a Saturday so I didn’t have work to contend with, and none of my friends seemed inclined to try and pull anything on me. One more year survived… ☯️

When Your Get Up And Go Has Gotten Up And Gone…

I’ve noticed that I seem to be letting more and more time elapse between my posts… What with my last one being nearly a week and a half ago, I think I’ve become far too comfortable letting go of my compulsion to post on a daily basis. On the one side, I have the my oldest son who, like every other kid in modern times, has become obsessed with Minecraft and often monopolizes the laptop during the evening hours. Although it’s my laptop and I could easily object, watching Minecraft tutorials is far better than other, more nefarious activities he could be getting up to, so I tend to indulge him a bit. I’ve also allowed my work to consume me to a certain extent; something that I had always promised myself I wouldn’t allow. Given that my agency is currently moving to a new physical address, the entire staff has been sent home to work remotely. I never realized how easy it was to start work early and work through my end time, when I’m sitting in the comfort of my home. But I digress… My self-imposed increased workload has also had me working as opposed to writing.

The biggest hit I’ve taken lately is my fitness routine, which has taken a seat to make time and room for other obligations and daily necessities. While I would be the first to admit that when something is as important as one’s health and fitness, one can find the time no matter how busy they are, I also recognize that there are a finite number of hours in a day and time is the only commodity that humanity can’t create. Therefore, by the time my work day is done, meals and children are seen to, which includes homework, baths, laundry and dishes, this leaves me precious little time to flop down on the couch and let me head cool as I contemplate the events of the day. Wash, rinse and repeat.

For the most part, I was on a pretty good track with performing a brief, 10-minute circuit in the morning that helped wake me up, increase my circulation and give me some get up & go before I even cracked my first energy drink. You can read about that here. Although my first went swimmingly, the second week was a bit like a worn out commodity and I haven’t been quite as effective at getting out of bed early enough to do the circuit and shower before I need to plop down in front of a keyboard for the day. Given that my evenings are filled with all the daily requirements of family life that outlined in the previous paragraph, it leaves one to ask: When will I have time to work out?

One of the biggest things I consistently hear form most fitness sources is simply this: show up. Even if you’re tired, show up. Even if it hurts, show up. Even when it gets tough, show up. Great words. Putting them into practice can often take an effort that can be difficult to nail down. I consider myself to be a reasonably committed person. So I would like to think I can rise above this. And I likely will but that doesn’t change the fact that at the moment, I feel a bit like a smashed piece of ass with no hopes of getting myself off the floor if I fall. Ironically, my blood sugars have honestly been pretty good, considering the lack of fitness. Of course, my continued lack of appetite may have a little something to do with that.

The lesson here is that if you find yourself in this type of situation, it’s important not to get hard on yourself. Let yourself have the time to rest and heal, if it’s what you need. Obviously, you don’t want to sit around all sedentary for an extended period of time as that will start to seriously affect your overall health, especially if you have type-1 Diabetes. And if you feel that you’re lacking energy or that your emotions are what’s affecting your fitness, consider the possibility that you may want to speak with your doctor or medical practitioner. Winter blues can sometimes be more than winter blues. Food for thought… ☯️

Sleep, Painful Sleep…

It’s no secret that people with Diabetes will often have poor or lessened blood circulation in their extremeties. This can be attributed to a number of different complications, including but not limited to poor dietary choices and high blood sugars causing fatty deposits in the blood vessels over time. This will result in the hardening of your blood vessels, which will lessen blood flow. there are a bunch of other reasons for it, as well but one can hit up WebMD for the comprehensive list.

Sleeping with Type-1 Diabetes also comes with a pretty long list of difficulties, from fluctuating blood sugars to dehydration, all the way up to general feelings of unease, including restless leg syndrome or any of the vast plethora of colds and flus one catches because they’re living with a compromised immune system. It can mean that getting a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep is damn near impossible but when it does happen, it’s almost like twenty pounds of weight has been lifted off of one’s shoulders and one feels SO much better.

Since Diabetes has an unfortunate domino effect where one complication will feed another, such as dehydration affecting one’s blood sugars, it can mean that spending half of one’s night awake is not only a very real possibility, it’s almost the norm. Which sucks. Royally. Some obvious solutions come to mind. Consuming proper amounts of water to stay hydrated, monitoring one’s blood glucose closely and making adjustments prior to bed… Doctors have been telling me for years to sleep with a pillow between my legs to prevent disrupting the circulation in my legs but I’m way too violent a sleeper to keep a pillow between my legs.

Ironically, my biggest issue isn’t with my legs… It’s with my arms. I’m an odd sleeper, finding myself on my stomach more often than not, with my right arm tucked at my chest and my left arm above my head. I have no idea what prompts me to sleep this way but it tend sot inhibit the proper blood flow to my arms. I’ll often wake up during the night with an odd pain in my arms, until I realize that I’ve lost circulation. You haven’t lived until you’ve had that fun experience of feeling the blood slowly start flowing back to your fingertips. But I digress…

Eventually, as I get older and Diabetic complications start to become more prevailent and serious, this could potentially become harmful and cause permanent damage. I’ve slowly trained myself over the past few years to sleep on my back but my sinuses don’t always like to cooperate with that one. But circulatory issues can lead to worsened complications. If you find yourself with frequent numbness in extremities or your limbs are often cold, even when the temperature is warm or moderate, you may want to consult your family doctor or health practitioner to ensure it isn’t something that will cause permanent damage. ☯️

The Shopping Cart Theory

I’ve noticed I’ve been writing a fair bit about right and wrong lately. Not really sure what’s prompting that, beyond someone trying to break into my neighbour’s garage recently. But some of it has had me questioning our perceptions of right and wrong, and how good or perspectively bad a person may be. I say “perspectively” because what seems to be bad to one person, may in fact seem perfectly normal to another. The problem is, most people will allow themselves to do most given things if they know for a fact they won’t get caught. Let’s take speeding, as an example. Everyone knows that speeding is illegal. Most people recognize that they shouldn’t do it and that speed laws are in place for a reason but most people will also allow themselves to speed if they believe there are no cops around and they won’t get caught.

Enter: The Shopping Cart Theory. I’ve heard/read about this theory a number of times over the years, and have even had heated discussions with friends and family members over the concept. The theory postulates that in general, people are unable to self-govern unless they’re ordered to do a given thing or may face consequences if they don’t. This is demonstrated by the returning of a shopping cart, once one is done shopping and has loaded up their vehicle. In concept, there is no acceptable reason WHY a person can’t return their shopping cart. It only takes a moment, it’s simple and easy and it saves work for others.

The flip side to that, is that there are no laws obligating a person to return their shopping cart. The reality is that no one will punish you, fine you, harm you or kill you for failing to return your shopping cart. Although most of us will invariably recognize returning our shopping cart as the right thing to do, there is nothing to be gained from returning it. No one will praise you, you gain nothing and returning it is done only out of the goodness of one’s heart. One must accept and recognize that one is returning the shopping cart ONLY because it is the right thing to do and provides nothing of value or reward to the person.

This is why The Shopping Cart Theory basically determines whether a person is good or bad within the scope of modern society. The thinking is that a person who is unable to take five seconds to return their cart after using it, is only able to do what’s right when they are threatened by the law or some show of force. Most people will leave their cart unreturned without a second thought, seeing no issue with doing so. Hell, I’ve been guilty of it myself, on occasion. I like to rationalize that I had my children with me to deal with or that it was a freezing winter day. But what makes me any better or more important than the poor staff person who has to retrieve my cart in those harsh conditions because I chose not to do so?

Are we capable of doing the right thing, even when we have nothing to gain and won’t be punished for failing to do so? I’d like to think so. I’ve evidence to the contrary often enough to make me question it, though. But doing the right thing even when not required to so, plays into the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes Right Thinking and Right Action. So, the moral of this post is simply to ask oneself a question: Am I able to self-govern and do what’;s right, even when it gains me nothing? If the answer is no, perhaps a touch of self-reflection is necessary. Food for thought… ☯️