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All city 08 18 2016Wow!  I overcame a 6-6-6-6 start in the first round of the Walla Walla City Championship, steadying my nerves to post my best round of the year.  Eight over after four, I finished the front nine in ten over 46.  A decent comeback for a twenty handicapper.  After double-bogeying number ten, the magic began. Par saves and a birdie chip-in were mixed with long, powerful, straight drives. I left a few wedge/9-iron shots WAY short of greens, only to hit sweet recovery wedges and crucial putts on some of them.  It was so fun!  I toured the back in 39, netting 65 for the day. It put me in position to challenge in the open division (white tees), sandwiched between the championship contenders (blue tees) and the seniors (gold tees).  I am so excited for tomorrow!

Golf is no four letter word. It’s often called “Arghhhhhhhhh!” Or “dammmmnnnnnn!” Or other unpleasantries. Except when you hit one just right. Then it’s “ahhhhhhhhh.” Maybe “yessssssssss!” I’ll be back soon. That just feels too good. I want more. Like a sweet romance, it tantalizes, lures and hooks us. It will never be mastered, but I think I’ll try. As the sun smiles on my skin and the breeze cools my brow, I visualize a towering shot, rising high in the sky, threatening the target. Mastery of a moment, if only a single shot, suggests mind-pleasing possibilities. I’m the man. I can do this. I can excel at mankind’s most challenging game. If I find the sweet spot in my spirit, I’m opened to finding the sweet spot on the club head. One opens the door to the other, analogous to so much of life. So swing away. You’ll see just where you are. The truth is delightful. It points to exactly what to do next. We simply need to open the eyes of our minds. Namaste.

Some days it feels like spiritual truths land on my soul. Today, I feel that I’m the sum of my choices. That seems like justice to a bean-counter, encouragement for one who has made some good choices lately.

Today I’m feeling fine, like a drive in the sun wearing musical goose bumps. I feel strength in my muscles and peace in my heart. My soul awaits adventure, in its dance of delight, curious and aroused.

I have so much to be grateful for. I am savoring the moments.  🙂

It was a microcosmically enlightening weekend.  Anticipation of our long-ass run, aptly named by Annie, reflected some fear, and much excitement. Finding Annie a bit ill was deflating, somewhat relieving, then disappointing. A fleeting fear of losing the dream passed by. Go with the flow leapt to mind. Who knows why things happen? It’s always important how we respond. I’ve had enough bad responses for this lifetime! We enjoyed a movie and retired early, sleeping long and hard.

Saturday brought our first experience with Recreational Equipment Incorporated’s periodic used equipment sale. We trailed so many people that I started wondering what the fire code limit was! We found the sale in the back parking lot, accessed by a parade through the store. So much stuff! There were great bargains on lightly used goods that weren’t quite right for the original buyers. REI’s ultimate money back guarantee also gave freeloaders a way to return heavily used items. Some folks will take advantage of anyone they can! It was fun to talk with the friendly and adventurous staff members and patrons. One dude told me of his trail running exploits in Vibram Five Finger shoes. Beware the pokes from rocks and thorns! I got a second pair of them for 70% off retail. Annie scored amazing deals on two pairs of running shoes, a wet-suit, a large backpack and wind pants. The check-out line was long, so we had time to shop for more cool stuff. I got another pair of Thorlo  Experia running socks (best!), a thin headband, a nice hydration belt and more gels. After hours of shopping, I felt tired! Maybe it wasn’t a good day for a long-ass run anyway? After some tasty curry, we retired to Annie’s apartment for rest.

Just as I was preparing to doze off…..”Daddy, it’s time to run!”  WHAT? Well, maybe we’ll get in a few miles, perhaps up to eight, but at least it won’t be a long, grueling run. “Just let me take a little power nap.” “How long?” “Five minutes.” Just long enough to prepare mentally. When my mind opts in, my body can follow. I mean that in the most extreme sense.

Because Annie’s a frickin’ maniac! We’re both stubborn enough to take on whatever the other one’s dishing out. You aren’t beating me! If you can do it, I can do it! This is seriously effective accountability partnering. Perhaps my only real hope to reach this goal?

Heather said the canal banks in Kennewick are great for running. She is right, but we started with a TERRIBLE guess on where to get access, on the wrong side of the canal.  After a mile or so of bushwhacking, bridge seeking and bark sparking, we limped back to the truck to try again. We discovered the Tagaris winery (owned by Taggares, but who’s really spelling anymore), causing hometown french fry factory flashbacks. We parked and tried again.  WORSE!  But hey, we stumbled another quarter-mile or so.  At this rate, we could be accused of stalling. The third time really is the charm! We got smarter, parked better and ran for a couple of hours. It was fun to feel our motors eat up the miles, building confidence while testing our growth.  We reached 11.6 miles when the sun was spent. So we trucked to the Columbia Center mall, prompting more flashbacks. I was a youngster when it was brand new. That Bon Marche’ was fancy! We learned that you can run 4.4 miles in three laps of the parking perimeter, which was especially rewarding with a mix of endorphins and sugar deprived bewilderment; EVERYTHING was so funny! Plus our spirits were soaring. We can run for three hours! We now believe we can run for five!

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I found my best way to prepare for a Super Bowl: a run in the sun!  As usual, I got some funny looks from the parka clad people as I ran shirtless today.  Doesn’t everyone get hot when they run?  Most folks were walking or riding horses or bicycles.  I was jump starting my tan, since summer is just around the corner! After Annie smoked me in hill climbing yesterday, I was determined to get back to training!  Today’s 7.7 mile run boosted my confidence and filled me with joy in the bountiful sunshine!  I’m even more excited about running! The Stick that Heather sold me yesterday is the best thing since shoes! It is amazingly effective at self-massage, especially for leg muscles. What a gift for a runner! I think I’m feeling young again!!!

A day in the life of the Shankster

I tackle the challenges that keep streaming in

to an electronic in-box that measures my wins,

since our mission is worthy: we help people heal.

Addressing co-workers, I try hard to peel

back the layers of pessimism, contempt and dismay

while laughing and joking and mixing in play.

Extra stress builds up, so I head to the Y,

Striding and lifting and stepping to highs!

I’m inspired by soreness, I feel that it’s good.

It promises muscles that work as they should.

Depleted, yet smiling I seek out some chow

Delicious re-charging that sweetens the now.

I spar some with Nicko, in words or in play,

his spirit’s a bright spot in almost every day!

I move off to blog world to see what you’ve found

blissfully noticing my feet on the ground!

I woke up again!  Yippee!  I’d dance around the house, but walking is hard.  Judging “good” or “bad” is truly beyond me.  How would I know?  I’m just me.  That’s freeing.  No pressures, just opportunities.  How to see them all?  Both opportunities and the myriad of ways to respond to them.  How to choose well?  How to expand awareness?  Culture wellness?  Open new ideas to polish older ones?  Humility, variety, discovery, adventure, curiosity, surrender, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and acceptance?

Happy new day!   🙂

I’ve got a hell of a buzz right now!  I’m tripping like it was the 1960’s!  Being the youngster that I am, I probably should have said the 1970’s or 80’s or 90’s. They all run together in my mind.  What’s left of it, that is!

This trip is especially good, because it’ll be hangover free!  No dead-head recovery time!  No remorse!  Compared to the cost of booze and other drugs, this trip should have cost me a fortune!  Wow!  I feel like I just won something big.  I can look forward to serenity, in place of the shakes.  Rather than withdrawal-induced anger, I’ll get peace of mind.  No headache; clear thinking instead.  There will be no craving.  In its place, quiet confidence.  I won’t be passing out soon.  I won’t be chasing any dragons.  No guilt, no loneliness, no isolation, no addiction.  All of that ugly stuff is gone.  And I still get the buzz!  Better than ever!!!

It’s pretty cool.  All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.  Quite a few times in a row, with a decent pace, but amazingly simple and free.  So, to whomever said that the best things in life are free:  you’re right again!

 

…will surely help you save your mind!  I’m engaging in more cleaning and more exercise, with a few plays of football watching, laundry, cooking and organizing.  Sound simple and boring?  Maybe, but it feels so good!  I love taking steps, however small or large, towards enhanced wellness.  It feels so good to have a cleaner home!  I love savoring endorphins in the sunshine!  I’ll cook a healthy dinner, do some more cleaning and de-cluttering and watch a fun movie!  🙂

  1. Mind altering substances aren’t solutions.  Mind altering choices and activities are!
  2. No one ever became less sloppy, more coordinated, less promiscuous or more intelligent from drinking alcohol.  In this case, less is better.
  3. Laziness never helps a person or a society.  Entitlements are laziness defined.
  4. Integrity, cooperation, humility, persistence and creativity are often found in successful people.
  5. Nobody owes me anything, unless I’ve loaned them money.
  6. I am responsible for how my life is going.  Blame is denial, or a stifling, futile avoidance of the truth.  People do whatever they choose to do.  They have no control over my responses, unless I’m silly enough to grant it to them.
  7. I have no idea what’s happening next.  I have opportunity to respond well!
  8. I face continual choices that decide who I am.  Opportunity NEVER stops knocking!
  9. New trucks, bikes, golf clubs, televisions, clothes and other material things are rewarding.  They’re nice rewards for working hard.  They’re also like dust in the wind compared to relationships.
  10. The most fun days at work are dressing up in wild outfits for Halloween.  Someone suggested that I wish every day was Halloween! 
  11. Exercise is like breathing – don’t stop!
  12. My health is directly related to what I eat, drink, breathe, do and believe.  “Do” is a short word with a lot of impact!

Do you enjoy analogies and parables?  It seems like seemingly unrelated parts of life teach about many other parts.  Perhaps when we watch carefully, we see more common threads.  Maybe we can learn important lessons!

I just returned from another glorious bicycle ride in the sunshine.  I rode the same route as yesterday, as it’s scenic, hilly, fun and relatively safe.  I love sun-tanning in October!  The succeeding months might be even better for sun-tanning, but I think an airplane will be needed.  ( :  As I pedaled shirtless, early in my ride, I met a small herd of deer racing towards me on the asphalt.  They were seemingly being chased by a car headed towards me.  When the deer saw me, the two large females leaped a fence on my side of the road.  Their two youngsters tried to do likewise.  Wham!  Seemingly in denial, or perhaps panic, they tried it again.  Wham!  It almost made my head hurt to watch, having stopped to take it all in.  The Bambis may have suffered brain damage, as they whirled and raced back towards the car, which had also stopped.  Now I know how intimidating I am!  Did I just see a replay of my life in fast-forward?

Today’s ride really made my day.  I’d spent five hours at work budgeting, responding to other people’s procrastination (and a little of my own too!).  Afterwards, I stopped by the YMCA to lift some weights, which was okay, but I had the old deep-down unsettled feeling.  It was time for some cardiovascular exercise!  Time for some fresh air!  Time to re-charge, rejuvenate and re-evaluate.  I’m so glad I did!  ( :

Today’s the first anniversary of my new-found freedom.  Sometimes life gives me beautiful gifts when I think it’s just giving me pain.  As some brilliant person may have said, it isn’t what happens to you that’s important, it’s how you respond to it!  Another one probably said something like: you made your own bed, and now you get to sleep in it!  Maybe they had a friend whose motto was something like:  the hell with what other people think; live the way you believe is best!

I’m so happy to be me!  ( :

Is this the way we wish to live?

If not, then why not strive to give

focused effort to change our ways?

Living fully, in regret-free days!

FEAR be gone, you’ve done your part!

You’ve taught me every day to start

to take more steps towards being free,

as healthy practice sculptures me.

Baby steps towards a better life

with much more fun and much less strife!

I’ve learned from fear that life’s less fun

when from pain I try to run.

Befriended pain polishes to a shine

deep, lasting faith that all is fine!

I’m lovable, it’s true I see,

with a wellness focus to who I’ll be.

 If nourishing love comes to my side

I hope she finds me free of pride.

Staying healthy and letting go

an easy role in the natural flow.

No grabbing on, no lesser me,

rock solid values guiding who I’ll be.

I wish to grow and love with zest.

I do not want to be a pest.

We are precisely what we choose.

May our examples be great news!

 

I feel so lucky to be enjoying good health and good weather in a lovely place.  Many things have spurred my gratitude lately, like driving to work with the windows down, sun roof open, sun shining and streaming XM music.  Driving a new rig has been very nice.  The cab is quieter.  The steering is better.  The stereo sounds better.  I am safer.  The seats are more comfortable.  It’s all good.  I appreciate the blessing.

Feeling the progress in my muscles has always been good.  I’m grateful that I’m able to do some weight lifting again now.  Chi running techniques have really opened up my running opportunities, so I’m able to run farther and more often, without pain.  Thank you Lord!  Riding my bicycle in the glorious sunshine feels like heaven to me.  Getting a tan, unloading stress and endorphin trips are nicely packaged in scenic jaunts.  Yay!

I like the recovery of my spirit, feeling faithful and optimistic, knowing in my heart that all is and will be well.  I enjoy bantering with funny people at work and at home.  It’s ironic that these are the same people who have really bothered me at times.  Is this great evidence that our happiness is derived from our spiritual well-being?  Are most of our troubles created by our own struggles with attitude?

I’m looking for ways to better my body, my job performance, my parenting, my treatment of others, my home, my office and my enjoyment of life.  I like finding ways to serve others, including sharing my bounty, opening doors, and gifting smiles.  I often recognize my egocentricity and my self-protective denials, so I can pray to keep them at bay.  As we live better, becoming more well, we shine our lights, offering example and encouragement.  It this the way of enlightenment?  The path to self actualization?  It is being all that we can be?  Is it is the way to solutions?  Does it beget creativity?  Can it foster cooperation?  Is this road to wellness?  ( :

The orthopedic surgeon told me a lot without clarifying much.  Apparently, almost all of us have been, or will be, stricken with elbow problems.  Our elbows are weak links, much like the rotator cuffs in our shoulders.  Healing is perhaps as much luck and art as it is science.  My elbow has improved over the past three months, but not completely.  The specialist gave great insights into advanced treatment options, as well as healing struggles, ending with the same message as my primary care provider:  if it hurts, don’t do it.  Otherwise, carry on!  Resting it is not the answer.  So I’m back to living a bit more fully.  I hit the weight room last evening, going very light with the weights and ramping way up on repetitions.  I’m excited to try golf, tennis and throwing a football.  I hope I keep healing.  I’m aiming to strengthen my arms, going more slowly this time.  Maybe I’ll be the tortoise; someone else can be the hare.  I hope to avoid cortisone injections, but the doctor said they seem to work well.  This feels like a big lesson for me in listening to my body, instead of trying to rule it.  Perhaps there are even bigger lessons: seeing more clearly my powerlessness, utter dependence and amazing blessings.  Even more, my complete ignorance of what’s coming next.  That’s reason for excitement!  Come on life!  Deal the next hand!  ( :

My dear, sweet mother gave me the core values that are the foundation for who I’ve become.  They’ve pulled me back from the brink of ruin!  They’ve helped me blossom into a kind, honest, adventurous, loving, funny, generous, passionate, fun and well-mannered man.  My Mom is in me.  I am in her.  Her deep love for God, family and other people is inscribed on my heart.  Her loving support taught me how to be a successful parent, despite all the parenting mistakes I’ve made.  Love overcomes!  I feel that God’s deep power is His love that he shares with us.  This is love of Him, people, beauty, nature, music, poetry, adventure, dancing, etc.  My Mommy passed this love to me.  She made it real.  She is my very first heroine.  She’s not injectable, but she has interjections!

Mom always encouraged me to look at women’s hearts and not worry too much about their outward appearance.  I’ve always looked for both, but one is more readily apparent than the other.  Imagine my delight at finding a stunningly beautiful woman, with an incredibly loving heart, who loved me too!  What a wonderful feeling!

Mom did many things to foster family bonds.  Grandkids remember getting a lot of two dollar bills in their greeting cards.  There were always treats to be had at Grandma’s house.  Treats, a twinkling smile and a “delighted to see you” attitude.  Mom flew on her wings of love.  She soared on the ground.  Dad, eleven kids, kids’ spouses, dozens of grandkids, grandkids’ spouses, and great-grandkids are her treasures.  She’s a treasure to us!

What would she like to see me doing?  For now, I’m heading out to open some doors and spread some smiles, in honor of my amazing mother!  ( :

One of the most influential people in my life is my psychotherapist.  We’ll call her Angelica, because of her always honest, insightful and consistent aid in my journey.  My wish is that everyone could have someone like her in their life.  She delivers a face and voice of God to me.

Angelica has guided me through thirteen and a half years of recovery, so the changes she’s encouraged are significant.  These changes are directly related to the degree to which I have willingness to try new ways, honesty to see my failings, and open-mindedness to grasp where I’ve suffered from rigid thinking.  These are cornerstones for positive changes in life.

Physical health is interrelated with spiritual and emotional health, so I’ve spent a lot of time on exercise.  Exercise feeds my mind oxygen and endorphins.  It helps my confidence and opens many doors of opportunity.  A healthy body allows me to do many things that some people cannot do.  It is an amazing blessing!  My active life is so fun!

Angelica’s voice of reality has opened many flows of tears, while her compassion has felt my pain.  She’s helped me learn that my ability to love deeply is good.  I have opportunity to engage my mind, along with my heart.  I can go slowly, turning the key to lasting love.  I can know and love myself deeply, being true to who I am, so that I will not be desperate for partnership, while open to it.  I can live by my core values.  It seems that if mature, mutual respect and admiration develop, after mastering the lessons of aloneness, healthy people can blossom together.  This feels true in my heart.  The closer I’ve come to this, the better I’ve handled relationships.  When I’ve wanted love too badly, I’ve set myself up for heartbreak.  These heart breaks cleanse my tear ducts, but threaten my longevity.  I sense that serenity fosters health, while turmoil wears me out.  Shall I opt for serenity?  Why not?!?!?!

I just remembered an inspiration I had to write about inspirations.  This blog may be the closest I get to writing a book, or my memoirs, and that’s okay.  Writing is writing!  After decades of procrastination, I can’t believe I’ve written this much.  It feels rewarding.  I recently thought that I should cut back on writing to do more reading.  Nonetheless, I want to get this idea started on the path to fruition. 

In the book of my life, many of the most important chapters are about the people who have inspired me along the way.  In various ways, they’ve helped me become a better version of myself.  My life has been blessed with many inspiring people, so there is a huge risk that I will overlook some of the most important ones.  I might take them for granted.  My life path offers chances to open up my tunnel thinking, so I’m willing to take this risk.  I’ll rectify these mistakes if I see them.  I won’t be able to talk about all the important interactions of my life.  I don’t know how many of them I even remember.  I do believe I am a reflection of where I’ve been, and the people who’ve formed me, so there may be therapeutic value in this review.  If not, then perhaps there will be pleasant memories and a resolve to take care in whom I spend my time with!

I don’t know yet whether to discuss the people who seemed to pull me down.  My fourth and fifth step of recovery dealt much with them and really, about me.  They could have been anyone. 

What about the exciting prospects of the unknown future?  I’m praying that I’m open enough to let great chapters unfold as they can!

Good morning God.  Thank you for being up to the biggest job of all!  Thank you for knowing what we need.  Thank you for the strength you give us to learn, grow and love.  Thank you for this amazing gift of life!  Sometimes we treasure it most when we see it end.  Please bless the family of 1st Lieutenant Mathew Fazzari, a casualty from my adopted home town, killed in war in Afghanistan.  Please do the same for all who suffer losses.  Please help us to wisely use our gifted time to love, serve, grow and share.  Thank you for the love, sunshine, fresh air, beauty, kindness, laughter, camaraderie, adventures, challenges and opportunities that fan my flame!  Thanks for this amazing body with incredible tools like these hands and fingers!  I’m grateful for a brain, in my quest to do well at work, in my family, in personal recovery and as a friend.   May positivism, optimism, creativity and gratitude reign! 

Thanks for helping me recover from many forms of addictive behavior.   My life’s richness is directly related to how well I practice the steps of recovery, which boil down to a path to you.  An important key is to practice these steps in all of my affairs!  Essentially, it involves surrendering selfishness to faith, which taps into a much more powerful force!  You!!!  Please take all of me, good and bad, and return to me whatever is useful to you!

What a rush!

It feels like I’ve done the right things, more of the time.  More “good” things flow into my life, or at least I notice them!  Even the aches and pains show their purpose, sometimes right away.  Connected calm with enthusiastic joy seems to be at hand.  I get to show up each day on this amazing stage to play my part as lovingly, and with as much humor and spunk as I can muster.  No auditions required!  Happiness, joy and freedom of spirit are always available when I live a balanced, honest, sincere and loving life.  Yippee!!!

2010: spring came in August on the Pacific Crest trail near Winthrop, WA

I’m recovering from wanting more.  Often I just try for too much of a good thing, thinking that more is better.  I was reminded of this last evening.  When I discovered that I’d left the lap-top computer at work, I considered returning for it, so I could blog.  That felt addictive, so I read a book, meditated and watched part of a movie instead.  It was good!  I’ve been a bit of a blogaholic.  I’m striving for a balanced life, and I suspect it will be a perpetual juggling act.  Bring on the circus!  ( :

Trivia question of the day:  Can you pick out me, Frank, in this photo?  First correct answer wins a guest posting on my blog!  hahahahahaha

There have been some innovations in golf clubs in the last thirty-five years, since I last bought a set.  How’s that for delayed gratification?  On that note, it seems that mountain bikes have also improved considerably in the past twenty-five years.  Am I due for a new one?  Likewise, vehicles have been greatly enhanced in the past twenty-two years.  I’m an outdoor enthusiast, but I’ve never owned a Goretex rain jacket.  Do I get the fanatically frugal award?  Truthfully, I’ve spent a lot on other things.  These items should be replaced, however, even though they still work pretty well.  Toyotas won’t wear out!  So, I’m planning to buy new golf clubs, a new bicycle, a Goretex jacket and a new vehicle.  I’ll do my part to stimulate the economy.  Will this new stuff make me happy?  Well, my guess is that it won’t make me less happy; it’ll be better stuff, but still just stuff.  What am I doing to make my life better? 

I’m tackling the last of my holdout obsessions, including habitual and emotional eating.  I’ve been in long-standing semi-denial, since I’m not obese.  I pack a little flab, but mostly burn it off.  So it seemed like a trivial matter for a long time.  How does gluttonous eating affect me then?  I believe it disrupts my sleep,  detracts from my open-mindedness and chips away at my confidence.  I think it holds me back from being the best possible version of myself.  What emotions am I attempting to bury under the food?  What am I afraid to face?  When I figure it out, I’ll probably tell you!  ( :

 

Sometimes in life I’m flying high,

then lasting love seems to pass me by.

I can’t neglect my higher power

or the storms of life will make me cower.

A balanced life springs from many lessons,

clarified for me in therapy sessions!

The incredible gifts of loving bliss

seem to change to pain when life’s amiss.

But staying on a course of healthy ways

keeps gracing me with joyous days!

I trust I’m healing each time I find

another lesson in being kind!

So on I go, in search of me.

When I’m found, what else might be?

 

 

 

If I wake up to Mr. Grumpypants, I get to see a version of myself, interacting with me.  Now that’s a spiritual growth opportunity!  I get to see how I can be, reflected in him, and I am granted another chance to be patient, tolerant and kind.  I can also subtly challenge him to grow!

If I encounter Ms. Negative at work, I again see a reflection of myself.  I can then see clearly how my negativity has drained others, as I experience this draining effect.  But I don’t have to be drained.  I can smile and offer optimism!  Am I spiritually up to the task?  Have I prepared, via prayer and meditation, to let God help me handle anything?

Have you met Mr. Addict?  Mrs. Whiner?  Mr. Egobuild?  Ms. Blamer?  Mr. Putchadown?  When I’ve been like these people, I’ve been a less than desirable version of myself.  I’ve been a drag on the world.  Conversely, I really can continue to grow into a better version of myself, each day.  Belief that it can happen is the cornerstone.  Actions that lead in the proper direction are essential.  Now is the only time.  Feeling overwhelmed is useless.  Simply doing the next right thing is crucial.  When I’m able to really get to know myself, with complete honesty and thorough review, I can become ready to ask God for help.  Help in changing the things about me that keep me from being whom I want to be.  Then I can be a good example for others.  When I am able to see myself as loveable, I can better love other people.  This love is without the limitations of ego:  justifications, rationalizations, put-downs, attempts to control or any other blaming or using.  Freedom in me can spur freedom in others, via example and calm demeanor, which invites no blame.  Fully facing the truth about ourselves is hard work!  It is worth it!  ( :

Well, like it or not, you are at least a bit like me.  We’re from the same species!  Damn near kinsfolk, if you will.  So how similar are we?  Will my solutions help you?  Will your solutions help me?  How do we help each other live in solutions, rather than downhill slides?

I am absolutely, unabashedly and  fully convinced that I have found solutions that have saved my life.  Inactivity, and its partner in crime, obesity, seem to be key problem areas for many people.  MANY problems stem from these!  Since I’m most intimately acquainted with myself, let’s see what inactivity does to me:

  • Lethargy:  I want to sleep, lay around, engage in mindless activities……
  • Grumpiness:  why aren’t things going my way!?!?!?!?
  • More inactivity:  laziness begets laziness. 
  • Weight gain:  if I don’t move much, I don’t burn many calories.
  • Vicious circle:  when I start down a path, it seems to perpetuate itself.
  • Depression.

What happens when I’m active?

  • More energy!  Don’t give up too early; it takes time to establish good habits and reap the benefits.
  • Excitement: I look forward to life and its wonderful opportunities!  No depression!  Yay!
  • Engagement:  I opt in to more things.
  • Clarity:  my brain works MUCH better when I feed it more blood and oxygen!
  • Inspiration:  I get more cool ideas.  Yay!
  • Optimism:  We really can do this!  God gives us all the power we need when we let him.  Really!

Is it a tough choice?  Do I need help believing that good results can happen for me?  Am I in denial of my condition?  Both were once true for me.  Now I feel incredibly lucky to be honest with myself and to have willingness to do the next right thing, right now, to make a better me.  I must act now, because now is all I have.  Yesterday is indeed gone, and tomorrow is make-believe, until it gets here as today.  Shake it baby!  ( :

Well, do you?  I do!  Not on drugs though.  Drug highs, including alcohol, were short-lived phenomenons.  Early highs on some drugs were fun, carefree and seemingly mind-opening escapes from fears, pressures, depression or boredom.  I’m here to tell you emphatically, the fun fades!  Then escape turns into addiction, an ugly world of dullness, oppression, hopelessness, anger, depression and fears.  Yuck!

I love natural highs!  Sex, running, back-country hiking/skiing/bicycling, kayaking, listening to music, writing, meditating, loving, talking and serving are some of the ways I like to get high now.  It’s fun!

I love the physical, mental and emotional benefits that activities like these bring to me.  Sometimes music engulfs me and inspires me, hopefully even helping to transform me into a better version of me.  It can be psychotherapeutic, helping me to understand and recover from emotional traumas.  Open up, country music bashers!  ( :  I listen to a lot of faith-based music now, because its spiritual focus lifts me up, inspiring me to become a better servant.  I love to dance!  Dance music offers inspiration and fun exercise.  How’s that for a win-win solution?

Sex is God’s way of bonding couples in a magical way.  My best shot at describing it is indescribably delicious!  Life has taught and re-taught me a lesson I hope to take to heart:  sex bonds people like nothing else, so be careful with whom you bond!

Escaping the busyness and noise of modern life is essential for my health.  Meditation is like taking a healthy trip without leaving home!  Back-country excursions can be extended meditation retreats.  Pouring refreshment into our souls fills us up enough to return to our modern lives.  Much of what we call progress might be better spelled regress.  ( :

Some adventures join several of our favorite things, so we appreciate them immensely.  Will Bloomsday 2012 be like that for me?  Will the energy of the crowd, the music of the bands,  encouraging fellow runners and extreme physical exertion lead to memorable highs?  We’ll find out soon!  Yay!

Annie & Frank. Bloomsday buddies!

Frank’s been getting high again….. ( :

After galloping down the beach!   ( :

 

What’s your will, God?

The days of my life, they keep on rolling by…

Sometimes I pray to God, staring at his sky.

Do I find satisfaction in helping others grow?

What will measure my life, when it comes time to go?

Have I loved all the people who have filled up my days?

Have I built for the future, giving God his due praise?

When push came to shove, did I stand for what is right?

Did I lavish them with love, instead of showing them my might?

Did I often think of others and what might be said?

When I saw someone floundering, did I leave them for dead?

Did I reach out in love, telling stories of joy?

Did I speak of recovery and avoid being coy?

When confused did I pray to my savior to find

His spiritual answers which grace peace to my mind?

Have I learned to really trust in a God I can’t touch?

Or did I  turn to him only when I needed a crutch?

Have I seen him in others all the times that I can?

Do I see how God works through each woman and man?

Can I smile wide and say: thank you God for this day!?

How grateful am I, for all the times I get to play?

Do I thank him quite often, for the people I love?

Do I wear him on my soul, like a protective glove?

Have I seen his spirit radiate from many glowing smiles?

Have I thanked God enough for the growth gifted from trials?

 

I wonder who I’ll be today?  I wonder how many people I can help to smile?  Some good laughs?  Can I inspire someone?  Help them to solve their dilemmas?  Should I share my trials, the solutions and resultant gratitude?  Is today the day to update my bucket list?  Shall I clean my desk at work?  Take a bicycle ride?  Run?  Hackysack?  Prepare some tasty & healthy food?  Write another gratitude list?  Clean my house?  Whatever happens, today should be easy.  The sun is shining bright!  Yay!  ( :

Thank you for your love!  Thank you for the chances to show you my love!  God has illuminated His beauty and His love in your smiles, your spirits, your laughter, your curiosity and your service to your loved ones.  I have found great joy in incredible experiences of love.  They have been the highest of worldly highs, far better than any drug.  Thank you for the spiritual growth that your departures have blessed me with!  When you left, I was forced to turn to God.  Thank you for all of your human limitations.  These also brought me closer to God, for I was forced to accept outcomes that made no sense to me.  I continued to learn to surrender my will; the other choice was insanity!  I may never understand much of what has happened in life, but I can adapt to changes by relying on God.  He is my hope for sanity and serenity.  I see now that enriching my life springs from service to others and becoming a better version of me.  Each day that I awaken, I have a multitude of options to better myself relationally, intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  As I take the steps to do these things, I am blessed with optimism, inspiration, excitement, compassion, commitment, curiosity and amazing adventures!  I have no idea what will come next in life, or how long it will continue, but I’m happy to take the next steps!  May God continue to bless you!  Live well!  ( :

What a blessing it is to face up to the ugly truths about myself.  I mean, it’s typically painful as hell at first, so I understand why it’s so common to stay in denial, or to settle for being a lesser version of one’s self.  About so many aspects of our lives!  There is a better way!  There is hope!  We can become increasingly better versions of ourselves!  It really is true!

Addiction ( including drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food, sex, etc.) and obsession turn free people into slaves.  Trust me, I have first-hand and second-hand knowledge.  There is a better life!  It’s SO awesome to break the chains of addiction and self-will!  It frees us to be childlike again: running, dancing, playing, learning, improving and maturing.  Instead of using, abusing, blaming, whining and settling.

Another wonderful benefit of continuing recovery is the ability to uncover and admit to the motives that lead to our actions.  Are we doing things to help others, or for selfish reasons?  Ironically, to truly be a better version of me, one who can really help others, I must focus on me at first.  What past experiences have colored my thinking in ways that hold me back?  What discourages me from trusting others?  Where have I learned to blame, and not face truths about me?  What things have limited my beliefs in how I can grow, achieve and expand?

Quite often, when I complain about a character defect in someone else, I am revealing MY character defect.  I can see clearly in others  the very things I dislike about myself.  “You’re selfish!” speaks clearly of my selfishness.  Gaining the honesty to admit to this basic truth opens the door to the personal growth that can lead to maturity.  This is the road to self-improvement.  To become better versions of ourselves, we must get to really know ourselves.  We are not so different.  Facing our humanity can foster compassion, cooperation, love, acceptance and serenity.  We can do together what one of us can not do alone.  We can learn that serving others graces us with the happiness that we’ve searched for all along.  Yay!  ( :

It’s April 4 and it’s a beautiful snowstorm!  This is typically among the warmest spots in the beautiful state of Washington, so the snow is an unexpected pleasure.  I love watching snow fall!  Perhaps that’s partly related to the many wonderful experiences I’ve had while nordic skiing, alpine skiing, sledding and snow-shoeing.  Natural beauty,  as I see snow, seems to show God smiling at us.  Beauty helps me be grateful.  Life itself is a gift beyond description.  Gratitude for life and the amazing joys that it brings enables even greater joy.  Gratitude facilitates an upward spiritual spiral, just as self-centered thinking causes a downward spiritual spiral.  Basic truths cannot be changed; they can be useful.  Today I get to serve my son as he has his wisdom teeth removed and recovers from the procedure.  Thank you Lord for Nicholas and the chance to serve him.  Help me be the best servant I can possibly be.  Help me always seek your will for me and grant me the power to carry it out.  Open my mind to new ways to serve, surrendering my old ideas to better ones.  Help me spread love!

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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