Monthly Archives: May 2013

Step Away from the Cinnabons and No One Will Get Hurt!

ImageThis morning I discovered a wonderful and deadly secret, Burger King now carries Cinnabons.  I love Cinnabons! Until this morning, I could only get them at the airport. Usually, I could resist them, too worried about making my flight or having oozing cinnamon sauce dripping down my chin and shirt.

Now, I can go less then a mile from my home, sit in my car and indulge in cinnamon-sugar ecstasy.  Burger King has Cinnabons!

Like a cocaine addict, there I sat. Could have ordered the bacon, egg sandwich or better still, the oatmeal with fruit. No, I ordered Cinnabons, two of them. I deserved them, I told myself. Reasons why, I have no clue.

I ordered, paid and planned to sit in the parking lot eating them. My napkins in hand for the dribble mess that only a Cinnabon can produce.  I opened the box. Two scrumptious, twisted, doughy circles dripping in brown cinnamon syrup and decadent white icing stared at me. Oh my! 

My cell phone clock buzzed. I looked at the dash clock. It’s later then I thought. if I sat in the parking lot, I’d be late for my class on spiritual discipline. You know, learn not to over indulge. Keep an even-keel, that sort of thing. So, I have to eat the Cinnabons on the go. What could go wrong?

I turn out of the Burger King parking lot and the first gob of icing hits my jeans. It’ll wait. I can’t turn, hold a Cinnabon and grab a napkin at the same time. I’m not that coordinated. Not a problem. For the three miles it takes me to get to my class on discipline, I gorge myself on these overly-large, incredibly addictive, way-more-than-I-can-eat rolls. Pleased, that I only have that one glob of icing on my jeans to contend with.

At my destination, I pulled into the parking lot and found a spot. The rolls are eaten.  Not something to be proud of, but next time, I’ll order the oatmeal. No one has to know I slipped up and once again found myself in a sugary stupor. I’d gotten away with it! Ha, ha, indulge today, disciple tomorrow!

I garb a napkin to remove the incriminating evidence from my jeans only to find… it is joined by five other considerable larger globs all down my shirt and jeans. Crap! Good thing they gave me many napkins. 

Did you know napkins adhere to Cinnabon icing globs like flies on flypaper? Napkins ripped, shredding all over my shirt and jeans. I look like a kid just learning how to shave, ending up with toilet paper wads all over their face! 

I should be in class several minutes ago! How in the hell am I going to clean this up and look dignified? No one is supposed to know I fell off the band-wagon! I wonder if I can lick some of it off. I don’t have any water and drowning myself in caramel-mocha coffee doesn’t seem like the answer!

There is a knock on my car passenger window. It’s a friend of mine also going to this class. Her gleeful expression quickly turns to confusion. I’d be confused too if I wandered up to her car only to find her sitting there with napkin shreds hanging off globs of icing all over her shirt, hands and pants.

There is really nothing to say here except, “Burger King now has CInnabons.”  She still looks confused. 

“I’m not really sure how to help you with this one,” she says. Her head cocks sideways the way my dog does when I’m trying to explain the concepts of karma to him. 

“That’s okay, I don’t’ know either.”  I wonder if I can claim this as  a new grunge/bohemian look.

So, I’m going to class wearing shredded napkins and not-strategically placed globs of syrup and icing. A smile on my face. I’m taking responsibility for my actions. I’ll take the consequences, the tisk-tisks, the smirks, and the malaise when this sugar rush crashes. 

I get out of the car and straighten out my newly decorated shirt and strategically hug my friend who says,  “Wow, you smell like a bakery, like Christmas cookies! That’s not too bad. It could be much worse.”

And this is why I have her as my friend. Everyone should have friends like this.

Hello, my name is restlesswanderer61, Burger King has Cinnabons, and I have a problem. Damn good thing I’m taking a class on spiritual discipline.   I think I have a stomach ache.

 

 

 

Re-purposing Your Life! Become an Improved You!

ImageI went to the Goodwill store looking for a lamp to re-purpose.  I really enjoy combing through flea-markets and second-hand shops to find elements of objects discarded to make something new. Something I create to be meaningful or purposeful to me.

I found a lamp, bought it. That afternoon I water colored the shade in hues of green. I realized, this object transformation was symbolic of my life and what I help others do – Re-purpose their lives. Life will always give reasons to step back and ask questions like: What the hell just happened? Why did this happen to me? What am I going to do now? Who am I as a result of this? Re-purposing helps bring answers to those questions.

My journey with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) catapulted me into demanding answers to those questions. I didn’t think I could function without them. Luckily, a person does not have to endure severe traumas demanding immediate attention. Anyone can have a desire, a spark to find their authentic self and live a fuller, happier, more balanced life.

People change slowly over time being enhanced or torn down by life’s challenges. Most appear to view this change as outside themselves. They don’t care or they fear looking inward and asking the hard questions. Finding the answers and stepping out into the great unknown. They accept life as it is. The result is often bitterness, anger and depression. This does not have to be. Life happens, yes, but what you do with it makes all the difference in the world – your world.

Re-purposing takes time and usually happens in stages. As a person learns more about them self and the universe around them, there is an aha moment. My experience is that this is followed by a stewing process. The mind soaks in the information and applies it to everything it knows. The person acts on their new awareness and then it hits.

New questions arise! Well, if that’s true, then what about this situation? Why did I act that way when I could have done this?  What else have I believed about life that suddenly is not true? What is truth?  The questions become less about the person and more about the world, the universe and the spiritual.

It might be helpful to look at the journey in terms of cooking or food. At first, it probably seems similar to peeling off layers of an onion. I picked onion because pealing an onion can bring tears and at times not very pleasant. Thoughts and memories, who we have become over time has built around our core like the layers surrounding the core of the onion.  The larger the onion, the more changes, adaptations or layers a person has developed.

There should come a time when a person can see beyond the onion metaphor and see layers as welcome opportunities for re-purposing, bringing enrichment to their lives.  Life’s journey now becomes more like layers of string cheese, baklava, lasagna, or some other pleasant concoction you can think of. Not as threatening or uncomfortable if done in moderation. It is good to note, that even with pleasant or desired elements of change, too much too soon can cause distress. I really would not recommend sitting down and eating en entire family size lasagna! All things should be done in moderation, which includes re-purposing.

After a while, the person may no longer find total enrichment and the questions asked of the self changes again. Using the cooking metaphor, questions might revolve around the concern, how can I improve on this recipe? The types of questions are as vast as the grains of rice in a box of Minute Rice.

Re-purposing time varies from person to person. Some only strive for feeling slightly better, like putting on a band-aid and waiting. Others, like me, spend a lifetime joyfully exploring, learning and becoming. At this point in my journey, the questions are no longer the ones stated above. Some of my current questions are: Where do I go from here? What does this say about me? How can I turn this into something good for myself and others?

My lamp is now painted, trimmed and assembled. Another human-made element re-purposed for a new beginning, a new life. Aren’t all our experiences in some way, human-made? It’s up to us to do the re-purposing to make our lives the best they can be.

I offer a challenge to you. Start re-purposing your life. The results are worth the journey. Below I offer some first steps to get you started. If you would like some help, you can check out my e-mail counseling/coaching services. If you are in the area, make an appointment or attend a class. Have a great journey!

First Steps to Start Re-purposing Your Life:

1. Get a notebook or journal.

2. List as many qualities about yourself as you can think of. Ask others for their impute. What do you think/feel about your list?

3. List things, people or events where you feel/felt: 1) happy: 2) accomplished: 3) loved: 4) experienced freedom: 5) had fun.  Are there any areas where you had a hard time listing things? Some needs that you are falling short in having fulfilled?

4. What movies, characters, TV shows, music, artists, books do you relate to? Why?

5. Make a timeline of your life – the goods, bads, neutrals, accomplishments, regrets. Why did you label these in the categories you placed them? Example: Why is difficulty in 3rd grade math a good thing?

6. Answer the statement: If I had a magic wand, my life would look like… (be specific). Why would you want the elements you picked?

7. List and evaluate areas of your life where you feel out of balance or unhappy. Why do feel this way about this area? (Try to be inward focused and not “because he made me…”)

8. Ask yourself, what role do you play in number 7? We always play a role, even if it is not doing anything.

9. Continue to ask yourself, what do I really want? (see my blog, Life’s Little Instruction Manual, Healthy Relationships Part 4)

10. Review everything you have written. See if you are starting to understand who you really are, how you got here, the role you play, and where your life is unbalanced. You can’t formulate any goals on making improvements without this base-level structure.

Congratulations on taking the first steps in re-purposing your life. Job well done! Drop me a comment and let me know how it’s going!

Creativity, the DNA of a Society

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Go ahead and shake  your head but to create is to live. It does not matter if its writing, sculpting, painting, dancing, music, drafting, engineering or finding a new way to make pot roast. We all create. Yes, even those of you saying, I don’t have any talent or a creative bone in my body. Yes, you do. It’s in your code, your DNA.

Think of what the world would be like if there was no such thing as being creative. You can’t because the world as we know it would not exist. Animals create, plants do and what’s that word… procreate.

Okay, that’s a stretch. The point is, we all do this, need this and yet so many people are under the impression that “to create” is a frivolousness activity outside productive society. They are wrong.  It is the very fabric of society.

According to many studies, children who are encouraged to use their imagination, who are involved, exposed to creative endeavors score higher on tests in school and do better at seeing options in life others miss.

Creative thinking utilizes imagination, exploration of options, reflection and critical thinking skills. In an article, Art in Schools Inspires Tomorrow’s Creative Thinkers, Without the arts, education’s grade is Incomplete, by  Jeffrey Schnapp, he discusses how creativity and the arts are essential to reading, writing and arithmetic. They are all interconnected like the spider’s web, the fabric of life.

Creative people ask the hard questions such as, how can I get ideas, information and communication from one person to another. What would happen if I stepped aside from the familiar and public confirmatory?  What new thing or idea could I imagine and create?

Without this, there would be no internet, computers, cell phones, televisions, radios, cars, refrigerators to name thousands of others. Not to mention all the entertainment we use daily from music, television, books and games (like Candy Crush, which I am currently addicted). And don’t forget the photographs, paintings, textiles, clothing, furniture and house styles we use.

So, tell me, where don’t we use creativity, our talents and the arts? Isn’t it odd that when you look at creativity this way, how silly it seemly to take money away from the creative endeavors in schools and choosing to put kids in competitive venues and watching test scores instead. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to the individual and society to have balance between the three?

According to Schnapp, Nazi Germany and the Taliban both tried going the route of eliminating creative thinking and art.  I think we know the rest of their stories.

My writing coach, fiction, song writer and poet, Melissa Green, runs a non-profit organization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania called, Write from the Heart. Her goal is to inspire the creative spirit and to support those who have encountered resistance or fear when trying to express their creativity through writing. As I meet other writers under her wing, I am often amazed at hearing the insidious ways many were drilled from childhood that being creative was wrong. Being artistic was not appropriate. I, thank goodness, came from a very creative, artistically supportive environment. I can’t imagine growing up in that kind of environment.

Last evening, Melissa presented a short quote from Hugh Prather’s, I Touch the Earth, The Earth Touches Me.  It is: “There were seventy five people in the lobby and only a seven year old girl was finding out what it felt like to sit on a marble floor.”  At first this seems absurd. But think about this. What if everyone took the time to explore and contemplate the merits of sitting on a marble floor? What if Orville and Wilbur Wright hadn’t explored the merits of travel by air?

Today, be extra creative! Even if it means putting an extra potato in your pot roast.

More information about Write from the Heart, http://www.writefromtheheart.us/

Finding the Land of Oz When Life Blows You Asunder

ImageI’ve been asked if there are any axioms I use to ground me when life tries to blow me away.  Yes, there are. I use the below axioms all the time when life is sunny. When life gets blustery, I sometimes have to remind myself that they exist.  If I remember and fall back on these axioms, things always turn out for the best.  It might not be the best I would have wanted, but I find myself relatively unscathed or able to bounce back quickly.  Kind of like the wizard in the Oz, The Great and Powerful or another well known film, The Wizard of Oz.

Restlesswanderer61’s axioms for surviving and thriving:

 1.     The only person I can change is me.

2.     No matter what life hands me, ultimately I choose how it effects me long term.

3.     Everyone has the same basic needs, only in different degrees. Love people including myself, even the ones hardest to love.

4.     Everyone’s behavior is purposeful.  They are the best choices I use or have used (whether healthy or regrettable, knowingly or subconsciously) to find balance. Don’t judge others or myself.

5.     I am energy at my deepest level and a spiritual being that can connect with anyone and is only limited to the constraints I place around me.  Even if I doubt or don’t believe, I can’t be disconnected from the creator or all of creation. It is no more possible then living without taking in oxygen.

6.     My brain is a creative and amazing devise. I will strive to develop what is not and prevent my thoughts from running amok.

7.     People have the most amazing resilience and overcome the incredible horrors. So do I.

8.     I am not perfect and never will be. There is no such thing as perfect.

9.     The answers to my problems will ultimately come from me even if I can’t see them currently.

10.   I have an amazing talent and gift, even when I don’t think so. Everyone has a talent or gift to be tapped to fulfill themselves and the world around them.  Let others shine, take the back seat and clap thunderously at other’s accomplishments no matter how big or small whether I know them or not.

11.   Never lose my childlike wonder, imagination and desire for play.

12.   Resistance to issues is futile. Deal with it, don’t repress or pretend it does not exist.

13.   It’s okay to reach beyond my comfort zone. In fact, I will grow from doing so.

14.   Strike a balance between being self-absorbed and other-focused.

15.   There is usually no such thing as the no win scenario. It’s only how to win and what “to win” really means.

16.   I don’t have to be correct all the time.  Pick my disagreements for when it really matters and let the rest go.

17.   Everyone has baggage and crap. Mine is no better or worse than someone else’s, only different. Accept it.

18.   Treat others the way I want them to treat me, even if they don’t.

19.   Unless I have no food, shelter or loved ones, I have nothing to seriously complain about. My life is fine, no matter what is happening. Be grateful for every person, everything I have and everything that happens to me.

20.   Be amazed by little things, joyful, laugh often and hard.

21.   I can make a difference in everyone’s life I meet. Even if it is a small one.

22.   Have patience. There is a reason things or people are as they are. Watch it unfold and learn.

23.   Dream big, make goals, explore, learn and strive to make those dreams a reality.

24.   Be proactive not reactive. This is my life, the only one I have, don’t get to the end and have regrets.  Make each moment count.

Do you have a list of axioms you follow? If you don’t or are not sure, it might be something to think about. If you have a code you follow that is true, there is no telling the wonderful places it will take you. You are your best and worst enemy. Find balance and find peace not only in times of sun but when the tornado’s in life blows your balloon off course.

Oh No! Not SPAM!

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As many of you know I have an internet business doing something called e-therapy. It uses an e-mail system for people who either do not want to make traditional weekly appointments in an office or are not able to. The key point of this is – e-mail is important to me. Very important.

So, imagine my surprise to find some people are ending up in my Spam folder. It’s a crazy system. The web site has an e-mail address and they forward the mail from this to my e-mail account which has a different e-mail address. They are, what do you call it, in sync.  Only, after having this system in place for several months I find all kind of important information I have not gotten because SPAM ate it.

This makes me a bit upset, peeved, ticked, pissed, you name it. No one warned me about SPAM. I grew up with SPAM. SPAM in a can. I have no idea what SPAM in a can really is. They tell me its ham but I like ham and well then there is SPAM.  There was also a bit done by Monty Python called Spam-a-lot. I only remember some pieces to this and I don’t think they were talking about SPAM in a can, but I know they were not talking about SPAM in my e-mail system.

My mother never served me SPAM in a can and I had to learn about it the hard way, as a poor student in college. That’s not a good way to learn about SPAM in a can but I’m sure there are worse.  She also never warned me about SPAM in my e-mail system. Yes, I know there was no internet or e-mail back when I was growing up but I really don’t see this as a good excuse for mom not introducing and warning me about SPAM.

Warnings, like, “Dear, when you get older, there will be this thing called the internet. People will send you things you normally get in the mailbox. You really need to be careful, especially if you open an internet based business, that you check this little hidden device called SPAM. No, not the stuff we see in the grocery store in a can. Now be a good girl and eat your ham.”

Okay, maybe it’s not a good idea to blame my mother for my short-comings in regards to SPAM. Perhaps I should look at the inner recesses of my own sub-conscious. Could it possibly be I’m so confused about SPAM in a can, it’s not ham but it is, I like ham but not SPAM that I don’t think about my SPAM folder?

Maybe I was traumatized as a young adult, sitting in my dorm trying to open SPAM in a can with my geometry compass tip (I didn’t have a can opener), and accidently swallowing it with SPAM that I fear flashbacks?  Maybe, I should have really thought harder about opening a business where SPAM was going to be involved on any level! Sh-t!

It’s too late now. I’m almost refinished my office so I can start seeing people face to face again. Still, I really wanted this e-mail system to take off… Damn…Damn you to hell you dirty, stinking SPAM! (That’s a spoof of Charlton Heston’s line in the film Planet of the Apes)

It’s Drive-In Movie Season! Let the Films Begin!

ImageIt’s drive-in movie time again. Even though nights are still on the cool side, it didn’t stop our local drive-in’s opening weekend from being a near sell-out for Iron Man 3 and Oz The Great and Powerful. 

Like good American nostalgia enthusiasts, we gathered our blankets, hooded sweat shirts, lawn chairs, a bag of McDonald’s food, folding table and a game of Haunted Mansion Life (yes it’s a Disney thing) and headed for the drive-in forty-five minutes away.

It was good to see so many other cars, vans and trucks in attendance. The enticing smell of popcorn, hot dogs and fresh coffee filing the air. Kids of all ages running about, throwing around balls, swinging on swings or playing games with family and friends around their vehicles. Adults sat around playing cards, friends were reunited. We were about an hour from show time. You have to go at least an hour before show time for a good spot and for socializing.

According to the LA Times, at the height of the drive-in theater craze there were over 4,000 drive-in movie screens or about 25% of all movie screens in the country. Today there are only approximately 368 or 1.5%. Drive-in movies are a dying bread in great family entertainment.

Why go to a drive-in when you can attend a modern indoor theater with rocking, cushy chairs and state of the art Dolby surround-sound? Here are my top ten reasons.

10. It’s an American institution that should be preserved.

9. Two movies for the price of one.

8. Before movie social time with family and friends.

7. You can talk all you want during the film and no one cares.

6. Sit in the car, on lawn chairs, laying in a truck or van, in sleeping bags on the ground. Whatever floats your boat.

5. You control the volume of the sound around you.

4. Bring the kids in their pajamas. If they fall asleep, no problem. Wrap them in a blanket. Once you are home, just plop them into bed. (Yes, put them in a car seat on the way home)

3. Bring your own treats but make sure to patronize the concession stand. Most drive-ins depend on this to off-set cost of the business. Our concession stand is like a take-out restaurant.

2. It’s an event, not just a film. Everyone gets excited when you tell them it’s drive-in movie night!

1. You get to watch the dancing concession stand food advertisement at intermission. “4 minutes till show time, just enough time to get a fresh bag of popcorn and a refreshing soda.. 3 minutes till show time…” As the dancing hot dogs in buns jig with a couple bags of popcorn to hooky carnival music.

Want to know if there is a drive-in near you? Go to DriveinMovie.com. They have them listed state by state. See you at the drive-in!

Oh yes, Iron Man 3 and Oz the Great and Powerful were great films. I recommend those too.