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I started this blog some months back as a journal of transformation. I had decided I was going to lose twenty pounds, get in better physical condition, eat better… all in preparation for my upcoming 60th birthday.
Well, I got so caught up in the weight loss and exercise, that I made no time to document it in writing. I happy to say that actually lost twenty-five pounds. My flat belly was restored, there was even some evidence of abdominal muscles. But, it’s with mixed feelings that I admit that I’ve already found twenty of those lost pounds, and once again dread tying my shoes.
I’m exhausted, and I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s no wonder, in light of the great socio-political divide that we are currently experiencing in our nation, this tear in the durable, yet fragile fabric that holds us together. I think that regardless of what side we’re one, we’re feeling the wear and tear wrought by the abrasive forces of our differing ideology, resulting in the erosion of any bonds of our joint psyche in regards to unity.
‘m not here to argue, or defend my beliefs against those of the opposition. I just want to raise my hand above the rabble and say that I’m here, I’m attempting to be optimistic, without compromising my ethics, principles, my desire to question and reason in a pragmatic manner, not fueled by hyperbole and fear.
I’m aware that at nearly sixty years of age, that I have many more days behind me than I do in front of me. Yet, I want to be instrumental in creating a positive environment for myself and others. I want to create a life of value, for whatever time I have left, regardless of the outside circumstances that guarantee my freedom, or might seek to confine me. I cannot and will not surrender my desire and right to think freely, to love whom I please, to express myself creatively. Most of all, I will not surrender my quest to be authentic, to live authentically and transparently; to be an observer, to be objective and have the ability to laugh. To find humor, to hopefully engage others in laughter, and in doing so, provoke them to think, to possibly see things from a different perspective.
All things considered, I have resurrected my resolve to transform my life. Now, it’s not only for matters of health and vanity; but for more sound and logical thinking, for conviction, for the strength to be an active part of the solution. I want to be able to stand strong in the face of adversity, however it may present itself. I will steel myself to defend my human and civil rights, seek and give encouragement to those in support, as well as encourage the opposition to examine their own perceptions and seek out the TRUTH.
I realize comparison is a form of judgement. At the same time, I look around me and what I often observe is people that are really having a rough time. They may have physical heal challenges, emotional and mental issues, live in financial poverty, experience difficulty “fitting in” socially, or finding acceptance. They have every right to feel lonely and depressed. Yet, here they are, optimistic, looking forward to some little indulgence that many of us take for granted. Hopeful about their future. Often doing without themselves so they can help others, even if it’s just feeding a stray cat.
Then, there are those that possess all the trappings that one would assume result in this thing called happiness. They’re not only physically appealing, but enjoy stellar health. Their social lives are rich with friends and relationships. Their calendar filled with events and travel experiences that many of us can only fantasize about. Money is no issue and luxury is their norm. Yet, they feel lonely, poor, marginalized, oppressed, unloved.
I realize that there are starving children and adults in this world. I’m well aware of the oppression and threats of violence, hunger, disease, and death that is part of the day to day reality of countless souls. But, for most of us, particularly for those of us here in the virtual world; true poverty is a state of mind.
I believe that HAPPINESS is a choice, and I stand by that as my TRUTH. Please, take a moment to take a realistic inventory of your life. Take advantage of your potential by opening up your heart and mind. Take a chance and allow light to fill that darkness. Hold your head up. Smile. FIND a reason to be happy. Simply be content, in this very moment. Allow those moments to join together, creating minutes, hours, days, and a lifetime.
For those that are unfamiliar with me, please let me state that my prayers have nothing to do with begging or supplication to some outside source or force. I am not seeking the mercy or assistance from God or Gods. My prayers are merely “thoughts held” for the Greatest Good of the person or situation I’m praying for. I also pray for the grace to accept the outcome, finding peace and healing, even realizing that the obstacle I face may in fact be the appropriate answer to the situation. So, please don’t think I’m approaching prayer from a religious perspective. My prayer for you today is to learn to love yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, the whole fuckin ball of wax.
“Suffering” is not a word I’m any more comfortable with than the word, “victim.” Pain is a mandatory part of life, a required course, put suffering is optional, an elective. So, let’s just say that I volunteered to climb up the rough side of the mountain to find self-acceptance and peace in my heart.
It took me nearly 50 years before I could look in a mirror and not loathe and despise the reflection I saw there. I hated that face in the mirror. I felt that it betrayed me, that it had nothing to do with the man I was, or the man that I was striving to be.
But, I can still plainly remember that day, I was 47yo. I was brushing my teeth and at some point glanced into the mirror and I was faced with this man that seemed at once a total stranger, yet somehow familiar. I found him almost attractive. In a split second I realized it was me, and in that same split second my entire life thus far suddenly made complete sense to me. Something clicked, I suddenly “got it.” EUREKA!
All those years I was attempting to embrace the face of a man that I disliked, loathed, despised even. I found him worthless and noting but an obstacle that prevented me from being the man I was truly meant to be . He was my great betrayer. All those years I blamed my appearance for my countless failures, disappointments, misery and general unhappiness. Even though I had done a lot of work on myself through various modalities of therapy and self-actualization, I continued to feel ugly inside, so I was only capable of perceiving ugliness on the outside. I had no problem finding beauty in you, or in my surroundings, but I didn’t feel worthy of feeling beautiful myself. That one instant in that one day changed my life forever.
I still face challenges and obstacles today. There are always going to be relationship issues, financial stress, care and concern for loved ones and our beloved pets. But, I no longer see myself as an enemy of my situations and circumstances. Today I am fully integrated, my own best ally, a force of nature in which I have complete and unwavering Faith.
This morning as I was going about my chores, I caught myself thinking about my childhood. I didn’t really have an unhappy childhood so much as I was simply an unhappy child. I was angry, bitter, and appreciated nothing, just miserable. I had nothing but disdain and disgust for the icons of childhood. For instance, I absolutely could not abide Topo Gigio, despised him, loathed him, couldn’t stand that little motherfuckin mouse. His only saving grace was that he appeared at the very end of the Ed Sullivan show, allowing me to make my exit, having already seen the Chinese plate spinners, the Malaysian contortionists, the Flying Wallendas, or major acts such as The Beatles or Supremes.
Everybody thought he was so adorable, whereas I found him to be repugnantly needy in his wanton pandering for affection.. all of that batting his lashes and asking, “Aay-dee, keese me goo-nigh.” Had he no pride at all? Begging for a peck on the cheek, and from Ed Sullivan of all people, not even John, Paul, George, or Ringo?
I’d like to think that the years have mellowed me, that I’ve become a kinder, less cynical person. I’m sure in many and most ways I have. I’m certainly no longer bitter or unhappy. Quite the contrary. I’m an overflowing well of optimism and gratitude. However, I’m still not sure I could make such a precious attempt to cajole a person into giving me a goodnight kiss,. However, I will admit that I’d unabashedly use my acquired skills of passive-aggressive manipulation in a manner to get score a piece of ass. But, that’s just me.
My most sincere apologies for being so terribly out of touch the past few weeks. My express intent of creating and launching this blog was a practice in self-discipline, primarily my issues with procrastination. I assure you that I was
thinking about writing every day, not to mention the fact that I’m surrounded by index cards scribbled with copious notes regarding what I wanted to write about. Many of those notes have become indecipherable due to my sloppy penmanship, while other that were more time sensitive have seen their moment of pertinence pass into oblivion. However, I do take some pleasure in announcing that while I’ve failed to talk the talk, I have made serious inroads into walking the walk. My determination to make a 180 degree has resulted in a working plan and implantation. I have been focusing on my nutrition and eating plan, as well as applied myself to an exercise plan that has paid off in a rather substantial weight loss in a brief period of time, not to mention a truly appreciable change for the better in my cardiovascular profile. I now actually have to mount the treadmill and turn it on in order to reach my target heart rate for fat burning, as opposed to merely stand at a reasonable distance and watch other people walking, jogging, and running whilst going nowhere. At the same time, I’ve been revisited by some long-time chronic issues with spinal stenosis, arthritis, neuropathy, loss of strength and muscle atrophy in my arms. This has been an ongoing issue for many years, and in the past has left me somewhat emotionally bereft. Not only due to the loss of strength, but rather the cosmetic and vanity effect have been somewhat devastating. As a man we want to feel secure in our ability to defend ourselves, not only in the face of attack, but even to have the strength to break a fall. Of course there is also the issue of vanity and ego, wanting to have pride in maintaining our bodies, but feeling discouraged when our bodies don’t comply for any number of reasons. I’ve been fortunate over the years to encounter countless men and women of all ages, facing physical challenges of every imaginable description, many of which one would assume would extremely compromising in the effect it’s had on the person’s appearance, yet that person has went on, not only to thrive and greatly contribute to the greater good of all, but to be perceived as attractive and sexy, despite any visible physical deficit. They have in fact transcended their so -called flaw and made it a part of what makes them uniquely beautiful. I easily lose sight of this ability to persevere and overcome, but just the other day I was reminded by watching a Fetty Whap video, that there is no reason to run from yourself. Embrace yourself, the good the bad, and the ugly. That’s all for now. My dear friend Chris Ferreria is visiting from San Diego, and I plan to take full advantage of his expertise and artistic eye as a photographer while he’s here. So, I’ma go do a costume change and get ready for a close-up.
For photographer info: www.christopherferreria.com
When I recently launched this blog it was my intent to be much more prolific in my postings. Over the years I’ve started any number of “self-improvement” programs, some have been of a physical/logistical bent, while others have been more spiritual and ethereal in nature. Nearly all of them warned that one may want to prepare themselves for a certain amount of negativity or resistance as they begin their new venture, but to not disparage or be discouraged, this is merely some sort of karmic or universal resistance, that we were merely to sally forth to reach the rainbow. I’ve always considered this aviso to be so much happy horseshit. Alas, I’m forced to change my views. I no more than got my first couple of blog postings published than I was visited by an old chronic health issue that had long been in remission, not to mention sundry domestic obligations that got in my way. During this past week or so in my period of distraction I’ve certainly had plenty to write about, but just not the physical wherewithal to sit and type. However, I have not allowed my physical discomfort and personal issues to usurp my commitment to this endeavor of life transformation. I dare say that if anything, they have only added to my fortitude and determination. I didn’t allow myself the luxury of using my challenges to put me in a state of self-defeat and lose sight of my goals. This in and of itself as a true measure of improvement. So, I’m back, have lots on my mind that I’d like to share. Just a reminder, this is about my own program of self-transformation. Yes, I have adopted a new nutrition and eating plan. I’ve also made a commitment to more physical exercise, being more concerned with continuity than intensity. That’s not to say that I’m not working vigorously, but I’m certainly not going at it with some delusion that I’ll be 22 again. My transformation really has nothing to do with recapturing youth or past glories, it’s about transforming myself in the NOW. Hell, truth be told, if I were to be truly honest with myself, there aren’t really that many past glories or accomplishments to brag about aspire to. I’m simply fascinated by the fact that a fuck-up like me has made it this far.. I assure you that I’ve defied all predictions of family, friends, and foe alike. Hell, had I seen and held myself and my life in the esteem that I’ve developed today, I quite likely wouldn’t be writing this blog, but would be busily in charge of the machinations of the entire universe. I do not say that to be conceited or arrogant, simply to make apparent the sense of power over my own destiny that I’m allowing myself to recognize and take command of today. So, to clarify. I have no intention to talk about my calorie consumption, a list of foods I’ve eliminated, display a pie chart of my macronutrients, and I particularly have ZERO interest in apologizing or seeking absolution should I fall short of my regimen and consume a cheesecake. Nor, am I going to bore you with details about my workout routine, how many pounds of iron I can pump over my manboobs, or how long I can balance on an inflated ball. I will mention whether or not I’m realizing improvement, and I’ll also openly recognize my challenges, obstacles, and downfalls. But, I am in no manner qualified or equipped to offer diet or workout advice. I’m more concerned in lending and receiving the type of emotional and social support that many of us have not only a need for, but the ability to offer. Experiment, find what best suits and resonates with you. Find your own diet, your own exercise program, your own philosophy, God/god, spiritual program, philosophy. Do what it takes for YOU to realize your own innate and limitless potential.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Note: OK, I will take a boastful moment and admit that I had my body fat percentage professionally
measured on Monday.
I’m not going to give numbers here, but I was delightfully pleased that it was significantly lower than any expectations or number I was able to come up with using various formulas that rely upon height/weight/BMI/age or other criteria.
Today I ended up spending more time looking at the backside of life, from behind the blog structure as I fine-tune my platform for my thoughts, and insights I wanted to share. Got a few new features working. Now those of you who want to follow me, you have a few ways;
There’s nothing that hits harder than the brutal realization that the only thing standing between you and the life you dream about is YOU! It’s the way you think, the way you act, the way you react, or your total lack of action at all.
Recently I posted the above message on Facebook. Later I was in the bedroom sorting through clothing. I’m attempting to “clean house” in every aspect of my life; physically, materially, emotionally, and spiritually. I have more clothes than I could ever wear in my remaining years. Nothing designer label or high-end. No, I’ve learned to shop frugally in very moderately priced stores. I’ve grown quite fond of Target, H&M, or Real Old Navy as I refer to it, places where the man of a certain age can make a fashion blunder and leaving the house looking foolish, yet for a relatively modest price. ROSS is an absolute goldmine and on Tuesdays I get a discount just for being over 55. There’s no good reason for a man my age to blow $300 bucks for a pair of skinny jeans when he can evoke ample ridicule in a pair that he got at ROSS for $17.99. In fact, the designer logo on the $300 pair would only add insult to injury. So, as I looked over this collection of clothing that I was going to donate to one of the many charities, I came to realize that it was all garments that I actually liked, they’ve simply ceased to fit. I had bought these items for a reason, in fact, were I financially prepared to do so, I go out and purchase the same items tomorrow, albeit in a larger and more flattering size. But, if I were to ever again weigh 175-180 lbs., these very items would be perfect. That’s when it struck me. 180… It’s not just about a goal weight, but the fact that I need to do a 180 in evert aspect of my life. Physically, materially, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. There’s really nothing “wrong” with my life, or me for that matter. But, I am hardly living up to any standard even near my potential. First of all I need to shift gears, do a U-turn in the way I think, a 180 degree turnaround in my thought process and priorities. It’s like an alcoholic or addict entering a recovery program and being told that the only thing they have to change about themselves is EVERYTHING. Well, that’s exactly where I’m at. I’ve been there with booze, been there with shopping, big time been there with cigarettes. But in the process I’ve rewarded myself by indulging in gluttony and sloth. I eat too much, and I move too little. But, it’s not just about the foods I consume or getting to the gym. It starts with my thoughts, my manner of thinking. The insidiously insane notion that because I’ve given up certain things that once brought me pleasure but proved be ruinous, somehow allows me to feel that I deserve to reward myself with other pleasurable but equally detrimental practices. That’s insanity! But, anytime we attempt to fill the hole in the sole with substances or outside influences, be it booze, food, sugar, shopping, sex.. Whatever! When we attempt to fill that hole in our soul with anything other than our own emotional and spiritual development, it’s only a matter of time before we end up back at Square One. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke. Yet, I eat way too damn much and put more effort into hooking up and getting laid than I do working on my physical health at the gym. So, once again in my life, it’s time to make some changes, and as always, the only thing I have to change is everything. I need to reboot my mind, start seeing things from a different perspective. To see food as fuel to achieve better health as opposed to seeing cake as a panacea for whatever didn’t go my way today. To get to the gym rather than look at the guy with the perfectly chiseled body and retreat to the sofa. I’m beginning to develop a clear picture of what I want and I’m beginning to make some sincere changes. But, I know I can’t do it alone. So my hope in committing to this journey but creating this blog and sharing with others will aid me with developing the self-discipline to become the man I wish to be.
NOTE: I am going to make an attempt to eat more nutritionally and develop an exercise and fitness program that works for me. This is not about what diet or eating plan I’m on, nor is it about how much time I spend at the gym and details about a workout. I am not going to post Before & After photos of myself. Comparing ourselves to others and wishing to either avoid or achieve their results does noting towards nurturing better thinking, behavior, or practice within our own program. Comparison is but one more form of judgment. My dentist, a lovely man, is a competitive body builder. He inspires me greatly as a man, and his body is a testimonial to extreme discipline and dedication to achieve a goal. Certainly there’s the cofactor of being genetically gifted. No matter my diet or diligence at the gym, I will never have this man’s body. I see his body as a stunning achievement, but what truly inspires me and what I wish to emulate is the manner of thinking that has compelled him to stick to a strict regimen of diet and exercise. We all have the equal opportunity to achieve greatness, but it’s absurd to think that we’ll achieve it in the same manner. So, this is about exploring my own potential, and finding my own path, along with the determination and discipline to display my own greatness.
Today is the day. No more procrastination. I’ve been wanting to create a blog/journal surrounding my inability to set and focus on goals. Not only am I cursed by a tendency to procrastinate by I’m easily distracted and have a very difficult time focusing my attention on a specific project from inception to completion. The very fact that I’ve completed these few sentences is a small triumph and the further fact that I’m about to publish them with a single keystroke will constitute a victory.
So, please bear with me until I get the hang of this and try to accept that these entries may arrive in a rather piecemeal fashion. But, I am committed to making this happen.
One of the things I’m striving for here is better physical and emotional health, and I believe they go hand in hand. When you feel better physically you feel better about yourself emotionally. And when you feel better emotionally you’re better equipped and more likely to take care of yourself physically.
I have made a commitment to monitor my food consumption, in both portions and actual foods eaten, and I’m also developing an exercise/workout program which is realistic and attainable for a man approaching 60. But, I am not going to go into details about them here.
There’s little I find more unappealing than hearing grown men piss and moan about what they “can’t” eat on a specific diet, or apologizing, atoning, and seeking public absolution for some forbidden treat that they did consume in a moment of weakness. I also have no desire to go into detail in regards to my workout program and what I’m doing to strengthen my core. I’m nearly 60 years old, the only muscles that truly concern me are the ones that make me appear more attractive or may aid and abet me in getting laid on a fairly regular basis. While I admire and congratulate those that have six-pack abs, I have no desire or illusions of achieving such a physique. I’d like my shoulders to be wider than my waist and hips, my biceps larger than my wrists, and my legs thick and muscular enough so that when naked I don’t look like a sun-damaged and hairy martini glass. Any muscles that don’t support my basic endeavors I refer to as Algebra Muscles. I flunked Algebra twice in middle and high school. I was urged by counselors to take it a third time, they warned me that I couldn’t possibly expect to have a quality life or maintain a roof over my head without passing basic Algebra. I refused, and yet I have went on to enjoy a life of abundance and great joy. A ripped and lean body is admirable, but to think it’s mandatory in order to have a full life is a myth.