Shut Up And Listen

For years now… a lot of years, I have done what others expected of me.  I have worked the 9-5 job (which I still work), I have put off my dreams,  and sacrificed things that I love for the sake of others happiness or a better opinion of me.  I morphed myself into whatever I needed to gain acceptance and likability.

That started to fade about a year ago.   Two weeks ago, I am happy to say that part of me died.  There was no funeral, no teary good-bye.  Just a smile and a one finger salute.

When expectations weigh on us, we feel the pressure.  Some thrive on pressure, while others feel the weight of expectations dropping down like a sledgehammer.

If more of us listened to our own advice, we’d all be happier.   I am fantastic at giving advice.  As I sit there and ramble on and make great points about others lives, I listen to myself.   I think, “Man, that’s good.  I should listen.”

I finally started listening.

Maybe it was when I had a falling out with someone whom I thought was a friend.  Maybe it was that motherly feeling I felt the last time I was with my daughter.   I can’t say for sure it was the totality of those situations, but they played a huge role.

In reality (the cold hard kind), I took a look at my life.  I sat, and had a one way conversation with God.  When I finished talking, I shut up.  I sat quietly, and listened.  From the inner sanctum of my soul, there was indeed a voice.   It may have very well been God.  He does work in mysterious ways.   The voice said, “You are so ready for this”.

Our inner voice, our heart, talks to us every day.  It tells us what we need, how we can help others and help ourselves.  Instead, we are up in our heads, telling ourselves what we want, what others should do and do for us.

A lot of people confuse the heart and the head.  Misconceptions and ideals clutter the head.  The head gets crammed every day with facts and half-truths.  The heart knows two things: pain and joy.

Here is an example:  someone in a bad relationship.  If you talk to this someone, they’ll say: “My head is telling me to leave, but my heart is saying stay,” or some crap like that.  Uh, you got it backwards.  Your head tells you to stay because then you don’t have to work on yourself.  Your heart tells you to get the hell out of there because it knows you deserve so much better.

If we shut up and listen to our heart, we’ll get all the answers we need.


Start The Road To Healthy

Most of us want to live the healthy lifestyle.  We buy books, eat healthy foods and join a gym all in an attempt to feel and look good.  Books are expensive, healthy food is expensive (this blows my mind) and joining a gym… expensive.  In these trying economic times, we are barely able to put gas in the tank to get us back and forth to work each week, let alone back and forth to the gym.

Let’s go over a few ways we can maintain a healthy lifestyle while continuing to live within our means.


Sure you can spend money on the gym membership, or buy an expensive piece of machinery to take up space in your home that will double as a clothes rack.  But will a giant clothes rack that help you live the ultimate cardio lifestyle?  And just what are you getting out of that gym membership anyway?

Run, jog or walk outside.  Getting your twenty minutes of cardio vascular exercise outside is smarter than getting it on the machine of your choice.  When you run outside, your feet hit inconsistencies in the pavement, asphalt and dirt.  This activates those little muscles that you probably didn’t even know you had.

If you aren’t sure where to get your cardio in around town, check out  It is free to join and you can find maps and log your progress.  If you want features like fitness reports and training plans, you can upgrade to one of the pay memberships.


One of the best things you can put into your body is water.  Straight up H2O in a bottle or on the rocks has many benefits for your health.  Often, we think we are hungry when in reality we are actually dehydrated.

The human body is 60% water for males and 55% water for females.

Drinking water aids in the process of fat loss.  The kidneys cannot effectively work without water.  If the kidneys are not getting their quota of water, they dump their work on the liver.  One of the livers purposes is to metabolize stored fat.  This fat becomes energy if metabolized properly.

The liver cannot do two things at the same time (like most of us) and when it has to help out the kidneys, it cannot metabolize stored fat.

So in a sense, you can work out until the cat comes home, but if you aren’t drinking enough water, you’re making it harder for yourself than it should.  Shoot for 8 – 10 eight ounce glasses a day.


I love brownies.  I was never a big chocolate fan, but sometime after I hit the precious age of thirty-five, it all of my years of not eating chocolate caught up with me. If you are a junk food lover or a fast food eater, be careful of how much of the greasy, fat-laden stuff you eat.

Watch out for using junk food as a reward system.  Using food as a reward system backfires.  You are training yourself to reward good behavior with unhealthy foods. Before you know it, you’ll be rewarding yourself for every “good deed” with junk.
Look here for treats that are yummy and good for you.  Healthy Snacks


If we didn’t maintain our vehicles they would break down and eventually be hauled off to the scrap metal kingdom.  The same goes for our bodies.  Without routine check-ups, we miss certain signs that our body needs attention.
My co-worker was sick for three months and didn’t go to the doctor.  She wound up being rushed to the ER, where she found out she had stage four colon cancer.  She is doing better these days, thankfully.
Be sure to get to your annual check-up.  For other check-ups, visit to see when to look at what.  And for health’s sake, if you are sick, go see a doctor.
When you go see your doctor, be honest about your family history.  Things such as heart attack, stroke, mental health and alcoholism are important parts of your family history that your doctor should know.

Eating healthy and exercise are the best ways to keep your body healthy and in shape.  Check ups and regular exams are important to your well-being and body to address any changes as soon as possible.
Be sure to talk to your physician before starting a diet and exercise regimen.

What are some ways you maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Emotional Control: Why It Works

I don’t like to brag, really.  I feel like a stuffy, pompous, fill in the blank when I brag.  But today, I feel different.  Today I want to brag about my ability to control my emotions.  And I want to tell you why controlling your emotions is one of the smartest things you can ever do for yourself.

When we become overwhelmed with emotion, for some reason most of us feel the world needs to know that an injustice has been done to us.  If we’re mad at someone, we have to tell them what a jerk they are.  If someone has hurt our feelings, they must know how they have bruised us.

Why does anyone have to know what we are feeling? When someone treats us wrong or does something we disagree with, it is our perception of what has happened that hurts us.  We react so quickly to the perceived pain or hurt that we do not give ourselves time to understand it and look at it for whatever it is.

Feelings Aren’t Facts

A friend of mine was going through a break up about a year ago.  She told me how she felt abandoned and how her ex boyfriend was a jerk for leaving her and blah blah blah.  Like dice from a cup, the words, “Feelings aren’t facts and facts aren’t feelings” spilled out of my mouth.

You can’t change the facts, but you can change the way you react to the facts.  Dr. Phil said, “change the way you think and you’ll change the way you feel.”

Look up at a wall in whatever room you are sitting in.  That wall is there.  That is a fact.  How you feel about that wall being there does not change the fact that the wall is there.  You can feel angry about the wall being there which hurts you, but how you feel does not change the fact that the wall is still there.

Only We Have Control Over Our Emotions

When someone hurts us or something happens that brings us pain, we have the power to control our emotions.  Of course we do not let others walk all over us.  In the book, “You Can’t Make Me Angry”, Paul O. says, “-we get on with our lives.  We don’t sit around letting the situation decide our emotional state.”

People wind up sitting around brooding over injustices and how they were pained by others actions.  Worse still, some of these people hold it in until the tiniest situation arises and then they are screaming and throwing things with no justification.  What kind of solution is that?

Sometimes we really just need to get the feelings out.  It is healthy to get all that bad stuff out.  If you feel like you need a physical release, punch your pillow or go to the driving range.  If you belong to a gym, find the heavy bag and beat it to a pulp.  Never put your hands on another human being or any other living creature.

We have to get on with our lives.  We have to learn to say, “I have a choice today. I can choose to stay angry and ruin my day. Or, I can choose to let it go, if only for a while, and come back to it later.”

The bottom line is when we are dealing with emotions we have to rule them.  We cannot let our emotions rule us.  We are the creator and destroyer of our emotions.


When i was in my twenties, I was an idiot.  I’m not sure why some people in their twenties (like my upstairs neighbors) lose capacity for rational thinking.  It could be the surge of hormones and the raging desire to do things that, at the time, seem cool.  Things like, renting out your apartment as a party spot.  This is not only stupid, but dangerous.

Thankfully, I made it to thirty-seven.  I can now look back at the ridiculous acts I committed and stunts I pulled, and shake my head in sheer embarrassment much like anyone else after their moment of clarity.

I have a bright, beautiful, compassionate twenty year old daughter.  On the flip side, she is also lazy, spontaneous to a fault, and lacks common sense at times.  This makes her guilty of nothing a million other twenty somethings, past, present and future, are not equally guilty of.

While I’d like to paint a picture of myself as that standout, mature composed twenty something, I was much more stupid than my daughter (thankfully) and can pass on valuable information to her and anyone else that will listen.

I know we all need to go through our share of turmoil and frustration.  After all, it is not the successes we learn from, but the failures.  There is, however, a fine line between stupid, and really freaking stupid.

This brings me to my upstairs neighbors.  Who, in thirty days, will no longer be my upstairs neighbors.  This sits bitter-sweetly with me.  I wish greatly that there were no others involved in the eviction that the family upstairs received this morning.  I hope for their sake the mother/wife gets her act together.

It was Saturday night and my boyfriend was at his second job.  I had off from my second job this weekend because it was my Saturday night to have dinner with my daughter.  I got home from seeing my daughter around 7:30 to the sounds of loud music and voices.  No biggie.  It was only 7:30 pm.  I dashed out the door to meet some old friends I hadn’t seen in years. We ate, laughed and parted ways about 9:30.  I came back home to louder music and banging.  It was getting late, and I was slightly annoyed.  But it was before 10 pm.

My boyfriend came through the door at 10:15 pm.  The noise was still unbearable and we just gave each other a “this is ridiculous” look and discussed who would go up and knock to tell them to please keep it down if it continued.  We even dug out the copy of the lease to make sure we were not overreacting.  Right there in the lease it stated: “No loud music, noise or banging that infringes on the comfort of neighboring tenants”.

I was elected.  My boyfriend said it’d be good for me since I am terrible at confrontation. After rolling my eyes along with various reasons why I disagreed, I went to go chat with the upstairs neighbors.

As I climbed the steps, I could see the overhead light on in the parlor.  The blinds were cracked and hanging lopsided and there were empty beer cans on the small landing outside the door.  The music was annoyingly loud and I realized at that moment I had crossed my internal threshold of age.  When I got to the landing and was able to look in the door, I saw five people sitting in various types of chairs that I had never before seen.  I knocked on the door careful to keep my face expressionless.

The twenty something kid closest to the door answered.  I stepped into the doorway slightly, but never into the apartment.  I was able to look to the left and see two more people sitting along the wall, also on mismatched chairs.  I asked where the couple was that lived there.  The kid at the door said the girl would be back.  I then asked them if they could please keep it down.  The ceilings are paper-thin, I said.  The kid said sure, I said thank you and retreated down the steps.

As I walked down the steps, the first thing that popped in my head was, who the hell are all of those people.  I had never seem any of them at the apartment.  Secondly, where the hell was the living room furniture?  I went back into my apartment, explained what I said and what I saw to my boyfriend and contemplated calling the cops.

I did not call the cops.  I didn’t feel it was police worthy.  Calling the cops would have brought flashing red and blue lights and a bunch of drama.

At about 12:30 am, the girl came home and my boyfriend lunged off the couch.  He flung the door open and yelled something like, “Yo, can you keep it down? It’s after midnight and it’s freaking loud.”
She apologized, went up the steps and several minutes later, it was quiet.  She came stomping down the stairs a while later and my boyfriend looked out the door to see her get back in her car with an open beer can.

The noise started again, and went on until 2:30 am, intermittently.

My boyfriend and I decided that we needed to tell the landlord in the morning.  We went to the convenience store he owns, and sure enough he was standing at the end of the deli counter where he often times is every morning.  We told him everything that transpired and he said, “That’s it.  They’re getting an eviction notice.”

The boyfriend knocked on our door this morning and asked what happened.  Apparently, they were served the eviction shortly after we went to talk to the landlord.  It turns out that he and she were living together but separated.  She doesn’t work and he can’t afford to get his own place.  This explained to me why there were numerous men over the apartment at odd times and why he was never around.

My boyfriend went outside on the step to talk to the boyfriend and came back in.  I felt bad for the boyfriend and the little girl, who I found out was upstairs with the seven strangers while the girlfriend was off getting more pot and beer.  For the daughter’s sake, I hope to hell the mother gets help.

As we sat on the couch and reminisced about our twenty something years we heard the boyfriend yelling at the girlfriend about his daughter being in a house full of strangers.  Then it clicked.  Addiction makes people do stupid things.

Bored? Try This…

Every once in a while I get bored. Most times I have the ability to cure my boredom with one of the following twenty-five ways to cure boredom. If you are bored, or will be bored shortly.. try one or many of the following ways to cure boredom. Some of them are pretty common, like going for a walk or dancing to music. Others are not so common, like going snail hunting. Snail hunting is very time consuming! Not only are snails epically slow, but they are especially good at hiding.

Going to a mall without your wallet is a tough one. However, I have gone to the mall without my wallet and maybe 5 bucks in my pocket for a coffee. I walked the mall, looked in the stores and people watched. I saw a few things I wanted to buy (a few people too), but my wallet was at home. This turned out to be a great idea, because by the time I got home, I hadn’t remembered what I wanted to buy. I saved myself some cash.

As far as applying to a job you think you’ve not a snowball’s chance in Honduras of getting, I’m not saying a job that is completely out of your league. It is good to apply for positions you have some skills in, or may even have an interest in, like a zoo keeper.

Give a few of these a try.  If you have some better ideas you’d like to share with the rest of us, please do.

1) Write a poem.
2) Go for a walk.
3) Go for a walk and take pictures.
4) Listen to music and analyze the lyrics.
5) Dance to music.
6) Rearrange your cabinets.
7) Rearrange your schedule.
8) Go snail hunting.
9) Go to the mall; leave your wallet at home.
10) Listen to a type of music you’ve never listen to.
11) Watch a foreign movie.
12) Go to the library.
13) Doodle a picture story.
14) Use song titles to write a short story.
15) Apply to a job you’ve no chance of getting (you never know).
16) Make up cryptograms and put them away to solve the next time you are bored.
17) Volunteer somewhere. Anywhere.
18) Go through your closet and get rid of clothes you never wear.
19) Go for a drive without your GPS and get lost.
20) Start a conversation with a stranger.
21) Write a paragraph of how you would like people to perceive you.
22) Write a paragraph of how you think people perceive you.
23) Write a letter to a soldier.
24) Pick flowers and put them on a random grave.
25) Visit a historical site and take notes. Blog about it.

Ways To Give Back

In today’s world it seems like more take and take than give and take.  When did everyone become so selfish?  I’ve experienced over the years that the more we give, the more we get.

Here are some ways to give back.  This helps out our neighbors, our community and our military.  Giving back makes us feel like thrusting out our chest feathers and shouting, “I’m awesome!  Look what selfless act I just did.”

1) Give Coffee To A Solider

Our troops are overseas and not feeling many of the warm elements of home.  Warm them up with a cup of coffee.  On the site, you can choose the amount of the donation you’d like to give.  You can even add a personal message.  The coffee goes to random U.S. Troops that are extremely grateful for your generosity.  I have sent coffee to troops and the thank you messages I received were very heart warming.

2) Give Blood

What better way to give than actually giving part of yourself.  On the Redcross website, there is information on the types of blood that are in high demand, what not to do before you decide to donate blood and locations to donate.  If you are a first time donor, there is a link to click on that tells you about what to do prior to, during and after giving blood.  Diet is important in blood donations, so cut out the fat and drink a lot of water before you head out to give blood.

3) Help A Furry Friend

As an animal lover, this is my go to site when I have a little extra cash and am feeling generous.  Since the ASPCA is a non-profit organization, they need all the help and money they can get.  Another great way to help out the ASPCA is to spread the word.  With social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is easy to share a link and ask others to help out.

4) Donate Your Time

Since time seems like something that we can really ever afford to give away these days why not give some to those who could really use your help.  At this site, all you do enter your location and a keyword of the kind of volunteer work you’d like to participate.  A detailed list will pop up with various links of charities or organizations that need your help.  Even better, you can register on the site for free to receive email updates and sign up for the newsletter.

5)  Help Out The Less Fortunate

This is a great website.  You can browse by category and go through the different charities.  You may even stumble on a charity you didn’t even know existed like Crime Prevention or Arts & Culture.  The site has links on getting started and tips on giving every day like 50 ways to save animals, most of which involve a lot of common sense and very little money.  Also, it has some useful information on ways to give time without overexerting yourself.  This is wonderful because a lot of us do not volunteer our time because we have so little of it.

Hopefully this has helped you figure out a few ways to help some fellow neighbors, strangers or furry friends out.  Donating time, money and belongings is a wonderful way to give back.  Not to mention, it really amps up our self-esteem when we do selfless acts of random kindness.

In what ways do you like to help others out?

Perfectly Imperfect

Meditation For Thursday, February 24, 2011

Perfectionism is a stressor for many of us.  For others, it is crippling.  Company cannot come into our home until it is perfect.  We do not leave the house until we look perfect.  When we set the table for dinner, it must look… perfect!

No one is perfect.  The sooner you realize this, the happier you’ll be.

It is 7:40 in the morning and you are yelling at your hair in the bathroom mirror. You’re stressing because you’re running late (again) and there is no way you are leaving the house looking like this.  Your hair refuses to adhere to your strict demands of perfectionism.  If anyone asked you, you would swear your hair could actually hear you.  I know there were a few times I was pretty sure my hair could hear me.  But my hair wanted to play the let’s see how many of us she rips out today game.

Believe it or not, no one cares.  No one will notice your imperfect hair.  Heck, no one notices your perfect hair.  How many times have we apologized for our appearance, the dirt on the dashboard of our car or the seven dishes in the kitchen sink only to be told, “Really?  I hadn’t noticed”.  Now we feel silly because we brought attention to something that no one had noticed. Embrace your freaky hair.  You’ll feel better once you realize there are imperfect things we cannot perfect.  Sometimes (ok, most times) even hair.

Maybe you are having company over and you just spent the last three hours with a piece of duct tape on a stick to get the fuzzies out of the ridge between the baseboard and the carpet.  You are the only person who is, or ever will be, aware of these displaced fuzzies.  Why, when people come to our home, do we get so freaked out about all those fuzzies? Say it with me:  No one cares about the displaced fuzzies.

Lighten up!  Perfectionism is draining.  When we beat ourselves up with this kind of self abuse, it takes a toll on our spirit and our health.  Learning to let go of perfectionism is a wonderful step towards accepting yourself for who you are.  When we let go of perfectionism, we give ourselves the gift of being human.  To let things be as they are (even us and our own idiosyncrasies) gives us time to enjoy the moment rather than fret about its lack of perfection.

Mantra for the day:  I am perfectly imperfect.