First Morning and a Good Life

Life is good this morning, I woke at my normal 4:30 body clock time refreshed and ready for a good day.  Something was different though. Something good!

She heard me stir and came out front under the bed!  Still shy and timid but there she was with her amazing blue eyes and velvet ears waiting to go out.  I found a pooch after so much time.  I know it’s going to take a few days for her to adjust and understand that she now owns the place she’s no longer in a kennel where she’s spent most of her life.  She’s home, she’s where daily walks and hikes and cookies and cuddles are normal routine not just some thing a kid with a job needs to do.

My neighbors love her already, I can’t blame them she’s so sweet natured.  Aside from a propensity to explore my kitchen trash can she’s shown no signs of the destructiveness in her notes.  I purposely picked a pooch that needed work because it means I need to focus on something on someone.

She seems content so far to sleep under my bed, I suppose having been surrounded by crates all her life it gives a security.  Last night I too slept under my bed lol felt great on the back and my pillow didn’t move much she did lick now and then.

I have a very late shift today and thus more time with pooch, yesterday we did a short walk along the trails today maybe a longer run I want to again off leash her but I might have to wait.

For now as I cook my breakfast with Elise at my leg I have no complaints!!  In fact I’ve only felt this comfortable with my Akita my darling soja a man needs a pup.

A man needs a pup…..

~J

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Healthy Eating, Healthy Brain 

I find myself unusually calm lately, things don’t seem to bother me so much anymore which is a good thing.  I’m not exactly sure what all has changed but I do know that I have been eating much healthier the past two weeks.
A very dear friend brought me some venison the other month and I have been pulling it from the freezer as of late.  The meat is very lean and takes seasoning with my various curries incredibly well.  I have been cooking up the ground deer pork with various veggie mixes and divvying up the batches into Tupperware for lunches.

I start each morning with homemade hash browns and sometimes two eggs over medium.  Later in the morning I usually do a bowl of pasta with red sauce and I do the same after returning home from work.  I also always have a batch of rice to reheat as a quick snack.  I’ve also been doing a lot of beans, this morning I actually did homemade refried beans from dried pintos I soaked overnight.

And while my kitchen is getting a little bare by my standards this week I have plenty of these healthy items to eat.  I get paid Friday and have taken the time to work up a shopping list of healthy items and not a bunch of quick microwave garbage.

As I’ve been working a lot of hours I plan to treat myself this weekend with a junk food meal of pizza from fat boys pizza but aside from that I’m consciously choosing to continue eating healthy.

My body feels better, I’m starting to actually sleep better, and my thoughts don’t seem to run away as much.  I’ve become more thoughtful and direct with my interactions around others.  

Next steps?  Go back into tech, slay this smoking dragon, and give a pooch a forever home with belly rubs and hikes and luvs.

~J

Unless You’re Jim Henson Don’t Expect to Change Shit

If everything around you fails expectations perhaps it’s your expectations?

Yesterday was a very rough day for me in fact it’s been a rough couple of days but today especially. Today I saw my grandparents off to move to Arizona, the home I consider to be my family home will soon be listed and no longer be the place I’ve always felt the safest. Today my aunt and I had much to do so we did what we do best… we did (if that makes sense). We had a three day plan to get things done and at the time of this writing we’re pretty much done granted there are a few cleanup things tomorrow.

Naturally as family is people get “volunteered” and others that volunteer themselves end up having an expectation set. Well, needless to say we had most everything done before the help was even awake. Aside from the emotional frustration, the tiredness from working so hard, the sadness, the everything…. Well so my work shift gets cancelled, traffic was a pain in the rear, I haven’t had a full night sleep in days in fact I’m lucky if I get more than half hour spurts peppered with nightmares, my patio is flooded from the rain due to my piss poor property manager, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After all was said and done while sitting down with my wonderful auntie and relaxing for a bit before coming home and chatting (well bitching about things really) I realized that everyone has emotions affected by others, I honestly knew this but a lot of times at least for me knowledge often gets buried in current emotions. For some random reason I blurted out “Yeah, unless your Jim Henson, don’t expect to control shit!” hence the title of this post, we both laughed but realized it’s entirely true!!

So taking this into account I suppose I can focus on the things within my bounds of control, most notably my perception of things! I can also control my external reaction regardless of my perception and emotional state should I choose. If Bob decides to scream at me for wearing brown shoes with my black pants I can simply nod and smile rather than argue the fact that my most comfortable shoes are brown, chances are with a reaction like this I will walk away feeling better than I would if I were to engage in a senseless argument that serves no purpose other than to raise tension.

Interesting way to think in my opinion when I begin to dissect it as I would most likely not be entirely aware that I am in a better emotional state by not engaging in the argument with Bob who I cannot control this brings a new angle to the already complex conundrum of focusing on what I can control. In this manner even though I can control my perception and external reaction to a degree I truly cannot control it completely as I would be unaware of what I would experience should I have behaved or taken things in a different light. The best way I can break this down to myself is to compare true skydiving to one of those indoor skydiving activities, unless I experience both I cannot truly make any comparisons as to which is better for me.

Does this mean I should try reacting or perceiving multiple ways? Perhaps the perception part in multiple angles would benefit me as a whole but I think if I were to attempt negative reactions in many situations I would be worse off and the experiment while interesting would most likely destroy me over time. So maintaining an attitude towards perception from multiple angles but tempering my reactions to keep them positive might just be a better way to go for a healthier lifestyle overall.

Perhaps the fact that I cannot play the puppeteer as the great Jim Henson was and let the external entities that I cannot control provide me with ideas and inputs to other perceptive angles could act as a strong “growth hormone” to my own internal perceptive traits. Perhaps over time allowing my perceptive traits to grow would provide me with more depth in which to set my own roots as to who I am overall? After all, just as I cannot control those around me; those around me cannot control me and this is the beauty of individuality! Should I have more depth of perception I might posses a stronger sense of tolerance and understanding and by providing a more positive display of reaction might illicit change in something that I cannot control for the better.

Today I will try to maintain a positive external display of myself while still remaining open to others perceptions.

~J

 

A Day Can Change In A Minute!

Do not discriminate against the downtrodden for often they most understand ill fate…..

I haven’t cracked my laptop in weeks, I’ve enjoyed it and I had no plans to blog at all today or for a few days even.  Then today changed, all within well… a minute or so!  I was returning home via the interstate here and on the off ramp to the road that would take me on my way home turning right when I noticed in the first left turn lane (for some reason lefty’s get two righty’s get one… hrmm) there was some young kid stalled out at the end.  Now this may seem to be just a simple bummer but we’re at the peak of rush hour and man it can get brutal.

Then something wonderful happened that changed my view of life and humanity as I have known it the last few days on it’s ass.  There are a few “regular” vagrants living under this bridge, this underpass if you will.  Well, 7 by my count over the last few weeks all the same all the time panhandling and what not.  ALL 7 of them came rushing out and set up, one flagging and the other 6 preparing to push as the light turned green.  The car in the far left lane knowingly hit his hazards so that they could cut in front of him to get to the gas station just a block away.

Not thinking, I cut over and wedged myself in front of the BMW that was trying to cut around, and shielding the car pushers as they managed to get the poor young kid up the street and to the gas station.  The only person not cheering during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home on a Tuesday evening…. the BMW driver who was instead cursing me.  I shrugged, continued to follow the car pushers and turned around to go back home.

often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered

I sacrificed a block, those on the off ramp sacrificed 15 minutes.  The so called “downtrodden vagrants” sacrificed sweat, energy, and a compassion that made my day.  Everyone hooting and hollering and giving thumbs up, it reminded me that yes there is humanity out there.  It reminded me that often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered.  I know several people who have rebuilt and done great things, truth be told that’s where I am at this point in my life.  To see the “lowlife” come quickly to aid while one that is more apt to help attempt to skirt the entire issue putting others lives at risk was polarizing in my mind.

I promised myself if I ever happen into a bit of good luck and enough spare change and the same “Compassionate Seven” are still there, I will march my lucky ass right on up the street and buy each one of them dinner!  What is interesting to think of and what is on my thoughts right now is that events like this happen every day, probably every minute across the globe.  I cant help but realize how blessed I am at this point in my life.

This gives me a great appreciation for experience, a great hope for humanity and assistance, and a great reason to be a better person tomorrow.

So Mr. BMW, you will be forgotten probably by the time I publish this.  To the “Compassionate Seven” I can only hope that my memory of your selflessness lives on throughout my life and actions and may you have touched the lives of all those others cheering out their windows at you as you assisted someone more fortunate.  I spent almost an hour coming up with the top quote for this article but I cannot take credit for it inexplicably belongs to you.

Be a better person regardless of where you are in life, people are changed by the strangest of things!

~J

Emotion, Attitude Translated

attitude-emotion-state-modificationemotion-attitude-matrix-1How a good attitude can modify emotional inputs

Recently I have been attempting to maintain as positive of an attitude as I can regardless of emotional state. To preface this I must admit that my life currently is in a state of extreme change and emotions have had a tendency towards the lesser desired. To accomplish this I have set goals to write and perform positive tasks throughout each day as a sort of self-experiment to see how it might affect the outcome of my actions and overall sense of being. This article is a part of the experiment attempting to detail the definitions of attitude and explore the interaction between attitude and overall mental state.

I must disclose that I have no psychology experience (other than that of a patient) and anything in this article should be taken only as my experiences documented as I see them. In a way, as a recovering alcoholic this article is also an attempt to maintain honesty with myself as it relates to my emotions, my attitude, and my actions through this experiment.

Digging in I feel it imperative to define what I believe emotion, attitude, and mental state are. Without correlating definition this article has no direct context and will inevitably be misread.

Emotion: For context I am defining emotion as any raw overall and direct feeling over a mid to long term meaning more than just minutes. These feelings typically last several hours or days to several months or even years. By direct I mean that these feelings are singular in nature and not a varietal combination of feelings.

Attitude: Again for context, I am defining attitude as a more immediate sense of how things are going or are going to go within the short term. Attitude is much more dynamic in nature and can change quickly. Typically, an attitude is held for hours and sometimes days or months with practice.

Overall Mentality: I would define overall mentality as the immediate sense of being or the absolute of how one is feeling overall. Overall mentality directs how we interact with the world around us and think as it relates to “right now”.

So now that we have our definitions let me begin with my overall thought process in how these interact, we will dig a bit deeper later. Again, as this is a self-experiment I will be using myself as an example for context.

The past few months I have bounced between two primary emotions: fear and sadness. More recently I have started this idea of maintaining a new attitude: positive. This is to say that I can be sad and positive at the same time. Originally. I would frame my mental state to be either one or the other however, through this self-experimentation I am finding out that they are indeed two separate items that maintain an interchangeable relationship.

I have found that emotion itself is merely an underlying constant and attitude is more of a current modifier that acts as a catalyst to create overall who I am at any given moment. Over the course of the last few weeks my attempts to maintain a positive attitude has directly affected the outcome of multiple aspects of my life:

  • Despite numerous setbacks I have persisted in my forward progress
  • I have been much more approachable
  • My overall routine has become more enjoyable
  • I have been able to maintain solid productivity
  • Etc.

I find myself examining this dynamic and piecing together a somewhat “aha” moment as it relates to my propensity to sometimes fall into periods of depression or anxiety. If I examine periods of say, depression and work backwards treating the depression as my overall mental state things get even more interesting. Working backwards, I can see that during my most recent fit of depression I had a pessimistic attitude combined with emotions of either sadness, fear, or guilt.

In the middle of the spectrum I have had times where even with a happy emotional state moments of negative emotions change the dynamics resulting in a less than desirable emotional state. What I find more interesting about this is how quickly an attitude can change due to external influences.

I can describe the times when I find myself moody by this effect. I may have the same emotions however my attitude will bounce up and down like a rubber ball. Others then describe the outward appearance of my emotional state as “moody”. Examining this personal trait illustrates how something so simple as maintaining a singular attitude can have a profound effect on day to day life.

So, I begin to ask myself a whole new question entirely, how can I maintain a consistent attitude towards the positive regardless of external influence? If I insulate myself entirely from external influence I cut myself off from possible inspiration. Opening the flood gates to let everything in allows for poor circumstances to directly change my mental state.

The goal here would be to establish some sort of effective filter allowing external influences that reinforce my target attitude, while denying other unnecessary influences. This water gets muddied when I examine how external influences and growth of intelligence are directly tied together. As part of human nature; we often associate our own opinions to be factual (or at least semi factual), when those opinions are challenged there exists opportunity for intellectual and emotional growth.

By filtering out any challenging thought, we tie ourselves to perceptions that may be one sided or inherently wrong. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that drives me nuts when counselors say it to me: “What does that look like?”. If we were to erect such a filter how many layers are we building around ourselves simply to maintain an attitude?

Consider for a moment the option of “practicing” a positive attitude. If I make the conscious effort to relate maintaining a desirable attitude during an assault of undesired external influences with perhaps military boot camp; it now becomes a training exercise. With this idea in mind I can reduce the smothering nature of so many layers of filter and allow for open dialogue to change views or increase intelligence.

This is not to say that I will not be filtering at all, there are many instances of extremes both to the minus and the plus that should be avoided. Becoming overzealous and overly optimistic can often be just as damaging as having a “woe is me” vision. As far as the intensity of the need for a negativity filter, simply spend 5 minutes looking at the news and the reasoning should be directly apparent.

To avoid beating a dead horse I will close this article at this point and attempt to illustrate attitude training in a future article. As always comments and suggestions are welcomed and this article as well as its accompanying diagrams will be available for download via pdf.

~Joe