Are We Losing Our Ability to Relate to Our Fellow Man?

How could someone look another human being in the face and pull the trigger? What do they see instead of a living, breathing, fellow human being,  sister or brother looking back at them with terror in their eyes? Obviously the shooter in New Town had a medical condition that limited his ability to relate to others but that might have been different if even he had been in an environment where he interacted with others to his best ability? It has been reported that he had barely been seen since his high school graduation. What has he been doing all this time except going to the shooting range with his mother? Has maybe been sitting in isolation playing violent video games without much contact with even his own mother?. Is that what he has been doing the last two years? It is obvious from what I have read; his mother wanted what was best for him but did she by sheltering him, turn him into the monster he became.These are questions we need answered.

This is really not about this shooting; although it could be about future shootings. I want to talk about two things; one is already being addressed in the media, that of the possible dangers of susceptible young people playing today’s most violent video games to excess. After hours and hours of playing them some people my have a problem distinguishing between the game and reality. What happens then if he has access to a real firearm? Granted this may only happen in a very small percentage of players; those with some kind of mental or emotional problem  but even if this was true in only one out of one hundred thousand players, it’s potentially a lot of killings.

I don’t want to restrict what games an adult can play. I would doubt that very few adults; who only started playing these most violent games as adults, would lose touch with reality while playing them either. The majority of adults have work or other responsibilities that would preclude them playing for hours and hours as well. The problem is the people who for one reason or another; don’t fit in, are socially inept, made fun of or bullied. For them the games become their reality, where they feel most comfortable. That’s where they can feel the most powerful; maybe the only place. We as adults must be aware of what our young people are doing and use some judgement as to what we allow them to do. I don’t believe that any of these games played for short periods would likely cause the player to harm another human being but even then I don’t think it is a good influence on them either. How does the repeated killing of others; even in a game, affect our ability to love and have compassion for our fellow human beings?

The other thing I want to talk about is the use of electronics to isolate ourselves; especially by the younger generation. I know I am older but I do text, use email, I am on Facebook and Twitter and I even have this blog, so I am not totally out of it. I have seen a photo of several people sitting around a table, all texting. Now I will admit that this is funny when it is used as a joke. It does seem though that some people prefer to text rather than actually talk to anyone on the phone and possibly face to face as well. When we can’t see who we are communicating with or hear what they are saying how do we even know there is even another human there. Back when we used letters to communicate we could get some feel of the person by the words they chose and the punctuation they used. Now some of us use a shorthand of sorts that I would be unable to read. I fear that a day will come when some of us will feel no more when texting another human than if they were talking to their computer.  If we don’t get to look them in their eyes and get to hear the inflection in their voice; where is the humanity.

Where there is no humanity, how can we love our fellow-man, we no longer see him. We must remain connected or someday we may be able to look someone in the face and pull the trigger, for they are not us.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

Have We Lost the True Meaning of Christmas?

I am not going to get all religious on you here but I think a lot of us have lost our way when it comes to Christmas. Christmas was originally observed to celebrate the birth of Christ known as the Messiah or the Savior by Christians. Whether you are Christian or not; it still signifies the birth of Christ.

To call Christmas, Xmas or to call a Christmas Tree a holiday tree is ludicrous. Don’t get me started on political correctness, I don’t want to go there. Those who would ban Christmas symbols from public places don’t know the constitution. The constitution says that the government can not mandate a particular religion as did England with the Church of England. In my opinion public places are for the public regardless of their belief. To say it is to separate church and state is absurd for I don’t believe church and state were ever joined together. The government made Christmas a federal holiday, why haven’t the courts ruled against that?

This is not where I was going with this. I wanted to talk about the use of the holiday to satisfy our greed. For some it is what do I get out of it. For others it is the giving; which is okay to a point. How many of us have kids who get so much that they don’t appreciate any of it. They open one present and throw it aside to see what the next one is. You get them a card and all they do is check to see if there is money in it, never reading it. Sometimes we spend a lot of money for their gifts and they end up spending more time playing with the box it came in than the gift itself. I want to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with either getting or giving gifts but when the person receiving the gift gets so much stuff that they don’t really appreciate any of it; then it is time to change. When we give our kids everything they have nothing left to look forward to; they get everything, so they feel entitled to everything. When I was growing up we didn’t get a lot and there was still a lot of stuff on my wish list, most of which I never did get and never really missed it. Stuff is not what we need.

We need to be grateful for what we have even if it is not a lot, there are always others who have less. When we no longer appreciate what we have; we should give to others in need instead, I guarantee they will appreciate it. None of us are entitled to anything; when we work or provide a service to others we are entitled to be compensated but just because we are born or because we are a member of a certain family does not entitle us to have or be anything. So many of us have come to believe that we are entitled to anything we want whether we work for it or not. We think the government or somebody else owes us. This comes from not being taught responsibility and being given everything we want. The old saying  ‘ it is more blessed to give than receive ‘ has been changed to ” you owe me, I deserve it “.

The Christmas spirit is not how much can I get. We should be teaching our kids to give rather than going into hock to give them everything they want. That is not showing them love, that is teaching them to be selfish, teaching them to feel entitled. Instead give them money and require them to find someone in need and to help them with it. The more they help others the less entitled they will feel; the better citizens they will become.

Merry Christmas and a happy spirit.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

One Down, One To Go

We are approaching the number one threat to our waistline of the whole year. Hopefully you managed to navigate safely through the minefields of Thanksgiving and are ready for the big time now. The Christmas season has got to be the Super Bowl of eating challenges whether we need to lose weight, maintain our weight or just to stay healthy. So how do we manage to wake up on the twenty-sixth of December without regret and a lot of extra padding around our middle?

With all the parties we may go to this time of the year, the cookie baking get-to gathers, the workplace treats everyone brings in, it is hard to say no. If we are at a healthy weight and are healthy in general this is not such a challenge; we may gain a few pounds then lose them rather quickly afterward. It may not be the healthiest thing to do but something we can overcome. On the other hand; if we are already quite a bit overweight or worse, have serious health problems associated with it, then this weight gain could be permanent. Starting in our thirties we Americans tend to add a few pounds each year and by the time we are in our mid-fifties we are fifty or sixty pounds heaver at best. The older we get the easier it is for us to gain and the harder it is to lose.

Five or six years ago I had already started to control my weight and had lost a good deal of it. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas season I gained about fifteen pounds and was determined to get it back off, I did but it took me a while. The next year I did the exact same thing but this time it took much longer to get it off and I was wondering if I was going to be successful. Since then I have managed to avoid that, it is not worth the hassle to get it back off.

We can enjoy the season and not gain the usual weight. Never go to a party hungry, eat some healthy slowly digested food before you go, you won’t be hungry and will not be as tempted to overeat. Only eat the foods you really want and in moderation. If alcohol will be served; fore go the high sugar mixers, drink slowly, alternate each drink with a glass of water or other non-calorie drink, even then, please don’t be the one driving when you go home. If you have a choice between a small plate and a large one; pick the small, you will eat less. It is really hard to eat some of everything so pick what you really like and don’t try to eat everything. If you have a lot of food left over, give it away if there is anyone you know who can eat it without health consequences. If it is cookies, cakes or pies and would not be healthy for anyone you know,;throw them away, just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I am certainly not one to waste good food but if it would be unhealthy for me to eat it; it is not good food.

You know your tendencies when eating, what your downfall is, so plan for them, plan to avoid them. We know where we are weak; let’s use our strengths to avoid or overcome them, by being aware of the problem, we can more easily see the solution. If you have a partner or friend who will support you, even better. The decision to do it is the hardest part.

If you are the one preparing the food and you and your guests are already overweight and have weight related health problems; then consider making healthy choices and fore go some or all of the high calorie, high sugar traditional foods we associate with Christmas. You can not control what your unhealthy friends and relatives eat at other times but you have a choice what you serve to them. They may miss the junk but I am sure that if that is what they want; they will get enough of it elsewhere.

Here’s to your success, good luck.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

What Now?

There has already been so much already written in the news, online, posted on Twitter and Facebook; plus what we see on TV about the shooting at New Town. I don’t want to add to this overload of information.

No one of a sane mind could want something like this to happen but it does gives the media an excuse to go into a feeding frenzy. It gives the fringe elements a chance to come out of the woodwork and push their agendas while emotions are so high. We tend to not make the best of decisions when we are emotional; so I ask you to resist the quick fixes that will be pushed at us during this emotional time. We need to make life changing decisions in a calm, deliberate, thoughtful, rational  manner and not be swept up by current emotions. What happened was horrible, unthinkable even but we do not need to try to eliminate the chance of another incident like it by being irrational our selves.

I don’t know how we can stop this from happening again; I don’t think we can, there will always be someone so full of hate or who has mental or behavioral problems  that allow them to do the unthinkable. I do not think new gun laws are the answer. We need to be more vigilant in making sure that the people who are already denied access to guns by law are identified before they can obtain them. We also need to make it easier for those with behavioral issues to be identified, treated and if necessary confined to protect themselves and others. Here is a link to a post I read earlier today, it was written by a mother with a 13-year-old son she can not control.      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html?utm_hp_ref=tw      I think after reading this you will see how vast the problem is. However vast; if we are to lessen these incidents of senseless violence, we must go there and do what we can. I don’t believe we can ignore this any longer.

There many ways the gunman could have killed a large number of people without guns, it only takes the desire and the will, we can find a way. The guns don’t pull their own trigger, bombs don’t get built by their self, fires don’t start themselves and ball bats don’t swing on their own but by the deranged guidance of a human mind. We must limit the ability of those deranged minds to act in an uncontrolled manner. Those people who would do us harm must be identified before they can act against us.

We can love these people by protecting them from doing harm to themselves or others. If we do this now; we won’t be temped to hate them later. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure; or so they say. God bless everyone affected by this tragedy.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

 

Why All the Hate?

What is all that wrong with hate? We all have something we hate; right? Is it not okay to express indigent hate when we see or know of something that is just not right. For  example the New Town shooting, 9-11 or some other senseless act.

Whatever group we are part of has a group consciousness; in other words the people in that group tend to think like the other people in that group, for the most part. This is true whether it is a local neighborhood group, supporters of a sports team, racial group, religious group, citizens of a country or the world community. The larger the group the less likely one individual will make any appreciable change but every time we have a thought it is like we are voting for that consciousness for that group. In a small group we may have enough influence to determine the group consciousness or attitude.  The more people in a group that have a certain attitude the more the group consciousness leans in that direction.

I remember a cousin of mine back when we were in school; he made a statement in class that he hated something, I don’t remember exactly what but the teacher made him look up the word’s meaning in the dictionary. The dictionary meaning  was to thoroughly dislike and my cousin told the teacher he did thoroughly dislike it. I guess that is a good way to put it along with despise or loath. You have probably heard that we should not tell someone that we hate them but rather tell them we hate what they did. In the same light we shouldn’t tell a kid he is stupid but tell him what he did was instead. Maybe we shouldn’t even use the words at all but I am sure you get the point I am making.

How much; do you think, of the world’s collective consciousness is devoted to hate, the hate not of acts necessarily but of people; people from other countries, faiths, backgrounds, beliefs, colors and any number of other differences. People use any handy reason to hate others. When we hate anyone for any reason we are pouring hate into the collective consciousness and when we love someone we are pouring love into it. It is like a balance scale; hate on one side, love on the other. There can’t be hate where there is love; just like there can not be darkness where there is light. Which do you want to be the darkness or the light?

The next time you think to yourself I hate so and so; stop and try to find something about them to love. I know there are things about people that we do hate; sometimes even the people we love the most but let’s look for the lovable and try to forgive the other. We haven’t walked in these people’s shoes, we don’t know what burdens they carry, what they have overcome or are trying to. Almost all religions are universal in the fact that they say; loved thy neighbor. Find a way and we will collectively all be better for it.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

 

New Town,why?

I want to express my condolences to all who have suffered a loss from the tragic event in New Town, Conn. , especially to those who lost family members and friends. To the parents of the children killed; I know there is nothing I or anyone else can say that will make any appreciable difference in your pain. I pray that time will heal that pain.

When I say to all who suffered a loss; that includes every living human being on this earth whether they realize it or not. I know there are those that don’t feel a loss; there are probably many that think what happened was a good thing. There are people who hate enough that they feel that way. I am not saying that love would have prevented it; we don’t know what caused Adam Lanza to do what he did, I hope it was a human flaw, a malfunction on his part. It would be harder to accept that he was so evil and in a sound mind decided to kill all those little innocent kids.

We as a society are less than we were before the shooting. We can rebuild by hating less, loving more and being kinder to all we interact with on a daily basis.

God bless you all.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

What Does Spirituality Mean to Us?

Please read the following quote from Marianne Williamson from her book   A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”   available on Amazon. You can read an excerpt from the book there also. I think her works are very thought provoking and recommend them highly.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Where does our spirituality come from? In my opinion; it comes from our search for our spiritual side, our yearning for a relationship with the God within us. I do believe God is in us all; maybe hidden, maybe buried, maybe unacknowledged, maybe even unwanted but there. God is there just waiting for us to acknowledge him; to need him, to want to know him.

Many of you know that I don’t usually go to church; I am not affiliated with any denomination, I was, I went to church for a long time, don’t any more. Am I less of a believer? No; I think more so; I now see God for who he ( or she ) really is, not who men say he is. I am at peace with my choice, I am confident that my life is eternal; that God is total unconditional love and that he loves me, you and everyone else on this earth unconditionally. I don’t believe that God picks among us deciding which of us to love depending on how we are living. Unless we can unconditionally love ourselves and others we have not achieved the goal God has for us. On the other hard; even if we are a worthless, despicable human being in man’s eyes, God still loves us unconditionally, though I am sure he is very disappointed in some of us.

So how do we find our spirituality? By looking within either through meditation or prayer and getting to know our inner God. The quieter we become; the easier for us to hear. The more we seek; the greater our connection, the more our inner God presence grows. The closer we come to God; the more godlike we become.  The closer we come to unconditional love, the more we are able to love unconditionally. That is our goal for our life here on earth.

If you believe differently that is fine, as long as you don’t try to force me to believe as you do, or to kill or persecute me for being different. We are all loved by the same God; why can’t we love everyone as the brothers and sisters they truly are. I welcome any comments you may have.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Personal Coach?

Did you every wonder why some or most of the most talented and successful people in any field; feel that they benefit by having a coach? Tiger Woods at one time was considered by some to be the best golfer ever. After his indiscretion and subsequent melt down; you can bet that he has used a coach or coaches  to help him recover his former glory. So how does this relate to us mere mortals? I believe that anyone can benefit from a good coach if they have some area in their life where they feel a lack of fulfillment, success, skills, confidence or motivation.

What does a coach do? A coach is a interested observer; a person without an agenda of their own that has your best interests in mind. They are a person who doesn’t have preconceived ideas about you, a person who will not feel threatened if you are more successful than they are. Did you ever have a friend or relative with serious problems but they weren’t aware of them but everyone around them were? Well a coach can see problems that won’t be seen by someone up close. I heard a story just a couple of days ago about a man who was so happy he had found this beautiful tree in his front yard; the tree has been there for years and he has been living there the whole time. It is sometimes hard or impossible, for us to see what is right in front of us.

Did you ever try to lose weight, become more successful or go back to school and find out your family or friends were not supportive? They don’t want you to change, they fear who you will become, they fear you will want to associate more with thinner, more successful and more educated people. You will. Your coach wants what you want. They have no agenda of their own.

Did you ever hear the expression ” two minds are better than one” ? They are if both are working toward the same goal. Twenty or a hundred would be even better but where are you going to find that many that have nothing but your best interest at heart. A coach has only your best interest in mind. First off, you will eventually fire him if he doesn’t produce  results and second, you will not recommend him to others either.

Why might you hire a coach? You want a better job or career, to change careers, to start a business, to get married, to get divorced, to figure out who you are, to decide whats best for you, to determine your best talents; among others. You may need advice about a relationship or it could be any problem we humans have where we need a new insight.

A coach is not here to give you advice, they are here to help you search for your own answers. By asking the right questions they will lead you to an answer that is right for you, not what is right for them or anyone else.

We don’t see things as they are,we see them as we are.     Anais Nin

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

What Are Our True Feelings About the Christmas Holiday?

Are you glad when the Christmas season approaches or do you feel dread; maybe even depression? We all have a different take on the holiday; usually determined by our past holiday experiences, and whether we have a lot of family and friends to celebrate with. I have good memories of my Christmas experiences when I was growing up even though I was an only child. I had a fairly large extended family on my Mother’s side; my father’s family was even larger but we never really saw them that much around the holidays. We always went to my Grandmothers house on Christmas Day and all my aunts and uncles and cousins from that side of the family were always there. My Grandfather was there to but it was always affectionately called Grandmother’s house. We always had a great meal and opened presents afterward. It was a great time; lots of good memories.

When I was serving my last year in the Air Force; I had just returned from a fifteen month tour in Turkey and was stationed at Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina. When I got the chance to come home for Christmas; I jumped at it. My Grandmother had been very ill for sometime and it put a damper on the Christmas spirit but I was glad to be home. I was due to go back to South Carolina the day after Christmas but we got up to the news that my Grandmother had passed away during the night. The Air Force allowed me to extend my stay until after her funeral; before I had to go back.

The relevance to this post is not about me but about my Mother. For years after my Grandmother died, my Mother didn’t get much, if any pleasure from celebrating Christmas because her Mother had died the day after. It seemed that would always be her Christmas; that is until I married and my daughters were born. As they became more aware of Christmas; my Mother gradually came to enjoy Christmas again through them.

A lot of us have bad memories of one sort or another about Christmas; the key is finding some way to focus on something other than the bad memories and start creating new memories to replace those. If we have family and friends; we can spend as much time with them as we can. If not; we can make new friends. Do you know someone that usually spends Christmas alone? Then invite them to spend Christmas with you; if you know others in the same boat, invite then too. Fix whatever meal you are able to and can afford to do; you will enjoy it and they will too. If that is something you can’t or don’t want to do; then find some where to volunteer, helping others will also help you. Quit telling yourself how sad you are this time of the year and how lonely you get and go brighten up the day for someone else.

Being happy this time of the year is just like any other time of the year; you just need an attitude adjustment. The easiest way to do that is get your mind off yourself and onto someone else. You can not stay unhappy while you are making someone else happy.

So get out there and have a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year; starting right now.

Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect, it means you have decided to look beyond the imperfections.    Gerald Way

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

 

What Works For Me, Summing it Up

Today I will try to sum up what I have been talking about for the last four days. My goal to eat better, be healthier and to not be overweight; ultimately, is my desire to live a long, healthy, happy life. It breaks my heart to see people one half my age having major health problems simply because; for the most part, they eat too much of the wrong foods. Some also get very little exercise but that won’t kill you nearly as fast as bad eating will. Seeing this happen to friends and family is doubly painful. I hope that when they see what I am doing; I will be an inspiration to them to tackle their own problems. If I can do it so can they; if they really want to.

Although I have lost a total of about 65 pounds over the years; the most was in the last five years, that’s when I started to get serious about it. During this time I have been learning what works, what works for me, fine tuning it as I go along. I eat better, I am healthier than two months ago and two months from now I will be doing better than I am now. I keep learning, keep fine tuning it and I am passing along what I learn to anyone that will listen. The exact some thing I do; may not be what works for them as it worked for me but we have to keep moving in the right direction if we ever expect to get there. We all hit bumps in the road, they may slow us down, they may even stop us for a while but we can plot a course around that roadblock.

Change is hard; I know that but gradual change still gets you there, all of us can change one bad habit at a time. The only people who can not afford the gradual approach are those who are so chronically ill that they might die before the gradual approach can make a difference. Even the changes I have made; though not that radical,  would have been hard to do, had I attempted them all at the same time. There is a good chance I would have failed.

What I have done over time is decreased the amount of bread I eat and changed the kind of bread I eat. I have completely stopped eating white bread. I eat very little  sugar, no soft drinks, very little fruit juice, have cut back on meats and high glycemic foods. I have eliminated most fried foods, use better oils, watch my salt, eat more greens, vegetables and fruits. I eat a lot of salads and soups. It’s not hard, I enjoy what I eat, thirty years ago I would not have. When you start eating new things; you will over time, come to like them. They may never compare to the bad things you grew up eating; they don’t contain the memories, they don’t give you the same comfortable feeling. Life is a series of changes; things change whether we like it or not, we do better if we go with the flow and not against it. As we age; our bodily needs change; to continue to be healthy we must adapt to the changes.

Here’s to your long, healthy, happy life.

Tomorrow we will do something different. If you are on Twitter follow me, I find some good ideas for good food and also for a good life.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson