Choices

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Good morning my friends.  It should have been a happy final day of May 2020.  The circumstances and occurrences over the last several months make this less than a stellar day.  The tragic loss of life from the coronavirus continues, but is often beyond our control.  The sad and unnecessary deaths of two African American men is tragic and senseless.  These incidents leave me heartbroken for their families.

Ahmaud Arbery was killed while jogging in a Georgia neighborhood on February 23, 2020.  George Floyd died after being detained by police on a street in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. I’m sure you’re familiar, or heard about, both of these shocking deaths.  The circumstances in each case is different, but neither of these men deserved to die.  The killing of these men is both despicable and cowardly.  I grieve with their families and all people. 

When I began writing this blog I told myself to stay away from political, religious or controversial issues.  I wanted to write about health and wellness.  Now I see that our nation and people are falling ill for more reasons than a virus.  There are times in life I must speak up and let my voice be heard.  This is one of those times.  I believe it’s my duty, as a former officer and as a human living on this planet, to address both cases. 

My career in law enforcement spanned nearly 34 years.  During my life time, I’ve witnessed injustice of varying degrees, from many sources.  The cases were not limited to one group, culture, race or nationality.  It isn’t always about race, as much as it’s a socio-economic issue.   I know many officers who worked long and hard hours forging unblemished careers.  They did the honest and right thing daily, even during stressful and confrontational situations.   Unfortunately, there are a few people, in all walks of life, races and nationalities, that are less than honest, respectful or good.  These people cause trauma and heartbreak for us all.  

My career, training and experience in law enforcement taught me many things.  What it Never taught was kneeling on the neck of anyone.  My academy training, plus specialized crowd control training while in Metropolitan Division and SWAT, provided many skills to handle people and arrests.  I spent two years as the sergeant, assistant officer in charge of the tactics training unit for the LAPD.  Our tactics, training and policies were cutting edge.  Ongoing training and review occurred regularly to ensure officers knew how to handle nearly any field situation.  I fear these Minneapolis officers may have lacked sufficient tactical training, but also a severe lack of common sense and decency.  The video I viewed, taken during the restraint of George Floyd, is appalling and disgraceful.  No one dislikes bad cops more than the good cops, no one!  Unfortunately, like all professions and people, there are a few who do not belong and need to be weeded out.  That effort is an ongoing endeavor.    

I sympathize and grieve with the families of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.  I agree a serious injustice has occurred and action needs to be taken.  I pray our judicial system will take the appropriate action in both cases.  All involved individuals should be brought to justice in a court of law and verdicts rendered.  I do not agree with the lawless actions of some people and groups as a result of these deaths.  I share your distain for the actions of a few, but destruction of property, looting businesses, burning our cities and causing injury to others is not an answer, solution or lawful.  Our country isn’t perfect, but freedom is an amazing thing.  Think about it.  

Violence isn’t an answer.  It’s an excuse.  There have been great men of wisdom and vision since the beginning of mankind.  Socrates, Confucius, Siddhartha, Ben Franklin, Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr are a few of these individuals.  Take time to read about them.  They were men of peace, honor and professed nonviolence.  The “protests” I’m seeing, as a result, is a disgrace and dishonor to these men, the memories of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and our culture.  Nothing good or positive ever came out of attempting to correct violence with more violence.  Some will say, “it’s the only way our message will be heard.”  I do not agree with that statement.  When has violence ever provided a worthy solution for something good to result?  This is just an opportunistic excuse to inflict harm and loot.  This should be about justice.  It is not about burning businesses and stealing what you feel you’re entitled too.  I do not condone criminal behavior as an expression of sorrow or protest.  I do not condone the flagrant unlawful actions of any person, especially a law enforcement officer.  Racism in any form, from any person, directed at any individual, shall not be tolerated.  

These are truly sad, uncertain and gut wrenching days.  What kind of a society are we living in?  Yes, we need to weed out and expel police officers who commit crimes.  We also need to do the same to anyone in our nation who breaks the law.  Whatever your social status or wealth, no one is exempt.  This includes doctors, lawyers, actors, athletes, workers, teachers, billionaires and politicians.  Everyone shall be treated equally and fairly by the same laws.  Money and power have no place or status when it comes to breaking the law or committing crimes.  

Racism and violence is a decades old problem.  It wasn’t caused or created by our president.  It has been allowed to thrive in our nation since its inception.  I grew up in Los Angeles.  I lived through the 1965 Watts riots.  I was an officer and experienced the LA Riots up close and personal in 1992.  Neither of these events, or others that have occurred around our country, have solved issues.  It appears nothing has changed.  Politicians, from many years past, failed to do their job as our elected officials.  Where are the changes or laws they promised? 

America is a great country.  Our political system is less than great by any means and flawed in other respects.  I’m not placing blame on our government.  I believe some elected officials do far more to harm and divide us, while doing far less to stimulate growth, harmony and peace.  The division and animosity between our political parties creates adversity, stimulates the rich and very little to help those in need.  Our government should be building our people up instead of placating them with handouts.  Education, skill building and jobs should be attainable for all people.  Welfare, food stamps and meaningless words only serve to further suppress people.  Knowledge and jobs are needed, especially now during this time of economic crisis.  Our political system party is in need of repair.  Helping people who truly require assistance goes unnoticed.  Our veterans, elderly and disabled are pushed to the side, while they deserve our thanks and gratitude.  We are in dire need of reform and action.  The continual rhetoric between parties is exhausting and getting US nowhere.

There are those who will make this an “us against them” or “police are racist” issue.  I hope you will see beyond words of discontent and hate.  We, people of all races, creeds, colors and nationalities, inhabit this planet.  We have been waging war on hatred for decades, yet still propagate the spread.   It’s time to wake up people.  We need elected leaders not there to collect large pay checks and the spoils of office, but who will actually serve us.  Our leadership should be making sweeping changes that enable the rights of all to prevail.  Our law enforcement needs effective tactical training to resolve critic situations, while protecting all people, as well as themselves.  There are still criminals among us.  They prey on everyone.  These individuals belong in jail, not wandering our streets searching for more victims.      

Support, drive and motivation needs to begin at home.  Families have to come together.  Discipline must be instilled in order to set the course for kids to grow, learn and develop into adults.  When there is no set direction or order within the family or home, how do we expect our children to succeed.  Parents need to set the vision for their family and future.  Anything is possible and attainable.  Hard work and perseverance reap the goals of those who dream.  We need our elected officials to take action.  Stop arguing and speaking meaningless words.  How many mass shootings have we seen where there is talk and never any action?  How many more people must be killed before political BS is put aside and laws enacted.  Don’t become a victim of the media hype or agenda of a few who only seek to divide us more.  Be your own person.  Make the critical decisions that will create a better life for yourself and our world.   

Wisdom and peace are not sought from violence.  Honor George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery with respect.  Together we can make our world a better place for all to live in peace and harmony.  

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Memorial Day What are you looking forward to?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Good morning friends.  It’s another beautiful Sunday! I hope you are doing well, staying healthy and happy.  These are difficult times for us all.  It is up to each of you to do everything in your power to maintain a positive outlook.  Eat healthy food, exercise (move your body), stay active physically and mentally and get outside to enjoy nature.  Cherish these days and the people around you.  This weekend (tomorrow in particular) is a day of important remembrance.   

Tomorrow (Monday May 25th) our nation observes its Memorial Day commemoration.  It’s also known as Decoration Day.  This holiday has a sacred and solemn history and meaning.  It is the day we honor our war dead.  It is similar to Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.  April 25th is their national day to commemorate those who served and died in all wars, conflicts and operations.  We owe so much to so many who made the supreme sacrifice for our freedom.

The circumstances surrounding today (and last couple of months) is cause for us to reflect more on the gratitude and thanks we should share.  This is not the time to put stock in the differences many are using to divide us and our great nation.  This isn’t just another three-day holiday weekend.  Please revere the day, its importance and all those lost.  Visit a National Cemetery and say thank you.  Let their headstones be a reminder of their sacrifice.  

The United States of America was founded on freedom.  Our independence began with the Revolutionary War in 1776.  It continued into the Civil War, where it is said that the tradition of decorating gravesites first occurred.  Abraham Lincoln dedicated the cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863 and memorialized the fallen soldiers.  After Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 the memorial tradition grew across the states.  Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) became an official Federal holiday to honor our war dead in 1971. 

Our military continues protecting us through World Wars, conflicts and operations worldwide.  Today we share the same rights and privileges our forefathers sought in their fight for independence.  Men and women of our military have paid the ultimate price to maintain our freedom.  The cost in human lives has been great indeed.  Since 1776 we have lost over one million soldiers who have died in combat.  Well over a million have died in military service (other than combat).  The deaths and suicides of our veterans continue daily.  Is this their thanks for protecting you and our nation?  I believe we need to do much more to thank these brave men and women.   What we do from this day on, sets the tone for our future. 

The new day brings with it opportunities and possibilities for each of us.  Every sunrise is filled with choices, paths to follow and the potential for growth.  This enlightenment may only require a single nod to share its success.  Often we are too busy with our own life to see these moments before they pass us by without any notice.  I hope you have utilized some quiet time over the last couple of months.  Self-reflection is a powerful and magical tool.  It’s an amazing process when you can calm your body and mind.  This simple effort creates inner peace and resolve.  It allows your mind an opportunity to relax and awaken with new ideas.  A refreshing boost of energy is often all you require to make awesome discoveries.  It can empower us in wonderful directions, help us overcome fear and set us on a new path.  Life can bring exciting adventures if we allow it.  What path do you want to follow?  What are you looking forward to now?  

The key element here is not to wait.  Life is moving forward each day.  Every moment you waste or not taking action, may mean a path has been passed by.  We are living in the here and now.  Don’t sit back.  Let’s make great use of this time to get started.  What are the dreams or passions you desire?  Now is the perfect opportunity to make a plan.  Write it down, share it with those close to you and get the wheels of reality turning. 

Goals, dreams and aspirations are visons that drive us beyond mere living and existence.  We all have them, but how often to you act on them?  We should be living them every day.  Our creativity should be unleashed at every opportunity.  Whatever you want to achieve in life is possible.  It all begins with that first step and building on that plan daily.  Dedication and discipline are required to put in the work to make dreams a reality. 

I thrive by setting new goals and making future plans.  It provides me with added motivation to achieve a certain outcome.  Short term and long term goals are both significant.  They bring focus on whatever is most important and desirable to you.  Structure them for self-improvement in health, fitness, business, personal or relationship life.  My girlfriend and I have been working on a six-week fitness and health goal.  The first four weeks flew by.  We enjoy pushing each other physically, plus it’s fun having a partner to share in the tasks and motivation.  We’ve made healthy food choices for years.  Now our focus is just a bit tighter.  We reassess every two weeks and are enjoying seeing the results.  Small steps lead to a healthier path.    

Writing, yoga, health and fitness are other passions that drive me forward.  My background, law enforcement career, training and life have provided great experience.  I have learned so much about myself and life along the way.  Being a dad has also brought new insight and wisdom.  Now, I can share that with my daughter, as well as others seeking inspiration and motivation.  I am blessed to have this opportunity and enjoy sharing my life with others.  If I assist one person in life, whether with a helping hand or kind word, then my life has meaning.  We all have our own perspective and experience we can share.  All you need to do is open your heart to the experience.   

Traveling and visiting new places is another passion.  I love to plan trips; long or short, local or international.  They are all exciting.  When you make a plan; whether it’s date night, a casual outing, a trip or vacation; you have created a glorious new goal.  The intention provides you with something to look forward to.  The thoughts create happiness and delight.  Planning begins with a discussion, research and selection of the destination.  The intensity builds when plans begin to unfold and solidify.  Making reservations for travel and ultimate destinations provide a vibrant rush of joy and exhilaration.  Whether you’re planning a trip across the country, painting a master piece, making music or saving humanity; this is the time to live that dream.  Don’t keep it buried or hidden.  Fear can often keep us from seeking out our dreams.  You are your only limitation!  It’s time to be your own measure of success.  Write your plan on paper, then get out there and get it going. 

Whatever your passion may be, take time to pursue and enjoy it.  If it’s something you love, don’t ever let anyone deter or convince otherwise.  I’m grateful to live in a nation, not ruled by a single ideology or dictator.  The United States is a nation where we are free to express ourselves.  We are allowed to live our dreams.  This isn’t about politics or what side of the fence you may be on.  It’s about people; all humans living on this planet.  Don’t listen to fools making it about politics or their ideology.  This is still “the land of the free and home of the brave.”

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

It’s my Opinion. Do you know yours?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday, May 17, 2020.  It’s nice to see plants, flowers and trees blooming into spring time.  I’m happy our nation and world are beginning to rebound, slowly returning to life.  This is the time we need to nourish ourselves and everyone around us.  I will flourish into the future.  This revival isn’t just for me.  It’s for my daughter and all of our children.  It’s time to take a proactive step to rebuilding and growing.

My career in law enforcement taught me many things.  It broadened my thinking, increased my knowledge and built experience.  I learned to be a great investigator, among a variety of skills.  I became more of a skeptic.  I searched for facts that would ultimately lead me to the truth.  I was never one who pushed conspiracy theories.  I still don’t put much credence in them.  My thought process takes me outside the box and down every path.  When you collect pieces of evidence, the puzzle begins to come together.  This isn’t about politics or what party best represents you.  This is a world health and humanity issue.  I don’t care for people who lie or bend the truth to best suit their vision or agenda.  We are in a crisis!  It’s time to educate yourself so you can make informed decisions; that are not promoted by fear.  Use your wisdom and intellect to vet the fact from fiction.

How do you process information presented to you regarding topics of local, national or world importance?  Do you believe everything you read or hear?  Do you take the time to research topics and seek the truth?  Over the nine weeks I have been “locked down,” my curiosity grows stronger and increasingly restless each day.  When sources first began outlining the coronavirus situation, information seemed skewed from all sides.  Experts and media sources were providing a variety of opinions and input.  Topics ranged from where it came from, how it started, what it was and how it would impact the world.  Months later, there is still a lack of clarification on many points.  The current evidence indicates this virus began in Wuhan China.  Beyond that, there is still speculation, not only about where it began, but how and why.  Experts, researchers and scientists around the globe are working on these questions, but there are few true answers.

I completed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification twice.  My first certification was when I was a firefighter with the US Forest Service.  The second, while I was assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department, Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT).  The certification process for both, required months of classroom education, working a number of hours in Hospital Emergency Rooms and riding with paramedics responding to emergency calls for medical service.  During my career I had direct exposure to many hazardous diseases.  I know and understand the protocol for protection and prevention.  I do not consider myself a medical expert by any means.  What I do know, from my training and all my experience, including nearly 34 years in law enforcement, is the importance of following procedures, policies and the best practices for achieving specific results.  In this particular case, it involves the treatment of patients and saving lives.

It doesn’t take an expert to know how we build our immunities to viruses and disease.  This natural process is done through interaction with everyone and everything you come into contact with on this planet daily.  Our bodies build up resistance and immunity naturally to various diseases and viruses.  The interaction with bacteria is actually a good thing.  I’ve watched several informative interviews regarding this topic.   If we remain at home for months, wear a mask when we venture outside and continually disinfect ourselves and everything around us, our immune system will decline.   We have overcome past influenza and coronavirus outbreaks

During the imposed confinement I have expanded my search for knowledge and education on the coronavirus.  I want to understand why various forces are working hard, continuing to push an unknown agenda down my throat.  Mainstream media thrives on daily doses of statistics, uncertainty and fear.  They all seem to be saying the same things over and over.  So what is the truth and who do you believe?  Here in the USA, information is being expelled all day every day from many sources.  Knowing what is true, factual, exaggerations, fake or fabrications can be difficult.  The president, state governors, city mayors and even the news media have their selected “experts.”  The rhetoric spouted daily (especially by mainstream media) spin their reports that instill fear, increase panic and stress. 

The world has experienced illness and disease for thousands of years.  Mankind has survived plagues, pandemics and epidemics.  Cancers, AIDS/HIV, Ebola, Zika and other diseases persist to this day.  Yes, deaths occur, even though modern medical services are thriving.  The more we work to control nature, the more adverse reactions we receive.  Why is our nation ruining so many lives, and our economy, by reacting as it is?   This and the promotion of fear doesn’t make sense.

In 2002, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) began in China.  This viral respiratory illness is caused by coronavirus.  The reporting of cases was delayed several months, as the virus spread globally.  It had an estimated 9.6% fatality rate worldwide.  Two years after the outbreak it had all but disappeared. 

In September 2008, H1N1 (swine flu pandemic) began in the USA.  Deaths, confirmed by tests, were relatively low at 18,000.   The CDC estimates there were between 151,000 to 575,000 deaths globally.  The majority of deaths occurred where testing was not completed for various reasons.  A vaccine was developed and administered, with a 56% effective rate.  Accusations were raised that a false pandemic was created in order to profit from vaccinations worldwide.  The vaccine caused a number of serious side effects.  This virus continues to circulate today. 

According to the CDC, each year various influenza strains cause or contribute to the death of people around the world.  These totals are between 30,000 to 60,000 in the USA and nearly 600,000 globally.  The flu vaccine varies from 40%-60% effective.  COVID-19, based on World Health Organization research, has a fatality rate of between 1.3 to 3.4%.  Why is a vaccine touted so highly for COVID-19?  Why is a billionaire pushing for worldwide vaccinations?

Cancer deaths in the USA were over 600,000 in 2018, as per the National Cancer Institute.  New cases were estimated to be over 1.7 million.  Deaths worldwide were approximately 8 million.  Experts have been doing research for a cure for decades.  Now we’re expected to believe a coronavirus vaccine will be ready for humans in six months.  What’s wrong with this picture?

I question if we’ve received all the information or truth about this virus or pandemic.  Like many things out of our control, it is difficult to say if we will ever know the truth.  Information continues to be disseminated from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This is our nation’s federal health protection agency.  The CDC recalculated the cause of death totals from coronavirus in the USA.  Apparently the only cause of death the last few months is the coronavirus.  Hospitals and doctor offices are closed to “elective” procedures.  I’m sure people are still experiencing life threating emergency medial situations; like heart attacks, strokes, cancer or a variety of other health issues.  All of those fatalities were being lumped together as coronavirus deaths.  The CDC reduced the virus death total by nearly half.  The numbers on the CDC website have been adjusted, but the news media continues to attribute all the deaths to the virus.  This is misleading and untrue.  Why would they continue to do that?  

The World Health Organization (WHO) has rendered its own view.  This is an international health organization, directed by the United Nations.  It is set up to respond and take the lead in global health crisis.  Their face mask protocol states to wear a covering if you’re caring for someone with the virus.   Other healthy individuals should not be required to wear masks.  The Surgeon General reaffirmed this week that healthy individuals should not wear masks.  I think it’s particularly interesting and somewhat comical seeing people driving alone in their cars wearing a face mask and gloves.  My intuition tells me these are actions based on fear.

The WHO accepts donations to enhance their worldwide mission.  It’s easy to research the top donors of this organization.  When you discover where the majority of funding is coming from, then their picture becomes more clear.  When certain individuals contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to an organization, hidden agendas begin to emerge.  You may be telling yourself that world leaders wouldn’t do anything harmful to their own people.  It may be time you rethink what you’re telling yourself.  There are evil people in the world, from all walks of life.  These people are driven by power and greed.  Control and dominance of the masses is what compels them.  This is stronger than any passion or truth. 

Many times during my career I was involved in critical incidents that garnered media attention.  I recall seeing TV reports and newspaper articles depicting these events that made me wonder if I was at the same situation.  Sensationalizing and fabrication for the sake of garnering headlines was rampant.  I think it’s almost comical how several networks are using similar terminology during the pandemic.  They like to say we’re reporting the truth, or this is where you’ll only find the truth.  This verbiage makes me suspicious, instead of believing them.

Is the lock down and stay at home order slowing the spread?  The order continues to destroy our economy and many families.  The closure of everything “non-essential” has sent unemployment soaring beyond 35 million.  It is crippling businesses large and small.  People are struggling to survive beyond belief.  We are told the reason behind this is to slow the advance or spread of the virus.  It will keep our health care system from being overwhelmed and reduce the amount of deaths.  Do we really believe we can control everything, including diseases?  Experts speak daily, but offer little true insight.  I’ve watched interviews and read articles from respected individuals, clearly experts in their field.  They provide information and understanding of the virus.  Their insight is enlightening to say the least.  Why isn’t their wisdom being broadcast to the world?  This is baffling.  Maybe it’s because their truth contradicts our so called “appointed experts.”  Maybe the ego of these individuals won’t allow themselves to be corrected, even it means more people will suffer or die. 

Advertisements for drugs flood commercials on TV, radio, the internet and social media.  The pharmaceutical industry pushes drugs for everything.  These industries have been researching diseases for decades.  Where are the cures?  Now we are being pushed toward a vaccine for the coronavirus, while researchers around the world are studying and learning about this virus.  Medicines require years of research and testing before being approved to be safe and effective for human use.  The years of testing and development root out potential serious side effects, including death.  All drugs have side effects.  Some are severe.  These policies and procedures are in place to protect everyone.  The intention is vaccinating the world.  Do you think this is safe?  Is there an underlying agenda for the haste? 

I’m not anti-medication or anti-vaccine.  Medication, used wisely with proper treatment, play a significant role in saving lives. Drug treatment for life long treatment tends to be a money making opportunity.  Vaccinating the world would be a multi-billion dollar profitable payday for those involved.  Is a vaccine the answer, or will this virus run its course and be gone?  We, the people, need to press our elected leaders to ensure their honesty and integrity. Billionaires, (or other power hungry individuals), seeking to control our freedoms, rights or destiny, should have no decision making power.  We, as Americans and humans, need to stand together for all humanity.   

Where do we put our trust?  I’d like to believe our leaders have our best interests are heart.  Decisions should be based on complete and accurate information.  Leaders make sweeping decisions that affect millions of people daily.  We are in such a rush to control this, that it’s killing us in many ways; economically, mentally and physically.  Do you blindly follow or examine the facts?  There is so much information being thrown out daily.  How do you know what is credible?  The unsettling issue is how some politicians play political games with our lives and future.  This should be a time of undivided unity to assist all people.  Don’t allow politics or fear to divide us.  

I want the America I love to thrive!  When did we decide it’s okay to put a mother in jail for trying to earn money by opening her store.  People are desperate to feed their families.  The need is real.  A judge kept her in jail because she refused to say she was “selfish” and “sorry.”  Then there are many sad situations at hospitals around the country.  Why are we letting people die without family by their side?  A women lost her grandmother and three uncles within a couple weeks.  Her sister is in the hospital as well.  The woman is a health care worker herself.  Another sad story is of a security guard, killed at a store for telling someone they couldn’t enter without a mask.  This is insane!  These incidents are occurring in many parts of our country. 

The desire for money and power wield enormous cravings in some people.  I’ve seen firsthand what a taste of power creates.  Individuals, once honest and forthright, become incredibly driven for the control and dominance of others.  I hope our own government and leaders (at all levels) wouldn’t throw us under the bus, but money and power have an incredible pull.  

Closing parks, hiking trails and beaches, when we need exercise and the healing power of nature most is ludicrous.  Arresting people for not “social distancing” is just sad.  Releasing criminals from jail to slow the spread in prison is another interesting strategy.  Some leadership decisions make me wonder who’s in control.  This is a time we need healthy food, exercise, air, nature and human interaction.    

I ask you to look at the facts, not what we’re being preached about daily.  Do your own research.  If you feel the need to wear a mask, social distance or stay at home, then please do that.  Please don’t blindly follow the masses.  You have the power to seek the truth.  All you need to do is open your heart.  Turn off the TV, get off social media and seek other sources of information.  There are sources out there if you expand your thought process.  Knowledge is power.  Turn off and put aside your fear.  It’s created as a measure of control, so we will think less freely and openly.  Educate yourself with facts, not fiction.  These are our lives.  We’re not toys that can be played with or manipulated.  The lives of our children and their children may hang in the balance.  Do the right thing.  We are (the entire world) all in this together.

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Good morning and Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms around the world!  I’m sure you all realize what an important and amazing role you have in the lives of your children and families.  You really are a one of a kind hero.  Thank you to you all, especially during our current situation.  A mother’s job is never done, no matter what the age of your children.  Enjoy this special day in your honor!  You definitely deserve the praise and recognition.

Let’s begin this special day with a little self-care and love, not only for our moms, but everyone joining us today.  We’ll start with aligning and relaxing our mind and body.  You can do this from a seated or standing position.  If you’re sitting, please ensure your butt and back are flush to the back of the chair.  If you’re standing, I want you nice and tall.  If you need help, stand with your back against a wall.  Your feet are positioned on the ground, hip width distance apart.

Begin with a nice straight flat spine.  Imagine you’re pulling a long string straight up your body through the crown of your head (similar to a marionette).  Your head is level and your gaze is forward.  Now I want you to relax your upper body.  Roll your shoulders back and then relax them down your back.  Your arms are hanging long and relaxed next to your sides.  For those standing, you’re now in Tadasana or Mountain pose.  If you’re seated, it’s what I’d call a relaxed Tadasana. 

In today’s age, we spend much of our time with our shoulders, head and neck hunched or bent forward.  This occurs from a variety daily activities; like driving, seated at a desk, on our cell phone or computer or watching television.   These simple movements can assist to straighten our spine, opens our chest and lifts our heads.  It brings our upper body back into natural alignment. 

Now I want you to close your eyes and relax.  Stay in this position for several minutes. 

Begin to slowly breath in and out of your nose with your mouth closed.  As you inhale, slowly count to four and hold your breath for a second.  Now release and exhale very slowly to the count of six.  Hold your breath again for a second before beginning your next inhale.  Maintain that straight posture, relax and continuing breathing for a couple of minutes.  As you continue your count, clear all the thoughts from your mind.  Allow your mind and body to relax.  My yoga master often told me, “When you find the gap between your thoughts, this is where you will find bliss.”  Take the time to pamper yourself as often as you wish.  The more you can find bliss, the better your life becomes.     

I am sending a very special thank you to my mom today.  I wish I could hug you, with you hugging me.  Those days are not possible now.  She has been confined to an Alzheimer’s care facility for over three years.  The disease continues to consume her daily.  It always made my heart jump with joy when she’d smile as I walked in the room to visit.  Now there is just a blank stare.  There are no more conversations, no interaction and no smiles.  This disease has robbed her; taking her mind, memory and ability to function or enjoy life.  Alzheimer’s and Dementia are horrible and debilitating diseases.  It’s a sad existence, to an eventual death.

Even if I wanted to hug my Mom today, I am “not allowed.”  The “virus” has closed off any possible contact with my mom.  It has eliminated all our contact with those we love; in hospitals, nursing homes or medical institutions.  How many mothers (and others) have left our world without having a loved one by their side.  This is absolutely crazy, sad and unnecessary.  I do not want to be dictated to about what is or is not safe for me or my family.  Next Sunday I will share my thoughts and insight into this worldwide situation.

My advice on this Mother’s Day, please take the time to thank your Mom.  Let her know how much you love her and how much she means to you.  Hug, cherish and never be afraid to tell or show her how you feel.  Moms are truly one of kind, incredible and special.  Do it now, because you never know when you won’t have that opportunity to do it again.  Staying at home or the virus threat shouldn’t be an excuse or stop you.  Call her, video chat or go visit…even if you have to be six feet apart.  Share you heart, love or maybe even some chocolate, flowers or TP.   Let your Mom know how special she is today and every day!

I know these are crazy and sad days, with the loss of moms along the way.  There are many others who have lost their mothers, family or friends too soon.  It’s always difficult to share your emotions or say I know what you’re feeling.  With the loss of my Dad, I know and understand the emotions and feelings you must be experiencing.  Cherish and value your memories and love.  I firmly believe our loved ones never leave us.  Their spirit and energy remain with us.  It’s up to you to open you heart and tell them you know they’re by your side.  I talk to my Dad every day.  Tell your Mom how much you love them and appreciate all they have done for you.  They’ll hear you.

So Moms, do your best to enjoy a fabulous day wherever you may be.  I am sending you all lots of love from my corner of the world.  Cheers!  As for you Dads, don’t despair, your day is coming soon.       

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Mental Fortitude vs Fear

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Good morning and happy first Sunday of the month! It’s crazy to think we are already into May!  Even with the pandemic and stay at home order, this year is flying by too quickly!  We’re already seven weeks into staying at home.  What’s one or two more weeks, right?  Make each day count.  Live life with hope and energy.  We’re on the road to recovery.  Do your best to maintain your motivation, discipline and mental fortitude.  Eat healthy, exercise, rest and enjoy nature.  My tip for the day; exercise doesn’t have to be conventional or organized.  Get up and move your body.  Take it one day at a time.  Keep those muscles strong and joints limber.  Get outside and enjoy some sun.  I know I’ll be out there!  Good health is a lifestyle.

I have been experiencing a wide range of thoughts and a variety of emotions over the last several weeks.  Many of us may share similar patterns or concerns.  I find it difficult to believe a person could not share in the ups and downs brought on by all this.  If you’re lucky enough not to feel the anxiety, my question is, “Are you living on planet earth right now?  What are you doing differently?”  Everyone around the globe is experiencing and living this together in real time.  The pandemic is inescapable.  It is just so crazy how the entire scenario continues to run its course.  The consequences of the virus, quarantine and economic fiasco are unbelievable.  There are times comprehending all of this is difficult, but then again, it’s not so difficult at all.  Our world is an immense sphere with billions of people living on it.  The virus has made the earth feel relatively small in comparison right now.  We truly are, all in this together.

The situation in the USA really began for many of us in mid-March.  It started with the initial call to “stay at home.”  I said, “This should be pretty easy.  What’s a couple weeks at home.”  Little did I realize the drastic turn of events the coronavirus would create.  The virus is taking us down a road never travelled in our time.  Strange, interesting, difficult and sad times for so many.   The disease and sequestering has brought new challenges physically, mentally and spiritually.

I have been mentally strong for many years.  My transformation began in high school running on the cross country team.  I learned about endurance and mental toughness.  I realized my body could physically last much longer than my mind was telling me.  After graduating from college I worked as a firefighter on a Hot Shot crew for the US Forest Service.  My initial fire season pushed me far beyond what I ever imagined my physical body and mental fortitude could withstand.  I learned I could push my body much further than imagined.  During my second season as a Hot Shot, I was given the task as a sawyer.  A sawyer operates a chain saw.  We had two sawyers, each with a brush puller, leading the crew at the front.  It was challenging and arduous work to say the least.  I became so much stronger, mentally and physically. 

It became easy to recognize when my mind would want to shut me down.  When my body began to experience fatigue, my mind would say stop.  Learning it’s possible to push beyond is an amazing educational process.  Realizing what my mind and body can withstand, pushing myself to the limits, was incredible.  It is quite amazing what you can accomplish when you control your will and mental capacity.  I was able to work past the fatigue and pain.  I could block those sensations, continue to push forward and work harder and longer.  This mindset ability became a truly valuable tool during the police academy and my career in law enforcement. 

Similarly, fear can become an overpowering demon if we surrender.  It can appear like an ominous force.  If you do not confront your fear, it has the ability to paralyze or render you helpless.  We all feel or experience fear in our lives.  It’s a natural human response.  The question to ask yourself; do you allow it to consume you or do you have the ability to control those feelings when initiated.  Whenever or however fear presents itself, your best defense is in understanding it.  The better we understand ourselves and the world around us, the easier it is to conquer the unknown.  Remember, knowledge is power.  It gives us the ability to rule over fear.  It’s also about finding the truth; over lies, misinformation or fake news.

To win in your battle over fear, consider the origin, source or basis of the fear.  How or why is it being perpetuated.  Is it real or perceived?  Is it something you can control?  Often times, fear is based on what we do not know.  If there is a threat, we react based on our control of that fear.  We evaluate the situation and logically make a decision.  If the threat is immediate, our decision making time speeds up.  The coronavirus is an unknown.  Even our scientists and experts are still learning about it.   Do your own research from trusted sources.  Make informed and intelligent decisions based on the truth, rather than fear.  

I have to admit, even being mentally strong, I find it increasingly difficult to watch network or mainstream news programs.  No matter where I turn; television, internet or social media, it’s all about the coronavirus.  Watching this day after day makes my head spin.  The local and national news outlets seem to rehash much of the same daily or weekly events.  They spout statistical data and opinions but don’t necessarily provide anything new.  It is amazing how many of the news outlets use the same verbiage in their broadcasts.  The only difference between media sources is their agenda or political slant they place on the story.  It would be wonderful to hear what’s happening here and in the rest of the world without all the clutter.  I’m sure there must be other things happening beside the pandemic.  It becomes frustrating when you’re just seeking the truth.

In my search for global news, I’ve tuned to public stations sharing international news.  Many countries initiated lock downs and social distancing protocols, similar to the USA.  There are other countries that have followed different approaches to limiting the virus outbreak and spread.  I find this information very intriguing.  The vast majority of information still revolves around the virus and the “new normal.”  The encouraging stories are outweighed by spouting more fear.  This tactic only serves to create more stress and anxiety.  I no longer wish to be bombarded by the agony the virus brings or feel powerless by staying at home.

Now I limit my news sources and amount of intake.  I go outside as much as possible; walk, run, exercise or just enjoy some sunshine and nature.  Remember, good physical and mental health are key ingredients to better living.  I know this is a disease similar to others.  In maintaining a strong immune system, I am confident in my health.  This is all part of our world.  We can’t control everything.  The virus will run its course.  I will continue to focus on what I can control and live my life.       

Having a better knowledge and understanding of what is happening around the world encourages hope.  I know this virus has and will continue to affect many across the globe.  By maintaining my personal health and assisting those close to me, I know I increase my physical and mental outlook.  Countries like Denmark and Sweden are already moving forward beyond the virus.  I embrace the fact that certain procedures should be maintained to protect those most vulnerable.  I also recognize the importance of getting our economy up and running very soon.  The economic devastation caused by the quarantine and “stay at home” order is wreaking havoc across the nation and world.  So many businesses and people are floundering to stay safe and secure; economically, physically and mentally.      

It’s nice to see our country, as well as other nations, beginning to rebound.  Don’t give in to the “fear.”  Be selective in where you seek your news and information.  Please choose wisely.  Limit your amount of time spent on social media or news outlets regarding the virus.  Do your upmost to maintain your health; physically, mentally and spiritually. 

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Where will you be tomorrow?

Sunday April 26, 2020

Good morning friends!  Sending you all happiness and love on this beautiful day!  I am grateful to be here with each new sunrise.  It is an honor to share my thoughts, stories and insight with you each Sunday morning.  Please do all you can to maintain your good health; physically, mentally and spiritually.  More than ever we need to be strong right now.  We are nearly there.

So, where will you be tomorrow?  I enjoy imagining myself like a quote from Rumi.  “I want to sing like the birds, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”  I am definitely looking forward to being free and travel wherever I want very soon.  There is so much to learn, see and do.  I’m setting goals, making my plan, getting ready and beginning to implement them as I go.

You are never too old to set new goals, dream new dreams or live a better life.  I never thought I’d be writing a weekly blog, but here I am.  I never imagined I’d be trapped by a pandemic either.  Life goes on and we continue to move forward.   

Clear direction of what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go in life was not my strong point while going to school.  Fortunately, it all began to unfold after I graduated from college and things started to fall into place.  Even after spending nearly 34 years in law enforcement, my life continues to reveal itself every day.  After a long and successful career, yoga reappeared in my life after first being formally introduced in 2010.  That reappearance changed my direction and set me on a new path, with new goals.  Now, several years later, I am still dreaming new dreams, changing paths and living a vibrant life.  Since retiring, it has been my dream to write a book.  I have dabbled here and there with the idea.  I’ve done research and even done some writing.  Now, a simple conversation with my daughter has made this a top line project.  I want to share my life story, taking it deeper into the depths of my career, struggles and successes.  My book will provide a legacy for her and the world.  It will include experiences and lessons throughout my life.  There will be tales she can laugh at and situations to learn from, while learning more about me.  I’ve never been afraid of sharing with her, but limited the amount of police activity.  Now I want her to know and understand what my job was really all about. 

There are many young people today who struggle with who they want to be or who they think they should be.  Society, peers, friends, family and social media can create unnecessary burdens on our kids.  Even parents may unintentionally place pressure on their children to over achieve or reach for dreams not their own.  Our children struggle with how they’re seen by family and friends.  Additional anxiety and stress can be created by academics, sports or what “perfect” career path to follow.  Our children are bombarded with social media content.  There are society twists on who you should be, how you should look, how you should act and what you should do. 

As parents, it’s our responsibility to keep our kids grounded, safe and free to dream their own dreams.  High school and college students think they need to have all the answers to life before graduation.  During my life I have talked and interacted with many college students seeking answers and direction.  I wish it was an easier process to know your path, but life isn’t always simple.  Okay, life is a complex and ever changing ride.  When it is great and running smoothly, it’s something to behold and cherish.  With maturity comes the wisdom to learn how to navigate what life brings.  Let’s ensure our kids are on the right path for them.  Allow them to dream and set their goals.  They will hopefully grow and learn along their path.  Set their course early and provide the tools they need to help them navigate life.  Now it’s time to focus on you.

My career with the LAPD included many mini careers with each new assignment.  That may sound odd, as I was always a police officer, but that’s what was pretty amazing about my career.  Different work details, assignments and promotions altered or changed my opportunities, career path and goals.  I worked the streets in patrol, answered 991 calls for service at Communications, worked narcotics, was undercover in Vice, was assigned to SWAT, rode a horse, promoted to Sergeant, worked patrol, gangs, vice, tactics and firearms training.  When I promoted to Lieutenant I became middle management.  I was a patrol watch commander, in charge of Hollywood Vice and ended my career in charge of an auto and cargo theft unit.  Each of these was a career within my career.  All required learning and adjustments along the way.  They challenged and increased my skill level at each step.  Every day I grew and that made me a better person.        

We always continue to learn and grow.  Take the time to evaluate where you are and where you want to be.  This is the perfect time to take full advantage of this.  The pandemic has brought us into uncharted territory and rugged days.  The virus has created challenging, difficult and sad times.  Anxiety and stress brought on by the uncertainty of the situation are real.  These combined forces cause harm to our mind and body.  An important thing we can do as individuals to counter the negativity is smother ourselves with self-care and love.  These are key ingredients to improving our health.  When we improve our health it allows us better quality interaction with others.  When we are safe and secure with ourselves, then we tend to treat others with the same love and kindness we want to be treated as individuals.  

I want you to put away those thoughts of who you are and where you are in life at this very moment.  Take time to focus on your future dreams.  Now is the time to set new short and long term goals.  Who you will be and where you will be tomorrow when the pandemic ends?  What do you want to accomplish and how will you achieve your goals?  Seize this moment and the opportunity to take control of your life and your future.     

How often are we allowed time and solitude to reflect and rebuild ourselves.  I know many of you may have children, work and are juggling many aspects of life at this very moment.  Believe me, with the “stay at home” order, we still have plenty of time to sit in silence.  You just have to make the choice to reflect in a quiet space.  It is during these times that we allow ourselves to dream and consider the possibilities.

I was never one to believe in the power of the universe or what sitting in solace could provide.  As I matured in years and wisdom, I have recognized the power in ourselves and the universe. 

We are all part of the amazing and vast energy of the cosmos.  The power is vibrant and real.  We are complex beings, magnificent creations, with brains capable of incredible feats.  If you take the time and allow yourself to dream, who knows what may be possible.  We just need to allow ourselves the opportunity to tap into that part of our minds.        

Whether you are creating a new you, redefining yourself or just building on your current talents, let’s get busy.  Use your brain and energy to live your dreams.  Don’t be afraid to put your talents to work to do amazing things.  Imagine the possibilities.  When you have thoughts and ideas in your mind, I want you to speak them out loud.  Write them on paper.  Set a goal.  Make a plan.  Create the image of who you want to be and where you want to go.  I believe with hard work and dedication you can turn your dreams into reality.  I know it’s possible, because I’ve done it.   Remember, if you can imagine it, you can achieve.  If you can dream it, you can live it.  Life is ours. Where will you be tomorrow? Don’t wait!    

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

The importance of Outlook and Attitude

Sunday April 19, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday.  Another week at home is in the books.  The virus continues to spread its devastating effects around the world.  I remain the perpetual optimist, spreading positivity and happiness.  We will move past this with our grit and determination.  I look forward to sharing time with my family and friends again soon.  I know that day is coming, as our country and world will re-open cautiously.  Keep the faith and keep moving forward.

My father was always a positive person.  “If you put in the work, things will pay off,” he’d say. He always encouraged me to look toward the future.  Dad would tell me how important it was to have a positive outlook and attitude.  I doubt I really grasped that concept until I was a senior in college.  When I graduated college and entered the workforce, those two character traits became all too important.  Great things aren’t just handed to you.  Success and achievement are earned through effort and determination.  Dedication, perseverance and hard work are a must if you wish to reach your dreams. 

Maintaining a positive outlook and attitude begin with knowledge.  As we grow and mature we become educated to many things.  This all begins at an early age.  It continues with receiving a formal education.  This process starts in elementary school and often extends through college.   Reading and learning more about life is always encouraged.  Going out and experiencing the world we live in provides us the practical aspect.  It bonds the two learning experiences.  The more time we spend out in our world, the more information we are exposed too and the more we absorb.  The socialization process brings us into contact with a wide variety of people, new ideas and thought processes.  The internet opens a vast array of material available at our finger tips.  While this is amazing for immediate discovery, there is nothing better than traveling to new places and talking to people.  All of our experiences have an impact on our educational growth.  The more we seek to know and understand ourselves and the world, the better we become.  We should question who we are, where we are going and what we want to accomplish.  This self-educational process is just as important as any school learning.  When you combine these, we really are incredible humans. 

I understand what motivation is and how it works.  It has been my spark to boost me off my butt and up into action.  I have always been able to draw from it when needed.  I didn’t learn how to incorporate discipline into that process until after college.  When I was hired by the US Forest Service, as a firefighter for a Hot Shot crew, discipline became my new mantra.  Motivation is great to get you pumped up for certain events, but like adrenaline, it only lasts for a limited amount of time.  Discipline is required to sustain our endurance past that initial blast of motivation.  Passion and determination assist in lifting us beyond everything life throws our way. 

Life can be challenging and difficult in so many ways.  I find it a must to always keep my outlook focused on attaining any goal.  Coupled with that, is our mental strength and a positive attitude to keep us moving forward.  This is where discipline plays a huge role.  Education, training and knowledge were a must for me during my fire crew days.  When I was dropped at the edge of an out of control raging forest fire, all these traits combined to provide focus.  Giving up or failure were not an option.  Maintaining discipline and strength proved to be extremely beneficial in all aspects of my life.     

Our ability and desire to learn should never stop.  We should constantly push ourselves to learn more, seek the truth, find answers and empower ourselves to know more.  Never settle on any explanation or story.  Go out and explore the possibilities.  Reading, watching, listening and doing, provide excellent sources to absorb new information and clarify old.  During my career in law enforcement I was constantly learning, growing and evolving.  The intake of information was a daily process.  If I didn’t know the answer, I made sure I sought it out.  I always strived to know all I could about my job or assignment.  The more educated I became, especially about my job and life, the greater my confidence grew and the better person I became.  Being more confident gave me the ability to better fulfill my duties.  It was a winning situation for the officers I worked with, for the community I served and for myself.   

Don’t allow others to dictate what you are capable of being or accomplishing.  I realized years ago I wasn’t built to be a world class runner or professional athlete.  I’m sure it could have been fun, but that wasn’t my path.  Our genetic makeup has an impact on some things.  Our brain provides us with the platform to learn and excel.  Knowledge is limitless because it allows us to imagine the possibilities.  It empowers us to reach for our dreams.  Hard work and discipline can make those dreams attainable and turn them into reality.

My best advice for all humans of any age, young and old, is the same.  Balance your knowledge base with both theoretical and practical experience.  As much as you learn from books, get out and learn from doing.  Reading about people, places and things is wonderful, but nothing can replace or replicate actual hands on participation.  Strive to be the best educated version of yourself.  Meditate, journal, sit in nature and take the time to relax your mind and body.  Allow yourself to release the stress and pressure of our fast paced lives. 

We all follow our own path.  Take the time to set the proper example for others to follow.  Lead by example.  Remember that sometimes bad things happen.  Life events, like the coronavirus, occur.  The pandemic is beyond our control.  It’s sad, frustrating and temporary.  You can’t allow these circumstances to control or paralyze you.  Live a healthy lifestyle and maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health.  Always begin your day with gratitude, compassion and love.  Make each and every day special, from beginning to the next beginning.

Our increased knowledge and understanding the world around us builds our attitude, confidence and outlook.  The universe is a massive unending realm.  That fact can make us feel rather small and insignificant in the grand scheme of life.  The earth was formed billions of years ago.  Man, in his earliest form first appeared thousands of years ago.  Use your time here to your best possible ability.  Enhance your experience, but always empower others along the way. 

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Loved ones never leave us

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Good morning and Happy Easter Sunday!  Today is a blessed and special day.  Whatever your cultural celebrations or religious beliefs may be, we really need all the help we can get today.  The pandemic has created sadness and uncertainty around our world, but there is always hope for a bright future.  It can seem like this is a never ending uphill battle, but life continues to move forward and we need to keep moving with it.  We have been quarantined at home for the past four weeks.  To some it may seem like a life time, but there are many positives attached to it.  Take the time to remain focused on what’s important in life.  We will recover and heal; physically, mentally and spiritually.  Stay safe, strong, healthy and vigilant.  Together we will succeed and move forward with new life.  I wish you all a blessed and beautiful Easter day. Wherever you may be, let’s celebrate the day together.  I am grateful to share it with you.

Last Sunday I mentioned how I talk to my Dad.  I wanted to explain that in more detail.  He passed away six years ago.  That doesn’t deter me from talking with him every day.  I miss hearing his voice and the wisdom of his responses.  The death of a loved one is never easy, no matter what the circumstances.  So many people around the world are feeling this pain.  I always remember that with death comes new life.  My Dad was an amazing man and father.  I was blessed to have him in my life for many years.  Even now, knowing he has returned to energy in the universe, I often see his answers and where he is guiding me.

My Dad’s parents immigrated from Italy to the United States in the early 1900’s.  They became U.S. citizens and began a better life.  His family settled along the Ohio River, where he was born and raised with his brothers and sister. 

In 1942, Dad was inducted into the U.S. Army, after the outbreak of World War II.  After basic training he was sent to England in preparation for the invasion of Europe.  His unit was attached to the 101st Airborne.  This brought him to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, and on through France, Belgium and Luxembourg.  December of 1944 the woods in the Ardennes was covered in snow, where he survived the Battle of the Bulge.  Several stories were recounted of seeing General George Patton and his pearl handle 45’s.  His unit pushed into Germany, where the war ended.  After achieving the rank of Staff (technical) Sergeant, he returned home and received an Honorable Discharge.  

My parents married and Dad remained in the Army reserves.  Active duty status called him back during the Korean War.  He served as a Drill Instructor, was deployed to Japan and returned to the States.  Prior to his military discharge he moved his family to sunny Los Angeles.  My Dad received an Honorable Discharge on the day I was born.  

My father was a beloved son, brother, devoted husband, loving dad, uncle, friend and adoring grandfather.  Dad was one of those guys that could fix anything.  Blessed with a friendly demeanor and personality, he was liked and loved by everyone.  Dad passed away with his family by his side.  He is inurned at Arlington National Cemetery, receiving full military honors.  As are many other unsung heros of his day, he is indeed part of the “Greatest Generation.”     

My father wasn’t just any ordinary Dad.  He was my Dad and so much more.  My parents raised me in the Catholic faith, to tell the truth, be honest and have integrity.  I believe in God and have spent the last half of my life more spiritual than church bound.  I believe there is “more” after we leave this life on earth.  We are all energy based beings, as is everything in this universe.  I believe our energy and soul maintain their existence.  I could share many of my experiences to illustrate my belief.  I want to share a couple of my stories with you. 

Several years ago I was going through an extremely difficult time.  I had recently retired from my career in law enforcement.  I was soul searching, looking for answers and guidance.  I left my house in the late afternoon to walk on the beach.  The beach, mountains, desert and other settings in nature have always provided energy and solace.  This dark and cloudy winter day seemed to further dim my spirits.  I hoped the beach would provide some inspiration.  I didn’t see anyone as I walked in the chilly air.  I talked to my Dad, as I often have, asking for his insight and guidance.  After about 20 minutes I implored him for some kind of sign that the path I was considering was the right choice.  I stopped in my tracks as a ray of sunshine hit my face.  I turned west to face the ocean.  The clouds seemed to part ever so slightly.  A thin ray of sunshine ran down to the water and right up the beach to me.  I stared at it in disbelief, as I realized it was only shining on me and nowhere else.  I thanked my Dad for his stunning display and his reply.  The clouds immediately closed and the sun disappeared once again. 

This is one story of many encounters I have experienced and witnessed over the years.  I often feel his presence and hear his message.  One of the first times that solidified his presence was shortly after his death.  It occurred during my first ever Reiki session.  During the session I could feel him standing next to me.  After the session ended, the Reiki master was telling me what she felt.  She detailed how she sensed a man next to me.  He had his arm around my shoulder.  She asked me if that meant anything to me.  I told her it was my Dad and how he would often put his arm over my shoulder to hug me.  That experience led me to opening my mind up to all the possibilities.  Shortly after that I completed my Reiki I and II practitioner certification.    

You may or may not believe in the afterlife.  I wanted to offer my belief that our loved ones remain close to us after they leave this earth.  If you haven’t allowed yourself to open your heart, mind or soul to these possibilities, it may be time you do.  The universe is a vast endless space made up of energy, of which we are all part.  

To boggle your mind further, consider this from Scientific American.  We live in a galaxy, on a planet rotating around a large star we call the sun.  The earth is rotating eastward in a counterclockwise motion at approximately 1,000 mph.  The earth is moving in a near circular orbit about the sun at nearly 67,000 mph.  There are other galaxies in our neighborhood also rushing at nearly 1,000 kilometers a second toward a structure called the Great Attractor.  It is a region in space roughly 150 million light years away from us (one light year is approximately six trillion miles).  The Great Attractor has a mass of 100 quadrillion times greater than our sun and spans 500 million light years.  It has both visible matter that we can see and dark matter that we cannot see.  Our eyes only allow us to see a small portion of stars in this galaxy.  Scientific exploration reveals the vastness of open space and the universe beyond.  We know it exists.

How often do you contemplate our planet or how we got here?  The earth was formed in our galaxy billions of years ago.  Modern day man has only been in existence a short period of time.      When you attempt to comprehend this information, it can be quite mindboggling.  I know thinking about our energy circling the universe after we leave this earth can be a curious process as well.  Keep your mind open to the possibilities.  Don’t discount it because you can’t see it. 

This is a time we all need to offer support for one another.  Believe in the power of positivity, but understand it takes work to make things happen.  Let’s begin with gratitude and move forward from there.  Be strong and let’s thrive together.                

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Physical and Mental health maintenance are a must!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Good morning and happy April!  I thought I missed the April Fool’s Day joke, but realized we really are staying home for the entire month.  Give people a couple weeks of quarantine and they come up with some funny and creative posts.  It’s definitely no joke how many people are suffering through this pandemic.  The stress and anxiety are real.  Our lives seem to be in constant distress.  The virus has brought fear, sickness, death, economic and social disruption.  The days can easily bring on feelings of helplessness and frustration.  This is when we definitely need a boost to keep our mental and physical health intact.

These are difficult times for us all.  When you think back, our typical daily lives kept us busy and occupied.  Each day was filled with activity and constant motion.  We seem to stay so wrapped up in our own affairs that we have little time to dwell on issues that arise in and around our world.  Being sequestered at home provides us all plenty of time to reflect and think about our life, our family and what is important.  Each new day is much the same, giving us time to contemplate life.  The burden can be real and heavy.  The secret is to use this time wisely and listen to the silence.  Allow yourself, and your mind, the freedom to just let the universe speak to you.  Take a little time each day to sit in silence.  For many of us, this may be something that is unfamiliar or unnerving.  I guarantee new and enlightening thoughts will reveal themselves, if you allow them.  You just have to be willing and open your mind so they can be heard.  

Next, you need to make a plan for managing each day.  Let me share a few ideas and tips to assist building your own plan during the difficult days we find ourselves sharing.  I want to keep this as simple as possible.  We are three weeks into the “stay home” order.  Whether you go to your place of employment, work from home or just feel stuck, like many of us; it is of the upmost importance that we each take care and maintain our physical, mental and spiritual health.   If you have the feeling of being isolated, trapped or alone; believe me you are not alone.  Staying focused, engaged and busy will help in alleviating some of the anxiety and stress.      

This is a new and uneasy experience for the entire world.  You cannot allow fear to get a grip or paralyze you.  Yes, the virus is out there, we may or may not be exposed or contract it.  There are many uncertainties since it is a new virus strain.  Experts around the world are learning more about it daily.  If it’s similar to the various flu or coronavirus strains, it has the potential of being here seasonally.  The experts say if you do contract the virus, the recovery rate is approximately 98%.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who is studying the virus, estimates approximately 4.7% people may die globally.  This is based on current numbers, but caution not all cases have been reported or examined.  As of Monday, the CDC stated approximately 1.8% of those infected in the USA may die from the virus.  Approximately 0.1% may die from the flu in the U.S. during the 2019-20 season.  The pandemic is worldwide and the numbers continue to fluctuate between countries and age groups.  This is not the time to panic.  We must all do our  part to slow the spread.  We will get through this together.

Let’s build a daily plan to help get everyone through each day and beyond.  As you may know, our physical and mental health are closely tied together.  When both are thriving, we feel amazing.  If one suffers, it has a profound negative effect on the other.  The key to good health is maintaining a balance between the two.  In times of difficulty, like being told to stay at home during a coronavirus pandemic, keeping that balance can be tough.  If you’re on social media, watch the news, do nothing all day or totally isolate yourself, I guarantee your health will suffer.  Let’s seize the moment and energize ourselves into action.  Empower yourself and boost others along the way.  We will conquer this together.      

Now it’s time to make our plan.  Here is a basic outline of my daily schedule.  Like any good plan, modifications or adjustments can be made at any time.  I have a routine I like to follow and have daily goals I work to achieve.  Every day is different and some goals are not always reached.  At the end of the day I re-evaluate my priorities and set goals for the coming day.  I begin each morning with several minutes of quiet time in self-reflection and meditation.  I express my gratitude for life and am thankful for the opportunities and possibilities the new day brings.  I always have a chat with my Dad and include my girlfriends father and Cinnamon (our family dog of over 15 years).  I know they are all together watching over us.  I’ll consider sharing more details about the connection I, and many others, have with loved ones who have passed.

This always kick starts my day.  From there I typically try to get some exercise.  This varies from day to day; so I could run, lift weights, bike, yoga, hike or just walk.  The optimum thing is to just get your body moving.  Movement throughout the day is highly suggested.  Don’t stay in one position too long.  Get up every hour and walk around.  It’s even better if you can go outside for 20 minutes to enjoy sunshine, fresh air and nature.  Walking barefoot on the grass, sand or dirt brings amazing grounding effects.  The earth and the universe are all energy.  Soak it up often and as much as possible.  Another great relief for me is to journal daily.  I enjoy writing about each day, my life, events and thoughts.  It is very personal to me and very different than these weekly posts.  Writing, or maintaining a journal, has amazing benefits for your mental health and well-being. 

After my workouts, I enjoy a healthy protein shake, watch a little news or read selected posts from my laptop.  I do not sit for hours, but just enough time to bring me up to date.  Sitting or viewing the news for hours is not my recommendation.  There are many days I don’t turn the TV on until evening hours.  I’d much rather gather my news in manageable sections from reliable sources.   Now it’s time to start whatever projects I want to work on.  Breaks are encouraged throughout the morning.  Lunch typically comes quickly.  I pick up where I left off and resume through afternoon.  Breaks to walk, get some sunshine or just stretch are included and highly encouraged.  Relaxation, conversation and fun with my partner are incorporated, especially during the evening and dinner hour.  With this “new normal” we make plenty of “us” time.     

We should all know our own body and what we need physically and mentally to get through each day.  Design and structure your daily plan to fit your needs and goals.  Be sure to set time aside for the things you deem important.  If you have kids, have a plan for them too.  Go outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Eat healthy food, exercise, move, do your work and reach for your goal.  Communicate, interact and have fun with your loved ones and family.  Reach out to family and friends as often as possible.  Many of us   have a keen sense when anxiety or depression begin to attack us.  At the first hint of those feelings, reach out to someone.  Staying connected to close family and friends has huge dividends.  Maybe others are close by so you can talk from a safe distance.  The next best option is to call or video chat.  One of my cousins arranged a video chat this week that included 18 family members spanning five states.  It was fun and so easy to do.   It was uplifting and full of laughs. 

We are not only fighting the threat posed by the virus, but a serious disruption to our lives, which brings on anxiety and stress.  The struggles this causes and looming isolation are real.  If anxiety affects your mental health, please do not wait to reach out for a helping hand.  Depression can consume you like a dark cloud.  There are hotlines and services available to assist.  Reaching out to family and friends can be a fabulous aid too.  Talking, sharing and discussing your fears and struggles can often relieve those pains.  Seeking more direct professional care is always an option.  I knew when I needed that care and making that decision was one of my best.  Please do not wait.  You’re not alone.  We are all experiencing this together.            

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!

Time to Reconnect

Sunday March 29, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday, March 29, 2020.  It’s hard to believe another month has passed so quickly.  Even with the “stay at home” order, the days have flown by.  Every day I spend on earth is another day that I am grateful.  I am blessed and fortunate to live in a beautiful city and great country.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Let’s take the time to reconnect with the important things in life, beginning with life itself.  Maintain your physical and mental health wisely.  Share this precious time with your family.  Make brightness, joy and love key parts of your days.  Gratitude, honesty and respect are additional ingredients to a healthy life.

I would love to be sitting at home, relaxing and thinking about where to visit on my next vacation, instead of being inundated with coronavirus news and social media posts 24 / 7.   It is difficult to think about anything else right now.  The virus is affecting billions of humans worldwide.  There are so many sick, while the death toll continues to rise.  Many nations have confined their populations to home and it is our responsibility to comply.  It is up to us to do what is best for ourselves and our fellow humans living on this planet.  This is truly the time to reconnect with ourselves.   

We are one day away from the end of the 15-day quarantine period imposed by the White House.  It has been interesting watching the daily briefings and the discrepancies voiced by other political leaders.  You would think in a time of crisis the people making decisions that impact our lives would unite with more solidarity rather than their own agenda.  Unfortunately, here in the USA, there are some people that make everything about politics.  I wish it wasn’t about what political party you affiliate with, but that we are all Americans.  Instead of pointing fingers of blame, it’s time for our elected, so called leaders, to work together and do what’s best for US.   Strength and a unified front would be awesome elements to bringing people together as we all struggle to get through this virus outbreak.

As I watch the news, the number of cases continue to increase and spread, both here and around the globe.  New York is by far the hardest hit U.S. state thus far.  Washington, California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have thousands of cases, while other states are experiencing an influx of the virus as well.  My logical guess is our stay at home period will be extended, but that’s just my opinion.  I know President Trump wanted to offer a glimmer of hope by saying Easter may bring some loosening of the restrictions, but I’m not sure that will be possible.  I read in an interview with Doctor Fauci, where he commented saying the President meant well, but this was an “aspirational projection to give people some hope.”  Hope and strength are definitely two qualities needed by us all right now.  

The best thing we can do at this very moment; stay home.  By doing this, we do what’s best for ourselves, family, friends, community and our nation.  Take the time to relish what we have.  I am very grateful and blessed to live in America.  We have food, shelter and a great health care system.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Pick up your phone, call family and friends to reconnect.  Actually talk to people and let them know you care.  It is amazing what solace a kind voice can bring to someone.  On the flip side, it is wonderful what hearing a friendly voice can do for you the caller.  It is a winning investment for both parties.  I know this isn’t an easy time.   It can be scary, filled with uncertainty.    

Many countries are suffering the deadly effects of the virus.  This is an unsettling period for us all.  The feelings of anxiety, stress and fear are real.  They can bring on increased sadness and depression.  If you experience these emotions, reach out to a friend or hotline for immediate help.  Reach out to me.  My best remedy is to maintain my physical, mental and spiritual health.  I do not sit in front of the TV all day.  I set a plan each day, to write, read or work on projects.  I go outside for fresh air, sunshine and some nature as much as possible.  I exercise, walk and ensure I move during the day.  I stay busy and focused on life and what’s important to myself and my family.   Yoga, meditation and healthy foods assist in my personal maintenance too.  When the healing begins we will return to those fast paced lives.  Cherish this brief time with your family.  Maybe you will reconnect in new ways.  The best part is building new habits for a happier and healthier you.  Stay well, safe and maintain a strong immune system.  Together we will get through this.   

There are so many people working in a united effort to lessen the effects of this pandemic.  I want to express my thanks and gratitude to all of our medical and support personnel.  Nurses, doctors, medical staff and all hospital workers are embedded in the trenches fighting this virus.  They are the first line of defense, working diligently to save lives, while risking their own.  There are many more people supporting their efforts, as well as ours, while we are asked to remain at home.  The food industry, grocery stores, trucking industry and suppliers continue to have food and products available for us.  Businesses continue to work, suppling household products, as well as medical supplies, must be thanked.  Restaurants and small eateries continue to serve food, while attempting to remain afloat.  Utility workers, gas stations, vehicle repair shops, city and county employees and other essential services remain open to aid us.  I offer a special thank you to our police, fire and first responders.  Thank you to everyone working to make our lives comfortable and safe.           

Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more!  The healthy life puzzle is always in rotation.  Let’s be healthy and strong mentally, physically and spiritually!

Thanks for your love and support!  Embrace Life!  Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!