Create calm during the chaos

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday.  I hope you all enjoyed a Happy (and quiet) St Patrick’s Day!

Like all Americans, and many people around the world, I am doing my part to social distance myself from others.  I am remaining home as much as possible.  Luckily, since my girlfriend just moved in, we have plenty of boxes to unpack.  Cooking meals together is fun as well.  I have been shopping for supplies a couple of times and enjoy running at the beach.  The times in nature are so beneficial for me, physically, mentally and spiritually.  We are ALL affected by this virus outbreak.  When I say “all” I am referring to all humans on this planet.  The effects are (and will be) far reaching, not only in sickness and death, but in every socio-economic part of our lives.  We must all do our best to support ourselves, our nation and the world

About a month ago I watched a Netflix documentary, “Pandemic.”  I was telling my girlfriend about it.  Her sarcastic response was, “Thanks for brightening my day.”  The documentary outlined the grim possibilities associated with a worldwide event.  Our information about the coronavirus was just getting ramped up at the time I watched this.  There was still much uncertainty, misinformation and things we did not know.  Now, things are quite different.  Many cities and countries, like the USA, are on lock down and quarantined.  These are indeed interesting, crazy and sad times; taking us into uncharted territories. 

During the first weeks of the virus outbreak my goal was to maintain life as normal as possible.  It was not my intention to write about it or what was happening as a result.  The events this past week, especially after watching the daily White House Task Force briefings, caused me to rethink this.  Now, I have to comment, as our lives are upended.  The daily televised reports from the White House are a great benefit and informative.  The team assembled by the President are doing an amazing job.  They are knowledgeable experts in their fields and working hard to ensure our nation is safe.  Having worked in a large bureaucracy, getting things done quickly is a task.  All indications show the task force is working diligently to get things done (such as producing protective gear and medicines).  Their efforts should be applauded.  What is annoying are the repetitive daily questions and sometimes disrespect displayed by journalists in attendance.  It was nice to watch Saturday’s briefing, as the President put a couple reporters in their place.  There are many fantastic journalists doing amazing work.  My cousin, at the Voice of America, is one of the great ones.  These people report the news with passion in an unbiased manner. 

In a time of uncertainty, I wish the news media would be working together, focused on honest and accurate news reporting.  A streamlined and more managed question period needs to be implemented, as the shouting of reporters to be selected is just ridiculous.  Fear and anxiety are having an overwhelming impact on many.   In such a short period of time people have shown their true colors.  Between the news media and some politicians, it has been a toss-up who to believe or who created the most anxiety.  The other issue are the people posting false or slanted information on the internet and social media sites.  These irresponsible acts create further stress and spread like wildfire.  Some people read these posts believing it’s the gospel and repost without verifying sources or truth.  None of this helps; often creating further uncertainty, misunderstanding and fear.  Let’s not forget the criminal element and all the scams and fraudulent activity via internet, emails, posts and calls.  Keep yourself safe and verify sources before moving forward.  Sad times.  The last few weeks have not been easy for anyone, here or across the globe.  

I have witnessed some slanted media coverage over the years.  Depending on who owns the news organization or network, they tend to add their particular agenda to stories.  This can be true among some politicians too.  There are many questions.  I know journalists provide a service in reporting the news for us all.  What I do not agree with are some of the tactics utilized, by either themselves or the news companies that bring the stories to the public.  In the initial reporting, after the virus erupted on our shores, in my opinion, some of this reporting brought less than a calm state of mind.  Redundant and useless information was tossed out from morning to night.  This serves to further create an uneasy and apprehensive society.     

Drama, fear and doom seems to mesmerize people and capture their attention.  The unfortunate part, this virus does not need any extra hype.  It is real, fast spreading and can be deadly.  I have lived in and around the Los Angeles area all my life.  Rain showers create massive media events here.  Yes, there can be mud slides or floods, but the media has a unique way to spin reports that create fear before it even occurs.  The mere threat of traffic, inclement weather, fires, natural disasters, events or just about anything bring that media fearful twist.  Why?  Fear sells.  I don’t blame the media.  Their job is to report the news.  The sad part is how some add their own twists to outdo the other guys.  Ratings and money seem to be a part of their agenda, even in difficult times.  I am all for accurate and fair reporting of any and all news.  Please just let it be that.      

Being in my mid 60’s means I have witnessed and lived through a variety of major events.  It started while I was in elementary school. The Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 set the tone for an already fearful world.  The Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union (and its communist allies) was at its height.  The USSR parked a bunch of missiles in Cuba, just off the Florida coast.  The 13-day confrontation created fear and anxiety.  I remember doing missile attack drills in elementary school.  The teacher would yell, “Get under your desk!”  We would scramble for shelter beneath our flimsy wood desks.  I doubt they would have offered much protection from a nuclear attack.  Some people had backyard bomb shelters built, but I do not recall witnessing panic buying like I have seen today.  

Other events throughout the years fueled fear and anxiety.  In 1965, the United States involvement in the Vietnam War began.  It continued until 1973.  There have been hurricanes, tornados, volcanic eruptions, natural disasters and horrific events.  On February 9, 1971, a powerful earthquake (6.5) struck Sylmar, California (just north of Los Angeles) in 1971.  That was followed up by another destructive earthquake (6.7) in Northridge (just several miles from Sylmar) on January 17, 1994.  I lived near both epicenters.  There have been major brush fires, around this area, for as long as I can remember.  What I do not remember is the hysteria created, as we are seeing with this particular virus.

I recognize how people can become easily influenced by a mentality created by fear.  I have witnessed this several times during my law enforcement career.  It is not a pretty sight.  The media and political fueled events, sometimes go beyond the true severity.  Hysteria and fear sells.  Today we enjoy instant delivery of information in the age of technological.  News, weather and anything we want is at our fingertips, as soon as we grab our cell phone or laptop.

Yes, the coronavirus is serious.  It has nothing to do with politics, race, creed or color.  I’m happy politics are not an issue (for the most part).  The virus does not spell doomsday for the world.  Together we can get through this.  Take the proper precautions and do the right thing.   Protect yourself and your family.  This does not mean buying everything you can.  There are plenty of people out there that need food and supplies.  There are others that do not possess the resources or ability to immediately gather what they need.  Think of the elderly, disabled or others that need more time.  They may need additional time or money to get to the store.  Think of how they feel when they arrive after stores have been emptied.  The impulsive actions of a few create a tidal wave effect.  Others follow thinking there won’t be anything left for them.  Soon all stores are depleted for no reason.  The entire TP thing is just crazy.  

I have seen the unsettled and disrespectful actions by some people, buying and hoarding all they can.  Where do those values come from?  Who created the urgency for people to feel the need to rush out and buy massive amounts of toilet paper, food and water?  This is not the time to push, shove or fight over items easily obtained.  Now is the time to remain calm and follow the guidelines to limit the rapid spread of the virus.  Be a kind person.  Seek to assist others.   Be who you’d want caring for your parents or grandparents.      

There is much to digest during the social distancing period.  Information is hitting us from every angle 24/7.  Take the time to absorb the news rationally, allow time for self-reflection and be grateful for all we have.  Our stores are massive, with plenty of food and choices.  There are many countries that do not share our abundance.  The quarantine affords us the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with our family.  Share that time wisely.  Be thankful for our medical personnel, store employees, delivery workers, first responders, military and all those working daily to ensure we have what we need and provide for our safety. 

I am more than willing to do my part to slow the spread of the virus.  What I don’t like are irrational decisions made by state and local politicians.  Our Federal leadership team set into motion a two-week quarantine plan for the nation.  These actions are intended to slow the spread and flatten the curve of the virus.  Why does California Governor Newsome feel he knows better, basically locking up the state for an unknown amount of time?  His initial declaration on Thursday night was 30-day stay at home order.  That was eased as of Friday morning to an undetermined amount of time.   His projections for sickness and death in the state further fuel the anxiety here.  My heart hurts for those with businesses here, and everyone with families.  Sad and uncertain times. 

Decisions like this fuel and create additional hysteria, as much as the 24/7 coverage of the media.  I understand why the Federal government made the decision for a two-week quarantine and they will re-evaluate.  Shutting California down for an undetermined amount of time will have a huge impact on millions of people.  The coronavirus will run its course and dissipate over time.  Let’s do our best to limit the rapid spread and potentially save some lives in the process.  To minimize stress and anxiety, go outside and enjoy nature.  Yoga, meditation, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will offer relief.  Do the right thing; especially for your family and other humans sharing similar feelings, emotions and fears.  This is our planet.  Let’s love it as much as we love ourselves.      

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!

Create calm during the chaos

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday.  I hope you all enjoyed a Happy (and quiet) St Patrick’s Day!

Like all Americans, and many people around the world, I am doing my part to social distance myself from others.  I am remaining home as much as possible.  Luckily, since my girlfriend just moved in, we have plenty of boxes to unpack.  Cooking meals together is fun as well.  I have been shopping for supplies a couple of times and enjoy running at the beach.  The times in nature are so beneficial for me, physically, mentally and spiritually.  We are ALL affected by this virus outbreak.  When I say “all” I am referring to all humans on this planet.  The effects are (and will be) far reaching, not only in sickness and death, but in every socio-economic part of our lives.  We must all do our best to support ourselves, our nation and the world

About a month ago I watched a Netflix documentary, “Pandemic.”  I was telling my girlfriend about it.  Her sarcastic response was, “Thanks for brightening my day.”  The documentary outlined the grim possibilities associated with a worldwide event.  Our information about the coronavirus was just getting ramped up at the time I watched this.  There was still much uncertainty, misinformation and things we did not know.  Now, things are quite different.  Many cities and countries, like the USA, are on lock down and quarantined.  These are indeed interesting, crazy and sad times; taking us into uncharted territories. 

During the first weeks of the virus outbreak my goal was to maintain life as normal as possible.  It was not my intention to write about it or what was happening as a result.  The events this past week, especially after watching the daily White House Task Force briefings, caused me to rethink this.  Now, I have to comment, as our lives are upended.  The daily televised reports from the White House are a great benefit and informative.  The team assembled by the President are doing an amazing job.  They are knowledgeable experts in their fields and working hard to ensure our nation is safe.  Having worked in a large bureaucracy, getting things done quickly is a task.  All indications show the task force is working diligently to get things done (such as producing protective gear and medicines).  Their efforts should be applauded.  What is annoying are the repetitive daily questions and sometimes disrespect displayed by journalists in attendance.  It was nice to watch Saturday’s briefing, as the President put a couple reporters in their place.  There are many fantastic journalists doing amazing work.  My cousin, at the Voice of America, is one of the great ones.  These people report the news with passion in an unbiased manner.  

In a time of uncertainty, I wish the news media would be working together, focused on honest and accurate news reporting.  A streamlined and more managed question period needs to be implemented, as the shouting of reporters to be selected is just ridiculous.  Fear and anxiety are having an overwhelming impact on many.   In such a short period of time people have shown their true colors.  Between the news media and some politicians, it has been a toss-up who to believe or who created the most anxiety.  The other issue are the people posting false or slanted information on the internet and social media sites.  These irresponsible acts create further stress and spread like wildfire.  Some people read these posts believing it’s the gospel and repost without verifying sources or truth.  None of this helps; often creating further uncertainty, misunderstanding and fear.  Let’s not forget the criminal element and all the scams and fraudulent activity via internet, emails, posts and calls.  Keep yourself safe and verify sources before moving forward.  Sad times.  The last few weeks have not been easy for anyone, here or across the globe.  

I have witnessed some slanted media coverage over the years.  Depending on who owns the news organization or network, they tend to add their particular agenda to stories.  This can be true among some politicians too.  There are many questions.  I know journalists provide a service in reporting the news for us all.  What I do not agree with are some of the tactics utilized, by either themselves or the news companies that bring the stories to the public.  In the initial reporting, after the virus erupted on our shores, in my opinion, some of this reporting brought less than a calm state of mind.  Redundant and useless information was tossed out from morning to night.  This serves to further create an uneasy and apprehensive society.     

Drama, fear and doom seems to mesmerize people and capture their attention.  The unfortunate part, this virus does not need any extra hype.  It is real, fast spreading and can be deadly.  I have lived in and around the Los Angeles area all my life.  Rain showers create massive media events here.  Yes, there can be mud slides or floods, but the media has a unique way to spin reports that create fear before it even occurs.  The mere threat of traffic, inclement weather, fires, natural disasters, events or just about anything bring that media fearful twist.  Why?  Fear sells.  I don’t blame the media.  Their job is to report the news.  The sad part is how some add their own twists to outdo the other guys.  Ratings and money seem to be a part of their agenda, even in difficult times.  I am all for accurate and fair reporting of any and all news.  Please just let it be that.      

Being in my mid 60’s means I have witnessed and lived through a variety of major events.  It started while I was in elementary school. The Cuban missile crisis in October 1962 set the tone for an already fearful world.  The Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union (and its communist allies) was at its height.  The USSR parked a bunch of missiles in Cuba, just off the Florida coast.  The 13-day confrontation created fear and anxiety.  I remember doing missile attack drills in elementary school.  The teacher would yell, “Get under your desk!”  We would scramble for shelter beneath our flimsy wood desks.  I doubt they would have offered much protection from a nuclear attack.  Some people had backyard bomb shelters built, but I do not recall witnessing panic buying like I have seen today.  

Other events throughout the years fueled fear and anxiety.  In 1965, the United States involvement in the Vietnam War began.  It continued until 1973.  There have been hurricanes, tornados, volcanic eruptions, natural disasters and horrific events.  On February 9, 1971, a powerful earthquake (6.5) struck Sylmar, California (just north of Los Angeles) in 1971.  That was followed up by another destructive earthquake (6.7) in Northridge (just several miles from Sylmar) on January 17, 1994.  I lived near both epicenters.  There have been major brush fires, around this area, for as long as I can remember.  What I do not remember is the hysteria created, as we are seeing with this particular virus.

I recognize how people can become easily influenced by a mentality created by fear.  I have witnessed this several times during my law enforcement career.  It is not a pretty sight.  The media and political fueled events, sometimes go beyond the true severity.  Hysteria and fear sells.  Today we enjoy instant delivery of information in the age of technological.  News, weather and anything we want is at our fingertips, as soon as we grab our cell phone or laptop.

Yes, the coronavirus is serious.  It has nothing to do with politics, race, creed or color.  I’m happy politics are not an issue (for the most part).  The virus does not spell doomsday for the world.  Together we can get through this.  Take the proper precautions and do the right thing.   Protect yourself and your family.  This does not mean buying everything you can.  There are plenty of people out there that need food and supplies.  There are others that do not possess the resources or ability to immediately gather what they need.  Think of the elderly, disabled or others that need more time.  They may need additional time or money to get to the store.  Think of how they feel when they arrive after stores have been emptied.  The impulsive actions of a few create a tidal wave effect.  Others follow thinking there won’t be anything left for them.  Soon all stores are depleted for no reason.  The entire TP thing is just crazy.  

I have seen the unsettled and disrespectful actions by some people, buying and hoarding all they can.  Where do those values come from?  Who created the urgency for people to feel the need to rush out and buy massive amounts of toilet paper, food and water?  This is not the time to push, shove or fight over items easily obtained.  Now is the time to remain calm and follow the guidelines to limit the rapid spread of the virus.  Be a kind person.  Seek to assist others.   Be who you’d want caring for your parents or grandparents.      

There is much to digest during the social distancing period.  Information is hitting us from every angle 24/7.  Take the time to absorb the news rationally, allow time for self-reflection and be grateful for all we have.  Our stores are massive, with plenty of food and choices.  There are many countries that do not share our abundance.  The quarantine affords us the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with our family.  Share that time wisely.  Be thankful for our medical personnel, store employees, delivery workers, first responders, military and all those working daily to ensure we have what we need and provide for our safety. 

I am more than willing to do my part to slow the spread of the virus.  What I don’t like are irrational decisions made by state and local politicians.  Our Federal leadership team set into motion a two-week quarantine plan for the nation.  These actions are intended to slow the spread and flatten the curve of the virus.  Why does California Governor Newsome feel he knows better, basically locking up the state for an unknown amount of time?  His initial declaration on Thursday night was 30-day stay at home order.  That was eased as of Friday morning to an undetermined amount of time.   His projections for sickness and death in the state further fuel the anxiety here.  My heart hurts for those with businesses here, and everyone with families.  Sad and uncertain times. 

Decisions like this fuel and create additional hysteria, as much as the 24/7 coverage of the media.  I understand why the Federal government made the decision for a two-week quarantine and they will re-evaluate.  Shutting California down for an undetermined amount of time will have a huge impact on millions of people.  The coronavirus will run its course and dissipate over time.  Let’s do our best to limit the rapid spread and potentially save some lives in the process.  To minimize stress and anxiety, go outside and enjoy nature.  Yoga, meditation, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will offer relief.  Do the right thing; especially for your family and other humans sharing similar feelings, emotions and fears.  This is our planet.  Let’s love it as much as we love ourselves.      

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!

“There’s no present like the time”

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Good morning and Happy Sunday the 15th of March!  Here we are, already midway through the month!  It’s amazing how quickly the days and weeks tick away.  Spring is right around the corner.  What a fabulous and wonderful time to be alive.  I spent the week adjusting to the time change.  Wish that was the only issue we had to deal with these days.  Unfortunately, there always seems to be some sort of chaos unfolding in the world.  Much of it we have no control over.  There are so many stories, fabrications and untruths.  We have a difficult time deciphering what is fact from fiction.  My Dad always told me, “don’t believe everything you hear.”  My advice to you, seek out the truth from reliable sources and then vet that as well.  Do your best to live your life with gratitude, honesty and respect.  Let’s all move forward along our paths knowing we are all in this together.  It’s crazy observing what misinformation and lack of knowing does to drive people to extremes.  Take a step back, clear your mind and be guided by the truth.

Honest and open communication is a fantastic way to begin any relationship.  It seems the world has lost a bit of that, including integrity and respect for others.  My observations, at home and abroad, reveal the inner struggles people are waging for dominance.  Our distain for varying views has reached an all-time high.  I don’t want my message to be clouded with politics, but when do we actually begin working together to build our nation up, rather than tearing it down from the inside out.  Too many people buy into the chaos it creates.  They spur its intensity.  The hysteria creates stress, anxiety and fear.  This serves to debilitate our mental, physical and spiritual health.  We live in a crazy time where false rumors spread in a matter of seconds.  Remain safe and vigilant with correct and accurate information.  It’s good to be prepared for the unknown, but not to the point of over reacting.  Ongoing and truthful communication serves us well.   

Maintaining good mental and physical health is a top priority.  This is especially true today.  We need to take the time to ensure we are fit and ready for whatever comes our way.  A positive outlook and great immune system go a long way to better fitness.  I feel great, or at least as good as I can be for being a mid 60’s senior.  I admit I enjoy food, including some food from the dessert group (my weakness).  I eat pretty clean, enjoy a nice glass of wine and do share some “pleasure” foods from time to time.  We have to enjoy life.  Living healthy isn’t about being boring or stingy about our diets.  I have taken the time and put in the work to stay fit and healthy.  It’s the combination of healthy food, exercise (or just movement), rest, sunshine, hydration (water) and air (or what I call, enjoying nature).  Believe me, I falter on one or many from time to time.  I’m just a human and far from perfect.  I do my best every day to balance all of these.  The better I can do that, the better I feel.  I know and feel the benefits from maintaining great physical health.  It is an integral part to our mental health.   So is communication.

Communication and opening up my heart have been my biggest challenge.  The last several years have proven to be times of significant growth for me in both areas.  I suppressed emotions, would not discuss feelings and feared opening my heart.  I held everything in for far too much of life.  This had a severe negative impact on my mental health.  One of the best decisions of my life was to put in the work to seek aid to repair and heal.  The years of trauma and destruction had taken its toll.  When the process began to improve my mental well-being, the effects were nearly immediate and very profound.  My total health and outlook took a tremendous turn into positive territory.  This is where the magic happens!  Not only did I feel better, but my communication, ability to open my heart and share true feelings emerged significantly.  Immediate gains were realized in many areas of my life.  I have always believed my relationship with my daughter was special.   My personal breakthrough brought new insight and communication into our relationship.  Our conversations deepened and we connected at a new level of trust and love.  It is an amazing feeling sharing such a special and vibrant connection with my daughter.  I am grateful and blessed to have such a fabulous bond with her. 

The changes in me were healing and inspirational.  I recognized a new light of life inside myself.  I began living in the present, enjoying and grateful for each and every moment.  My open heart and improved communication delivered me to a new path.  My relationship with my family and friends opened uncharted territory.  My love for my girlfriend was enhanced and grew.  Our communication opened and flowed easily.  The work we put into ourselves and our relationship provided clarity and understanding.  Our connection and desire to spend our lives together was true.  This brought us to today, March 15, 2020.  This is the day she closed her lease.  Now we are a couple; happy, excited and always in love.  The future is ours to share, explore and build our relationship with honesty, openness and communication.  This is our dedication to each other.         

Life moves in mysterious ways.  God and the universe have a plan.  Trust it and trust yourself.  Slow down so you can listen and actually hear.  When you can do this, you will understand the path best for you.  It might take some time and effort.  Don’t say, “I sat down for a few minutes and nothing happened.”  That isn’t silence.  Set down your cell phone, turn off social media and just listen.  Go outside into nature, with the sun and air.  Take walks, sit on the sand, visit a forest with trees or lay on the grass.  Enjoy the feeling and energy of the earth.  We are all part of this amazing connection.  Stay focused on moving forward.  Your past has helped mold you and it’s behind you.  There is no need to look back.  Now is the time to be here, right now in the present and enjoying life. 

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 Power of Pets

Happy Sunday, March 8, 2020

Good morning and thank you for joining me today.  First, I hope you all remembered to spring forward one hour with the change to Daylight Savings time.  Besides the loss of an hours sleep last night, we will eventually gain more sunshine at the end of each new day.  Yay!  Bring on Spring and Summer!

I want to send very special wishes to some amazing and fabulous people.  Happy Anniversary to my sister and brother in law, and friends Julie and Dana and Karen and Doug.  Happy Birthday wishes to my nephew.  I will include my friend Jahna in the mix, since her birthday is coming up too.  All of these celebrations are within a few days of each other, so hope your special days are fun and full of happiness and love! 

All of these great people, and many others like them (like myself), tie into today’s topic.  It’s all about the power of pets.  Our mental and physical health is of the upmost importance to each of us.  Let me share how pets can play an active role in assisting in this process.  Our body is always working in a coordinated effort to maintain a happy and healthy status.  What we do or don’t do to support this work will obviously affect our body, mentally and physically.  Pets are an amazing pathway to supporting our mental health, which in turn has a positive impact on our overall well-being.  We all know the amazing benefits of service animals.  Consider the boost a pet can bring to energize your life.  Yes, they are a commitment, but one that provides awesome results.   If you do not have one, you can always visit someone who does and reap some benefits for yourself.  Pets are great for enjoying some outdoor time in nature.  Walking, running or just sitting can bring joy and comfort.

I have been a dog lover all my life.  As far as I can remember, we always had a dog in our family.  I believe this was because my Dad had a great love of dogs.  He often told stories of his dog growing up as a kid.  He was the youngest of seven children.  He said he loved following his five older brothers around, which typically got him into trouble.  The boys had a loyal hunting dog that was always with them.  One evening the five brothers came home in the early evening.  They had been out most of the day in the woods behind their home.  The family was seated at the table ready for dinner.  My Dad was visibly missing.  His mom asked the brothers where he was.  At first they were quiet, then said they didn’t know.  When my dad’s father inquired the boys admitted to leaving him in the woods.  Needless to say, they were immediately sent out to retrieve him and bring him home. 

My Dad told me his brothers told him several times to go home and leave them alone.  After his final refusal, they tied him to a tree and left him.  He said their dog stayed by his side the entire time.  It was well into darkness when the boys came back into the forest to get him, with the dog still there beside him.  I’m not sure what kind of punishment the brothers received, but knowing my grandfather, I’m sure it was swift and just.  Dad told me that was the best dog he ever had.   My sister and I were lucky having an amazing dog loving Dad.  As much as he would say he didn’t really care, it was easy to see the happiness and joy our pets had on his mental and physical health.  Looking back, I know our dogs made me a happier kid too. 

As I have grown in adulthood, my love of dogs and animals has increased.  I bought my first single family home in the early 80’s and a dog followed that purchase shortly after.  It was a sunny Saturday morning when a neighbor a few houses away knocked on my front door.  A cute little puppy had been dumped in front of their home in the darkness of early morning.  They heard it’s cries and rescued it from the cold.  Now they were searching for a home.  Many homes in the area had pets.  These people had two dogs of their own.  My back yard was huge and I couldn’t resist her cute face.  I named her Bailey, because she was the color of the Irish cream drink.  She was a sweetheart; a lab retriever mix and loved to chew on everything.   She brought lots of licks, companionship and constant love.   

Early in my law enforcement career I had the opportunity to apply and try out for the Special Weapons and Tactic unit (SWAT).  I was honored to be selected for the team.  The assignment afforded me the opportunity to work and train with many specialized police and military personnel.  One of my favorites was working with the K-9 teams.  We often worked in tandem during criminal searches.  To optimize these duties, we often conducted joint training exercises.  The handlers and dogs are highly trained.  I recall a training session when I was hiding in a vacant hotel.  I was secreted in a room wearing a bite sleeve.  The dog was released to find me.  I could hear him running down the hallway.  I heard him sniffing at the closed door.  When the door opened and he rushed into the room, I recall the sheer power of his bite on the sleeve.  His strength nearly took me off my feet.  They are truly incredible and smart animals.   

When I left SWAT, I requested to be reassigned to the Mounted Unit.  I have always dreamed of being a cowboy.  This provided me the perfect setting to be a law man on horseback.  I had only ridden a couple of times in my life, so learning to ride properly was an incredible experience.   Cowboy hat, boots, spurs and a horse named Almond capped my dream.  She was an awesome horse; intelligent, attitude and a personality all her own.  After a month of extensive training, I was ready to hit the streets of Los Angeles in the saddle.  It was my very first day on duty.  We were deployed in the Westlake area, west of downtown LA, where our horse trailers were parked.  My partner and I rode south and crossed into MacArthur Park near Park View and 6th Street.  As soon as Almond’s hoofs hit the grass she fell to her knees in an attempt to graze on the lush green grass.  Her sudden movement down nearly launched me forward like a rocket.  Luckily for me my reflexes were fast enough to tighten my grip with my legs and grab the saddle horn just in time.  I would have surely been ejected if I hadn’t already been expecting the unexpected.  My partner laughed, while I pulled her face away from the grass and regained my composure.  Needless to say, that never happened again.  Over my nearly two-year partnership with Almond, we became great buddies and teammates!

K-9’s and horses, like Almond, may not fall under the description of pets.  They still bring the power of compassion and love.  Let me share this story to clarify.  I always brought my daughter to visit me at each of my assignments during my career.  SWAT and the Mounted Unit were no different.  I wanted her to see where I worked and understand what I was doing.  It was important for me to share that with her so she wouldn’t be fearful of my job.  When I brought her to visit the stables, and Almond, it was amazing to see the connection between the two.  She is a true animal lover and watching the two interact was heartwarming to say the least.  We, of course, had to visit each of the other horses during our stay.  It was crazy watching each horse poke their head out of their stall as she approached.  They were all anxious to say hello and have their face rubbed as they would dip their head toward her.  If that isn’t friendly pet behavior, I don’t know what is.  I developed a new found respect for horses, their abilities and intelligence.  It was an empowering and thrilling ride to work there.

When my daughter was ten we set out to rescue a new pet.  We went to the local animal shelter to take a look.  She immediately found and fell in love with a puppy.  When she showed me the dog, I recognized an immediate resemblance to my old puppy.  It was Bailey reincarnated.  My daughter named her Cinnamon, because she looked like the spice.  This dog was a retriever lab mix and loved to chew everything in sight.  Like Bailey, she was a lover and brought great joy and happiness.  As much work as she created, she brought one hundred times more fun.  We shared lots of walks, runs and camping trips.  Cinnamon was very much a part of our family.  She always provided love, friendship and lots of snuggles.  Pets make great companions for kids and adults of all ages.     

Dogs, pets and animals in general, can bring wonderful calmness and pleasure into our life.  Their unconditional love is never ending.  They help us reduce stress and anxiety.  Pets have the ability to calm our fears and enhance our mental stability.   Along with being great companions, they truly work their magic on our brains.  When we maintain the balance of our mental and physical health, we enjoy more vibrant and meaningful lives.  Animals have the amazing power to energize and boost our moods.  It doesn’t matter what your preference is; dogs, cats, horses or some other fun pet.  Allow your inner child to come out and play.  Relax and calm your mind while sharing fun pet times.  They really can improve and revitalize our health.   

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!

Movement

Happy Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sunday greetings and happy March 1st!  Here we are, already two months into 2020.  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying life.  I try my best not to dwell on the past or get strung out on what the future may or may not bring.  I do my best to live each day in the present.  I focus on the important parts of life and love.  I have been discovering great benefits from my weekly writing.  I hope you find useful words or thoughts in my posts.  Your comments, thoughts and interaction is always appreciated.  I am not a one-man band and definitely don’t have all the answers by any means.  We are all here together, living life daily.  Healthy and happy are key ingredients to making our lives the best they can be.

I want to talk about another piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle.  It is called movement.  A couple of months ago I wrote about exercise.  I find it quite remarkable how a single word can make some feel uneasy and absolutely terrify others.  I realize that not everyone enjoys strenuous physical activities; like running, biking, weight lifting, etc.  Fitness has been a part of my life since I started running in junior high school.  I always found benefits in discovering more ways to build my physical strength, work off stress and maintain my mental health too.  Branching out into other movement oriented regimes, such as yoga, walking and hiking has been a blessing in disguise.  If you are not feeling the exercise bug, then let me suggest just moving your body in natural ways daily.  Don’t just sit there!  Get up and just move!  There are amazing health benefits with something so simple.

I have been on the move my entire life.  My generation, and those that came before mine, always seemed to be doing something that involved movement.  Our lives today differ in many respects from years past regarding movement.  Starting at a young age, I walked to school.  Participation in physical education was mandatory, so I was on the go at school too.  I played sports and spent plenty of time outside.  Typically, during the week as a kid, time I spent in the house was to complete homework, read or stay inside due to inclement weather.  Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles meant those rainy days were few and far between.  Time allowed to watch television was very limited.  There were no remote controls, so getting up to change channels or adjust volume was done by hand.  There were no food deliveries.  Shopping meant going to the store.  The grocery store was close by, so walking was often involved. 

The lives of kids, teens and adults start off very differently today.  I did not have the benefit of all the electronic devices of the modern age.  All this technology seems to have overrun our lives, with the use of cell phones, lap tops and other things that make life simpler.  We have to move very little to garner what we need or require during the day.  Everything is literally at our finger tips.  Food, services and material goods can be delivered to our door step at the touch of a button.  Ultimately, life today keeps us seated far more than anything else.  So instead of natural physical movement to obtain things, we spend much more of our time in a sedentary life style.  All of this lounging around promotes poor health, both mentally and physically. 

The work force has changed and evolved over the years too.  It seems there are many jobs or careers that involve sitting or in static positions these days.  That translates into lots of office work or confined to a work space.  This all means much less daily natural movement.  I was lucky that my career allowed for lots of movement.  When I promoted to lieutenant, later in my career, I found myself sitting in front of a computer much more often.  It definitely wasn’t by choice, but I always found ways to get out of the office.  Getting out of the office to work with the people I supervised or just leaving my desk to walk around outside every hour or so helped keep me grounded and sane.  All this movement during the day helps keep our muscle, joints, internal organs and entire body functioning at a healthy level.           

Movement plays a significant role in how we feel and our overall health.  It does not necessarily have to be an exercise based activity to obtain these benefits.  There are so many variations that can be fun hobbies; like walking, hiking, surfing, skating, yoga, tai chi and many others.  Try walking as much as possible.  Take the stairs for something a bit more challenging.  Get outside in nature and combine that into your movement.  The basic premise is to just move your body more often in natural ways during the course of the day.  Try not to rely on the convenience of modern technology to do things you can do yourself with a little more bodily movement.

Strength, endurance, flexibility and balance are all key components to our health.  Movement is a fabulous way to assist in maintaining them.  My suggestion, get outside.  This can be a fantastic new beginning.  Anytime you have the opportunity to incorporate any of this with nature, it is a win situation.  Go walk among the trees.  They radiate tremendous energy.  A tree covered park or forest can bring amazing benefits.  Forest bathing has long been popular with many cultures.  It is a practice to incorporate all your senses for natural healing, stress reduction and calming of the mind and body.  Walking in the sand on the beach or in a grass covered area brings similar earth energy benefits.  A restaurant I visited in Bali, had 2 x 2 foot small pads of grass you could bring to your table.  You could relax with your toes in the grass while enjoying your meal.  An amazing and simple concept to get some grounding, but much better done on the move. 

Sleep quality and length are important aspects of restoration after movement and exercise.  Realizing the benefits of anything we do is very reliant to our sleep.  Our bodies require sufficient rest and down time to rejuvenate, replenish and rebuild.  We all know how we feel physically and mentally when we are sleep deprived.  We may feel sluggish, slow and foggy.  When proper sleep is achieved, we are stronger, vibrant, with sharp and clear thought process.  Great sleep can have the potential to change our entire day and mood.    

I worked the graveyard shift (or morning watch) for a few years.  Sleeping during the day was never easy or natural.  If I had to be in court during the day, it made the days and nights that much more difficult.  I spent the majority of my career working afternoon shift (or night watch).  Although I often got home late, it provided enough time to sleep.  That was true unless court appearances were involved.  Then all bets were off!  Sleep plays a significant role in how our mind and body handles the stress and strains of each new day.  The best quality slumber in deep sleep is a necessity to keep our minds and bodies happy and healthy.     

There are many components to the healthy lifestyle puzzle.  The best part, it’s all up to you how you achieve it.  This is your body and your life.  I just want you live it happier and healthier.  Keep your mind, body and spirit strong, calm and connected to the energy of the earth.  So what do you do to maintain movement?    

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!

My Mom and Alzheimer’s

Happy Sunday, February 23, 2020

Good morning on this beautiful Sunday!  I hope you are all doing well.  If you find yourself struggling, not feeling well, stressed, depressed or just not content, then it is time to change your life.  Today is the best time to start living.  Happiness is created within us, for us and by us.  It is not something we buy or receive from others.  It is our responsibility to maintain and share.  It is all up to you to make it happen.  If you need a helping hand, reach out.  I’m here if you need me.

Life goes by so quickly.  Please do not let it pass you by. 

I want to share an Alzheimer’s story.  It is my mother’s current story.  I spent this week visiting my sister, family and friends in the bay area.  Our mom lives in an Alzheimer’s care facility there.  She has been confined to this institution for over three years.  This is a disease that continues to debilitate her daily.  It is extremely sad and difficult to watch her wither away, as it claims her mind and body.  The progression has robbed her of her memory, her ability to control bodily functions and her desire to partake in activities and life.  She still feeds herself, although eating is not a priority.  She is semi mobile with a walker; but walking or going outside to enjoy the beauty of nature is no longer a desire.              

Here is a brief synopsis of Alzheimer’s disease.  It is a disease where brain cells progressively degenerate. Alzheimer’s typically follows certain stages which will bring about changes in the person’s and family’s lives. Because the disease affects each individual differently, the symptoms, the order in which they appear, and the duration of each stage vary from person to person. In most cases, the disease progresses slowly, and the symptoms of each stage may overlap, often making the move from one stage to another quite subtle.

The early stages for my mom seemed quite mild and not immediately evident.  My parents were living in a senior apartment building shortly before my dad died.  I always believed she was the person ensuring everything in their lives was in balance.  It was easy to see after his death that he was taking care of her.  My dad was my best friend.  I saw or talked with him on the phone daily.  I knew his mind was sound and strong until the day he died.  After his passing, I would visit her monthly, staying four or five days at a time.  I would bring our dog and just hang out.  She enjoyed having us there, even though my sister and her family were nearby.  It was easy to recognize that her memory was beginning to change and decline.   She recognized it, but there was little that could be done to delay what was coming.   

Common symptoms include forgetfulness, communication difficulties, and changes in mood and behavior.  People in this stage retain many of their functional capabilities and require minimal assistance. They may have insight into their changing abilities.  As the disease progresses it brings a greater decline in the person’s cognitive and functional abilities. Memory and other cognitive abilities continue to deteriorate, although people at this stage may still have some awareness of their condition.

As my mother’s ability to care for herself decreased, it was easy to see additional care for her was needed.  We hired care givers to assist her during the day.  She began to forget about eating meals, drinking water or taking her medication.  She would talk about the same things or ask the same questions throughout the day.  She began to need assistance dressing and caring for herself.  As time progressed the uncontrollable mood swings began; from anger to aggression.  The changes were subtle in the beginning, then intensified, as she would intentionally attempt to hit other women with her walker.  As these stages evolved, it became evident we needed to move her to a facility that could provide the care she required on a daily basis.  

She did not understand what was happening to her or why.  I would often talk with her, as did my sister, attempting to help her understand.  None of this was ever easy.  I don’t think she fully understood any of it.  It was often difficult for me to grasp the entire concept of it all.  When the decision was made to move her to an Alzheimer’s care facility, she did not want to go and did not understand why.  Once the move was complete, her mood swings became less, as did the aggressive behavior.  The care givers at the facility were amazing.  Such kindness and compassion every minute of the day.  My mom still knew who we were and remembered her past.  As that first year passed, her memory faded further as the disease progressed.   

As Alzheimer’s progresses into the later stages, it robs a person of everything that makes life wonderful.  It has taken my mother’s memory.  It has claimed her speech, ability to communicate and the ability to care for herself.  She still has the ability to feed herself, but eating is no longer a normal thought or priority.  She continues to lose weight and gradually dwindles away.  She requires constant care 24 hours a day.  The cost is astronomical.  She is not confined to bed, but many days she will only leave her bed when prompted by care givers.  This is typically to eat meals.  Lunch is often missed because she refuses to leave her bed.  She often returns to her bed immediately after her meals.  This is truly a heartbreaking way to exist.

The final stages bring an increased level of mental and physical deterioration.  How this evolves and how quickly varies from person to person.  There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease nor can its progression be reversed.  Present treatment options and lifestyle choices, however, can often significantly slow the progression of the disease.  There are so many debilitating and deadly diseases in our world today: including cancer, heart, coronary, stroke, blood, respiratory or lung disease, to name a few.  My Dad fought MDS (a blood disorder) for nearly five years.  The disease morphed into leukemia and ultimately took his life.  

I wanted to share my Mother’s story with you, because there are many people struggling with significant health issues.  Physical and mental health are so important to living a happy and healthy life.  Take care of yourself and do whatever you can to assist others along the way.  Life is precious and often too short.  When I visit my mom, my emotions range from sad, frustrated, helpless, to happy I can hug her one more time.  We can no longer carry on a conversation and I feel lucky if she utters one word or smiles.  This visit there were no smiles, no interaction, no words or connection from her.  There were only her cold blank stares.  There were no hugs, no kisses or love.  There is just the harsh reality of what Alzheimer’s has in store for the future.  It brings with it the sadness of waiting for the inevitable.

Take the time to love yourself and love those close to you.  Express your feelings and emotions openly.  Don’t wait.  Time rushes by far too quickly.  Before you know it your opportunities may be gone forever.  Be happy with who you are, follow your dreams and live a happy life.  Do it today. 

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!

How Yoga Revitalized Me

Happy Sunday, February 16, 2020

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are all doing well.  Another Valentine’s Day is in the books.  If you did not celebrate it with another person, you should have at least celebrated yourself with some love and self-care.  I hope you did one or both!  Life is short, enjoy it.  It’s great to be alive!    

I want to share my thoughts about Yoga.  It revitalized my life; mind, body and spirit.  I am confident you can feel energized and empowered by the benefits.  The word yoga means ‘unity’, ‘to join’ or ‘union.’  It is a science of living that has existed for thousands of years.  It is not a religion or exercise.  It is a right way of living.  Yoga has many health benefits physically, mentally and spiritually.  It was first documented in the Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali between 500 to 200 BC.  Before that it had been verbally handed down from generation to generation.  Patanjali wrote it down and transformed it into a system.  Yoga was brought to America in the late 1800’s, then re-introduced in the late 1950s.  It was westernized into our society and grew as an exercise or workout.  Understanding the true philosophy of yoga and integrating it into your life, ultimately leads to better health.  If followed, it can clear your mind, bringing you to better decision making in support of health and happiness. 

My first introduction to yoga came in January 2010.  I attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico Virginia.  I lived in a dorm room for three months during my stay at the FBI training facility.  The National Academy is an amazing and once in a lifetime experience.  Law enforcement executives from all over the world attended this prestigious training.  The Monday through Friday training is filled with classes, fitness and some socializing.  The weekends were mine to complete class papers, explore, have fun and relax.  The gym always is a good place to relieve stress and gain some muscle.  The winter was cold and snowy that year.  There was so much snow, the entire base closed for a week.  That is a lot of snow!  Running in the cold and snow was so much more fun and exciting; especially for a guy from southern California.  They announced an FBI agent would be teaching yoga early weekend mornings.  I was intrigued to say the least.  I knew next to nothing about yoga.  I shared the belief of most men, that yoga was for women.  After my very first class early that Saturday morning, my entire thought process changed.  There were three men in that class; and our female instructor.  She took great care with us, explaining the philosophy and working us through each posture.  I attended classes every weekend they were offered.  At the end of my three month stay, my muscles, joints, body felt better and stronger.  My mind was clear and focused.  What an amazing transformation in a short time period.

I returned to my fast paced career and life in Los Angeles.  I took a handful of yoga classes over the next five years.  In 2015, I met my girlfriend and my life changed.  She re-introduced me to yoga and a new life.  I attended classes regularly.  I mixed a variety of yoga classes, presented by different instructors.  The variations included vinyasa, hot yoga, slow flow, yin, restorative and others.   The better my body and mind felt, the more I wanted to learn about the yoga and its philosophy.  I read books, talked to instructors and gained further insight from my girlfriend.  The quest to better myself, physically, mentally and spiritually lead me to seeking out yoga teacher training.  I completed my 200-hour training in Bali.  It was an incredible, amazing and enlightening experience.  Two Indian Yoga Masters lead the course and training.  They are inspiring, spiritual and gifted men.  We shared many conversations, laughs and tears.  They opened my heart to the philosophy and purpose for yoga.  It is interesting how the western world bent yoga into a new shape.  As with most things, we have commercialized the yoga industry.  There are amazing teachers and blissful studios out there.  You just have to seek them out.  Doing a hand stand is not required.  

Being shown a new path by two men who had grown up with yoga was an awe inspiring experience.  They are my yoga gurus.  I learned so much more than poses, postures and how to make them flow.  These men shared a philosophy, spirituality and practice handed down from their ancestors.  I discovered the benefits of proper joint alignment and the stimulation of internal organs.  Meditation, breathing and just clearing the mind became a new source of bliss and enlightenment.  I learned what is most important and significant about life and myself.  As much as this was a journey of learning, it really was more about my pathway to self- discovery.   Yoga is often misunderstood by many, and I can understand why that has happened.  It is much more than something to benefit the body.  Yoga is a misrepresented science that has become a part of our western workout regime.   That is not the purpose or why yoga was created.  Strengthening muscles and clearing the mind to discover bliss during meditation is the foundation of yoga.          

Attending yoga training in Bali provided an extra benefit I never dreamed imaginable.  I met the Balinese people.  I shared their culture, food and graciousness for a month.  They are a wonderful society bound in kindness, humility and love.  They have little (in possessions) as compared to the overabundance of America, yet their happiness is vast.  They cherish and value life, including everyone and everything around them.  They are spiritual; with their souls rooted to the earth and universe.  Everywhere I went, people approached me interested in saying hello and talking.  Initially, my background and attitude made me hesitant.  I quickly discovered there was no hidden agenda or purpose.  They are honestly friendly people; curious and seeking to know more about you and what your world is like.  I enjoyed and welcomed the many conversations.  Happiness is not based on what I have.  It is formed internally by my own state of mind.  I am responsible for my happiness.  When you become aware and responsible for yourself, the world is a better and happier place.

My month of training, plus several more weeks abroad, brought me home in a most relaxed state of peace and harmony.  My mind, body and spirit have reached new heights of energy, flexibility and strength.  Yoga brought balance to my mind and body.  It works in unison, improving and complimenting my workout routines, including weight lifting, running and biking.  Meditation is now much easier and relaxing; allowing enlightenment and mindfulness.  I am able to think more clearly and resolve problems with new solutions.  Stress, anxiety and depression are non-existent.  I have become more focused on living in the present.  I discovered my new bliss.       

I spent so much time conditioning my physical body during the past, that I neglected my mental and spiritual health.  I have been guided in a new direction the last five years.  The journey has forged a clear path to imagine a new and better me.  Now I am achieving a balance with my physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  I engage myself in the moment and live fully as life unfolds before me.  I have not forgotten the past, but I do not dwell on it.  Instead of trying to create my future, I am content to allow it to unfold while working toward new dreams and endeavors.

My nutrition is better, as I make healthier food choices, while still having fun and enjoying good food.  Living healthier brought new vitality, better health, more energy and an overall better feeling for me.  My life flows with a vibrant boost each day.  There will always be life issues to deal with along the way.  Now I am much more relaxed and capable of dealing with each one as it arises.  There is little to no stress or anxiety in my life.  I am able to remain focused on me, self-care, self-love and be happy in each moment.  This has empowered my relationships with those I love.  Imagine yourself happy, just because you are. 

We are all aware many more women attend yoga sessions than men.  I now know men can benefit from yoga just as much as women.  I also know why it is difficult to get men into a yoga class.  Yoga was traditionally male dominated when it began thousands of years ago in India.  When it was introduced to western society, it was packaged in such a way as to draw more women.  In the 1950’s and 60’s there were many more ‘stay at home’ women; often raising children.  Men participated in physical activity that shared an athletic or competitive appeal.  I do not believe stretching or flexibility was a major concern discussed by men back then.  Guys were busy being tough and displaying that macho attitude.  Why would a ‘manly’ man be caught in a yoga studio filled with women and a female instructor.  It just didn’t happen.  

As yoga and society has progressed, so has the view about its benefits.  It is evident that the rewards, physically, mentally and spiritually are real and lasting.  My body and mind were beat up from life and nearly 34 years of police work.  Once I put aside my ego, competitive nature and opened myself to the practice, the benefits began to pour into my body.  I do not concern myself with what others are doing in practice.  I only focus on me and what I am doing and can do.  I learned to calm my mind and body, mostly by controlling my breathing.  I could only reach my shins in a forward fold during that first class.  My back was tight and sore; as was most of my body.  When I bend forward now, in a standing position, I can place my palms on the floor.  There is no more back pain, joint or muscle pain.  I am much more flexible and free feeling.  I am focused on maintaining a health spine and back.  That keeps me standing tall and happy.

My advice to anyone just beginning yoga (or any exercise regime) is to start slow with the basics.  If you have not exercised in some time, you may want to check with your doctor before you start.  Do your own research.  Talk to people about studios, classes and instructors.  Begin with a slow flow, restorative or Yin class.  Let the instructor know you are new.  Tell them about your goals and share any physical issues (injuries) or pains.   Be guided by their instruction.  If you need help or do not understand, ask questions.  This is your practice.  Practice at least twice a week, more often if you can.  Results only happen when you make it a routine.  You are always welcomed to reach out and ask me for advice or assistance too.  I am here for you.         

Yoga is not a workout, exercise, course, retreat, training or religion.  Yoga is a way of life; loving and living the true meaning and blessings of your life.  It isn’t about going to a yoga class once a month and expecting results.  Commit to your health investment.  It is about making minor alterations in your lifestyle.  The physical yoga practice will increase your strength, allow more joint flexibility and boost self-esteem.  The mental practice will reduce stress, improve concentration and stimulate your immune system.  The spiritual practice will bring calmness and a sense of well-being.  That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  It is all about you, how you treat your body and how you treat others.  Make it about a better life for you.  In turn you will view the world in a new and brighter light.

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!

Mindfulness

Sunday February 9, 2020

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are all doing well and enjoying a fantastic week.  I am still reeling from the amazing day last Sunday!  I enjoyed a fabulous training run with my girlfriend to begin the day.  We watched the Super Bowl game, commercials and half time show.  All were fun and entertaining.  It was a wonderful day. 

Sadness still lingers in my heart from the tragic events over the last several weeks.  So many deaths and heartache.  What hurts the most are the line of duty deaths and suicides of our military, law enforcement and first responders that garner little attention.   There is much to process, but I am still here living.  I move forward mindfully into each new day.  I am thankful to be here, sharing life and wonderful times with the people I love.  I begin each new day with gratitude and respect, knowing that life is perishable.  It is a true gift not to be wasted or tarnished with anger or hate.  Love and kindness should be our focus.

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.  It will be upon us this coming Friday.  How do you feel about celebrating the day?  You may or may not be a fan of this heartfelt occasion.  It is not at the top of my list when it comes to holidays.  It’s not at the bottom of my list either.  Whether it possesses social significance for you or not, it still retains importance in relationships and love.  The commercial aspect always tears into the heart, soul and importance of each of our holidays.  It is not about the candy, gifts or dinners out.  It’s a day to cherish and celebrate those we love.  In the past, society seemed to make it all about couples.  I believe it is more about honoring the people we care about most in our life.  I enjoy bringing some happiness and joy into the day.  It is a time to show love and gratitude to those special people.  I do relish sending cards, giving flowers or just spending quality time with the people who are important in my life.  Sharing those moments or letting someone know they are special and in our thoughts is an uplifting experience.       

I suggest taking the time to show those important people they matter and are loved; whether it is your partner, kids, parents, siblings or friends.  It is an amazing feeling making someone smile, especially when there is love at the foundation of your sentiment.  Whatever I can do to bring joy, makes me happier too.  It is quite amazing what sharing some love and affection can do to ignite others, as well as yourself.  I will definitely be sharing my love with my girlfriend, daughter, sister, family and a few others on this day.  Whether they live in the same house, around the corner or across the country, it is so easy to reach out and bring a smile to their face.  I hope you take some time to do the same with those closest to you.     

The end of this week also means the month of February will reach the halfway mark.  Does it feel like the year is off to a flying start?  It sure seems like the days are ticking away quickly.  I have plans for some travel in the coming months and later this year.  I am excited for each event and am trying my best not to wish it here too quickly.  I would love to slow the pace down a little.  What I need is more mindfulness added to each day to accomplish just that.  I want to be here in the present and enjoy each minute of each day.  I realize time will flow at its own pace, but the more I can do to savor each moment the better it will be.  

Mindfulness is about calming the mind and body.  I focus my attention on being in the present.  I live and enjoy each and every moment.  When I achieve this, I become more aware of my mind, thoughts, feelings, body and sensations with each experience.  Morning meditation is one way I can begin my day being more mindful.  I clear my thoughts, then focus my attention on the positive aspects of life.   I think about what I want to accomplish for the day.  If other things arise during that time, I can adjust accordingly.  I follow my path with an open mind and heart.  I do not allow anger or negativity to alter my course.  I immediately shut down false stories my mind tries to make up.  Is this always easy?  For me it has been a long journey and has involved work on myself.  It does take conscious effort at times, but as I become more mindful and present the easier my life flows.  It is amazing how your own positive and loving energy can influence your contacts and life with others.       

Take the time to slow down from the busy world.  I know we all so have much happening in our lives.  Life can seem hectic from relationships, career, kids, family and so much more.  Just dealing with traffic and crowds can be a stress filled chore.  If we can alter that pace to release stress and anxiety, it makes a positive impact on our mental and physical health.  Anytime we can reduce stress and anxiety, it is a winning situation.  Try to set aside some time to be outside.  Maybe you get out early in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening.  I say just get outside and enjoy some nature.  Take 15 or 20 minutes to relax, close your eyes and just breathe.  Consciously focus on slow, long and steady inhales and exhales.  Slow deep breathing in and out of your nose will help in calming your mind and body.  Breathing through the nose has significant health benefits.  The nose filters, warms and helps purify the air.  It provides our sense of smell and can improve our resistance to disease.  This healthy boost will re-energize you.  The more you can relax physically and mentally, the better you will feel.

Mindfulness includes self-care.  This means treat yourself well and with love.  I talked about self-care a bit last Sunday.  It really is quite magical and wonderful.  Life can be rushing by at a frantic pace.  We attempt to maintain that speed so we don’t fall behind.  In actuality we should be setting our own pace and our own rules.  Who said we need to rush to do anything?  I have found that often times I have been the one placing undo stress on myself to get things done.  Many times I have tried to do or pack too much into one hour or one day.  Why do we place that burden upon ourselves?  Are we just trying to keep up?  Is this really living or what life is all about?  I don’t think so.  Slowing down is the key.  Take time to enjoy what you are passing by.  Take the time to enjoy your family, friends and activities you love.             

Be guided by your spirit and not by your ego.  Take the best part of you and share it with others.  Mindfulness and ego ensure our security and survival.  Unfortunately, some people allow their ego to falter, making everything about themselves.  When you consider the enormity of the universe, we truly are insignificant specks.  My suggestion is to live life with some humility and kindness.  Let us lift each other, while lifting ourselves. 

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!

Self-Care

Happy Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day, February 2, 2020

Good morning and happy Sunday.  The helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others is a sad tragedy.  It forever changes the lives of five families.  The effects and unknown possibilities for them and others are endless.  The losses are immeasurable. 

The grief and trauma extends beyond the immediate families, relatives and friends.  The first responders; police, fire, paramedics and associated personnel, will live with their pain forever.

The loss of life is truly sad and significant.  How often do we take into account the duties of first responders, or do we just take them for granted?  They work tirelessly to provide protection and service.  The trauma they deal with is ongoing throughout their career.  Last Sunday was a difficult day for so many, including all of those that responded to the call.  I share the grief and sadness felt by all.    

Kobe is a personality known worldwide.  His untimely death has saturated the news.  The social media coverage has been endless.  The presence of all nine victims will be gravely missed.  My heart aches for them all.  Think about how many tragic events and deaths occur each day without news coverage or concern.  Our military, law enforcement, first responders and their families garner little attention.  They deserve so much more.  In the line of duty deaths are tragically increasing, while suicide rates have doubled.  Where is the outcry?  People all over the world suffer similar fates, yet little recognition is received.  We each deserve so much more.  Our time here is limited, as we will never know when fate comes to call us.  Tragic events like these have no clear meaning.  We feel the pain, grieve and move forward into each new day.  Life is a precious gift, not to be taken for granted.  Enjoy each moment.  Live life in gratitude and thankfulness.  Be kind to others and let’s build a better and happier world together.  All of our lives matter.  I send my love and prayers to you all.

On a light hearted note, it’s a fabulous day for Super Bowl Sunday!  I am not an avid sports watcher or one to sit in front of the television all day.  I would much rather be outside enjoying nature and life.  I do however, enjoy this time of year.  The beginning of the year usually has some good college bowl games.  The professional football league playoffs culminate with the big game today.  I have amazing memories going to Rams games at the Coliseum with my Dad when I was a kid.  We shared plenty of Sundays watching games together on the couch at home.  We even made it to several Rose Bowl games, especially if Ohio State was playing.  Those were the days when the first place teams in the Big Ten and Pac Eight would play on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl.  Great memories and fun times with my Dad, never to be forgotten!

I have some crazy memories of working the Raider games when they were the “LA Raiders” (late 80’s / early 90’s).  The Los Angeles Coliseum would be packed.  There would always be the drunk fans creating chaos.  The alcohol induced bravado typically led to fights in the stands.  Tossing people out was easy.  Getting to them to break up the fights was a chore.  My uniform would be drenched from the beer thrown at us (the police).  I was happy to see the team return to Oakland in 1995.  Wishing them well as they will kick off next season in Las Vegas.

The NFL playoffs always seem to bring out the best in football and intense games.  The Super Bowl can be great entertainment or a serious drag.  This is true for several reasons.  The primary reason is of course the game; only when there are fun teams playing.  The half time show can go either way.  I am hoping for a hit this year with the female entertainers.  The commercials can be just as fun as the game; sometimes even more!  For me, the day revolves around family and friends.  It’s an afternoon of sharing fun, often missing the on screen action to actually catch up on life. 

I plan to begin my day with some self-care.  This is so easy to do.  It is really just taking some time for you to enjoy and pamper yourself.   It can be whatever you decide you need on any particular day.  It could be a spa day, massage, sitting somewhere beautiful to read or anything you don’t normally treat yourself too.  Make it a day of relaxation for your mind, body and soul.  Be the champion of your own physical, mental and spiritual health.  Eat and drink healthier foods that cater to your well-being.  Be more positive and live in the present.  Nurture your goodness and be grateful.  You are in charge of you!  Make it happen.  Self-care equals self-love. 

My self-care will start with quiet time to meditate.  I try to meditate every morning when I roll out of bed.  Typically, a few minutes is all I need to calm my mind and set the tone for the day.  Even when I know there is lots to do or accomplish, beginning my day with a peaceful brain is so amazing.  Being thankful for the new day and sharing that gratitude can create great joy.  I really do feel better and am ready for whatever the day brings my way.  Clear out the negative and let the positive thoughts flow.

My girlfriend and I will meet early for a fun (semi difficult) run through the hilly trails above San Clemente.  We are training for a Ragnar trail run in July, among other activities this year.  Our early prep work will pay off with huge fitness dividends.  Cardio is a necessary component when working on building your physical strength and endurance.  Breathing and lung capacity are a much needed start to our foundation.  My girlfriend has other endeavors she is training for, while I enjoy training to stay fit and healthy.  Longevity is my goal, along with a few event’s thrown in here and there.  We both include weight training and yoga to balance our fitness regime.  Eating healthy, while still maintaining a balanced level of fun keeps us on the right path.  One awesome factor of finding an amazing partner, sharing likes and dislikes.  We both share a love of food, health and life.  

Fall in love with your own self-care.  You are worth it.  When you’re happy with you, life is yours to enjoy.  Your success and happiness is up to you.  Believe in yourself.  We’re all in this together.  Enjoy your day, the Super Bowl (Go 49ers) and live your life!  If you’re not a football fan or the game is boring, make it an amazing and fun day!  Life is a gift not to be wasted.  Get up, reach out and help others along the way.     

A quick shout out to Punxsutawney Phil!  Happy Groundhog Day!  If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.  No shadow means an early spring.  Enjoy a fun filled day!          

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!

Wellness

Happy Sunday January 26, 2020

Greetings on this beautiful Sunday!  Thank you for joining me today!  I had the privilege of taking part in the Desert Refuge Family Wellness Conference this past weekend.  The event was specifically designed to offer information and insight for law enforcement, military, first responders and their families.  Presenters discussed topics related to mental and physical health; including stress, trauma, suicide awareness, relationships, marriage and overall wellness.  I was honored to be included as a presenter for this important event.

The Desert Refuge originally blossomed in Joshua Tree, California, as a haven designed by Father Mike McCullough.  He opened the space in the 1950’s, as a place for solitude and healing.  He wanted to create a safe space for members of our military and law enforcement seeking to “foster personal and spiritual awareness.”  He has long served as a Chaplin to law enforcement and military personnel.  He recently retired from the duties of day to day managing of this organization.  Father Michael Cooper now oversees the operational control and facilitating of events for the Refuge.  Both Father McCullough and Cooper are spiritually guided men, seeking the best in mental and physical health for all people and their families.  They remain closely connected to law enforcement, first responders and our military.  There are dedicated and amazing people volunteering their time to assist in the process.  All are truly committed to facilitating better health and wellness for all.  I look forward to collaborating with them in the future.  We all can benefit from more “wellness” in our life.               

We live in a fast paced age, filled with technology, change and stress.  Everything seems to be geared to make our lives simpler and faster.  I truly wish it was all that easy.  As the speed of life and connections increase, so does the associated stress and anxiety as we try to maintain pace.  We communicate and live via our hand held devices.  We can order and buy services, products, rides, food and more by the touch of a button.  Entertainment, learning, exercise, banking, news and communication are done without speaking with another person.  It is quite incredible what we can do and accomplish with these cellular tools.  They have the ability to engulf our complete attention.  Focusing our sight and senses on these can cause accidents (resulting in injuries and death) when we pay too much attention to them.  It really is safer not touching them while driving a vehicle, operating machinery or even walking.  I would much rather keep my attention and focus where it should be; life and health.   

I too find myself caught up in the social media hype from time to time.  I relate it to eating foods filled with sugar.  Once you start, those cravings just seem to grow stronger and stronger.  It really can become like an addiction.  At some point you just have to break it off.  My past experience and knowledge tells me to stay away from foods laden with sugar.  They are not good for me or my health.  So too, I need to limit the use of that device.  Similar to sugar and unhealthy food, I try to limit my daily exposure to that screen.  Think about what is best for you, especially your mental health and wellness.  I would rather sit at the beach, in a forest or somewhere beautiful, than stare at that source of blue light.  Yes, they are great for staying connected, but connected to what and for how long?  I appreciate the ability to communicate with family and friends living miles away.  For that I am thankful.  I know that focusing on social media sites will not solve my issues, or the problems of the world.  It will not bring me better health and wellness; although there are some sites that will lead you to believe they can.  I do not believe everything I read or hear.  I prefer to make my own assessments based on facts.  I know what is and is not good for me.  I believe overindulgence in most things are not good for anyone.

What I do know is; mental, physical and spiritual wellness are the key ingredients to a healthy and happy life.  The old saying, “attitude is everything,” is so true.  Our brain, mind and thoughts have the ability to control us.  What we ingest (food, liquid, drugs, etc.) have an impact on our bodily functions and decision making ability.   The sensory perceptions of our body; including sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, movement and body position can assist in maintaining balance or throwing us into an unhealthy state.

The best plan is to maintain a healthy balance and recognize when something does not feel right. That is when you need to make those immediate corrections to remain in healthy balance.  Remember that our mental and physical health are intertwined.  There will be times we may need to make small corrections along our path.  Being able to recognize those times is the key.  I relate it to speeding on the freeway and missing your exit.  We need to take the time to slow ourselves down so we do not miss those opportunities as they present themselves.  When we slow down, it provides us the chance to enjoy life and what it has to offer, rather than passing it by at 100mph.  We are often so eager to get to an end result, thus missing so much of the fun and love along the way.  Slowing our lives, taking time to take care of ourselves, breath and relax will lessen the stress and increase the happiness.  Be grateful for life and what we have.  We never know when that day will end.  Slow down and enjoy the ride.  Together we can make a difference.               

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!

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