Letter From a Caring Friend

 

In therapy, I’m learning about self-compassion, the concept of treating yourself in times of pain and suffering as a compassionate, caring friend would. One of the self-compassion exercises is to write a letter to yourself from a caring friend, imagining what that person would say to you when you’re down, instead of what you usually say to yourself.

This is the letter I wrote. I want to share it, in case any of you want to write your own letter. And, if you want to learn more about this treatment, visit http://www.self-compassion.org.

 

Dear You,

First of all, I want you to know, I love you. No matter what. I need you to know that.

I’ve seen you suffering for a long time, now. It breaks my heart, and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. If I could take all your pain away right now, I would do it.

You give yourself a lot of grief when you make a mistake. Any mistake. I know you think it diminishes you as a person in the eyes of others. You feel stupid. You feel like you can’t help but screw up, and you will always screw up, so you’re hopeless.

And you hurt. You hurt so much, you can feel it in your body. Sometimes, it even makes you wonder if maybe, everyone would just be better off without you around.

I’m really sorry that this is your life. I just want you to feel my embrace right now. I have my arms around you, and I’m sending all the love and compassion in me right into you.

Feel it. It’s warm. It’s comforting. It’s enveloping. You’re wrapped in it. Stay in it. As long as you need.

Listen to me: You’re a person of value. There are people in your life who love you. Think about them. Look at their faces. Listen to each of them telling you they love you.

Does that make you feel good? Stay in that moment. They don’t care about the mistakes you make. They care about you. They love you so much. Immerse yourself in that love. You love them, right? Well, it goes both ways. Trust me.

Their love is a soft, warm blanket. Cover yourself with it. Burrow down into it. Feel its warmth. Spend some time there.

This blanket is available for you anytime you need it.

And, next time you make a mistake, just remember: we all make them. We all make ’em! And usually, they’re the same ones, over and over. That’s called, being human. So, ease up on yourself; treat yourself nice. No name-calling. No beating yourself up. You’re still the same caring, loving, funny, good person you were before you made the mistake.

Always remember: you’re fine just as you are. I accept you, and I love you, just as you are. Feel my embrace, one more time, and take it with you everywhere.

And Walk in Love.

Your good friend,

Me

It’s Already Been a Year?

 

Well, well, well…

Here we are, exactly 365 days from when I sent my first post out into the great big blog universe.

Flew right by, didn’t it?

To say this last year has been interesting is, of course, a colossal understatement. Of all the years I could have started writing, I picked the year that up became down, left became right, sweet became sour, and that guy…became President of the United States.

Yikes.

I should have known, in a year when the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Cubs won championships, that anything could happen.

 

From the start, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of blog that brought together several people with a common interest in one specific subject. This wasn’t gonna be a blog about cooking, or fashion, or auto repair, or nuclear thermodynamics. Although, I could easily have gone with that last one. (kidding)

No, I just had the nerve to think someone might be interested in my observations on life and current events.

And to my shock and bewilderment, some of you are (!!)

Admittedly, for a while, I was discouraged by what I thought was a paltry number of viewers and followers of this little blogsite, compared to some other blogs out there that I like.

However, upon the realization that there are approximately three bazillion other bloggers out there (give or take a few), all competing for your eyes, I’m actually quite fortunate that anybody at all found me.

So, I’m very grateful to all of you who decided to stop and look in on my site, and especially grateful to those of you who have become “followers”. (Ugh, I just sounded like Jim Jones. Sorry; I promise to not make you drink any Kool-Aid.)

And, a big shout out to all the bloggers I’ve discovered, and now follow. You keep me comin’ back!

I reckon I’ll just continue writing, as long as I have something I want to say, and as long as someone out there wants to read it.

Peace and love to you. ❤️

Oh, one more thing: Sean Spicer, just shut up!!

 

Note to Self

 

Shame on you.

You fat son of a —–.

You’ve been this way for most of your adult life, and evidently, you don’t care. Because if you did, you wouldn’t continue this slow suicide you’re committing.

Every day you drag all this excess weight around puts more wear and tear on your heart, your joints, and your self-respect.

You already have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and Type 2 diabetes. You looking to add to that resume? Heart attack? Stroke? Cancer?

You know better. You’ve gone through enough weight loss programs and read enough information to know the right things to do to get healthy. You know you need to eat better. You know you need to exercise.

And yet, here you are. On the couch, mindlessly working your way through another bag of chips as you watch TV.

OK, so you don’t care about yourself; whatever. I know you even eat the way you do sometimes out of nothing more than pure self-hatred, and you’re punishing yourself by what, and how much, you eat.

And, yeah, you’re depressed most of the time, so you generally don’t give a f— what kind of shape you’re in. I get all that.

But do you not care about the ones in your life who you love and who love you and want you to be around as long as you can? You can’t even care enough about them to make any kind of effort? How do you think they feel about that?

 

Think back to your childhood, sitting at the dinner table not eating your vegetables, listening to your mother tell you to “think of all the starving children in the world.”

Yeah, dude, think about them now. Think about them as you reach for a few more strips of bacon and another biscuit or two. Think about them as you plow through a slab of chicken fried steak the size of Rhode Island, smothered in cream gravy. Think about them as you stack slice upon slice upon slice of pizza onto your plate. Think about them as you serve yourself a second or third helping of mashed potatoes. As you consume diet soda by the gallon, because hey, it’s diet, what’s the harm, right?

And think of how privileged you are to live in a land where you can stuff yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey anytime you want. Where you can go to a restaurant and sit down to a plate of food that’s enough to feed at least two people, and shovel it all in without batting an eye. Then have the nerve to look around in judgment at all the fat asses surrounding you, wolfing down their onion ring towers and their monster burgers and their piles of chocolate dessert, and go tsk, tsk at their lack of control, their obvious absence of discipline.

Then think of the millions – yes, millions – of children in that same land, who go to bed hungry more often than not.  Think of how exponentially more of those there are worldwide. 795 million people – roughly 1 of 9 people in the world – do not get enough to eat.

Then think about how they’re not your problem, they’re someone else’s.

And, oh, yeah. Think about their malnourished, bony bodies as you stare at that double chin and that disgustingly large gut every morning in the mirror.

As you stare at the one man responsible for the sorry shape you’re in.

Shame.   Shame.    Shame. 

Yawn

 

Hello, my loyal fans.

I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything original on this blog; I’ve just been reblogging posts from other people that I found interesting and wanted to pass along, or directing you to other websites, because I’ve been unable lately to come up with a single thing to write about.

That I thought you would find worth reading, that is.

 

When he was President, Jimmy Carter once famously addressed the American people about what he termed a “crisis of confidence.”

I think that pretty well describes what I’ve been dealing with lately.

Whenever I’ve started to write something, I haven’t got very far before convincing myself that what I was writing was worthless junk, so I just give up.

I don’t want to bore you with any more anti-trumpism; I believe you all know my feelings toward the man by now, and just a cursory glance at the daily headlines can keep you apprised of what he and his gang are up to that day.

Problem is, anything I write these days sounds boring. To me, anyway. Maybe I just have a boring life; I don’t know. Nor do I know how long this malaise will last. Hopefully, I will come out of it soon, and I will produce something worthy of your time.

I know, this was boring, too. Sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

Gut Feeling

 

Well, friends and neighbors, it’s the start of another year, and we all know what that means:

Off…come…the pounds!

Right? Of all the resolutions made at the beginning of the year, that one is undoubtedly the one most often claimed.

I know I’ve got plenty to lose but, then again, I have for over thirty years, now.

Jeez, that’s depressing..

I know, things like diabetes and high blood pressure can be hereditary, but I also know, my lifestyle hasn’t exactly been replete with healthy choices. To wit: my weakness for snack foods and things fried, my predilection for second (third, fourth) helpings, my aversion (mostly) to fruit, my attraction to the easy convenience of fast food, my general distaste for anything resembling exercise.

And it’s always been a problem before to find motivation to lose the weight, and it gets harder the older I get, but I think now I have finally found the one thing to spur me to action:

Global warming.

As we keep reaching new record high temperatures every year, I am determined to not go through another scorching Texas summer dragging all this excess weight around. It just gets harder to take with each passing year.

I don’t know exactly how I’m going to accomplish this project at present, and I’m not soliciting any helpful advice, thank you very much. I just want to make you aware of this undertaking, and to encourage you to join me – those of you, of course, who need to – on the journey. Perhaps we can be each other’s cheerleader along the way.

Not each other’s judge, not each other’s disciplinarian, not each other’s shamer.

We don’t need any of you around.

I won’t attempt to coach anyone; I’ll simply share what works for me, (assuming I find something that does) and you can make up your own mind to try it yourself. We’ll praise each other’s progress, empathize with each other’s defeats, and become leaner and healthier versions of ourselves.

Good luck, compadres. That goes to all of you trying to achieve any resolution, be it weight loss, or something else.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, exciting and fulfilling New Year. Live it.

And keep reading my blog! 😉❤️

Gracias Beaucoup

 

Aaaaaand, it’s over. Just like that.

So much buildup, so much shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping, and now, we’re done. Happens every year.

But, I hope yesterday was lots of fun for you. It was for me.

Now, it’s time to go return all those gifts you said were “just what you’ve always wanted!” It’s also time for another post-Christmas tradition that, I believe, is rapidly dying out:

Writing, and sending, thank-you notes.

That’s right, kids, back in ye olden days, we wrote thank-you notes to everyone who gave us a present for Christmas, including Santa.

I don’t know, do kids do that anymore? Writing, I mean? On paper? With a pen?

Who knows? Anyway…

Here’s my chance to send a thank-you note to you. All of you wonderful people who gave me the gift of your attention this year, even if it was just to look in on one post. Just the fact that you took the time to visit this blog means a lot to me, so thank you for checking in to see what I wrote. I hope you enjoyed your visit, and you’re welcome to come back anytime, as often as you want. I will try to keep making it worth it for you.

We have, to understate, a very interesting year ahead, and we all need to gear up for it. The incoming administration is going to require our constant vigilance, and participation in the process of governing this nation.

If you can’t come up with any New Year’s resolution, I think that would be as good as any.

Again, thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate it. Y’all come back now, you hear?

Please, Stand By

 

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No, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth.

I know you haven’t heard from me for awhile, and I know you’re just panting with anticipation for my next brilliant post (ahem), and I do have some subjects I want to address. Many, in fact. My mind is jammed with them.

I just haven’t had the time lately to organize my thoughts on those subjects into anything articulate, and I don’t want to simply throw stuff helter-shelter out there; we all know, there’s enough of that going on, already.

So, meanwhile, let me just take this opportunity to wish all of you a VERY Merry Christmas. Have fun with your family; cherish the time you have with them. Safe travels to those of you leaving town for the holidays. Save all receipts, to facilitate easier returning of gifts. 😉 Go easy on the freakin’ eggnog. Make sure you got plenty of batteries.

And enjoy the holidays; that’s what they’re for.

Deck the halls, y’all.

P.S. – That’s Lizzy under the tree, hoping someone gets her for Christmas! 🐱🎄

Why I Do This

People ask me all the time: “Stan, why do you write?”

To which I always reply: “My name’s not Stan.” (Where do they get that, anyway?)

Also, nobody asks me that, to be truthful. But, as a public service, I’ll tell you, anyway.

I’m obviously not in it for the money, since I don’t make any from this.

I don’t do it for the love of writing, even though I do kind of enjoy it.

I don’t do it to gain a following, though that’s certainly a nice benefit, and I’m grateful to you folks who do follow me; I hope you enjoy some of what I write, anyway.

I do it because I’m much better at it than talking.

 

Conversation has never been my strong suit. Still isn’t. Especially when it’s just me and one other person. I simply can’t think of how to initiate, or continue, a dialogue.

I usually think one of two things: What I want to talk about is so trivial, it’s just not worth even mentioning, or it’s so personal, I might say something I really didn’t want anyone to know. So, either way, I just stay quiet.

Also, there’s this to consider:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

The above quote, attributed at various times to Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, among others, has been my own personal mantra since before I ever even heard it.

By far, my biggest insecurity about myself is about how smart (or stupid) other people perceive me to be. As I’ve explained before, this goes a long way back.

I just know that when I open my mouth and say something, the person I’m saying it to is internally rolling his or her eyes, thinking, “Geez, what kind of idiot am I talking to?” So, if I have opinions, I generally keep them to myself, for my own protection.

But, when I write, there’s nobody standing right in front of me, waiting for me to say something, or to react immediately to what I say, so I’m in a sort of Safe Zone here with my tablet. Whatever you may think of what I say, at least you won’t be telling me directly to my face.

I suppose that sounds cowardly, and perhaps, it is.

I’d love to be able to say what I feel out loud more often, but in the meantime, this little blog will have to do.

Again, I appreciate all my followers out there. Please keep reading, and I will do my best to present you with something worth your time.

Later, y’all.

The Secret

 

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Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

First time I heard those words, I was 14 or 15 years old. I didn’t grasp the significance of them back then, obviously.

I sure do, now.

I recently wrote a post about commemorating yet another birthday, and I alluded at one point to how getting old scares me a bit, so I should probably explain myself. You may not want to read on unless you’re really happy today, because this one’s a bit of a downer.

I see my folks, they’re getting old
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through
Those eyes are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring’ back at you

“Nick of Time”, Bonnie Raitt

Songwriters

BONNIE RAITT

Published By
Lyrics © BONNIE RAITT

First of all, and I know this is going to sound so shallow, but have you seen what old people look like? With their wrinkled up faces and age spots on their hands and turkey wattles on their necks? I know, I know, I’m sorry, I really am, but I just can’t envision myself looking like that. Not me. My hair is definitely grayer, and there’s less of it than there used to be, but I’ve accepted that, more or less. Those other cosmetic changes are gonna be much harder to face.

But, it’s not just the looks; it’s the health. I dread what the future holds for this steadily deteriorating shell I walk around in. Will I get slowed down by arthritis? Will I be felled by a debilitating stroke, like my father, and bedridden for the last years of my life? Or will my worst fear come true, and Alzheimer’s slowly and mercilessly steal my mind, piece by piece?

It’s stuff like this that, whenever somebody says getting old “beats the alternative”, makes me think, “Are you sure?”

And, yeah, I know, none of those things may happen; I may just get hit by a truck, instead.

But, I’m the kind of guy who thinks, my life has gone pretty well so far, something’s gotta happen sometime to screw it up. The Law of Averages dictates that the scales eventually have to tip the other way.

What can I say? It’s how I roll.

 

Truthfully, though, I think the worst part of getting older is how everyone else gets older. So, the older I get, the more funerals I’ll be attending. Funerals of friends and family members. People I’ve known and loved for years, for decades, for pretty much my whole life. I want to keep them around forever; I don’t want to say goodbye to any of them, and it will seriously break my heart when I have to. I am really not looking forward to that part.

I mean, I know that’s all just part of it; we’re born, we live, we get old and die. That’s how this thing works. It’s never bothered me as much as it has lately, though. I know, I should probably just shut up and accept what’s coming, because it certainly doesn’t come only to me.

Just feels like it, sometimes, that’s all.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

“Time”, Pink Floyd

Songwriters
ANDREW WRIGHT, SIMON SMITH

Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

On the bright side, though, friends, (yes, there is one) I am working towards reconciliation of these issues, because I know a life lived in fear and dread is really no life. It’ll just take some time for me to reach the state where I can believe what singer James Taylor said years ago:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

“Secret O’ Life”, James Taylor

That’s the goal for me. Hope I attain it. Sooner, as opposed to later.