A Strange New Sound

 

Sometimes all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you

The Hollies, “The Air That I Breathe”

 

Ah, my friends, to breathe is a wonderful thing.

Just a week ago, I had nasal polyps completely blocking any air from entering my left nostril, and partially blocking the right one, a condition that had persisted for months. The task of breathing was mostly relegated to my mouth, which was highly annoying.

(the task, that is, not my mouth)

(though my mouth can also be highly annoying)

But now, thanks to endoscopic nasal surgery, I can take in precious oxygen through both sides of my nose. Yaaayy!!

Sorry, but when you’ve been denied something for so long, to finally have it again is a big deal. (Some husbands might identify with this feeling.)

And you know it’s been a long time when you notice a sound that’s, at first, unfamiliar to you, but then, you finally recognize the sound of air entering your nose.

A beautiful sound, I tell you.

My sincere thanks to the surgeon and the hospital staff, whose care and professionalism were present all the way through this procedure.

And thanks to all who had me on their minds last Friday morning as I was having this done. I felt all your well wishes.

Everyone, take a deep breath, and appreciate how easy it is.

And, if it isn’t, go see a doctor. Breathing is kind of important.

New Weight-Loss Program

 

About a year ago, I wrote about my resolution to lose some weight this year, crediting global warming as my motivation. I simply don’t wish to spend any more blazing Texas summers carrying all this additional poundage on my aging, weakening body. I know it’s weakening; just pick up a 50-pound bag of anything and carry it with you everywhere for over 30 years, and see if it doesn’t wear you down a bit.

Well, friends, at this point, I can report only marginal success, but I’ll take it over nothin’. Not due to any change in diet or exercise habits, mind you, but to a new medication I take to lower my A1C level, (ask a diabetic) that also serves as something of an appetite suppressant. So, yay, I’m still losing weight without having to really do anything.

After a recent doctor visit, though, the need to exercise and make a few dietary changes has come into sharper focus, and I find I have to be more of an active participant in the improvement of my health, or face some rather harsh consequences.

Rats. I kept hoping that, by now, we would be medically advanced enough to have a pill that, when taken, would just melt the pounds right off and, when taken regularly, would keep ‘em off. Guess I can’t depend on science for everything. Oh, well…

 

I just read a post from a fellow blogger whose work I enjoy, and it reminded me that, as this year draws to a close and a new one rapidly approaches, I have some other weight to work on losing, as well.

I don’t like to brag, but I hold a tenth-degree Black Belt in the discipline of not letting go of my past. No, really.

Every time I’ve screwed up, every reprimand I received, every time I was ridiculed and laughed at…oh, I have a trophy room full of them, folks.

Now, that…is some excess weight. Along with the 50-pound bag, I’m dragging a ship’s anchor. It’s a wonder I can even walk.

Before you go thinking this is some “poor, poor me”, Gloomy Gus soliloquy, trust me; I know where the blame lies. The universe didn’t do this to me.

Well, mostly not. It did see fit to bless me with the precious gift of depression, the gift that certainly keeps on giving. And that adds a degree of difficulty to my Olympic routine, judges.

I have been seeing a therapist this year, but any progress I feel I’ve made can easily be erased in a single bad situation that reminds me I’m still a long way from better, like the hopeful skier having one disastrous run on the slope.

It occurs to me, I’m at a physical and mental crossroad, and I can really no longer afford to f*** around with either. Not anymore.

I’ve learned many things this year, to be sure, from my therapy and from the wisdom of some insightful, inspirational bloggers.

But, you know, anybody can learn $#!t. What matters is what they do with it.

So, now begins the hard part of doing. It’s gonna be tough, but worth it, I hope. I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me success.

Happy New Year, everybody. Please celebrate responsibly. Come back and see me next year.

 

 

A Good F Word

 

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

Heart of the Matter”, Don Henley

Songwriters
MIKE CAMPBELL, DON HENLEY, JOHN DAVID SOUTHER

Published By
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music

 

“We live in a culture that prizes the expression of anger and resentment more than the peace of forgiveness.”

– Dr. Fred Luskin

 

Recently, in therapy, I’ve been focusing on this forgiveness thing.

Forgiveness is a tricky proposition; sometimes easy, sometimes not.

At times, I can do it almost immediately, when the offense is nothing to get worked up over. Someone makes a mistake, I forgive and that’s that.

On other occasions, someone says or does something that really angers me, or hurts me, or both, and coming around to forgiveness may take a little longer. But it does happen.

But then…

There are certain people who have wronged me, at some point in my past, whom I have not forgiven. (Nor wanted to.)

And there are things I’ve done for which I’ve never really forgiven myself. Course, I’m kind of hard on myself, anyway, but that’s another story.

But, I’m in the process now of learning how to forgive, finally.

 

Think about this a minute: How good a job do you think a carpenter, a mechanic, or a baker would do without the proper tools at his disposal? (Correct answer: not so good.)

So it is that I’m just now acquiring the tools I need to forgive. I mean, you know, I’ve heard, since I was small, the importance of forgiving, but nobody ever told me how. It was just something I was supposed to do.

And the thing is, it’s not always as simple as, “Okay, I forgive you.” In some cases, there’s a bit more to it than that. And that’s when you need the tools.

Enter Dr. Fred Luskin, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University. In the course of teaching people how to improve their health and well being, Dr. Luskin researched the role of forgiveness in one’s emotional and physical well being. Turns out, it’s hugely significant.

But, again, none of his students really knew how to forgive, so Dr. Luskin developed a nine-step process, which allows people to approach forgiveness more analytically, separating the emotions from the people and events that provoke those emotions, and putting it all into some perspective.

So, I’m going to try these nine steps for myself to see if I can bust through some long held grudges, including the ones against myself. As I am just beginning to work through this, it’s too early for me to testify to any health benefits. I don’t know how well, or even if, this will work for me. But, if it helps me cope with my depression, I’ve got to try it.

If this has got you curious about Dr. Luskin and his studies, you can go to https://www.learningtoforgive.com/ and check it out for yourself.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, assuming there will be some. I’m hopeful.

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.