Wednesday, October 2, 2019

STOP WATCHING THE NEWS

Most people, I’m convinced, don’t think about life at all.  They grab what they think they want and the subsequent consequences keep them busy in an endless chain till they’re carried out feet first.“  ~Philip Larkin


It is not easy keeping a schedule or a journal.  Mastering journaling and regularly scheduled tasks is one of the building blocks of a well-ordered life.  The excuses ohly continue to  build, and I must not allow them to keep me from accomplishing what I intend to do.  When I first began this journal, that was chief among the reasons for my journaling, to hold myself accountable and focused.  Journaling kept me accountable, to others as well as to myself.  

One of the primary reasons that I felt so comfortable with leaving the Motor for parts-then unknown has to do with my own sense of “je ne sais quoi”.  I still remember making the smart-alecky retort to my ex-wife that, “those kinds of things happen to other people, but they DON’T happen to me!”  Preparing for the worst-case scenario is one thing… to treat it like an expected possibility is another, and I always enter into things with the intention to do my level best, and once that is reached, exceed that point.  It is the will to do something that matters … what one ought to do and its implication goes hand in hand.  I never concern myself with the “can” of any objective… the primary achievement of any goal is a matter of will.  All things that I list as an objective are all entirely within my ability to do.  The primary reason that I was looking forward to moving to Omaha was, and still is, the opportunity to live my life as philosophically unimpeded as possible.

Every man alone is sincere.
At the entrance of a second person,
hypocrisy begins. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

For YEARS I mistakenly attributed this quote Sartre.  I have no idea why, a mistake that would not get corrected until I entered the Army back in the 80’s.  If anything, it would become the albatross I entered my major relationships with as this was true for both parties.  I don’t think that my ex-wife knew who she was before we married, or even had considered whether or not if having knowledge of the self was even necessary prior to entering a relationship.  My problem with My Delta Girl and TJ was that I did not see past where we were… I had no understanding that I had maxed out the level we were on and did not fully comprehend what would be expected of me going forward.  At any rate, I took those fails as a reminder of my own assessment of the self-- that my being was not one that was predicated on finding a life-partner.  Other than elementary school fantasies, I never recall dwelling on partnering up.  In fact, my entire approach to relationships has been defined by a middle-school utterance about the imbalance of male-female college graduates and how that by getting a degree we would be among the few eligible men for the number of women who wanted to meet with a likewise college-educated man.  To add to the “eligibility problem” of men, you have the decline of factory work, allowing for those men who highest achievement would be a high school diploma.  At any rate, with all of this bloviating, there is NO MENTION of ever wanting to start a family, be in love, or even having a desire to BE LOVED.  Not really being fully conscious and aware of the WHY of this realization, it still remains a core value that I find whenever I have to go deep within myself to deal with a relationship of any kind.  Kitty, rest her soul, was not fighting against opinion… she was was struggling against the very core of my being.  I could not forgive her, because there was no “feeling” to why I wanted to be from her and excise her from my life.  It was a conclusion that was arrived at separate from emotion.  She had simply crossed a line from which there is no return. 

We still text and occasionally we will go out.  I am always going to be cordial, and I do make an effort to be sensitive to her.  With this “dead man walking” relationship go past the coming New Year… well, it doesn’t have much longer than that.  I do not want to have a false Valentine’s Day with her.  When I think about the fail of our relationship and try to overlook the major problems that led to its downfall, I cannot find in me the wherewithal to engage with her on that emotional level again, for ANY reason.

MEANWHILE

...in other news… the inspiration for this entry, oddly enough, was an NPR TUESDAY!  Not that I am listening to NPR again (but still supporting WUOM!) but that the feel of this past Tuesday was one that I had not had for such a long time… not since I moved from Public Housing to live with Kitty.  I dozed until noon, ate a little lunch, then dozed again until nearly 5p.m., no shower or nothing!  Finally, I moved from my bed, washed and then laid back down and relished in my solitude.  Maybe there will be another go at this partnership thing… despite my reservations, there is a quid pro quo that has to be met.  No one that I fancy for companionship will likely be fond of just being “a couple” until maybe the mid 60’s, so there’s that.  The goal posts have been moved from what is being looked for as a partner, and I am unsure of where I measure up.  Still, just as it was in middle school, I think that “the odds be ever in my favor” in that regard!

The point of mentioning this incredibly lazy day is to usher in the “Spent the day in bed” designation.  Between my building another Rock Steady franchise and having FRIENDS TO ATTEND TO IN OMAHA!!!, days like Tuesday will be rare and far in-between happenings.  So they will be celebrated and cherished, just as my beloved NPR Weekends were.  I cannot communicate how GLORIOUS Tuesday was and how much I look forward to having that option again!  I really needed the recovery from working out, as well as from simply hustling around as I went about my daily operations.  Anywho, all is well and has a bright outlook, even if at times, things seem may seem uncertain.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

RECENT HAPPENNINGS

I have been moved for over two months now.  Not only am I happier, but I really like the neighborhood that I am in.  Located behind Joslyn Castle, the Dundee area is quirky, with a mix of different groups, from middle class to the low-upper caste of our socio-economic system.  Some of the house are FAN-tastic, and it harks back to parts of the Motor.  

The next big social event on my calendar is a local production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The female lead, a former co-worker at the gym where I work, is someone I consider a friend.  I want to be there to cheer her on in her chosen career, and if she does stuff that I can get someone to take me to go see her perform, I will.  She is a cool person and I want to be considered a supportive friend in her life.  Kitty will also be attending, and we are planning an excursion to Indiana to visit Nutwood.  Yes, we are still separate, and our relationship is in a decaying orbit.  But I have softened as I have grown older, and rather than rip myself out of her life, I have chosen to step-by-step ease away from her.  The tenuous hold that she maintains in my mind is just that.  Understanding that she is doing all that she can to keep herself in my orbit, I don’t see where an unnecessary escalation of emotional discord will do me any good, especially at this stage of my comings and goings.  While she doesn’t want to understand that she breached a trust that cannot be repaired, I do, both know what she did and why it is beyond her to make up for it.  So there!

This weekend I will be at the Walk for Parkinson’s in Stinson Park.  There, I will be presenting with another local coacThe previous presentations I have been a part of have gone well, but I have not been able to capture the positive burst of exposure that comes from them.  That will not happen this time!  Not only do I have more people committed to helping with the program, but I am more determined than ever to get things off the ground!  Meanwhile… unbeknownst to everyone, I have been intentionally losing weight.  I am down over 20lbs from August, when I became more mindful of how I was eating.  This is the first time that I have deliberately lost weight… notice that I did not say that I am dieting.  I have been more mindful of what I eat and I have been watching the portions a bit closer.  The pizza and burgers are still part of my diet, and that will be for some time until I feel settled.  But I do eat more fruit and less carbohydrates.  Eventually I want to be able to have a set diet, but that is for next year.

Another thing for next year: school.  I have every intention of being in a class, online or otherwise, as I shoot for my Master’s in Exercise Science.  I think adding letters to my last name is something I look forward to in my 60’s.  Finally, I am not as worried about my health, as I did not feel a concern for an issue that has been a part of my life for over the past 15 years and only fairly recently, caught anyone’s attention.

Since I don’t have the internet (save for my phone) I don’t get the chance to make entries or check for how others are fairing.  Hope everyone is well and I wish you all nothing but the best!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

...AND WHY HAVE I BEEN LITEARY CONSTIPATED..?

MOVING DAY

In fact, it is the 13th!!  I have a nice spot in between here and there.  Kitty has found herself a nice place as well.  You are correct if you have noticed that we are headed for non-coordinated destinations.  It is what it is.  Will I ever journal it?  I hope not!  

The reason that I don't want to journal about my personal comings and goings is that I want to concentrate more on positive, goal-oriented things and that is the conversation I want to have "with myself".  Does it mean that I won't EVER gripe in here..?  I am not sure... because the point of my returning to my journal is to build from where I am at, and August 13th will be a new start in my life.  I have conversed with my twin sisters' and I would like to report that we are at least squared away with one another.

The last 4 weeks or so have been EXTREMELY challenging.  From breaking my face, to moving, and to having another exhausting Social Security examination, this has been a hairy time in my life.  But I am more than up to the task!  First of all, the deep and involved look into my intimate situation has already been downgraded, so I won't be putting anything off unto my domestic situation.  I still have my job and my growing Rock Steady franchise, and I am STILL as pretty as a girl!  To quote a childhood hero of mine... What, me worry?

Listening to my youngest sister was are real treat.  She has remarried, moved to Texas, and is doing well with her profession and her life.  Though listening to her when I was 15 was more of listening to babble (I am at least 10 years older than she is... so she was likely a babbling toddler then..!), listening to her as a peer was a unique experience.  The last time I felt as I did when talking to her was like I had felt when KT and Skye chose to speak through their emotions to me.  When your child confides in you as an adult... that is a special kind of feeling.  What I felt when talking to my sister was kind of the same emotion.

Hopefully the next few weeks goes smoothly for me and I make my transition cleanly.  It is will take a lot of focus and determination to make it through.  I will again strive to set a journaling schedule and adhere to it.

Monday, July 8, 2019

BIG MARK ONCE AGAIN ATTACKS..!

One of the biggest battles that I face daily is the one that I fight with myself.  I have been fighting with myself over the installation of the programs that I want  have loaded in my brain computer.  Some of the programs, while simple to load, does not necessarily mean that run/execute is going to be easy.  For instance, pre-planning my day.

Many self-help articles make a point to prioritize schedule/day planning.  Whatever it is that is keeping me from doing so, my old pathology has become outdated and is failing me.  I want to know what I have to face for the upcoming day, week, month.  My return to journaling is a part of holding me accountable, because if something is written down then the act of writing it adds a dimension of “thereness” to the act (my move to Omaha is a great example of what I mean).  In fact, the express purpose of THIS journal was just that-- to keep myself accountable while I managed a broken relationship (that I am doing so (journaling) again is PURELY coincidental..!) and writing things down has more meaning and an added dimension of thereness that is a sign of and driver of long-term success.

My “self-talk” is also crucial to my future well-being.  Though I have considered myself to be a confident, positive person, the truth is that there is a crucial amount of doubt that is in my mind and in my soul.  From thinking about my friend that I Facebook creeped not that long ago, to moments in life where I “pulled back” instead of forging ahead, I have decided that the doubt that rattles around in my head must be eliminated, and if not eliminated, shrunk to where it lies dormant and is not active in my being.

This week I am going to write down my approach to a number of groups that I plan on contacting regarding my Rock Steady franchises.  Now that I have a partner to help me with the Pinnacle franchise, I feel that I can comfortably do a lot more with regard to this aspect of my job.  Which dovetails into…

Rock Steady is going to be who I am.  Several times I have been publicly identified “the guy on television” or “the guy with that lady boxing”.  It is obvious that I have made an impact, particularly on the affected community.  What I hope is that there is enough “celebrity” where I can use that influence on the people that I plan on seeing.  But I am going to marry my “Big Mark” characterization with my work as a trainer in the local Parkinson’s community.  I am going to fully embody my identification and work hard at becoming a figure of good repute within the PD folks.

Finally, there has been this:

My client/friend who has been training with me for nearly 2 years invited me on a road trip to Kansas City!  We would rendezvous with a Facebook friend who lived across the street from my Mom in the Motor, and grew up with the twins!!  It was a great meet up, catching up with my “little brother” (and this would be the only non-biological cat that I would call a member of my family), who is a highly regarded chef in KC.  So my client was able to talk about cooking and being a chef, and he also got a feel on the inside of my  character as my friend and I talked. My client, who is an illegal from India, chose me to be his friend.  Based on what he has shared with me about his hopes and future goals, from getting his green card and his hopes to run his own restaurant and invest in property here in Omaha, I believe I have done a good job as a friend.  Mind you, it still feel strange and is something that I will have to get used to, apparently.  It’s the thing that they never tell you when you are young, that when you are an adult, the things that matter to people are more substantial than the latest sneakers or fly outfit.  Talk about family, the people you enjoy, and your relationship partner, are the things that dominate conversations.  Saying that, it doesn't seem that way while you are on your journey, and while it may be true that “life is a dance; find a partner!”, being among those who hang to the walls of the party is not so bad… and every then and such, someone will ask you to the dance floor!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

THE DAWN OF THE MOST PROMISING SUMMER IN YEARS

It has been a challenge to rebalance myself.  There seems to be a shortage of time and opportunity, but that is not true.  Focus, which is a cognitive process that has been developed through evolutionary processes, requires more energy to use.  It can be seen when we allow ourselves to “veg out” either on the computer or in front of the television.  Decisions that utilize little effort are made by our default or “system one” brain processing.  Too often, whenever convenience is can be seen as the primary option, and is the easiest choice of the available options, it will be the choice that the brain chooses.  This is one of the dilemmas of being human, to be willful and choose effort over comfort, work over the ease of doing nothing.

There needs to be a strategy to develop my downtown Rock Steady franchise.  The “if you build it, they will come” approach only work if there is something that is “built”, and that hasn’t happened yet.  While cold-calling is still a valid approach, it needs to be more honed-in and not this random “hither and yon” way I have been functioning.  I am left to wonder if this is because of hesitancy on my part, if there is something inside of me that is being intimidated by the prospect of being a business proprietor.  Which brings me…

I have begun to openly wonder if I am not leaning on my condition for an excuse.  Not only without or as the world sees me, but more importantly, but from within and how I see myself.  Whether this is me blaming my environs (not that I am, but the word “tired” was not a part of my personal vocabulary until I moved with Kitty) and not taking responsibility is open to discussion.  The truth of the matter is that I have to make sure that I hold my own feet to the fire and do the difficult work that building something from scratch demands.  Rock Steady Indianapolis provides more than enough support to help a franchise-- the question is what am I doing to take advantage of it?

In other personal news, me and my youngest sisters have formally “buried the hatchet”.  They both have terminated relations with the oldest girl in our family, which is a net positive for the both of them.  They both have lived their lives and have managed their families as well as anyone could have hope, given their individual circumstances.  Now, having added Skye to my life, I feel more whole than I prolly deserve to feel.  Anywho, I remember what I had in mind when I set my hopes, my dreams, on moving to Omaha and rejuvenating my life.  For better and for the not-so-much, the things that I primarily had in mind coming her has been what I have been what my life has been about.

I am well (polyp or not) physically and in a great place mentally.  Now I need to summon the energies that I have available to me from not having “drama” around to be a concern, and apply the twilight of the promise of my youth and make something worthwhile of myself for my daughter’s and, most importantly, for myself.  I am going to resuming being the person of which it can be said, “That kind of stuff happens to other people, but that NEVER happens to Mark!!”

Sunday, May 26, 2019

FINDING A DESTINY THROUGH MAKING NEW HABITS

This … is going to be a little different.  Some of what I am going to journal is going to be personal, i.e., diary-type stuff that I am struggling with.  Not that my personal life is anywhere near where it was when I started my journey from living with the Mookie’s, but my current relationship is in a state where, “things have changed”.  Those changes involved lines that have been crossed, therefore the “No Country for Old Men”-inspired reference to, “If the rule you used brought you to this…”.  The echo reverberates strongly, and it has really shaken up my new pattern of thinking, making it difficult for me to remain on track, all the while with some lingering old thought patterns slinking around and leaving contrary residue in my brain as well as my mind.

Another reason that this is more like a real diary kind of journal entry… I must be an “evolved person”.  I mean, when did anyone know when they “grew up”, become a mature, or just a changed person?  While for most people who have evolved accordingly, the moments of growth often only reveal themselves upon reflection.  But it has not been that way for me, primarily because the acceptance of my nature and contradictions to social function has been a hallmark of my character.  I have never enjoyed celebrations of any kind, because I never understood the motivation of a bunch of people coming by for my birthday or because my sister had a ballet recital.  If there were ever a time for the wider world beyond family to show its interest in me, when I was an amateur boxer, that was the moment.  But as I reflect upon those days and times, my path had then crossed with enough people to have dispelled what was an acceptable belief, but in hindsight looks to be a pattern of self-sabotage, to have gotten over that mess.  Yet, even as I think about the thinking that drove me to accept and internalize those thoughts to where they would become a part of my personal dogma, I still smile and am grateful for my path.  Like Don Henley says about life “All She Wants To Do Is Dance”, by replying to his characterization of an ‘80s political creature being thrown out of Central America:

Don’t come ‘round here Yankee
But if I ever do…
I’ll bring more money, ‘cause
All she wants to do is dance..! (...and make romance..!)

Back to my becoming aware of my own personal evolution.  Prior to fairly recently, the past few years, I never gave credit to being a part of what others consider a part of what makes their lives “good” or “worthwhile”.  For me, this is a welcome, albeit somewhat disturbing, result.  For many, many years, ever since my Father made me take ownership of a cell phone for my safety, I barely paid notice to when it rang because of the infrequent calls from “people of meaning” and not robo-calls or a bill collector.  Whenever I would get to wherever I was going and was off my bike, I would look to see some unfamiliar number and area code, usually indicating that it was some sort of telemarketer or debt collection agency, harassing me about a bill.  Now, it can be a potential boxer, or someone whom I need to speak with returning a call… or anyone, an actual person, who needs to speak with ME.  While I still am not able to define what it is that I am doing, whatever it is that I AM doing, I must be doing it and doin’ it well!

I am going to have to make changes to my personal narrative.  I am going to have to change not only what I project, but what I THINK I am projecting.  Additionally, what plays on the screens of the theater of my mind has to change.  It is coming at me in such a rush that I think that my brain would rather deal with my relationship issues because it is more familiar to me than being a respected and well-considered person in the community.  


In fact, I believe that is EXACTLY what is happening.  Even as I set out to talk and discuss about a subject that is familiar and easy to think about, I can’t actually focus and take the topic under any serious consideration.  When I do, thoughts about building a Rock Steady program and getting it to grow and not only be fruitful for me and my partners, but giving back to the people and community around me… it kind of makes it difficult to recognize who I am!  How about that for a “journal entry”... not being able to recognize oneself, not because of some “life fail” but because of a life coming to fruition, a truth, its truth?  When I consider things, no matter how “intently” that I may believe I am thinking about something, it comes back to where I am NOW.  Right now, I am a business owner, director and head trainer of a potentially growing franchise and head coach and partner of a growing franchise, whose reward of being able to “wake up and answer the telephone” often is a sign of the growth that I have experienced as a person.  That I am doing so with a “malfunction in the circuitry”, only adds to how profound my experience has been in Omaha.  

Uh… as to the “diary part” of this entry..?  Well, I am still “the man we all know and love”.  I had two rules, two situations that would only ever resolve in me leaving Kitty, without reservation.  One, was that if I was not responding to something that demanded my immediate action, she was to get that attention, “shake my brain into action”, by any means necessary. Around two years ago, we were late on a mortgage payment.  She felt that the settlement from her bankruptcy (prior to our meeting) protected her from foreclosure.  Whether it does or not, missing the house payment does reflect poorly on her refinancing chances.  So, the cost of getting the refinance started, some $500, was lost. 

No matter the consequence of the refinance, that she did not follow one of the the edicts that I tied my participation in the relationship to, was nearly unforgivable.  The slight break in the darkness of that break-up, was that I still need to be held accountable, whether on my own or in a relationship.  But being one of the two things that I have as a deal-breaker made it the source of much reflection.  Then, came THIS.

From the very beginning, something about Ralston, a little town between La Vista and Omaha, seemed a little “off”.  Not only off in the sense that it would give me the “creeps” when I would come home from work at night, but it gave me a feeling that was similar to riding my bike through Hazel Park and Roseville as a child, and why it was such a dare for me to do so when I would go out to Sterling Heights to the Lakeside Mall.  But unlike those reference points, I had no real confirmation that would led me to feel that way, especially (not going to unwrap all the thoughts around the subject) why it was Ralston and not some other part of the Omaha Metro area.  Then, I finally asked about what was giving me the creeps about the place, and it was independently confirmed.  So I spoke with Kitty as far as what she knew about the town… and the answer she gave the wrong one.  With that, I became a haunted person.
____________________________________________________________________________

You get it, right?

“If the rule you followed brought you brought you to this, of what use was the rule?”

Succinct and clear.  If anything, that it comes from a stoic of a psychopath only gives more depth to its ideal.  Though I was not creative enough to put words to it, it was something that I had espoused from the beginning of my journaling.

From the unhappiness of women with men, the inability of men to woo women, a lot of my observations were steeped in the sageness of Anton Chigurh.  Or Flavor Flav.  After all, he too, speaks of accepting responsibility for who you are, as well as the consequence of your actions,  without looking to anyone other than yourself for the solutions (who woulda thunk it… Flavor Flav… modern stoic..!) to what bothers you… and as hard as it is to believe, thoughts are the problems and not what is perceived as the problem.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What makes up a "personality"?  Is a personality the sum of all the things that you think??  If so, then the Emerson quote about the results of "sowing a thought..." takes a lot of the "if" out of "what if", at least it does for me  There are a few people who have crossed my life who would go on to success in their particular fields and when I recall those moments, I often reflect on the intensity with which they pursued their goals.  Often, people (myself included) believe that there is a precursor to the heights that one attains in life, like a good upbringing, rich parents, or somehow being "born" with certain gifts.  Though I am sure that having any or even all those things does augur success, they do not assure success in and of themselves.  But, as encoded by Emerson, the steady and sure practice OF the practice that bears success will make one successful.  That is what I saw in those people who made themselves, quite literally, the people that they are.  So, it isn't that I didn't "know better" as much as I did not "choose better".   Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action; reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character reap a destiny.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

People tend to fail when they are unable to raise the level of their thinking.  This, I think, poses a conundrum … how can you raise the level of your thinking when it is how you think, ultimately, that brought you to where you to the level you are at?  This is why, IMO, people who are unsuccessful in their minds at life, are at a loss.  Yet when a person upon reaching a crossroads that demands that they make a decision, have only the processes that brought them to the conundrum that is leaving them exacerbated.  Our brains are designed to seek and maintain homeostasis… but our MINDS are what drives us forward, drives us to achievement.  And it is the mind that gives us our identity.  You are not only what you think, but also how you think.  It isn’t that success is reserved for only the successful, but for those who believe in their minds that they are, themselves, successful.

Since I was able to confirm my brain injury, I find that I have pushed myself down a narrower slice of being than the one that I was on before the diagnosis of TBI.  Part of that decision was out of necessity… I did not want too much exposure to the world at large.  But that is similar to the path to fulfillment, at least in regard to my personal journey, and to that of others who have the life that has been consciously lived .  The more that I have manage to accomplish, from putting my affairs in order, to relocating and settling into a different city, the more that I have continued to grow and evolve as a person.  I can say that I have a relationship with my oldest daughter, and it goes without saying that KT considers me her Father, capital F.  I have not given up on Lexxie and just maybe we all will get the chance to go to Epcot together. 

Back on message.  I have occasionally been amazed at the progress that I have made.  Eventually I will be able to consider myself the owner/operator of two businesses that improves the lives of those in my community.  I am also talking with someone about a real estate venture… and that still does not take in consideration other opportunities to build other small business and independent contractor-ish things.  The one thing that I do wish I had finished was my schooling, because of what it meant to me.  Even in writing that brings an immediate urge to “make it happen”.  While I prefer going to class, maybe I will have to do some of it online, or at the very least, make it a weekend thing.  Anything to get back on that horse and finish that race is what I plan to do!!