Live in the moment…

July 19, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this advice from Will Rogers – “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” That’s good advice and I suspect that Will would agree that you should also not let tomorrow take up too much of today either.

Having memories or yesterday isn’t bad, nor is making plans for tomorrow; however, dwelling for too long on either is usually just a waste of time.

Our minds are wonderful things that allow us to recall moments from the past orinsight fantasize about the future. Both can be pleasurable retreats from the reality of the moment or they can be the source of pain or fears and concerns that can temporarily paralyzing.

Some people who have suffered a loss or a set-back in life get stuck reliving that event, perhaps second guessing themselves and what they did at the time or maybe just being unable to accept things and let go of the relationship or job or loved one.

In the case of the future, many people find themselves unable to settle on a course of action or cannot stop themselves from considering and exploring all possible alternatives. They literally “What if” their time away.  

depression 5Living in the moment is an exercise in focus and self-control. It is the inability to focus on the present that opens the door for the mind to wander into the past or begin exploring the future. There are all sorts of helpful Web sites, on-line articles, videos and other ways to get information about living in the moment. Just Google “Live in the moment” to see a list that is pages long.

I’ve also posted here a few times about not living in the past – see “Don’t fixate on the mirror…” and I’ve occasionally written about not spending all of your time daydreaming about the future – see my 2017 post on “The future starts now…”

So, how does one focus upon the now, rather than the past or the future?

I recently met with a Developmental Optometrist. I had no idea that such professionals even existed or that there is a need for them. What she does is work with patients, mostly children, who have vision problems that impede their ability to learn. She explained that the most common issue for many young children is the inability to properly focus their boy imaginingeyes on the books of other items in front of them. Since most are too young to have a very rich vocabulary, the issue is exacerbated by their inability to explain the problem that they are having. Her practice involves working with the children to determine the nature of their problems and to provide them with exercises to help them focus their eyes on the objects that they need to see in order to learn.

A take-away from that visit is that we may all need to develop exercises that help us focus on the things that are right in front of us. In the context of this post that means developing exercises (or habits) that bring us back from dwelling on the past or dreaming about the future and return us to living in the moment. For some it man prayingcan be as simple as keeping a calendar and taking a quick look at it every morning to reset your mind on the things that you’ve committed to do today. For many the creation of a daily To-Do list is a morning ritual. For some starting each day with a prayer allows them not only to refocus upon the day, but also to start it off in the right frame of mind and with the confidence that they are not alone in whatever the day has in store.

While I have used the terms exercise and habit as if they were interchangeable, the fact is that one precedes the other. Exercises are ritualized or repetitious sets of steps that one consciously goes through, while habits are sets of steps that one unconsciously performs because the body and mind have been trained by repetition.

Maybe you need to develop some exercises to help you focus and live in the present. Maybe taking the time for that daily morning prayer is a good exercise for you. Whatever works for you, just keep repeating it until it becomes a good habit. There is much less angst and much more satisfaction when you live in the moment.

So, join me in the now and live in this moment.

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Technically – misused, overused and generally abused

March 3, 2019

If there is a word in the vernacular that I would nominate for banishment it is the word “technically”. Look it up on Google and you find this –

technically/ˈteknək(ə)lē/- (adverb)

from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1 : with regard to or in accordance with a strict or literal interpretation of something (such as a rule, a term, or an official description or designation)

2 : with regard to technology

3 : with regard to technique (as in a performance or movement)

from Vocabulary.com – Something technically true is actually, really true or correct but it may not be the way people think about it. For example, although people call a tomato a vegetable, technically it’s a fruit.

and the definition that I like the most and think best describes its current usage –

jerk

 

from the Urban Dictionary –  What 12 year olds say to sound smart. Often found said by smartasses to make someone look wrong and stupid.

Recently I called into the local Detroit Free Press office to report that I had not received a paper that morning. I usually find the paper on my front lawn when I return from the first dog walk of the day at about 6:30 AM. That morning there was no paper and none when I checked again at about 7:15 AM. So, I called to report that I had not received one.

Of, course, I got an automated voice-response system and dutifully worked my way dinosaurthrough the various menus and options until I got to the place where I could say No to the question, “Did you get a paper this morning?” Upon answer that I had not received the paper, the machine (a machine!) proceeded to make me feel stupid by replying, “Technically, the carrier has until 7:30 to deliver your paper, so it is not yet late.” There was an implied “dumbass” at the end of that sentence, but the machine graciously left that part out. Perhaps the machine was programmed to say that by some 12 year old who found it amusing to make the machine sound superior to whatever dumbass was calling in before the deadline. Technically, I was not amused.

Also from the Urban Dictionary definition comes this further explanation –

When used at the beginning of a sentence, this word is a variety of the ‘filler’ word basically. Another direct replacement for technically is essentially. Maybe the speaker sees his or her own bad speech patterns and recycles these three words while speaking. Filler words add absolutely nothing to the sentence being spoken. Other filler words include like, just, and stuff and y’know, but they tend to be in the middle of or at the end of a sentence. Filler words are rarely used in writing and are part of acquired speech habits.

So, technically, the use of the word “technically” adds nothing to the sentence. It’s, like, just a verbal indication on one’s own level of ignorance or verbal incompetence. Y’know? Just sayin’, dude.

Say or press “1” if you understand or 2 if you are technically lost.


Forever young…

September 25, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog quoted this interesting question – “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”  (Satchel Paige)

Satchell PaigeSatchel Paige was a black baseball pitcher who played at a professional level in the Negro League and then the Major Leagues. In 1948, he was the oldest rookie ever to join the Cleveland Indians at age 48. He played his last professional game when he was 60 years old with the Peninsula Grays of the Caroline League.

Our minds are interesting when it comes to the issue of age. We never think we are too young or too old for things, but our bodies might not be ready yet to take on certain physical challenges or perhaps they have aged past the ability to take on those challenges. I know that, as I age, I’m occasionally disappointed by the realization that I no longer have the strength or stamina or perhaps the agility to do things that I once would have jumped right into and done. In some cases, I can still enjoy a sport or activity, but at a different level than I did in my youth. Like many others, I Tiger Woodsjoined the millions rooting on Tiger Woods this past weekend as he had a moment of recaptured youth in his PGA Tour Championship win. Even Tiger realized what a special and rare moment that was for him and he’s only 42.

We may feel trapped in bodies that continually remind us of the passage of time or which bring up the pain of past injuries or indiscretions on the playing field or elsewhere. It would seem that the key to remaining happy as one ages is to find outlets for the energy and creativity of our minds within the limitations of our bodies. There are sports and activities that have age appropriate leagues or teams that we can join. There are clubs and organizations providing activities that stimulate and satisfy the mind without overtaxing the body. Though we must accommodate the limitations of aging bodies, our minds can stay forever young.

If you’re into music, here’s Alphaville’s mix of “Forever Young”.


Lots to do in Milford today!

September 16, 2018

Today is day two of the Milford Home Tour, with homes open from 11 Am until 5 PM.800 E Commerce There are 6 really nice homes to visit, as well as the Milford Historical Museum and the Log Cabin next to the fire station.

Tickets may be purchased at the Museum at 1124 E. Commerce Rd or at any of the houses on the tour.

For more on the home tour, go to our web site – http://www.milfordhistory.org.

2018 Car Show pictureThe annual Milford Car Show is going on in downtown Milford today, too. Over 350 cars of every type and description will be on display from 9 AM until about 3:30 PM this afternoon. This is a free event.

 

Finally, there is also a vintage tractor show going on out at the Huron Valley State Bank tractor_show_graphicparking lot at the corner of S. Milford Rd and GM Rd.

This is a free event.

 

 

Finally, don’t forget to stop by the Rivers Edge Brewery this weekend or anytime this Resized - Feelgood Tap Sept2018 Historical Societymonth to buy a “feel good tap” beer and support the Milford Historical Society.

The Rivers Edge Brewery donates $1 from each beer purchase of the featured “feel good tap”beer to a non-profit in the area and this month that is the Milford Historical Society.

 


Build that bridge…

August 7, 2018

“The bridge between dreams and achievement is built through actions” –  Norm Werner

I thought that I had an original little quote there, but I googled it and apparently many others have had the same thoughts. One that was close is

 “The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.” – Unknown

The things that popped up the most in the Google response to my query were quotes about the differences between dreams and goals. I suppose that it is easy to confuse the two in random musings. I certainly understand that goals are achievable things with deadlines, while dreams are, well, just dreams.

Perhaps dreams are just a starting point, which morph into hopes and then into goals. In any event, nothing really happens until one takes actions to achieve those dreams/hopes/goals. I like the bridge analogy because it forces one to think of the man daydreamingplanning and piece-by-piece work that goes into building a physical bridge. Achieving most dreams/hopes/goals is like that. One must spend some time in the planning stage ( I sometimes call it the “fixin’ to” stage) and break the actions that are needed down into smaller, achievable pieces. It is then possible to start accomplishing those little pieces and to great-jobcelebrate little milestone on the way to the goal.

It is important not only to keep the big picture, the overall; goal, in mind; but, also, it is important to recognize and celebrate the little victories along the way – the accomplishment of those little intermediate steps in building the bridge to the dream/hope/goal. Those little pauses to celebrate allow us to refresh our enthusiasm and strength and allow us to re-evaluate the dream/hope/dream. Sometimes that re-evaluation causes us to see that we were shooting for too little and that we should be dreaming even bigger. Sometimes the cold reality of a good re-evaluation may cause us to shift our dreams and hopes towards a more achievable goal. In either case, we can then set off in pursuit of the next small victory in building that bridge.

Before you start out today, re-imagine your dreams/hopes/goals for the day and think about what small piece of the bridge to that overall destination you can build today. Then go for it. Take action! Build that bridge…


Don’t let tradition be your jailer…

August 1, 2018

From the blog Jack’s Winning Words, comes this sage piece of advice – “Tradition is a guide, not a jailer.”  (W. Somerset Maugham)

Jack went on to write – “We’ve always done it this way” are words often heard when someone suggests a change.  Of course, some traditions are good and worth keeping.  But, new ideas can be good, too.” 

I’m on the Board of Directors for our local historical society and I hear that little phrase jail.png“We’ve always done it that way” a lot. The same can be said about most churches and their services. I’m on the church council at my church, too. Both represent organizations that need to make changes to the way that things have always been done; but both also represent organizations that are in danger of being held hostage to tradition.

Times change, tastes change, options change. All of a sudden Sunday mornings are no longer reserved for church, but rather for sports practices or games. There are tournaments to be played, ice time to be had, away games to travel to and any number of other things vying for the time of the families that used to go to church. In the case of the historical society, the general population finds other, more exciting things to do with their time than going to the local historical museum. “Never change anything” is the rallying cry of dying churches and organizations across the land. Proudly the members stand (usually alone) as bulwarks no-changeagainst modern times, changing tastes and new traditions. Empty and abandoned churches abound as do defunct little community organizations that time has passed by.

Both of the organizations that I’m a part of are attempting some new things to try to reverse the downward spiral that they appear to be on currently. Both represent organizations that are “aging out”; that is, they have mostly older members who are dying off, with few new, younger members to replace them. It’s not necessarily that the current members will defend against change to the last man; many, in fact, would welcome change if it saved the organization. The real challenge is understanding what younger people want from the organizations these days in order to join and support them. Must the church become a rock and roll mega church in order to survive? How can the historical society somehow make the sharing of history exciting and entertaining for younger people?  There are no easy answers to those questions.

new-way-forwardI think the key to solving these problems in the church and in little local organizations starts with the advice of Somerset Maugham. We (they) must not become slaves to tradition, locked in the past. Rather we must figure out how to honor those traditions while changing with the times. The “good old days” are behind us, but there are still good times ahead for those organizations willing to explore new approaches and new ideas.

In my church, we have launched a Saturday evening service once a month for families that cannot attend on Sunday mornings, due to other commitments. Our local historical society has a new program to take history out to the schools and other places through programs that share stories and some of our artifacts from our local history collection. time for changeThose are small steps, but they are steps in the right direction – the direction of change. Perhaps they are not so much breaking with tradition as they are adding new traditions into the mix. In either case, tradition is no longer a jailer.

What are your churches and local organizations doing to stay relevant and viable in these changing times?


What are you a bridge to?

July 23, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote from Michael Jordan – “I want to be a bridge to the next generation.” 

Jack went on the write about the characteristics of the generations that are alive today and had a link to this explanation of the various tags that we associate with those generations – http://fourhooks.com/marketing/the-generation-guide-millennials-gen-x-y-z-and-baby-boomers-art5910718593/

The post made me think about the fact that we all act in the role of bridges to the future for someone, just because of how we interact with them and what they take away fromfamily grroup that experience. The obvious bridge role is with our own children who watch us as they are growing up for cues and clues as to how to act and how to react to things as they happen. Others whom we might not even be aware of also look at our actions for some guidance – for either what to do or what not to do. So, for them, we are a bridge to their own future.

That realization begs the question of self-examination – “What type of bridge am I?” Am I showing the world a bridge that is open, accepting and friendly or one that appears to be arrogantclosed-minded, prejudiced and angry? Do I appear to be a person that others would like to get to know or someone to avoid? Do I take the time to listen and understand the other person or do I jump to a conclusion based upon some preconceived notions or prejudices? Am I willing to consider a different point of view or am I hunkered down in a fixed position and unwilling to even consider something different? Am I displaying the behavior and attitude that Jesus would have displayed in this situation?

The first few questions above are ones that too many people are unable to objectively answer, because they are so consumed by and fixed upon their positions of fear and hate. It’s that last question that shines the spotlight squarely into the hole that they have dug for themselves and exposes the Devil that is driving their behavior. Jesus neverjesus-as-lighttaught hate, prejudice, or exclusion. He always taught love, acceptance, and forgiveness. The bridge that Jesus represents has its foundation in His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  He didn’t stutter. He didn’t go on to say, “unless they are…” He didn’t make exceptions based upon fear or hate. His is the bridge that we should all emulate as we demonstrate to others through our lives a bridge to the next generation.

Think about what you are a bridge to and what your actions and reactions show others about you and what direction they point to for the future. Join with Jesus in showing the bridgiing gapsworld and the generations that follow you a bridge to understanding, acceptance and love for your fellow man.

Cross that bridge…build that bridge…be that bridge.