Friday, April 01, 2011

Random Thoughts Volume XXV

I know I am old and my mind isn't what it used to be but did I miss summer? A friend left a note on my Facebook wall that said, "I know you love snow so I wish I could give you some for your birthday". Well, last Saturday night, on my birthday, as I was leaving a restaurant it began to snow. When I got out of bed on Sunday morning my entire neighborhood was white. One last time I would like to thank everyone involved for all the birthday greetings, the wonderful lunch last week, and all the cards and gifts. I know that turning 60 is a milestone in my life but I've never had so many people make such a big deal out of my birthday in my entire life. When the entire office staff sang to me I was blown away. My birthday weekend was actually very quiet. An electrician got me out of bed at 7:30 AM Saturday and Sunday and Chloe and I spent five hours in the waiting room at Sam Swope on Saturday while I got new tires on my car. I feel like I didn't even have a weekend. This weekend, while my son is home from school, we will actually have a family celebration for my wife and I since we both had birthdays in March.

The passion that many people have for basketball at this time is year is the same kind of passion that I have for music. I am over the top with music. With my birthday gift cards and the 50% off sales at Border's Books I have gone a little crazy. I really should have been a disc jockey on a late night underground radio station. I not only like listening to music, I can talk about it for hours. I know it's history and you don't want to play against me in a game of music trivia. It is a true passion of mine and I've had it since I got my first transistor radio back in the early sixties and I saw my first concert. My very first concert was seeing the Beach Boys out in Cardinal Stadium during a State Fair. I think it was 1962 or 63. When I heard those harmonies and electric guitars I was hooked for life. Music has brought me more joy, excitement, and comfort than anything. Do you have something in your life that you are passionate about? Do you have something that you will spend your last dime on? Do you have something that fills you with joy?

I am a professional laugher.
-The Dalai Lama

When I saw the Dalai Lama at Berea College back in the 90's, he walked out and was very serious. He began speaking in Tibetan and then all of a sudden just started laughing out loud before switching to English. His entire talk was peppered with laughter. I think truly holy people have a great sense of humor. Most of us don't laugh enough. I can always tell if people are having a good day at work by how much laughter I hear around me. There's not much I enjoy more than being with a group of people who are laughing a lot. Laughter is so healthy. Too often, especially in the workplace, I see people in small huddles, looking sad or stressed, and complaining about something. Sometimes there is so much drama going on that I feel like I am at the theater. I've even done it myself. I am anti-drama in the workplace. I want to be in a place that is full of smiles and laughter. I want my sides to hurt from laughing too much. I want to feel the lightness of hilarity and not the heaviness of unhappiness. Life is too short for sadness, unnecessary drama, and long faces. Let's all lighten up, smile, and laugh today.

Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere.
-Erma Bombeck

I am not a worrier but my wife is. Yes, there are things I am concerned about but I don't generally lose sleep over them. My wife worries about EVERYTHING. She told me this morning that a co-worker once said to her, "Denise, come down off that cross. We need the wood". Worry is part of something that I consider one of life's most debilitating emotions and that is anxiety. We live in an age of anxiety. There's a prayer in my faith tradition that simply goes, "Lord, free us from all anxiety". Call it what you will, i.e. worry, anxiety, or stress, it is a mostly a waste of energy. There is such as thing as good stress. Good stress is what keeps us alive. It helps us make intelligent decisions about our safety and well being. Bad stress can break our spirits. We should try to take the energy wasted on worry and anxiety and use it to find solutions to what is causing us pain or worry. My favorite character from the old Star Trek series is Mr. Spock. He was a Vulcan and free of emotions. Emotions in reality are what make us human but I find they also make me crazy sometimes. Emotions are at the root of my worry, anxiety, and unhappiness. Sometimes I wish I had no emotions so I can react logically to whatever life throws at me. Alas, I am not a Vulcan. Like the Dalai Lama I am "simply a human being" who is full of emotion that sometimes causes me pain and worry. When I am self aware I remind myself that I am not my emotions and I can look at life, if not without emotion, than at least objectively.

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