Confession Time: My Love of Coffee Causes Sweet Dreams!

Danny

Confession Time: My Love of Coffee Causes Sweet Dreams!

As you might deduce from the title of this post, I love coffee.  I’m not sure when my love for the morning cup of joy developed, but I find myself looking forward to my morning cup the night before when I am setting up the percolator.   And before you begin thinking I’m addicted to the caffeine I will inform you that I only drink decaf.

I have found the old-school percolator to make the absolute best cup of joe and Evelina and I have experimented with nearly every brand of coffee maker.

It might sound crazy, but the thought of a new brand of coffee waiting to be tasted in the morning sets me up for a great night’s sleep.  I get excited like a kid at Christmas.

On the opposite side of this experience is waking up in a hotel, walking downstairs to the breakfast buffet and getting a bad cup of coffee.  Luckily for me this morning I got a great cup to launch my day!

Okay I’ll release you from the torture chamber that is my rambling.  Hope everyone has a relaxing Wednesday!

Danny

Fear of Sharks Can Get In the Way of A Great Swim

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Danny

Fear of Sharks Can Get In the Way of A Great Swim

I heard some people talking this past weekend about never swimming in the ocean because that’s where sharks live.  It was a funny conversation, but the lady talking was being sincere in expressing her fear.  She explained that if she never gets in the water she will never have to worry about getting eaten by a shark.  And I cannot argue with her logic.

But what about the coolness of the water on the skin?  What about experiencing the awesomeness of an afternoon swim?  Maybe a little belly surfing?  If her mind doesn’t change she will never be eaten by a shark, but she will also never experience the greatness of the water.

Listening to her talk got me to thinking about fear in general.  I wonder how many people think like this on other topics.  If I never try X, then I’ll never have to worry about Y.  I would have to guess that the number is quite high.

Fear rules many people’s lives.  They operate out of fear.  It dictates the terms of agreement in their life.  Fear decides what will happen and what will not happen.  Fear dictates a few things to me.  I will never skydive because if I don’t I will never hit the ground and die.  I will never bungee jump.  I’m sure there are more things that I will say “never” to doing.  My list expressly relates to extreme sports.

Fear can keep people from fixing broken relationships.  Fear can keep someone from experiencing the freedom of being debt free.  Fear can get in the way of someone earning their education certificate.  In the end fear does one thing…it gets in the way of everything.

If fear is getting in your way I offer one simple suggestion.   Think about the worst possible scenario and then ask yourself, “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?”  You could get rejected.  So what?  You could get your feelings hurt.  So what?

But what if the worst case doesn’t happen?  Fear will rob you if you let it, so don’t let it.

Have a great Monday!

Danny

Can You See How Family Drama Could Be Absolutely Draining?

Danny

Can You See How Family Drama Could Be Absolutely Draining?

In many instances you cannot kick family to the curb, although I’m sure many of us have wished we could!  The old saying “you don’t pick your family…” is true, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a door mat.

I don’t have nor have I ever had much family drama.  When I say this I am referring to my immediate family.  Of course there is the occasional soap opera segment, but for the larger picture of my life my sister, mom and dad and myself have all gotten along my peas and carrots.  I do understand this isn’t how it is for some people and I feel for the position in which they find themselves.

If someone is causing me drama over and over, I will simply eliminate them from my inner circle; I don’t have the time nor the patience to deal with drama.  “I’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there…”

This isn’t always the case when it comes to family though.  So how do I believe is the best way to deal with family drama?  I’m not sure and all I can do is speculate, but I’ve witnessed the wrong way to do it.  I believe the wrong way to do it is to allow their drama to completely consume you or to drag you in every single time.  I would play my part as I would if I were playing a character in a play.  I would become the person I needed to be when I was around them, dish out some love and let anything and everything said roll off like water off a duck’s back.

I do this in my work environment.  I am around a lot of people who want to gossip around the water cooler.  I don’t participate, but I don’t tell them to shut up.  I just go about my business and don’t allow myself to get caught up in their shenanigans.   I think it takes a lot of discipline to disallow yourself from getting caught up in drama.  You must practice.  And even the best have a little drama stick to their shirt when they walk out, but it is at that moment that you brush off that drama and go about your business.

I’ve also witnessed a common mistake which is to always be the mediator.  This position in the drama dynamic carries the most burden in my opinion.  If siblings are not getting along and you take the position of being the one constantly listening to both sides independently and then trying to help them work things out, then plan on carrying all of their drama and burden around with you for a long time.  Maybe it is time to redefine your role in their relationship, meaning, stop getting in the middle and let them deal with it.

I also see a common mistake of not setting boundaries.  You cannot allow conversations to always revolve around the drama and it is important to set boundaries.  “I am not going to discuss XYZ any longer.  If you want to talk about ______, then you need to call him/her and talk to them.  Don’t call me any more to talk about them.”  And stick to your stance!  Hang up if you have to.  If you disengage from allowing them to consume conversations they will eventually get the point and your life will be a little less dramatized.

I also think it is okay to take time away from people; even family.  Family drama can become totally toxic and spoil your energy.  He said, she said…”can you believe what she did?”….”oh my god, he said what?”…and the worst “what do you think I should do?”.  All of these are designed to drag you back in.  What if you took a week-long break from it all?  How would no drama for 1 week impact your attitude?

I am just thinking out loud and of course am no psychologist so take my words as a different perspective perhaps.  I hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Danny

Sometimes I Only See My Perspective, Which Is A Problem

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Danny

Sometimes I Only See My Perspective, Which Is A Problem

I try to be open-minded, but I will be honest and admit that when it comes to getting things done I want them done my way if I am going to be involved in the process.  If you come and ask me for advice I’ll explain to you what I would do, but then it’s on you as to what you decide.  But if I’m going to be involved in helping you then I’ll expect you to follow my plan.

Guess what?  It doesn’t always end as I plan.  Imagine that.

Here’s why I am the way I am.  I am a thinker.  I am a planner.  I exhaust all possibilities and work through the decision tree like a beaver chewing through wood.  By the time I’ve developed a plan I have made sure that the plan is well thought out, is thorough and most importantly, will work.

I train entire divisions and my plan and strategy works if the group I’m working with will implement the process I’ve developed; and it works to perfection.  There’s not one single detail of my plan that happened by accident.  The groups that stick to the plan experience growth.  Those that do not continue to struggle.

Here’s the big issue: I have to be flexible enough to allow each group to own the process in their own, unique way.  This way the process becomes theirs, not mine, and they own it completely.  I have to be malleable in my thinking to allow them to bend and mold things to their thoughts and actions.  This isn’t always easy for me.

My first thought is “I’ve put all this work to developing this system, just work the system as it stands!”  But that isn’t how life works.  People want to make something their own and if my mind is rigid, then the training will be less effective.

I think many people think like this as it relates to opinions and beliefs.  “I believe XXX, why can’t they just see things the way I see things?”  I experience this quite often in religion.  “I believe in Jesus and if you don’t believe Jesus is the answer then I’m not going to associate with you.”  Or, “I believe in Allah and if you don’t believe like me then…”.   And I don’t think I even need to bring up politics.

The point is as open-minded as I like to say I am, I find myself being judgmental and closed-minded quite often.  It seems that what I say out of my mouth sounds good, especially when I type it on a blog.  But what happens in my mind is often less open than I’d like to admit.

By habit we naturally want to say what we know we should say; possibly even what others want to hear.

I sense that I am going down the rabbit hole so I’ll get back to my point.  When we are rigid in our perspective and closed to having our opinions moved, then I think we rob ourselves of the opportunity to learn and grow.  Of course we should stick to our core principles, but we should approach life open and ready to learn.

I think it was Mark Twain who said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”  When we realize how big the world is and how many varying cultures, opinions and views there are, then we begin to realize that we might be narrow-minded.

So right now I am going to begin my reformation be admitting to myself and the world that I think I’m actually much more narrow-minded than I would care to admit.  But I’m set on changing that.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Danny

Here Are A Few Of My Crazy Random Thoughts…

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Danny

Here Are A Few Of My Crazy Random Thoughts…

 

  1. Ulcerative Colitis has robbed me of eating fried chicken and that makes me really sad.  I love(d) fried chicken.
  2. I love the World Cup and I hate that England lost yesterday.  I had hoped they would win and have a chance to break the 1966 drought.
  3. I love my job.  I’m in Jacksonville, NC this week which is about as far east as you can be in NC.  The downside is when I leave today at 5:00pm, I’ll have a 3 1/2 hour drive home.
  4. I’ll buy Starbucks if there isn’t a Dunkin close by, but nothing and I mean nothing compares to Dunkin!
  5. I think if I ever had the opportunity to see the Great Pyramid that I might cry.
  6. For some reason I’ve noticed I feel better about my day when I get into a clean car with shiny tires in the morning.  When I see how clean my car looks it makes me feel really good about driving to work.  Why do you think that is?
  7. I am lodging in a Hilton this week and all other hotels pale in comparison.  I’m afraid to go back to Fairfield or Hampton after this trip.
  8. I need some ocean time in my near future!!  Maybe I’ll flood you guys with some ocean photos Saturday and Sunday?!!
  9. Here are a few of my favorite things:  my wife, the color blue, sour candy, an organized work space with everything in its spot, Bentley’s tail (it’s curly), bacon, road trips, great customer service.
  10. Do you ever think about how others might perceive you if they ever knew what you thought about on a regular basis?  Sometimes my mind is like a 3-ring circus.  Crazy thoughts come to my brain and sometimes, yes, I laugh out loud at myself.

That’s enough.  Hope you enjoy your Thursday!

Danny

Does the Lack of Consideration Make You A Bad Person?

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Danny

Does the Lack of Consideration Make You A Bad Person?

I really try to always be aware of how my actions impact others.  I try to be quiet early in the mornings when others are asleep in the house.  I don’t play my music loud when I know others might not like my choices.  I try to pick up after myself so as to not create a mess for someone else to clean up.

In a general sense I simply try to always take other people into consideration when living my life.

I don’t think others do this.  Or at least I don’t think many others live in this way.

Of course I’m not perfect, but I am at minimum aware that I’m not the only human being on the planet.  I wonder if I am alone in my observation or have you noticed this as well where you live?  It seems to me that there are a lot of people who are so completely consumed with what they are doing that they simply don’t take the time to think about others.

I am in Jacksonville, NC and someone in the room beside mine was slamming cabinets or drawers at 5 am.  Now at 3 pm I wouldn’t care, but at 5 am this person might as well have been banging a gong!  How can this person not have enough self-awareness to think that slamming drawers would bother other people in other rooms?

Another observation is when people are walking and texting, while looking down at their phone, and they expect you to move out of their way.  They are completely oblivious to any other human on the planet, never look up, don’t pay attention to where they are walking and basically walk through people.  I find this incredibly inconsiderate.

Or maybe it is just me?  I do see some people showing consideration and displaying a solid set of manners.  Unfortunately I see a huge gap in manners in younger people when it comes to social interaction.  It seems as though the modern parent just didn’t ingrain the necessity of being considerate, thinking of others and using manners.

Many behavioral psychologists state that people are more narcissistic now than at any other time in history.  To some degree I blame social media and the mobile device.  People are living more online now and pay less attention to what is going on in the real world.  What is amazing is how quickly the mobile device has changed our behavior.  In less than 10 years the mobile device has completely changed how the modern world functions.  It has changed how we shop.  It has changed how businesses advertise.  It has changed how we interact with one another.  It has completely changed our expectations of nearly everything around us.

We want things faster, faster and even faster.   We focus more on ourselves and less on how our decisions and actions impact those around us.

I’m not sure it makes people bad people, but it is annoying when others seem to more concerned with anything they are doing than how their actions impact my life.  Or, like I said earlier, maybe it’s just me.  Hope you have a great Wednesday.

Danny

Surround Yourself With People Who Deserve Your Love

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Danny

On Friday evening Evelina and I will be at the beach house and I’ll be sitting at the ocean staring and contemplating life; it is truly one of my favorite places to spend time.  It is as if the ocean is a natural purger of all the junk that accumulates in my mind when I am inland.

I heard a theory that humans are drawn to the ocean because of evolution and our origins related to water.  It makes a little sense to me considering the fact that we are composed of mostly H2O and my life feels more complete when I am on the sea.

At any rate, I have been thinking about friends lately and how so few people carefully construct their friend group in order to surround themselves with supportive, positive and caring people.  I see many people who allow anyone in their lives regardless of their mindset and I don’t agree with letting just anyone in the inner circle.

I believe we all must be incredibly protective of anyone we allow close to us.  Our confidants MUST be supportive, challenging, loving in the truest sense of the word, wise, etc.  When we lower our standards we run the risk of allowing in manipulators, narcissists, liars and worse!

In short, protect your inner circle and surround yourself with people who DESERVE your friendship and love.  Happy Tuesday!

Danny

The Park as Good Medicine – Part 7

Being Lydia!

Family Reunion

Every time I think this series is over, something else happens to earn another chapter!

I have talked about Miley, the cute little Mexican rescue dog we adopted last September. She was found by the side of the road in a plastic garbage bag with her 5 siblings by a volunteer from the Puerto Vallarta SPCA shelter. The six were nursed to health and put up for adoption when they were four months. By the time we got Miley, she was about 5 months (by their best calculation).

We found out that three more of the puppies were adopted out in the Vancouver Lower Mainland (where we live). The other two went to Bellingham Washington and Victoria on Vancouver Island.

We have been in touch with one family, who have Miley’s brother Tex since we met in Seattle where we had to pick up the puppies. I had…

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I No Longer Have the Mind From My Youth

Danny

I No Longer Have the Mind From My Youth.

Opening day of the Major League Baseball season was yesterday and my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, played at 4 pm.   I did not watch the game, but caught up on the highlights on ESPN this morning; they lost 6-4.  Learning that I didn’t watch the game may not have meaning to you, but there is significance in this fact to me.

When I was younger sports was a huge part of my life.  I followed my teams with a tremendous amount of passion, living and dying with every game.  There was a MLB season in the mid-2000s in which I watched 150 of the 162 games.  I was die-hard.

So not watching the game was significant because it highlights how my life has changed over the last 6 years or so.  I don’t watch sports that much anymore as I did when I was younger and I’m okay with it.  I am a casual fan now, watching highlights on Sports Center or fast forwarding through a recorded game on rare occasions.

This morning when I saw the Sox lost it had little, if any, impact on me.  It simply doesn’t matter any more.  I have realized my energy must be focused on other things; more important things.  It is funny how we change in this manner.  Things that were important when I was 20 were not important when I was 33, and things that were “critical” at 33 are not important as I stare 50 in the eyes.

Someone once told me, “When you are young you want a Porsche, but by the time you can afford the Porsche you want to drive a Cadillac.”  This is definitely true for me.

Danny

Is the Way You Manage Stress Holding You Back?

Danny

Is the Way You Manage Stress Holding You Back?

I am going to be completely transparent here and say that I don’t deal with stress well.  I tend to over-analyze and dwell or things that are directly in front of me.  I work through the question tree, anticipating any and all outcomes and what my response will be.  I worry.   And it is not a healthy way of dealing with stressful situations in my life.

How do you manage your stress?

Do you dwell?  Or do you let stress run off you like water off a duck’s back?

If you are the latter then congratulations.  Unfortunately for me my mind does not operate like that.  So because I realize I have “down the rabbit hole” thinking, I must find cues to remind me to control my thinking.  I cannot allow stressful situations to send me into a death spiral of over-analyzing.

Here’s what I do.  When my mind begins dwelling and hyper-focusing on one thing I tell myself the following: “There is nothing you can do right now except what you can do.  Control what you can control and let the rest be what it is.”  This is a reminder to me to let the future go and stop worrying.

For a long time I allowed myself to make excuses to justify worrying and having an out-of-control mind.  “It’s how I’m geared.”  “It’s just how my personality works.”  “I don’t worry, I get my mind prepared.”

All off the following are just a few of the excuses I used to justify my mind.  I am finding that I can change how my mind works, but it takes discipline and a desire to change.  Every day I go through a process check to make sure I am not allowing my mind to control me.

It isn’t easy and I’m not always successful, but I will eventually get this under control.  The key is I acknowledge that I have a problem with handling stress, I have a process to change my behavior and I am committed to changing.

“I cannot control the future, I can only control right here, right now.   The future will be what it will be so let it go.”

Danny