And Now for Something a Little Lighter

All I can say is WOW. I mean, WOW. I’ve experienced heavy stuff over the last couple of days – the topic of the day – Domestic Violence. Video releases of extreme punches and the fallout from that video. The topic has drained me mentally and tired me out. Therefore, I need to focus on something else to wipe my mind clean of the stressors of the day. Thus, as my good friend Bill Murray exclaimed in Stripes, “lighten up Francis.”

And lighter it will become. In my moments of lightieness (is that even a word) I’d like to focus on none other than me. Me!

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment in your life that you’d wish you could take back? Of course you have. We all have had maybe even a few. And I’m no different. So let me start with my embarrassing moments.

College days – way back when – while grabbing dinner in the dorm and trying to look like the tough guy I was I overfilled my tray with the high-cholesterol grub of the day and I became careless. When I set my tray down on the edge of the drink rack is when it happened. Whoop! There went my tray, grub and all down my entire body. If there was a rock I would’ve hid under it. I grimaced as the crowd stared at me. I can barely remember any noise as the entire room of 300 or so hungry college students took notice. I cried in my head, “Mama!” On a good note – at least I didn’t spill my drink. Wait, I actually did.

Or how about a time when no one was looking? It’s a little strange having an embarrassing moment when no one is looking because it feels like that old tale – if a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? If no one sees you are you still embarrassed?

The short answer is yes.

As I was walking home one day down a side street in my neighborhood, minding my own business, I unknowingly passed under a bird’s nest. What happened next surprised me. The damn mama bird began attacking me! It flew over my head and darted down toward me intermittently pecking at me. As it swooped down I flung my arms at it in that “shoo-away” action. What the Hell?! My work backpack flung around in confusion as I began to frantically try to get away from the crazy bird. And then the daddy bird began to attack me as well. I began to trot away to get out of the eyeshot of the birds and away from the nest. This was as bad as a bee attack. Had there been a video of me flailing it would have been both humorous and embarrassing. At least there were no human eyes on me to witness this event. Embarrassing nonetheless.

Ah. I feel better to get these things off my chest. And I’m happy to share with you my little life stories that make up my life. We have to find those moments in time when we really need to lighten our days and take the pressures off of us. This is merely one of those times and if you can’t laugh at yourself how can you laugh at others?

Go well and with love good peeps.

Don’t Rain on my Parade

I admit I’m not the most positive guy in the world, yet I’m not the most cynical, either. However, I recently had a moment of clarity that hit me like a bolt of lightening. It took me by surprise. The conversation started out innocently enough but took a turn for the worse. It didn’t reach a level of animosity or tension just an uncomfortable inward acknowledgement (to myself) that I no longer wanted to be in the conversation. And what was unfolding before my very ears was negative rain on an innocent accomplishment by precious kids – the Little League World Series US team – Jackie Robinson West All-Stars.

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For those of you out of the loop – Chicago’s own JRW team won the right to represent the US in the title game against South Korea. JRW lost in the title game but the story spread for a couple of weeks as the team made an impact on the city of Chicago and presumably across the nation. It was uplifting to see these innocent 13 year olds compete. The city needed a feel-good story given all of the violence surrounding it and the JRW team was comprised of some kids from the same neighborhoods experiencing the violence. There were other positive stories that surfaced in the aftermath and kept the city buzzing. (JRW T-Shirt Sales by Dick’s Sporting Goods) Thus, the jubilation and attention given the story.

However, there were individuals that were not so excited to hear the story. Other individuals just grew tired of the attention. Whatever the case there were people out there that became annoyed with the limelight these kids were experiencing.

And this is when I thought, “Really? We can’t celebrate this great accomplishment from these kids and put a positive meaning behind it?” 

Maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world – the truly magnificent accomplishments get lost because of the commercialization process that takes place. And other not-so-magnificent stories rise to the top because of the sensationalism attached to them. It might be time to right the wrongs.

I for one was pretty happy to see the accomplishment – even as it took off to unprecedented levels here in my fair city. It was refreshing to hear news of this feat and how the kids became temporary celebrities. The smiles on their faces was priceless and the air across the city was captivating.

We should all have moments where we can latch onto the good. Take a look around and observe your surroundings. Eye a good story and cherish it. Focus on those positive situations and relish in their aura. Many of us don’t take the time to do this as much as we should. Some of us will even accentuate the negative before pointing out the positive. If you are one of those type of people do us all a favor and keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Let the rest of us enjoy our parades.

Rejuvenate

The serene lake glistened from the light of the morning sun. Barely a ripple was made from the fish as they lazily made their way to the surface in search of their morning meal. The smell of pine permeated the air as background sounds of the forest bounced around the tall trees which guarded the lakefront. The tiny splashes along the shores caught my ears as my eyes wandered across the lake looking for an area on the lake to settle. I exhaled, breathed in the fresh air, and appreciated the mist from the lake as I sipped my slightly sweetened coffee from an oversize mug. After a month of chaos and turmoil my mind, spirit, and body was in need of rejuvenation. And this was my moment.

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It isn’t often that we can pull ourselves away from life to enjoy the small pleasures presented before us. We find ourselves engrained in our daily experiences that will drain our energy and leave us with nothing to replenish the calming thirst our spirits require. Instead, we fill ourselves with various vices to help us get through our hectic days but not realizing the importance of slowing down. This was my moment to slow down and focus only on my breathing and the world of nature around me.

As I packed up my folding chair to head back into the cabin I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. A deer peered at me through the brush trying to decipher whether I was friend or foe. Our eyes locked briefly although it felt like an eternity. I appreciated the young doe in her habitat and I did not want to disrupt it. I thought about the days behind me and how I might relinquish my pain, frustration, and anxieties as I took in this moment. I proceeded to pack up my belongings in quiet reserve while assuring the deer I was a friend. Nature has a way of helping us to revitalize ourselves. This was my moment. I thought to myself “rejuvenate yourself.”

Everything is AWESOME!

…when you’re living in a dream!

Yes, according to the fun kids movie Lego Land everything is awesome as long as you conform, keep life light, don’t focus on the hard stuff, and work as a team. Woo-hoo!

But seriously, life is awesome. It is full of beauty and magnificence. It is pleasurable and wonderful. I look around my wonderful city of Chicago everyday and I am reminded of these pleasures. Therefore, I enjoy taking a moment in my crazy world to acknowledge just how awesome life is.

Regardless of the trials we face and the pains we all feel – because they are real – we should always be reminded of how awesome life is. YOU are awesome! I AM awesome! WE are awesome together!

Now go tackle that day with all of your awesomeness!