Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘positive influence

Heading Somewhere

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Apparently, if my recent dreams are any indication, there is somewhere I’m trying to reach, but circumstances keep delaying my readiness to depart. But, isn’t that just an inherent existential dilemma? Why are we here?

It’s the journey, right? Not just the destination.

I love a good adventure, but the truth is, I’m not all that fond of traveling. One common thread of people’s stories about their travels are the hassles and struggles faced along the way. Getting through airport security, navigating the unknowns of destination ports, communicating through language barriers.

It’s all part of the package of traveling. Choosing to see those parts of the journey in a more positive light than as just being hassles, goes a long way toward helping a person accept them as pleasurable, as in, a puzzle to be solved. If you like puzzling, I mean.

If you are not traveling, you are still headed somewhere. Are the everyday challenges being navigated, hassles? Or are they puzzles being solved?

Are we trying to get ready to depart, or are these little conflicts actually the journey, itself?

Where the heck are we heading, anyway?

To a better place. Free from pains, both physical and mental. We are looking for peace and love.

Don’t just be a consumer of those commodities, though. Be a distributor, as well.

Yesterday, after my well-health check-up physical with my doctor, I needed to visit our local pharmacy. To my surprise, I was offered the option of trying out a short-term regimen of an oral corticosteroid to see if it would settle the lung congestion left over from my recent cold. This, in contrast to the usual long-term (and much more expensive) daily inhaled asthma treatment.

Without thinking fast enough, I let them transmit the prescription to an Ellsworth pharmacy that Cyndie recently discovered was not functioning well. They are understaffed, overburdened, and may be headed out of business.

We phoned to see if they had my common prescription ready for pickup. So far, so good.

They’ve closed the drive through (because it’s too cold outside?), so I had to go in. I was not surprised to see a queue of visibly frustrated customers waiting. The angst in the vicinity was palpable.

Armed with prior warning, I was not flapped by this. I brought love and peace. Calmness. Understanding. Smiling. My energy smoothed some of their rough edges, while I accepted the process of waiting.

I enjoyed an added bonus of being able to find someone on my way out, and tell them they had forgotten their insurance card, which I had witnessed the staff fretting over.

Where are we heading?

Oh, yeah. To peace and love.

And better health, too. What an adventure!

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Manipulating Neurochemistry

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How are your stress levels today? Don’t think about the answer. Feel it.

Cyndie and I have faced some questions about how we are doing lately. It hasn’t been as easy to answer as usual for us. It was a tough winter, but listing our grievances doesn’t feel good to share. It doesn’t paint the picture as accurately as we know it to be.

Our move to the country and accumulation of animals for which we need to tend has put distance between us and our friends and family. Some connections with people and activities have broken, and only a fraction of new local connections have sprouted in their place.

We have gained a brilliant wealth of new relationships with our animals, and precious though they are, it is not the same.

Yesterday we had an opportunity to drive the suburban roads again that consumed our everyday back when we lived in Eden Prairie. The dramatic contrast to our present-day environment was revealing.

Is it worth it? The struggles to cope with the never-ending challenges of weather and the unrelenting daily routine of required chores to care for our horses, chickens, dog, and cat? Some days, more than others. It’s life. It’s something we chose. (By the way, that’s a luxury –having the choice– that is not lost on us.)

Our challenges can be framed as onerous and laborious; burdens that could be lifted by giving up our animals and moving back to the conveniences and camaraderie of our life-long friends and families in the suburbs.

The difficulties of the last few months, and the years of owning and caring for our animals can also be framed as invigorating, rejuvenating, inspiring, and fulfilling. It is adventure of a very high order.

When we choose to frame the ups and downs of life in the positive, we manipulate our neurochemistry in healthy ways. That is a choice we have power to control. I spent an unfortunate number of years manipulating my biochemistry in the opposite direction by mentally framing my life in the negative.

We won’t prevent harsh realities from challenging our decisions by simply thinking positive all the time, but we will be better served to meet those challenges when we give our brains the healthiest balance of on-going positive neurochemical support possible.

Life here is challenging, but we are doing well. Really well. Thanks for asking.

It feels right.

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New Routine

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After spending the 3-day weekend as guests at a place we’ve never been before, getting home to the familiarity of the daily chores associated with caring for our animals can be a comfort. This thought led me to consider how I perceive the old routine, especially from the fresh perspective of the fabulous weekend we just enjoyed with the Walker family.

DSCN5133eTraveling anywhere involves living with a limited selection of your clothes and devices, and getting oriented to a bed and bathroom other than your own. Back home again, places and things return to a level where you don’t have to think. Every thing just “is.”

When I went out to turn the compost piles and fix a flat tire on the wheelbarrow, it had a feeling of our old routine. Even though I saw that as a good thing, it occurred to me that “old routine” or “returning to the old grind” of the work week after a holiday weekend is more often framed as a negative.

I turned that around in a blink of mental gymnastics, choosing instead to consider our activities as routine, but new. We have done these things before, but never on September 6th in 2016.

Every day is a new day, even if we are doing something similar to what we’ve already done before.

This week is a time when school starts for a lot of people. We put the vacations of summer behind us and roll into another year’s routine.

Enjoy the familiar, but frame it as a brand new version.

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Written by johnwhays

September 6, 2016 at 6:00 am

Watching Amy

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We watched the documentary, “Amy” last night, about singer Amy Winehouse, and it triggered a recurring sadness for me that you can’t instantly remedy whatever it is that drives a person to make unhealthy coping choices. You can send love to those who are hurting, but if they aren’t able to love themselves, health and healing can only wait on the sidelines to be invited in.

AmyPosterI’ve had moments of grandeur where I thought the environment we have created at Wintervale, the horses, the labyrinth garden, wooded trails, and our dog & cat, combined with the life experience and emotional intelligence Cyndie and I have gained, could serve as an intrinsic salve to any and all who visit.

Reality isn’t that simple. I have had opportunity to discover my acquired peace doesn’t automatically transform others merely by proximity. I found that it is possible not only for me to be helpless about inducing healing in another, but I am as susceptible as anyone to being drawn down by contagious unhealthy energies.

Being a positive healing influence on the world is something that requires definite effort.

Detangling from a general pattern of unhealthy behaviors requires a definite choice. We have to make an informed decision to change our life for the better. It doesn’t happen by just spending some time at a healthy place.

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The movie about Amy Winehouse includes a significant amount of footage showing the frenzy of paparazzi she faced. It was tough to witness. Nobody deserves that abuse. Take a moment to cherish the anonymity that allows for normal daily life.

Cyndie and I were talking about situations of celebrity hounding and recalled the amazing surprise we felt years ago, when we spotted Eric Clapton on a street in Chicago, unnoticed by anyone but us. We were killing time on a weekday visit and strolling the shops along The Magnificent Mile, or possibly some side street just off Michigan Avenue, when two guys stepped out the door of some apparel shop.

They were carrying large bags of their purchases, which was one of the first aspects that caught my eye. Two guys on a little afternoon clothes shopping expedition? Seemed somewhat off gender-usual to me.

As my surveying glance traveled up to their faces, I wasn’t able to mask my shocked recognition at the face of one of my musical idols, just inches away. In a split second, I chose to avoid spoiling Mr. Clapton’s moment of walking the street like any anonymous bloke.

As they passed I looked at Cyndie and she was looking at me with that same wide-eyed shock over who was walking by. It didn’t seem possible. We immediately began debating our decision of not saying anything to him.

I consoled myself with the vision I will never forget: the look on Eric Clapton’s face when he saw our shocked expressions and knew he’d been recognized, …yet not hassled.

I wonder if Amy Winehouse ever enjoyed the pleasure of being recognized, but not hassled, in the brief time after her music became wildly popular.

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Written by johnwhays

March 10, 2016 at 7:00 am