So Damn Lucky

Ever sit in the peace and calm of your environment owning your contentment in full awareness you have so much you love in your life, so much possibility, proud of how you have emerged from the storms of life so far that you feel and know you are so damn lucky? I do. I’m an idealist. It’s how I’m built. I’m also highly rational. It keeps life interesting. It offers balance. My perspective is a radically optimistic one. But, I know what it is to lose sight of your joy, to be disillusioned by life, to be world weary. I know what it is to feel there is nothing. I don’t focus on being happy. It’s like trying to catch bubbles in the air.  Ninety-nine perscent of the time, they pop. Happiness is elusive, but becomes an awareness when there’s space for it. I work on all of the other pieces I value around the outside of happiness. My daily goal...

Lessons in Drums & Punishment

This might seem messed up to some people, but it was a punishment incredibly useful to me in the long run. I used to get punished with drum rolls. One of my brothers was an excellent drummer when I was growing up and he still is now. He was 14 when I was born. I started drumming on a trap set at age five and he was my teacher. I’d practice 30–60 minutes a day with him. By the time I was 9–10 years old, I was drumming for stage productions. When he was in college, he’d babysit me sometimes. If I didn’t follow his rules, specifically argue with my little sister (two years younger than me), he’d put me on the drum set and tell me to practice my drum rolls until they sounded decent as my punishment. I remember sitting on the drum throne for what felt like long periods of time in the music room next to our living room calling out to him, “Is that smooth enough yet, Mick?” “Does that sound...

Ever Have Trouble Accepting Something Growing Up?

For me, it was that time is a most precious commodity. As a kid, I fought time. I’d say I don’t want to practice keyboard and drums for a half hour each day! Do I have to practice my gymnastics for a whole hour every single day? How long until we get there? When can I go out and play? Do I have to go to bed right now? and on and on. Then a huge shift happened. When I was 14, my last living grandparent was ill. She was in her 80s and not well in the hospital. We visited often making long three hour treks each way to keep her company. It was a lot of time spent in a car and I was tired of it. Then one day we visited and she wasn’t talking as much. In fact, while we were there she lost her ability to speak. She looked especially weak, but we could tell she could see and hear us as we talked to her. That day, my sister and I said our good-byes, hugged and kissed her and told her we’d see...

Contentment How-To

One of the best realizations I’ve ever made is owning my contentment.  I’m content and it’s a peaceful awareness.  I savor it. Trying to capture contentment yourself? Maybe a few of my practices learned over time can help. 1- Slow down – Just stop. Take a deep breath. Give that anxiousness that can build up a chance to dissipate. Do it again and again till it sticks. Yeah, it feels weird for a while. 2- Make deliberate choices – When you know why you make decisions, there are fewer regrets to fuel discontent. It’s not about making perfect choices to get straight A’s on the report card of life. It’s about understanding yourself better. 3- Shed perfectionism – Strive for personal excellence, not perfectionism. You can be mellow on one topic and perfectionistic on another, so pay close attention. You might catch remnants you didn’t think much about...

Most Amazing Experience

My daughter and my son were rushed to the hospital with entirely unrelated life threatening emergencies six weeks apart and both survived. At age four, my daughter was lifeflighted across the state for an emergency middle of the night surgery of an intussusception (basically a telescoping intestine). Six weeks later, her five-month-old brother was rushed to our closest trauma hospital for an entirely unrelated series of ailments his doctor and his hospital team feared was bacterial meningitis. After a spinal tap, the most powerful medicine they could give him without killing him they told us, a hospital quarantine, and a CDC doctor interview thinking it might be H1N1 instead, they eventually figured out his 10 symptoms added up to – two viruses and two staph infections all at once – a fluke. What’s amazing? They are. Lucy is 13 and Liam is 9 now. They are healthy and happy...

Something I Wish I Could Still Do

I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE it from age 2 to about age 7 or 8 when my older brothers, sisters, and parents would walk on each side of me, grab my swinging hands saying 1, 2, 3, lift me in the air like a swing, set me down, and do it all over again…and again…and again… I’ve thought so many times since how I wish I could still do that. I would laugh so much. It was simple and such fun.

Meaning of Life in 5-4-3-2-1

Here’s an exercise I created for myself that has become a good way to hyper focus on what I value in any given scenario.  I made a list of the meaning of life to me – in five words, four words, three words, two words, and one word. It’s already been valuable awareness for me. What would yours be? 5 – Love others with your gifts 4 – Be useful to others  3 – Learn to give 2 – Care more 1 – Compassion More 5-4-3-2-1 countdown challenges ahead.

Can’t Ever Thank Mom Enough For…

Setting a remarkable example of profound resilience and admirable simplicity. My mom had six kids and has always had a bright cheery nature weathering plenty along the way – not the least of which was losing her own mother during The Depression – tremendously difficult in and of itself. Her mother tripped and fell down the stairs in the night holding an oil lamp (1930’s). My grandma, Mabel Marie Wood Walsh, was about 40 when she fell to the bottom of the stairs. The lamp ignited a carpet underneath her and she was terribly burned. My grandfather found her, rolled her body in the carpet, and took her to the hospital that way. My mother at eight-years-old and as one of eight children in her rural Illinois farm family – was told at the hospital she could kneel and say a prayer next to her mother shortly before she passed away. She did and next thing she knew her mom was...