We Are The Masters of Our Fate

12 04 2012

Last night I watched the PBS documentary “Being Elmo” about puppeteer Kevin Clash and his lifelong dream to work for Jim Henson. While I admit that I like nearly every other Muppet on the face of planet more than I like Elmo, the movie was absolutely riveting. Because It isn’t about puppeteering as much as it is about one man’s dream and what he does to see it become a reality. It’s about all the sacrifices that are made along the way so that the dream can come to fruition. This is what I found so interesting about this movie: it’s one man’s single focused approach of going against the odds to do what he feels he is destined to do. I so admire that sort of drive in people. I can relate to it but I cannot claim to possess it. I’m much too scattered in many different projects. But when I see someone so intently focused on one single goal, it truly amazes me.

This movie could have been about growing an award winning sized pumpkin or winning a spelling bee or a chess championship. It could have been about anything because the common thread in all of those stories is that there are seemingly average people in the world who do absolutely amazing things. This is a result of them having the innate ability to dream a big dream while awake and then take steps to make sure it comes true. I’m a big believer in everything being possible with enough effort. I believe in wanting something bad enough to not let failure deter you. The people who are not afraid to dream and then are steadfast in the steps they take to see it through do eventually obtain their dreams. The biggest limits to obtaining our dreams are ourselves. People willing to sacrifice sleep, social lives and other comforts in order to not miss out when opportunity comes knocking are ultimately the people who most often succeed.

What have you been dreaming about? What’s holding you back? You can begin taking steps today to make your dream a reality. You can do it but you have to want it. You have to want it more than anything you’ve ever wanted. You have to be willing to sacrifice for it. You have to be willing to take some lumps. You have to be willing to fall down and pick yourself up and try again – sometimes over and over until you get it right.

The world is our oyster. We are the masters of our own fates. Our dreams, our realities, our futures – they are in our hands. Everyday we get closer or farther from them. The choice is ultimately ours.





The Fear of Hurting

9 04 2012

And so begins week 16 of my journey to better health and wellness through a plant based diet and exercise. After not seeing the scale move at all two weeks ago, this past week I was able to lose three pounds which brings my total loss to over 59 pounds. Of course just after I posted last Monday about not losing any weight, the weight started flying off. I’ve noticed that every 10-15 pounds of weight loss, there is often a significant lull before my body starts dropping again. It’s like my body is adjusting.

This week I switched things up and I know that made a difference. In addition to walking and lifting weights, I added my first two days of the DDP Yoga program. I’m on track to do this workout 4-5 days a week. So far I will say this, I’m extremely happy with it. I’m not in great shape so it is definitely challenging. But its not so hard that it is impossible. It’s completely doable because there are alternate ways (modifications) for many of the exercises. These are offered depending on physical ability and skill level. The modifications definitely make it easier. Because I don’t want to feel like I’m cheating myself, I try to go all out though and don’t use the modifications as much as I probably should. I’m not sure if that is wise, but we will see what happens. I should be patient and just gradually build up to where I want to be. But like so many of us, I want my results and I want them now. I can definitely feel the burn afterwards; sometimes for hours or even into the next day. I never expected to get such a great workout from a program like this. I would have saved a lot of money on weights, had I started this program first.

Realistically, the mental component of this is the hardest part. Over the years, I’ve conditioned myself to avoid pain. Somewhere during football season of my senior year of high school, I became afraid of pain. I was tired of double sessions (day long practices at the start of the season during the heat of August). I was tired of running so much and being pushed to my limit. I remember it being very humid and feeling very tired and thirsty. I just started to get mentally weak and began looking for short cuts as the days went on. That is how it started and its been a slow descent ever since. At times I’m a wimp and that is something I don’t like about myself. It’s not easy to admit. Guys my size are supposed to be tough and I have been in the past. But somehow that gradually fell away. So that is something I will need to change. And it’s scary because I still fear pain. It’s crazy though and I’ll be the first one to tell you that I don’t know what exactly I’m afraid of. Its not like exercise is going to kill me…at least it probably won’t if it hasn’t done so already. Maybe 59 pounds ago, but probably not now.

I need to keep telling myself that this pain is truly only temporary. At some point it will end and out beyond it is where I will find success. But it’s hard to tell yourself that and actually believe it when you are in the midst of it.

For the yoga program I also had to take pictures of how I look and what my flexibility looks like so that I’ll have something to compare my progress to down the line. I hated that. Despite feeling so good about my weight loss so far, the pictures are terribly unflattering. I look at them and I really dislike what I see. I look at the pictures and think to myself, “I thought you’ve come farther than this”. So this is both depressing and motivating. The road is long and I do have much more to go.

The last two weeks have been a good reminder that sometimes it just takes time. Sometimes the weight is going to come off easier than at other times. I just have to remain steadfast. I didn’t put it on overnight and it’s not going to come off that way either. I just have to keep my head in the game. I have to stay focused and determined. As Eric Thomas said in the videos I posted yesterday, I have to want this as bad as I want to breathe. I cannot become complacent. 60 pounds is not enough. 120 pounds is not enough. I need to see this to the point of actual health and wellness. There is no end to it. It will take working at it every day. I can do this.





I See You But I Don’t Know Who You Are

29 03 2012

Tonight I will be attending the Best of the Valley Blog Awards for Northeastern Pennsylvania. It’s exciting to see that this little labor of love which is only a couple of months old snagged three separate nominations. I don’t expect to win anything but it really is an honor to be recognized alongside my peers, many of which I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.

Events like this always cause me anxiety. In the past, I would try to pick a seat I could fit in comfortably although that is becoming less of a worry as my journey chugs along and I continue to lose weight. The other issue that I don’t talk about much is that I am face blind. Face blindness is the inability to recognize faces, even those I see semi-regularly. Sure I know my family, my friends and my every day co-workers but I’ve seen neighbors that live next to me in local stores and have been afraid to walk up to them for fear that it might not be them. In fact I still can’t say for sure if it was them or not. I’ve had co-workers from other offices that I used to work with daily who get bent out of shape if I see them outside of work and don’t acknowledge them. I’m sure it seems quite rude but it’s just my brains inability to recognize you. It’s nothing personal. Even watching movies or programs on television is a nightmare. If there are multiple people with the same hair color or style, I am done for. I cannot distinguish any of the top stars from each other. In my daily life I end up focusing on hair, distinguishing features, body movement and mannerisms to help me determine if someone is who I believe they might be. This often leads me to feel more socially awkward than I already am.

I used to think this was a normal experience for everyone but in recent years I have come to learn that it is an actual phenomena that1 in 50 people suffer from some form of. Some people can not recognize their own children. I’m lucky as my symptoms are not that severe.

So if you see me out and about and I don’t acknowledge you or I seem perplexed, just reintroduce yourself. I know it’s weird but it is what it is.








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