Daily Ramblings – Funny Friday!

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“Weather forecast for tonight: dark.” – George Carlin

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/george_carlin_108466?src=t_funny

Enjoy your Friday!

Until next time…

Dave

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Daily Ramblings – Thinking Thursday

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I don’t know about you folks, but weightlifting is therapeutic for me. It relaxes me, helps me build on my focus, and I just feel so accomplished when I walk out of the gym. Currently, I am doing a full body workout. Here’s what it looks like:

Exercises are all 3 sets of 10. Since I am working out every day I am not working to failure, simply burning off energy and stimulating the muscles. It’s working quite well. I’ll provide you with weigh-in results on Monday.

  • Leg Press
  • Standing Leg Curl
  • Leverage ISO Row
  • Seated Back Extension
  • Leverage High Row
  • Machine Bench Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Leverage Shrug
  • Dip Machine
  • Machine Preacher Curls
  • Calf Press on the Leg Press Machine
  • Ab Crunch Machine
  • Elliptical Trainer (25 minutes)

I also got a good start on my book. I’m currently working through content ideas using an online app called Asana. It works well. I’m going to keep plugging away on the content headings, ideas of what I want to talk about and continue organizing. The goal is to get this skeletal outline completed by the end of the month. In August, I begin the actual writing.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Books:

The Shariyat Ki Sugmad, Paul Twitchell

The Orion Plague, David Vandyke – Finished. This is a book in a series. If you are interested, check out David’s books on Amazon. He’s terrific!

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles – Just finished this one. It is old but has some interesting points in it.

The Spiritual Exercises of ECK, Harold Klemp

In My Time, Dick Cheney – Enjoyed this book. I like memoirs and things, particularly when I served under this guy as the Secretary of Defense and the Vice President.

Kobo: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War, Herbert Strang

The Dual Between France and Germany, Charles Sumner

Classes:

Public Policy, Hillsdale College

Learning how to Learn, Coursera

Mini-Habits Course, Udemy (putting this one on hold until August)

Documentaries:

The Staircase, (Netflix Currently) – Just finished this one. This is worth a watch if you like a courtroom drama.

Movies:

None are on my hit list this week.

Fun:

Hell on Wheels (Currently on Netflix) – Finished. This is one heck of a ride. If you like a lot of plot twists and enjoy a good Western, I highly recommend.

The Hollow (Currently on Netflix)

The West Wing (Currently on Netflix)

Workout Routines and Other Weightlifting Knowledge:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/

For access to every supplement on the market, access to the top trainers in the world, and gain access to their training routines, this is the one-stop, shop for anything related to fitness. This one will cost you if you want access to the trainers and their workout routines. It runs me about $8.99 per month.

Well, that’s it for this week folks! I hope some of this information has been helpful to you.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Wisdom Wednesday

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“Be who you are, not who the world wants you to be.”
– Unknown

Hello, Readers!

This week’s edition of Wisdom Wednesday addresses a few items related to the most important person in your life—YOU. I’m a bit of a hermit, spending a lot of time in my study reading, writing, and interacting on social media.

I enjoy interacting with people in public, like the gym where I workout or the coffee shops I frequent from time-to-time. I like people, but my focus is on my writing, reading, exercise, learning, and spiritual pursuits. I have learned over the last few years, since my retirement, that so many people are controlled by the society that surrounds us. In the U.S. we work harder and longer than most in other countries, we spend more money on stress-reducing drugs than any other country, and our population is less happy than other countries. This is a bleak outlook, right?

We Americans are the largest consumers on the planet. We chase after the glowing bobbles in the malls, we strive for bigger homes, newer cars, boats, new clothes, plastic surgery and all the rest. Why do we do this? Well, part of it is related to the advertising and marketing practices present every day in our lives. Wherever Americans go, we are bombarded with an advertisement. Advertisement on the web, social media, the radio, television, even our mobile phones. We buy things we don’t need, eat the wrong foods, use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (prescribed and unprescribed). We take vacations and do so much that we return home more exhausted than before we left. All this purchasing causes us to borrow money in the form of credit cards, signature loans, shopping cards, and the like. This, in turn, drives us to work harder and continue to work to pay off all of these “nice” things, and before we know it we become slaves to the very things we thought we wanted. In the end, we’re still unhappy, we’re exhausted, we’re addicted to things we don’t want to be and we are overweight.

How do we turn this around?

Disconnect

It’s awesome to be connected to the world. It’s fun to have access to our books, music, friends, movies, and the rest on our phones. It’s terrific to be able to watch movies on our computers and interact with our friends on social media.

I’m not proposing that we shut all this down forever but taking some time away from our devices and our technology can be a much-needed relief and put us in a position to just relax and enjoy the moment.

Minimize

If you haven’t looked at Minimalism, you might want to take a look. Minimalists propose only owning what they need and owning only the bare minimum required for survival. The claim is that the less you own, the less you have to take care of, the less money you’ll spend for just more “stuff”.

You can start with your closet. Really look. If you own clothes that you haven’t worn in the last year, donate them. The same applies to the other things you possess. I’ve done this myself and it is quite liberating.

Meditate and Practice Mindfulness

Taking the time to live in the moment is a relaxing and joyous act. Mindfulness is nothing more than paying attention. Enjoying your meals, enjoying the quiet, enjoying the experiences you have, enjoying the people you are with, are just some aspects. Really savor everything. You’ll be amazed how relaxing, centering, and fulfilling the act of mindfulness is.

If you have trouble with this mindset, you should try meditation. Meditation in its simplest form is nothing more than paying attention to your breath. Focus on breathing in and breathing out. This one act performed for just 10 minutes a day will garner some amazing benefits, along with training your mind to be more focused on the task at hand.

Gratitude

Realizing that what you have is all you need is liberating and calming. It also provides a sense of contentment that you may have not felt in a long time. Purposely express your gratitude each morning for a few minutes. You can say what you are grateful for or write these things down in a journal. By putting your attention on being grateful for the blessings in your life, you’ll be less likely to continue chasing after that next “thing”.

Exercise

There are numerous benefits to exercise. Whether you lift weights, do Yoga, run, swim, or just take a walk, the benefits of exercise are huge. You can start by doing something as simple as stretching out in the morning and knocking out a few push-ups or taking a walk in the morning or evening.

Eating Right

Nutrition is the cornerstone of health. Take some time to learn about nutrition. Try focusing on eating whole foods (not in boxes or packaging) and cooking your own meals. You’ll find that you’ll spend less, the food tastes better, and your body will thank you for it.

Sleep

Go to bed on time and avoid the electronics too close to bedtime. They will disrupt your sleep. Come up with a ritual composed of hygiene (hot shower), a little reading, meditation, or a nice cup of herbal tea. Your sleep is critical to your performance and health.

Reading and Learning

Too many of us read too little and stop learning after leaving school. Reading opens us up to new horizons, new ways of thinking, and it allows us to explore the thoughts of authors in different times and nationalities.

Learning should be life-long. There is always something we can learn to improve our lives, our performance at work, and even pick up new skills that will contribute to our well-being far into the future.

Become Your Best Friend

So many of us depend on others for our happiness. So many people need someone else in their lives to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, we are social beings. We need contact with other people. It is wired into the human psyche to interact with our fellow beings. The real question, however, is this: Are you happy with you? Can you be happy without that guy or gal in your life? I would argue that the answer to this question is yes. You can be happy with you and enjoy the solitude that being alone delivers. I’m not proposing that you dump all your friends. I am proposing that you take some time to get to know yourself. Enjoy you.

Final thoughts…

All these tools are easy to implement but are not a panacea. Only you can determine what you need, what will work in your personal situation, and what acts you can take (even others not mentioned) that will improve your outlook and happiness.

If you are happy with your current situation, leave it alone. If not, take some time to look around a bit to find some suggestions offered online, in books, or even ideas you could get from one of your friends or confidants. You’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Motivation Monday

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“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” – H. G. Wells
Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_g_wells_163592

Anything we embark on will result in errors. Making mistakes or bad decisions are all part of the learning we require when we begin doing something we have not done before. You can read about what others have done to accomplish a task, but I’ve found that regardless of the people we model, we will make our own unique mistakes.

Diets, exercise, and weight loss are all unique to the individual. Like I mentioned previously, my body is not very good at digesting carbohydrates. No one can avoid carbohydrates, but we can control where these carbohydrates come from. I typically get the carbohydrates in my diet from vegetables. It is our uniqueness that makes dieting so difficult, but with persistence, you will find a solution to your dieting that will work just for you. Take the time to read about nutrition. Research the various diets out there. You’ll find the solution, but you must be persistent and really want it.

Our unique disposition, psychology, physiology, are blessings. They allow us to contribute differently from others around us. They require that we go out and investigate how we are different from others. When it comes to diet, experiment. Learn. Once you have discovered a truism for you, stick with it.

One warning, however. We change. Foods I used to like and eat, no longer interest me. Foods that my body liked or had no issue with have also changed. There are no fast or quick ways to lose weight. Realize that the damage you’ve done over the years from eating a poor diet or the foods your body doesn’t like, cannot be undone overnight. It takes time. Keep this in mind during your diet. Your new diet must be sustainable over the long-term and must be satisfying. If you don’t like the diet or it causes problems, you’ll soon drop it and return to your previous habits.

You will slip. You’ll succumb to that piece of pizza or bowl of ice cream. Don’t beat yourself up. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and pick your diet right back up again. Exercise is also like this. Keep going back to the gym or getting back on that treadmill, bike, or elliptical in your home. Over time, particularly when you begin to see the benefits of exercise, you’ll find that exercise is a part of your life. Again, make small adjustments initially. Whatever exercise routine you embark on, it must be sustainable for the long-term. Trying to go from zero activity to an hour of cardio is just not going to stick around too long. It is too much, too quickly. Start with 20 minutes a day and elevate this by 5 minutes each week. You’ll be at the recommended time of 35 minutes plus in three weeks.

Below are the actions I’m taking to forge forward on my weight-loss journey, writing, reading, and learning journeys. I hope you have a terrific week!!

Physical:

Decided to up the intensity of my workout. The Labrada trainer just wasn’t doing it. I’ve moved to a full-body workout, along with cardio. I’m up to 40 minutes a day this week.

I’m pleased to announce another pound loss. My last weigh-in was 220lbs.

I’m using the combination of a low-carb diet and intermittent fasting, which is working well.

Mental:

My goal is to finish 12 online courses by year’s end. I am at 6 so far. I finished the Udemy Non-fiction writing course last week. Still working on Public Policy and Learning How to Learn.

I also want to read 36 books this year. I’m at 28 books out of 36. I finished three books last week!

I’m heading to the library to begin research for my book project. The goal is to finish the rough draft by the end of the year.

Spiritual:

My goal here is to finish my discourse by year’s end, read my Bible daily, Meditate/Pray twice a day, and keep a dream and gratitude journal. All of this is on track so far.

I am participating in a workshop in Canada, another workshop here in Michigan in September, and already served on a panel and gave a talk at our spiritual center in February.

Social:

My goals are to build my readership to 500 by year’s end. I’m currently at 405! If you know anyone that would benefit from my blog, please send them my way!

Attended a Sound of Soul meetup, held by the local Eckankar group. Great fun and a nice dinner afterward!

I got in a lot of reading this week. I will be getting some research done for my book starting tomorrow and getting on a steady writing schedule, beyond this blog. I can’t wait to dig in.

Well, that’s my week folks!

Until next time…

Dave

 

 

Daily Ramblings – Spiritual Saturday

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“Sometimes it’s important to just stop and be grateful for the blessings that you already have.” —Harold Klemp The Language of Soul

From time to time I reflect on my life. I have had a great many successes and some pretty dismal failures. One of the greatest changes I have made is the movement from not having enough and begin grateful for what I have.

For the longest time, I concentrated on the bad things—a divorce, a bankruptcy, or even my lack of the income I wanted to be making. This thinking captured my attention for the longest time. Then, I began thinking that my thinking was the problem. Why did things go wrong for me while others were achieving the success they desired?

My thinking changed, and I began to see success, but there was a problem. With the success, I was achieving came the worry about losing it all again. That’s exactly what happened. After what seemed to be an indefinite occupation in a pit I could not pull myself from, I began to realize that despite my failures and defeats, I still had it pretty good. I began to rethink my life.

I began a Gratitude Journal. I began reading positive materials. I began looking for the good things in life.

To this day, I consider myself a lucky man, with all I need. Am I rich? No. The riches I do have are inner ones. I realized that I will always have the ability to take care of myself. I also realized that despite how bad things can get, I would always be grateful for what I had, even if it was very little.

I cannot tell you how wonderful this change of attitude is. I am not always happy, but I am content. There will always be something that gets under my skin or causes me to worry a little. The key to this new attitude is to truly be thankful for this life. This life is truly a precious thing. I have traveled the world, I have loved and have been loved. I have laughed until I cried and wake each day with a good sense of humor. I am just happy to be alive and content with whatever comes.

Part of this newfound gratitude is also a detachment, which takes on a new shape each time I evolve. I used to think detachment was related to material things, but it is so much more. Detachment, in its purest sense, is really being adaptable to change. Change in location, change in attitude, change in health, change in age, change in relationships, change, change, change. Detachment is being able to alter our opinions, alter our attitudes, alter our way of thinking, even our core philosophy. When there is no expectation of anything, coupled with a deep gratitude for the existence we have, happiness is inevitable. How can you be unhappy when everything is acceptable, and we are grateful for our situation, regardless of what that situation is?

Another aspect of this change in thinking is the ability to be charitable. I’m not talking just about volunteer work or giving money. I’m talking about the willingness to serve another person. Something simple like a smile at a complete stranger, holding a door open for someone, posting a nice note to someone on social media, anything that allows us to extend goodwill to others, even complete strangers.

I hope each of you is having a terrific weekend. Take a few moments today to take stock of what you have. Be grateful for what you have, really embrace that. When you make the decision that you have all you need and are content with what you have, you’ll feel a deep sense of peace and fulfillment. You’ll realize that the race to get more is nothing more than a distraction. A distraction that keeps us from realizing that we have all we need and that this life is a pretty good one.

Until next time…

Dave

 

Daily Ramblings – Thinking Thursday

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It’s another Thinking Thursday!

Already crushed my Back and Biceps workout today, along with 26 minutes of Cardio. I’ll do another session later today. My eating is on track and I’ll be updating my weight on Sunday. Currently, I’m at 221 lbs. I’m tracking my macros diligently as carbs will always throw off my diet. I’m trying to minimize my carb intake to 50 grams a day. It seems like a minimal amount, but if you stick with green leafy vegetables, you can eat quite a lot of volume without spiking blood sugar. I am avoiding all grains for now—they kill my weight loss, even when I work with the complex carbs.

I hope everyone is enjoying their week and crushing their goals. I’ll update you again on my progress next week.

Books:

  • The Shariyat Ki Sugmad, Paul Twitchell
  • Andersonville: A story of rebel military prisons, John McElroy: Finished this yesterday. What a horrific story. If you are interested in learning about the atrocities committed against Union POWs during the Civil War, this is a must-read.
  • The Orion Plague, David Vandyke
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace D. Wattles
  • The Spiritual Exercises of ECK, Harold Klemp
  • In My Time, Dick Cheney
  • Kobo: A Story of the Russo-Japanese War, Herbert Strang
  • The Dual Between France and Germany, Charles Sumner

Classes:

  • Public Policy, Hillsdale College
  • Learning how to Learn, Coursera
  • Mini-Habits Course, Udemy (putting this one on hold until August)

Documentaries:

  • The Civil War, Ken Burns (Netflix currently) – Finished. Great documentary from Mr. Burns. Very informative and told from the viewpoint of soldiers who were involved in the conflict.
  • The West, Ken Burns (Netflix currently) – Finished. Great documentary. I really learned a lot of new things in this one. Our treatment of the American Indian was horrific at best.
  • Vietnam, Ken Burns (Netflix currently) – Finished. Another heart-breaking documentary about the Vietnam War. The insightful pieces of this documentary relate to the many opportunities all of the parties had to avoid the conflict altogether. Alas, we missed these opportunities.
  • The Staircase, (Netflix Currently) – Just started this one.

Movies:

Fun:

  • Hell on Wheels (Currently on Netflix)
  • The Hollow (Currently on Netflix)
  • Wimbledon and World Cup Soccer

Workout Routines and Other Weightlifting Knowledge:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/

For access to every supplement on the market, access to the top trainers in the world, and gain access to their training routines, this is the one-stop, shop for anything related to fitness. This one will cost you if you want access to the trainers and their workout routines. It runs me about $8.99 per month.

Well, that’s it for this week folks! I hope some of this information has been helpful to you.

Until next time…

Dave

Daily Ramblings – Wisdom Wednesday

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“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/h_jackson_brown_jr_101336?src=t_wisdom

This is such a great quote. I think we can all admit we have done things that we might not be too proud of when we think no one is looking. Aren’t all the great quotes the ones that demand a little more from us?

Character, like our minds and bodies, is a product of our experiences, decisions, and actions. What you are today is the resulting combination of these things. If you want to look at where people have the most difficulty in character development, look no further than online marketing ads.

Ads with the new magic weight-loss pill, the pill that will help you perform sexually, the pill that will add 20 pounds to your biceps and all the rest. Applications that will help you invest better, live longer, be happier.

Why do you think New Year’s Eve resolutions fail? The things we want are hard to achieve. They require us to be disciplined. They require us to stretch beyond our current capabilities. More importantly, they require us to commit, even when no one else is looking.

A buddy of mine approached me about exercise and losing weight a while back. Like most, he jumped right in with both feet. Then, after a week, he admitted he stopped exercising. He also admitted that he had 4 pizzas, two boxes of Cheese-Its, two bags of potato chips, and a family-sized bag of Fritos—in one weekend!

This is why you can only provide advice to people when they ask and let them do with the advice what they will. This is why you can’t compel anyone to do what they should want to do themselves. This is also why, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE “WHY” behind your motivation to do something, whether it is to lose weight, exercise, eat right, meditate, write, or whatever.

I don’t care what goal you set for yourself. You will have a real challenge getting to the finish line if you do not know you’re own personal “why”. The “why” cannot come from outside of you. The goal must be yours and yours alone and you have to know why you want it.

I worked out with my brother for a few months a few years ago. The same result. He wanted to feel better, get into better shape, but he did not want to pay the price as badly as I did. He is eating better and avoiding foods his body knows aren’t good for him, but his exercise routine is drastically different than mine. That’s ok. He found the sweet spot for his personal exercise plan. The key is this exercise plan works for him and satisfies his “why”. His “why” was to just feel better and it is working.

If you really understand your “why” and you’re not lying to yourself, you will achieve anything you want. You’ll be willing to pay the price. Your “why” will be stronger than any price you have to pay. You will succeed. You won’t cheat on your diet, you won’t eat foods that are unhealthy or off your diet plan, you’ll do the exercise deliberately, and you won’t miss exercise days. You will be true to yourself because you have a compelling reason to do the work.

If you don’t have a “why” for a goal you are pursuing, put it aside for a while. Don’t torture yourself. Admit that you are not willing to pay the price it requires and feel good about that decision. You can always pursue it later. It is better to do this than attempt to do something you are not truly motivated to do. You’ll feel bad when you fail, you’ll beat yourself up, and you will still fail to accomplish what you set out to do. Leave it alone. If it’s important to you, you’ll discover your “why” and execute. If you don’t, that’s ok. Pursue another goal—a goal you really have a drive and the ability to complete. You’ll feel great and may be in a position to return to a previous “dream” and make it a reality.

I wish all of you the very best in achieving your dreams, whatever they may be.

Until next time…

Dave