Reinvention

The Times When Time says, <em>“Surprise!”</em>

The Times When Time says, “Surprise!”

It’s something we don’t think much about until the end.

The last grain of sand that sifts through the squeezed neck in the hourglass and the round in the game is over.

One moment, you look at the hourglass, its full; soothingly and methodically dropping a small granule to the bottom to form a symmetrical pyramid of sand.

Then, another glance, anxiety surges as the last few specks seemingly jostle for position to drop last.

Time…a fleeting commodity that once has passed will never be again.

Yet, we still take it for granted.

Here are a few items that take us all by surprise once time drops the last speck of sand:

  1. Burnt Dinner — yep, usually happens when we take that call, respond to that text, or watch the “must see” part of that show/movie on TV…while making dinner.
  2. Good Dinner with Good Friends having Good Conversation — it’s always a good time.
  3. End of a Good Movie — bad movies Never seem to end soon enough.
  4. Any Fun Time — this goes along with number 2 & 3. When you’re having fun, time…
  5. Dusk — the end of the day always comes too quick.
  6. Sunrise — AKA, the alarm clock. It arrives way too early.
  7. The Arrival of Winter — That first flake of the season and (at least where it snows) everyone is caught off guard and discovers that: 1 – we need new wiper blades, 2 – we need new tires, 3 – “I’m not ready for this!”, and 4 – “It was just summer!”
  8. A New Wrinkle, Gray Hair, or an Age Spot — “Where’d that come from?” is usually the response in our surprise.
  9. Health — For some reason, we don’t seem to appreciate this until it’s gone. Hm!
  10. Death — I suppose this goes without saying, but it always comes as a shock, even when we know someone who’s battling a terminal sickness.

Time has a way of lulling our senses into a numbness, complacency, and a carelessness with how we spend our time.

Our routines can become so ingrained that we take living for granted: we take our health, our jobs, our love, our life for granted until the last piece of sand drops onto the neat pile below.

The phrase, Take it for granted, has even found a spot in the dictionary. It means to never think about something because we assume that it will remain the same, and thus we treat it in a careless or indifferent manner.

Our lives can be so much more fulfilling and rewarding when we are mindful of our present moment.

Being grateful of right now, no matter what the situation is, and to turn our attention from our past—failures, sins, or whatever else it is that keeps us under an umbrella of regret and condemnation. And, to return our attention from tomorrow’s supposed problems and difficult conversations—all of which has NOT happened and probably WON’T happen.

By being aware of our time right now, we will be more selective as to whom we spend our time with, what work we give ourselves to, and the situations we allow into our lives.


Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement
<em>Here’s a Tool to Help You Out if You Struggle with Anger Issues</em>

Here’s a Tool to Help You Out if You Struggle with Anger Issues

The First Rule of Fight Club…

And, I’m going to break it.

Yes, I got into a fight.

Actually, it was more like, I got beat up a little.

It all started when I decided to take my truck to a self-serve car wash—little mud and grime just doesn’t sit well with this former Marine.

I drove into the bay, swiped my credit card, and the hand-held wand went swoosh with water pressure.

I should’ve known this was going to be ‘one of those’ carwashes when I got a face full of mud from the back-spray after sticking the nozzle into the bed of my truck and squeezing the trigger.

After a few more muddy-spray-dousings—yes, I couldn’t seem to get out of the way in time—I pulled the high-pressure hose over my head and started to pre-wash the tailgate.

I didn’t even have a chance to pull the trigger on the dang thing before I got slapped upside the head by the hose.

I scowled and began to scrutinize the hose from the handle to the ceiling where the hose fitted into some sort of 360-degree thingy that allowed it to travel around my pickup.

Okay, no problem. Just an incidental contact with an inanimate object.

Grabbed the handle, lifted the nozzle, and before I could squeeze the trigger, THUD!

Right upside the head, again!

Okay, first time, incidental, but now a second time? And, in the same freaking place?!

Hm.

I fiddled with the hose with my left hand without moving the nozzle in my right.

During this whole time, I processed whether or not, I was going to shred the hose and teach it a lesson.

“Come on Christian, it’s gonna be ok man,” I told myself…several times.

Alright, it’s just a hose and you’re not standing in the right spot. I just gotta move over to the—

BAM!

NO WAY! A third time?!…In the head.

I’m pretty sure I went from; trying to talk myself down, to seriously pissed, like I’m gonna kill this thing.

I glared at the hose.

It continued its journey above all the way through its 360-degree arc it already traveled to sneak up behind me for a third strike.

Let’s not talk about the brush that accosted me soon afterward and its hose that tried to cinch down around my neck.

I couldn’t believe it…I nearly lost my mind in that carwash.

I stood there after the assault, dripping wet, and truly thought of shredding hoses, snapping the handle over my thigh—while making animal noises (a Marine thing)—and throwing every broken piece of hardware into the street.

But I didn’t.

It really is a wonder though, because there was a day…I probably…would have.

***

Ever get so hideously mad at something or someone?

We can be such dark creatures at times.

Maybe you’ve never put your fist through a wall, a door, or throw something across the garage that ended in a crash; which turned into a repair bill, for something that invariably winds up costing more money than the item thrown was actually worth.

Yes, there’s a price tag for our anger.

Sometimes, it costs us more than just money.

I hope you haven’t done those things before. Unfortunately, I have.

***

Every day, I try to better myself, even if it’s a little bit.

One strategy that has helped me in changing some dark areas in life is Meditation.

Now, before you tune me out, just hear me out, for a moment.

I’m not talking about chanting some mantra over and over again in some tortured sitting position.

I would’ve never started if that was the case.

And, I’m not talking about praying either.

Not to minimize prayer, I do pray, but…

You know the drill, “Dear God…blah blah blah,” then I don’t shut up until I say ‘Amen’.

I’m too busy with my heavenly shopping list that if God did say something, I wouldn’t hear it.

Perhaps it’s time to be quiet and listen.

***

Meditation is a tool in my arsenal against the fight of overreacting, losing my temper, and making a poor decision based on a natural emotion.

That’s right, getting angry is normal. Each of us has different thresholds at what makes us upset but how we react to anger is entirely up to us.

Meditation has been an evolving thing for me since I first started to incorporate it into my life a few years ago.

Here’s how I do this as a daily practice now and it’s made a huge difference, not just in the anger department, but in every area in my life.

I prefer to meditate first thing in the morning. My head is less cluttered in the mornings than after a full day of life.

I find a comfortable space to sit down—usually my living room floor—close my eyes, and attempt to sit quietly.

If you’re like me, you’ll wind up daydreaming about what makes you anxious and fearful, about conversations that have yet to take place (and most likely never will), and past regrets…all of which will steal your energy.

At that point, I tell myself those thoughts are unproductive and I focus my thoughts on a pleasant place.

I give my brain something good to chew on.

Then after a few moments, I can concentrate on my breathing. The crazy daydreams slowly recede until I don’t notice them any longer, and the turmoil inside eases.

The longer I practiced this, the easier it has become to focus on stilling my thoughts and preparing for my day.

It’s about mental preparation to be centered for the inevitable sideswipes and full-on attacks that life comes at you with.

***

There’s a ton of research out there on the benefits of meditation. Google it. It’s amazing what’s out there on the subject.

One study from Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that meditating actually changes the brain’s gray matter.

Gray matter is what contains most of our neurons. Basically, it’s the area in the brain where emotions, decision making, and…self-control is located.

 Britta Hölzel, a researcher with the above study said, “It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.”

That’s great news! What this means is here’s a tool that we can use to help us rewire how we react, and ultimately make better decisions when the emotion of anger hits us.

Posted by Christian Martin Jr. in Life Hack, Living Better, Reinvention, Self-Improvement