Thursday, April 21, 2011

It’s A Miracle

For anyone who has noticed my absence, I’m sure it seems a miracle that I found my way back. But that isn’t the miracle I speak of. While I might have had something more substantial in the miracle department to share, had I stuck to the 40 day miracle program, I did not. I stopped around day 10. But my miracle is big for me. I just don’t want to get your hopes up, about being impressed, because I know you’ll be disappointed.

I was at the grocery store checking out and the clerk was ringing up the strawberries I was buying. He pointed to one of them and said what I thought was how good that one looked. I’m terrible at small talk so I babbled on about agreeing with him, and what a good buy they were, and he just kept looking at me like I had lost my mind. So I shut up. When I got home and unpacked them I took a better look and saw there was one strawberry in the bunch that was bad and realized he must have been pointing out the bad one, which explained why he thought I lost my mind when I went on about how good it looked.

So my point, my miracle, is how I automatically saw only the good. Normally, one bad thing and I’d be all over it. It felt so good to be able to see that my mind is finally starting to change and focus on the positive. When I first started trying to change the way I saw the world, it was a lot of work. I was constantly seeing the negative and forcing my mind to let it go and focus on something good about a situation. For a while, I literally didn’t think it was going to happen. I thought the people who talk about saying things that aren’t true because your  mind will believe the lie and it will eventually become true weren’t right about my mind. This is one thing I was so happy to be wrong about. I’m sure to some it will seem like a small, stupid miracle. But I think its a sign of good things to come.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Welcome Back Ulcer

For the last two weeks my boss has been on vacation. I was pleasantly surprised when he took my ulcer with him. Friday he came back, and you guessed it, so did my ulcer. Now I’m aware my ulcer wasn’t actually healed during this time, but it is safe to say the stress that irritates it is directly linked to my boss.

There were several factors that contributed to my stress on his first day back:

1) I want to take some vacation time and had to put my request in to him. This might not seem like a big deal, except it has been in the past with my boss. Details of my vacation conflict can be found here: Vacation SmackDown!

2) Things tend to break when my boss is around and apparently when he’s coming back. The microwave got wind of his return and had a major malfunction. And like our previous office equipment strikes, tale told in All The Breaks, it just needed to be unplugged. Consequently reminding me of my need to take a vacation.

3) We resumed some of the fun games we play in our office. The ever popular “guess who I’m talking to” always keeps me on my toes. Please check out: Ain’t Got The Look if you need a game refresher. Also pulled out was the recently discovered “do you know the answer.” For a review of that one, please check out: A Second Opinion.

Somehow I made it through the day, but found my technique of reminding myself there were worse situations (outlined in Six Degrees of Worse), wasn’t effective. Apparently my ulcer isn’t fooled into thinking this makes my situation any less stressful. It only recognizes: Yes, you could be the one he’s yelling at and threatening to fire. Yes, that would suck even more, but less suckage does not equal less stress, ergo less ulcer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Approve This Messsage

In my quest for self-acceptance, I’ve turned to Louise L. Hay for help. In her book, “You Can Heal Your Life,” she has a great “I Approve of Myself” exercise.

The exercise calls for you to repeat: “I approve of myself.” Shocker? Probably not. What is, the number of times instructed to say it: three to four hundred times a day.

It only seemed like too many times until I thought about the amount of dialogue that goes on in my head everyday. That realization left the three to four hundred times a day seemingly accomplishable over my lunch break. But I don’t think Ms. Hay meant for me to treat it like a tongue twister.

According to the book, saying “I approve of myself” is a “guaranteed way to bring up everything buried in your consciousness that is in opposition.”

Trust me, Ms. Hay, my negative thoughts don’t need encouragement. They already run through my mind on an endless loop. I hardly notice them. They have become the background noise forever influencing, even if I don’t hear them.

So I’m making an effort to say it. Yes, I feel ridiculous. But, seriously, what started out as funny became sad. Because when you listen to yourself say the good, you’re still listening when the bad comes after it. And I’ve come to realize how hard I am on myself.

And some of the catty comments that talk back are true. So all I can say is, “Even so, I still approve of myself.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Six Degrees of Worse

I’ve been reading about two tragedies recently that have given me a new perspective. Pretty much everyone is aware of the first one, the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family involved in this devastating event.

The second came from reading a book, The Natashas: Inside The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek. While woman and girls being trafficked is hardly a new tragedy, it has gone on for too long. My heart goes out to all those woman and girls being subjected to this every day.

All of our technology in the world can’t prevent horrible events like the earthquake and tsunami. But, at least, when we find out about it we come together and try to help make a difference. Whether it’s through well wishing, prayers and condolences or donations to organization like the Red Cross. On the other hand, woman and girls being held against their will and forced to be sex slaves isn’t out of our control.

The news media is quick to bring us the latest bad news.  I’m not an avid news viewer, but I watch enough that I’m aware of the events that get the most coverage. So one thing I learned from this book is not all tragedies are splashed across the news. Maybe it’s just me, but I was completely unaware of the horror these woman and girls go through everyday.

So what’s being done? There have been laws passed and politicians who have made some great speeches about putting an end to it. But unfortunately laws and politicians don’t change things. That is evident by the length of time this injustice has gone on.

To give you an idea of how long I’ve provided a few resources below:

The Coalition Against Trafficking of Women was founded in 1989. They are a non-governmental organization promoting woman’s human rights.

The Natashas: Inside The New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek, was published in 2004. This book was well written and extremely eye opening. Anyone interested in learning more information on trafficking would do well to read this book. Mr. Malarek published a sequel in 2009 entitled, The Johns: Sex For Sale and The Men Who Buy It.

And most recently, in February, I heard of Amy Seiffert, who is trying to raise awareness on trafficking by wearing the same dress for 6 months. The money she saves by not purchasing new clothes she plans to donate to help The Daughter Project, a non-profit organization started to help those who have been trafficked and help prevent it from happening in the future. 

Mrs. Seiffert got some coverage on the news in February, but the focus was on how she was wearing the same dress for 6 months. They made sure the public was aware she was planning to wash it during this time, because these are the issues that are important. I’m sure this wasn’t what she was hoping would be discussed during her few minutes of airtime.

I, myself, would have hoped for a discussion on the actual problem she was trying to raise awareness on. In addition it would have been nice to know where she was posting details of her journey. And also a place where you could get more information if you wanted to help.

So I did some searching and found her blog: where she is covering her journey. She is on day 118.

But there is hope. On March 7th, CNN launched The CNN Freedom Project. According to them: “Throughout 2011, CNN’s reporting will expose the horrors of modern-day slavery, highlight the growing efforts to stop the trade and exploitation of human beings and amplify the voices of the victims.”

Who can stop this injustice if not laws and politicians? The public. As long as the public is okay with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” way this situation is being handled, it will continue to thrive. I’m not sure what to tell anyone to do. Hopefully the CNN Freedom Project will make the much-needed difference. Sometimes the first step that makes the biggest impact is just plain old awareness. So please tune in here.

I know this isn’t my normal, light-hearted, SHORT post. But unlike many I’ve written before, this one is really important. And while I’m in my 9-5 hell feeling overwhelmed, it gives a new perspective to consider. Many have heard of the whole idea that we are six people away from meeting everyone in the world. Well, I think we are also six events away from experiencing the worst things in the world. And my worst day at work is several degrees away from the two tragic events I spoke of here.

What is also true is there are plenty of situations that go in the other direction. It is important to keep a perspective on the difference in those degrees too. The whole point in life is to enjoy it, so I should keep in mind how many degrees I’m away from having the best day.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Surviving Being Burned

Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast is the seventh book in the House of Night Series. I'm am continuing to enjoy this series and can't wait for the next book.

In case someone who reads this is interested in checking out the series, I don't want to put the details of what book seven is about and ruin the surprises found in books one through six. So here is what the series itself is about, as written on the House of Night website:

House of Night is a thrillingly engaging book series that follows 16-year-old Zoey Redbird, who gets “Marked” by a vampyre tracker and begins to undergo the “Change” into an actual vampyre. She has to leave her family in Tulsa and move into the House of Night, a boarding school for other fledglings like her.

It’s within the school’s walls that the heart of the action takes place as Zoey meets new friends, finds love, comes to terms with how her life will be different now and begins to realize her awesome new powers.

With that out of the way, I will say while reading Burned I thought about how life often times tries to break you. No matter if you’re a vampyre fledgling battling Darkness or a customer service rep battling Darkness (although he prefers to be called boss, well actually, he prefers President, but that is a whole different post).

More often I find it is fighting the challenge that causes a break in you rather than the experience itself. The problem is I’m among those who hate the whole idea behind the quote:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll

Actually I only hate the idea when I’m in crisis. When everything in my life is flowing, I can hear that quote and say, “Right on!”

But what good is it if you can’t think that way when you really need to put that quote into practice? Well, I don’t have an answer. At least not yet.

In the meantime I’ll band-aid my crisis by saying to myself: “I’ll survive this too.”

Those words usually pull me through until I can get back to stomaching quotes like:

“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.” - Wayne Dyer

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Oh Ice, Why Do You Slip Me?

In typical Sunday tradition I’m dreading work tomorrow. And while I am just dreading going, in general, I’m especially dreading seeing the condition of our parking lot. All winter it has doubled as an ice rink. Until this week when it finally thawed. Yesterday it rained and then snowed again, Ugh! The roads weren’t icy so that is in my favor, but I don’t want to get my hopes up.

So what does my boss do to prevent us from slipping? He tells us to be very careful, it’s slippery (another nugget). Most people use salt, not my boss. We have salt, but we don’t use it. I’m not sure why. But I have my guesses:

1) He thinks it gets better with age. Its been there over 7 years. Maybe he figures when he finally lays it down, the ice with instantly evaporate.

2) He is holding onto it expecting it to increase in value. So when he drives our business into the ground, he can go into the salt business. Which would only work if #3 were true.

3) He believes it will multiply. After everyone is gone for the day, it does it magic thing and makes more. Last time I looked the bags didn't seem any plumper, but I don't have my boss’ keen eye.

4) It is not a bag of salt, but a memorial for all those who have slipped before.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Real Nugget

One of the guys from the factory is on vacation this week. He called this morning and asked if he could get his paycheck today. I didn’t ask, but assumed he was probably in the area today and wanted to get it early to save himself the trip tomorrow.

I called my boss on the phone to ask if it was okay. Granted my boss is sitting probably not even 20 feet from me. But calling him isn’t laziness on my part. No, the phone provides a cushion against the verbal assault I am in constant fear of having laid on me every time I approach to him.

So I called him and said, “Factory Doe wants to see if he can pick up his check today.” To which my boss replied, “It’s Thursday.”

My boss is forever offering me these nuggets of knowledge.

I’m not sure how he expected me to respond. I imagine he wanted me to thank him for clearing that up. And then immediately go back to the silly worker and pay the knowledge forward.

But instead I said, “Yes.” Silence. Until finally he said, “Ok. That’s fine.”

Flash forward to Factory Doe showing up for his check. My boss comes out to see him and says, “Hey Buddy, how’s your vacation going?”

I wanted to answer for him with: “It going too damn fast, for heaven sakes, it’s Thursday.”