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issues Politics Uncategorized

We Turned The Lights Back On


We Turned The Lights Back On When We Elected Biden

Ever felt like you were in a pitch-black closet fumbling for a light switch you couldn’t find?

I’ve felt that way many times. More than ever in the last four years.

I was afraid four more years of The Trump Administration would drive this nation into chaos, uncontrollable violence, and eventual destruction. I’ve never been this concerned about an election before. I thought our country was teetering on the edge of the cone of an active volcano. Below us, bubbling lava and acrid, poisonous smoke billowing upwards. If we had taken a wrong step, we would have fallen to our collective deaths in the seething lava a mile below.

Fortunately, there are enough sane and prescient people left in this country to look beyond their limited perspectives and see the big picture. An image of a large, rudderless sailing vessel comes to mind, headed in a zig-zag direction towards a swirling whirlpool in the ocean. We just missed sailing straight into that black hole. Instead, we corrected our course. We turned the lights back on.

Whew! That was a close one.

I’m particularly encouraged by the stance the Biden Administration will take concerning the environment. I’m encouraged that General Motors recently dropped out of the lawsuit Trump initiated against California regarding motor vehicle emission standards. This is an early example that we are regaining our sanity. We are already playing catch up with the programs needed to foster and enforce clean energy development and greenhouse gas emissions. As it stands, we are losing the battle to save the environment. Radical action and a new level of commitment are required to reverse the trends.

Now, at least, we have hope, not only concerning the environment. We have hope that caring attention and fresh ideas will be applied in many areas plaguing life in these United States, starting with an intelligent, cohesive, and coordinated governmental response to the Corona crisis.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you.

If you didn’t like the way the election turned out, then fine. You are entitled to your vote and your opinion. If you wanted more lunacy, then I’m sorry. We’re not going there. If you don’t want to get with the new program, no problem. It’s a free country. JUST PLEASE: DON’T GET IN THE WAY.

And, if you liked the election results, let’s get back to civility. Let’s put aside our differences. (There’s nothing wrong with healthy, respectful debate). Let’s work together towards a brighter future. Congratulations on pulling off this nail-biter. Good work and…

…Shine on.

We Turned The Lights Back On. There Is Hope For The Future.
Categories
music

Rebirth


We Will Emerge from the CV Crisis With More Skills, More Compassion, and Better Ways of Doing Things Large and Small., more skil
Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash.com

Like the title of the song “Back On The Street Again,” we are all, in a sense, starting over thanks to the CV pandemic. It has caused untold suffering for millions of people around the world. And yet, in the midst of this dark night of the soul, it is becoming obvious that we will emerge, like a new-born butterfly, into the sunlight. We will resurface in these baptismal waters with more compassion, new skills, and better ways of doing things large and small.

“Back On the Street Again” originated on an album simply titled “Steve Gillette.” Released in 1968 by Vanguard Records, Gillette’s debut album became an immediate success. Many of his songs have since been recorded by other well-known folk music artists. “Back On the Street Again” and “Darcy Farrow” are two of Steve’s most popular songs. I’m also a big fan of two other songs on the album: “A Number And A Name” and “The Bells In The Evening.”

Enough said. Here’s my cover of “Back On The Street Again.”

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current events Essays humor inspiration issues life motivation personal growth

Where Does Peace Begin?


Connecting to Inner Peace

I am constantly amazed that people wander around all day staring into their smart phones, as if these devices somehow magically fulfill all of their needs except possibly eating and procreating.

Before we continue, let me assure you of a few things, gentle reader. Despite a lack of addiction to my iPhone, I am fairly certain that I am not an alien.  I do not live in an ashram.  I have not recently arrived here from the year 1910 by time machine. I live a conventional life blessed with wonderful people around me including an extraordinary wife and daughter. I even liked my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace, which is the only thing that makes me unusual. Come to think of it, I also read paper back books regularly, which also makes me odd.

Like most people, I want to connect. Personally, I am content with fewer connections than most people I observe. At the same time, I admire people who can connect extensively with others while managing to live constructive lives focused on a positive purpose. (I’m not entirely sure people like this exist in large numbers these days, especially with respect to common sense coronavirus safety precautions).

I am sure, however, that a great deal of “over-connecting” is going on these days in a frantic effort to fill a space in the makeup of a human being that was designed to be filled from within.

Studies have shown that the generations born after the Internet boom have difficulty concentrating on a single task for extended periods of time. For example, today’s student typically has trouble writing papers and reading course materials with a high degree of comprehension. The studies attribute the difficulty young people have concentrating to the habit of constant multi-tasking encouraged by the endless flow of entertainment and information available on the Internet and social media interaction.

Where does all of this “outer-connecting” and constant external focus leave us?  Unfortunately, IMO, a little empty inside. Perhaps lonely too.

I believe we have to spend more time connecting with ourselves. More specifically, we have to connect with a place inside that is an oasis of peace, harmony, and love.

I’m fortunate to have found that place inside. It is better described as an option to go within to experience a feeling of peace and completeness. It’s something I discovered more than thirty years ago. This feeling has stayed with me through changes, ups and downs, good and bad, and a shift into a new and different spiritual community. It’s not usually a strong feeling. It’s often subtle. But it’s there.

I balance my active outer life with a serene, fulfilling inner life. This balance has helped me to be happier, more productive, and more positive. You might say what I do on the outside has more meaning and is more effective because of the peace and harmony I have found within. It’s not an idea. It’s not a thought. It has nothing to do with my mind. It’s a real experience of peace and fulfillment emanating from my heart. (I’m speaking in ideal terms here to make a point. As my dear departed mother used to say; “Some days are diamonds and some days are gold.” Mom had a great attitude. I have to add: And other days are, well…fill in the blank). Moving on…

Peace begins in the heart, as does love, joy, compassion, and hope. We have the choice to make these feelings a bedrock of our lives. Or, we can continue to pollute the garden of our hearts by planting the weeds of hatred, cynicism, and despair. It takes a conscious effort to cultivate either one. Which choice will you make?

 

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current events Essays Fitness inspiration issues life motivation positive thinking

Is there a Silver Lining to Corona?


Can There Be a Silver Lining to Corona?

Can there be an upside to something as horrible as the Coronavirus?

Well, maybe.

While I (we) can’t ignore the tragedies and hardships CV has visited upon so many of us, I think it helps to realize there have also been benefits that will accrue to everyone who makes it through these troubling times.

We all have goals of one kind or another. Some are easy to accomplish, like a “to do” list of daily errands. The ones that are higher on the food chain of goals are more challenging. They require more effort, perseverance and imagination.

What if I told you the CV pandemic made my higher goals easier to accomplish?

Grant me a few more paragraphs to explain.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve taken the mental pressure off of myself. I’ve cut way back on what I expect from myself. As a result, I’ve been more creative, more productive, and I’m having more fun.

In other words, the stay-at-home Covid lifestyle gave me the perfect excuse to slow down and relax. I’m guessing many of you have had a similar experience?

Here are a few examples of what I mean.

First of all, I’m not pursuing happiness with a vengeance. I don’t feel the self-imposed pressure of making myself or someone else happy. I’m just dealing with the Coronavirus situation one day at a time. I’m keeping it simple. I’m not forcing myself to be active. I’m not running around all over the place trying to “do something meaningful with my life.”

As a result, I’ve been working out more than I usually do. And I’m doing most of it at home rather than trekking to a gym somewhere. I’m saving time and energy. I’m in better shape. And guess what; I’m a lot happier than I’ve been in a long time.

Secondly, I’ve had a creative renaissance. I’ve dropped the “shoulds,” the “ought to’s” and the guilt. I’m not thrashing around thinking; What are you going to write today?  What, no ideas? How can you be so empty and lazy?

Instead, I’m not worried about writing anything. And voila. The ideas are coming to me spontaneously. The idea for this post came to me unbidden. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. But it wasn’t happening. Now, I’m enjoying writing this stuff. It’s not torture. Imagine that.

On to music. My music. Well, it’s not exactly my music. Plato said; ““Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” That’s a nice quote. I especially like the part about music giving life to everything. I feel the truth of it.

I enjoy singing and playing acoustic guitar songs by my favorite artists. When I get them down “just right,” I record and post them on my blog and on Facebook. I do it because I just plain like doing it. Since I’ve been happier lately, I’ve been doing it a lot more. And I’m downloading inexpensive tutorials to learn exactly how an artist like Cat Stevens plays a song I like. It’s fun and a good way to improve the old guitar technique.

I’m hoping some of this musical joy will rub off on my friends.

There are so many other silver lining stories like this one:

A personal trainer friend of mine told me she has increased her income and clientele by offering her coaching sessions online. She is no longer bound by geography. And she saves time, energy, and gas money with online sessions. Now that gyms have re-opened, she can do sessions online and in person.

I have to give some credit for my new-found happiness to the spiritual community I participate in. There are now nourishing online events I can attend almost every day of the week. It gives me the focus I want and it has helped me to be more grateful for what I have in my life. These community events, which started out as online support for the journey through CV, will now be extended beyond the Covid period.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” We are responding by developing creative solutions to the CV crisis, both individually and collectively. So hang in there, and find the silver lining shining through the clouds every day in your life.

David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.

 

Categories
Do-It-Yourself Fitness

How to Easily and Inexpensively Create Your Home Gym


Nordic Track Recumbent Bicycle

In these difficult times, it is essential that you give yourself the opportunity to work out at home.

It’s surprisingly easy to set up a home gym. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to do it. Public gyms are not safe right now, and it might be awhile before you can work out in a public gym without risking your health and, let’s face it, your life. So here are some simple steps to help you create your in-home gym.

I’m talking about an affordable gym with just the basics.

The first thing you will need is a stationary bike. These obviously come in various shapes and sizes as well as price ranges. You might need a spinning bike. You might need a recumbent bike if you have back problems or if you desire more comfort than a standard bike can offer.

Prices for exercise bikes will range from $500 to $2,500. I bought a very good Nordic Track recumbent bike for $1,000. While this might seem expensive, I’m looking at it as a long-term investment. As well as protecting my health, I’m saving time and energy working out at home. And, it’s very likely I’ll need my home gym if there is a second wave of the virus during the summer or in the fall.

Be prepared to assemble the bike when it arrives in a carton. I found the hardest part about assembling mine was opening the shipping carton and getting the parts out. They sure don’t want those parts to break. If you buy an upper-end bike like a Peleton, chances are a team will come to assemble your bike free of charge.

If you can’t live without a treadmill, you will have to cough up at least $4,000 for a decent treadmill. Hopefully, you can live without one (unless you have big bucks).

The next item on your shopping list will be exercise and stretching mats. If you don’t have back problems, you can probably get by with a single padded mat or something like a Gaiam 5/8 inch thick Yoga mat. Gaiam is a trusted and reliable supplier. They make quality products. I’m not getting paid to say this. Honest.

The exercise mats I use are six-feet long and two-feet wide. I’m using a padded mat plus two Gaiam mats for reasons that will remain unspecified. The point is, you need to protect your body. Don’t be afraid to use extra padding. Your body will appreciate it and treat you better in return.

The Gaiam mats I mentioned sell for $17.00 each. It’s a great price for an outstanding product. The padded mat I bought cost $37.00. The Confidence Fitness Mat I bought to put under my bike cost $42.00.

You need a mat to go under your bike or treadmill to protect the equipment, your carpet or floor, and yourself from your wife’s ire over messing up the house. If you aren’t a married guy, you still need the mat.

Next, you’ll need some free weights. You don’t need many sizes, unless you happen to be a serious body builder. I bought a pair of 10 pound and 15 pound free weights. I have achieved better results by doing more reps with lighter weights. I discovered this by accident when my gym closed down. I couldn’t get heavier weights so I tried lighter ones. I’m never going back to heavy weights.

Heavy weights can cause all sorts of injuries and they aren’t a whole lot of fun to lift. If you’ve been lifting heavy weights for a while, I’m sure you have the aches and pains to corroborate what I’m saying.

If you like bulging muscles, you won’t agree with me. If you want good definition and reasonable musculature, I’d recommend using lighter weights. The two pairs of weights I bought cost $165.

Yes, good free weights are expensive. Read the reviews for any free weights you buy. Customer reviews helped me big time to buy the right weights.

And that’s it. You’ve achieved some independence by setting up your very own home gym. My gym cost a total of $1,245.00 USD. You can do it for less. If you like company and extra motivation, sign up for online spinning, full workout, and Yoga classes.

You’re good to go. Hope this helps.

Exercise Mats and Free Weights

David Gittlin has written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published three novels. Before quitting his day job, he spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copy writing, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.

Categories
current events inspiration

Break Open the Sky


Let the sky break open and burn a deep azure blue.

Let the ripening fields explode in the warmth of the shimmering sun.

Let God fall down from heaven and lead us out of the valley of death to a land overflowing with milk and honey.

Let divine swans fly gracefully in skies of eternal light.

Let freedom and joy rain down from the heavens in a nourishing deluge; feeding the thirsty Seekers of Truth.

The round of life churns on and on. For too many people the immediate goal is to merely survive one more day.

How have we gotten ourselves into this mess which stretches back to the dawn of time?

The latest iteration of this is the monstrous coronavirus.

I am calling out. I am affirming. I am manifesting.

“Open up the new world.  It cannot be the same old world.

Move on.  Move forward.  Find traction.”

Where is the light?

Where is the Oxygen?

Where is the nectar?

I’m reaching for the next rung, but I can’t find it.

I grasp only handfuls of air.

Claw, slash, burn; find a way.

I am leery and weary of the toe holds I used before.

Change is in the air.

I will not march down the same old roads.

There is a way.

There is a new world.

I (we) must discover it.