GO THERE NOW!๐ŸŒด๐Ÿ๐Ÿฆฉ

Above is a partial list of countries who viewed my blog yesterday. Circled, you will see one of the countries I long to visit. That is the Seychelles. Any relaxing tropical local works for me. It does my heart good to see those in such locations are enjoying my writing. Perhaps a book signing could be in the future?

Traveling to tropical destinations is something I do not get to do as often as I would like. The above picture, which graces the back of my second book, was taken in Runaway Bay Jamaica. Margie and I certainly enjoyed our time there.

If you can’t runaway to the islands like some rockstar or internet model, what is the next best thing? I have two suggestions. First, enjoy what is close to home. The above picture I took on a walk through the park with my mother. Getting out in nature brings peace to the soul.

What happens when the snow comes and the temperatures drop? Here comes my next suggestion. Go there in your mind! Take a little mental vacation. There are plenty of fun, free videos on YouTube. I even have one of those VR headsets that make you feel like you’re there. Grab some vacation brochures. Check out their websites! Take a little mental vacation. It will help recharge your mind and your spirit.

MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY!๐ŸŒž

Today is the first day of summer where I live. To me, it is one of the best days of the year. I was born in the summer, I love the sunshine and I can never have enough summer fun. Thus, the official start of the season is greeted with great joy and enthusiasm. I am sure the same is true for those of you who enjoy fall or spring. I can’t really wrap my head around those of you who feel this way about winter, but the same must hold true there as well. Another thing that makes this day so special is that where I live summer is very short and fleeting. It makes the season we do have that much more special.

I do my best to enjoy as many wonderful events during this season as I can. As you read this, I will be attending an exciting bike race taking place just blocks from where I live. There will be a street party and many other fun things to do. I will also be enjoying the sunshine and the company of the woman I love. Finding new and exciting ways to celebrate the season I love is a fun adventure. I will do the same, with the help from my lady, for my birthday. We are also planning to take our first vacation in several years.

Both celebrating and planning fun things to do only serves to extend the joy of the actual event itself. Looking at videos of different resorts will certainly put us in an excited state. Perhaps planning a tour or two? Maybe even just planning where will we eat dinner on what night can be exciting. Looking at all the fun places to explore and learn about. This is all before the plane touches down on the runway. Same is true for my thoughts of summer. Margie and I were talking about more picnics and bike rides this year. My mother and I were talking about exploring new parks and woods to hike in. This is all before the season of summer has actually begun. Getting excited for these events will make them more enjoyable, and thought out, when they actually happen.

What events or times of year do you look forward to? How do you celebrate? Remember there is always something to celebrate and be grateful for!

PRESCRIBED DELUSIONS ๐Ÿคช

Delusions are usually something that is frowned upon. People who see things that “are not there” or see them differently than our reality deems them to be are often looked upon as if they are crazy. In fact, the word delusional is often used as an insult. People who live in a world of their own are often looked at as ‘mad’ such as the character in Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter. Which was attributed to the use of mercury in the making of hats back in the day. Mercury poison aside, there are many reasons people suffer delusions. Not all people suffer delusions. Some rather enjoy them. I recall another roll played by Johnny Depp, that in Don Juan DeMarco. It is one of my favorite movies. I will not ruin it for you, but in the movie Mr. Depp thinks he is the legendary Don Juan and is placed under the care of a psychiatrist, played by Marlon Brando. When asked why he thinks he is at a villa instead of a mental hospital, he responds by informing Mr. Brando that it is because he can see beyond what is.

For a more personal and helpful example, I am going to reference someone who has been called delusional and crazy quite often – me! At my day job this week, I have been wearing some fun and colorful shirts that Margie bought for me. Everyone complimented me and told me it had them feeling like they were on vacation. That is the secret we are going to look at today. One of the great laws that we can used to beat stress is to remember that there is no law of biology or physics that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time. We often use this in a negative way. When we should be enjoying the time we are spending with our family around the dinner table, our minds are preoccupied with some stress that happened at the office. We spend a good amount of our vacation worrying about our upcoming dentist appointment. We all too often take ourselves out of enjoyable situations and transport, at least our mental faculties, into one that is more stressful.

My suggestion, and one I use personally, is to flip this formula on its head. When you find yourself in a unpleasant situation, take your mind on a mental vacation! Like I told my coworkers who complimented my shirts, “Physically, I am here talking to you, but mentally I am on a beach drinking out of a coconut.” This is rather true. One of the ways that I am able to accomplish this is to utilize different items that remind me of vacation. I have pictures of Margie and I on vacation in my phone. I wore the tropical shirts I had. Even use a coconut air-freshener. I even have a ‘tropical playlist’ of music and ocean waves saved on my phone. Using these items allow me to escape mentally to the tropics any time that I want. This allows me to live on vacation!

Employing this formula for good can transform your life to one of being right where you want to be. Mentally, you can hang up a sign that says “Gone to the beach” (or mountains, or shopping or wherever else you would like to go) That way when you finally do make it there physically, your mind will be prepared and you can make the most of it. Think of escaping to Fiji while you are in the dentist chair or the sunny sands of Jamaica while in line at the grocery store. This may sound crazy, but the more you practice it, the more you will immerse yourself in a world of your own creation. Go ahead and create your own delusions! Go ahead and be crazy. Go ahead and be mad. Sometimes a delusion is just the prescription we need!

ENJOY MONDAY AGAIN!

I have written about this subject before in both my books and on this very website. It is one of the most powerful realizations that I use to change my life. Once I realized the truth of this axiom, I was not only able to withstand many of life’s greatest challenges a little better, but I was able to add a great deal of joy to my everyday life as well. This includes times when I am in less-than-ideal circumstances. These can vary from stuck in traffic to stuck in a very bad day at work. There are a million little challenges like these that life offers up for us. The key to handling these can be as simple as a shift in mindset. Notice the word I used there was simple and not easy. Although, once you develop the ability to utilize this shift, it only becomes easier. In my life, the shift is now nearly automatic!

What great revelation changed my life in just such a manner? I am going to share this point with you and trust me, it can do the same for your life once you master it. In fact, it will even start to do so while you are learning it! Enough of the build up! What is this truth that can turn around a dark day and make everyday life more enjoyable? The answer can be found in the two pictures above. It is this – there is no law of physics or biology that says your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time. When I am having a tough day at the post office, I take a mental vacation. I think about when Margie and I were in Jamaica. Sometimes I imagine what it will be like when we visit Fiji or the Maldives. This little trick brings the stress level down several notches and gives my brain something positive to focus on.

In the beginning, and on particularly stressful days, this can be difficult to do. What I recommend is to have little things that help you. A picture of the tropical location, or any location that fits your idea of a get away. This is totally customizable. This activates your sense of vision. This can be powerful as it is the one we tend to use most often. I suggest incorporating as many of your senses as you can. In my example, I have several videos with sounds of waves crashing saved in my phone. I can always watch them or even just close my eyes and listen. One of the most powerful senses is the sense of smell, which actually utilizes an entire different area of the brain. I have coconut scented lotion that reminds me of suntan lotion. With essential oils and other fragrances, the possibilities are endless. You could even have a small bottle of the scent your significant other wears to remind you of the amazing person you can come home to.

Pick one or several mental vacations you can go to when life seems upside down. Once you pick one, find items you can use to help take you there mentally. This can be a fun and creative exercise. I recommend trying this out as often as you can. Maybe give yourself an escape at the end of the day? I have coconut scented candles and bubble bath to go with a nice glass of coconut rum. You can do what works best for you. You do not need a stressful situation to take a mental vacation. The more you travel in this fashion, the easier it becomes. When you do go on vacation, make sure to be thinking of things you could take back with you. Also, do your best to be mindful when you are somewhere you enjoy. This could be vacation, or could be as simple as a walk in your favorite park. Do not just focus on how far or fast you can hike, but stop and smell the air, look around at the green of the grass and the bark of the trees. Smell the dampness in the soil or the scent of the pine tress. Take it all in and the when you need to escape, it will be right there waiting for you inside your mind. I would love to hear your perfect mental vacation and the items you use to help you go there.

USING YOUR TREASURE

Wouldn’t it be great if we had treasure all around us? If you have an overflowing bank account would you leave that money in the bank or would you put it to use to make your life better and more enjoyable. If your answer is ‘yes’ you are like most of us walking around this earth. If your answer is ‘no’ feel free to place that money in my bank account I would be more than happy to give you a demonstration on how this all works.

Most people desire money so greatly because they believe it will make them happy. You may be tempted to disagree, but if you follow the trail it always ends in happiness. If you want money to ease your stress of finances, that would make you feel less stressed and happy. Perhaps you are noble and would like to make money to help feed and cloth children in poverty. Knowing that you helped those who may not be able to help themselves would make you feel like you did something good and in turn that would leave you feeling…yep, you guessed it, happy!

Some people chase happiness in more spiritual realm. They find happiness in some sort of enlightenment. In the end their accomplishments, even in the spiritual realm, will lead to happiness. Some people enjoy serving others. Some people enjoy overcoming obstacles. There are a million different things that all of us do to mine for the treasure of happiness. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a tool that would allow us to carry those fleeting moments of happiness with us? In effect, extending the duration of happiness. Good news, there is and I am going to share it with you. In fact, you may use portions of this tool unconsciously right now. Switching to doing so with a purpose will allow you to have, and be surrounded by an inner feeling of joy even in the darkest of times.


This tool was brought to my attention by a story shared from a coworker. Weekly, I am scheduled to visit our friends at the post office in the city of South Milwaukee in the state of Wisconsin where I live. On this particular day, I was greeted by an employee named Michelle. She was excited to share some recent photos of her son’s engagement. They had traveled to the romantic city of Savannah in the great state of Georgia under the premise of a family photo so that the future bride-to-be would not suspect anything. Tears of joy flooded the faces of all parties involved and you could tell that mom was quite proud of her son and excited for her future daughter-in-law. She had several pictures in her phone that she was going to have printed out and could recall all of the details of this great story. You could see the emotions flood her as she relayed it to me. I couldn’t help but feel happy for her.

In parting, I remarked how wonderful it was that in the middle of all the insanity that is occurring the world, it was great she had such a wonderful memory to carry with her. As I began to walk back to my postal truck for the trip back to the post office I normally work at, I was still struck my how much joy she had. It was if she was still in sunny Savannah despite the fact that she was clearly in the sunshine-challenged city of South Milwaukee. I note this phenomenon often telling others that “There is no law of physics that say your mind and body have to be in the same place at the same time.” Quite often while shoveling snow here in Wisconsin during the winter, my mind is on a tropical beach drinking out of a coconut.

This is something that we, like our friend Michelle, can do with the events in our life. Capture those beautiful moments with pictures, video and anything else we can think of. Put those cell phones to good use. Then share your joy with others. Maybe print out some of those pictures and keep the frame on your desk. Every so often, take but a few quick moments to travel back there in your mind. Use as many of your senses to make it real. Remember what the tropical flowers smelled like. Feel the warm sun and the cool ocean breeze on your skin. Taste the wonderful rum cocktails (remember, as tempting as this may be, we are still only doing this in our minds) Hear the birds and the rustle of the palm trees in the wind. You will be amazed at how much good a mini mental vacation will do you.

THE VACATION YOU SHOULD PLAN NOW!

Ah.. vacation

Ah vacation. Who doesn’t love a good vacation? I have been longing to travel to a tropical destination to perfect different expressions of repose. With the current pandemic and travel restrictions, I find myself stuck in the less-than-tropical environment of Wisconsin where I live. In this post we are going to explore a different kind of vacation and how to prepare for it.

Fun in the islands

Before we get to that, let’s look at your typical vacation. 2 long years ago, Margie and I traveled to Jamaica. It was our first international vacation together and we had a blast! We met so many wonderful people and ate some delicious food.

I love the sun and the water. As you can see in the pictures above,there was plenty of both. To plan this vacation we took our time. We visited a local travel agency. We compared resorts. We looked at prices verses amenities. We organized our schedules to have time free from our many labors and Margie being Margie, we also did a lot of shopping for things we needed and even some we didn’t. All this planning and activity took longer than the actual vacation, but was certainly enjoyable.

You simply must purchase this album

Last post I mentioned during my employment as a telemarketer, I often listened to Bob Marley as a stress relief option. Fast forward 27 years, or so, and we find myself listening to Michael Franti for the same reason. Today I was listening to his latest release Work Hard and Be Nice to People.

There is a wonderful track called daycation that mentions taking a one daycation to get your head on right. How many of us have felt that way a time or 500? I know I have. (Did I mention I work for the Post Office?) How many of us have really acted on that thought? Not many I would venture a guess.

The question is, why not? Taking some time off can reduce stress and even increase productivity once you return. Is it a question of feeling guilty for not being at the office? Trust me they would feel no guilt in replacing you. That’s why you must take care of you first. Make sure your physical and mental health are doing great. It will help you be more productive at the office, but more importantly, it will help you enjoy your free time more and live longer to enjoy it. Don’t believe it? Look up scientific evidence for the benefits of vacation. Print one out for your boss too.

My quandary has always been how much can you really do in one day? The answer is plenty, if you plan it right. On my days off I am usually involved in a literary pursuit, doing a project at home or, like today, having my car repaired. It will not shock you to know this does not feel like a vacation.

What we should do is develop a plan for several one daycations. Whether that is a fancy dinner out followed by a trip to the spa or a day at the water park with friends followed by a nice hotel after. Maybe a picnic in the park with the one you love? The important part is to plan this. Write down your itinerary. This can be fun. Usually it helps to make it away from the house if possible. This way you will be free of the many distractions that await you there.

Taking several of these one daycations can help you unwind and recharge. It can help you return to be more productive at the office and at home!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SONG THAT INSPIRED THIS POST

TAKE A GETAWAY TODAY!!

On occasion, it would seem my ideas run in a rather odd streak. They either happen while I am in the shower with no way to record them, or they happen just a minute too late. The idea I wish to share with you seems to have fallen into the latter category. As you read this I will be enjoying my first day back at work after a well-deserved two week vacation. Normally, this vacation would have been spent enjoying a great deal of time at our local state fair. Sadly, due to the corona virus, this year that fabulous event has been canceled.

This marks the second straight time my vacation has been altered due to circumstances beyond my control. Last year Margie and I had planned to visit the lovely tropical destination of the Bahamas. As it happens, the resort and part of the island we were due to visit was destroyed by a hurricane that had settled over the island. We had planned to explore going in March, but then we both had Covid-19 and were in quarantine. I guess that would make three vacations that have been postponed or canceled all together.

You may guess that all of that postponement of pleasure would have me feeling rather frustrated and irritable and you would be right. Being the optimistic, solution-oriented person I am, there is always an attempt to find a creative solution. In the first 12 days of my vacation there was an amazing and brief getaway with the love of my life a few towns away. I was determined to enjoy the last few remaining days experimenting with different states of repose. My house is located next to an open field. I took out this wonderful zero gravity chair and decided to sit in the sun. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that I was laying in the tropics. Although the sun felt warm, it was hard turning the sound of the passing cars into boats on the ocean. Then it occurred to me, I put in some earbuds and looked up beach/ocean sounds on YouTube. Before long I was whisked away with tropical birds and ocean waves. I swear I could even small the salt water.

After a few minutes of this blissful mental escape I took it to the next level. No longer was I relaxing at a posh resort in the islands. No, this time I was on the deck of my own house overlooking the ocean. One of my neighbors was unwittingly participating in my fantasy and happened to be grilling out. The scent of the food cooking on the grill had me imagining Margie, or the maid if she wasn’t feeling up to it, in the kitchen preparing a fun lunch for when I had my fill of sun. The following day I even sprayed some sun tan lotion on for the coconut smell. (For the record, this is something I do not usually use as it is not needed for me) There I was, actually in West Allis Wisconsin where I live. In my mind, however, I was laying on the beach in… Jamaica, Fiji, the Maldives or any other tropical location of my choice.

If you are in need of a vacation, do what I did. Recreate the experience as much as you can. This can be as simple as looking online at resorts you may want to stay in and watching videos on them. (This is something I do way too often) It works even better if you can involve more of your senses. I had the feel of the sun, the smell of the grill and the sun tan lotion, the sound of the waves and the sea gulls in my ears. The more senses you can involve, the more real the experience becomes. Next time I will try to work in the taste of the rum. (I recommend Blue Chair Bay toasted coconut white rum) I only wish I would have thought of this great idea on my first day of vacation. Right now we could all use a getaway, let us do our best to give it to ourselves.

WHAT IT IS

Romance is a very important aspect of the relationship I share with Margie. In fact, I would say we both try to ‘out romantic’ each other. This not only forces us to use our already creative noggins, but if we want to really ‘outdo’ the other we really have to do something else very important. In this case outdoing your partner means making them feel even more loved than they did before. In that case it is a win/win situation. To do this we must really listen to what the other enjoys and to some extent what it is they do not enjoy.

A great example was on display these last few days. Margie wanted to do something special for my birthday. This becomes tricky because we are always doing little things to make each other feel special on a daily basis. When holidays come we really have to search and think of ways to take it up another notch. Margie knew I needed some time away from working as I have been pushing very hard at several projects lately. She thought “What would be a great place to take the man I love.” From what she told me she considered many different factors to make this decision.

We spent 2 wonderful days at a place called “Lazy cloud lodge”. Which, as the name would dictate, is predicated on doing…well…not much of anything. There was a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace in the room. She took me out for dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant on my birthday and for a delicious breakfast the following day. We did a little shopping. We went for a walk down by the beach. All of this was great but it is not what made me the happiest.

What made me the happiest was the little things. Before we left she was so sweet as to call my mom to make sure that she did not mind if we were out of town on my birthday. Then, she melted my heart by shopping for and packing some snacks for us to enjoy as we drove along and to eat in the room. Then there was all of the effort that went into planning what she did. She knew I would be tempted to work, or at least workout, and picked a place that was focused on relaxation. She thought about the fact that I love nature and this place had a nice patio with woods behind it, a waterfall with large fish in it and many other natural aspects. She ordered some happy birthday balloons. Let’s face it, everything is happier with balloons. On my birthday when she would have liked to been with me the entire time, she made a sacrifice. You see, I love the sitting in the sun soaking it in. Margie, on the other hand, can get sunburn just by thinking of the sun. She told me, “You go enjoy the sun.” She stayed in the cool air-conditioned room. I sat in the nice swinging chair until missing my lovely lady on my special day just became too much.

She doesn’t know this part, although she will when she reads this, but the whole time we were gone I had an image stuck in my head. We have a little wooden sign above our television that reads, “This is my happy place”. All I could think about when relaxing on the patio, sitting in the hot tub, enjoying the wonderful dinner and breakfast or walking through the shops was this sign. Not because all of those places made me happy, which they did, but because of who I was with. You see, being with Margie is my happy place. Even when things don’t go quite according to plan, if we have each other I am happy. Yes, she is romantic ( I always try to outdo her in that category but don’t tell her that) That is important and impresses me, but it is not what makes me love her the most. In this case it was the thoughtfulness and considering others. It was the fact that she listened to what I like and tried to work that into what she had planned. It was all of her adorable actions to make sure that we not only had a good trip, but that I felt special.

If this weekend reminded me of anything, it was these two things. First, that Margie loves me. She not only said it this weekend, but even more important, she took actions to show it. All of the things she had planned, and even some things we did that she didn’t have planned showed me that. Second, it reminded me that regardless of where we are geographically, being with her is my happy place. Even if I was on a beautiful tropical island I wouldn’t be happy. (Maybe for a little while) That is what love is. Love is having someone special to share all of those memories with. Not only loving memories, but silly memories. Memories of when things didn’t go so well but you faced them and made it through them together. Love is not only romancing each other, but laughing together, being adventurous together, crying together and just sharing life with each other.

To my special love of my life – Thank you so much for making my birthday special. Not only for taking me on an amazing trip, but for sharing it with me and for just being you. When all is said and done, you are my favorite gift. Not only on my birthday, but each and every day.

THE GIFT YOU GIVE YOURSELF

As we noted last post, yesterday was my birthday. One gift that I make sure to give myself every year is the gift of ‘unplugging’. I do not take as much time as I should for self-care and that is certainly one thing I am working on in the coming year. It can be hard to dance that line between being driven and being able to pull back and give yourself the space to rest and recharge.

One thing that makes me shake my head on occasion is how good we take care of some of our ‘stuff’ in comparison to how we take care of ourselves. “Don’t leave your laptop outside too long or it will overheat and damage it.” Someone should have told me that one earlier. Yet, we will be outside without making sure we are staying cool or drinking enough water. We are using a paper shredder and it gets to a certain point and overheats forcing us to let it cool before we can begin again. In the same token we go without sleep. We consume vast amounts of coffee or energy drinks to get everything we need done in our lives.

It is no wonder that many of us suffer nervous breakdowns or at the very least have our health compromised by high stress levels. Are you aware that 90% of hospital visits can in some way be related to stress? Sound crazy? Many of today’s leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and many others are to a great extent lifestyle driven. If we put enough stress on a chain it will break on its weakest link. If we put too much stress on our bodies and minds, they will break at the weakest link. For some of us that might be a genetic condition we already have such as coronary health. It could be a cancer that runs in our family. Perhaps a breathing condition.

There is a reason when you are seriously sick they say you have a disease. If you break the world down it becomes dis-ease. That is a body that is not at ease. We may think we are saving time, money or stress by working ourselves to the bone, but it may cost us far more in the long run. Remember the quote we began this post with – almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. INCLUDING YOU.

Give yourself that gift today. Unplug and relax. You will feel better in the present and thank yourself in the long-run.

HOME SWEET HOME

For those of you who know me or follow this blog, you are aware I am not crazy about the weather where I live this time of year. You should also know that I am crazy about the woman pictured above. Ironically, they both are in the same location.

Recently, that amazing lady purchased a ticket for me to enjoy a getaway visiting a friend of mine in the warm location of Arizona. I have enjoyed my 3 days I spent here. After a slight detour courtesy of my good friends at Southwest airlines, I even got to see a lot of the Denver airport.

Everyone, including mother nature, has been so pleasant on my trip. The airline employees, the workers at the places I have visited. All wonderful.

Even for a man that likes traveling as much as I do, there is nothing better than returning home. Even if you are not as lucky as I am to return to a loving partner, there is something special about returning home.

The streets are familiar. Driving tends to be a little less stressful. Even stopping into a restaurant where the menu is familiar can be a source of relaxation. It allows us to recharge for our next adventure.

As much as I am already looking forward to my next travel adventure (I’m thinking somewhere tropical with my love) I am already looking forward to being wrapped in her arms relaxing on the couch watching a movie.

Travel, adventure and expanding our horizons are truly gifts. So are things like relaxing drives (even to work) family, familiar restaurants and especially the arms of the one you love. May you enjoy all life has to offer.