Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Daily: August 15, 2017

Today is my mom's birthday. She would have been 88 today. Her name was Leslie and, interestingly, she passed away just months after Tracey died.

Mom and Tracey were very similar in character; they exemplified the typical strong British women, but the usual side effect of strong stubbornness. Almost from day one they did not get along no matter how hard they tried. Holidays were especially interesting at our house. :-)

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Daily: August 14, 2017

On Health

Today I started the Couch-to-5K program one more time. It is an awesome way to get back into running consistently. I run to the music of DJ Steve Boyett. You can find his 5K (and other) programs at the podrunner.com website.

On Impermanence

We had our annual bowling league meeting today. Only seven bowlers showed up and we were not able to conduct business. The league, like many others in the area, has been shrinking year after year. Unless we can get more bowlers, this may be the end of a long standing league. I have been bowling with NDPP since 1999, and I have been its Secretary/Treasurer since about 2007. The current state of the league served to remind me of the Buddhist concept of impermanence: nothing lasts forever.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Daily: August 13, 2017

I am challenging myself to write something every day. I love writing; so here it goes.

A UU Call

For the last few months I have been attending service at the local Unitarian Universalist church. This does not mean I have become religious nor that I have abandoned my Buddhist precepts. On the contrary, the more things develop in the world (and to no fault of the UU or Buddhist faiths) the more convinced I am that religion, as an institution, is one of the core reasons for many of the evil acts we witness daily.

Today was the first day for our new settled minister to officiate. The Rev. Jeff Liebmann made a brave and powerful call from the pulpit: it is time to ban the production and distribution of hand guns except as needed for law enforcement and the military. He called for a transition period in which people would voluntarily trade their weapons for cash. After that, weapons would be confiscated and destroyed.

It was obvious that his call for action was not well received by the congregation; only a few of us applauded at the end of the sermon. I over heard people around me and their comments were not positive; Americans love their guns.

Here is a little song about guns.

I so agree with a call for sanity, for a cease to violence, for all of us to take the first step toward peace in our communities.

It is time.

Health Notes — Do not wait, do it soon

My wife died ten years ago, on July 18, 2007. Her name was Tracey and she fought a valiant battle against breast cancer from April 2004 until she passed. In October of 2008 I participated in the last full-scale health screening offered by my employer; my numbers were not good and I took action. Between January and July 2009 I lost a total of 90 pounds and got in the best shape since my teens. And then the worst disease overcame me: complacency. Perhaps I became over-confident, or perhaps it was the stress, or perhaps it was turning 50 … the weight began to creep up, the energy decreased, and then came a bunch of weird events that left me with what looked like an auto-immune disease.

Fast forward to August 2017. I finally looked for and engaged a new family doctor. There were many good results in the tests we ran: EKG was clean, white blood cell counts are all OK (no cancer), no anemia, etc. The not so good news: I have high blood pressure and I am borderline diabetic. Darn it! I waited too long to make the needed changes to stay healthy. So I have begun to take medications to control these problems, and I am also beginning the lifestyle modifications that will allow me to regain my health and fitness naturally. My goal is to be medication free in less than six months. This sounds easier than it will be, but it is going to be so worth it! I am looking forward to having fun in the process of re-balancing my nutrition, my fitness, and my rest.

If you have not had a check-up for a while, please do not wait, do it soon. You may catch things before they get out of hand. I may have caught my conditions in time to do something about it and prevent some serious damage. We owe it to ourselves and to all those that love us.

The Charlottesville Tragedy

What a sad note in the history of our country. What a terrible tragedy for all those that lost their lives and their families. We are better than this. But there are those that like to keep us divided. With us divided and fragmented in so many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pieces, they win, they continue their reign of hate and fear, and we, the people, suffer. The sooner we realize that we are being divided, by design, so that we cannot improve our situation by uniting, the sooner we can take the steps needed to stop the madness. We get divided by religions. We get divided by political party. We get divided by race and nationality; by gender and sexuality; by income or lack thereof; by profession and trade. We get divided by sport, by team, by city and by region. The system has been designed masterfully to avoid unity at all costs. We need to wake up and unite for the common good of all. That means dialogue, compromise, and honest negotiation. That means the hard work of finding a win-win situation for all. That means being mindful of our biases and of all the biases we are being encouraged to have through division and separation. Together we can do so much; divided we will continue to suffer while an elite class benefits from our pain, our sickness, our poverty, and our ignorance. Perhaps we would benefit by embracing the philosophy of "ubuntu," the belief that there is an universal bond that connects all humanity. Let's find what connects us to others; in doing so, we will begin to erase the divisions, bridge over the separations, and heal together for the common good.