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I have always thought it might make good sense to keep a journal.   To write of my experiences so that I might learn from them.   Alas, I am lazy and desire to do as little work as possible for what is questionable personal gain.  I would use the analogy of the potato chip.  While I love potato chips, I would love them a lot less if I had to actually make them.  I want lessons in life that are akin to tearing open a bag, if you get my drift.

Yet, here I am, about to write a letter to myself.   I guess I figure that if I have to sit down here anyway and pump out a post, why the hell not make this my one and only journal entry as well…

Dear Glenn (aka Hamster-brain):

I am writing this because you are starting to worry me.   Why is it that in any given year, there are at least 3-4 periods where you allow life and all of its attendant emotions get the better of you?   Don’t you see, after all of these years, the pattern?  You are not a dumb guy (in spite of what I tell people behind your back), so why don’t you take the lessons that are readily taught each time and of which you are so aware, and actually apply them?   You are like the rodent on the wheel, peddling hard but going nowhere.   Wouldn’t it be nice to place yourself on an even keel for once?  Feel a solace and stability that is constant?  You have it within you to do it.   And this is how I’m going to help you.   We’re writing it down, here and now.   After coming off one of these stressful periods, while it’s fresh in your mind, let’s get it down on paper.  So that the next time you face this – and there will be a next time – you can read this and apply life’s lessons once and for all.   I will do this a la “the shit sandwich”.  So here goes…

Bread slice one:

  • You are basically a good guy who adores his family, and respects others.   You give yourself shit WAY too much, but other than that, I like you.

The filling:

OK.  How much time do you have?  Here goes…

  • First and foremost, when your body aches and your guts act up, this is NOT an aggressive tumor engulfing your body.  If this were the case, you’d be deep in the ground many years ago.  Dude, chillax!  Honest to God.   And if you Google a health ailment one more time, I’ll slap you silly.
  • When you feel that you are so special that your “sooo important” work stress gives you the right to snap at people you love (and those you don’t), think again.   You will feel like shit and think less of yourself.   Trust me, I know.
  • Chew your food.   Man, when you get stressed, it’s like sitting with at the table with a Boa Constrictor.   No wonder you get gut pains.  “Oh, I feel soo bloated”.   Like tell it to someone who cares.   Honestly.
  • Meditation and Yoga do work.   You always feel better afterword and it DOES calm your mind.   So, just do it, damn you.  
  • OK.  So you get down sometimes.  Boohoo.  Who doesn’t?  Do you think you have the monopoly on a depressed mood?   Look at those who are truly depressed and be thankful that you are as healthy as you are.   And p.s. – you feel down because you tell yourself you are down.  Try some positive visualization for a change.   Your mind is plastic, man.  Remold it!
  • Have FAITH.   Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there are big white letters on your bedroom wall:  F.A.I.T.H.   Not to mention this word tattooed on your wife’s wrist.   Is this a meaningless word to you?  You have faith in others; you have faith in a greater reality.  But, I gotta say, sometimes your faith in yourself sucks!  You’re a healthy, vibrant man with a beautiful future just waiting for you.   Live it for God’s sake, and stop worrying.  Worry sucks the life out of life.  Is this what you really want for yourself?    I think not!

Bread slice two:

That’s a lot of shit I just gave you, but I just want you to know that you deserve every word of it.  With this said, there has been some progress and, in the spirit of positive reinforcement, let me acknowledge the following lessons learned and applied…

  • While you have not made optimal use of methods to help you cope during times of stress, you are trying.   You initiated Yoga this month, and you are staying true to it for the most part.   Good job.  Keep this up!
  • You have learned to let some things go – things which would’ve traditionally been stressors for you.   You are learning, slowly but surely, to prioritize and focus on the big stuff, while letting the smaller bits fall by the wayside.   The world hasn’t stopped turning just because you happened to delay response to an e-mail or two.   In fact, you have learned that most stuff is excess and will in the end take care of itself.  Keep letting go of some of that control.  You are still a bit of a control freak, but we’ll take the small wins.

So, there we have it, Hamster-brain.   Be good to yourself and take your own advice for a change.  And the next time you run into Glenn DEFCON 1, read this post and just BREATHE!