Category Archives: Manage Yourself

Overcoming Stress

All of us have to accept some anxieties.

Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress.  Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.

We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree.  In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive.  However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.

Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.  ~  Hans Selve

The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are:  Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You.  And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress.  Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.

People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies.  Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.  ~  Marsha M. Linehan.

The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;

  • Apathy and Depression
  • Chest pains
  • Crying
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drinking too much
  • Headaches
  • Inability to relax
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
  • Irritability and a bad temper
  • Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
  • Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
  • Tiredness and an inability to get things done

The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.

Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above.  What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.

All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide…  Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience.  In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.

If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis.  Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.

I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop.  ~  Davina McCall

Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.

So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?

Breathing is good.  I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.

When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply.   Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky.  My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out.  After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.

Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.

‘Ha!’  You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’

Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.

Being better organised also helps alleviate stress.  The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list…  If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.

Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.

Learn how to say NO.  Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.

Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.

Learn how to love yourself.

Get plenty of good quality sleep.  It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress.  If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep.  But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.

Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.

Extreme stress can make you extremely ill, and it’s well-known that happy people are healthier than stressed-out and unhappy people.  Make ‘don’t worry, be happy, and start living…‘ your daily mantra.

Happiness is a choice.  You can choose to be happy.  There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.  ~  Valerie Bertinelli.

And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

click on the book

demons of the soul

Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.

My life has been plagued by demons; or character defects, or weaknesses, or a disease, or a mental illness, or Borderline Personality Disorder ~ call it what you will but with a new understanding I know that there are demons lurking in the deep darkness of my innermost subconscious.

We all have inner demons to fight, we call these demons, fear and hatred and anger.  If you do not conquer them then a life of one hundred years is a tragedy.  If you do, then a life of a single day is a triumph.  ~  Yip Man

My demons have attacked me, tormented and tortured me, brought me low and taken me down the long lonely Road to Hell.

My demons have not won the final battle.  Yet at times I have been overwhelmed and given in to anger, depression, drink ~ and that is exactly what my demons want.

My demons are cunning shape-shifters and change from one insidious, pernicious, torturous form to another as soon as my back is turned.

My demons are very good at finding the things that can hurt me the most, cause me the most pain, and bringing those things to the forefront of my mind in an ugly distorted form designed to torment and torture me.  My demons use negative thoughts of those I care for the most to hurt me the most.

My demons assume the guise of Fear of Rejection, Worthlessness, Anxiety, Depression, Jealousy, Fear of Failure, Addictions, Obsessions, and Compulsions ~ and all of those disguises are designed to cause me the maximum suffering.  And my pain never seemed to lessen, or subside, or stop.  The pain always got worse than the time before.

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism.  The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself.  But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster.  ~  Carl Jung

My demons are my shadow side from my deep subconscious, and my demons may also exist in an evil spiritual form.  Yet I have embraced my shadow side, I have accepted and acknowledged the existence of my demons.  If dark spiritual forces surround me, if demons lurk in the blackness of my deep subconscious, I will make those demons face the light of my awareness.

My demons now know that they cannot win, they cannot kill me.  The pain only lasts if I allow it to.  Now that I am aware of my demons I can accept that all the vicious negativity in my soul is only my demons trying to hurt me.  My demons want me to feel the pain, my demons want me to fail, and my demons want me to descend into drunken depression ~ and I will not give my demons the pleasure of hurting me, of witnessing me hurt others, of seeing my abject failure.

Facing my demons is not easy.  Facing my demons may well be the most difficult thing I have ever done.  From out of nowhere my demons can make me feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, angry, jealous, afraid…

My demons want me to stop looking them in the face and telling them that they can never again cause the kind of pain and suffering I have known in the past.

My demons no longer have ultimate power over me ~ now I have some little power over them, and now I can truly begin to recover from the poison in my soul and walk the warrior’s path.

~
jack collier
jackcollier7@talktalk.net
click on the book

no good deed goes unpunished

The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

These days I seldom dream.  Last night I had a vivid dream reminding me of a moment in my past.

There was a roadside casualty, a girl in the gutter. Obviously I stopped my car, got out to give assistance, and while I was putting the girl in the recovery position someone drove off in my car.  Then the girl got up and ran off, and a guy does not chase a woman late at night.  All of which was a bummer because I was then stranded on the wrong side of London, late at night, no wallet and no cell.  (We call them mobile phones, and my wallet was in my jacket in the damn car.)  Just getting back to my place took until mid-morning, and then all the phone calls cancelling cards, contacting my insurance company, telling the office I wouldn’t be in….  And that was a great car, which I never saw again.

That wasn’t the first, or the last time, my being a ‘Good Samaritan’ caused me much grief, pain, and suffering.

From trying to help a drunken woman in the street, to giving my bank details to a charity worker, (bogus), to rescuing a woman who was being hassled by a drunk in a bar, to driving an acquaintance home late at night, to helping out a coworker solve a tricky problem, to not having first date sex with an inebriated woman…  Well, the list of ‘nice’ things I’ve done which then caused me much grief goes on, and on, and on.

Too often in my life I have tried to do the right thing, to be the good guy, the man in the white suit ~ and what has it ever got me?  Trouble.

Even in close relationships I’ve found, to my cost, that being a genuinely kind, caring, and considerate guy, leads to trouble in the end.  Women can and will walk all over a nice guy.

It seems that many people see a good guy as a soft touch, someone that can be trampled underfoot, someone of no real account.  A geek, a jerk, a loser.

Well, maybe that’s their loss.

I can retain my ethics and morality, but my dream tells me that I also need to exercise harsh judgement in the people I am prepared to be kind to.  There is no more universally nice Jack Collier.

What ever became of the Good Samaritan anyway?

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

On Being Presidential

A Leader is one who shows the way.

Listening to the wireless yesterday, I happened to hear part of a speech / response to a question by President Trump on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Allegedly some 100 men, women, and children were killed by Sarin Gas / and or Chlorine Gas, on Tuesday of this week.  This ‘massacre’ took place in Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, allegedly the ‘massacre’ was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Russia says this atrocity was caused by gas leaking from a terrorist / Syrian rebel chemical weapons depot.

Sarin Gas is particularly nasty stuff, invented by Hitler’s boffins, odourless and deadly in 10 seconds, it’s a perfect terrorist weapon.  The use of Sarin was banned in 1997 under the UN chemical weapons convention.  Chlorine Gas will also kill you pretty quickly, and obviously chlorine isn’t banned, but chlorine stinks.  The 1925 Geneva Protocol specifically prohibits the use of Gas in Warfare, but apparently allows the use of chemical weapons within a state’s own borders in a civil conflict.  So it wouldn’t actually be completely illegal for Syrian forces to use Chlorine Gas on rebels in Idlib Province.

However, the rights, wrongs, culprits, retaliations, and possible solutions for this terrible incident wasn’t what struck me about President Trump’s words during his Rose Garden Press Conference.  My first thought was that Mr. Trump didn’t sound ‘Presidential’.  His presentation skills were, quite frankly, terrible.

Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a ‘presentation’ by President Trump, but anytime a President of The United States of America speaks, shouldn’t he radiate authority, clarity, confidence, gravitas, and complete command of his brief?  For me, Mr Trump just sounded like an amateur speaker at a golf club tournament.

The President committed the cardinal sins of deviation, hesitation, and repetition.  I have a strong feeling that Mr. Trump speaks totally ‘off the cuff’, and ‘shoots from the hip’.  At the same time I believe that Mr. Trump has spent far too long using facile social media such as Twitter, and not long enough reading modern history written by statesmen such as Winston Churchill.

Listen to one of Mr Churchill’s great speeches, such as the ‘Finest Hour’, and then listen to Mr Trump on Syria, and note the differences.  If you like, you can also listen to someone like the actor Morgan Freeman, who sounds far more ‘Presidential’ than President Donald Trump.

The question is; does sounding and acting like a great president, make you a great president?  Well, partly it does.  Some say that John F. Kennedy was a great president, and that his greatest speech was his 100 days speech.  All I know is that Kennedy ‘sounds’ like a great President, and sadly Trump doesn’t, not quite, not yet.  Although Mr Trump does have a pretty cool sense of humour, and maybe that’s why a woman like Hillary Clinton couldn’t get herself elected.

Some say that a man should ‘fake it to make it’, and that looking and sounding like a leader is nine-tenths of the battle.  All I know is that presentation skills are part of urban survival skills and something every man should learn.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Yoga for Men

Yoga is a type of meditation ~ and done properly it’s difficult.

Calling this post Yoga for Men isn’t as sexist or as misogynistic as you may think.  When I was a much younger chap, far more cynical, and much less worldly-wise, I used to think yoga was a bit ‘strange’.  In my mind yoga was something that girls did, and perhaps men who were a bit metrosexual.  Now that I’ve grown up a bit I realise that yoga can be a strenuous and difficult workout ~ the kind of workout that hurts while you’re doing it and makes you ache afterwards.

It turns out that there are lots of reasons why more men should regularly practice yoga.  Some say that yoga strengthens your immune system and relieves stress.  And, that regular yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, agility, posture, stamina, and core strength.  All I know is that regular yoga exercises and nurtures my body, mind, and spirit.  Some also say that yoga will give you a better sex life.

Just in case you don’t know, yoga involves holding postures, and holding some of these postures for any length of time can be damn difficult.  Even the few, (simple), postures I use require a great deal of strength, balance, and concentration.  Because holding these postures take a lot of strength and stamina, your muscles become more toned and develop greater power and endurance.

Yoga also helps with proper breathing, better posture, better balance, better concentration, better digestion, and increased mindfulness and serenity.   Regular and difficult yoga improves the way you look, stand, walk, and talk.  I have been told, by a very close friend, that regular yoga also greatly improves one’s sex life, and increases the pleasure you can give to your partner.  Also, some yoga poses work as great sex positions and increase the intensity of the female orgasm.  Allegedly, it’s possible for women to have an orgasm just from doing yoga.  Who knew?

So, these are the yoga positions I use regularly, and if I have the names wrong… well I’m not a yoga instructor.

The Tree.  This classical, impressive, and elegant position promotes strength and balance in your feet, ankles, legs, and core.  Like all yoga positions I’ve tried it also aids concentration, calms your breathing, and improves your grasp of mindfulness.  Don’t worry too much if at first you keep losing your balance, what’s probably happening is that you’ve lost your mental focus.  The tree pose puts all your weight on one leg at a time, but the balance, poise, and elegance has to come from the whole body.

~

Downward Facing Dog.  Allegedly, this is one of those yoga poses that’s also a great sexual position ~ I can see that.  This position throws a lot of weight on the upper body, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest.  It stretches the whole of the back of your legs and  body ~ your spine, arms, shoulders, ankles, calves, and hamstrings.  For me, unless I’m doing it wrong, it also strengthens my knees.

~

The Bridge.  This position is especially designed to strengthen your pelvic floor, (and backside), which is good for all kinds of reasons, up to and including sex.  The bridge position builds strength in your core and lower body ~ personally I can really feel this in my lower abdomen.  This is another of those yoga positions which is also a fabulous sexual position ~ or so I’m told.  When I do this, I keep my back straight and my belly flat ~ I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not.

~

The Plank.  I find this pose tremendously difficult, not because I don’t know how to do it, but because it calls for a tremendous amount of strength.  Done properly the entirety of one’s body weight is brought into play to build core body strength, exercise the arms and shoulders, and increase one’s fortitude.  There are three basic variations of the plank, and the easiest is to rest on your knees rather than stretch out your whole body and rest on your toes.  The second easiest is to support your upper body on your forearms, while the hardest of all is to be in a push-up position with all one’s weight on your toes and hands.  Right now, I can hold this position for one minute only ~ which is a bit pathetic really.

~

The Warrior.  This should be so easy, trust me, it isn’t.  The warrior pose stretches and strengthens the legs and core muscles of the body.  For me it also works the arms and shoulders.  More than that, this is the one position that should be so easy that I want to do it properly and elegantly.  Where that gets difficult is the whole being straight, having one’s belly and backside tight, steadiness and ease thing.  The lady in the picture looks a bit wimpy because her right arm is dropping.

Right now I only use these five positions, and the list above is in the order I do this stuff.  I hold each position for as long as I can, and that varies from 5 minutes per position, to less than a minute, depending on the pose and how I’m feeling that day.  And, again depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll probably run through all five positions a couple or maybe even three times.

However, there are stacks more great yoga positions, and if you really want to learn about yoga, then I should strongly suggest that you take a proper class, there will be one near you.  There are even a bunch of good online yoga classes.  (I took one actual class at my local gym, once, and never went back ~ but that’s just me).  Who knows, you may find yourself alongside some fit, supple, young women.  Who will probably make you feel totally inadequate.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Effective Time Management

Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.

You can grasp the important essentials of effective time management in 20 minutes ~ living with it, really using your time wisely and to your own best advantage, well that takes a little more work.

So, just what is this time management thing?   Effective time management ~ it’s all about making a little go a long way.  It’s about improving the way in which you use the 86,400 seconds you get every single day.  Time management is about doing away with; displacement activities, delay, deviation, distractions, hesitation, indecision, indulgence, procrastination, repetition, sloth, stress, tardiness, and waste.

I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.  ~  Louis E. Boone.

Effective time management is all about doing the important things, at the right time, and spending the right amount of time on them.  Like everything good and important in life, effective time management is also about control, restraint, and self-discipline.  What time management is not about is making certain that you are doing the right things ~ that’s something else entirely, something we will talk about at a later date.

You already know the basic techniques for effective time management, it’s just that you never use them.  So here’s what you should do, from now on, every single damn day.

  1. Make a list.  Start with a to-do list.  These are the things you should / must / want to do today.  (Actually, tomorrow, because you should start writing your to-do list the night before.)  You can even buy a ready-made to-do list App, packed with colourful features and supposed benefits.  Don’t bother to waste your time and money.  Get a notebook, or just some sheets of paper, and write down what you need to do.  You can use different colours for different categories or importance of tasks if you like.  Personally, I merely number things, in order of importance.
  2. Cross tasks off your list only when they’re completely done and tangibly, measurably delivered, and then forget all about them and move onto the next task with a clear mind.
  3. Do the worst / most unpleasant / most important things first.  Getting the nasty stuff out-of-the-way early in the day makes the rest of the day both easier and much more enjoyable.
  4. Make more lists.  These extra lists are for sub-tasks.  For example your to-do list may say ‘do grocery shopping’ ~ so you need a shopping list, (never, never, ever go into a store without a list of what you want / need / would like to buy).
  5. Break big and unwieldy tasks down into smaller and more manageable bits.  This is called chunking, and it can be used in all kinds of situations.
  6. Keep a journal.  As well as writing down what has happened and how you feel about it, you can also use your journal as a detailed day planner, and as a place to plan and manage future events / tasks / projects.  Properly used a journal will stop you turning up for things unprepared / on the wrong day / without your passport.
  7. Avoid meaningless distractions.  These come in all kinds of shapes, but the most insidious and pointless time-wasting evil right now is social media.  If you use social media at work, or first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or during your lunch break, then stop it.  You are just wasting time while turning your brain into mouldy dough.
  8. Take regular breaks.  Just sitting at your desk for 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours a day is not the way to be productive.  Worse than that, sitting at your desk for long periods is literally killing you.
  9. Get plenty of good quality sleep.  If you are tired and irritable you are also unfocused and unproductive.
  10. Develop good regular habits.  If you can run part of your day on auto-pilot, if doing some routine essential tasks becomes a habit, you are saving a hell of a lot of time and mental energy for the really difficult stuff.
  11. Learn how to say NO!  Agreeing to things that are unimportant / meaningless / we don’t want to do anyway, uses up a huge amount of our time, mental effort, and spiritual energies.  Along with that, drop people who waste your life and suck up your energies.
  12. Multi-task the routine stuff.  For example, prepare dinner while the bath is running, and let it cook while you’re soaking away the aches and pains of the day.  But be wary, multi-tasking doesn’t work for important stuff.

And then there is the tricky and oh so important number 13.

13. STOP DICKING AROUND.  There a billion things you could do instead of actually doing the stuff you really want to do, should do, need to do, absolutely must do.  Recently I read where a guy got sacked for spending all day at work looking at internet porn on his cell phone ~ if that’s not a definition of dicking around then I don’t know what is.

All of this is pretty much common sense, actually you knew most of this already, so why aren’t you using these good practices?  Probably because you’ve been lazy, lacking in self-discipline, or you think that ordinary rules and good advice don’t apply to you.  Well, let me tell you, little sister, you’d better shape up if you want that good quality, rewarding, spiritual, healthy life you’ve been promising yourself.

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.  ~  Pablo Picasso

Procrastination doesn’t cut it.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Walking Meditation

Through meditation the higher self is experienced.

True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance.  You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.  ~  Juvenal

To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being.  Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit.  I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.

When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members.  Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you.  ~  Steve Maraboli.

One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day.  Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.

When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’.  But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd.  These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’.  With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man.  To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day.  We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.

If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku.  This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness.  Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.

However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and  ever-changing sky.  Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness.  The clouds fire my imagination.  The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.

Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities.  I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people.  Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself.  Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.

The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good.  Empty your mind of all immediate concerns.  But most of all, walk.

Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so.  Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out.  Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health.  Never settle for less.  ~  Edmond Mbiaka.

Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy.  Walking does little for strength and mobility.  For that I practice yoga.  I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me.  Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit.  Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit.  If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.

We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.

I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Deskbound to an Early Death?

Office work is injurious to your health.

If you spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk, your health will suffer, your fitness will suffer, and you may be heading to an early grave.  In fact over a 20 year period you are 60% more likely to die than someone who leads an active life, (defined as a couple of hours physical activity a day).  A sedentary lifestyle can kill you.

A deskbound, sedentary lifestyle means that you will be  far more likely to suffer from all kinds of nasty illnesses, including; heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, insomnia, poor circulation, back pain, neck pain, brittle bones, arthritis, gout, obesity, stomach problems…

However, there are some fairly easy changes you can make to your deskbound lifestyle to make up for the fact that for eight hours a day you’re mostly a potato.  All you really need is a little bit of self-discipline, and you could transform your life by following some, (or all), of these simple suggestions.

Seems like a lot of fuss and effort, doesn’t it?  OK, don’t bother to do any of this.  Don’t make any changes to your sedentary life.  Be a boring person, get sick, feel terrible, die before you should.  With one exception I don’t give a damn if you follow any of this advice or not.  It’s your life, such as it is, you are free to be a desk potato, if that’s what you really want.

But remember, if you just sit at your desk for eight hours a day, then you have to do a solid hour’s exercise in the evenings just to undo all the harm you’ve done to your body, mind, and spirit during the working day.

Get more exercise and have a nice life.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Bad Day at Black Rock

coping with only one hand

in the film noir bad day at black rock Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed man coping with deception, difficulty, and danger.  a few days ago i sprained my right wrist, and from my limited recent experience, coping with anything while you can only use one hand is damn difficult.

typing this blog post with my left hand is much harder than you’d think ~ maybe there are keyboards specially adapted for only one hand.

basic daily tasks ~ washing, shaving, and dressing are taking me a long time and much thought.  going out, for example to do some shopping, is just not going to happen.  how vulnerable is having only one good hand making me feel?

locked-doorhousehold chores are unbelievably time consuming ~ cooking and washing up the dirty dishes takes so much effort it will have to be take-out food and ready-meals until i can use both hands again.  i did some laundry yesterday, and found i can’t neatly fold clean stuff.  if i lost the use of my right hand on a long-term basis, either i’d have to send out my laundry, or get a home-help.  (there’s a snag with a home-help for me; nobody is allowed to come into my garret.)

other ordinary tasks such as bed making are problematic with only one good hand ~ and i have no idea how i’m going to tie my shoelaces.

all this makes me realise that if one doesn’t have the usual complement of fully functioning bits, then one’s day-to-day life becomes difficult, slow-paced, frustrating, expensive, and maybe reliant on others.

P1020817a really good society would give extra help to those less fortunate, to those with physical, or mental, or other problems.   however, i don’t see too many signs that we’re living in a good society right now.  at least, my sprained wrist should get better soon, and in England treatment for my sprained wrist is ‘free’.  i’m kind of glad that i don’t live in the USA today.

~

dscf0036jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I am not a number

I am never going back into a box.

Back in the day I used to attend a lot of meetings, conferences, conventions, seminars, and social events where I was expected to wear a badge, a name-tag, a label.  After a while of feeling both self-conscious and controlled, I took to refusing to wear a name-tag.  Even back when my livelihood depended on it, I was uncomfortable wearing a label for the convenience of others.

Some people; judgmental, condemnatory, negative, supercilious, disdainful people, like to know all about you so that they can categorise you, and put you into a safely inferior box.  They ask personal questions; ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Who are your people?’ ‘Where do you live?’  ‘Where did you go to school / college / university?’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘How much does that pay?’  ‘What do you drive?’ are but of the few of the very personal things I’ve been asked in my time.

To a very reserved, very polite Englishman, all of those questions are rude and intrusive.

Some people want to know all about you for one set of self-serving interlocking reasons.  Are you worth talking to?  Are you important?  Are you inferior or equal to me?  What can I get from you?  Is it really worth my time getting to know you?

Some people are not interested in you as an individual.  All they are interested in is where you fit on the bell-curve of social standing in their narrow-minded little world.

Should I wish to do so, I find it very easy to be charming and manage my behaviour, conversation, and attitudes to fit in with just about anyone, in any group, in any social situation.  I had the very best training and motivation in the world to teach me to do just that ~ it was an integral part of my job, and my job paid more money than even a grasping trophy wife could spend.

But all that’s just chasing shadows of meaningless instant gratification.  Chasing instant gratification is not good.  Now I live in a more meaningful and more spiritual world.  Today, I will not change my outward behaviour, conversation, or attitudes to fit in with what you like, or what your group expects, or what your friends and family think is acceptable, or to fit nicely into your accustomed social situations.

To do that again would mean me becoming a false man, the man in the mirror, a shadow man, a man of straw.  It isn’t going to happen.

To be questioned, probed, inspected, examined, studied, judged, categorised, designated, classified, and labeled is demeaning.  A decent person shouldn’t do it to another, and a confident person shouldn’t allow it to happen.

I’m not going back into someone else’s box, not ever again.  I will not be badged, numbered, labeled. I am not a number, I am a free man.

~

PrisonerSeventhese thoughts are mine, and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

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