so I tipped my morning coffee down the sink
not me, but it could be
Staying at home during lockdown, comfort eating, eating out of cans, eating out of boredom, getting zero fresh air and exercise….. When I stood on the scales a few days ago I discovered that I’d piled on more than a few pounds since March 23rd. That is not good, by any stretch of the imagination.
So, I’ve resolved to be fitter and healthier, and get back to my normal weight just as damn soon as I can. It isn’t easy to restart a fitness programme after 3 months of relative inactivity. Fortunately I don’t find sitting in a chair binge watching TV at all addictive. (Things would have been much worse if it had been easier to get to the store and buy copious quantities of beer.)
For a while I’d been following the 10,000 steps a day challenge, and now, after all that lockdown inactivity and idleness I’m back on that ~ with a vengeance. Yesterday I walked to the next town down the coast and back, in all yesterday I walked 20,204 steps in the fresh air and sunshine by the sea. For me that’s almost exactly 10 miles, and if I can keep on walking 10,000+ steps a day I should get my health and fitness back. Perforce I should also lose / stabilise my weight.
Along with the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise I’m also changing my diet back to something much much healthier than cake cookies candy alcohol and eating out of cans.
As part of a healthier diet I thought I’d switch from having high-quality Barista sugar in my morning coffee to an articicial sweetener instead. I bought some stuff based on sucralose and tried that for the first time this morning. You know how good that morning coffee always tastes ~ except this one didn’t, and I tipped it down the kitchen sink. I find the sucralose artificial sweetener to be bitter, chemical, and just yuck, with a yuck aftertaste. (The most common brand of sucralose sweetener is Splenda.)
Surcalose is chemically altered sugar where the water based chemicals are replaced with chlorine, and it’s 500 times sweeter than proper sugar. To me it tastes like bug killer smells. Other artificial sweeteners include aspartame, which is positively bad for you.
WTF was I thinking of? If I want to be fitter, stronger, healthier, why would I swap a high-quality natural product with something that came out of a chemical plant?
Some say that artificial sweeteners are perfectly safe. And that they are a useful part of a calorie controlled diet. All I know is that I’d rather consume natural foods than stuff that came out of a chemical plant.
not the kind of plant I want to make the sweetness in my coffee
trying something or someone to see if the rules are being obeyed
Out on my walk this morning I saw that a mass testing operation for COVID-19 had been set up in one of the local car parks, (otherwise completely unused). These testing stations are manned by heath workers and the army, and each one is a pretty big operation.
In the half hour or so I had this testing facility in sight, not one single car entered the parking lot so that the driver could be tested for the coronavirus. Goes completely against the rule of build it and they will come. This time nobody turned up at all.
I’m utterly unsurprised. There is very little personal benefit to going through all the hassle and discomfort of the whole ‘getting tested’ process. In fact there are a lot of individual downsides to having a coronavirus test, and I speak as a guy who has both had the virus and been tested more than once. (After the fact.)
Being tested will not stop you contracting COVID-19, nor will it aid your recovery in any way at all. Being tested is just likely to make you sicker because it is very likely you will to told to undergo a period of self-isolation at home, which is bad. What is worse it that you will be carted off to hospital and stuck in a bed in a place that is rife with the damn virus. If you are sick, (not dying), then the last thing you need is to be stuck next to a lot of other sick people.
The very best thing you can do to ameliorate any personal effects of the coronavirus is to get out in the fresh air and sunshine, which the virus hates. The sunshine will boost your vitamin D, which the virus hates. The fresh air will flush out your lungs, so FFS do not wear a mask. However, stay away from other people, you don’t know if they’re a carrier, and neither will they.
When you’re out there get some exercise ~ don’t just sit in the sunshine, complete the 10,000 steps a day challenge. Exercise will improve your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and if you’re stronger and fitter you will more easily fight off the virus if you get it.
The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will also give you an appetite ~ believe me, it you get the damn virus you will not want to eat, and even less so if all you do all day is sit in front of the TV. With your meals take a good and appropriate range of vitamin and mineral supplements. Your body will need these to fight off the virus.
Trust me, for your own personal health, being tested for COVID-19 is the last thing you want.
here the COVID-19 testing stations are mostly unused
the longest day of the year has special meanings for all spiritual people
This far north, the sun rises today at 04:27, and does not set until 21:45, some 17hrs 17min and 55sec later. That’s the true day length, but this close to the sea, this far north, it’s fully light here from about 03:30 until 22:42, as a matter of fact it never really gets dark today. Full Nautical Twilight is a very strange phenomenon. Of course our clocks are slightly wrong because noon at the Greenwich Meridian today is at 13:01. That’s politicians and orbital drift for you.
The spiritual significance of the summer solstice lies in embracing the sun and its life-giving power, and if you live as far north as I, then you will know how much better you feel in summer, as opposed to the dank, cold, dark days of winter. The summer solstice is also a time of new beginnings, and I am fully aware that I need to make and stick to some solstice resolutions. How much better to make new resolutions in summer as opposed to almost the shortest days of the New Year.
My first resolution, aim, goal is to be physically, emotionally, and mentally stronger, fitter, healthier ~ loss prone to illnesses.
And my second is to be kinder, more supportive, more charitable, more accepting and understanding, friendlier and more loving.
The third and last resolution for this solstice is that indefinable and immeasurable thing; to be a better man.
Some say that the only goal worthy of a man is to be superior. And that, it doesn’t matter how we treat others, what really matters is how they treat us. All I know is that I would rather be a very nice guy, living a really great life, than a jerk.
I hope and trust you can enjoy the warm, live-giving sun at this solstice.
courage is about doing what needs to be done, when it needs doing
It turns out that COVID-19 is a very selective killer virus. It’s racist, ageist, fattist, and discriminates against those who have cancer, diabetes, or a heart problem. Doesn’t much like men either. You are also far more likely to get seriously ill or die if you live in a big city and don’t get much exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. If you want to sail through a pandemic then you should be younger, fitter, and free from underlying health conditions and addictions.
There is a little evidence that smokers are less affected by the coronavirus than people who do not and have never smoked. If you’re a smoker don’t congratulate yourself because smoking will kill you faster and more certainly then COVID-19 ever would. Also, smokers tend to be unfit and have a host of chronic illnesses ~ like heart diseases. In fact, anyone with any addiction; booze, drugs of any kind, gambling, junk food, casual sex….. is far more likely to die from that addiction than from COVID-19, but this virus could well just push you over the edge.
As an example; working age men are twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than a similar woman. And, the 70 to 79 age group are 50 times more likely to die from catching the coronavirus than the under 40s. It’s complicated.
We do not know yet how to account for this. Socio-economic factors may be an influence….. There could be hidden genetic factors we do not yet understand. ~ Professor Karol Sikora.
We can’t alter our age or ethnicity, and it’s hard to change our socio-economic status, or where we live. But, how long is a piece of string? There is usually a big difference between someone’s chronological age than their physical age. Most chronic illnesses are caused by what we do and how we live; alcoholics will routinely suffer from liver and kidney diseases, heart diseases, cancers, and dementia ~ as well as having a strong chance of dying in an accident or committing suicide. Type 2 diabetes is all about lifestyle…..
So, to have a longer, healthier, and more rewarding life we need to be brave enough to change, have some self-discipline, stop being self-destructive, and just take good care of ourselves; physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
For a start, no matter what else you believe or have been told, get out there and get some fresh air and exercise. Stop drinking, smoking, hanging around in bars, and eating junk food.
Some say you are just as old as you feel. And that they’re not really an addict, they just smoke the occasional joint, and like a beer or two. All I know is that most of us were on the Road to Hell but we can get off any time we like.
a glass of red a few times a week might be good for you
start each day badly, and you wave success goodbye
to be fulfilled, turn work into play
Expert: a complete drip under pressure
never trust an expert who has never done a proper hard day’s work
emotional intelligence is an essential ingredient of a balanced successful life
to be successful, to stand out from the crowd, do the exact opposite of what most people are doing
getting drunk only turns you into an overnight success in your own eyes
today is ideal for those who wish to make it so
to see a fine sunrise would make my day
I know I’m poorly, but I don’t really know why. Here in England we can only have an on-line of telephone doctor’s appointment, but we have a National Health Service help line, and they play it safe, call them and the chances are they will say you most likely have the coronavirus….. there is no chance of being tested for COVID-19 unless you are a ‘key worker’.
They have told me that I need to self-isolate for another week, which is fine because just going down the 56 steps to the street door is difficult. Climbing back up again needs to be done in stages because I’m so breathless.
The symptoms I have make no sense, neither do the antibiotics I’ve been given ~ a placebo perhaps. I believe that the vitamin supplements are doing me more good; A, B, C, D, E, magnesium and zinc, iron, and cod liver oil. Being isolated and alone is most likely what is wrong with me. Solitary confinement is a cruel and unusual punishment, and I’ve had about 53 days of that.
I really, really, desperately want to be fit and well again.
Some say that illness is all in the mind. And that you are just as healthy as you want to be. All I know is that I’ve had some very bad days since my birthday on March 23rd.
at least I have a friend to keep me company
the devil finds work for idle hands
If you are unlucky enough to find yourself in lockdown / quarantine / self-isolation, then you will know just how boring, enervating, and soul-destroying the long, long days can be. Unless you are so ill that all you want to do is sleep, you will probably be tempted to do three things; drink too much, eat too much junk food, watch too much mindless TV. If you are so inclined you may also be tempted to smoke too many cigarettes, and over-indulge in your other drugs of choice.
None of the above activities are such a good idea. May I make some alternative suggestions;
- Make a plan. With your partner, friend, long-distance friend(s) make a plan for how you are going to survive and thrive during this present coronavirus crisis. Make a plan for what you are going to do after lockdown is over. Make a plan for what you are going to do with the rest of this year / next year / next 3 years. Me, as soon as air travel is allowed I’m flying to the USA to visit a friend, and we are going to take a long road trip.
- If you are well enough take yourself for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. Just stay at least 6 feet away from any other people you may meet. Take your dog if you have one.
- Exercise at home. There are hundreds of exercise sites on the internet. If you’re not feeling so good then try learning yoga, which is an excellent form of exercise. If you’re not well enough for that then look for exercises you can do sitting down.
- If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get out there and get your hands dirty.
- If you aren’t well enough for that, then sit on your balcony, in your garden, outside your apartment. Take no notice of any officious neighbours, and assume that the police are too busy to be jerks on your behalf.
- If your mind is working well enough, then read something challenging, preferably while you are sitting out of doors.
- Even if you don’t feel much like eating, then just make yourself cook something you will eat. Use whatever ingredients you have in the larder, refrigerator, freezer. Or find a recipe and go to the store, and that will also get you out of your place. (or order on-line, or get a friend to go to the store for you)
- If you’ve been very unwell then you probably look like hell. Get yourself clean and tidy, put on some cool clothes, and launder all the dirty stuff. Change your bedding and launder that too.
- If you’re anything like me, not doing anything much for 10 days or so, then your place is most likely a hell of a mess. Clean it all, including your kitchen and bathroom ~ and I mean really clean it. Me, I did the garret in half-hour stints, because after a half hour I had to sit down and rest a while.
- Work on your relationships. If you live with a partner, then give them some TLC. If you live with your kids then find some fun things for them to do with you. Repair any damage you may have done when you were depressed, angry, and insane.
- If, like me, you have long-distance relationships, then use the internet and telephone. Or even write your to your friend(s) in an old-fashioned pen and ink letter or card.
- Learn something new. There are innumerable on-line courses. A friend of mine is studying Late Medieval Devotional Art through a free Harvard course. Me? I’ve reading all about how to survive the end of the world….
The thing is you can be utterly depressed and miserable during this period of enforced self-isolation. Or, you can make the most of this time so that you emerge from lockdown a better, fitter, healthier, more grounded person than you were in March this year. I know which one I’ve chosen. I’ve tried the insane misery route, trust me, it doesn’t work.
all of the above applies if you’re working from home
trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky
A week ago today I had a mystical awakening to who I am, my place in the world, who I want to become, and something of the meaning of the interconnectedness of all things. This track by Enya played a part in making me stronger, bolder, harder, wiser, caring, compassionate, more together, more grounded, more connected, and more capable of loving.
There is one vocal refrain, a leitmotif, Be Yourself. That said so much to me when I was searching for my true identity. Before a man can try to improve and be better, he must first of all learn how to be himself.
Please listen thoughtfully.
every leaf is a memory
this moment is all there is
we were born with wings, why crawl through life?
We all live within ourselves. All of our interactions with people, places, and things are shaped by our innermost beliefs ~ our internal programming held deep down in our subconsciousness. We don’t experience reality, we know the Cosmos only after it’s been filtered through our own preconceptions. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the downside, perhaps we can never truly understand how another person understands reality. Yet if we look at this whole subconscious filter in a good light, it means that we can fundamentally change our entire universe by changing our internal filters.
We can give true meaning to others, (especially the other sex), we can understand different beliefs, we can accept, value, and give meaning to all people, places, creatures, situations, things, and moments in time.
The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it. ~ Carl Jung
Perhaps this is what is known as being mindful; paying the fullest attention to the present moment, and doing it intentionally and non-judgementally. Nobody, and certainly no real male, can naturally be mindful nor naturally spiritual. Men think in straight lines and are entirely goal-oriented. The above-average man might set aside, say, 30 minutes a day to develop the skills to be mindful, spiritual, empathetic, accepting, and understanding. The rest of the day he will be just as competitive and goal-oriented as his peers. Trying to be mindful and spiritual is not the path to mindfulness and spirituality.
Spirituality is a brave search for the truth about existence, fearlessly peering into the mysterious nature of Life. ~ Elizabeth Lesser.
For anyone, a man especially, to be mindful, empathetic, and spiritual, you have to learn to live in mindfulness, empathy, and spirituality. That’s not a ‘how to be spiritual,’ it’s a ‘how to live in spirituality’. You don’t learn this stuff in 30 minutes a day, you learn this stuff by living a spiritual, emotional, mindful, accepting, understanding life every minute of the day, seven days a week, every week of the year.
The cynical, especially the average cynical, goal-oriented, male who thinks in straight lines is going to ask; ‘So WTF is in it for me?’ If you are in emotional pain, if you are drinking too much, taking drugs of any kind, gambling, are depressed, suicidal, suffering from a personality disorder, suffering from abuse such as Gaslighting, then living a spiritual and mindful life will not only help you to cope, it will help you to recover.
And, being a spiritual, emotive, mindful, accepting, and understanding person will naturally attract other good people to you. Women especially like strong men with these qualities: and trust me, only a truly strong man can have these qualities.
Some say that spirituality and mindfulness is for Buddhist monks. And that all this emotional stuff gets in the way of getting ahead in life. All I know is that if you want to be truly happy in life, then maybe develop some spiritual and emotional strategies to become grounded and take steps to move forward.
perhaps Marmaduke is meditating
change your beliefs and you change your world
My life has suddenly changed, except change doesn’t happen overnight, sometimes, overnight changes take years of hard work.
March the 1st is a good day to see that my life has changed. Today is a good day to begin to be happy. Today my life is sweet.
Please listen thoughtfully.
this is a little picture of a truly sweet life