Wednesday, February 23, 2011

North Carolina

Sometimes in the daily grind I can forget how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful place.  North Carolina is one of the few, if not the only state that just about wherever you are you are close to stunning beaches, huge mountains, cities, countries and islands.  During college it was great that whenever I needed a getaway, the closest beach is only an hour and a half away with some of the most visited beaches anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours away.  The blue ridge and smokey mountains are only 2 and a half hours from where we stay.  Nature is highly important in my life and sometimes its hard to find the time to enjoy it.  As my wife and I both work some stressful but rewarding jobs, it is good to take time for self-care to recharge and refresh our minds, bodies and spirits.  As last week was one of those weeks that just seemed to add more and more stress it was exciting that late friday night we could have a conversation that consisted of "I need a vacation, I want to look at the ocean and clear my mind from everything for a bit" and just like that in a couple of hours we were breathing the sea air and feeling the sand between our toes.  It also helps that in North Carolina in February it was 77 degrees for the weekend.  The trip was a good reminder of all the interconnectedness that exists in this world and how there are much bigger things than the stress at your job or people who make poor decisions.  The world will keep moving, the waves dont stop and that is good to realize when frustration becomes overwhelming and there dont seem to be as many answers or solutions, don't stop.  Dont stop fighting to overcome, looking for a solution, and growing as a person.  In this little town I can forget these things very easily in these tough economic times when you see so many people and so many changes that do not appear to be good for the future, there are a lot of dumb people in politics that make a lot of dumb choices on what they think is important, but that is another story.  Not everybody lives in North Carolina and can experience all that the US can offer in one state.  Wherever you live there has to be some beautiful nature there, enjoy it, appeal to your five senses, nature has been here and will be here, there is something to learn from that. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Live Set

As long as I have been sober I have been an avid motion picture enthusiast.  In some ways movies have become a similar escape from reality that I did with chemicals and instead of it being every and all day escape with chemicals it is once or twice a week a two hour or three hour escape so just a bit healthier.  I enjoy the stories and the meaning within the meaning that movies depict through the artistry of the actors, directors and crew.  Movies are almost like a waking dream in that they can expand your imagination in an almost uninhibited way which is great because the only true uninhibited state of mind is the dream world.  I enjoy talking about the meaning of the symbols and colors that are used and of course the psychology and spirituality that is involved and I like just going
with the fun of imagination as well.  I am someone who over thinks and analyzed almost everything to death so movies can give me a chance to do both of the imagination and perspective.  I have a good friend who works in film and TV and have learned a lot about all that goes into the behind the scenes sort of stuff and have had a lot of my thoughts about certain areas confirmed as well.  I find talking to him very interesting and exciting because you learn that a lot goes into a two hour piece of moving art.  In my times in NYC I have come across several different actors in real life mostly at Yankees games but in all these years I have never come across a movie being filmed even though several are being filmed in NYC in almost a daily basis.  Then, our last trip to NYC we walked right upon not one but two movie productions.  The first one was for what I thought was the new Batman but was later told but my good friend was a movie called “Arthur” which stars Russell Brand and looks very funny.  There was quite a scene taking place that consisted of almost 6 or 7 blocks being shut down for trailers, lights, cameras, crew members, extras, props, wires, cables, and police.  All of that time and work for all these people which results in probably 5 minute scene in a movie.  The previous day we stumbled across Ben Stiller filming a movie called “Tower Heist” that stars Stiller, Eddie Murphy,
and Dave Chappelle.  We actually walked behind a scene being filmed and were asked to stop then directed elsewhere.  We wondered why then discovered what was going on.  Again they
had blocks closed and many people working just for some scene with Stiller and
someone talking on the street (we might be in the background but with our excited faces I am sure we got dubbed out).  The whole experience is quite impressive that the people who put in these 16 to 18 hour days doing the same thing over and over just to get produce what one artist envisions is intense and complicated and having watched it be done, I have more respect for all the hard work that goes into my 2 hour escape.  We enjoyed “Just Go With It” this past weekend and will be looking for something in the next weekend maybe the Liam Neeson flick, either way whatever your escape is, enjoy it.   

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I wanted to take the time to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to everybody out there and more specifically, Happy First Valentine’s Day as a married couple to my lovely wife.  Many of my greatest moments have been shared with you and being able to spend the last 6 years with you has been the difference in my life in so many ways. I have learned so much from you about the simple enjoyments in life that are really the most important moments.  I love that I feel that you will always be there but at the same time that I feel nothing is for certain except that life is short and sweet.  There are a couple of songs posted here that when I hear them I always think of you and not just in my mind but in my heart and soul.  Both include the New York North Carolina connection that has been prevalent for most of our entire relationship.  From those tired highway nights on 95 to the midnight trips to the beach to winters in NYC it has always been you and only you.  I love you, Happy Valentine’s Day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mind and Body Connections

Lately I have been thinking alot about how interconnected our minds and bodies are.  There are some very real connections that I always thought were there but recently being around alot of sick people (that time of year) and being able to fight through it and then falling to illness what is it that makes the difference for me.  All throughout school, I would never be sick until it was time to relax and unwind.  I thought this occurred because my body was in stress mode and fighting off everything and when my body relaxed like my mind then would over a break, my immune system would relax and inevitably I would get sick.  I have noticed lately that the more stressed I get at work, struggling with a difficult client or something like that, that those are the times that I typically get sick.  I work with drug addicts and my wife works with elementary school kids so between us there are alot of germs going around but I rarely do get sick.  Lately I have noticed that difference within myself of when I feel that my body is frustrated with something that is going on.  It's really quite interesting when you pay attention to what the headaches, aches, and pains mean...your body will let you know where your mind is at.  Since I don't use any sort of chemicals or medicine until I am sick I am becoming more aware of these connections.  I was aware that some of my struggles at work where having an affect on my body, that feeling of being drained.
Think of how it feels when you are happy--there is a feeling in your body that starts with your mind and it's the same as when you are sad about something-you can feel the pain in your heart and stomach.  Are those imagined? Or are they real?  I have been reading about how when a person is depressed they can get comfortable with that feeling and actually crave it, hence alcoholics.  As alcohol is a depressant the body creates cells to adapt to that feeling of depression, eventually what happens when there is no more alcohol to support those depressed cells is that your body then craves alcohol, not just your mind.  It's kind of like the old adage about what you put in will come out.  If you hang around sad people all the time you eventually will become sad, misery loves company.  This is the same with happiness, people are attracted to it because people want to feel that way and they look for it in so many places within so many things but really it's some where else.  Everyone of us has the ability to be happy if we choose to happy.  Today I choose to feed my mind as many positive things as I can and to have fun with simple things because my job is one of hearing some of people's horrible experiences and working with them to overcome these difficulties.  The reward on the other side is amazing.  To see someone change.  One of the first things they will always tell you is that physically they feel better.  Stress on the mind is relieved in the body just like you can think with your body your mind can feel.  Next time you have an ache or a pain maybe question what is going on in your life that could be connected.  We have all seen somebody and thought man they look rough, they have been through it, and that is what stress and problems can do to us physically.  If you notice your body falling apart it may be time to see if your mind is falling apart, some of this of course happens with age but I don't know too much about that yet.  Anyway, this is some of what I am trying to process lately, think with your body......

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Andy Pettitte Retires

I was 11 when Andy Pettitte made his MLB debut for the Yankees and I remember the leg kick, the pickoff, move and that stare over the glove that has become increasingly familiar over the last several years.  I remember ALDS 1995 Game two in which this 23 year old kid got the first of many postseason starts.  After getting smashed in game one of the World Series in 1996, Andy came back in Game five and pitched one of the best games I have ever watched in baseball and probably the best postseason pitching performance I had ever witnessed.  Andy had it all, the casual southern texas drawl, the humble spirituality, the family that went everywhere with's guys like this that always seem to blossom in the biggest city and media market in the world.  Andy won 19 postseason games which is a record that will stand for a long time.  His cutter was a pitch of legend as he and Rivera both came up about the same time using that pitch that dominated hitters.  Andy had won 5 World Series rings and out of his 16 years in baseball he was in the World Series 8 times, that is pretty special.  Andy finishes off a stellar career at 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA and 2,251 strikeouts.  In my opinion he should make the Hall of Fame on his Postseason stats alone besides the point that these numbers were put up in the toughest division in baseball, the American League East during the prime of the steriod using era.  Most people are going to argue that because of his admitted HGH use he doesnt deserve that honor but to me he is the only one who just came out and admitted it, he was honest--everybody was doing it and he didnt hide from it.  I respect that and I beleive him.  Either way for me it is the end of an era.  The first of the "Core Four" to fade away with time.  Soon his teamates will join him and I will realize not just how old I am getting but how special this group of players truely was, I mean have you seen the Mets roster?  When I watch these Yankees I know I am watching the greatness that Yankees fans watched generations before me, the biggest names, on the biggest stage, wearing pinstripes with pride.  It was a joy to watch Andy pitch for all those years.  Thanks for the memories...we will see you at old-timers day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GroundHog Day

Every year in February one of the weirdest American traditions takes place in a small town in Pennsylvannia and every year in my home we watch the movie Groundhog day.  Bill Murray is one of my favorite comedic actors and in a close call his role in Groundhog Day may be my favorite of his of all time.  What I love about this movie is the idea that we have the chance to start over and try again, to take another shot at something we failed at and of course that living for ourselves by living for others in the goal.  Bill Murray has to learn to stop trying to be perfect and create things that arent there.  We all can be creators and masters of our world but what good is it if it isnt shared by helping someone else or bringing joy to someone else.  Bill Murray cannot figure out what he is supposed to do until he starts to realize that its not about him.  Sometimes I need this reminder and sometimes more than once a year on February 2nd.  When Bill Murray starts looking into himself he finds out that he can be of help to others, he stops playing the game and gets for real.  He goes through the darkest of darkness to get there included being shot, stabbed, burned, hung, etc.  He had to go through it to get to the otherside.  Not everyone has to get that low in order to change but some do, the point is we can try again.  Every day that we get up we have another chance to do something different, make a difference in someone's life, to be happier people, to be more giving and not as selfish in our consumption.  This movie is one of my favorites and for that February 2nd becomes a bright spot in one of the dullest grayest times of the year, have to go through the dark to get to the beautiful light of spring and summer.  Either way its a reminder of giving back to those you love and not just taking all the time.  So do I hope he sees his shadow? I just hope he doesnt stop coming out to remind me to try again tomorrow.