Health Check In

(photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

How is your health? Are you paying attention to your mind and body to assess what needs attention? What action steps do you need to take for your own self-care?

I have been tired for several weeks, and especially today. I got a walk in this morning. And did some stock trading. But beyond that, it’s been a day of rest. I took a short afternoon nap, and now I’m typing here.

Why am I so tired? I am a light sleeper, and rarely sleep through the night. However, my sleep patterns vary a lot. This week, I have been waking up around 2am each night, and am unable to go back to sleep until 4 or 5am. Last week, I slept well until around 4am unable to go back to sleep.

Last week I was good with my (almost) daily exercise routines. This week, because I’ve been sleeping later than usual, to make up for my middle of the night wake ups, I have not kept up with my exercise, using the excuse that it’s too late to go out due to the heat and humidity. The humidity might be factor too. In recent weeks, I have done a good job of hydrating most days, usually first thing in the morning. But perhaps I need even more water during the hot summer months.

Similarities to both this week and last are that I have been eating very healthy meals, mostly (but not all) vegetarian. And I have stayed away from sugar and most processed foods. Perhaps I’m going through some sugar withdrawals, lol.

Also, I have not been keeping up with my nighttime rituals before bedtime. These steps may include shutting down all electrical screens (computer, phone, tv), playing relaxing music, meditating, deep breathing, journaling, or drawing, as well as eating dinner earlier in the evening. In the past, I have found these steps to be helpful in switching my brain off from over thinking mode to a quieter mind. This leads to a relaxed state that is conducive to better quality sleep.

Another reason why my sleep may be out of sorts is because I’ve gone through a lot of life changes over the past year. After a long stint as my parents’ primary caregiver,

(details here in a prior blog post:)

I now have time to myself. Yet, I’m still working through the process of creating a new way of living, and implementing new habits that align with the new life directions that I crave.

I also recognize that my mind and body still need more time to rest after the parental caregiver challenges that I experienced, and subsequent estate work as executor that also took a lot of time and mental energy. Using my last corporate accounting job as an example, it has been my experience that I will (usually) meet difficult deadlines, no matter the cost to my health. Somehow my body pulls me through until the project is completed. Then, a short time after the deadline, I get sick.

I did not take great care of myself while caring for my parents. I knew that “caring for the caregiver” was necessary, but I just couldn’t figure out how. So as I begin my new journey as a health coach, stock trader, and other descriptors yet to be put in place, I sense that I need more time to rest up my mind and body, before forging ahead at a faster and all encompassing clip.

In my health example above, I have looked at both my physical symptoms and underlying emotional challenges in order to uncover what I may need from a health standpoint. Now it is up to me to implement the action steps that will get my mind and body back in balance, and ready to face the world head on.

Work through your own health concerns, and begin taking action steps that get you back to balance. Wishing you good health.

New Writing Habit

(photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash)

Thank you Paul Taubman of  Digital Maestro for hosting your amazing Ultimate Blog Challenge again this month. I am grateful to have met such wonderful and supportive bloggers who write so beautifully. All of you made this experience special. Today is the 31st and final day of this challenge. And this is my 31st blog post.

I have written before about the power of creating new habits that are in alignment with your core values and goals. Doing a task over-and-over, day-after-day, becomes a habit. New wiring is formed in the brain. And the longer our habit goes into the future, the wider and stronger the wiring in the brain becomes. Writing is one habit that I want to continue.

There were days when I woke up this month not knowing what I would write about. And it would sometimes take many hours to put the finished blog post together. As the month went on, I was able to put this concern away, and clear my mind. Sure enough, when my mind quieted down, a writing topic would pop into my head, and then the words would flow. I believe that this writing flow occurred because I had gotten my mind in the habit of writing.

I have found that trying to start back up again with something after a long layoff can be a challenge. For example, during 2020 I practiced the guitar every day. Recently I did not practice for several weeks. When I finally dusted off my guitar, it took time for my fingers and mind to wake up and remember chord formations and notes. And not to mention that the callous on my fingertips from my previous playing had gone away, so it has been painful to press my fingers into the guitar strings as I’m starting my playing back up again. The same is true for writing or any other hobby or task. It takes time to get in a groove. And once we are in the groove, we can advance our skills to the point where it becomes second nature. It’s all about practice time. Even just one minute of practice per day will make a world of difference as compared to no practice. That’s why the concept of taking small steps can produce big results.

Many of my blog posts this month have ended with a question for you, the reader:

What is one small step that you can do related to (enter topic here)?

My hope is that you take time to identify core values and goals in all areas of your life (whatever this might be for you), create small-sized action steps, and take action on a regular basis. A clean palette awaits you. Take a moment to quiet your mind, and fill up the canvas with your creative talents. Find your groove, enjoy the process, and watch your small steps produce big rewards.



Boston Music Experience

(photo by Tim Toomey on Unsplash)

Ever since I raided my brother’s record collection during junior high school, I fell in love with the sound of the rock band Boston. Their sound contained unique melodic harmonies, turning the band into an instant hit.

Although Boston signed a contract to produce ten albums within six years, they only produced two albums before contract disputes led to years of legal red tape. Their third album, Third Stage, came out eight years after the second one. And during the making of Third Stage, changes were made to the original line-up.

I saw Boston in concert during their Third Stage Tour. The music was still great, but I was disappointed when the split happened. The original line up came out first to play music from their first two albums. Then they switched line ups to the new one to play their third album. As a fan, I had an allegiance to the original band members, and I still do.

Moving forward, I continued to follow the original band members as they moved on to other endeavors. In particular, guitarist Barry Goudreau created new bands over the years. First was his solo album, which came out after Boston’s second album. Barry’s bandmates for this album were Boston’s lead singer Brad Delp, Boston’s drummer Sib Hashian, and bass player/singer Fran Cosmo who would become a future member of Boston. One possible reason Boston’s original line up changed is because Tom Shultz, the mastermind behind the music, was angry with how the marketing company marketed this solo record as a Boston project, even though Tom gave the okay for Barry to move forward with his solo project.

Barry’s next band was Orion the Hunter, which produced the hit So You Ran in 1984. Brad Delp and Fran Cosmo were carryover members into this band. Keyboardist Brian Maes joined the touring band as well.

Then RTZ (Return To Zero) was formed around 1989 with a line up of Goudreau, Delp, Maes, bass player Tim Archibald, and drummer Dave Stefanelli. Hit songs included Until Your Love Comes Around, There’s Another Side, and All You’ve Got.

And during the 21st century, three additional Goudreau bands were created: Delp-Goudreau (2004) collaboration album that produced the song What You Leave Behind. Ernie and the Automatics (2004-2011), and currently – Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room – with many of the same musicians from RTZ.

My all-time favorite concert experience occurred at a small restaurant in a small Massachusetts town on a Tuesday night. Ernie and the Automatics practiced every Tuesday night at this restaurant. Luckily, during a New England visit to my brother, a band practice was scheduled. I got to the restaurant early. And when I drove into the parking lot, there was one car in the lot with the trunk open and a man behind the car. It was Barry Goudreau taking out his guitar!

I entered the restaurant and was seated up near the front, next to the saxaphone player’s wife. We chatted throughout the evening. And during a break, the saxaphone player Michael “Tunes” Antunes sat down and included me in the conversation. He was so nice.

Prior to the start of the set, I saw the bandmates at a table near the stage, eating dinner. When they were done, I got the courage to approach Mr. Goudreau. He was gracious and we chatted for a few minutes. And I also met the original Boston drummer Sib Hashian during a break.

The band’s set included songs from all the past bands. I knew many of them and had a blast. The highlight song at the end was a medley of Boston songs condensed into about ten minutes. It was an incredible night that I will never forget.

For anyone interested, here is a video of Ernie & the Automatics performing the Boston Medley. This is not from the night I saw them. Running time of 12 minutes.

(1) Boston Medley – Ernie and the Automatics.mpg – YouTube



Running Man

(photo by Martins Zemlickis on Unsplash)

Several years ago, I ran my first and only marathon. But I only trained for half a marathon. And that was a mistake. My knee pain began at the fifteen mile mark of that race. And that was also the end of my running career, as that was the start of my chronic knee pain.

The first twelve miles were a breeze. I purposely took it easy to save my energy for the second half. At the fifteen mile mark, I hit the wall. And the rest of the race was painful. With a few miles to go, my brother and a friend found me and ran with me. I was so exhausted that I would continually bump into each of them. I walked and stumbled through the last 1oo feet or so by myself, and did cross the finish line at mile marker 26.2.

And the timing of my solo trip to England the day after the marathon added to my pain and suffering as I hobbled around for ten days in Europe with a backpack on my back.

Later on, when I realized that my knee was not healing and that my running career was probably over, I went through a depression. For me there was no better feeling than running a race. I was forced to find other sports. Road biking, soccer (my childhood game) and ice hockey filled the running gap with no knee pain.

One of my favorite races was the Broad Street run in Philadelphia, where my brother briefly lived. We left his apartment expecting to take a subway to the race. But the subway was closed when we got there. We lucked out by finding the bus stop, and took the bus to the start. As soon as we got off the bus, we heard the starting gun shot. We instinctively ran from the bus through the starting line. We were literally the last runners to cross the starting line. I had a song in my head, was in the zone for the entire race, and kept passing runners left and right. I crossed the finish line strong at the ten mile mark, and felt great.

The reason I only trained for half a marathon is because my leg muscles got very tight during my training. I physically could not run anymore. Instead of delaying my marathon race into the future, allowing for rest, recovery, and better training methods, I chose to rest and run it anyway.

I had never run a marathon distance of 26.2 miles before. The longest race I ever did was a half-marathon, with 10k and 5k races my sweet spot.

A coworker who wanted to run a marathon, asked me if I wanted to participate. I said yes, and we trained together. But during one of our runs, my training partner twisted an ankle, and was out of commission. I continued training on my own, in a sense doing the race for both of us. That was part of my motivation to do the race, even though I really should have dropped out.

I have done limited running in recent times. And I would like to get back at it, in moderation. I plan to do some light weight lifting exercises that build up the muscles around the knees, and make stretching/yoga a regular routine. I have found that my body (and knees) enjoy short sprints around the local high school track. I have also been able to run short distances with no discomfort. Time will tell.

Lessons I learned:

Follow proper training methods. Marathon training plans are available. They reflect exactly how much to run (or rest) each day of training over several months.

The importance of Nutrition: water and sports drinks are not enough during long races and training runs. Easy to digest, nutrient dense foods are necessary too.

Stretching is very important after, and in between, workouts.

Listen to your body. Had I listened, I would not have run the race. Or I would have stopped running during the race.

What small steps can you implement to train smarter?




(photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash)

Creativity in any form, (i.e., music, painting, photography, dance, etc.) is necessary for growth of the human spirit and helps greatly to add meaning to life.  This means making creativity a part of everyday life.  It is very easy to get caught up in our daily life events that we lose track of this need.  Our society is all about the go-go-go mentality, without taking time to just be.

Because a quiet mind provides a strong foundation for opening up our creativity, it is no wonder that many people have not opened up to their creativity, and thus, a part of their life or personality may be lacking in some way.

Individual creativity is achieved by looking within oneself to uncover untapped energy that desperately wants to express itself.  The key is to take action yourself, regardless of your natural talents.  Talent is not necessary, although with practice most individuals will improve their skills at varying levels.  It is all about expressing oneself fully regardless of ability.

Society has placed limitations on what older children and adults view as acceptable behavior and this has stifled the natural creativity that once was in the forefront of our early childhood personalities.

Also, society has placed greater significance on left brain thinking, leaving right brain creativity behind.  While right brain thinking is an extremely important process, if it is not balanced with left brain activities, not only will our life force energy remain out of balance but we will never really know our true selves.  We rely too much on the messages, products and services that society pushes on us, which means that we are being led by others in directions that serve others most of the time.

Music, Art, Photography, and other forms of expression, created from within ourselves and expressed outwardly through our voice, paint brush, or pictures has the power to heal our inner selves on many levels. And once we uncover the natural healer within us and leave our ego behind, we can help others open up to their creativity and their natural ability to heal themselves too.

What is one small step you can do to make creativity a part of your day?