Thursday, July 30, 2015

7/30/15—Turning My Rut Into A Groove

So, a lot has happened since I wrote the post about "making one better decision". If you haven't read it, scurry over to and check out the 7/20/15 post. While other posts in the past have probably gotten more hits, no post I remember has garnered the feedback and excitement that I got on Facebook about this super-easy way to get out of a rut. I'm well into week three of following this plan and a couple of big things have happened as a result. 

The first thing is that one of my goals was to move forward with diet and exercise goals. As part of that, one of the "better decisions" I made was to replace Crystal Light with infused water. I had already started that process prior to starting my one better decision plan, but had found that when I combine peach infused water WITH Crystal Light, it was pretty much the best thing I've ever tasted in my life. Which was not helping me with my goal. So, one "better decision" at a time, I managed to quit Crystal Light altogether. And something I didn't expect to happen happened. 

See, I had already known that Crystal Light contained artificial sweeteners. And I knew artificial sweeteners (aspartame in particular) were a big contributor to weight issues, diabetes, fatigue, depression and an uncontrollable sweet tooth, not to mention other stuff like cancer and headaches. And I joked about my "Crystal Light addiction." But imagine my surprise and dismay when I discovered I WAS ACTUALLY ADDICTED!!!

Yes, aspartame is addictive. And I found out when, after a few days without artificial sweeteners, I started suffering withdrawals—headaches, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, sleeplessness. I'd been having these unusual (for me) symptoms for a few days and wondering why, when I got the idea to google "aspartame addiction", and there it was. 

Which is probably why I didn't stop using it when I learned that it was making me fat and diabetic. Addiction has a way of altering your thinking to justify the continuation of your addiction. I learned this after I quit smoking and looked back on the ways I made it OK to continue smoking for 26 years. When you are addicted to something, you are literally not in your right mind. 

So there was that. And the second big thing is that, while sitting in a chair at Hair Cuttery one day, I pondered the possibilities of making one different decision, rather than one better decision. With a different decision, you don't know if it will be better or worse. So I threw caution to the wind and told a stylist at a chain-store, cut-rate hair salon that she could color my hair FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN MY LIFE!!! It's true. I've done a henna rinse before but have never dyed my hair a different color. And so now I'm blonder and more highlight-y than before and am happy with the result. 

This last experiment has been very interesting. I am literally forced to see myself differently because every time I look in the mirror, I look different! As it turns out I like the new look. But had it been a disaster, I would have benefited by appreciating my former self more...haha. So I like the way a "different decision" shakes things up and causes you to expand your view of your world. And it certainly wouldn't have to be this dramatic. Something as simple as taking a different route to work one day could render untold gifts. 

Three weeks into this experiment I can easily say I'm forever changed. I'm no longer someone who has never dyed their hair. And I'm no longer someone without a good plan for turning a rut into a groove. I can honestly say I'm feeling better and more positive about the future than I have for years. So what about you? Have you tried this "one better decision" thing out? If so, share your thoughts and results with me. If not, what could it hurt? I'd love to hear how it's working for you!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

7/27/15—Being The Ripple

If you're a regular at the Daily Draw, then you've probably seen this post in some version before. Usually when I do repeat posts, I try to choose one I've never repeated before. But this post is one of my all-time favorite posts, because I think my boy so perfectly illustrates an important tenet of life that we rarely stop to think of. If you don't feel like reading this, but missed last week's entry, then read that one instead. It was probably one of my best received posts ever. :) Or you can randomly pick any one of the more than 1000 posts I've written over the years at I'll be back with a live, original post sometime this week to make up for today's repeat. Now here's Kizzie's post....

The other day I saw something I've seen a million times. Only this time, I saw it in a completely different way. My dogs and I took a trip to the park and my boy, Kizzie, decided to go in the river for a dip. As I saw him standing there, I noticed all the ripples issuing out with him at the center. Each time he moved, a new set of ripples would form. And the ripple effect of each motion would continue out into the river, despite the current. Despite anything. Indefinitely.

His presence was recorded throughout the river that day—through the ripples in the water, the displacement of the air around his ripples, and by his ripples meeting the shore and bouncing back. In the same way, his presence was recorded throughout the universe. Beyond that, on land, the wag of his tail, his body temperature and the sound of his breath had a similar effect in the environment around him, sending forth kinetic, sonic and heat waves from his body.

According to Wikipedia, a wave is a "disturbance (an oscillation) that travels through space and time, accompanied by the transfer of energy." Einstein's famous equation, E=MC2, posits that everything in the universe is energy. So what we see in the water above is Kizzie's energetic body having an effect on the water's energetic body. And since energy is never created or destroyed—only transferred—the effect he has is eternal. Pervasive. Ubiquitous.

Our lives work the same way. You create a kind of ripple when you have children...a ripple that goes on way beyond your lifetime. But even if you don't have children, you create it through everyone you come into contact with...every life you touch. There is nothing about us—no thought, no emotion, no scent, no delicate resting of silk on skin—that doesn't cause a disturbance that travels through space and time. 

So imagine the kind of ripple effect even something as simple as a smile can create. You smile at someone and cause them them to smile and feel a little more part of this world. That changes them, even if ever so slightly in that moment, and that change is passed on to the others they encounter that day. The vibration they spread is just a smidge higher than it would have been. And the people they encounter are similarly raised. And so on. And so on. And it ripples around the world, back past the original smiler, indefinitely. 

Of course the same is true about being a grumpy gus.

But the point I'm making is that no matter how "small and insignificant" we are, the impact of our every breath and thought echoes out into the universe to create the "whole". And that impact continues long after our death. We're still benefiting from the simple work of the men who built the railroads, women who showed their independence and the early men and women who moved out of caves and built humanity's first communities. We're also still affected by the ripple created by those who never spoke up against Hitler, spread the belief that the earth was flat and sailed to Africa to grab people and make them slaves in the New World. 

If you've ever been to an emotionally charged historic site, you can still feel it in the air. Occasionally I drive through the Manassas battlefield where so many lost their lives during our Civil War. The air is different there. The "vibe" is palpable. Another place that comes to mind is Cape May, NJ, where the ripples of risque ladies in their swim dresses still echoes in the surf. 

For better or for worse, everything that has ever happened adds to the ripple of everything that ever will. As will your choices to recycle, eat meat, hate a particular race, reach out to the needy or make myriad other choices. We cannot have the foresight to see the impact of our choices in any given moment, but the energy we put out continues to ripple on indefinitely, even if it dissipates over time and is transferred into something else. 

The beautiful thing about this is that, regardless of what you believe about God and heaven, we live on in this very real way for eternity. We matter. No matter how normal and mundane our contributions. Do you think those railroad men, like my grandfather, felt like the kings of transportation, trade, information sharing, development and connection that they were? My mother was one of those women who paved the path for other women to hold "men's jobs". Look at what has come from that! That's not what she was doing—she just wanted to put her competence to good use—but look at what came of it. 

There is a reason for you being here. Even beyond our deaths, in the memories and minds of those we leave behind, we continue to send out ripples that, even for a moment, change the way our loved ones consider their lives. There is nothing we do, nothing we are, that doesn't have this import in the lives around us and the lives around all those people, etc. 

You are the ripple. Everything you say and do this week will be forever felt by the universe. How will you use your infinite power today?

*Today's entry was rewritten from the 5/10/13 version of this post.