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Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Latest!

Hey All.  This weekend, I returned to the North Country for a full marathon.  Although I'd done the Half last year, I wanted to do the Full this year, just to get the "Full" experience!

Day before, hung out with a few good friends who were also looking for a winning experience, and we all gave each other just the right amount of positive reinforcement, and then some.  Drifted off to sleep with high hopes.

This morning, several thousand people gathered at the starting line in high winds.  I wore this butt-ugly sweatshirt I'd been dying to lose, and tossed it right after the anthems were sung, and withstood a few minutes of shivering.  Then, we were on our way.

I had sworn to do a nice easy 9:30 pace.  Although I did attempt to trot & commute, my MapMyRun told me I was doing 8:30's and 8:45's.  Slow it down, Allweiss, you got a ways to go!

Managed to slow up a bit as we went through South Park and saw the lakefront areas, had people from the nearby condos cheer us on.  As we made that right turn, which separated the Full Marathoners from those doing the Half, it got quiet.  Maybe too quiet.  But I embraced it, as it signaled my time to push it a little bit more.  We went through some beautiful neighborhoods, with streets lined with tons of volunteers cheering us on.  We then trekked through the small piece of heaven known as Delaware Park.  Not so many crowds here, but it still felt great to run through someplace that peaceful.  As much as I love Central Park, I'd be running here on a regular basis.  Felt so at ease, I started doing 8:30's!  

Around Mile 20, a phone call came through my IPhone encouraging me to not let up.  I told the caller I was "comin' home," and started to do so.

As I approached the last 2-3 miles, more beautiful homes and supportive spectators awaited.  I felt my earlier liberties take their toll.  Nonetheless, I finished the race with a time that was better than my unfocused training should have afforded me.  :).  And my local friends were cheering for me at the finish.  :)

So, as I finish off a plate of "chicken wings," a local delicacy, I'm happy to have visited this place once more.

Happy Memorial Day, All!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Me First -- When Is It Right?

Hey All -- Happy Sunday!

Recently I blogged about loving yourself even more than you hate others.  That makes sense, because you need to avoid being trapped in a pattern of fear and loathing.  But is it OK to love yourself even more than you love others?

If you check my blog roll, you'll see that some people answer this question with a resounding "yes."  The author of "proportions in life" consistently details how she feels she is right putting her self first, even as a mother of several children.  "The Organized Man" discusses how those who tell you that selflessness is honorable and selfishness is unacceptable are fraudsters.  For reasons that are only too obvious, I concur with my colleagues.

Far too many people enter into relationships for the wrong reasons.  Maybe they're keeping up with the Joneses, maybe they're afraid of missing a deadline, maybe they're lonely and desperate.  This usually results in "settling," or allowing the relationship to end in a complete disaster.  Some of these people did not love themselves first.

When both people love themselves first, they are able to make wise and informed decisions about how the relationship should proceed, or even if it should proceed to begin with.  They don't get made into doormats, they don't get raked over the coals, and they don't get stuck in situations that they can't control.  They dictate terms, they make decisions, and they maintain authority over their personal space.  And if boundaries are crossed, or advantage is taken, they suffer no guilt or doubt in ending the whole thing, because it is better to preserve themselves than it is to sacrifice themselves.

And when people who love themselves first realize that they love each other, everything else that they need to do is a no-brainer.  They can love themselves even more than they love each other, and still make everything work.  It doesn't mean they don't care about the other person at all.  Instead, it means that they communicate their needs openly and honestly, without resentment or bitterness, and that they tend to actually get all or most of what they want without feeling guilty about somehow depriving the other party.

Also, when you love yourself more than you love others, the results you experience in other facets of life tend to be much more satisfactory.  You get to choose who or what gets your attention, and who or what doesn't.    As my "proportions" colleague recently reminded me, you get to the the producer, director, head writer, and star of your own big-budget Hollywood production (or after-school special, if you prefer).  You don't owe anything to anyone, because you don't allow yourself to be "beholden" to debts you can't repay.

That doesn't mean that you abandon people who count on you.  And it doesn't mean you disregard fiduciary or professional obligations because you get lazy.  And it doesn't mean you withhold the positive regard that someone in your life needs and deserves.  But it does mean that you don't let any of the above-referenced people tell you that they matter more than you do.

Once again, a post consistent with the Pillars!


And sometimes, you do all of the above even more than anyone else does!

Night, all.  A week from today, I'm taking my marathoning on the road, back to Buffalo!  See some good friends, explore the second half of a well-plotted course, and see if this constant-maintenance program I've resigned myself to for the past six months will get me something between 4 hours and my PR.  Back to the North Country!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Mother's Day Re-Post

Hi All:

No post yesterday, as Mother's Day ran a little late.  However, because I posted something for my Mom last year that she just loved so much, I'm re-posting it here with a few edits.

Yesterday, most Americans celebrated a day to honor all mothers. For some, this included breakfast in bed, going out to brunch, or gathering at a family member's house. I'd like to take this time to honor my own mother.
My mom ran a tight ship. She expected homework done every night, even if she had to make us do it. She expected rooms to be clean, even if she had to make us clean them. Most importantly, she expected us to behave according to a "higher standard."
That meant even if every other kid in school had a toy gun, I wouldn't have one. Even if every other kid watched a certain show on TV that she didn't approve of, I wouldn't watch it. And most importantly, even if every other kid had a smart mouth, or had an attitude, and acted like they could get away with whatever they wanted, I couldn't -- because THERE WAS NO GETTING AWAY WITH ANYTHING!
Our family was raised before the era of time-outs, and during a time when children did not make the rules. Rather, it was the PARENTS who made the rules, and the children who learned to follow the rules, and not to break them, or else suffer consequences!
I credit my mother with substantial success in that department -- she raised a son who did very well in school, and went on to become a lawyer. She also raised a daughter who knew how to see right through people, how to show compassion to children who needed it most, and how to coach others to their peak physical form. NEITHER of whom failed out of school, broke the law, or expected things to be handed to them because they felt entitled.
I am not a parent, but I know that the essence of parenting is to give children roots and wings. Mom gave us both of those for sure -- we learned that we could always turn to her for advice (and we still do), and that we could grow up and advance as adults, achieving anything we chose to achieve.
Thanks, Mom. I know it meant putting up with a lot of nonsense from us, because children are known to do that. Heck, we still do that a little bit as adults, too. But you had the tenacity, the patience, the endurance, and the patience to raise two damn fine people!

I only get to see my Mom 2 or 3 times per year.  That being said, I know people who don't even get that.  I hope you showed your Mom some appreciation this weekend, she's not easily replaceable!

Night all - be back in business again next week, ya dig?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Love More Than You Hate

Love Yourself More Anyway

Hi All!

The written blog is a little early today.  Just got finished watching (a) the anomaly of a hockey game starting at 12 noon; (b) the first home playoff game my Islanders had in several years; and (c) a frustrating overtime loss.  Much props to my team for showing that they can give a No. 1 seed a run for their money.  However, at this point in the season, there is no one-point-for-an-overtime-loss, it's win or lose.  Let's hope we can make this series 2-2 next game.

It's very easy to hate the Penguins.  It's even easier to hate the refs and the NHL for calling a BS penalty for the apparent protection of Sidney Crosby.  But that apparently doesn't change the final score.  The only way to rise above that is for our boys to win three of the next four games.  I'll let our pundits, prognosticators, and self-appointed experts, explain how that can be done, and await the final result.

You've heard me blog about people we hate, sometimes with rancor and venom, and sometimes with dismissal.  Volumes could be written about those we hate, and then volumes upon volumes.  It remains to be understood how hatred, anger, envy, jealousy, and their resulting rage and fury are so pervasive.  Why is it so much more interesting that positive attitudes?  Why does it sour everything that could be sweet, and why does it soil everything that could be clean?  Why does it take everything that could be happy and make it unpleasant?  Where does it get its power to just ruin damn near everything?  Because the key ingredient to shut it down is missing.

There is a core audience that reads this blog that does not agree with its direction.  I harbor no resentment towards this crowd, because I do actually respect its opinion.  However, I sometimes call it the "I don't care" crowd.  They pride themselves on repeatedly reminding me that they're just so mature, just so developed, and just so self-actualized that they "never" hate anyone, "never" let anyone get to them, and "never" react to the obnoxiousness or rudeness of anyone who challenges them, because it "never" bothers them.  With all due respect to the loyal opposition, I call the accuracy of these statements into question, and present something that rings truer:

(1)  There is nobody, with the possible exception of the Pope and the Dalai Lama, who "never" gets pissed off at someone else or something else.  That's false.  I've known people who are as stoic and solid as the Rock of Gibraltar when people are watching, but then "freak out" worse than anyone else when there's nobody watching.  It's just a lot easier for them to put on a show.

(2)  If this were really true, people would be walking all over the "I don't care" crowd.  It is not apathy, distraction, or "just letting it go" that stops miscreants and jabronies, it's consequences, or the understanding that some will be delivered in the near future, that stops them.

(3)  Expressing anger in the appropriate manner is healthy.  It is mature, it is cathartic, it is pro-active, and it gains respect.  Suppressing anger, and pretending something doesn't bother you when it obviously should, is a recipe for a breakdown.

So what's the alternative?  Simple, really.

(A)  Pick a number that represents the amount of hatred or ill will you have towards somebody.

(B)  Multiply that number by 10.

The total represents how highly you should value yourself, compared to how much you despise all of those others.

My "I don't care" peeps are really saying exactly that, but for some reason, they're saying it in code, and covering it with condescension.  Maybe they think the rest of us can't figure out their secret, but I can.  And maybe they don't think it's the most macho thing to say, but I'm saying it anyway.  I just put their secret "on the record," and they have no recourse against me!

Self-love is the first step towards achieving any goal in life.  A new job, an invention, a business idea, a winning team, a friendship, a relationship, or a marriage.  You really can't fake it like the individuals I've described above.

It's the only way to get over loss, mourning, adverse decisions, unflattering commentary, disapproval or rejection.  The individuals who spew this garbage all over you do it because they don't love you.  If you adopt their attitude, then you don't love yourself either.  People who don't love themselves are lost.

Not too long ago, some criticism of this blog came my way.  This criticism was that this blog was meaningless, because it contained no research, but consisted only of the author's opinion.  Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but this blog was never advertised as a scholastic term paper or a thesis statement.  It's based on real-life experiences and common-sense observations of life in general, and not on self-serving intellectualism and ivory-tower pomposity.  It is intended for men and boys with low self-esteem, because there are a thousand resources for women who suffer from this issue, but precious little for males who do.  Ironically, it attracted many more female readers, because the messages still resonated with them.

I'm not very happy with this critic's opinion.  However, I love this blog much more than I could ever resent any negative feedback.  It is my contribution to the world around me, independent of my choice of career, and it is a hobby I enjoy even more than my long-distance running.  It is a commitment that I don't compromise.  Instead of looking at the mark the world leaves on me, it's my way of leaving my mark on the world instead.  I'll even go out on a limb and say that I love writing this blog more than I notice how many or how few readers I get.  This blog is mine, and will outlast and endure all criticism and threats.

Do I have some off weeks?  Of course I do.  Am I sometimes running low on ideas?  We all get writer's block.  But this blog still means a great deal to me because it has a consistent message behind it.

Yes peeps, it's been a while since I brought it up, but say it with me:


Keep on saying it until you love yourself 10 times more than you hate anyone else.  And then say it some more!

Video to follow . . . .