Accountability

Did you know that the #1 thing that stops people from accomplishing their goals is their lack of accountability?

Brian Tracy

Before reading the above statement, it never really occurred to me that we accomplish our goals by being accountable to someone else.  Oh; sure on an esoteric level I understood that.  On a conscious level?  Maybe not.  If I stopped and considered it I’d probably have reached the appropriate conclusion.

So who are you accountable too?
Who motivates you?

My walking partner uses the word accountability all the time, in that I’m the motivation.  My friend I walk with was surprised to hear me say that they motivate me.  It’s true however.  It would be so much easier to turn off my alarm at 5AM when it blasts and roll over and go back to sleep.  But I’d be doing both of us a disservice if I did that.  You’d think hearing that word over and over would sink in, would flash a light, would help me realize that:
Oh yeah.  Accountability equals Motivation.

So who motivates me?
When it comes to exercise, my walking partner does
When it comes to writing.
You do.  My readers.  I understand now that I’m expected to have Wisdom and Life publish three days a week and Scranton Page Turner Publish three times a month.  My readers expect something from me.  I’m held accountable to you.

I’m held accountable to my friends.  When I say I’m going to do something 99.9 percent of the time I follow through.  There have been times in the past where I’ve had to let people go who didn’t follow through.  One of the most important attributes I look for in any relationship I have is trust and accountability.  I want someone in my life who does what they say and says what they do.

So I ask you again.  Who are you accountable too?
And who holds you accountable?

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Neti Pot

Welcome to the second Health and Fitness Monday.  Today I will be discussing the Neti Pot.
Image from:
Wikipedia
NetiPot
The link above is the neti pot that I own.  Purchase directly from the Amazon link here and I will benefit.  I researched them before I purchased one.  A friend of mine had recommended I use one and it has really helped me.  My nose was broken long ago in a sledding accident, and I believe that has led to the fact that I’m very nasal.  I always thought that I’d have to live with this.  Fortunately, my friend noticed my congestion and told me about the neti pot.

I’ve been using one for two years now and I can honestly say it is the only thing that has helped clear my congestion.  I’ve used every allergy medicine I could get my hands on and nothing seemed to do the job.

I’ve recently become very cognizant of what I put in my body, from the types of food I eat to what i take to get better.  As far as meds go I avoid using anything that will mask pain.  I’d rather be healthy and being healthy means looking for alternative means, looking for the underlying cause of my illness and treating it naturally.  Thus the neti pot.  Thus yoga to treat my lower back pain.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Yoga

I hope everyone is taking something away from my new Health and Fitness Monday.  Today I want to discuss the health benefits of yoga.  Both spiritual as well as physical.  I began yoga to benefit me physically as I have chronic low back pain.  I’ve been to doctors several times over the years and the suggestion has always been medication.  I don’t want something that’s going to mask the pain.  I want a natural fix that will prevent the pain from returning.  It’;s one of the reasons I tend to not visit my doctor unless I’m going in for my annual check up.

Doctors today (at least in my opinion) are too eager to push a pill on someone.  I want to feel better without the help of medication.  I’m very conscious of what I put into my body.  Food wise and drug wise.  I’d rather take care of myself naturally, if at all possible.  Yoga has definitely helped me physically as I am much more flexible and I no longer have low back pain when I practice my yoga regularly.

My sister in law, who is a physical therapist introduced me to the practice in 2010 and when she saw how flexible I was even then, she was surprised.  The first position she had me do was the pigeon pose:

When she saw how far I could stretch my back leg, she was absolutely shocked.  I guess I was more flexible than even I realized.

This pose does amazing things for my low back.  Anyone experiencing low back pain can expect relief if you make this part of your yoga regiment.  The next pose that helps even more is cat cow:
In this pose I can really feel my low back stretching immensely.  More than pigeon pose even.  The next pose I use after cat cow is cobra:

This pose is very easy to move to after cat cow as it is just two moves of my body.  I can tell you beyond doubt that yoga has been a major boon for my physical well being as it has prevented my lower back pain from continuing to be a chronic challenge.

As far as the spiritual aspect of yoga goes, the practice has also helped in that respect, as I generally practice in quiet or with soft instrumental music playing in the background.  This typically puts me in a very contemplative place, almost a meditative state.  Yoga is something you have to fully concentrate on, shutting out all outside distractions, thus staying in the present moment, which is exactly one of the qualities of meditation; being in the present moment.

Taking these things into consideration, you can certainly see why I’ve decided to write on the topic today.  I highly recommend practicing yoga to anyone who needs to rid themselves of chronic pain as it is a natural way of doing so.  It can also help quiet your body and mind.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Sleeping and the Correct Pillow

Welcome to Health and Fitness Monday, my new Theme Monday

A few years ago, I experienced such severe neck pain and lower back pain that I wound up going to Physical therapy.  The lower back pain was so horrendous that I found it challenging to walk.  The neck pain was at the point where I couldn’t turn my head.  I discussed the challenges I faced in a post called Dynamism in Walking.  While going through PT I was asked how I slept.  Because it was my neck that was giving me challenges at that point more than my lower back was, the questions were directed at my sleep patterns.

How did I sleep?
On my back?  On my side?
What type of pillow was I using?

At the time I was using a soft down pillow.
Red flag!

That’s what my Physical Therapist said.  Waking with neck pain is very likely if you don’t have a firm pillow; just as waking with back pain will be the case if you don’t have a firm mattress.  I did understand the correlation between back pain and soft mattresses, so I suppose I should have also seen the correlation between neck pain and a soft pillow.

My Physical Therapist recommended I use a Tempur-Pedic Side Pillow.  As is my case, when confronted with some new topic I dug into pillows and their effect on the body.  I came across a Youtube video called The Best Sleep Positions at the website Sleep-Apnea Guide for side pillows.  I highly recommend watching the video straight through.

Seeing as I AM a side sleeper, after researching a for a few days, I decided to get the Tempur-Pedic side pillow.  Many of the sites I visited said it could take some time to become comfortable with the new pillow, especially if this was the first time you moved away from a typical down pillow.  By the third morning waking up after using the side pillow for two nights I saw an improvement.  I continued using my new pillow exclusively for two more weeks.  On a whim, after my second week I decided to try my old pillow for a few nights.  I woke up frequently and during one of my frequent disturbances, I finally decided to toss the down pillow out and I returned to the Tempur-Pedic Side Pillow.

I can tell you beyond doubt that I sleep much sounder using the side pillow.
I no longer wake up as frequently.
I no longer have neck pain when I wake in the morning.

Making the decision to take care of my sleep has resulted in my being physically healthier, more alert and the best part is that I no longer suffer from neck pain.

What can you do to become healthy?

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

A Short Road to Death

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life, foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.

 

Buddhist Quote


Buddhism is a belief system I feel very comfortable with.  Whether it is truly a religion is up for debate.  I’ve seen it debated both ways.  Regardless, with the exception that Buddhists don’t believe in an almighty I resonate very deeply with the philosophy.  I like the quote above as I live by that quote, as do most of my friends.  You do understand the Law of Attraction when it says:
Like attracts Like.

I believe it.  We are attracted to like minded people.  The friends in my circle now are all very diligent.  They expect to succeed.  They understand, however, that success doesn’t happen overnight, which is exactly why diligence plays such an important role in all our lives.  If not for remaining ever diligent, there would be no success.

Diligence means pushing through the apathy.
Diligence means doing what needs to be done.

Being a writer, diligence means writing even when I’d rather be doing something else.
Staying healthy, diligence means staying active.  It means walking every day.  It means practicing yoga at least three times a week.  It means eating right.

Being idle is certainly a short road to death, emotionally, virtually and physically.

What can you do to remain diligent?
What do you do to remain diligent?
Let me know in the comments below.

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris

Block Island

On Sunday, I made one of my annual pilgrimages to my place of peace:
Block Island.

The National Hotel
Block Island

My friend, Tim who lives in Florida travels to Connecticut once a year and he gathers all of his friends together to make the trek to BI.  I’ve been going there since I was about ten years old.  I made my first trip to Block Island, with my maternal grandparents in the early seventies.  It was then that the ferries landed at Payne’s Dock.  I didn’t realize it,  but I’d found my place.  It wasn’t until MUCH later that I was reintroduced to the island.

My friend, Jason and I went there for the first time together in the early 1990’s and since then we’ve made annual trips together or separately.  My heart sings when my feet touch island firma.  I feel at peace there.  Never mind my heart singing, my soul dances when I’m there.

I breathe easier.
I feel calmer.
I smile more.

It’s where I belong!

As I was preparing for the trip on Saturday evening, I was experiencing a crisis:
To bring my camera
or
Not to bring my camera.

I didn’t want the trip to be about me and I KNEW if I decided to bring the beast I’d want to stop at EVERY location and set up the shot.  Thus slowing down the steady flow.  And the fact that I have a plethora of pictures from Block Island, made the decision an easy one.

VERY happy I decided NOT to bring the camera.

Funny; as we walked off the High Speed Ferry, I was texting a few people, not paying attention and up ahead, Jason turned to everyone and said:
Ya better be careful.  What’s said here today may wind up in Chris’s blog.

Well, here ya go guys.  Don’t worry.  Nothing bad here.  I promise.

We walked all over Block, and I’d like to think the exercise, I’ve been doing the past few weeks helped my endurance over the course of the day.  An amazing day overall made better by good friends and lots of fond memories.  Just wished Tim didn’t live so far away.  I enjoy his company as he is full of laughter, joy and positive energy.  He’s the type of person I align myself with now.  I’ve NEVER seen him at a negative point.  Love his energy.

Last year when he was up BI didn’t happen for some reason and it was the first or second time in many years that I didn’t make it there.  I think more than anything else the people I travel with make the experience all the better.  It’s the place too.  No denying that.  I feel more at home, more at peace on Block Island than just about any other place I’ve EVER visited.  That feeling is what draws me back year after year.

I have to be with the right people though too, however.  Fortunately, all of my friends share the same appreciation for Block.  I seem to attract people to my sphere who share similar traits.  I think ANY of my friends, even those who’ve never set foot on the island, would come to appreciate the feeling of peace that Block Island lends.

Another interesting fact regarding Sunday’s trip to BI and the people who went:
Put Tim and Jason and I in the same room and things can spiral down to the gutter pretty quickly.  Tim’s friends fit right in.

We were missing one and we kept telling Tim’s friends:
Holy cow if he was here things would be SOOOO much worse.
How could they be worse?  they wanted to know.  Oh trust us they’d get worse sooner.

It’s what I mean when I said we have to be with the right people.  It’s your friends that make anyplace worthwhile.  With the right group of friends anywhere can be heaven.  Block Island has ALWAYS been heaven for me because I choose the right people to go with.

Where is your place of peace?
Do you agree that the people you’re with can make the place?

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!

Chris

Who Motivates You?

For the past three weeks, I’ve been getting up an hour earlier three days a week, at 430 instead of 530 to walk three miles.  It has never been a challenge for me to get up because I have someone I walk with.  She motivates me to put my feet on the ground when that alarm wakes me from a sound and relaxing sleep.  It would be SO easy to turn the alarm off, roll over, grab my covers and fall back to sleep but the pressure of knowing I’ve made this commitment motivates me to get up.  I can honestly say that if I didn’t have a partner to walk with I wouldn’t be motivated to do so.  I’ve noticed progress too.

When we began walking a few weeks ago, it would take us about an hour to do three miles.  Last Friday (August 10) we shaved about ten minutes off our time and mph has been steadily increasing as well.  We started out walking between 3.5 and 3.75 mph.  On Friday (again the 10th) I noticed our mph was up to 4.1.  We’ve discussed looking for others to join us but if there is ONE thing about the two of us that is challenging it’s that we don’t like when someone is dragging us down.

In other words if someone is not keeping our pace we get agitated.  Personally, I know that if I’m out on my own and simply walking through town or walking ANYWHERE for that matter and if someone is in front of me and just taking their time and slowing me down, I can become quite frustrated, especially if I can’t pass them.  My normal gait, while not 4.1 mph is a bit faster than your average person and I REALLY get frustrated when someone is holding me back.

I think now that I’m actively walking three days a week and building up my endurance, my gait may pick up a bit more.  If that’s the case, I’ll have to be more cognizant of other people because I’ll naturally want to be walking at a quicker pace now that I’ve been able to build my overall endurance.

I notice now as I’ve been exercising on a more regular basis, the muscles in my legs are straining to keep up with my endurance.  They are aching a bit for the first few hours after I’m done.  That’s a good thing though, because it shows that I’m actually using them and as I walk more the ache will dissipate.

So who motivates you?
What are you doing to improve your own health?

Be Happy!  Be Well!  Be Positive!
Blessings to you.

Chris