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Monthly Archives: November 2020

On any given day, you will find me randomly humming, beatboxing or singing parts of a song that somehow crept into my subconscious. The annoying part for those around me is that it’s just a snippet – and that snippet is repeated on a semi-regular endless loop.

But it has to come out – and it doesn’t matter where I am. I mean, I can stop myself if I am at a funeral or a wedding – or an otherwise important meeting where I don’t want people to see how I really am. But those moments are, thankfully, few and far between – so I basically do this with impunity. Even at work.

But I have recently made a personal observation – and it hit me out of nowhere…

When I am going through some sort of mental or emotional issue – or if something is weighing on my mind or I am uncomfortable – it’s like a switch goes on and the singing ramps up. That realization hit me out of the blue, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t true.

It’s like a car in neutral.

I have already said I do this anyway, but it’s more intense in these cases – like sending up a flare or a mayday call.

My brother has a really cool song called “In Distress.”

I believe the endless-loop-singing stops if I make a decision or take action. I will be on the lookout for evidence of this.

But – what about the singing when all is well?

Sorry not sorry. That ain’t gonna stop.

What do you do to cope?

Photo by Clement Eastwood on Pexels.com

I had an idea for a song come to me last night, complete with a hook and a melody. It came on strong, like ideas usually do, when I was engaged in doing something else.

In this case I was getting ready to brush my teeth.

I usually hum or sing random verses from songs many times during the day on some sort of endless loop – usually only part of a certain song – and it drives my girlfriend crazy. It’s probably some sort of sickness, but I have long since embraced it.

It has to come out, though.

But when this song idea came to me – I immediately started softly singing the lyric piece with the melody that was presented to me, and I was confronted by a choice soon afterwards: Go record it on my phone or wait until morning to capture it.

I grabbed my phone, rushed into my office and recorded what I had.

Without exception, that choice is always the correct one – and this could apply to anything from a story idea to a business concept, a personal development epiphany to a plan for your home.

The key is to strike while the proverbial iron is hot.

How many ideas do we let pass through our consciousness in any given day – only to ignore them or suffer from the delusion that we will remember them because they are “so good…”

These ideas – these flashes of inspiration – are gifts presented to us in the moment. Claim them while you can!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

There’s a Bible verse about worry, to the effect that each day has its own trouble and that we shouldn’t entertain thoughts about what drama tomorrow might bring.

It’s Matthew 6:34:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” [NIV]

I have also seen or heard riffing about the fact that a large percentage of the things we worry about never come to pass. It’s all in our heads…

Here’s some input from 16th century French essayist Michel de Montaigne:

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”

I have written here before about my moments of mountains-out-of-molehills, worst-case-scenario thinking that runs counter to my predilection for personal development – and I know that concocting scenarios can come to no good end. At best, this thinking saps my energy and makes for a “blah” day. At worst, I might be summoning a wave of negative energy that could be very difficult to quell.

Which brings me to a contrasting question:

When something good happens in your life – especially something that you have been wishing, hoping and praying for – how does that make you feel?

It could be something as simple as an unexpected check that covers an overdue bill, a passing grade on a daunting test, a phone call you have been waiting for – or as dynamic as a job offer from the ideal employer or a much-needed reconciliation.

When cool things happen like that, I feel a rush of joy, well-being and gratitude.

It’s important to be grateful.

If you are like me, you have experienced so many wonderful and serendipitous moments in your life – so many blessings – that, in the moment, you know these to be brushes with divinity.

I have experienced too many of these “God moments” to ignore them. That being said, however, why do we sometimes have trouble realizing that the “troubles of the day” can be met and overcome by the same cosmic presence?

Memory is a funny thing.

If we know that many of our worries never come to pass and that we have experienced examples of what I’ll call divine providence, why is it so easy to revert back to limiting beliefs and overthinking?

I want so much to remember once and for all that we have the power to choose our responses to any situation. We have complete control in this realm, whether we believe that in the moment or not.

Take it from the “Father of American Psychology,” William James:

“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”

Yes, please.

My Scribbles

An item I have had on my master list for far too long is one called “notebook review.”

I keep a journal also, and try to make at least one entry a week, usually on Sundays when I am planning the coming week. But my notebooks are separate from the journal.

I also maintain and contribute to an “editorial bible” – basically an ongoing log in Word of anything that strikes me as a story idea, a suitable blog post, song idea or potential action item.

A lot of them suck, but still.

The “notebook review” idea is this: Flip through my old notebooks in an orderly fashion. If something jumps out at me, I will then expand on these things or flag them for action in my current notebook. Some of these items would then go into the “master list,” others would get fleshed out in the editorial bible – or as talking points for my podcast with my brother.

There are song idea fragments all over the place, too.

I remember once listening to filmmaker Robert Rodriguez the Tim Ferriss Show podcast – talking about his compulsive notetaking and  his methodical way of indexing them for easy retrieval. While I’m not ready for such an arduous process of organization, I know that there is potential “gold in them hills.”

I believe that my plan of carrying forward the worthy items is a good way to eliminate the dross and revisit the good stuff.

Although I love the idea of things like Evernote, OneNote, Dropbox, et. al., I am still somewhere in that anteroom between paper/pen and technology.

The tactile response to scribbling – and that hand-to-eye-to-brain connection – is hard to quit.

Photo: Josh Bell

On an otherwise awesome trip to Asheville, somebody jacked my favorite hat.

I wouldn’t even consider myself a hat guy, but this one fit me right – and the brim was bent just how I wanted it….

And now it’s gone.

Am I really grieving the loss of a hat?

It was made well, a Legacy baseball cap, grayish dark brown with the words TINDER BOX (I work there) emblazoned on the front. It was my go-to whenever I reached for a cap on the way out…

…and it was almost like a signature or calling card.

I have many other caps – and some have emotional significance for me. I want to treasure a couple of them into my old age – like the Marine Dad cap my son gave me or the College of Charleston Dad cap from my daughter.

Why – oh why did I take it off when I was checking in at our hotel? Why didn’t I just leave the thing on instead of laying it on the front desk? Thing is, I wasn’t even gone ten minutes until I realized I had left it there and went down to check on it.

I asked – and the manager (I think) told me he hadn’t seen it and “maybe it’s in the car.” The guy who checked me in remained quiet.

My girlfriend thinks his answer was a little too quick.

But of course there’s no way to prove who took it – and it’s astonishing in this age of COVID-19 that anybody would be interested in somebody else’s hat.

Maybe somebody else took it while they were checking in.

This was one of my “overthinking” moments – creating a veritable game of Clue in my head, all the while knowing that I would never get it back.

The hat was old, but it was cool – but it was my hat. The sense of violation and loss about this was acute for a couple of days. Now, it just stings a little.

So long, my friend.

It’s Election Day, and I voted.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Thankfully, the lines were not long at my polling place – and my girlfriend and I got in and out in just about an hour.

Certain figures would have you believe that some Americans are more American than others, but I don’t buy into the jingoistic claptrap intended to define what a “real American” is.

This country is far too diverse for that kind of pigeonholing.

I remember an exchange from the Blake Edwards film, “Victor/Victoria,” in which Julie Andrews (playing a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman) is talking to James Garner (playing a Chicago mobster) about real men and what is expected of them.

Here’s a screen grab of the quote from www.moviequotes.com:

See where I’m going with this? Just replace “man” with “American” and you get the idea.

And don’t get me started on the whole patriot thing. I love my country. Don’t presume that you love it more than I do. I’m every bit as American as you are, and you ain’t Paul Revere.

As I go through my day, I am subjected to the aggressive opinions of others with no regard for what I might or might not believe and whether or not those opinions are solicited – or a wink-wink, nudge-nudge from folks I might never have met before, as if I’m being vetted for membership in some sort of club I have no intention of joining.

It’s astonishing, this us-and-them mentality on crass display for all to see from people who really should know better – and clearly from those who do not.

What ever happened to keeping religion and politics out of general conversation? Can we vote on that?