Archive for September, 2015

Football

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

celebrate-2014-11-21-at-2.45.34-PMAs a result of the Oklahoma game and after nearly sixty years, I have stopped watching or listening to University of Tennessee Football live. My nerves cannot take it. I now record the game while keeping up with the score on Twitter. That way I am not as emotionally involved and sleep better.

Another football change I have made in my life is my response to players who get a 15 yard penalty for celebratory behavior that the officials deem excessive.  Earlier this year after a celebration penalty I was particularly hacked off at the player’s lack of discipline. But as I continued to watch that game and think about the penalty, I thought of folks I’ve known who have missed much of what life has to offer them because of what I call “CDD”. Confidence Deficit Disorder is a malady that has paralyzed folks since the beginning of time. In stark contrast to adrenaline charged, showboating football players, people with CDD see themselves as lacking what it takes to measure up or as one down to everybody else.

The first case of CDD which I’m familiar was Moses of the Old Testament. God told him to lead the Israelites out of bondage and he immediately replied that he didn’t have what it takes. He asked God to find someone else.My mother didn’t learn to drive until she was in her fifties because she didn’t think she could do it.  Getting her to stop driving at age 87 was a different story. I dropped Speech 101 at UT several times because I didn’t think I could be successful as a speaker. I’ve known countless people who shortchanged themselves or nearly did because of a zillion imagined reasons.  I’ve come to realize that God can work through whatever we have and that each of us has more than enough. Perhaps showboating football players just express that realization in a different way.

Something to Think About

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

 

Seagulls

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

seagullsIn the spring I was on the beach watching the seagulls playing in front of me. They were getting along in remarkable harmony until I tossed out an apple core. Do not think I should have done that!  Immediately, the tranquility turned to hostility.  Every bird on the beach figured he/she had an exclusive right to my discarded red delicious. I know very little about ornithology so my seagull knowledge is pretty limited. However, it seems to me that seagulls share mankind’s “me and mine” mentality.  One of the first words a baby learns, shortly after “mama and dada”, is “me”. The “me default” remains for life; although, thankfully it often remains dormant.

We are self–center and greedy by nature. Greed has been one of mankind’s fatal flaws since before the Stone Age. Like seagulls we get along fine until the will is read or one of us gets a bit more —– more money, more house, more prestige, more recognition or more anything.  But once that happens, more often than not, all bets are off.  This is the point where the “me response” often explodes from dormancy like a ten megaton atomic bomb. Greed doesn’t just happen on Wall Street. It also happens on Main Street when folks make flawed decisions to buy more things we can’t afford or we allow our jealously to prompt us to attempt to snatch what belongs to someone else to our side of the beach. Either way, we are like seagulls fighting over the apple core. That is so sad because until my apple core plopped down the seagulls were just fine.

Something to thing about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

 

No Problem

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

problem-53e4bb8213dae92913df99ad8a28b5ea01974ac2-s900-c85There is a new business in my neighborhood called the “Anti Aging Center”.  I told my wife maybe we should drop in, but fortunately I will not need to go after all. I already feel ten years younger and it did not cost me a thing.  I finally did it! I’ve given in. I am now answering folks with the trendy “no problem” response.  A several years back the younger generation started wearing their caps backwards.  I sort of wanted to do it, but at my age I would look like an idiot. Actually I did try it once  in the  privacy of my own home and sure enough I looked almost cool.  But I was afraid Cathy might come in and catch me so I turned it around quickly.  But this “no problem” phenomenon is a different animal so I’ve decided to be a part of it and I already feel better.

I mean if someone is thirty-five or less NP flows from their lips like losing on West End. NP is spreading through our speech faster than global warming. It has become the chic slogan for younger hip folks. It is everywhere.  Like the waitress just brought me a Diet Coke refill; I said “thanks”. “No problem” she relied.

This morning at the “Y” I mentioned to the life guard that there was no steam in the steam room.  “No problem” she said. A while ago I rounded a corner in the hallway and almost had a head on collision with another gentleman.   “Excuse me”, I said.  He “no problemed” me without ever looking up from his phone.

Where did this “no problem” thing start anyway? I know they’ve been saying NP in Jamaica for a century, but this is way beyond that.  It has become a shorthand way of saying, it doesn’t matter. No big deal. It is OK. It will work out. Don’t worry about it.  No problem!  Obviously, the world is full of serious problems that do matter, but the truth is, in the grand scheme of things, many of my so called   “problems” are really no problem at all.

Something to thing about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

 

Coexisting

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Turtle-and-Alligator-animals-28905827-620-425During a trip to Florida we watched an alligator that was looking back at us from a small pond on the grounds of the condo.  Adjacent to the pond was a sign warning not to feed the alligator. As the gator stared back at us, with a look of heck with the sign toss me a hotdog, a turtle surfaced just a few inches from the gator’s well-endowed mouth.  I thought surely I was about to see the alligator enjoy the fresh catch of the day.  But that was not to be. The two coexisted as equals. The turtle wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the much larger alligator with his mouth full of pearly whites.

Of course, on paper the diminutive turtle was no match for the alligator; yet, he didn’t allow his smaller size to interfere with his breast stroke which he practiced with Olympic-like precision and determination. He didn’t cow down in fear and trembling to deny himself the benefit of exercise in the afternoon sunshine simply because the alligator was also there.  In short, the turtle held his ground and confidently did his thing.

There is a lesson there for us. I just got off the phone with a friend who is a drug addict.  He’s been in and out of jail.  My friend thinks that his feelings of inferiority fuel his addictive behaviors. He told me that he feels inferior and one down to just about everybody so he gets high in order to feel equal.  What a shame!

Many people, for a multitude of reasons, go through life feeling less than most everybody else.  In the past I have struggled with that myself.  Now, after lots of work, I realize that just like God created both the alligator and the turtle so did he create me and everybody else.  He put us all in the pond that we know as life. According to his perfect plan we are all equal. What makes the difference isn’t our looks, size, what happened yesterday or how we may feel, but what we choose to do with the opportunities that God gives us today.  I’ve always had a healthy respect for alligators, but I came away from the pond having learned more from the pint-sized turtle than from the more powerful gator.

Something to thing about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877

 

STOP!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

gumTime flies! It has been a year since my last visit with my ophthalmologist. I am currently cooling my heels in his waiting room again.  Other than the cataracts, that are not yet problematic, I expect the exam to be uneventful. The issue I have at the moment is that the lady across the way is popping her gum. I too can pop gum and do it rather loudly if I am trying to bug Cathy or Hudson. Having said that, I do realize that there is absolutely no reason in the world that the popping coming from the woman’s mouth should be such a big deal to me. In fact, I would not be surprised if gum popping is protected by first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  If she wants to pop her Trident that is her prerogative. I do recognize her right. So I have a couple of options:

1…I can go over there and ask her to knock it off.

2…I can choose to ignore it.

Considering the last time that I confronted a woman things quickly went south, I have chosen option two. I’m going to ignore the “Queen of Pop” by choosing not to think about the excruciating torment coming from her mouth. Option number two most always works. Not only does it work on gum poppers, but it also works on bitterness, fear, worry, guilt, hurt, doubt and many other of life’s problematic scenarios.  I have figured out that I have a lot more choice over life’s situations than I previously realized.

What I mean by “not thinking” is to not let myself obsess on the problem.  If I do not consciously fixate on her popping the gum then it does not bother me. It is as if she is just silently chewing like the rest of the world.  Lately, I have been honing my “do not think” approach with rather dramatic results. Whenever I catch my obsessive mode kicking in, I silently say “stop”.  If that doesn’t work I say it out loud. Sometimes I have to say “stop” quite a bit each day. Some days I have to scream it. Of course I cannot do that in this case; she might come over and slap me.  The bottom line is each of us has ample God-given control over how much emotional energy we choose to expend on such issues as gum poppers and the like. As a rule, the less energy spent the better the quality of life.

Something to think about

The online version of my book for free Unscrewed: Becoming Whole Again. My personal story of abuse, shame, guilt, addiction, failure,rehab and victory. http://johngouldener.com/?page_id=3877