Basketball Renaissance

Ugly. That’s how I’d describe my first time picking up and shooting a basketball in three years. Don’t get me wrong. It was lovely Summer day with a nice dose of heat and enough wind to keep it bearable.


My shot? Not so much. Back in Framingham, we had a Lifetime gym membership for about 18 months from 2016-2017. April would do her classes. I’d lift a little and then shoot baskets.


This went on for about three months. I’d gotten back into decent basketball shape for 50+ and my shot was better than ever. One night the 20 and 30-somethings playing full court in the other half of the gym needed a 10th.
I played Ok and started getting asked to play more often. Then we decided to cancel the gym membership and I hadn’t picked up basketball in over three years except to move it from one house to another.


So, I’ll be kind to myself. It was pretty windy today and by the end, there were a couple shots that felt good. So, even though ugly was the overriding word of the day, promising was the final word.


Basketball was once a very important part of my life. It was my favorite sport to play growing up and I hope I’ll be able to share the game with my grandkids. Just need to get that shot back first.

Hope you’re having an amazing Sunday. I know our lives aren’t what any of us want right now, but there’s joy, opportunity, and peace to be found even in these moments.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you’re awesome!

Ray

Eat Your Dessert First – Day 309 of 365 Days to a Better You

You should always listen to your grandmother. Mine once told me you should always eat dessert first…just in case.

Today we buried my father-in-law. He was a good man who, despite his many challenges, always brought a smile to other peoples’ faces. As I said my final goodbyes to him, my grandmother’s words came back to me. In fact, they took on a new and more profound meaning.

Sure, there’s the plain meaning of eat the chocolate cake before the meal. Who can argue with the wisdom of that?

What, though, if dessert is a metaphor for all the good and important things in life? What if eating your dessert first means spending the time now with the people you love? What if it means to stop putting off your most important goals and dreams? What if means to stop denying yourself meaningful experiences because you don’t have time or they cost too much? EAT YOUR DESSERT FIRST!

One day each of us will lay in that box with our friends and loved ones looking over us to say their goodbyes. Will your belly be full of all life’s mundane necessities or will your face be smeared with the chocolate frosting of a life well-lived? You’re making that decision now with every choice you make.

Hey, just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Have a great evening, my friends.

Ray

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Tug of War for Your Dreams – Day 257 of 365 Days to a Better You

Do you remember when you were a kid picking teams for a game in gym class? Imagine the game is tug of war. You’ve been selected as one of the captains. It’s 10 kids to a team, but you have 30 kids in your class. The other captain and you each pick your team of 10 and 10 kids are left out.

You line, grab the rope, and begin pulling. After a few seconds, the gym teacher tells two of the kids sitting out to join the other team. With the added help, they begin to pull your team toward defeat, but your team is tough and you manage to regain your footing and hold your ground.

The gym teacher tells two more kids to join the other team. Now, the other team is pulling you more rapidly toward defeat. Finally, the gym teacher has the rest of the kids join the other team. Your team collapses immediately and is dragged helplessly to defeat.

You jump up and scream, “That wasn’t fair!” You would, right? I mean 20 versus 10 is going to end only one way. If you’re the 10, it’s not good for you.

Now I want you to think about your life and your dreams. You are the captain of two tug of war teams – Team Dream and Team Doubt. These teams aren’t made of people. They’re comprised of your thoughts and feelings. They’re locked in an eternal struggle for the outcome of your dreams.

You begin the match with belief, confidence, action, determination, and vision on Team Dream. You start pulling and you’re starting to win, but it’s not happening as fast as you imagined. You start to feel the doubt creeping in and add a couple of new members to Team Doubt – “What if I’m not good enough?” “This is how things always go for me.”

You start to lose ground and you add a couple more members to Team Doubt. “Why can’t I win just this once?” “This isn’t fair.”

This process continues until your doubts drag your dream mercilessly through the mud. You’d like to jump up and scream, “That wasn’t fair,” but you did it to yourself.

This metaphor is a process the teacher Abraham Hicks calls Contrast. You have your thoughts, feelings, and actions aligned for success, but they’re met by an equal or superior force of countering thoughts, feelings, and actions pulling the other way. You wind up failing or at best in a stalemate.

Powerhack: Logic tells you there’s two ways to change the situation. You either have to provide more force behind your positive thoughts and feelings…which is not very efficient considering you probably were already pushing as much as you could. It’s more effective to clear the doubts and negative thoughts and feelings.

Some of the biggest doubts are what I’d term the journalist questions – who, what, where, when, and why, and how. It’s normal to wonder these things, but because you don’t have ready answers they all produce doubt.

You know you want to be a rock star, but you don’t have an answer to all the journalist questions. How do you proceed? STAY GENERAL and AVOID SPECIFICS. I know this sounds counterintuitive to your western-trained mind. Specifics become blockers and doubts. You get caught up in who, what, where, when, why, and how and you lose sight of and energy toward the goal.

Instead, simply hold the vision of the goal, line up the empowering thoughts, feelings, and actions and let God or the Universe handle the details. As you move along with this positive force toward your goal, the people, places, and situations you need will appear. Trust and allow. You don’t have to release every last bit of doubt. That wouldn’t be human. You simply need to give your positive energy the advantage in the tug of war.

As you release the energy of doubt and resistance, it’s like dropping weights from a hot air balloon, you’ll begin to rise. The more resistance you drop, the faster you’ll ascend.

When it comes to the tug of war for your dreams, simply stop putting members on Team Doubt.

Thank you all for reading and for the amazing support you’ve shown this blog this year. I’m grateful that you spend valuable time from your day here.

Ray

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Stop Skipping Self-Care – Day 256 of 365 Days to a Better You

You’re busy. You’re tough. You’ll just make it through the day on grit. You’ll put your family’s needs, your friends needs, your company’s needs before yours.

All of these are noble and needed sometimes. Sacrifice of your selfish ends for the greater good makes you the special person you are.

Here’s the rub. When you do that day after day, month after month, year after year; you lose perspective on the unequivocal fact that you’re only as good to others as you are to you.

You’ve got to stop skipping self-care and you’ve got to do it for yourself and for all those other people who rely on you. Some of these, honestly, I need to get better at too.

Here are some things you should take the time or make the time to do every morning to ready yourself for the day, for the service you render to others, for your goals and dreams.

  1. Gratitude– Wake up and say, “Thank you. Thank you for another day and another chance.” The late great Wayne Dyer commented many times on how he made this his first order of business each day. Begin in gratitude.
  2. Conscious showers – have e er taken a shower and gotten out only to realize you didn’t feel the drops because your mind had skipped ahead to your to-do list, your worries, or reliving the past? Your shower is one of your most personal and sacred times each day to be there for you or as Ram Das said, “Be here now.” Be conscious, feel each drop, relish in the experience. Be thankful that you have warm running water. Make it a few moments of your day you look forward to.
  3. Ready the body – take a walk, do some light exercise, stretch and prepare your body for the day.
  4. Ready the mind – pray, meditate, or say your affirmations. Set the mental tone for your day before your day sets it for you. You choose how you begin.
  5. Concretize it – journal your goals for the day or your goals for your life, blog, or make a video. Get your thoughts out of your head and put into the world. It’s the first step in realizing them.
  6. Feed the body – have a good breakfast. Take your vitamins. Take your meds. Give the body the fuel and nutrition it needs to get started and (yes, this means you, Ray) don’t skip meds, if you require them.
  7. Personal care – even if you’re not meeting the world right away, do your personal care routine just for you.
  8. Feed the mind– Listen to music or radio that inspires or fires you up. Watch a video. Read a blog or a book. Learn something. Take in some new information. Keep your mind expanding.
  9. Set the mood – whether you drive for a living, drive to an office or a worksite, or you work at home, do all you can to set a comfortable and inspiring environment for yourself. Place things that inspire you where you can see them.

It might seem like all of this will take too much time. By making the time for you a priority, you actually create a You with more to give than ever before.

Do you! Everyone else, as Oscar Wilde said, is taken.

Ray

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Your Ever-Ready Survival Pack – Day 255 of 365 Days to a Better You

Life, I think you’d agree, is not a straight line from here to there, from poverty to riches, from ignorance to enlightenment. It’s a gnarly, windy road that can lead you astray, if you let it. Being human, we often let it.

One of my all-tine favorite quotes is a simple piece of profound wisdom that can instantly act as a survival pack on that road you and I are walking. When all has gone off track, this quote gives you all you need to get restarted.

As with most useful quotes, it’s often changed and misattributed. It’s normally attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt or tennis great Arthur Ashe. The Roosevelt attribution is a little closer as the quote comes from his 1913 autobiography. However, he uses it quoting Squire Billy Widener.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.

Eleven words of sheer genius.

    It begins with do what you can. You don’t have pull off a miracle or make up 20 points on one play or change the world in an instant. Just do what you can.
    Next do it with what you’ve got. You don’t need obtain a Master’s degree or someone else’s approval or have more money in the bank to begin. You can begin with what you’ve got.
    Finally, do it where you are. You don’t need to wait for the perfect moment. You don’t need to undo what’s been done. You don’t need to move to a new city. You can start right where you are.

It all seems very simple, but how often do you and I place all kinds of conditions on beginning a change? We’re always looking for a better time, a better place, a better situation. Those are myths. They don’t exist or, if they do, you’ll wait your life away in the hope they might one day arrive.

You don’t need them. You have your ever-ready survival pack in this quote – Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are. You have permission to use it without orders from headquarters.

The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step, but the first step begins by beginning.

In case no one else has told you today, YOU are amazing! Rock on!

Ray

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