This ones all on you

There have been too many times in my life when I refused to forgive someone for a wrong that I perceived they had done to me. Looking back I cannot recall a single time where not forgiving the person helped me, or played to my advantage. I like to compare nature to the human existence because regardless of how superior humans feel, we are a tiny part of the universe.

The grass doesn’t bemoan the weather during a drought and scheme to get even. Even animals that are low on the food change do not resent the predators who thin the tribes of lesser species. Somehow nature installs a cycle in these non human animals and plants that has no resentment or anger. Both sentiments would be counter productive to existence.

So why do we as the superior species allow hatred and resentment to adversely alter the course of our daily existence? There are no positive results from hatred. There is nothing to be gained from resentment. The satisfaction of “getting even” is an empty and fleeting emotion that ultimately leaves us far worse physically and spirituality.

Perhaps the greatest gift that humans posses is the gift of choice. To some extent we are free to choose where we live, who we befriend and with whom we will procreate and start a family. Every day is filled with hundreds of small choices that ultimately determine the path of our day and cumulatively the path of our lives.

The ultimate gift of choice is that we can decide to assign our own meaning to the things we do and the things that happen to us. Now, when wronged by another, I do my best to realize it is an opportunity for personal growth. I do my best to forgive and move on. If I wronged another I apologize sincerely and absolutely. If I receive a sincere apology I decide to forgive and give the relationship a second chance. If my apology to another is not accepted I move on. The satisfaction is not in being forgiven it’s knowing that we were truly sorry and that we will do our best going forward. It’s much like the grass on the prairie forgiving the drought knowing the next gentle cool rain will rectify any wrong.

If we refuse to forgive, it’s all on us..

Solar cells vs fiber optic internet access

When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material to produce electricity. This process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) is called thephotovoltaic (PV) effect.

Even it’s staunchest critics will acknowledge that solar energy is beginning to experience exponential growth,

I found a recent estimates that predict that only one percent of homes worldwide use solar cells to generate electricity. That clearly is a very insignificant number and not necessarily god news, unless you are in the business of selling solar. For these companies the opportunity would seem to be endless.

Comparatively 18% of homes had internet access in 1997. Like solar, early adapters paid a premium compared with prices a few years later. As of April of this year it is estimated that well over half of the population in developed countries have internet access.

However, internet is at it’s lowest price point in history and high speed internet access does not generate a passive cost reduction or income generating cash flow. Solar power does. With an average installed system cost of $30,000 a market penetration of 10% would result in three hundred million dollars.

How local 88 saved my life

The beginning of the union movement began with sporadic degrees of success in the late 19th century. While most failed the ideals and philosophy though rare, still exist. Unions have helped countless folks over the years. My father was the president of his independent chemical workers union where he worked. He fought hard for the members and was passionate about his role. He was so good that the company promoted him to a management, no overtime position. Eventually he sat on the other side of the table from his brethren. It made him feel sick often.

On March the first of this year I had a heart attack. On May the fifth I had two life threatening seizures. Without great insurance through my union I would have never gone to a hospital and likely would have died. On Friday I picked up refills for ten separate medications and my out of pocket cost is $87.

So thanks local 88 and special thank to John Byrd. You would have loved to get acquainted with my dad. For now we have a few more hills to climb.

What is a metaphorical big picture….

Quick research will show that about 105 billion births have taken place since 50,000 years BC. Similar research estimates world wealth at
 $280,000,000,000,000.  Yes, that’s 280 trillion dollars.

Why even mention goofy numbers like those? Because numbers matter and weave through every fabric in the universes. Moreover, numbers may be the single best way to provide a measure of objectivity. Perception is generally greater than reality except in the world of numbers. We can argue about the art of a Beatles song but 10 paints a reasonable picture when we rate or test anything. Dad, I got all ten of the questions on my biology quiz right. That’s 100% and counts for 20% of my grade.

Everyone can understand most things when represented by a number. It is the original way of sparing judgement. A movie can be perceived to be great or terrible but 10 out of ten is 100% in any language.

So why do we humans struggle getting past a 15% tip for a good haircut? I recently got my hair shingled for $12. When I gave my stylist a $3 tip she almost didn’t accept it. I once was but am no longer wealthy but a nice tip is a random act of kindness that multiplies and will have the power to change the world rapidly.

So when you have a hard time extricating a dollar from your pocket for your pitcher of beer. Remember that in the big picture of 105 billion people and $280 trillion that thee quarters, two dimes and a nickel aint the big a deal unless your a single mom with a four your old child.

Moreover $120 to a company that generates about $10,000,000+ a year in revenue shouldn’t be a big deal. But it takes years of experience to learn how to metaphorically paint the big picture…albeit worth it. Go give your waitress the dollar.

The nice thing is when someone who seemingly does not want to help eventually decides to help.

Working for companies that are passionate about exceeding customer expectations.

A few of us with long careers have had the privilege of working for outstanding businesses. Albeit with few exception; my list starts with very difficult manual labor jobs at three unrelated golf courses. I took my first real job at a course in St. Charles, Missouri when I was 14 years old.

Two of the courses are thriving today with loyal memberships. Both courses have a thriving membership and make frequent improvements. Bogey Hills in St. Charles, and Kirksville Country Club exceed employee and customer’s expectations.

Today I work at a regional grocery chain at a beautiful store that constantly strives to exceed customer expectations. This is true of all of their stores with no exceptions. There is a certain amount of adrenaline that happens when exceeding customers expectations. Lately I have been consuming too much caffeine which is not necessary when working for a great company. Withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant and unproductive.

It should come as no surprise that Schnucks takes great care of their employees. Including providing great medical coverage that likely has saved my life twice. On March the first I had a heart attack, and on May the fifth I had two seizures. Had I not worked for Schnucks; it is highly likely that I would have not gone to the emergency room.

I’m not a meat clerk. I’m the most important connection to customers and an outstanding meal. Maybe it’s a child getting nutrition to be healthy and be attentive at school, can also include a private get together of two or more friends, family reunions, birthdays, weddings and sadly funerals. If we are upbeat and helpful the meal may even taste better. It is our goal to do such a great job that the customer wouldn’t think of going to another store or buying a hot dog at QT….. it happens…and time flies by so eight hours feels like 40 minutes..it happens

Standing inside the fire……

In the Garth Brooks song, “Standing Outside The Fire” Garth paints a picture of the difference between risk takers and those who play it safe.

Playing it safe can apply to many aspects of life including love, business and stretching the limits of human existence. At least that’s my bipolar interpretation of the lyrics of his wonderful song. Many times I’ve referenced how being manic likely has played a big role in the progress of man’s brief time on earth.

Fire is one of the only elements that has many wonderful and many dangerous qualities. From a negative but realistic perspective fire can burn forests, animals, ignite dangerous chemicals, accelerate bullets often used to kill or injure humans and create poison gases that destroy any living thing either plant or animal. No living thing can survive the flames or poisonous gases created by fire. Hence, approaching a flame or experimenting with the combustible qualities of fire is always a risk that may result in injury or death.

However, fire also cooks our food and makes it safer to consume in most cases. It also heats our home, propels vehicles, allows us to mold metal, light dark places, accelerates ammunition from a gun which we sometimes use to hunt food, and even makes celebrations more memorable with breathtaking fireworks.

We all have the ability to metaphorically start our own fires. Many times I’ve personally created personal fires that have burned or smothered me mentally and financially. I’ve also approached the flames of an opportunity that has potential rewards but also hold the risks of embarrassing failures.

I’m inherently a risk taker especially when it comes to business. I crave playing with the flames that ignite opportunities with the potential for huge rewards. Right now I need to find ways to be a bit safe while attacking exciting opportunities with a certain degree or risk.

However, I also need to approach relationships that have the potential for infinite upsides. I’ve recently begun to do this with very nice results.

What fires will you light in 2016? Remember, with no fire there is no light, no warmth, no spark and no positive mental explosion that each of us need to propel our lives in a positive direction.

If you’re bipolar you’ve been here; “The Twilight Zone”

Growing up like most kids I watched a lot of TV. Since we didn’t get our first color television until I was in my teens most of what I watched as a kid was in black and white. There were many, many great shows and I wish I could remember them all. The Sunday tradition at our home was to watch The Wonderful World of Disney, followed by Bonanza and then The Carol Burnett Show. All of us gathered around the TV in our living room. It was a nice period of my life that gives me great memories.

One of the shows that fascinated me was The Twilight Zone. The show was on TV in prime time from 1959 to 1964. It was written and produced by Rod Serling. Because I was born in 1961 I watched the reruns as an adolescent. It was a half hour show about some very strange things. The episodes might include a bit of drama, science fiction, fantasy and psychology anomalies and horror. Looking back I found most of the stories interesting but I was very young and I didn’t always understand the message or the point of the story. I saw the details, understood the words and could see the body language of the actors but most of the time I just didn’t get it. It was strange to like a show that I just didn’t understand.

I’m going through many changes in my life right now. All of them have been initiated by me either consciously or subconsciously. I referenced The Twilight Zone because it is the only analogy I can use to describe my emotions the last few days and right now. I’m not feeling joy or sorrow but there is a low hum of anticipation about the new events I will be managing and experiencing.

I’m enjoying being in a neutral emotional state. It feels safe because when I’m depressed there’s agony and when I’m manic there’s danger. However because I’m bipolar I know it will soon change. For now I guess I’ll just enjoy being in my personal Twilight Zone.

What’s the worst part of Bipolar Disorder…it’s the guilt

As mentioned in a recent post I once again find myself unemployed. I don’t want this and I know it serves to make my condition worse. Looking back I know that the happiest periods of my life where when I was working hard and feeling productive.

When I was 14 I started working at a local golf course. I made $1.25 an hour to pick weeds, change cups on the greens and push a lawn mower. My first paycheck was $45 and it seemed like a lot of money at the time. The best thing this job did for me was it allowed me to play free golf which I did every day after working eight hours from 5:00 AM until 1:30 PM. I ultimately worked at two other golf courses doing the same job. The money I made gave me independence and enabled me to play a lot of golf guilt free.

I’ve always worked hard and I’m proud of that. With few exceptions I’ve been able to work more hours than my peers and I leave no regrets for having done this. After college when I was productive at a job, working hard and earning money I had little guilt spending money to do a few things to take care of myself. These jobs allowed me to be a member at some nice country clubs, play in some great tournaments and travel to wonderful places.

I think the hardest thing about being bipolar and struggling to keep a job is the tremendous guilt I feel for not being productive. The thought of going to a movie or spending a few dollars to hit a bucket of golf balls is seldom worth the guilt I feel for spending the little money I have coming in to do something I enjoy.

There are other things that trigger guilt with my condition. Sometimes I feel guilt because somehow I wonder if I had done things differently would I even be bipolar. I feel guilt because I need more help than I used to when I was productive and making money. I feel guilt because I know I’m a burden on people who depend on me. I feel guilt because I know I’m causing friends and family to worry.

When I’m thinking clearly I believe that feeling guilt is not productive for me or those who care for me. It also makes me less productive. When I’m strong I can forget the guilt and be a little happier.

So if you’re struggling with any kind of mental illness let go of your guilt and accept help. I do believe that accepting help benefits me and the people that truly care about my well being.

I also believe that I will be productive and independent again and forgetting my guilt will take less effort. I think the same is possible for each of you but if it never happens, let go of your guilt. The condition you have is real and it affects all of our productivity from time to time.

Q&A

Here are a few answers to common questions I’ve received since February?

Q. What blog format do you use?
A. I use WordPress and I could not be happier with their platform. I would compare it to Microsoft Word
combined with PowerPoint. It gives me the ability to compose with a spellcheck, insert media, choose
a template and many other things.

It also give me the ability to track how many words I’ve written, how many visitors I’ve had and a
map showing where my visitors come from. In short it is an amazing tool. I cannot compare it to
other blog formats because it is the only one I’ve used.

Q. Are there any other sites that provide similar content to mine?
A. I’m sure there are but I have not researched them.

Q. How long have I been blogging?
A. Since February of 2015.

Q. How do I get myself centered or prepared to blog?
A. If I have a though that i feel i need to share I begin writing it as soon as I have the time.

Q. Do I have issues with plagiarism or people stealing my ideas.
A. If I do I’m not aware of any. However, it wouldn’t bother me if I did. My goal is not to make money
its to help, educate and entertain them.

Q. Do I have issues with spammers?
A. Yes and it is my only real frustration with blogging. I probably get 100 or more spam comments each
day and it is very time consuming to sift through which comments are spam and which comments are
real.

Q. Do I have security issues?
A. To date I’ve had none that I’m aware of. My site is password protected.

Q. What is my contact information?
A. The best way to reach me is via my email which is rhercules1961@gmail.com. I respond to all
messages.

Q. How do I get my site to load so fast?
A. I have no doubt it results from the quality of Go Daddy’s hosting facilities.

Q. Did creating my site require an special coding?
A. No, for lack of a better term, WordPress is plug and play.

Q. How does someone subscribe to my RSS feeds?
A. At this point I’m not sure and I apologize for not answering this before. I will look into it
soon and amend this post when I have that done.

Q. Do I have any special training in this area?
A. I do not, I simply write what I feel and believe. I’m not a licensed therapist.

Q. Have I thought about adding more media or using more creative titles?
A. Yes, I do this all of the time. I’m adding more videos and pictures regularly.

Q. Is it okay to put a link to my site on your site?
A. Absolutely and i would be honored if you did that?

I will continue to update this post as I receive more questions. Thanks for all of these great questions.

rhercules1961@gmail.com

How I pray….

I hope it is obvious from many of my articles that I am a spiritual person. However, I try to emphasize that I do not believe there is only one true religion. Much like the teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, I believe faith in a “higher power” is helpful. I will share that it has been for me and I hope and believe it will continue to be that way.

I recently and once again have been experiencing a few hardships. As is usually the case they have been brought upon by me and by my bad decisions. Nonetheless, they are still real and hurt every bit as much as any random or uncontrollable malady. On Thursday night of last week I woke up in the middle of the night with severe back pain. It was so intense that I couldn’t position my body to make it go away or even lesson it.

I was terrified with the thought of this condition becoming chronic. It would have meant that I couldn’t work, play golf or some day hold a grandchild. I got to my knees and prayed. I simply thanked my higher power, for me it’s Jesus Christ, that I knew he would see me through.

I ultimately found the strength to drive myself to the hospital. The doctor and nurses took great care of me. After about two hours they diagnosed my pain as a spasm even though they originally believed it was a kidney stone. My wonderful sister picked me up and drove me home. Later in the day I made my way to the pharmacist and was given a few mild pain relievers and muscle relaxers. As of this post I am pain free without medication.

I’m so very blessed to live in a place where there are hospitals and talented people to take care of me. I’m also blessed to have a higher power that guided me through the process to get well. After I said a prayer of thanks I felt a calm come over me and it seemed easy to know what each next step should be.

When I pray I say a prayer of thanks because I know my personal higher power will always give me what I need to make it. Maybe it’s not always enough to thrive but I think that part is up to me.