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Monday, September 19, 2011

Score One for the Humans!

Monday again!  Funny how that happens!  No dog beach today because it's just too crappy out and Joey is here with me at the office, panting with excess energy.   He MUST be exercised hard every day to be OK.  We all have non-negotiable needs.  So this morning, some luscious quiet time reading at the crack of dawn while everything was quiet and the day and week was yet unsullied. Hope for a good day, a good week, a good season, a good life.  It all starts with a fresh Monday and self-forgiveness.   I was a jerk this weekend.

So this Willpower book - it may be the singularly most important book I have ever read, right up there with Younger Next Year.  It's not as much a self help book as it is hard science.  Once you understand why you do the things you do, what you are physiologically capable of, what the danger signs are, what strategies work when your will is compromised, you can probably make huge strides in your life. I will report more about this as I gain more insights.  Suffice to say you should run, not walk to your library or bookstore and get this book. Trust me on this one.  Willpower (Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength) by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney)

Thanksgiving is coming up in about 8 weeks.  I remember last year a promise I made to myself to shake things up this year - to do something entirely different.   I remember hating the rote, the same foods, the same rituals, cooking for three days only to have it devoured in minutes. And even though I'm a great cook, there is something so flawed with the Thanksgiving menu, something that has always bothered me.  You don't need teeth to eat it!  Everything is mush except for the turkey. Stuffing,mush.  Mashed potatoes, mush.  Sweet potatoes, mush.  Green bean casserole, mostly mush. Cranberry sauce, mush. Pumpkin pie, mush.  This year I've decided to do Thanksgiving on the Saturday before so I can cook for a house full of friends – family can be overrated at the holidays.  They will be in attendance but they will be on their best behavior!  And the food!  We’re going for crunch this year!

My friend Robin just sent me an article that has my head spinning.  We humans are amazing!

In just three weeks, online gamers deciphered the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stumped scientists for over a decade, and a study out Sunday says their breakthrough opens doors for a new AIDS drug design…..Looking for a solution, researchers at the University of Washington turned to Foldit, a program created by the university a few years ago that transforms problems of science into competitive computer games, and challenged players to use their three-dimensional problem-solving skills to build accurate models of the protein….."The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems," Khatib said.

Doesn’t this blow you away!   Score one for the humans!   I’ve been known to harbor grudges against inanimate objects and computers certainly fall into that category.   My friends still laugh at my reaction when a clumsy guest broke one of my precious crystal goblets that had been handed down to me by my mother.   Instead of being angry, I said, “Score one for the humans!”  It’s always bugged me that our possessions outlive us….it’s just not fair or right!   In the case of the goblet, that sucker met its demise before I did!  Ha!  Take that, you inanimate object!!!

I ramble today.   I’m feeling better, more positive.   Friend Victor came to the office today to help me get some forward momentum and it worked.  I’m feeling energized – his enthusiasm was palpable and just what I needed.   Plus I’ve been lonely lately, working alone – it was REALLY nice to work side by side with someone else.   And he’s mean!  A real nag!  And that’s perfect.

My challenge today is to do whatever I have to, to break the vicious software loop in my head that keeps my thinking circular and painful.   It can’t win, it mustn’t win.  Just like when I had a squirrel in my ficus tree in my bedroom, I will throw shoes and boots at it.  I will enlist the help of friends.  I will keep reading and writing.   Sooner or later I’ll find a chink in the circular thinking monster’s armor and I will break free and start seeing things in a different light.

Your challenge today could be to think about the upcoming holidays – if you’re Jewish the high holidays that are upon us.  If you’re not, then Thanksgiving which is really just weeks away.   Are you happy with how the holidays go?  Do you feel trapped in a script?   Can you take a dry eraser and just wipe the board clean and start afresh with a new approach?   We don’t have to eat turkey if we don’t want to.  We don’t have to purchase presents at Christmas.  We don’t have to spend time with relatives we may despise.  You don’t HAVE TO do any of it!!!   You can be a holiday maverick….let’s shake things up.


Picture is of my Thanksgiving table last year.  This year there won't be just mush!!!

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