Day 8 of 14 - Two Days of Exquisite Hell Ahead

I am actually looking forward to working on the next paper I have due for graduate school in Marriage and Family Therapy. What I am not looking forward to is pounding it out over the next two days. The actual pounding is going to be excruciating and strenuous. But off I go...

This paper is not an assignment I can get an extension on because we have to present it during class on Friday evening. It is what it is. I have learned not to stress it, just do my best.

On the bright side, I finished a shorter paper in another class today. It was a minority immersion experience for my diversity class. I went to the Sikh Temple near my house a few Sundays ago and participated in their religious service. Although I was a minority guest, it was a very enjoyable time and everyone was really nice. There was great music and they served Indian food afterward.

KEYWORDS: graduate school, lifestyle coaching, diversity, minority immersion, sikh temple, indian food, health and wellness


Day 6 and 7 of 14 - Powerslave

As you can tell by the title of this post, I missed a day. That's because I was furiously trying to pound out the massive final paper that was due in one of my grad school classes today.

And damned if, against all odds, I somehow pulled it off. It even turned out halfway decent.

That being said, I am still deep in the Herculean battle to get through this semester in one piece, and I shall find no respite for at least another week.

I can't quit now though. I have worked too hard and invested too much. I am way past the point of no return, and I am unleashing the dogs of brainpower for the final mad push through to the end. Across the finish line is a much needed and deserved tropical vacay to Hawaii. Actually, I get this reward no matter what happens, but it will be all the more glorious when victory is MINE!


Day 5 of 15 - Isolation and Sequestration

I'm in my study studying, which means I'm in our guest bedroom on the comfy bed with my laptop on my lap. Today is the mad push to finish my big paper due on Tuesday. I feel pretty good about it. In a few minutes I'll begin pounding through a couple of papers I need to extract information from and reference in the paper. I plan to write the paper as a series of short vignettes, in keeping with the meta theme of the paper, which has to do with the narrative model of family therapy.

It's nearly 2:30 PM on Sunday, November 26. Deborah and I went to the gym at noon. Once again, I emerged from the experience saturated with endorphins and enkephalins. This "runner's high" resulted from a combination of 40 minutes on the exercise bike and another 15 minutes swimming laps in the olympic lap pool. I am going to exploit this quasi-euphoric state to pound out the bulk of the rough draft of my paper. That's the plan anyway.

I'm still not sure how this blog is going to factor into my presentation on the subject matter that follows a week after the paper is submitted. I'm kind of hoping that matter will resolve itself by way of these daily journal entries.

KEYWORDS: lifestyle coaching, health, fitness, fat burning, aerobics, swimming, wellness, runner's high, endorphins, enkephalins


Day 4 of 14 - M'Studies

Deborah and I went to the gymnasium for a workout after our morning meditation (and my coffee). I only spent 30 minutes on the exercise bike, rather than my usual 45 to 60 minutes, but this was because we decided to spend part of our gym time (~20 minutes) swimming in the lap pool.

Swimming is an amazingly good workout, as qualitatively measured by how much I perspired and the endorphin high I felt after getting home from the gym and starting on the massive paper I have due in one of my classes on Tuesday. As ridiculously stressful as this assignment is, it was powers of magnitude nicer to work on it in the quasi-euphoric, post-exercise state.

I pretty much did school work the rest of the day, taking a long "self-care" break in the late evening to eat and chillax a bit with Deborah. I wrapped it up around midnight. However, because I was still pretty amped up from the mental effort of the research paper, I meditated with Deborah for the second time today to wind down.

KEYWORDS: meditation, swimming, wellness, fitness, runner's high, endorphin high, exercise, bicycling, lifestyle coaching, marriage and family therapy


Day 3 of 14 - Black Friday Respite

I had planned to make this third day of my final fortnight of my first semester of grad school a powerhouse study day, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

Notwithstanding that it is the end of November in Wisconsin, the weather outside is a relatively balmy 60 degrees and sunny. This offers a rare opportunity for me to take care of some yardwork, which I should complete by the time dusk falls and Deborah gets home from work, at which time we plan to go to the gym.*

So my big grad school assignments will have to be put on hold for today and I will redouble my efforts on those tomorrow and Sunday.

*Note: I am predicting that the gym will be crowded today for a couple of reasons. First, the gym was closed yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday, so the muscle dysmorphs will be jonesing to get in there. Second, I suspect a lot of people will be "guilt exercising" after gorging themselves on all manner of foodstuffs during said holiday, per tradition. I will let you know the outcome...


Day 2 of 14: Dark Chocolate Truffles

It's day 2 of my mad fortnight of studying as I pound out the remainder of this semester in graduate school.

The next 3 days are mission critical. However, today was what we call in the marriage and family therapy vernacular, "a self-care day." It was, after all, Thanksgiving, the holiday in which millions of turkeys are slaughtered so Americans can fatten themselves beyond the boundaries of human decency. It made sense to give myself this day for mental preparations.

The day unfolded in a fairly un-American way, for me. I woke up about 11 AM, having slept close to 10 hours last night. I drank my coffee and prepared a breakfast of Cheerios cereal with unsweetened organic almond milk (*and a Trump supporter's puppy died*), supplemented with raw pecans (*a White supremacists Christmas tree caught on fire*) and fresh raspberries (*a malignant testicular cancer cell just settled some prime real estate in an Alabama Republican U.S. Senatorial candidates's brain*). What can I say? A man's gotta eat healthy and everything in the Cosmos is interconnected: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Deborah and I watched a few episodes of season 6 of Homeland, getting me caught up in anticipation for the next season, which starts in January-ish. About mid-afternoon, we got together with the handful of Deborah's family that's still in town and played Yahtzee as we snacked on microwave popcorn (*George H.W. Bush squeezed someone's butt cheek*). Returning home, we fed our dogs and watched an interesting (though neither good nor bad) art film with Richard Gere in it, called The Dinner.

I ate a couple of dark chocolate truffles. Then I wrote this blog post, because it is part of my big final presentation in one of my classes. If you leave a comment below, you might be in it.

The End.


Day 1 of 14: The Big Push

My first semester of my third foray into grad school is entering its final fortnight. I have two pound out two big papers and one small one, take two (albeit open book) finals, and give a 30 minute presentation in one of my classes summing up everything I have learned and internalized.

So after tomorrow's Thanksgiving holiday, which will be a school-work free self-care day to revitalize my knowledge-fatigued brain and replenish my body, I will settle in for a mad push to the finish line.

I have been a little astounded at how well I have been doing in my classes in the Marriage and Family Therapy clinical masters program at Edgewood College. Granted, I have been doing the work, but half the time I feel like I have no idea what I am doing. That being said, I am trusting in the process, as our professors advise. This has required me to have considerable faith in the program and in myself, neither of which I am particularly fond of or used to. I appear to be a "natural" at this field, a trend I hope continues through this semester and the rest of the two year program.
Stay tuned for updates and follow my progress. This blog may feature in my aforementioned 30 minute presentation.

Wake Up

Yes. Maybe. Probably.


Keywords: coffee, health benefits of coffee, strongest coffee


Multiverse (Flash Fiction)

"We have a problem," Zorgoth said as she rushed into my office.

"Don't say that," I said, swiveling around in my chair and giving her my desperate plea face.

"We need more planets," she said. "The Cosmic Consciousness just experienced unexpected inflationary growth and threatens to quantum tunnel if we don't channel it somewhere."

"What about Earth?" I asked. "Still room for a couple billion more free living consciouses, no?"

"They aren't breeding bioforms there fast enough," Zorgoth said. "Restricted holism."

"@#$%," I swore. "Can we dial down free will there?"

"Negative, Sir," she replied. "The principle sentient life form is aquatic and uses principally sonar, so predestiny is static."

"Hand it off to R and D then," I replied. "See if we have budget for primordial soup on Alpha Centauri Beta."

"Yessir," Zorgoth replied and left.

I swiveled back around and interfaced with my sentience on Vega 5.

Waking from a dream Faith rolled over to face her lover, Hope. Her wife was mumbling in her sleep: "Hmmm fudge factor...grrm...oscillating multiverse...hrrm...big bang next time..."

Plowing Papers

I plowed through some big grad school assignments this past weekend, putting myself ahead of the game. In addition to granting me a small time window to write a gratuitous blog post, I also had a few thoughts about productivity and resistance that I deemed pertinent to my readers and advanced lifestyle coaching clients.

I am fully capable of pounding out challenging work, especially if I am passionate about it. That being said, I often experience was is called "resistance" in the parlance of lifestyle coaching. It's basically that force that works against us sitting down to plow through the hard work, even when we want to do it and know we must. Certainly, most of you know this feeling. Maybe you don't experience this, and if not, I envy you...no need to read further.

If you are like me though, in order to settle in for some deep work, you first have to punch through this resistance. It's easy to procrastinate or find something easier to do. In fact, it's sometimes good to procrastinate, as long as you still hit your deadlines on time. After all, starting on a project too soon can be as bad as starting too late. You may not yet have information you need, and why prolong your stress over a few weeks when you can cram it into just a few days of plowing. That being said, the time comes when the work has to be done...how do you overcome the resistance?

I have rituals in place to help me overcome resistance to school work. I always allow myself at least a couple hours in the morning to ramp up for it. I drink coffee and mill about. I meditate. If I am able to get to work before noon, that's success. Once I settle in and start working, it's not an issue. I get into the groove pretty quick. It's just that transition period between chilling in the morning and working in the afternoon that's hard. So I just punch it in the face and start.

I usually commit to no more than four hours per day of deep work, because that's about all my mind (and most peoples') can handle. It's a potent and productive block of time. Plus, I have class in the evenings for three hours, so if I start working at noon...do the math. After about five hours, you don't get any return on your investment of time and effort. It's best to stop when you hit this point. If I do need to do more than four or five hours of work in a day, I break it up, taking at least a two hour break between work sessions to revitalize my brain power, usually spent at the gym to boost my natural endorphins.

Keywords: deep work, resistance, productivity, lifestyle coaching, plowing


A Long Overdue Update

Hello Dear Readers.

Sorry for the long delay in writing. As you know, I went back to graduate school this semester for a clinical Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. On the one hand its been great. I am learning a ton and the program faculty are amazing. Conversely, due to the fact that it's a two year degree, they have to cram in a metric pantload of schoolwork to ensure qualified graduates. At risk of jinxing myself, I appear to be a natural at this...I am getting good grades in spite of not really knowing what the hell I am doing half the time. This is somewhat by the design of the MFT program at Edgewood College, where their mantra to new students is "Trust the Process." I have been trusting it and as I near the end of my first semester, I am elated to find that I am sort of finally "getting it." That is to say, when I started the program everything was a blur and new information was being firehosed into my brain under a distressing pressure that threatened to explode my mind. I felt totally confused and lost and questioned my fortitude to handle it on more than a few occasions. But I trusted the process and the initial resistance I felt gradually gave way to forward momentum. I have a great cohort of fellow students and we all support each other via commiseration and study groups. It's a diverse group of people with many different personality types.

Anyway, the semester is nearing its end, which means lots of big final papers and projects. So you might not hear from me again until around Christmas when I will be travelogging a much needed and deserved family trip to Hawaii. You can enjoy that tropical vacay vicariously if you are stuck somewhere cold (because I'm nice!). Until then, Happy Holidays.