Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 884: Greater than through love and support

The biggest gift I have ever gotten is the gift of honesty from someone who truly and deeply cares about me.  Recently,  I've unwrapped two amazing gifts from people who genuinely and unconditionally love me.

The first gift was a few weeks ago when my mother called and said “I want you to come by my house because I need to talk”. Yeah, we all know that line..even in our forties. It is NEVER a good sign! J But, I have to admit that I have come to learn that the conversation is going to have something in it that I need to really bear down.

True to form when I got there in a very loving way, very similar to the way in which she first encountered me several years ago when my weight was at such a critical level, she said “what's going on with you  and gaining weight again?” To which of course I was mortified because I was trying so hard to ignore the fact that some of my clothes weren't feeling as comfortable and I knew something was up.

But here I was with my mother and I was able to just take a deep breath take it in and remember how much I was loved and just say “you know what… I am so very stressed out and overwhelmed and I am feeling and repeating some behaviors that I know all too well in dealing with my stress”. I let faced some thing that were going on that I was just not wanting to look at. 

I was starting to do some things that were sneaking in. First it was the eating a pizza every week rather than once a month or it was a trigger food here or there that I never eat. No it wasn't fast food but it was potatoes or it was something sweet cookies little things that I just had stopped eating altogether and all of a sudden they're back in my diet, and little by little I was eating more and still eating great healthy things but more of it.  And then along with these triggers and what was keeping me so entrenched in denial was the fact that all along I was showing up for exercise and I was showing up for running  and I was doing some really good things but I was so stressed out in my work life and in the things that I was doing that I was responding to it with having to go to something in a substance.  Can you relate.?

So soon as mom and I finished up our conversation which was so wonderful and such a gift I went to look at your my eating and I really did make some changes. I started to lose a couple pounds and really felt great. The problem though was that one of the major underlying situations is that the stress this change in my way of living on my worklife the the lack of regularity in my hours and so still there was still a piece missing and by that not being addressed then the issue became me being able to attend my workout such sessions  as well as getting hurt from time to time because I was not focusing and not taking care of me.

Enter the second gift. Adam and I only see each other for workouts once a week now and here I turn up and I don't show up for couple of sessions. This last time, it was not the “ok bubba, just take care of yourself” email. I get this text  from Adam that said , in effect, you know what brother I know you're stressed I know you got a lot going on in your life and I know that you are doing the best you can do in a lot of ways but this isn't working and you are hurting yourself by not showing up for you. You have got to remember to put what you do to take care of yourself first and come to sessions, do your work out; doing what it is that is necessary for you to be healthy. That's got to be first and foremost and you of  all people know it.

A long time ago we talked about in my journey here accountability partners. Adam  is my trainer but he's gone much further than that now and he's my closest friend outside of Michael and he is my accountability partner and I in many ways work with him in other ways.  

But here he stepped up and brought the message back to me that none of this, none of the quality-of-life none of the joy none of the help that I have is possible with out showing up for myself, showing up for those training sessions, showing up for those workouts continuing this journey that allows for me to get better to grow, and I cannot allow anything and that means anything to get in that way.

Now I don't know about you but for me, for years and years and years over my life I have made changes in certain ways and because I would get away from those changes I would then go back to repeating old behavior and I would never clearly breakthrough and completely make the change.  Well now it's different because of greater than true love and support I surrounded myself with people who truly get it and they get it in a way that they return it back to me.  They give back in ways that reminds me every day how important to me there is in taking care of myself and loving myself enough to want to be healthy and to continue on this journey.

So those are my two gifts: the honesty from two people who love me and I am taking the steps to continue on my journey and to continue loving myself enough to put that as my first priority again and you know if you're reading this and you need to be reminded of being loved enough to continue on your journey surround yourself with these words surround yourself with people.

 I just can't explain enough I hope maybe I didn't adequately in this house that nothing more important than the love that we're sharing with each other and support that we give to each other and can be valued or exchange it it's just phenomenal and I am more grateful that I can ever truly truly explain or give that with that and it's incredibly long post I will be at the gym tomorrow and one day at a time would just continue and I'll see

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Special: Save our Races in the Port City from Assessment

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, the council will vote on this issue. I hope that all will respectfully write to the council on this issue. 
thanks all and blessings! 
here are their emails. ‎,,,,,,
Dear Wilmington City Council Members,
I am writing to oppose the 1$ per racer fee that is being considered for racers that are using city streets  that are endeavoring to raise funds for local fundraisers in the port city.
Currently races are already assessed fees for the streets as well as fees for security either by private or through the Wilmington City Police Department. To add on an additional see is counter to the opportunity that these races provide not only for our city to enjoy the many benefits of these races in which we are bringing in people from across not only our own state and across our region but our country.

These races fill rooms, restaurants, provide great economic stimulus to the city and are an abundant promotion that comes to us at no cost whatsoever.

Much beyond the economics, these races and walks promote the best in who we are as a community by teaching and sharing about health and wellness,  bringing families together and  by creating opportunities for us to actually create goals and objectives for people to improve their lives.

I am a living witness to that very opportunity coming from a place where I could barely get up a set of stairs to actually running these very city streets in my first race ever race. 2 years ago, I ran my first ever 5k, a fund raiser for the Historic Wilmington foundation. Not only did I achieve that magnificent goal, create a better life for myself, and share that example for others, I did it while enjoying my downtown, my home city; enjoying my community, and shared it with my best friend, my family along the route!  All of this and we raised badly needed money for the very community in which I love!

Since this, in race after race, I have seen this happen for so many others and it is truly an amazing blessing to fathers running with sons, mothers with daughters, families running together…all to make their lives better.

The small nonprofits are the lifeblood to who we are and what makes better collaborations for the very things the city cannot do. It is unfortunate to think of taxing the very sources that do for us what we can not do for ourselves. Particularly when are not  assessing fees or taxing on those deleterious things in our community. Perhaps it is with some tongue in cheek, but there are realities to these examples when we look at what we are not assessing fees to: we do not turn on the meters for parking in the evening when the bar patrons are coming to enjoy, but we do when the shoppers during the day do. Shoppers do not create need for extra police and trash. The same can be said all over the city for establishments who serve at bars. We do not assess fees to cover the cost of our police and extra clean up for that either. Maybe a dollar for each bar patron. How about a dollar for each patron of a fast food place for the effect on our costs for health. A dollar for each person who does not recycle. A dollar for each person who is enrolled at a college as there are direct links to extra security for apartments and neighborhoods. And the list goes on.

Bottom line, we are considering assessing a fee on something that actually does reduce health risk, that creates a better community, makes money for our non-profits, makes money on our economic base and  that makes a better life and does something that actually works for us.

I know the leadership in Parks and Recreation. They are AMAZING and I love them all very much as they work harder and with less every year, but they try very hard for all the citizens of this city. I worry this is a constraint put on them from a difficult budget. Certainly, I  do not presume the role of my elected leaders and do not presume to know all the answers. However, I do know that penalizing something in our city that produces positive results; taking money out of non-profits that are collaborative with our city; removing the incentive for others to do these races and promote health and wellness by making it more expensive and thus making it less egalitarian is not the answer.  

There are other sources of income to make up 15k dollars. There are parks foundations that can be set up that have still not been done in our city. There are other ways.  

We have all worked together successfully to create better parks and infrastructure. We have done our part by paying our taxes. Now it is up to our city’s management to ensure that those services that benefit the entire community are funded properly and those things that are for all the people that have such positive effects for all people are not penalized by fees.

I so appreciate you hearing this and will look forward to the results of your decisions.
L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simple Acts of Love: a Special for Domestic Violence Prevnention

I was blown away to be asked to be the keynote at the annual Father's of Hope breakfast that is done for the Domestic Violence Shelter. This amazing place does so much to prevent domestic violence in our area and come to the aid of victims. These men are honored each year in an ad that is done by the Star is amazing and those who donate to it make such a difference. But more than that...standing up makes a difference.....

here are my remarks:

Bear with me for a minute. I hope this will all be clear. But I have to tell a story….

Last week I went to topsail island.
18 months ago I was given the gift of the adoption of a sea turtle named chase.

Turtles are something I am VERY into. They tell us the story of our oceans, but they also tell us how we treat our oceans and how we treat the world we inhabit.

This magnificent animal was almost destroyed by propellers, had lost part of one of her powerful fins, and came very near to death.
Over the eighteen months at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, she was given regular care and nursed back to health.

As her adopted parent, I had her picture on the wall and I would regularly stop during each day and say a prayer for her..and from time to time go see her.

So here I was, her adopted father…one of them at least..and I had this amazing honor of walking her to the ocean, to return her home. Healthy once again.

This reporter, very insistent, was hanging over the side of the truck as we were getting Chase on her way and kept asking all sorts of questions to which all of us politely answered. Our attention, you see, was on Chase and her ride to the beach. But she kept asking and we answered and soon,  she went on her way. 

So, we get to the release and we walk Chase through the thousands of school children and others gathered; cheering and so thrilled to  see these beautiful creations, sharing in this great moment.

We walk her to the water and we take her to the crashing waves and in that moment; that blissful wonderful moment as she is beating the hell out of my elated to go home..there is that sweet release..that moment when you feel this magnificent animal returned to where she belongs.

I watched her turn and swish and then disappear into her world…and it was done..and she is home.

I let go tears and sobs of joy and I turned to walk away from the crowd to have a moment alone and here comes the reporter!
She said “how do you feel?”
I was able to get out. “so very happy”.
She asked “why?”
I said..”becuase chase is home”
She said..why do you or any of these people do this?
I said, “because it is a simple act of love”
And she said…”why is that important.”
I looked at her..and for a minute I was a little irritated..I thought “what a question? Why in the world ask that?”
But I looked at her and realized she was really being sincere, not smarmy and wanted to know.  “Why is it so important to do a simple act of love?”
It did not take but a second for me to say “because, when it is all said and done, it is truly all that matters and all that we have.”
“Nothing I acquire in this world. Nothing I make in this world. Nothing I will ever possess in this world will be buried with me. “But that…”
and I pointed to the ocean..and then to the cheering children watching this wonderful moment and to all those people who make those turtles well…
”that makes a difference…and that is important.”

And so, I left there and I was driving back to Wilmington and I got to thinking about this moment, where Kathy Gresham had asked me to speak to you this morning. A speaking engagement that frankly I thought was way out of my league and humbled me greatly.

I got to thinking about the way I got involved in this years ago by honoring my step dad and my father each year by participating in the ad that the star news does; promoting men who stand up against domestic violence. Examples.

And I got to thinking about what an amazing, loving, and power of example of father, husband, and friend my step dad has been over the years. What a great husband he has been to my mother; what respect he has for all women; what a power of example he sets.

I got to thinking about the men that would be in this room this morning and all of the acts of love, kindness, and good that each of you amass each and every day and I have been witness to over the years of knowing many of you.

I was washed with this feeling where that moment with that turtle..that simple act of love…was so symbolic of all of what you embody; what this event embodies.

Just like in that act, when we transcend our titles or roles in our day to day lives, what we have, where we are from and we rise to what is the best of us, the best actions in us, those are the “simple acts of love” those are the things that really matter.

Being here today, standing up for the victims of domestic violence, whether they be women, elders, men, or children, that my friends, that is a beautiful act of love at its finest.

But moreover, living lives that deny violence and suffering a foot hold, and remaining at the ready to be available at every opportunity to prevent it in others, that is when we claim this “Men of Hope” “Father’s of Hope”, by setting an example, living as an example,  and standing up against all domestic violence

And what is truly magnificent about it is that it does not take muscle
it does not take aggression, it does not take us exerting force or our own will. This is what has been granted us as a way of life for the taking. It is a choice that is at the ready each and everyday.

And for me, what is so humbling is to be here, in this moment, in front of my step dad, in front of so many of you, who make that choice..and who live it out. You get that it is about those actions that demonstrate our care for each other, our families, those we work with and particularly those we live with and are the closest too. 

Simply put, it is my honor this morning just to come before you and thank you for being men who are willing to do this very beautiful “simple act of love.”