What If You Could Control Your Dreams?

Here is where I might lose some of you.  

Long before marriage, children, career, and home ownership.  I used to have hobbies and interests.  I know right?

And one interest can be considered a little weird.  

I was fascinated in the subconscious mind;  Lucid Dreaming,  Astral Projection, and O.B.E.  (out of body experience)

2015-06-25-1435247097-3150712-luciddreaming

Lucid dreaming is the ability to become aware that you are in a dream while dreaming.  If you are good enough at is you can manipulate your dreams.  

Astral Projection and O.B.E.  was essentially the same thing.  The act of separating ones mind/consciousness from your body to explore other realms.   We will take that down the road 

Still with me?   OK.

This month I start working on my goal of achieving Lucid Dreaming.   It can take some time so I wanted to work on making the process a habit.  I know that result can take longer to accomplish.

So one resolution is wear my sleep mask.  I purchased a sleep mask last year called the “Remee – REM enhancing eye-mask”  (REM stands for rapid eye movement.  Which is the part of sleep cycle where dreaming occurs)]

The Remee is basically a blindfold with a few circuits inside.  Under the blindfold it “emits light patterns that can appear as visual amonalities in your dreams to trigger lucidity”.    That means that if you see these patterns in your dreams it should help you realize that your dreaming.  

Remee-lucid-dreaming

Imagine if you could control your own dreams.  What would you do?  Where would you go.  

It kind of like being the “One” of your own “Matrix”  When Morpheus says to Neo, ” When the Matrix was first built, there was a man born inside who had the ability to change whatever he wanted, to remake the Matrix as he saw fit”  

Would you fly away?  Would you swim under water?  Would you practice tennis ?  As one lucid dreamer reported doing.

tumblr_mdrebon0Zk1rofwkio1_1280

So  far his month I have practiced wearing the mask over night.  It takes a little getting used to.  Now that I am used to wearing it.  I will work on my ‘Dream Recall”.  Step one is to keep a dream journal as soon as I wake up  

I will keep you posted on my progress

636146783332778071-1464203824_Lucid-Dreaming-talk-people

 

Take A Real Vacation

I stated in May that I don’t take vacations like most people.  Meaning I usually head to some busy city or tourist attraction and am literally go go go for the duration of my time away.   As much as I enjoy that lifestyle I am often left more exhausted then when I began.

Life has been crazy for the first 5 months of the year.  Having a record year in work,  my first year as a homeowner, busy family man, and a year long project have been keeping me busy.

It’s time for a break.  And my family deserves one as well

I need to lay on a beach.  I need to see the ocean.  I need to drink a 48 oz margarita.

So one of my resolutions this month is to take an actual vacation.   No busy cities, no itineraries, no well laid plans.

I can’t give up my old style completely can I?  After 5 days of relaxation I will follow that up with the annual Tough Mudder in Richmond Virgina.  No better way to end a vacation.

Left to carry on. 

I learned yesterday that one of the servers that I worked with a long time ago passed away after a battle with cancer.

Feels like only yesterday that I heard that she was having health issues.

While I didn’t know her well,  I remember how she made me feel.  She could brighten your day with a warm smile or a kind word.    She always asked me to cook for her and she would always make a big deal about my ability because she knew how good that made me feel.

I went to here Facebook page and I read all the kind words, memories, and condolences from friends and family that had a similar experience with her.

You  could tell that she lived a wonderful life.  Wife, mother of 4, and grandmother.

It’s one of the moments when you are so happy that their suffering is over and the real sadness is for all those that are left to carry on without her.

“I’m not crying because I feel so sorry for you.  I’m crying for me”  Toby Keith.

Mom and The Struggle Within

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I wanted to take a second to speak about my own mother.

The story of my mom is really a story about mental illness.

I have two sets of memories when it comes to my mom.

One memory is of still images devoid of color and motion. …I had a mom that threw me birthday parties, made dinner, and watched my games.   She had a good job as a food service director at a nursing home.

The other memories came post – divorce.  When my mother became trapped by bipolar disorders and bouts of paranoia and anxiety.

I guess it all started much earlier.  When My Grandfather died.

I spoke about my fond memories of him but what I never remembered was there was many times where I was not allowed to go with him.  If he were to pull up to the house wearing his ten gallon cowboy hat my grandmother refused to let me leave.  This was a sign that he was in a “manic” stage because he too suffered from Bi-polar disorder.

After my parents split when I was in 8th grade my mother’s behavior started to become very erratic.

She would disappear for hours, forget to pick me up or be there to let me in the house, she was starting to bounce from menial job to menial job.  She even worked besides me at a nursing home and later in restaurant kitchens.  I never stopped to wonder why.  All I know is that I was angry with her all time and that didn’t help matters much.  

She became detached from reality and after a long string of back injuries was disabled   in 2009.

Things only got worse from there.  Now with no job all she had were her thoughts…thoughts she couldn’t control.  She became very paranoid, convinced that microphones were listening in her conversations, that she was being followed.

I’m writing about this because for the longest time as a teenager and early adult I was very angry with my mother.  Why did she make such terrible decisions?  Why couldn’t she do what she needed to do.

It wasn’t until I grew up that I understood …she wasn’t lazy.  She wasn’t a bad parent.  She was just lost in her own mind.  She might not be the mother I grew up with.  But I am still the son that she raised.   This year I promised myself that I would try to be there for her.

It breaks my heart to think that she will be spending Mother’s Day in the hospital.

I might not have been happy with her at times.  But I was never embarrassed of her.  She did the best that she could.

I love you Mom.

The Snooze Button – A Chapter From the Franchise Years.

I’ve recently been having an dysfunctional relationship with my snooze button.  Mainly from all the work I been putting in and my unrealistic wake up time expectations.  It reminds me of another time in my life where I would be hitting the snooze button more times than I should.  That time for different reasons.

It’s late 2010,  I’m working as a District Manager of Dunkin Donuts putting in at least 80 hours a week for the last 12 months also going through two break ups that year which both ended very badly.  I was coming to the end of my rope.

The hiring practices where very strange at this franchise, where as, I didn’t have anything to do with the hiring of my direct report store managers, that was the Director of Ops job.  But I was responsible for recruiting, hiring, and firing of all hourly crew members.  I was also called upon to fire managers more often than I care to remember.

If you read my article Leaving the Franchise, you learned that I was getting paid peanuts.  So you can imagine what we had to offer  store managers…let alone hourly employees.  When it came to quality employees I didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to through it out of.   I did have a few hard working, trustworthy individuals but  they  soon were corrupted or would leave for green pasture.

You could say I was a glorified babysitter…unable in any case to get my manager to uphold any kind of standards.  I spent the day running around  putting out fires, firing employees for theft, trying to keep the trains on the tracks.  Then when my bakers failed to show up I would spend the night filling and frosting then driving the racks of donuts to all the locations.  “Time to Make the Donuts”.  I could feel my relationship with my boss and owner quickly souring.

This is where the snooze button came in.  I dreaded getting up in the morning.  I would just lie there paralyzed.  Eerily reminiscent of what  Anthony Bourdain wrote in Kitchen Confidential, when is was used as a rachet man. “I hoped that if I stayed in bed a little later, showed up a little later.  Maybe, just maybe, it would be me that got fired this time.  That I wouldn’t have to do this anymore.  That his whole terrible business would end.”. 

I had not yet learned good organizational or management skills.  

Like in Bourdain’s case.  This would soon pass.  I would take a part time job back in full service in the beginning of 2011.  Now with middle management experience under my belt and a little luck.    My life would soon change forever.

April Conclusion

Listen / Engage

I would say that I’ve made a lot of improvements in the last few weeks.  As hard as it is for me to focus one thing at a time, practice brings improved performance.  Sometimes I need to be reminded to put the phone down, respond, and listen but I get better everyday.

Read more about this resolution here  Get your head out of the clouds and focus / Fasting Part 1

 

 

Go off the Path

Probably on of more successful resolutions.  I spent the last month exploring new places or sections of familiar places right in my own section of New York.  I get so much joy by taking off for a day or just a few hours and clear my head.

Also tried a lot of new foods.

Lamb gyro with feta cheese and kalamata olives

Chinese Bubble Tea

Zucchini Lasagna.

Black bean burgers

 

Much more exploring to happen in May.

 

Conclusion:

I feel better.  Happier and Healthier.  But I can’t shake the feeling that here is something “missing” in this happiness puzzle.  I couldn’t tell you what it is.  Maybe the next 8 months will give me some direction.  Wow,  one third of the project is over.  I wonder if the changes are noticeable?

April leftovers

April Recap Part 2

Show up

As I said yesterday,  I’ve spent the last few years in my own little world.   So obsessed to succeed that unless you had to do with my career or part of my immediate family, you were usually left in the dust.  Now,  I’m not saying there is anything wrong we being driven to succeed which I surely am,  but there comes a time where you might be sacrificing too much.

So I tried this month to “Show up” and help those around me that could use a hand.  I took a very difficult to take Saturday off from work to help my Grandmother move closer to my mom. (From now on… Hiring movers” I watched my nephew on another Saturday night for my brother and sister in-law.  While this might not sound like much I admit that it might not have happened in the past.

This resolution has a double meaning.  I wanted to “show up” at work.  Showing up everyday and giving 120% of my effort.   No “Off” days.   This saves me from having to plow through extended amounts of work at home.  In recent weeks,   I have been able to have my time off to myself and family, other than giving some occasional direction to my team.  .  I’ve said it before.  I’m very proud of my team.

 

Take Time to Be Silly

I certainly am guilty of taking myself too seriously at times.  While I have my game face on most of the time.  I have been making an effort to lighten up a bit a work.  With help, I make sure the employees have their birthdays celebrated.  I even purchase a cup cake “cake” for a favored server who has a history of acting like a “princess”

I might even make an “appropriate” joke now and then.

Since I’m unplugged in my off hours, I have a lot more time to play with my boys, take them to the park, and get ice cream.

 

 

Give your home personality…Take 1

In this article, I stated that after almost a year in my home it looked like the moving truck have just pulled away 5 minutes ago.  Walls were bare,  bland, and boring.

For monetary reasons, I know its going to take a while until I am happy with it but we made some nice improvements.

Now that its warmed up we are working on the flower beds and side gardens