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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Standing on the Shaky Ground between Have To and Want To

I was trying to remember the inspiration / situation for the title of this post and I think it was another one of those past random conversations I had with the Blonde Bombshell at Praxis. I think we were both bitching about not wanting to do our own respective workouts and she uttered that magnificent one liner that provides the title to this post.

But frankly, there's a lot of situations in life that pose that internal and external struggle, that is, doing What You Have To vs What You Want To.

But I want to stay practical and functional on this post and relate a few experiences from my own life which can be summarized in the following 2 categories applicable to "Have to vs Want to":
  1. Educational / Vocational
  2. Relational
From my own experience and through observation of others, I have found that a lot of situations of Have to vs Want to originate with Financial Security / Independence. I mean - let's face it - you gotta make a living right?

And here's the little trick that so many people miss and / or that so many parents don't share with their kids and I'm going to Red Bold this concept / statement for importance.

You have to match your education and the resulting career / vocation with an income and long term earning potential that will support the kind of lifestyle you want to live.

And that requires someone in the process to know about how much it costs to live - which implies or actually specifies - that someone has made out a projected budget or has some general rules of thumb on cost of living.

For example, I know that for a single, young person to live in today's world and have their own apartment / house / place to live, a decent car / transportation, adequate medical insurance, decent food and supplies, pay the utilities and the cell phone bill, have TV and cable, have any kind of leisure activities / entertainment and going out to eat AND putting money into a retirement fund (401k, 403b, IRA, etc) - blah blah blah - yes, I'm listing all the items in a budget - it takes between

$60000 - $70000 per year in gross income minimum!

And I'm talking in a "non-inflated area" for real estate / rental / cost of living so this doesn't apply in New York, Boston, San Francisco, etc.

Because when you take out Income Tax (18 - 25%), Social Security (7.65%) and Medicare (2.2%) and potentially state income tax (depending on where you live and work - another 8 - 10%) and at least another 10% into savings, you're left with around $32500 net based on $65000 gross.

And that's only $2700 per month - which sounds like a lot of money but ain't jack shit when you look at the cost of housing, car payments and medical insurance these days - just to name 3 of the biggest budget outlays.

I mean you gotta look ahead at the time period for actually working which is say, 30 - 40 years, and then the time period after you quit working and make sure that whatever work or vocation you're considering doing at age 20 - 25, matches up income-wise so that you can do a few things you want to do while you're doing the things you have to do - the biggest of which, is working.

So - Vocation has to match Cost of Living in the Lifestyle you choose or you may end up doing a whole lot of Have to and very little Want to.

Let me give you 2 personal examples of how I have seen this work out.

Many who know me - which are few - have heard this little life anecdote.

When I was a Senior in High School at the then Forest Park High (now Westbrook) in Beaumont Tx, there was a Career Fair in the School Cafeteria and I can remember walking into the cafeteria from the long hall and pausing at the entrance and looking to my left and seeing a table / booth for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

And anybody that knows me knows I was Nature Boy growing up - See this post for a description of that -

Bottom line is I wanted to be either a Park Ranger or a Game Warden.

So naturally I followed the Pursuit of my Passion and walked over to the TPWD booth and started talking to them and in the course of the potential career conversation, I asked....

"So how much does a Game Warden make?"

$12000 / year was their reply - now this was in October, 1979.

Now let me tell you if you don't know - I grew up poor - dirt poor.  We didn't miss any meals and never resorted to welfare but we probably should have.

And because of that, I started working making money at age 7 mowing yards and helping a local live bait retailer seine carp and minnows and helping him with odd jobs around his truck farm.

Then at 10, I started working in an auto parts store and at 12, I was pressure washing and painting houses.

What's the point of this little childhood and adolescent career description?

Hell - by the age of 12, I knew the value of a dollar and what it took to make it and what it bought and didn't buy because I bought clothes and groceries and things I needed with my money cause my parents weren't making enough to supply me everything I wanted and needed.

So - bottom line, at 17 years old - I knew $12000 per year wouldn't pay for my bottom line when I was 20 - 21 years old.

A little discouraged, I turned from the TPWD booth and literally walked to the opposite side of the career fair on the right side of the cafeteria - interesting how they were 180 degrees juxtaposed from one another - and walked up to the table with the "Lamar University School of Chemical Engineering" banner hung over it.

And I was pretty good at math and science in high school so I asked the lady sitting behind the table how much a chemical engineer made....

$24000 per year!

Aha - a Career is born.

This was a major crossroads in my life because I chose my Passion that would've left me dirt poor over a Practice that would afford me a lifestyle that I knew I wanted.

Was that the right decision?

38 years later - I still don't know the answer but you get the picture.

So here's a 2nd example.

My daughter entered college not really knowing what she wanted to do and, against my will, but not including my pocketbook cause I had already shelled out over $250000 gross in child support by the time she turned 18), her mother and her decided she would go to Texas State University.

Long story short, my daughter spent 3 semesters and upwards of $60000 figuring out she didn't want to be an accountant or a criminal justice major.

I always thought she would be a great Nurse and had told her that since she was in high school, so I set down with her and did some research on the requirements and the career path and cost of tuition / schooling to do that and the bottom line was as follows.
  • Starting RN's at that time, 2012, made a minimum of $60000 per year.
  • She could take her existing credits from Texas State, earned at over $315 per semester hour and transfer them locally to Brazosport Community College, and take the remaining pre-requisites for entry into several different Texas Nursing Schools at $55 per semester hour at BCC.
  • Once the Nursing Prerequisites were met, she could apply for entry into universities such as University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (the oldest and one of the most renowned Nursing Schools west of the Mississippi - founded in 1896) for $205 per semester hour and it would only take 3 additional semesters to get here BS in Nursing.
  • What all this meant was that for less than $18000, she could get a 4-year degree with a BS in Nursing, take her Texas certification for Registered Nurse immediately after receiving her degree, and be working a month later making $60000 + / year in a Texas hospital.
Now if that's not Bang for the Education Buck - $60000 / year income for an $18000 college cost - then I don't know what is.

At this point, she is making a good living and enjoying her career.

While she is on the long term career path to being financially independent, she is living a comfortable, self-supporting lifestyle as a 24-year old single woman.

So, from these 2 examples, one of the ways to step off the "Shaky Ground between Have to and Want to" is to what????

Get a Fucking Education in a vocation that makes more than $60000 / year for a single member household income!!!

Now before all you folks out there without College Educations start flexing on me, understand this.

I know quite a few people out there who have no degrees or 2 year technology or technician degrees who are Craftsman, Specialists or whatever vocation fits this career plan like Welders, Pipefitters, Chemical Plant Operators, Rig Operators, Instrument and Electrical Technologist, Plumbers, Electricians and other trade crafts and they make GREAT MONEY - many make more than people with 4 year degrees.

So this is another path - but they still had to put in their time to learn the vocation that rewards them with an adequate income - Remember the 10000 hours!!!!

Now here's the Contra Statement to this Learning - 

If you don't make the right decisions in the 18 - 25 year range on determining a career path that will yield an adequate income that will outpace inflation, then you will find yourself on the...

Shaky Ground between Have to and Want to -

Because you'll always be working for the Man.

Ok - enough preaching about Education and Career and Adequate Income Brother Wills - 

Let's move onto another field of decision making where the Shaky Ground between Have to and Want to resides.


Let me lay out this little scenario for you and I don't want to hear a bunch of feedback about monetizing wives and kids and marriages.

If you're stupid enough - excuse me - there's the Dark Side of Wills coming out again - and incidentally I think I will be penning that post next.

Anyway - if you are unwise to the World and the Ways of the World or Unmazebright (there's a Tony Robbins term if I ever heard it) enough such that you don't understand Marriage and Kids is a Huge Financial Commitment and Drain on your past, present and future income and self, health and well-being....

Then just Rock On Einstein and see how far that gets you - like in the Poor House or Family Law Court or an Early Grave.

In a nutshell, if you are marrying someone - don't matter which side you're on - you're the Man or the Woman - and that other someone doesn't have a clue about money and how to make it and budget it and spend it and save it - or you're the one that's like that and then you start compounding the problem by having kids that cost even more money and you're not making enough money to support all this ShitStorm of Loving, Touching and Squeezing, then you're gonna find yourself real quick -

Standing on the Shaky Ground between Have To and Want To.

Cause you're gonna be working 12 - 16 hours a day 6 - 7 days a week to try to make ends meet.

The other element is just the wear and tear on your Mind, Body and Spirit that an unhappy, unhealthy relationship can have on you.  It's not so much being a Money Drain as it is a Mind Fuck.  You find yourself working for someone in a relationship that you don't really want to be working for...

Or even being around.

Either one of those Relational Issues will make you a stressed out, unhappy person.

Let me put it this way -

I'd much rather be the Lady at Praxis talking about the Shaky Ground between Have to and Want to being the decision on whether or not she does a hard workout on a sunny day in Santa Fe.

Because that implies she's got a lot of shit going right -

She cares about her body and her health enough to be working out.
She's got the extra time in her life, career and family commitments to be working out.
And most importantly, she's got a career that allows her to pay the monthly dues at a CrossFit style gym, so that she can work out.

Sounds like somewhere along the way, she made the right decisions about Education, Careers, Money and Relationships.

There's enough Potholes, Traps, Trips, Piles of Dogshit and Shaky Ground that have to be stepped over, around and avoided in this Path of Life already.

Get past the majority of those in Life by making Good Decisions that affect the Critical Crossroads of Career and Relationships.

It's one of the Greatest Discoveries and Keys to Success and Happiness you will ever experience.

Sing it Delbert!!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Don't Idolize.... Emulate!

  1. admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively.

    "he idolized his mother"

    synonyms:hero-worship, worshiprevereveneratedeifylionizeoverpraise
  2. em·u·late
    1. match or surpass (a person or achievement), typically by imitation.

      "lesser men trying to emulate his greatness"

      synonyms:imitatecopymirrorechofollow, model oneself on; More
      • imitate.

        "hers is not a hairstyle I wish to emulate"
        reproduce the function or action of (a different computer, software system, etc.).

Good day to you Discovery Readers and Life Enhancers and Optimizers!

I am coming to you this day from the State of New Mexico but living in a State of Pain from the 2 missing discs in the L4 and L5 position of my lower back.

Perhaps the reason why I haven't been posting regularly for a while... 

Or at least it's an excuse.

And that's basically all it is - an excuse. 

It's been a while since I've been in this kind of pain - like since the Jan - March 2016 period when my left knee finally gave out on me.

Yeah - it's been a while... for a lot of things...

I am having to make some adjustments to deal with the stabbing pain in my lower back but as those that know me know -

Adapt, Modify and Overcome....

Is a Daily Tenet and Practice in My Life.

And as those same chosen few know -

I believe there is No Pleasure without Pain.

In fact, the Path to Greater Planes of Pleasure almost always pass through flat and desolate Plains of Pain!

How's that for a little Journey across the Terrains of Time and Space!!!

Anyway - enough of the personal bantering and bitching -

We got Days to Conquer, Love to Experience, Life to Live and Lessons to Learn and Apply...

So let's get this Beautiful Breast and Hard Nipple of a Post started and See what Happens!

"Don't Idolize... Emulate!" - what does that mean anyway?

Well - I listed a couple of definitions above to get us started on this discussion.

Here's the set-up for this concept.

I have had the pleasure of being associated with, working with and around, observing and getting to know Many People in my Life that were better than me at a lot of things.

I work out with this guy at Praxis - - who is literally a World-Class athlete having competed in the CrossFit Games with the likes of Rich Froenig - and even beating the then World Champion in an event.

And let me just say this guy is a Physical Specimen - he is Bad Ass AND Looks Bad Ass - which as you know is right up my alley - cause I'm all about looking good!

Anyway - this guy is known for having really good technique in ALL of the CrossFit movements - doesn't matter what you're talking about - Muscle-Ups, Handstand Walks, Snatches, Back Squats, Rowing, Toes to Bar, Double Unders....

Doesn't matter what it is - this guy is good at it and not only good at it - but does the movements correctly and efficiently and....

Makes it look easy.

And I hear people say - Yeah - he's a Natural Athlete, he's got good genetics, he's blah blah blah....

And yet I see the guy in there every day - Practicing these techniques with light weights, going through the motions over and over, putting in the time...

And then building up each movement to maximum weight and reps and doing it...

Over and Over again!

Doing that whole 10000 hours of Deliberate Practice that is deemed necessary in ALL difficult endeavors and vocations to become proficient at it.

Opinions differ widely on the need for the "10000 hours" but my experience has been that this is the right "order of magnitude" for becoming proficient at any difficult field or activity -

One of the quantitative measures I use to test this theory is the number of hours in a "standard work year" which is 2080 hours:

40 hours per week * 52 weeks per year = 2080 work hours per year

Multiply 2080 work hours per year X 5 years and you get....

10400 hours!

And it took me 4 years of training in college (which was way more than 2080 hours each year) and a year of practical, functional work in the field before I became a proficient Chemical Engineer.

So back to my proficient CrossFit athlete example.

I hear people say - Wow! That guy is Great.  I wish I could do this and that like that guy does.

And some people probably even put this guy on a pedestal and look at him like some Ebony Greek God...

Which is Ok I guess - but I have a different take on it.

I look at this guy and what he does and how he does it and I say -

Damn - this guy has a whole Work Process associated with his Exceptional Performance and Proficiency of Movement and Strength!

He dissects, studies, analyzes and breaks down every movement into many little movements and videos himself doing these movements and assesses and corrects and practices the nuances and the angles and the forces involved.

And does it every day for weeks and months and years....

Hmmmm.... Very interesting.

Moving on...

To another field and another example.

Art... or more importantly - the Creation of an Art Form.

Santa Fe is arguably one of the premier points of assimilation, creation and market for many different mediums of Art.

Painting, Sculpting, Clothes, Jewelry.

And I have been lucky and privileged enough to meet several members of this high society who are acclaimed Artists, Sculptors and Jewelers -

The Creators of Something Beautiful and Significant and Aesthetically Appealing and Moving....

From Nothing.

Except their Imagination and Skills as an Artist.

And you know me - being the Technician I am - as I get to know these Incredible Individuals - I start asking questions about -

What they do and...

How they do it.

And without exception, as they describe their Art Form, their Artful Vocation, their Talent and their Passion, the Revelation and Reality of their Art is that....

It is very technical in nature - they each have their own Work Process - their own detailed method of breaking down the Final Result and Outcome of Beauty and Artistic Value into....

Many different pieces and parts utilizing their own practiced and developed techniques and inspirations, examples and physical representations of the New Idea, Painting, Sculpture or other Art Form they are creating.

And they have spent a Lifetime perfecting it....

More than 10000 hours of deliberate practice! 

So what's the takeaway from all this?

I guess for me, it's something like less of a Shock and Awe type of response and more of a realization that if you want to do something well or be great at something or you see someone that does something you want to do or looks like you want to look like...

Realize they didn't get to that level of Activity, Performance or Proficiency Overnight or by Chance.

They Worked at it and they Worked at in an Organized, Progressive, Developing and Deliberate Way.

There is No Secret to their Success... There is no Deity to their Day!

Don't put them on a Pedestal! Don't look at them and simply Marvel and Worship!

Look at them and Study their Methods and Learn from their Approach and then try to Apply what You Observe and Learn to your own Pursuit of Excellence.

In other Words....

Don't Idolize.... Emulate!!!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Play that Paleo Song again Wills!

Happy Holidays out there Discovery people.

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is Great Food.

And as you all know, for me, Food is LOVE!

As I was telling a couple of good friends of mine in a text exchange earlier today, one of the best ways to Love Yourself and the Ones You Care Most about is to share Good Food with them!

So what is Good Food, to me??

Well - lemme show ya!

Ok. So it's been awhile since I've posted the results of a Paleo shopping trip and the prep for the meats and veggies I buy so here goes.

I got done with a wonderful Core Strength and More group exercise class run by Liz Prehm at Anytime Fitness on St Michaels in SFNM and had remembered a weekly Smith's ad on some T-bone steaks at $4.77 / lb and was feeling that need for maximum protein in the days ahead after the Body Busting Workout Liz put us through so I mosied over to the Smith's just down the Plaza from Anytime.

And what did I find?

Holy Mother of Mercy Cheap, Lean and Tasty Protein Batman!

Boneless Pork chops for $1.69 / lb.  That's 3.7# of Protein Goodness for $6.27!

Sign me up and call me Ready to Eat!

Aaah - there's the other Meat Lover's Delight in line with Carnivorous Intent!

$4.77 / lb T-Bones!

Wills - you Paleo MF'er - that's a Nice Cart!

Damn Straight - Practice what you Paleo Baby!

Whoa Whoa Whoa - that's not Paleo!

Hey Hey Hey - Fresh Breath and Dark Chocolate is important too!!

So enough bantering and bullshit - People taste my Meat and say - Hang on. That came out wrong.

Women taste my Meat and say..... Whoa there Wills - Wrong Post - You already wrote one on that subject...

Ok - People tastes what the Rock is Cooking and say - Damn that Steak tastes good!

How'd you do that?

Well - it's all in the preparation and the cooking method and it starts with the following:

Adolph's Seasoned Meat Tenderizer
Mix of Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Allspice and Tarragon - all purchased from the bulk spice section of Sprout's.

Apply to the meat liberally in the order given above and then fork your meat.  There you go again Wills with the Sexual Innuendo.  

No - really - Fork the Meat - hard and a lot and on both sides (Ooh I like that!) - this does 2 things:

1. Drives all that good meat tenderizer and seasonings and spices down into the meat so it tenderizes and seasons the meat from the inside too.
2. Mechanically tenderizes the meat.

Here you can see the fork marks.... Ooh that's the way I like it - uh huh uh huh!

Sing it KC!

Oh my God, I used to love to watch Soul Train and the Solid Gold Dancers!  Remember that!!!

Damn - I miss Disco!!!

So  - insert a pic here of a pork chop I seasoned and tenderized a couple of days ago and this is the way I cook my meat.

Smoking hot cast iron skillet.

This is about a 3/4" thick pork chop -

Rule of thumb for a medium steak is 1 min per 1/4" of thickness to get it to medium which would be 3 minutes on each side BUT....

This is pork and I want it medium well so I put 4-1/2 mins on each side.

And mind you this is a cast iron skillet on high heat - you can see the smoke coming off the pan as this pork chop is cooking.


Because I want to sear all those great seasonings onto the outside of the steak which creates this incredible tasty crust AND seals the meat from the outside so that it remains juicy and tender on the inside.

Capiche???? OR

You get it???

So while the Pork chop is cooking - Back to the steaks prep.

I've seasoned and forked both sides of the T-bones and put them in a plastic Tupperware type dish and will put a lid on these and into the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours before cooking.

That meat tenderizer (which is basically dehydrated papaya - Yep - meat tenderizer is the enzyme from the papaya!) will break down the connective tissue in the meat and make it that much tenderer.

Tenderer? Is that a Word and do you Swipe Left or Right???

Stay on Track Wills!

Same thing goes with that 3.7# of boneless pork chops.

Geez - my biceps have grown an inch just thinking about eating all this wonderful Protein.

Oh yeah - you can work out till you blow yourself up and if you don't eat enough Protein (minimum of 1g per # of bodyweight for people working out with any kind of intensity at least 3 times a week and Yes - Ladies - this includes YOU!!!), you're not gonna make much progress.

Based on my experience, I would break down progress in physical fitness (however you define that - I define it as lean muscle mass, i.e. not skinny fat, but lean, attractive and noticeable and notable muscle mass) being attributed to the following with the follow percentages:
  • Diet and Nutrition - 60%
  • Workout Program, Intensity, Duration and Frequency - 15%
  • Rest and Recuperation -  Proper Sleep - 15%
  • Stress Management, Schedule Control, Life Prioritization and Planning - 10%
Yep - What You Eat is the Majority Factor in Physical Fitness!


Package and Refrigerate!

Back to cooking the Pork Chop.

Flip that Mutha and give it another 4-1/2 mins.

And NO! It's not burnt - that's the level of blackening you want of those wonderful spices on the outside!

So now, most importantly, let that pork chop rest at least 5 mins to finish cooking.

DO NOT CUT the meat until it has rested!

If you do, all that wonderful juice you have tried to keep in the meat will run out on the cutting board or plate.

So, in that 5 min resting period for the meat, let's get the vegetable and fruit medley going.

Red Bell Pepper, Jalapeno Pepper, Carrot Sticks will go in first because they take longer to cook!  

Zucchini will go next and then some cubed up fresh pineapple.

All the veggies are seasoned with Salt and Pepper and that wonderful Moroccan spice mix and the fresh cubed pineapple with Cinnamon before cooking.

3 mins on the pepps and carrots, then in goes the zucchini with a minute on each side of the slices.

Out they come and into a tupperware container where they are hit with a drizzle of balsamic and EVOO.

Then put a grill on the pineapple cubes.

Then throw everything back together in the skillet with some pre-cooked Basmati rice!

And there's the finished product garnished with fresh blueberries, almonds and fresh julienned basil and a dollop of sour cream in the middle.

Look at that pork chop - perfect medium well.

You can tear the meat with a fork!

And what goes better with a meal like that than fresh flowers.

From Smith's - "New Year's Shimmer"!!!


Cause that's the Way Wills Rolls!

Happy Holiday and Healthy and Delicious Eating Everyone!

From Discovery....

To YOU!!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Be the Spark that Lights Another's Flame

This is gonna be a fun and different post.

Fun because it's an Optimistic and Positive type of Post as opposed to more Dark and Introspective.

And I'm gonna line this one up a little differently.  I'm gonna put the Cart before the Horse by giving you the Post Outline or Talking Points FIRST:
  • Changed the title from ".... Lights Another's Fire" to ".... Lights Another's Flame" - Why?
  • Compare or Discuss Past Experiences with "Being a Catalyst" vs "Being a Spark".
  • Discuss the Different Areas / Situations of Experience where "Being a Spark" applied.
  • Challenge or Entice People to Engage or Reveal themselves by "Throwing a Grenade in the Room" vs "Striking a Spark".
  • Just because there's a Spark don't mean there's a Flame!
That oughta be enough to get started.  There I go revealing my Creative Writing techniques - OMG - an Outline?  Wills - I'm shocked - How dare you use basic Old School Writing Techniques and Procedures!

I know  - I know - How Gangsta of Me!

Rip this Script Wills and let the Dogs of Words loose!  

Ok - that didn't come out as Cool as it seemed in my Mind....

So originally - in the Selected Reader Selection Process where 11 readers selected their favorite "Hook" blog post titles or ideas from a list of 24, I had this post titled....

"Be the Spark that lights Another's Fire"

And, as I am apt to do - I thought about that.

What does it mean to Light a "Fire"?

Well - first of all the concept of "Fire" can be somewhat intimidating because "Fire" can have negative connotations like....

Holy Shit - there's a "Fire" - Get Out and Get Away and Run for your Lives!!!!

Fire can imply a Blaze or something that's Out of Control AND that Consumes and Destroys or at least can be Unmanageable and is often a result of Too Much Fuel or Too Much Stimulus or Too Much INFORMATION - Oh My Wills - You mean TMI or WMI???

Yeah - Yeah - Yeah - You get the Picture.

Whereas a Flame especially if it is the very first Manifestation or Result of a Spark or an Ember has its own unique Qualities and Characteristics.

It is Simple, Subtle, Basic and must be Protected and Nurtured from the Elements and Outside Influences - think Cupped Hands.

It is Personal and Particular to the Person and Persons involved with its Initiation and Receipt.

It is a Potential for or Beginning of a Fire but it is just a Flame.

Also - in another line of thinking - a Flame (think of a Stove top or Gas Burner) can be a Tool that is used as a Means to an End - like cooking a Meal - which for me, in and of itself, requires some thought, preparation and is nourishment to the Mind, Body and Spirit and is one of the ultimate expressions of....


A Blazing Fire is great when you're out in the Cold and the Wild but think about the effect when you are shivering, hands numb and shaking and you strike that match to a Tinder (No - Not the Swiping Tinder!) bundle and you see that first lick of Flame....

That's a whole different kind of Comfort that extends beyond Cold Hands and perhaps to a Cold Heart!

It's kind of Primal.

I strike Sparks all the Time in Conversations, Discussions and in Actions.

The Simplest Kind of Spark is a Genuine and Heartfelt Smile to a Stranger.

You would be Amazed at the Reactions I get at a grocery store or Walmart when your eye catches the eye of another person and you throw them a No Holds Barred Smile.

I gotta reveal something personal to you - People used to make fun of my Smile because my Mouth is so big and wide.

People called it a Joker Smile - from Batman Villain fame.

And I used to be self-conscious about it.  Yeah - we all have our little challenges.

It's funny - you change venues, lose a little weight, age a little bit, get a different attitude about life and all of a sudden....

You have a nice smile.

Maybe coming to Santa Fe from a life on the Gulf Coast of Texas was my Spark.

Anyway - back to the Smile at the Stranger at the Store.

I do this all the Time... most of the time it's spontaneous and sometimes it's calculated.

Regardless of the intent or extent, I would say 90% of the time my Joker Smile is received with an instantaneous comprehension of the Good Wills sent with it.....

And it is returned in Kind... and in Kindness.

Cause you see - that's the thing about a Spark.... sometimes it Back Fires on You but more often -

It Fires Back at You!

It comes back at You in a Good Way.  There's that Karma thing again.

Spark makes the Flame and Flame makes the Fire and Fire sucks in Oxygen and Life and feeds the Fire.

Kinda Weird and Cool...

Or Hot - all at the same time.

And like I said earlier, sometimes the Spark is a Conversation about God knows What....

Paleo Diet, Working Out, Knee Replacement, Music, Dancing, Life, Love, Sex, Clothes, Style, Lifestyle, Global Warming, God, other Higher Being, AstroGlide....

And something I say or something I do has an effect....

Plant a Seed
Strike a Spark
That Another
Reacts to
Responds to
Is revolted by
Is jolted by.

I used to call myself a Catalyst - a technical or chemistry term - for a component that initiates a reaction but doesn't become involved in the reaction itself.

That self-analysis and environmental action concept has not been well received by those I have extended it to in most cases maybe because it connotates or describes a situation where I am not physically or emotionally invested or affected.

I guess, in this case, I would take my Son's perspective and say "Fuck Intent - I'm Outcome Driven" (incidentally and ironically #7 on the Selected Reader Selection List of Discovery Blog topics), in the Sense that, it's NOThing about me and ALL about the other person and the effect on them - hopefully positive.

That's my Intent and hopefully the other person's Outcome.  There ya go Aaron - there's some content for your post!

I remember I was talking to a lady during a lunch break on a hike about 9 months ago.  I was eating one of my Paleo meals I had prepared that morning - Cast iron skillet grilled meat, veggies, fruit with some fresh basil, blueberries and almonds on the top with my special Curry Powder - Garam Masala - Allspice seasoning mix used in the cooking of it....

And I shared some with her.

"Oh that's so delicious. I'm gonna try cooking and eating like that".

Fast forward 6 months - and I see this lady again - and My God - she's like a lot less Woman than she used to be.

She comes up to me and says "Thank you so much for introducing me to the Paleo Diet.  I've been on it for 6 months and lost 25 lbs and feel better now than I ever have.  I would never have known about it if you wouldn't have shared your knowledge and practice of the Paleo diet and your meal with me."

What can I say?

Out goes a Spark - Back comes a Fire!

Sometimes you don't even know it - and it depends on the Individual that is recipient of the Spark what they do with it.

Maybe a Spark is a Good Deed or a Kind Word or some show of Support to a Friend in Need or a Stranger Indeed.

Like taking a Pot of Homemade Chicken Soup to a Sick Friend.

Holding a Woman you just met close to You on a Slow Dance and providing a Moment of Close Comfort in a Day or Life of Desertion.

Standing on the Top of a Mountain and raising your Arms over your head in Victory and shouting...
"Yo - Adrian - I did it" in your best Rocky impersonation while your hiking buddies just stand back and shake their head.

Maybe it's Dancing at the front of the dance floor by the band in your own little world concerned less with what People may think and more about losing yourself or finding yourself in the Music.

Taking a Friend to the Doctor, not because they need a ride, but just because you truly care about them.

Helping an Old Person to a table and into their chair.

Standing when your Lady leaves or comes back to the table.

Saying "Yes Ma'am and No Sir".

Treating People with Respect even when they Piss You Off.

Working out with Someone or introducing Someone to a Group Exercise Class when they want to start or resume an Exercise Program but just need a little help getting started.

Showing an Empty or Damaged Heart that Love never Dies.


Walking the Talk even when you're tired of Walking.

And People who actually Know Me, which is a very small group, know I sometimes Strike a Spark in a Powder Magazine, i.e. "throw a grenade in the room" just to see how people will react or what they will say to the spark or topic presented.

"Fire for Effect" is a way of forcing people to assess where they are or what they stand for in Life's Fire.

Yeah - Sometimes a Spark is a Challenge.

"Get up off your ass - Quit feeling sorry for yourself - You've got One Life to Live - One Day at a Time - So Don't Waste a Day or a Minute!"

Let's go Dancing - Let's go have a Drink - Let's go Workout - Let's go Hiking - What do you think about this? - God, you're so Beautiful - Dude, You've Put on some Muscle. Well Done - How's your new job going?

Hell - just remembering someone's name from a first meeting a month ago and greeting them with...

"Hey ______, how are you?"

Yeah - remembering the name of a Stranger is a Spark.

Ramble - Ramble - Ramble.....

You done yet Wills?

I guess "Be the Spark" is kinda like being Johnny Appleseed.

Throw those sparks or seeds out as you go and just hope they grow!

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”


Come to think of it - maybe it's less about the Spark and more about where the Spark lands.

Ok - I give, I'm done and actually a little cold SO...

Go ahead and throw a Spark my way and...