Posts Tagged ‘positivity’

10:29 am - Posted by Gregg

It was a year ago this month that I was attacked while walking to the gym one morning. This is a walk I had made for over three years at the time — and although I knew the neighborhood I lived in was a bit on the “edge,” I never expected anything like this to happen. Granted, it was very early in the morning (before 5 a.m.) — a time of day that I’ve since been told that no one should be walking by themselves.

Still, I had always been cautious when out at such an early hour. And on the day that this happened, I could hear noise coming from two “rowdy” guys sitting on a curb in the middle of the block I happened to be on. Using common sense, I crossed the street (from the side they were on) and continued on my way. I didn’t have far to go — only had about two more blocks to go to get to the gym I belonged to.

When I noticed one of the guys running over to me, I could tell from his somewhat manic behavior that this was going to be trouble. These two guys were not vagrants and didn’t even look to be criminal types. They did, however, seem to be very “high” on some kind of substance. The guy crossing over to me kept asking, “Where are we? Where are we?”

When I finally answered him (while trying to quickly move on), he suddenly punched me in the eye, then hit me in the back. While ducking to avoid the third hit, I asked “What are you doing?” (as if I might be able to reason with him). I then ducked again as he pulled at my backpack and I started running down the block (with said backpack intact). Luckily, my assailant didn’t chase me but, instead, crossed back over to his companion and sat down.

Now at the far end of the block in question, I could see both of the guys sitting in the same spot they were originally in as I hid in the shadows and dialed 911. I kept pleading with an operator to send the police since the assailants were still in sight. It took over 20 minutes for a police officer to come (20 minutes after I hung up with 911). By then, both of the guys were gone. I later found out from the police officer that a security guard at a construction site (on the same block) had seen the incident, but never came forward to help.

To say I was shell shocked was an understatement. Besides having my first (and hopefullylast) black eye, I was horrified that such a thing could happen in my neighborhood (even though the police officer had told me that this particular block was notorious for criminal activity). I later learned that I was probably “lucky” that the assailants were gone, as I would have had to press charges (a citizen’s arrest, as it were) and that because of jail overcrowding in LA, there would have been no jail time served — even if the guy was found guilty and convicted.

What was that? I was supposed to feel “lucky?” Um, yeah… Okay.

I was pretty useless for the first 48 hours after the attack. But on day #3, I realized that I actually was lucky. Despite having a black eye, I was alive. I was healthy. Nothing was stolen. And I was now smart enough to drive my car to the gym first thing in the morning. Sure, I missed my walking time, which served as a good mental warmup for my day. But if driving was the way to go, I could do that. I had a car. I had my safety. I had my determination.

Although a horrific experience, I realized that I was the one hurting myself and my spiritafter the attack. It had happened. It was over. It was time to move on (with lessons in hand — and in mind). Friends were surprised that I sprang back so quickly. But I refused to let someone take away my joy for life (even if they had taken away my early morning walking time).

One of my dad’s favorite sayings has always been, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” And you can bet that I rolled my eyes every time I heard him say it as I grew up. But looking back on this experience with a year’s worth of hindsight tells me my dad was absolutely right to always remind me of that. Not only did this incident prove to me that I could bounce back from a seemingly-horrific experience, but that I could take positive action because of it.

The attack led to me finally looking for another place to live (something I’d wanted to do for a while — for different reasons than the questionable neighborhood). And through what would be an odd set of circumstances, I actually ended up buying my first home, rather than renting. I’ll spare you all the boring details, but you can be sure that none of this would have been set into motion had I not been attacked (mugged, jumped — whatever) that morning in November 2012.

These days I can even joke about having moved, saying, “You didn’t have to hit me in the eye twice.” And yeah, I must admit that people give me an odd look when I joke like this. They’re not sure whether to chuckle or shiver. But trust me, you can chuckle. It’s like another old saying goes: What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger — and sometimes helps us to get off our butts to make some changes we can be grateful for down the road (black eye and all).

What does this mean for you? Whatever you’ve survived, the key word is you survived. Yes, you might have a black eye — or other forms of emotional or physical scarring. But don’t let a horrific incident (or incidences) take away your joie de vivre. This life is for living. And no one (no one!) can take that away from you permanently — unless you let them.

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June 4, 2012

Flower power

9:22 am - Posted by Gregg

Those of you who visit the Just Stop Eating So Much! facebook page know that on occasion I post pictures of flowers that I pass by when walking to or from the gym (when traveling on foot, first thing in the morning). I love being able to share the gorgeous plant life that’s often greeting me during my brief journey every morning.

These flowers have been good reminders to quite literally “Stop and smell the roses.” Although an old addage, this saying really is sage advice for those of us rushing around from sunup to sundown – trying to accomplish all of the tasks on our massive to-do lists. The fact is, no matter how busy we are, stopping to take in life’s beauty that is happening all around us isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity.

On occasion, while I am stopping, smelling and/or taking a picture of roses (or other rewarding sights for overtaxed brains), I’ll see a dog walker staring at me in disbelief. Perhaps they’re wondering who that guy is that’s pulled out his cell phone to take a picture of a flower – or wondering why he’s sniffing someone else’s roses. Well, the answer is simple: I’m taking in all the gifts around me, because that’s how I choose to live my days (no matter how hurried, no matter how busy).

Even when the roses aren’t in bloom, I’m able to gleen something from them. When the roses are dormant or just in bud stage, I’m reminded that goals aren’t always accomplished overnight. I can liken these stages to my health and fitness goals, my career goals or even my goals having to do with personal relationships. Nothing this beautiful necessarily happens in an instant. The roses I pass when walking to and from the gym take their time to grow and to bloom. And then, when they’re ready (really ready), they burst forward with all the beauty, positivity and life affirmation that one flower can offer. I’m reminded when seeing them (in all stages) that I can accomplish anything in time and with hard (and joyful) work.

One recent morning when walking home from the gym, I found some bonus beauty waiting to be discovered. As I passed a sidewalk near my home, I noticed some rose petals strewn about. At first glance, they just seemed to be in random order. But when I stopped to take a better look, I realized that someone had taken the time to spell out “I Love You” (in a manner of speaking). I couldn’t believe this beautiful message was waiting there just for me. Sure, someone had written it out for someone else. But rather than gather it up, they left it for others to discover. And not even early morning breezes had scattered the petals or erased the message. There it was for me to see – a big, beautiful sign from the universe that life can always be good (no matter what else is going on at the time).

Even as I marveled at this rose petal message (and took a picture of it to share with you), others passed by, not noticing and not giving it a second glance. I almost felt sorry for them, knowing that they were missing out on some everyday beauty that was available for anyone and everyone to discover, enjoy and be inspired by.

So no matter what’s going on with you, I invite you to borrow this tried and true “Stop and smell the roses” philosophy for yourself. And remember that in order to actually stop and smell the roses, you first need to notice them. Even though you’ve ‘got to’ send that text, check that email or make that call, take some time to just be in your own head whenever you’re walking to or from your next destination. You just might be surprised what wonderful, beautiful and (sometimes) top secret message the universe has in store for you.

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