Category Archives: Lifestyle Change

Dealing with Anger the Rick Carson Way

Simply notice.

That I am learning this lesson not only from meditation and therapy, but from Rick Carson’s wonderful book, “Taming Your Gremlin,” is a blessing; the more people take this attitude, in my opinion, the better off we’ll all be.

With that in mind, I decided to actually do the work instead of skipping through it, as I have done with many other books (not all, of course, like the War of Art). Rick asks the reader to do a thought experiment with ANGER. He notes:

“Acknowledging  your beliefs and/or habits does not require one to be cautious. Doing so does not mean that you need to change anything. Of course, your gremlin will have you judge your responses. Instead, simply notice and relax.

Here are my results (questions in bold):

1. I imagine that those who know me well would say that when I am angry I yell, boil up with rage. Throw imaginary punches. Say the wrong thing. Say or do something I will regret later.

2. When I’m angry with someone I know well, I tend to either bottle it up, or yell.

3. When I’m angry with someone I don’t know well, I tend to bottle it up.

4. If I suspect someone is angry with me, I feel…it depends. Scared, amused. But most of the time, guilty and I tend to…it depends. If I’m scared, back off, if I’m amused, mock, and the times I’m guilty, try to make amends.

5. A recent time I felt angry at another person was when a drunk idiot hit on my wife, right in front of me, ‘If you weren’t married, I’d try to hook up with you.’

6. At that time, I chose to say nothing. I let it go. I didn’t escalate. “He was drunk,” was my excuse not to break this shithead’s jaw.

7. As I remember that experience now, I notice that I am angry at myself for not standing up for my wife, even though she and another female friend told me that I did the right thing.

8. If I had allowed my anger to be reflected in my voice and my words in a manner that was absolutely uncensored, I imagine that I would have put my finger in his face and threatened to beat the shit out of him. However, that is my monkey brain talking, and I would regret it. Instead, ideally, I would downshift that into the action of getting in between him and my wife and say, gently but firmly, “Alright, buddy, That’s enough.” There was a bouncer nearby (that I was actually friendly with; poor guy spent most of his shift stopping people from having sex in the hot tub(s), and the last thing I would want to do is give him another headache.

9. Then I think I would have felt like I stood up for my wife and myself without going neither alpha nor beta. Gamma. While it is a fact that my wife is an independent woman, can take care of herself and will always tell me if I need to step in, it still infuriated me. Not at the drunk moron, but at myself.

As for 10 and 11, my parents were wonderful people, and aren’t here to defend themselves. They were loving, devoted, and just as human as the rest of us. Hence, to that last point, I’ll leave it be. No parents are perfect, and I am certainly not nor will I be with Jack. They did the best they could, and they were the best I could hope for.

What Works For Me: The Zone


Sunday, September 28, 2014

So there I was the other day, in the middle of the toughest run of my life. It was only tough because it was the longest; 10 miles. I was aiming to beat my previous record of 8 miles, during which I broke my previous record before that of 6 miles and change during my very first 10k race.

The first 4 miles were a pain in the ass. My knees ached and my belly (nicked-named, “Wilbur” by my wife) seemed to scream to me, “Jordan, you suck, go home and order pizza.” But I kept going. And then a funny thing happened around mile #7.

I didn’t care.

Miles, 8, 9 came and went, and finally mile 10 arrived (1 hour and 45 minutes later, not bad!). I slowed down to a walk and strolled home. I spent the rest of the day watching my beloved Philadelphia Eagles get a good lesson in humility, enjoyed a cheat day of pizza and wine, and woke up the next day….wait for it…not really all that sore at all.

I was a bit confused until my wife’s lovely friend Jackie said, “Uh, Jordan, you’ve been training for this 1/2 marathon since June. You’ve trained up to this, hello???”

I was reminded of how running 4 miles would have intimidated me back in the day. Now it is practically a warm-up. A listener invited me to this last week and I almost turned it down, as it was only a 5k.

So, about that Zone. Athletes talk about it in the context of feeling, and not thinking. A pitcher throwing a no-hitter is said to be in the zone. A writer is in the zone when great word combinations just pour out of his head, pass through their fingers and into the word processor. A seductive lothario stud-muffin gets into the zone when he flirts with women effortlessly with no fear, because he’s not thinking, he’s just being.

You ever see Star Wars? Using the force? Same thing.

All good examples, but you might ask, how do you get to the zone? My answer that has worked for me is very simple; TRY.

Try, and train. Try, train…and begin.

That’s it, there is no life hack for this one. You must begin. Seems simple, but so many of us (present company included) make excuses. No excuses, play like a champion.

Running-wise, I get to the zone every run simply by understanding that the first 4 miles are going to be the hardest. The zone usually shows up when I stop thinking about how hard the run is, and focus on the music and meditation and, my phone’s running program gently tells me, “You have run…8 miles….at a 10-minute mile…pace, split pace, 10 minutes and 2 seconds, keep going, Jor-dan.  And watch out for that bus.”

Diet-wise; I don’t remember what is feels like to crave sugar in the morning. I just stopped eating it, and the first week, like the first four miles above, sucked. Now it’s the new normal. Eat healthy for one meal only. Now do another. And the next. Do it for a week. Do it for a month. The 30-day challenge thing is quite trendy at the moment for a reason…it works. Bad habits are easy to make, while good ones require effort. That’s a good thing. What isn’t earned, isn’t appreciated.

Most of us are in denial the change is a glacial process. Please build a bridge and get the hell over it. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, there is no magic pill, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you snake oil.

To sum it all up, I have made successful changes in my personal and professional life by getting into that zone. I get into that zone by showing up and taking things a day at a time. I keep my gains small, but stick to my plans so that they add up exponentially, every day, little by little. Someone wiser than me said that 90% of life is showing up and following through. They’re right.

Again, don’t feel like working out? Too bad. But just do this; put on your workout clothes. 1/2 the time, you’ll keep going. Better than none of the time.

Don’t feel like running? Run the first 4 and see how you feel. Just starting out? Run 1 mile. Wait two days, and do it again. Then next week, add a 1/2 mile. Muscle through and before you know it, well, you know.

Don’t feel like eating healthy and you’re craving sugar (or its evil step-child, high fructose corn syrup)? Drink a glass of cold water, and stuff your face with lean meats and vegetables. Keep a food diary, write down every bad food you want during the week and save it for your cheat day.

Writers, don’t feel like writing? Got writer’s block? BULLS–T you’re being lazy. Start writing. I don’t care what it is, it could be nonsense. Just. Start. Writing. Give yourself a daily quota (Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, every day).

Looks like Nike was on to something. Just do it, and the zone will come.

Note: this is a first in a new series of blog posts. I hate calling this an advice series, because most gurus and life coaches are sociopaths, and I don’t want to be anything like them, hence, I’m just going to tell you what works for me; hence the title. 

My Journey to Becoming King of Sparta…

Don't Judge Me


Almost everyone reading this has, at some point, attempted to lose weight and get into shape. I know I have. I know I tried. And until recently, I failed at every attempt and gave up. Quite frankly, a cheesesteak and coke was an easier path to take than disciplined resistance.

However, I have turned a corner and finally pulled it off. If you told me two months ago that I’d not only lose 15 pounds, but be able to keep it off and keep going, I’d tell you you’re nuts.

So now, I wish to share with you how I did it, so that perhaps you may do the same. Let me give you a heads up; there is no magic pill. There is no secret to getting and staying in shape, at least for the most part. Everything I’m about to tell you is pure logic and reason, as it was for me in the past. I simply lacked the knowledge and motivaton to put the pieces together properly, and now that I have, I hope to help you do it too. Continue reading My Journey to Becoming King of Sparta…