Two magpie confirmation. 

At the moment; nothing makes sense.

This doesn’t make sense. Things are tough and I’m conscious of this turning into a diary entry.

I’m a focused individual. Work; Kung-Fu, focused. Relationships? not so. I’m not sure why either.

I’m also a man of science. A lot of what I need to operate safely relies on my understanding of the scientific method and it’s application, but recently, I’ve been counting magpies.

You’re familiar with the rhyme I take it?

  1. For sorrow;
  2. For joy
  3. Don’t worry about the rest…

As with most luck/superstitions, I’m interested in it when it fits my narrative; a kind of umbrella for my mood.

magpie bin

From my bedroom window, sitting up first thing in the morning I can see my neighbour’s roof. For a suburban area the bird count is quite high, including varieties of species.

There is also a nest of magpies in the locality as their grating call will attest. In the morning, there can be any number around doing their destructive thing.

There are rules to magpie spotting and how this totally random, non-attributable event will affect the rest of your (my) day.

It has to be first thing in the morning; all subsequent magpie spottings after the initial sighting are either null and void, or serve as confluence to earlier magpie signals.


So here’s the thing….

I believe in making my own luck. I believe in both working smarter and harder, so why the hell is this my current state of mind?

I’m distracted. Things aren’t running smoothly in the co-parenting world.

It’s a blip.

Magpie in flight

BSD

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A month ago I stopped drinking

Alcohol that is. Now I’ve become an insufferable bore to anyone who’ll listen. Today that’s you. 

Some of the best conversations I ever have are with myself and one of the latest ones was about how much alcohol I had consumed lately.

Now don’t get me wrong; I hadn’t dipped to the realms of problem drinking but I had got to the stage of comfort drinking without realising.

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It used to be a thing of mine to have a beer while watching the football. After a tough day at work I’d enjoy a single malt with a single ice cube; Oban; Talisker; Glenfiddich…

Triggers

Things started to pick up pace post separation. Not having the cubs around 24/7 hit me a lot harder than I expected so I found myself filling the gaps with work, exercise, more work and the odd glass of wine.

Then it happened

During the weekly shop I came across an award winning bottle of Gin so I duly bought a litre.

A week later it was almost gone.

Not good.

Not good at all.

So I stopped.

Just like that.


I’d noticed folk drinking non-alcoholic beer on nights out and wondered why they’d bother. Let’s face it; lager isn’t something you drink because it tastes nice. Or so I thought. So I gave it a try.

Result

Not bad at all. I’ve tried a few brands now and am currently working my way through some more. The best part is that I can now have a night out and drive. I think that’s a British thing.

The second best part is the clear head in the morning.

The only downside is watching your buddies descend through the evolution of man to the point where everything is funny.

Oh well; that’s better than the alternative.

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I’m not saying I’ll never touch a drop again, but my eyes are wide open now.

BSD

02:31

I suffer occasional insomnia

Well, not occasional; I suffer with poor sleep more often than not. Especially when I have things on my mind.

I was always one to stay up late, even though I’m well aware of the necessity of a decent night’s sleep. In my current occupation, this can be a bonus, but after two decades, the joke is wearing a little thin.

tired out

The usual pattern is this;

  • Full day’s work
  • Home to cook dinner
  • Laptop out; more work
  • Bed for 22:00
  • Overthink
  • Asleep between 0:00 and 01:50
  • Awake at 05:30
  • Alarm at 06:00

It differs slightly if I have the cubs but not by much.

I’ve tried most things but refuse to be medicated – it’s just not my style…

Any tips?

 

BSD

Climbing up mountains and walking down hills. 

Sticking with the motivation theme

As it tends to be an overarching element of being a single parent. The challenges come thick and fast.

I find that there is a common theme; my mind.

Whatever is facing you it can be easy to fall into the paradigm of perceiving it as as problem. I call it the dentist visit syndrome.

I have nothing against dentists, but I have had bad experiences in the past that had led me to fear them. As a result, during my late teens my dental health suffered. The turning point was when pain took over, and I had to do something.

£5 short of £700 later, I was fixed.

Oh, there was also the little matter of 12 separate injections in my gums to add to the experience.

That set me thinking. I was just realising my journey as a budding psychologist so I started to research mental sets and paradigms. It occurred to me that despite my fears, the procedures actually weren’t all that bad. I had built up this fear and picture in my mind that was so powerful, it drowned out all reason. My thoughts of the event were stronger than the reality of the event.

I had to change.

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

BSD

Push

Ever had one of those days, weeks when you just can’t seem to get motivated?

It’s happening to me a lot at the moment and I can’t quite pinpoint why. I suspect my diet is to blame.

It’s actually probably a combination of things that I’ve slowly let creep up on me but it knocks on into everything.

Recognition 

Is key. For me, it’s the workouts that drop off first, reflecting a lack of energy. This in turn leads to an inability to ‘power’ my way through the working day or week.

This is enough warning for me to take action. Depending on how bad I’m feeling, I’ll do a debrief of recent events; the objective being to find that something that needs addressing. An issue at work, a parental worry or something more fiscal is usually at the heart of the matter.

Ordinarily I’ll tackle things head on but every now and again, the needle goes into the red and the tank is empty.

crushed

 

Turning point

I have a word; a key phrase that I’ve conditioned myself to quickly take stock and re-energise myself whenever I say it…

Push

Well push, actually..

Just that, and that alone.

Pavlov

I read a book after I finished studying psychology entitled, ‘SELF MASTERY THROUGH CONSCIOUS AUTOSUGGESTION’ by Emile COUE.

It’s a little dated, so the vernacular can seem out of place but the premise is very much valid today. To summarise, it discusses the transformation of your physical environment by controlling your cognitive process.

I’ve mentioned before, that thoughts become things and this carries on that theme. For me, associated with me closing my eyes and saying ‘Push’, my breathing automatically slows, which in turn brings down my heart rate which calms my physical being.

I also quickly cycle through memories of past adversity, which I have successfully overcome.

It’s not easy and it doesn’t always work but more often than not, I find from somewhere, the energy to get through whatever wall I was facing.

I’d like to try something new; do any of you have a keyword or a process for overcoming adversity?

Let me know in the comments and lets get a discussion going.

XperiaZ3 722

BSD

Why fit

Some times I bang on about training.

I work out most days; more times than not. Sometimes twice a day.  I have been known to overtrain, but I’ve also grown quite good at listening to my body now I’m in my 40’s.

I’ve also recognised just how stressful modern living can be. 24 hour connectivity means little time to properly unwind. Never ending emails, rising costs v falling wages all add up to some really awful stress levels with people just being unable to switch off.

To combat this, personal physical fitness is essential. Make your body strong and your mind will be too. To some extent it doesn’t matter what form of exercise you take as long as you do something. I also have this motto:

If it doesn’t challenge you; it doesn’t change you.


Digging around in the garage

I found the old Wii fit board. My daughter was delighted! So was I secretly. Once I’d managed to shoo her off of it, I discovered an old routine I used to do.

wii.jpg

If you’re not familiar with Wii Fit, it’s a games console and a special board (digital scales with no readout) and a load of different games and exercises.

You get a personal trainer who will demonstrate the exercises for you, then you perform them yourself. The majority of them use the balance board, which uses witchcraft to tell you if you’re doing it right. It judges you if you’re not.

A feature of the game is customised workouts. You string the exercises together to make a workout, for a set duration; simple. All you have to do is start.

Will it make you fitter? In my opinion yes.

Will it make you fit? No

It doesn’t give you willpower, you still have to switch it on and it doesn’t tell you what to eat, 6-packs are made in the kitchen.

Like those ads you see for ab crunchers etc, sold to you by Amazons and Adonis’, what they don’t tell you is that you’ll probably need to make some serious lifestyle changes to get in shape. It’s not easy but the rewards are so worth it. Not just the ability to master your stressful lifestyle but also feeling great and having abundant energy.

Yesterday I created two personalised workouts for family members; I’ve challenged them to complete the exercises for one month. Three times a week for her and four times a week for him.

As they both read my blog, here’s my workout:

  1. Warm up – 200 star jumps
  2. Chair squat
  3. Front squat
  4. Press-up with side stand
  5. Tricep extension
  6. Single-leg reach
  7. V sits
  8. Parallel stretch.

As I said before, you’ll need to supplement any exercises here with lifestyle changes to make a real difference but the usefulness of Wii Fit shouldn’t be underestimated. Will power not included.

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Follow this link to buy your very own!

BSD

Co-parenting goal

The beginning of this week was a test

My ex and I had recently been discussing joint holidays due to the cub’s ages. Stories of child abductions etc. are enough to make any parent shiver so we decided (for the time being anyway) that we would plan a trip together.

Nothing major, just a camping trip in the New Forest. My daughter’s love of wildlife would be satiated and my son would be in a new environment, great for his development.

people-children-child-happy-160946

Mental set

What I didn’t want to do was ruin the experience by relentless arguing.

Whilst our relationship was deteriorating we’d successfully managed not to argue in front of the kids. I wasn’t about to foul this now whilst on a break so I went about adjusting my behavioural confirmation biases through a process of autosuggestion.

I believe in quite a few things. I was raised as a Christian, fell out with the premise but have recently fallen in again. I believe in the law of attraction, in that what you think about most you will manifest. I also believe that with practice, you can control your environment by altering your perception to whatever the heck is in front of you.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy but the application of counter scripts to the behaviours that you know you will witness work wonders when they do indeed arise. This made responding to them, or not, slightly less stressful. After all, what better way to put all those years together to good use than by counter-scripting every single element of their behaviour that caused frustration.

All for a good cause

She arrived. We loaded the already packed car and set off. I promptly went to sleep. Tactic one completed.

I woke up for a snack break then we set off again; I went to sleep again.

We arrived. It was a lovely site if a little water logged so we looked for a suitable pitch. Found one, in a clearing under light canopy; perfect.

Tent pitched; no dramas

Sleeping quarters sorted; no dramas.

Cubs running relatively free in a beautiful forest and staring in amazement at wild cows and horses.

light-forest-trees-morning.jpg

Proper planning prevents poor performance

Success! 3 days passed and we remained civil throughout. More importantly the cubs loved it. My daughter, ever the adventurer discovered a total of 4 frogs, 2 newts, an extremely tame Robin and a Treecreeper. She missed the Tawny Owl, whose mid-night screech went right to my very D.N.A and had me wide eyed and staring for quite a while.

There was one fall from grace; a heated sentence or two regarding dirty clothes but this was quickly quashed. It was probably more to do with 3 nights on a hard forest floor whilst my camping mat remained safe and warm in the garage, than our normal head butting.

Advice

So that’s the key; prepare yourself mentally and you can get the outcome you require. I’m sure it was equally as testing for her as I’m no saint. It also helped that it was a short period of time or I’m sure we’d both have got more snappy.

Autosuggestion wins the day. And sleep.

black-and-white-sport-fight-boxer

BSD