Monthly Archives: November 2012

Have a little respect (dare to care)

I have blogged here about how the internet has had a negative impact on how people interact.  However I have rethought that proposition and would like to restate it.  I think the internet enhances peoples ability to be rude, I think the capacity for rudeness must be there already.  Rudeness is really a lack of respect and this is not new however it is my belief that in tough economic times this issue is amplified.  It is a reflection on the individualism and consumerism that permeates our western society and the smell is really offensive.  

Now there are some people who genuinely lack social skills, they have little empathy and find relationships very hard, often self centred, very concrete in their thinking, unwilling to be challenged, you can tell these people easy, remorse is not one of their friends, and sorry is not in their vocabulary, this behaviour is sometimes located in fear and sometimes unfortunately in mental illness, other times it is just sheer ignorance.

They are generally bullies  they have to have the last word.  When resources are more scarce we see competition for them increase.  In New Zealand we have seen some shameful things.  the dawn raids where a classical example of that http://tinyurl.com/nzheralddawnraid  I have noticed a lot of talk where groups are named in our society with tags like those….. referring to their racial identity.  This is the first step in dehumanising people and it is necessary for bullies and non aware people as once dehumanised they can say what they want about a people group or a person with little or no remorse.  The use of a collective noun is well documented in the annals of history to enhance divisions and to persecute groups in society..

Within relationships you can tell a lot but the amount of respect shown towards each other.  My children are known to say tone is everything and it is in the tone of voice used that the real message may be conveyed, darling can men many different things depending on the tone of voice used.  Don’t use that tone of voice with me, how many times have you heard that phrase>  Sometimes tone can be misinterpreted, tiredness, can be misconstrued for disinterest or bored, fear can be misconstrued as anger. 

We have a respect issue in new Zealand, it is evident in relationships from the highest level at Parliament through to kindergarten play grounds.  The cult of I has influenced that and it is invidious and dangerous.  Take a drive on our roads and look at how people drive, cutting people off, passing dangerously just to gain a few more minutes, not letting others in to a queue, driving under the influence of alcohol all show a lack of respect. Littering is another mark of a lack of respect.

We remonstrate at the state of the world at violence, theft, productivity you name the ill and I am willing to say that at its very basic core is a lack of respect at some level.  Respect either for yourself or from others is one of those very basic requirements in our hierarchy of needs.  There is a very simple answer to this issue and it boils down to each and every one of us taking a small step and addressing respect in our relationships with each other and with our world we live in.  If we model respect it will be shown back to us.  If our children are consistently modelled respect they will be respectful because they will know how it is done and will learn to be respectful.  What a difference it could make in our world.

We also need to address issues of respect when we see disrespect in action.  Recently I pointed out a conversation on facebook that was disrespectful, it involved having a moan about an organisation, the people being complained about were volunteers, I suggested to the principal moaner that such a conversation was not appropriate on facebook as it is not a private forum, oh boy did I light a fuse.  In the end this person was very defensive and turned to that well worn tactic of an ad hominem argument, attacking the messenger.  I stated my point respectfully but in the end I realised my futility and gave up.  I did unfriend the person as it was a consistent behaviour and I just don’t need to read that kind of stuff .  I will happily talk to them when I see them although I imagine they may be a little prickly but I don’t think they will change their behaviour in a hurry, looking at oneself in a reflective and honest manner is just too hard for many, 

Driven by fear people stick to their old behaviours even when these result in negative outcomes.  If I sound a little smug here there is good reason.  I know so much about this subject because my life used to be like that, a lack of respect for others opinions, in particular an unwillingness to take responsibilities for my transgressions, thankfully I have found a new way of living and the integrity and freedom that respect brings to my life and the response by people that I am in relationship is reward for that.  The biggest reward however is found when I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see.

I still get it wrong but when I realise it I address the issue, I have enough respect to apologise, try to make things right and move on, it is really as simple as that

Paul

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Baby Steps Million for a Million

I was thinking about  the Million for a Million campaign that my employer Annah Stretton has created.  I just looked up the  page  http://www.millionforamillion.co.nz/ and I see there has been a fair amount of activity Image.  Such a huge project however has its challenges.  These are not insurmountable and there is only one way of dealing with them and that is really baby steps, one challenge at a time.   My journey is well chronicled, hit a few road humps in the last couple of months however I hit the switch last week and reignited it.

My goal is to have some aerobic exercise every day as well as a serious work out at the gym min 3 times a week!.  With my current parenting position that largely means it has to happen in school hours.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  I was sitting around darkly thinking that I had not got my exercise in for the day and realised that my lawns needed mowing.  Fantastic here was an opportunity to burn some cals, 50 minutes later my rather large lawn is trimmed and I am pleasantly exercised.  I didn’t think about what I couldn’t do I thought about what I could do.

Weight loss and exercise is about that, it is about being deliberate, asIi walked to the gym today I could have shaved 150 meters off my path by taking a short cut.  ( I could have taken the car).  excuse the shouting here.  THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS OR MIRACLES IN LOSING WEIGHT.  No miracle diets, no supplements, drugs or surgery that by themselves will deliver the miracle.   Sounds like a subject for another blog , but if it is boring then I apologise for 99.99 percent of people. obesity is about eating more calories than you burn.  There are many reasons why people do it but the key to it all is very simple.  There can be short term gains from these things but long term it is about a healthy mind and a healthy body

I have shared before about the obesity epidemic we have here in New Zealand!  I have recently qualified as a secondary teacher (one of my key goals this year)  and as I have been around schools I have taken note of the rate of obesity and frankly it scared the living daylight out of me.   One the contributors to this I am sure is the cheapness of soft drinks in New Zealand or Soda for my US friends.  Our children are turning up drinking a 1.25 lite bottle of drink (sometimes munching on a meat pie as well) and that is breakfast.   Putting that in plain terms that is around 36 teaspoons of sugar with a golf ball of fat and a little bit of protein for breakfast.  Well that is just absolutely ridiculous, more on that another day.  I am just a bit steamed about that to say any more right now.

I want to encourage you out there not to look at the end picture.  If you had said to me two years ago you have to lose 50 plus kilos I would have just said ……. well rude words probably and laughed you off.  I started with a goal of losing 5 kgs, after I achieved that I set milestone goals.  I am on my biggest challenge yet.  I meet a lot of people who comment on my weight loss, they will say if they are obese oh it is too hard for me or I can do it when I decide, I am not ready yet all excuses I have heard before, that is the beauty of Million for a Million, it is a commitment to just one kilo!  Not hard but enough to start thinking about weight loss, about health, about life in general.  We need to be thinking about the food we are eating as well as how much we eat.  As to me I am going to continue on my journey.  My steps are a bit bigger than baby steps at the moment but they were tiny ones at the start.  More about sugar next blog.

Till then one kilo is all it takes to make a start, to make a difference, to even make a new you!

Paul

Flicking the switch

As promised here it is another blog about weight loss and fitness. Last week I flicked the switch.  I could see a slowly increasing weight week by week, I was aware that I had been eating more as the end of my course was arriving, stress, change and deadlines manifested themselves in a lack of exercise and self control.

Last week I bit the bullet, handed over my months subscription to the gym and did it.  I have talked about the healthy mind, healthy body thing in the past and I will say it again, they are symbiotic, you can’t have one without the other!    Whilst I don’t yet have my little piece of paper to make it official I know that I have passed.  I am a qualified teacher, (parents be afraid, be very afraid) .    Whilst in some ways this is an arrival it is also a departure but more of that on another blog.

Lets talk about the gym, first of all to sustain any weight loss it takes discipline and routine.  You need to be committed to a minimum of three periods of sustained exercise three times per week.  Let me tell you if it isn’t hurting you aren’t doing it right.  Not during the exercise (although that may well do so) but afterwards,  You should feel the muscle groups telling you hey what the …. was that you just did to me.   Now not everyone needs to join a gym nor can afford to  (I can’t afford not to). Exercise is as simple as going for a walk, not a leisurely stroll, if you can walk and talk without any trouble you are not going fast enough.  Cycling is great exercise as well.  Weight loss is no great secret it is really about making sure that there are more calories going out than there are going in..   Well how do you know that, Well   you can look it up on the web I guess.  I don’t count the total calories I consume in a day  I do look at what I am buying to eat and drink.  As strange as it may seem one of the organisations that have made a significant change in what I eat and drink is Wendy’s.  At Wendy’s http://www.wendys.com/food/NutritionLanding.jsp  Imagethey have complete calorific information on everything they sell.  I was there with a friend and picked up the menu turned it over and had a look.  Just as well I was sitting down I saw how many calories there were in soft drink.  I had heard all the discussions about it before but had not confronted the harsh reality.   1.5 litres of coke has 39 teaspoons of sugar in it, a 600 ml bottle over 15 teaspoons of sugar.  No wonder we have an obesisty epidemic.  1.5 ltr bottles of coke are a top seller in New Zealand supermarkets  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/1753420/Kiwis-hooked-on-unhealthy-food.  If anyone does not think we have a problem with the food and drink we consume have a look at this!  Well since that time I can count on one hand the cans  and bottles of coke that I have consumed.  I am not anti coke in fact I really enjoy Coke Zero,Image but these days if I have a glass of ordinary coke the cloying sweetness is not nice.  Well where was I.  Oh that’s right turning on the switch.  Going to the gym is the re ignition of my fat burning.  I am having to push through the urge to consume carbs at the end of a session, (drink water eat an apple have a coffee), but that will not last for long.  I am sure that a nutritionist would be able to offer me some great advice but for now I am just doing it cold turky.  I know I can do it so it is not a problem.  Turning on a switch is a great analogy really as it is incremental small changes that will make the big differences!  So why not have a think about it, be inspired, if I can do it any one can I promise you!

Paul

Then Sings my Soul

That my soul would sing a song of joy
Amongst the ashes of disappointment and despair
I would give all that I have to know the love of a woman that is true.
Then Sings my soul
Unreserved and unmeasured, time and tide will not shift.
My yes is yes and my no is no. Let it always be so.
Joy comes only from the security of knowing .
Then sings my soul.
Honey Im home. How was your day, such simple words that bring untold delight.
Knowing that voice that answers your call is a voice of love and desire.
Transcending and reordering making new and restoring.
Then sings my soul

My heart on my sleeve and Internet dating

Well I have had a bit of a break from the blog.  Writing fatigue after a full year of study however I aspire to be a writer and writers do don’t they.  Tonight I  feel pensive (ooh surprise) and have my heart on my sleeve again.  Recently I made some decisions in my personal life that have reconfirmed my single status again,  As I do I have pondered on why it is that I would want to be in a relationship again?  Just what is it that drives me to seek to find a soul mate a partner in this journey that we call life.  I have talked about before how I seem to be hardwired to care.

The majority of my life I have spent caring for people both personally and professionally.  There is some satisfaction about being single, seat up or down well who cares!   What would you like for dinner tonight, ooh I get to choose.  Bathroom door open or closed, my choice.

If I have a little wind well there it is!  And yet I would give those freedoms up in a heart beat for the one.  Note I said the one not anyone!  I realise that I have become quite focused in that which I seek.  I love someone who can stimulate my mind, engage in those deeper questions.  I look for someone who is active and fit.  I am looking for someone who is family orientated because for right now that is my life.

But I realise that as a sole parent with children 24/7 I am not necessarily considered a prime catch.I have friends for sure, good friends male and female and yet still there is a gap in my life.  I certainly don’t need someone to do anything for me, I can cook, clean, care for my children, I even elevated myself to the domestic goddess status today by remodelling a shirt from a standard collar to a mandarin collar. Image My next project is to be able to take my own trousers up.  All things that others would do for me but I have that independent (ok stubbornness) that comes from people thinking all he needs is a good woman.  Well do I need a good woman.  The answer is yes not for any particular skill or thing that they can do for me.  Not for any physical needs I may have but someone to share my life with, the good and the bad.

Now what makes this a suitable subject for a blog.  Where does one turn in this day and age to meet people.  I don’t go to pubs or clubs.  I can walk around the supermarket with my bananas up, join a club, print a t shirt, take out a classified or join an internet dating site.

I have done the latter.  In some ways it is great, you can be very direct about what you are looking for (and what you are not).  That same anonymity that allows for directness is however a two edged sword.  It allows some people to be extremely rude and crass in their messages,  It allows people to be uncommonly rude.  If a stranger walked up to you in the street and said hello, how are you most likely you would reply even if you are not really interested.  Common decency and courtesy  seem to be rather rare at times.  From the comments that I get from some of my friends there are clearly a lot of men out there who use the anonymity to make suggestions of a sexual nature that are not invited and certainly not welcome.  They see a woman is on a dating site and think  well god only knows what they think because it is beyond my understanding at times.  No wonder men get such a bad rap.

I am not a prude by any means however I still have some very basic rules.

I have a picture posted of me, recent, I am upfront about my personal situation and my weight.  I even have my last years salary posted, too much information I hear you screaming well it is just that I don’t have time to waste on communicating with someone who has very set ideas about their future partner to find out that there is some non negotiable thing that is a barrier to a relationship.

There will always be things that come up that may need to be negotiated and sometimes those things are deal breakers.  I understand that but the basics are really easy to sort, smoking beeeeeep pass not for me!  Religion /spirituality, children and politics.  They all give a good indicator of potential problems or barriers to a relationship.  These things however are only indicators nothing beats spending time together.  There has to be that spark, that little charge of energy that transmits itself.  Sometimes that charge is like 230 volts bam.  Only time will tell really.Image

As for me personally well an eternally hopeful romantic, happy to spend a significant amount of time in getting to know someone, make some friends on the way but with an end goal somewhere in sight that is best summed up by this poem that I wrote.

Then Sings my Soul
That my soul would sing a song of joy
http://softlyfallingpoetry.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/then-sings-my-soul-2/

Well I guess that is enough of a ramble through the garden of my mind for a little while.  My next blog will be back to the old subject of goals, weight loss fitness etc.  Till then live,laugh and love.

Paul

Top Tips For Healthy Living

Understand that most diets don’t work.   Calorie restriction is ok for short term however for long term health lifestyle change is the most important place to start.

If you want to lose some weight then my first advice would be to increase your activity, don’t even think about cutting your calories.  Just make sure you don’t increase them.  If you are struggling with this whole issue feel free to message me or email me at paulwilliamcronin@gmail.com and I am more then willing to answer your questions or provide support.  An easy tip for increasing your activity is when you park at the supermarket of mall don’t take the closest park!  Walk a little bit more, it is not much but it will help and it helps to change your mind set.  Remember a healthy body starts with a healthy mind.

If it has to be it’s up to me!

What I have to say may offend some people, however I write it with concern and love.  I went to my Aunts funeral service today, a celebration of her life said the Pastor.Now my Aunt was 70 and considering the trials she had endured in her life I guess that was not a bad age.  This was a mixed affair for me, I didn’t feel a huge sense of loss for my Aunt, we were just not that close.  It was sad to see the brokenness of those close to her.  There was a real sadness as I looked at her children, my contemporaries, the ravages of drug addiction and alcoholism were all over them.  One of them is terminally ill because of his addictions.  Continue reading