Meditation: What It Won’t Do

We have all read or heard about the benefits of meditation.  Meditation is not like CBD oil,  where it can do everything. Even meditation is given many attributes, that may not be true.  I have written previously, that meditation will do two things. It will give the body the necessary time to relax, and renew. It helps you  discover your inner self. If meditation is done everyday for enough time, for at least 20 minutes, it can relieve stress, anxiety, and help deal with the every day challenges of life better. This can make life easier, and help  all areas of your life.  It will allow you to be able to control your response to the ups, and especially the downs of life.  Some people look at meditation as a cure all, for all of life’s problems, and it is not.  Just because you meditate every day, does not mean that all your problems are going to be solved, and everything is going to be fine.  There are many things that meditation will not affect.

Meditation is not going to make you a better person. It can help you understand why you behave the way you do, but it is still up to you, to make a positive change in your life.  Meditating will not automatically make you a more mindful person.  You may be more mindful, while you are meditating, but mindfulness is something you will have to work on for the entire day.  Meditating will not help you break any unwanted habits.  Meditating is not hypnotism.  Again understanding why you do things may help you change some bad habits, but it will take more than meditating to do this.  Meditation will not help you make any major life decisions.  Any decision you make has consequences.  This is not to mean that all the consequences of any decision will be bad, but anything you do or change, will have some effect on your life, and people that are close to you. Meditation is not a way to improving performance at work.  Being less stressed about things, or having a better understanding of your behavior, may indirectly improve your abilities at work.  Meditating is not going to cure a disease, improve your eating habits, or get you to go to the gym more.  Meditation is not a direct means to an end.

Meditation is a necessity of life.  It is as necessary as sleep, eating, and drinking.  One could argue that if you don’t sleep, eat, or drink, that you will die, in a finite period of time. One can live for a long time without meditating, so how is meditation a necessity.  You are technically alive, if you don’t meditate.  Without meditating you really do not know what your life is about. You are more or less just going through the motions of breathing air in and out of your lungs, and there is a real question if this is living. Is being in a coma living?  On of my favorite axioms is, that everyone is doing the best they can, at their level of awareness.  If you do not meditate then most likely your level of awareness on a scale of 1 to 10 is close to 1, with dead being 0.  If you really want to feel what living is, then it is time to start meditating.  Meditating is not a cure all, but without it, you just exist.  To be alive, you must meditate.

Food: Can it really do that?

When you read about food, there are many articles that talk about all the health benefits of any particular food. Looking at a particular nutrient of food, like the omega 3 fatty acids, is another popular topic.  Omega 3 fatty acids are give many positive attributes. One article I read, stated that there are 17, count’em 17, science-based, I mean real science baby, benefits of eating omega 3 fatty acids. Even the name sounds cool.  I am the Omega Man, the preventer  of many health problems.  Lot better than being called Celery Man. According to the article Omega 3’s can help with mental disorders, blood pressure, brain health for the fetus and in early life, and may even help prevent cancer. I am out the door to get 20 pounds of salmon and 30 cans of sardines.  This article will take you to many studies, to back up all 17 claims.  I read them, and they all have some flaws, and come to conclusions, that may not be correct.  Many health agencies want you to get 2 servings a week of a fish, that is high in omega 3’s  to reap the benefits.  However, fish oil supplement companies want you taking the product everyday. If you google the benefits of eating almost anything you will find results that are positive.   I googled garbage, dog poop, and processed foods, and they all came up with benefits, when they are consumed.  If you continued this process on any food, you would assume you could eat anything and live a long healthy life. Could that be true?

At first your answer would be no way.  When I googled the benefits of eating garbage, I came across a site, that said why do people eat garbage. My first thought was, I didn’t know people ate garbage, unless they were homeless.  But the garbage that this author was writing about, is food purchased at fast food chains, and highly processed foods. He  describes how nearly 90 percent of America’s budget is spent on junk food.1 What is more appalling is that nearly 60 percent of food eaten in America are ultra-processed,2 convenience foods that can be purchased at your local gas station. These processed foods also account for nearly 90 percent of the consumption of added sugar in the U.S. Now lets say that this is all true.  I have no doubt that it is true.  You have to wonder then, how does anybody make it to 85 years and beyond.  There are three diets that are describe in various sites.  The Mediterranean diet, which is a middle European diet,  the Natural diet attributed to Asia and Japan, and then the good old Western or American diet.  You could conclude that if you are on the Western diet, that you probably won’t make it past 40. If you have doubts about all the benefits that certain foods can give you, then possibly you should have doubts about all the harm that food could do. Are there any conclusions that can be drawn from this hodgepodge of claims and so called data?

Lets look as some things that we absolutely know about nutrition and health. There are absolutely a number of diseases, directly related to nutritional deficiencies.  They range from Scurvy, Rickets, Iron deficient anemia, Pellagra, and Calcium deficiency diseases. If your diet lacks certain vitamins. minerals or other essential nutrients you will get sick. There is no denying that.  There is no question that people have a sensitivity to certain aspects of food.  Gluten, certain preservatives, and spices may make some people sick. Once you eliminate the sensitivity issue, when you look at so called bad diets, it may not be what’s in them, but what’s not in them, that may be causing all the problem. The other issue, may be the amount of food, that is consumed rather the content.  What would happen if you put people on a plant based diet but they consumed vast amounts of that food, especially things like nuts and whole grains along with vegetables and became 40 to 50 pounds overweight. Do you think they might get some of the same health issues that overweight individuals get  from a processed animal based diet.   There are many more variables I can make up, but it shows why these so scientific studies are difficult, and may not be all that scientific. When it comes to food, variety and common sense, are the key ingredients.  To answer the question at the top of the page, can food really do that? I think we all know the answer is no.

Sports: The DH

Another acronym DH, where everybody who follows sports knows what it means. We are not talking about defensive huddles in football, dunk hoops in basketball, or defensive hits in hockey.  No, DH stands for designated hitter in baseball.  It has been around for a long time, since 1973.  As usual, baseball really did not know how to handle, having leagues with different rules, but to their defense, who would.  Can you imagine that in pro football, the NFC gave teams, 4 downs to make a first down, and the AFC, just allowed 3, like they do in the Canadian Football  League. Or in the NBA, the Western Conference had the three point shot, and the Eastern Conference did not. Of course the NHL doesn’t have any rules, so no problem there. The purpose of the DH was to more more offense into baseball.   Who wants to see the pitcher bat.  He can not hit and it will keep him from getting hurt. When the DH first came out they did not use it the 73, 74, and 75 World Series.  Then for the next 10 World Series, they used the DH on the even numbered years and did not use it on the odd number years. Then beginning in 1986 they adopted the present system, where the games would be played with the home team rules.

Many people feel, that the DH gives the American League the advantage, in inter league play and the World Series. Many people argue that the American League team can groom, or acquire a player that is the perfect DH. A  player who can hit but can’t field.   The stats do not really reflect this.  Going back to 1943 and looking at the World Series played until 1972 where everybody played by the same rules, the American League won 17 World Series and the National League won 13.  In the years where the DH was going back and forth, from 73 to 85, The American League won 5 World Series when there was no DH to the National Leagues 3.  When there was a DH, the National League won 3 World Series to the American Leagues 2. Under the present rules since 1986 the A.L. has won 18 titles to the N.L.’s 15.  The other notion is, that the DH creates a lot more offense in the game. Well it does create more but not by much.  Looking at the last three years in baseball, the average runs scored per American League team per year is 763.  For the National League the number is 742.  That is 21 runs per season more in the American League.  That computes out to be about one more run every 8 games.  For whatever reason, the average National League team walks more than the American League, although not by much in 2019, so maybe the National League is learning. What I mean by that, is maybe it is not such a good idea to pitch around the number 8 hitter to get to the pitcher. But all those extra walks in 2017 and 18 may be one reason the run differential is so small despite having 9 position players bat in the American League.  It doesn’t say much for the ninth hitter in the American League.   He is really not a great deal better than the pitcher hitting. The DH has extended some careers that have retained their batting skills, when fielding skills have become a liability. However, when you add it all up, something that was  suppose to be a big deal, really has had very little impact on the game.

This makes it even more asinine, that the leagues play by two different sets of rules.   I have no feelings one way, or the other, when it comes to having the DH in baseball or not.  I don’t ever see the American League giving it up, so it just seems logical that, the National League adopt it.  Yes, having a DH does take a certain amount of strategy out of the game. Will it be strategy, that will be missed?  I doubt it.  Managers today, seem to have enough on their plate with stealing signs, and so forth. The three batter rule will keep them busy this year,too.  It is nice in the American League to see that the only way a pitcher gets removed, is if he is ineffective, or tired.  This may be why there is not much offensive difference between the two leagues.  If a National League pitcher is on a roll and is two runs down in the 7th or 8th, he will be lifted for a pinch hitter.  I can only hope that the leagues will play by the same rules soon and the stats we see in both leagues can be judged equally after 47 years.

Meditation: Perception

Perception, even trying to define the word can create a challenge.  Let us see how various sources of information do this.  On Wikipedia it states the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment. Merriam-Webster dictionary states awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation. The Free Dictionary states, the process by which an organism detects and interprets information from the external world by means of the sensory receptors. This is how we develop are belief system, through are senses. Some of us develop very strong beliefs that can never be changed, by an outside party.  It is through these perceptions that people think our President is great or is horrible. No matter how the person thinks about the President it is unlikely that anybody is going to change his or her mind.  There are many subjects that can create very broad opinions and debates. On most of these subjects the way a person thinks or feels is not going to be changed. This is all brought about, on how each individual, perceives the subject.  Are any of our perceptions that we feel, hear, smell, taste and see, really correct.  Is our world something that we just create, to make ourselves feel better, or worse. How would we even know?  Let us look at one thing that we know is constant, and how we perceive it.

Everybody knows that time is a constant.  A second is a second, a minute is a minute, an hour is an hour, and 24 hours is a day.  But does it really feel that way?  Is that what your senses are telling you?  The answer is no.  When you are waiting in line, or for someone, 5 minutes can see like an eternity.  How does time feel when you are stuck in traffic?  How about when you are spending time with someone you really like or playing a game on your phone? Before you know it, 30 to 60 minutes is gone.  Seeing a very good movie, that takes 2 hours and 20 minutes, seems like nothing, but spend that same time waiting for your delayed flight, and you might think, you are never getting on board. You hear people talk about time even in the long term. It was a short summer and a long winter. No, it is the exact same number of days, each year.  I can’t believe that he’s 5 years old already, when talking about children or grandchildren. I don’t know where the time went.  I can’t believe its been x amount of years, when talking about any life event.  Time flies when you are having fun.  Maybe that’s why, we don’t want to have fun more often, just so we can slow time down. You can argue that these are just sayings, and people really don’t feel this way, but people do lose all concept of time, depending on what they are doing.  Our perceptions of time, can be way off on what the true reality is.  This is a fact, Jack.  If our perceptions of time can be this far off, could our perceptions of other things, be just as far off.  Most people would say, I know what I am seeing and feeling in other areas, and I know this is correct.  Well, I would not be too sure.  Having strong beliefs, will limit your thinking. It may be time to step back, and try look at situations from all sides, and double check, what you think may be going on around you, and other people.  Robert Burns said it best in the 1700’s when he wrote” O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us”. Since that is unlikely to happen, we need to take that inward look and check those perceptions.

Golf: The Grip

The grip you are looking at is  Sam Snead’s, one of the greatest golfers of all time.  Sam was noted more, for that long graceful swing, that gave him one of the longest PGA careers of all time.  In my opinion, he also had, one of the best grips in golf.  He was the perfect example of what I call the classic grip.  There were two things that made this grip classic. The line made by his thumb and the base of the forefinger, commonly called the V’s pointed more toward the right shoulder than at the chin or the right eye.  Second, those two V’s ran parallel to each other. Ben Hogan was the first top player, to introduce the grip, where the  left thumb was more on top of the shaft. In the Hogan grip, the right hand was also  more on top of the shaft, with the V’s being close to parallel again. Annika Sorenstam and Tiger Woods,in their respective instructional books, put the final touches on the grip. This is what I call the modern grip.   They keep the left thumb on top of the shaft, but they place their right hand on the club, a little more like Sam Snead, and therefore the V’s are not parallel.  The grip is one of the basic fundamentals of golf.  You can not play good golf, without a good grip.  There is no question, the grip has evolved over the years.  Here are some other elements of a good grip. The grip needs to be firm, but you do not want to feel you are squeezing the club. That’s why the waggle is so important.  A nice rhythmic and long waggle should give you the right grip pressure.  The hands should feel snug together with no gaps.  I do not think it makes much difference, whether you overlap, interlock, or have all four fingers of the right hand  on the golf club. Results and comfort should dictate that. There are lot’s of other variations on the way the pros grip the club, and I am not going to write about all that. There are plenty of places to go, to get good instruction, on how to grip the golf club, when making a full swing. I want to discuss a different way to utilize your grip.

This will be my experiment over the next 2 to 4 months, depending on how it goes, and how much golf I will play.  I started it yesterday, as we were able to play 18 holes, under not too bad of conditions, and the first round went rather well.  There has always been this resistance in the golf teaching community to use the grip as a way of working the ball, from right to left, and left to right.  There is the unwritten rule to never change your grip.  In my view, it is much easier to change your grip, rather than make swing adjustments, to work the ball in a certain direction. It is quite simple.  When you want to work the ball from left to right or hit a fade. use a grip that has your left thumb on top of the shaft and your right move on top of the club.   When you want to hit it right to left or a draw, then you turn your left hand, so you are seeing at least 3 and even 4 knuckles, when you look down at ball, and your right hand is more underneath the shaft. Get committed to the shot by aiming enough left for the fade and aiming enough right for the draw.  Of course, the rule of thumb is to work the ball away from trouble, not at trouble. By using this method, you never really need to make any swing adjustments,  and your hand action will curve the ball in the desired direction.  We will see how this experiments works over the coming months, and I will keep you posted.

 

 

Food: Caffeine

Caffeine is the most consumes drug in America, and probably in the entire world. In the United States, it is estimated between 85 and 90% of the people, consume some amount of caffeine daily, with the average being about being about 164 mg per day.  Over the years caffeine has gone from being bad for you, to being good for you, back to being bad, and now it is considered good for you, again. There are many medical and food sites, that discuss the pro and cons of consuming caffeine.  The general consensus is, that for the most part caffeine can help you, more than hurt you.  It’s pretty common knowledge, that caffeine affects the brain, and it seems to allow you to concentrate better, and be more alert, about one hour after consumption. The common side affects, are  keeping one awake at night, and it might give you some heart palpitations at higher doses.  Anyone can go on line and find the information.  However I did find some things that were interesting, and surprising, about how the scientific community feels about caffeine, and  there is still a lot to learned.

One thing I found that has to with nothing, but is interesting, is caffeine supposedly was discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder, who gave it to his goats, and it seemed to give them more energy.  Why you would want goats to have more energy is beyond me. The second new fact, for me anyway, was that there is not a lot of difference between what is safe to drink and what could cause some problems.  Taking in about 150 to 300 mg of caffeine per day seems to be very safe.  However taking in about 500 mg very quickly can cause some heart and blood pressure problems. So drink that coffee slowly. There is a debate in the scientific community, on whether caffeine is addictive.  Some sites say that it definitely is, while other sites say that it does not have all the traits of what constitutes an addictive drug.  All I know, is that some people do seem to have withdrawal symptoms from caffeine, if they try to stop taking caffeine abruptly.  They can get the shakes, headaches, and will be come more agitated in certain situations. My most surprising finding was that it seems that we are all drinking  coffee at the wrong time.  It all goes back to that darn circadian rhythm, again.  Its seems that when we wake up in the morning, that cortisol levels are at their highest, and therefore we do not need that jolt of caffeine, even though are brains may be telling us something different.  It is best to hit the coffee machine about 10 am, when your cortisol is starting to go down, and your body really does need that boost.  We seem to cycle back down around 1:30 so another cup will help again.   It is best to end the caffeine intake just after 2PM if you want a good nights sleep.

There is no doubt that caffeine is a drug, and the affects of are real.  On the whole caffeine can be a benefit, to help and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  However, there are more dangers involved than the general media puts forth.  After all, the coffee industry is a multi billion dollar business.  It goes back to those idiosyncratic responses that so many people have to so many different substances.  I know many people that say they can drink one or two cups of coffee at 7 to 8 PM, and sleep like a baby.  If I drank one cup at 7 PM, I would be up all night. Caffeine has many health and wellness claims, some more substantiated than others.  One claimed benefit is helping to prevent gall stones. The dose for prevention is 400 mg per day and even higher.  I think I would take my chances with gall stones.  I am going to start drinking my coffee later in the morning, when possible, and see if it makes any difference. It boils down to the same old thing.  Please. just listen to your body, it will tell you all you need to know.

Sports: Spring Training

Spring Training, everybody knows what that means, without saying anything else. In other sports they all have camps.  If you say summer camp, this could be something your kid is doing, not the start of the NFL season. When you say Spring Training, you know baseball has started, thank God.  This year, Spring Training is taking on a different feel for more than one reason.  You have teams apologizing, managers and general managers just acquiring jobs, and this weird feeling that the season is already over. I will explain that later. Spring Training, just has a nice ring to it.  Spring is coming, wonderful. The players are training, because that is what baseball requires. It is the most difficult game to play, but that will be for a future blog.  The game is swimming in money, and there is just something about baseball, that  makes you feel good.  But let us look at what is making this Spring Training, very unique.

First there is the “apologetic” Houston Astros.  The Astros would have been better off, just letting the media talk to individual players, rather than have Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, make those pathetic statements of apology. Then to top it off, their owner, Jim Crane, said that he did not feel the Astros sign stealing methods, affected the outcomes of games.  If that doesn’t prove that money is not synonymous with brains, then nothing does.  It also supports the theory that one of the biggest factors in being successful, and making a lot of money is luck.  Just think about what he said for one moment.  He said, that knowing what pitch is going to be thrown, is not really that much of an advantage.  REALLY REALLY.  Why not lobby to make what the Astros did, to be within the rules. Why did you fire your manager and your general manager.  I have never seen an organization make things worse for themselves, on a daily basis.  Because of the illegal sign stealing scandal  we had three teams scrambling for managers and a general manager to run their teams.  We will see how this affects the Astros, Red Sox, and Mets.  If the Astros win the division, I will be shocked.  I also look for the Mets and Red Sox to perform below expectations.  The other thing that makes this Spring Training unique, is that you have the feeling, that you could go to sleep, wake up around October 20th, and be certain that the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, will be playing in the World Series.  MLB Network likes to talk about the super teams in baseball, and will name 2 to 3 teams, in each league,  that they feel fall into that category.  This year, the Dodgers and Yankees have separated themselves from the rest of baseball so much, that both of their years could be historic.  The Yankees could break the all time record for wins in a season.  I think 120 wins would not be unrealistic, considering some of the bad teams, that are going to be in the American League, again this year. The Dodgers could do this too, but face stronger competition, in a more balanced National League.  Yes, I know the games have to played on the field, and injuries could affect any team severely, but if nothing unusual happens, I don’t see anything stopping these two teams from dominating the entire season.

Then there is my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates, who enter spring training with a whole new regime of coaches and a team that is basically unchanged. In my view, a team that has done so little during the off season, is harder to evaluate, than a team that has made a lot of moves. I will not do a final analysis, until just before the season starts, but you still have to wonder, what are they doing?  I was not for a complete tear down and rebuild.  I thought this team needed a third baseman, right fielder, and one or two starting pitchers, and they would be able to contend for the division title.  This is not a long list.  They did none of this. In fact, they lost their center fielder and really have not found a replacement, that approaches his value.   The few additions they have made, were  large defensive upgrades, at their positions.  That makes sense.  The Pirates were one of the worst fielding teams in baseball, no matter what defensive metrics are used.  There are moves that still can be made.  Even if the Pirates stay exactly as they are now, I do think that they are going to be better than most projections. The one on USA Today had them losing 102 games.  I still have to take a wait see attitude on the new regime.  So far, they have not done a lot to impress anyone, but the season has not even started.  Like I wrote, spring training has begun, and it still gives me that nice warm and fuzzy feeling, even though it is only 20 degress outside here in the Burgh.

Food: How Did We Get Here

The consumption of food is costing us billions of dollars every year. I don’t mean the cost of the food. I mean the results of consuming too much food for our own good.  Over half the world is overweight.  Over one third of world is a lot over weight.  I am not going to use the o word, in describing how much a person is overweight. In my view, any amount of weight over your ideal weight, can cause a problem. This is different than being pregnant, where you can be a little bit overweight.  This should not lull you to sleep, thinking that this is probably ok for your health, because it is not. Spend an entire day carry around a 10 bag of potatoes, and see how you feel at the end of the day. This is how your body feels, after it  carries your ten pounds of excess fat around, for the last so many years. This blog is not about how to lose those 10 pounds or more, but to try and find out how the world go so fat. How did we get to this state.  This is a problem that is on the rise.  More people die from complications of being over weight than smoking.  The cost of treating weight related diseases is estimated to be 147 billion dollars a year.  Each individual has to take responsibility for their own condition, but let’s look at some big picture elements, that have a lot to do with it, and what if anything we can do about it.

The beginning of the fast food chains, has done has as much as any industry, to cause people to eat more.  The fast food industry has taken a lot of criticism, over the years, for not offering as many healthy choices as they should.  Because of this criticism, fast food has improved in quality and variety. However, fast food still entices you, in many clever ways, to eat more than you should.  From catchy names like the Big Mac, The Whopper, The Whaler, MAKE IT A MEAL FOR ONLY $1.50 MORE and SUPERSIZE IT, DUMB ASS. Not only do they entice you with catchy slogans, but the more you eat, the less you pay per unit. A single Burger at Wendy’s is 4.49, but put another patty on, for just a buck, and make it a triple for just another dollar.   It goes on and on, and every chain is like this.  Should there be a law against this.  If that’s what it takes, to keep this from happening, yes, I am all for it.  There should be at least a suggestion, like on alcohol commercials, to eat responsible, because we all don’t want to pay for  those 5 stents you’ll get in 5 years.  You should not have to pay more, but you should not get a discount, because your appetite is like the offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The entire food industry is like this.  That’s the whole purpose to buying clubs like Sam’s and Costco’s, in that they want you to buy in bulk and save money.  Unfortunately, I think this makes you eat in bulk also.  This kind of thinking. in my view, must come to an end.  The idea of the bigger you buy, the less it will cost.  It is not doing us any good. By the same token, all you can eat food bars, should come to an end. Again, they just contribute to a problem that is escalating at an unbelievable rate. I know that none of these things are going to happen, but it would be interesting if they did, just to see if they helped this costly problem of American  and world health.

Everyone is responsible for their own health and well being, but it does not help when people are bombarded with the above nonsense.  Can we learn a lesson from all this? We can all get into the mode of moderation.  With some moderate consumption habits and some moderate exercise added to our daily regime I think most of us can get back to a more healthful condition of our body.  Even though I wrote that any amount of being over weight is not good for your body, any amount of weight loss is good for your body.  Enjoy your food, but only eat one patty of ground meat, and eliminate the word large or big from your vocabulary, anytime you are going to order food.  Unless you have a big family buy small and eat small.  In the long run you will make you and the world a better place. Now excuse me, as I take my 54 tater tots out of the oven.

Meditation: Breathing and Control

Breathing and control, two things that seem to be very different, but can have a strong relationship, if you understand them.  Breathing is something you have to do, to stay alive.  Control is something that you strive for, in managing your life.  Well meaning friends and relatives,  will often say get control of your life, when things may not be going well for you personally, or professionally.  This could mean trying to control an unwanted behavior, or making a decision concerning your career, to time manage your life better.  Trying to set aside more time for your personal life, and not letting a job or business run you.  Is control something we should strive for? Is it even possible?  Before we answer those questions, let’s look at breathing to see how unique it is, and how it applies to getting control of our lives.

Breathing is a function of the lungs, where we take in the oxygen from the environment, and expel carbon dioxide into the environment.  We breathe without thinking about it. We can control our breathing to some degree.  We can hold our breath for a certain amount of time. Some people are better at this than others, but most of us can hold our breath for at least 30 seconds.  Eventually, we all have to start breathing again. Under stress, our breathing may become very short and rapid. If allowed to go to an extreme, we may start to hyperventilate.  This is when we are told, to take a deep breath, and try to relax.  You will see athletes take a deep breath, as a way to relax, before they perform a function, in their sport. They are exerting some control of their breath.  When we start to exercise, our breathing will start to increase, and as the exercise becomes more strenuous, the breathing will become more rapid.  There will come a time depending on how good of shape we are in, that the breathing will become so labored, that we will have to slow down, or stop altogether. All of these things can be beneficial when dealing with everyday situations in life. Even though breathing is a natural and spontaneous function, there are ways we can inflict our control over how we breath, but only to a certain degree.

The same thing can be said, when we try to control what is going on in our lives. We all might think we have control of our lives, but in reality this control does not exist.  At times, we can control some aspects of our lives, but over all, it is circumstances, that are in control.  For many people this is a hard pill to swallow.  Trying to get control of your life, or certain situations, can lead many people to have debilitating frustrations. In order to gain control of your life, you must give up control of your life. When you realize this, your life will take on a whole new meaning, and it will free you from not only trying to control yourself, but other people as well. Just like breathing ,there are certain elements of your life you can control, like what time you might want to eat dinner, go to bed, and get up in the morning.  Even those things can be fouled up, by unforeseen circumstances.  Trying to set goals and not accomplishing them, may be seen as failures, in getting control of your life.  Even trying to improve personally, and not achieving a desired result can be more devastating, when it is tied in to the ability to control one’s life. That is why, when you give up control, that you get back control of your life.  When you realize, that life’s circumstances, whether seen or unforeseen, is what controls your life, you will become more flexible in dealing with day to day life.  It’s when you let go, allow things to evolve in the proper time and place, that your life becomes easier to live and accept. You create a new awareness, that will enable you to deal with life as it happens, not as you want it to happen. When things seems to be getting out of control, remember that life, like breathing, can only be controlled so much. Sit back and take that deep breath, dig in, and make the best of it.  You will be doing yourself your biggest favor.

Golf: When is a Fault a Fault

It has been one month since I have written anything about golf.  I have  played 2 rounds, since the last blog, thanks to some of the up and down weather, we have been having this winter. Nothing major to report on my own game, and was just happy to get out, and play once in January, and this past Monday, in February. No matter how good we play, we are always looking at our swings, and feeling, that in someway, we have some kind of flaw, in the way we swing a golf club. Even when I was trying to do, what I called 100% Mental Golf, I would find myself, still trying to think about my swing, and make it “better”.  I am not as bad as I use to be, because I can play the game without swing thoughts, during the round, but I still think about, what I could do to improve my swing, when I am off the course.  I continue to do this, even though I know, there is nothing I can do to improve my swing. My swing  is my swing.  With an index now, of 4.7, thanks to the new handicapping rules, my swing can not be all that bad. Yeah, that’s one way to lower your handicap, have the USGA,  just change the rules. No practice is necessary, which I don’t do anyway. Can a single digit handicapper, have a swing flaw that is keeping them from improving. My guess is they do not.  Some instructors, when talking about golf swing flaws, often like to use the Jim McLean term, “death move”.  This is a term used to describe a flaw in the golf swing, that keeps you from hitting the golf ball with any accuracy, or even hitting the golf ball at all.  Depending on what year it is, there are anywhere from 21 to 25 death moves, described by  Jim McLean. Do you really think so? I doubt it.  I tried to find these death moves on the internet and some of them are not death moves at all.  One of them is being shut faced or closed at the top of the swing.  Dustin Johnson and Lexi Thompson give back all your money, because there is no way you could hit the ball that well, and be as  shut faced at the top, without some non-conforming help. There are other  moves mentioned, but are they being done by anybody, who has played  the game for awhile, and shooting below 90, not very likely.  Yes, these moves are being done by beginners, but if they are getting any lessons at all they are all easily correctable.

Are there swing faults, that are keeping players from improving their game? Well, maybe, but I am having my doubts, more every day, and my new hero is Matthew Wolff, on the PGA tour, and he has already won a tournament. He no doubt, has the worse golf swing, in the history of tour. The only one that is even close, is Miller Barber of the 1960’s.  Because he has won a tournament, and drives the ball a long, long way, all anybody wants to talk about, is how great his swing is, and all the good things he does. The golfing public would be so much better served, by showing and emphasizing all the things he does wrong, from the standard golf swing techniques.  I would say that he does at least 7 of the so called death moves. I am not being critical  of Mr. Wolff, or his swing. I am being critical of what everybody his saying about his swing and how it could be the swing of the future.  Are you kidding me?  There have been articles that state, that there are things in Matthew Wolff’s swing,  that the average golfer should try and incorporate in their own swings.  I would say, if the average golfer tries to do this, he will probably wind up in the hospital, in traction.  Everybody is eventually going to have a golf swing, that they can call their own, if they let it happen, and it will serve them well.  Once you get to a certain point in playing golf, there should be other things you concentrate on rather than your swing.  The bottom line is this.  There are no faults, in anyone’s golf swing, that is keeping them from improving. Once you realize that, you will improve, at a rate that you may not believe.