Remember to breathe, smell the ocean, and make time to recharge your soul.

In the perpetual hustle of wearing multiple hats— mine are typically, Husband, Dad, Salesman, Friend, Sponsor, and Volunteer— I need to intentionally calendar time off for me.

I did that all day on Saturday with a long hike to the coast. The smell of the salty air and gentle summer breeze were an elixir to refresh my soul.  I came back refreshed, and ready to take on the challenges pf the week ahead.

Yet, even after a one-day respite, I spent most of Sunday doing everything I didn’t do on Saturday.

I have a tendency to go full board and try to do too much. Part of it may be to make myself feel productive. Part may be to show that I have it all together. Still another part may be that I like to have stuff to do. The irony though is I also like down time.

I call this ambitious laziness. I have, for years, made it a game to go, go, go barely pausing until the next goal, job, or item on my to do list needs to be done. I do things as fast as possible so I can sit and do nothing—ergo, being ambitiously lazy.

Inevitably though, running on the hamster wheel of life at a frenetic pace leads to burnout, short temper, and unnecessary stress. Those closest to me, unfortunately get the backlash of my selfish ambition.

In order to stop this vicious cycle, I am practicing putting time on my calendar for me.  I am also spending time each day to listen to or read something inspirational.

Today,  I listened to part one of a 40 days of Love podcast by Rick Warren. It was so good. Whether you’re a Christian or not, his key message is that we must do everything in love.

That seems simple. It takes a conscious effort.  It means being kind to the checker who is clearly frustrated and a little slower than others. It means listening to your spouse when they want to tell you about their day and NOT trying to fix it. It means telling yourself that it is OK to take a break—to do something that brings you joy.

The importance of being still, meditating, praying, or doing whatever you need to to get centered, is so critical to our health and happiness.

So today, when I had some chest pains, I paid attention to my body and went to my doctor. He sent me to the ER for tests. I didn’t want to because I was afraid of what might be and worried about the expense of an ER visit. But after discussing it with my wife over text, I realized that I was making the right decision.

After the doctor examined me, did and EKG, and took blood, he later informed me that there were no indications of any heart incident. No scolding. No condemnation about exercise, lifestyle or habits. No lectures to eat more veggies…Just a matter of fact, professional, qualified assessment of what his tests and exam revealed.

What a relief. I am glad I asked for help and even more grateful that all is well. So is my immediate family.

The bill may be large, but in comparison to my life, I made the right decision. Why am I writing this? Because I have heard no less than 3-4 stories of people who have recently either had a stroke or died and that scares me. We all are faced with many decisions and choices each and everyday. Some are easier than others. When they affect our lives we need to pay attention.

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So for whatever it’s worth, I felt an obligation to share a little of my experience  in the hopes that it may prompt someone out there to be more mindful of their health and put themselves at the top of their to do list for a change. If we do not take care of ourselves, we have nothing to offer others.

Like the flight attendants always say on every flight, “…put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.”

Life is short.  Live it in love.

Love,

Shawn

 

I love you Dad.

Dear Dad,
I love you and miss you.
Thank you for your love, even when we were apart.

Thank you for showing me what it’s like to be humble; to be curious about our world, faith, and life.
I feel your presence often and know that you are at peace. I only wish we could’ve spent one more day together to talk about life. I get choked up thinking of all we did and all we could’ve done. We missed out on years of connection, but, in the end, like a relationship with a close friend, when we were able to say I love you to each other and have closure it was as if time stood still. I am grateful for all that you were and all that you gave.
When we meet again, we can have that chocolate milkshake I promised you.
Love,

your son Shawn.

Today is a day I will remember forever. It’s Release Day for “Beyond Recovery”

Today is a day I will remember forever; 11-11-16. After 2 1/2 years writing, editing, agonizing, fighting off self-doubt and insecurity, and then asking for advice from my author wife, and other key friends, I have finally come to the finish line…Today marks the is the official publish date of my very first book, Beyond Recovery a Journey of Grace, Love and Forgiveness.

The outpouring of support from family and close friends has been tremendous. Many have already pre-ordered their copies-Thank you!

Despite all good intentions,  as the release date approached, I’ve had to distance myself from a sea of inner and public negativity, doubt and insecurity,  as powers of the universe  seemed to throw me curve balls as I neared the completion. Despite theses challenges,  I have  managed to lean on a solid group of friends to help get me back to center. In a nut shell, I found the grace, love and forgiveness that are a common thread in the tapestry of tales and experiences included in Beyond Recovery. I  was, once again, reminded that life is a dress rehearsal and about progress, not perfection.

There is so much in this book. It’s not just a memoir about a recovered alcoholic, its about things I have learned the hard way; life lessons if you will. My hope is that through some of the stories I share, may in some way, offer a modicum of hope for you or someone you love.

Writing a book about my sordid drunken past and my journey through recovery and then sharing it with the world is something that, as my good friend JB, said, “is a little ballsy.”

I agree. But I wouldn’t be here if not for courage. It took courage to be willing to say I had  problem with alcohol in the first place. It took even more courage to ask for help.

One thing I have learned over the years is that the sweetness of life happens when we take a chance on our selves and face our inner demons and move forward anyway.

I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please leave a review on Amazon.

Today is a day to be grateful, thank you!

Here is where you can get it for now.

Kindle: www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3O30PH

 

 

 

 

 

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BREAKING THE CHAINS THAT BIND US

Thirty years ago I began a journey of healing-one that would forever change the outcome of my life. I made a decision to stop drinking and seek help.

Before any problem can be solved it needs to be identified. At the ripe age of twenty-two I succumbed to the fact that I was powerless over alcohol and drugs; of my own will power I could not control my consumption, no matter how hard I tried. Continue reading