The Detox I start tomorrow! I need your help! #TuesdayTakeaway

Good Morning!

Today’s Tuesday Takeaway, time for a Detox.

Phew, are we busy, busy, busy, busy people? First things first on the docket today, rollover to check my phone, tweet ( @astriker79 ), update my Facebook status, comment on my friend’s status, Facebook Messenger, post to Instagram, Home email, work email, junk email, send texts…. (lather, rinse, repeat)

I can’t fathom a world without social media, how would I talk to people? I would miss out on that post about the SNL skit and I just might offend someone by not replying quick enough. What about if the message shows read, but no reply, I am insensitive and rude!

All joking aside, I am just as guilty of maintaining a high level of online social interaction. When I think of oxymoron, is being online and social possible? I went through an unpleasant break up in 2013 while overseas. I began to have a sinking feeling in my stomach, I had a two-week vacation planned after the two month work secondment concluded in London.  How could I possibly enjoy traveling alone for two weeks, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Zürich, London then home.  Should I just fly back home to Atlanta early? I decided to turn off my Facebook profile allowing me time to focus on finding myself.

Two months later returned to Facebook at the start of my vacation to allow my family to see I was safe and share part of my adventure. What I found, it was the best vacation of my life. I explored at my pace, fought uncomfortable situations like meals alone in a big restaurant, but was able to enjoy places that I never imagined seeing.

What made my solo trip incredible was taking those two months away from our overly connected world to connect my brain with my heart. I was stronger when I returned and conquered my greatest fear, being alone.

Challenge: Dedicate one entire evening in the next seven days to step away from social media, your mobile device and computer. Find time to find you. If your evenings involve your partner, spouse, family have them partake. Your messages, Facebook, Twitter will still be there after.

The DND function on the iPhone is a blessing.


Watch the video below, can you spot a moment where you were that person? If your answer is no, you are not being honest with yourself.  #DisconnectToConnect #DigitalDetox

 

 

How One Restless Night Changed My Life #MondayMotivation #theHumanElement

Mantra: man-tra (noun) – (Originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.

  • A Vedic hymn
  • a statement or slogan repeated frequently

I often thought the phrase Happy Monday was an oxymoron. For those in the corporate world, it’s the start of the work week and conclusion of the short two day break. The past thirty days has forever changed my perspective on life which I will continue to in the upcoming weeks. 

People have asked what changed? Did I attend a course on finding myself or attend a religious institution? Neither,  but I experienced firsthand one of the most selfless demonstration of compassion from complete strangers that united from around the globe for Postcards For Parker, Relay for Life Challenge . In just 19 days, Parker Eckburg became a household name for 100’s, receiving 13,000+ Postcards and $14,500 raised in donation to Relay for Life. I never imagined one random thought to make a big difference. I’d like to shed some light on the night that changed my life.

Experiencing a restless night, I glanced through twitter stumbling across a tweet by Life Coach Jordan Bach. The post prompted me to spend hours more awake exploring different aspects of life. The Parker phenomena idea came to fruition the next day. I also have recently expanded outside my comfort zone by partaking in therapy. I view that time solely dedicated to challenging myself and at times facing uncomfortable realizations.  From a career aspect I sought out a mentor who asked me the overly complicated simple question, what will be your brand in 5 years. All of these combined illuminated my mind, I felt like a single tree standing strong amidst a starry night.

Tree at Night

Last Sunday I felt a deep personal connection to a quote by the Dalai Lama XIV. I felt every word resonate to my guiding principle, to use each day to make a difference in at least one person’s life. I was fortunate to shake the hand of the Dalai Lama while working task force at a hotel in 2004.

The next morning (last Monday), I began a ritual of reading the quote aloud as the start of a new daily morning motivation. I have no plans of memorizing the words, discussing with others, or speaking it aloud with others present. Somedays I speak the words twice to strike my core hard to ensure I remain mindful of my ability to impact the world around me.

Dalai Lama“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

~ Dalai Lama XIV

Challenge: When you awake you most likely find yourself thinking of the tasks at hand, schedule before you, dog to feed, kids to tend to. In the next week, find a word, a passage a quote that resonates with you. allow it to be your morning mantra.

(Photo: April 09, 2005, Mauna Kea Summit, Big Island)

An unsung hero, daughter battling cancer, will you dance? #Pause

Often times I find solace in the flicker of candlelight. I lit my hurricane lamp trying to fight back tears, bewildered on the pain on Jane’s heart. I asked for Jane’s permission before adding some personal interactions below.

Jane is a mother, grandmother and a friend of so many. I have been fortunate enough to have Jane in my life after only two in person moments, the second time being the Jet Drag. I joined Relay for Life because Jane’s passion for the event, it hit close to home, and the greatest love sometimes can be that of strangers.

In the past 3 months Jane’s story of Gretchen has been absolutely gut wrenching. Gretchen is a very young 33 years old with her youngest daughter being 4 on May 25th. Gretchen, like Parker is battling brain cancer and each day is growing weaker.

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I ask why? how? and again, why? How could a higher being do this to Gretchen, why Parker? I can only accept things happens for a reason and the God has a plan.

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Jane is selfless, asking God to take her and not Gretchen. The love of a mother, and an incredible person. Jane is an unsung hero, Jet Drag was her footprint on life to so many and a cause close to her heart. Jane raised $16,500, big thanks to everyone’s huge support of my Postcards for Parker Challenge that raised $14,500. Jane is giving all of her existence in a fight for her family. I am having a hard time typing this amidst tears forming.  Again and again the terrible illness are inflicted on our loved ones but alas Jane has explored the what if’s.

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Jane is the rock, the strong one for so many and she has not given up.  My mother fought a mental battle, I accepted her departure was inevitable.

Gretchen is fighting for her life everyday. I can’t fathom the tearful conversations Jane has had, the bond a mother has can never be replaced. We light a flame not in memory but in Gretchen’s flight. May the flame flicker brightly, light up the darkest rooms and guide us in the unknown. May my mother surround her with strength and courage in such a turbulent time.

My thoughts go to Jane, Gretchen, Matt and her two amazing granddaughters. Let’s keep them in our prayers to keep fighting.

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Gretchen, I light the lamp for you each night, be strong. Illuminate the world with your smile, your spirit, you will persevere.

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Everyday the world reminds us of shifting the priorities in our life… What matters? The line in Starbucks too long? That friend didn’t like your post?

Air in our lungs and love is around us, I need nothing else. I hope YOU dance.

 

 

Video|Did you own any of these? Top 10 Ridiculous Infomercials #FeelGoodFriday

Happy Friday from Atlanta!

What a great week it has been, the Pulling for Parker banner continues to fill up with words of encouragement!

In preparation for the weekend I wanted to share with you a #FeelGoodFriday . A few years ago we had a Top 10 list which one week was Top Infomercials. We filled up the dry erase board and had many moments of laughter.  Later that year we portrayed some team takeaways as an Infomercial (But wait, there is more!)…  with a clip like this to kick it off. The Hula chair we could act out on command.

Ask yourself… 

  • How many of these clips have you seen?
  • Did you buy any?
  • What’s your favorite?

Enjoy a classic Friday Funny!

 

Deep breath, now exhale… You are ALIVE!

Gearing myself up mentally for a long day before me tomorrow starting early and non stop meetings. I took a pause last night reflecting on my #TuesdayTakeaway Challenge – Can’t Sleep? Maybe you are NOT living #TuesdayTakeaway

Challenge: When you crawl into bed tonight take a moment to give thanks for air in your lungs.  Give thought to one thing you will do tomorrow to celebrate being alive. After all, each day when you wake up is a good day.

I crawled into bed last night hearing the heavy exhales of Jasmine the wonder beagle asleep on the floor next to me. Karen’s killer pup, Tink in the bed with me. I gave thought to what would I do tomorrow to celebrate being alive.

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Jasmine the Killer Beagle catching some zzz’s…

How I tackled my Tuesday Takeaway challenge. I departed the office at 12:30 for a walk through the Ravinia Gardens and Dunwoody keeping true to my FitBit challenge of 10,000 steps per day. I spent 45 minutes without music,  a phone and  conversation. Simply being outside enjoying the sun and the refreshing shade along the walk. I returned to the air-conditioned office which felt good out from the 85? weather.

Magnolias are starting to bloom allowing me to capture the above photo while out walking.  Today I give thanks for the air in my lungs and the beauty of nature around me.

Good Night,

Douglas

PS: Hitting 14,000 steps was also a nice reward.

 

Can’t Sleep? Maybe you are NOT living #TuesdayTakeaway

Happy Tuesday!

Today I contemplated what would I post for a Tuesday, taking a Mad Libs approach to guide me to the answer.

Tuesday ______________ (Tidbit… Tangent… Takeaway… Takeout…)

Today’s  Tuesday Takeaway is a quote by Michael Xavier.

Quote Michael Xavier
Quote: The reasons we can’t sleep at night are usually the same reasons we don’t truly live during the day. Michael Xavier

Many of us, myself included, spend countless nights staring at the ceiling attempting to turn our mind off.  Restful nights are few and far between. I think about  my day, family, friends, interactions, work and try to rationalize situations.

Our society is more connected than ever before, notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and the never-ending Email.

My question for you… when you were a child what kept you up at night? For myself, it was thinking about school the next day, will I forget my book bag and would I be bullied. Looking back on middle school and high school, I have no reason to return. I have kept in contact with the people who made a difference in my life, the rest is water under the bridge.

Challenge: When you crawl into bed tonight take a moment to give thanks for air in your lungs.  Give thought to one thing you will do tomorrow to celebrate being alive. After all, each day when you wake up is a good day.

Peaceful Slumber,

Douglas

A 2 Minute Journey Along Moon River #mo·ti·va·tion #Monday #spotify

Motivation: Mo-ti-va-tion – The general desire or willingness of someone to do something. Today I ask for 2 minutes of your time in a challenge to motivate you to connect your mind with your body.


 

I remember my first flight to Europe, 1996 JFK-FRA on Delta Air Lines. Filled with excitement to arrive in Europe, experience such a larger jet, I found myself gazing outside the window for hours. Mid flight I noticed the ocean far below us lit by a beautiful full moon over the Atlantic. Thinking of that beautiful moonlit ocean, a glimpse often taken for granted by so many making the journey,  the song Moon River resonates.

I have been very blessed to explore many incredible cities around the globe, of course I hold Paris as the most romantic city in the world. Amidst the chaos of the city I can visualize two people effortlessly dancing with elegance below a full moon on a roof top with the Eiffel Tower lit with it’s yellow glow in the distance.

Challenge: silence your phone, press play above, close your eyes, and allow your mind to drift for 2 minutes, imagine your Moon River. Give thought to your breathing, allow the filling of air in your lungs to connect your mind back to your body.

Mercer and Mancini wrote Moon River for Audrey Hepburn and her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It received an Academy Award for Best Original Song (1961), Grammy Award for Record of the Year (1962), Grammy Award for Song of the Year (1962).

For those with a tie to the South, an interesting connection to Savannah and Huckleberry Fin.

Wikipedia (Moon River): 


Moon river, wider than a mile

I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way

Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting ’round the bend, my huckleberry friend
Moon river and me

7 Days Since Jet Drag, A Blank Stare #JetDrag

It have reached a solid  brain block in deciphering what and when to compose next. All too often a very familiar trait I have learned of myself is that something which should be simple my mind sees it as quite the opposite.  Overthinking, perhaps something with photos, screenshots, outputs, what else more?

  1. Do I need to write a longer post to appease people and keep them interested?
  2. Can I post an update about #theHumanElement out of sequence to the other happenings in my life?

What I capture on the text of the screen isn’t an avenue focused on appeasing others, rather then self growth and understanding of humanity. If those pixels on your screen mean no value that is an perfectly acceptable. Posts can flow freely, out of sequence is acceptable as that is our stream of conscious. It’s better to share thoughts then holding on to them for an opportune time that will never present itself.

Wanting to expound upon it more, but the slight exhausting of the 9.5 flight home from a weekend trip has caught up on me.

In Summary,  a blank stare visualizing my tapestry of life, my canvas, threads starting to weave in. Not only explore your mind, but challenge yourself how to do it. Seek that deep question on self connection and without a doubt it will be there. Most likely, it has always been there if we just search. Update on #Postcards4Parker soon!

Welcome your comments!

Good Night,

Douglas

ACTION! Postcards 4 Parker, Relay 4 Life Challenge #Pulling4Parker

( PLEASE SHARE THIS POST –  http://j.mp/ForParker )
In March, Jane Mitchell an Atlanta based flight attendant, kicked off fundraising for the annual Delta Airlines Jet Drag team benefiting Relay for Life. Jane’s donation link: http://j.mp/Relay4Life4Jane .  What is a Jet Drag? A Jet Drag lasts only seconds involving a team of 20 people tugging on a rope to get a 757 to move a set distance. The 757 is my top domestic plane for her design, speed, power and climb.  
Delta 757, N638DL
Delta has 9 variants of the 757-200 and 2 of the 757-300. To put into perspective, the 757-200 specifications are:

Delta 757 Specs
I donated $500 to Jane’s effort in memory of Glen Mikesell (Age 27, died in 2013) and James Steen, both courageous people who lost their battle with brain cancer. I pondered on how could I donate more but in a way that would unite strangers for a larger cause, allowing my cousin, Parker Eckburg to see the places of the world we have been so fortunately blessed to explore.

Parker the superhero sporting a Superman shirt thanks to Barner
Parker the superhero sporting a Superman shirt thanks to Barner (4/21/15)

See Parker Eckburg is only 14 but this brave young man is now in his second battle with brain cancer. Medulloblastoma is a fast-growing high-grade tumor.  (medulloblastoma). Parker was diagnosed on March 23, 2013, having surgery to remove cancerous tumors on his brain, and then daily radiation for 6 weeks followed by 6 months of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Parker went into remission until January 23, 2015 with the cancer back with a vengeance. Parker’s most recent MRI’s show the brain cancer has not grown but is not reducing in his size. Parker’s family has been told a cure isn’t available since he relapsed, they pray for it to stop (or slow down) spreading as it is very aggressive.

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Parker being brave, catching up on his games (March 2015)

I thought back to when I was 14 and my worries of the world were homework, being home before the streetlights came on, and recovering from the loss of my mother who took her life in 1993. Having lost my mother so young at age 13, I have never lived a day to take life for granted. I was determined to find a way to share the world with Parker.

My solution was simple, for each postcard Parker Eckburg receives by the date of the Delta Jet Drag, 5/1, I would donate an additional $1 up to $500 giving a total donation of $1,000. On April 10th, I launched the Facebook group, Postcards 4 Parker, Relay 4 Life Challenge. (http://j.mp/Postcards4Parker) .

1 Postcard = $4 Donation to Relay for Life

 

The Human Element of those around us has never shined so bright with the outpouring of support, posts of encouragement, photos of journeys, postcards, books, Green Bay Swag, T-shirts and now contribution matching. Since launching the Facebook group just 12 days ago, three fellow Delta Diamond Medallion Flyers have jumped in to match my donation, now up to 1,000 cards, $1,000 per person, $4,000 total. Thank you to Barner Golumbfskie-Jones, Shane Rixom and Timothy Allen , your contribution to Relay 4 Life will help so many others.

On May 1st, we are all PULLING 4 PARKER! 

 

Jane Mitchell is to be thanked for her allowing of me to partake in her fundraising efforts with my launching of this challenge. Jane is one of the most courageous woman you may ever meet, a flight attendant, grandmother, mother, and also the rock for her daughter who is now back to battling brain cancer too.

Join the Postcards 4 Parker, Relay 4 Life Challenge today! 

(http://j.mp/Postcards4Parker

Share a photo of inspiration, obtain address information and be part of something bigger. #Pulling4Parker

NEED MORE INFO? CONTACT ME! 

https://twitter.com/astriker79

 

 

 

A Journey to define The Human Element (THE)

A month ago someone asked me, in 5 years, what will your brand be. Not an MBA question nor where will you be working, what will YOUR brand be.

This thought provoking question left me also slightly unnerved. What would my brand be? In 5 years, what would my life have shaped up into?

For several years I have engaged in lengthy conversations on The Human Element (THE). This is not our evolution to the automation of processes to reduce human error or our impact to global warming but an innate connection that draws mankind closer.

The people you engage with everyday, or once in your life. Taking that connection beyond an electronic device, celebrating the good times and forgetting the bad ones. The Human Element expands beyond person to person interactions but expands also to engaging with companies that one feels so passionately for, a true advocate due to a demonstrated yet individualist feeling of a personal connection. As society has evolved, this element is often missing.

Google Defines Human Element:

Definition of Human

Definition of Element

How I break it down, characteristics essential for human beings.

I will continue to expound on this topic, seek examples, it may be random seldom updates,  it may have no readers but I open this journey to anyone.

**Photo: Sunset over the harbor and Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, February 2015

A Journey to Define the Human Element.