Follow by Email

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

5/12 - 5/16 Days 133, 134, 135,136 &137

See, finally I am getting back to blogging more than one time a week!  I knew I would get there sooner than later!  I am happy.  Blogging and sharing with all of you what is going on behind the scenes is very cathartic for me.  It leaves me feeling like I am constantly cleaning my slate, it is freeing.

I love reading all your comments and emails you all send.  I can't thank you enough for sharing.  I am especially happy to hear that many of you have been putting into practice concepts that I have been trying to teach/enforce throughout the 1000 Challenge, and from the way it sounds, many of you are improving the quality of your lives as a result!  WAY TO GO!  

I do try to read all the emails.  I can't always respond to every single one due to limited time, but I do try and read every single one.  I can not begin to tell you how much you all, your journey's, your successes, inspire me.  I have been moved to tears by some of the stories that have been shared with me.  I have been moved to tears of joy that so many of you have taken such an interest in my shirts.  I can promise you that I NEVER thought I would be sending shirts to all over the world, but here I am.  It is so cool for me to see all your pictures wearing Zero Limits, or 1000 Challenge shirts ... I smile every time I see someone else posting a picture, or someone sending me an email saying they love the shirts.  Thank You!

One of my goals this year is the hope that I can demonstrate through my life and the choices I make that happiness is something that is available to anyone and everyone who wants to work towards it.  Happiness is not just something that we acquire one day, it is a day to day choice we make, an attitude we choose to adopt to be happy.  The other day I got an email from someone telling me how jealous they are of my life.  That I am so lucky and that they could NEVER do the things I am doing because of this and that.  I told them that happiness is a choice.  The way I live my life, is a choice.  Allow me to share a few examples:

Since returning from Europe and all the other travel, I have been really critical of my self.  I have been having "fat days."  Fat days and fat moments are just that, days and moments where I feel fat (Yes, I have them too).  It doesn't matter if I am, or am not fat... the point is my feelings effect me in a certain way, just the same as yours do.  What can be a catastrophic thought or feeling for me, could be no big deal for you.  

So, when I get these fat feelings,I get really down on myself.  I have very high standards and high goals I set for myself, and while I know I will be back to where I want to be after another month of eating good and exercising well, I am still critical of myself. I made choices while traveling and in those choices I did not have as much room to exercise at the level I normally do and eat as healthy as I normally would.  I do  not regret any of those choices I made, but that still doesn't change the fact that I get down on myself in the present.  You will notice a drastic reduction in shirtless pictures being posted lately, why?  Because, I am very self conscious of myself right now.  So with this going on, I have choices... I could choose to be depressed about my "feelings of being fat," I could choose to be angry at myself, or I could choose to acknowledge my emotions, not run from them, but instead work with them.  I deal with it as it comes up, I allow myself to feel sadness, frustration, etc... in the moment and then I do my best to move forward and be happy in the 100's of moments that follow.

Let me share another example:

The last week, I have been missing my Dad, A LOT.  As I have been playing catch up with life here in Santa Barbara, I have had a lot of time to reflect.  For the first time, I sat down and started scrolling through all the pictures of the 1000 Challenge to date.  I was in shock... I could not believe how much I had done/accomplished/experienced.  For a minute it didn't seem real until I started to flash back with all the memories that go with each and every picture.  It was in these moments I started thinking of my Dad - what he would say, would he be proud?  I could almost hear his voice calling out to his office mates, "Hey, come here and check out Jesse on George Lopez!"  I know he would have been excited about that.  Dad loved all the late night TV shows.  

I moved away from home when I was 18.  My adult life has been spent in Santa Barbara, first with school, and now with my work and my life.  I only saw my Dad on the quick trip homes here and there over the years.  So I do not have a lot of memories of him as an adult.  When I saw my Dad in the mortuary, it was the first time I had seen him in over a year.  This is where my sadness comes from - when I close my eyes and try to remember my Dad the first thing that pops into my head is him lying there in the mortuary, completely still, no breathing, his skin icy cold.  And when that image pops up into my head I can still hear every sound, remember every feeling and thought that was going through my head.  It is hard!  This does not happen every time, but it happened enough this last week to challenge me more than I cared to be challenged.

I share the above with you because again, happiness is a choice.  There are plenty of moments each and every day, this last week especially where I am sad and miss my Dad.  I can't change the past, but what I can do is choose to focus on my happiness and going on living the best I can in the present.  I know that is what he would want, and I know he would be proud of me because of it.  You see, i get sad just like all of you.

I also get rattled, get scared, get frightened, and have those days where things don't go to plan just like all of you... let me share:

Last Friday, May 13th I check my voicemail.  It was about 1130 am and there was a message from my grandfather saying my Mom was in the hospital, the doctors think she may have a brain tumor. I panicked, I cried, I had 1000's of thoughts race through my head, "What, How, Why? This isn't fair, my Mom is all I got! I can't go through this again, etc..."  Time stood still.

I had a long talk with my Grandfather after about what to do.  My Mom is not in a good situation, she is on disability already from an injury she sustained while moving out of her house that went into foreclosure after my Dad died.  She has no insurance - she is not in the greatest of health to begin with as a result of all the stress she has been under since my Dad died.

I spent the whole day, until later that night wondering if my Mom was ok, what was going to happen.  I felt overwhelmed, I felt scared, I felt lost... I didn't know what to do.  

There is a park here in town that I have wanted to visit for the 1000 Challenge, I decided to go to that park to walk around and collect my thoughts.  I found a spot to sit and as I was sitting there, taking pictures of course, a mosquito landed on my leg.  I was wearing jeans and it got stuck in the jeans while trying to steal my blood from me.  For the next 20 minutes I lost myself in trying to take the "perfect" picture of this mosquito... it was amazing, it was an escape, it was liberating.  Why I share this with you is because I made a choice.  There was nothing I could do to help my Mom during those hours.  Me sitting at home, worrying and being sad was not going to help, but what I could do is do my best to continue on with my day as best as possible.  I did, and in those moments that simple act of photographing the mosquito I had made a choice to be happy.  Did I stay "happy" the rest of the day, no, I still struggled, but what I gained was the knowledge that I can empower myself, I can find happiness even in the scariest of situations.  I didn't live the rest of the day feeling overwhelmed like I initially felt, instead I lived it concerned.  I am just like all of you... I have life challenge's, just like everyone else.

Finally late at night the MRI results came back ruling out a tumor.  My Mom, as of this writing, can barely see.  She says she has double vision where it is stacked on top, instead of seeing side to side.  She has a sustained headache that has been with her for about 10 days and she is constantly feeling Nauseous.  She has her next doctor's appointment on Thursday - she is really scared.

Earlier today, a good friend of mine sent me the following and I thought it was a perfect way to close out this blog:

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each  morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved  perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.  
His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After  many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled  sweetly when told his room was ready.  
As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description  of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.  I love it,' he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just  been presented with a new puppy.  
Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait.'  
'That doesn't have anything to do with it,' he replied.   
Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.   
Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is  arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it.  'It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;  I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the  parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful  for the ones that do.   
Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day  and all the happy memories I've stored away.. Just for this time in my life.   
Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in.   
So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank  account of memories!   

You see ladies and gentlemen, happiness really is a choice.  We all have good days and bad days, but we have choices on those days to.  I am not lucky, I made my life what it is today and I hope that as the rest of this year goes on you will all continue to see me create the life of my choosing.  In addition to that, my hope is that you to will be empowered as you follow along and realize that you, just like I, have choices in your life.  You can choose happiness, or you can choose whatever else.  I don't know about you, but I choose happiness.

Enjoy the pics,

Carpe Diem, 



  1. That's fantastic advice/insight. Sometimes for me it just seemed as though happiness was the harder choice. That eventually it will be stolen so why even try? From my perspective it was easier to live in misery than to be happy and have it pulled out from under me like a rug. Not one of my better choices, I admit. Now it's a struggle to try and find out way out from underneath negativity and unhappiness, to see the good through the bad and just live life. Reading your blogs and seeing everyone's comments help. It gives me a different perspective, a new way to look at things.

  2. I don't know what to say, thanks for sharing your personal feelings and life with your followers.

  3. This is so true.. Like I just told a friend today, you can do anything you REALLY want to do if you set your mind to it! Lots of people, myself included at times, will say that they don't have the money or time to do something, but I find that if its something I really, truly want, I will find a way! Saying I don't have time or can't afford to try new things and live my life well is just an excuse and an easy way out. (and a lame excuse at that) :) And thank you for the reminder that happiness is a choice we make each day! I need that.
    Saying a prayer for your mom tonight...

  4. Thanks for that Jesse, u r a mind reader too. Last week was tough for me and my family. I can't believe it's already 3 years since my mum passed away. Being Happy only you yourself can control..don't rely on others to make you happy. Happy Momentum Day and I look forward to ur next blog. :)

  5. Gracias Jesse por compartir, usted y su blog me hacen bien y me recuerda que la vida no es fácil, pero es hermosa y la actitud con que la enfrentamos la hace grandiosa, bendiciones y un abrazo. Julia /////// For sharing, you and his blog do good to me and he me remembers that the life is not easy, but it is beautiful and the attitude with which we face her makes her grand, benedictions and a strong embrace.

  6. What can I say... since I started reading your blog and exchange some emails I feel better in my life. As I wrote once, you are kind of my lucky star...and it's hard to read, that you have hard time, right now... You are fortunate. Yes, you are because you know, that you have to try to deal with life. If you won't try you won't make a mistake, won't know how hard life can be sometimes... You are fortunate, that you have strenght, will and possibilities (yes, posssibilities created by you, by you friends for you) to realize, what life is.
    I would love to be able to help you... my thoughts are with you..
    Please tell, how is your Mom...
    Carpe Diem, Jesse...