One path on an uncommon journey

Saturday, November 7, 2020

For Ron


theaginghippie lost perhaps it's biggest fan recently. Ron Olson. Ron loved the posts, claiming he was living his life through them. When I was publishing regularly, he couldn't wait. When I wasn't. he would push me to do another soon.

Beyond that, he made me feel really good. He always had a smile, a kind word and praise, a snack.

He adored his sisters, always sharing their triumphs. His nephews and nieces were the loves of his life. He would be bursting to share the news of a new baby, someone got a new job or promotion, some accomplishment or came to visit. He couldn't wait to get out to see them.

Most of all, Ron loved life and people. I know he is so thrilled at the results of the election. Heck, he probably was driving everyone upstairs crazy until he personally got Joe Biden elected. He wants people to heal, be healthy, be taken care of and be loved. 

I worked with Ron for many years and had the pleasure of seeing him daily. I am lucky to have many memories that will live on. But, I miss my friend. He has transitioned, but for me, again selfishly,  I wish he were here. I miss his smile. His kind words. Everyday saying 'Say hello to your lovely bride.' 

So, buddy (he always called me that), I will do my best to post regularly again, for you. Thank you for your support, friendship, and love. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rumble, young man, rumble.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Rumble, young man, rumble.”

Being born in 1957 made me a tweener. I have memories of the JFK assassination;  I was a six-year-old walking the street with a very small transistor radio. The only sound from the radio was the consistent sounds of the drum that were a part of the procession. I did not know of his greatness until many years later.

Although we were in the midst of the flower child and free love era, I was too young to experience that. We were a generation lost in the space race, post Baby Boomer, in between everything with little to identify with. Before I really began to listen to music the Beatles were breaking up. The Vietnam War was at its height, but began before I had really known what war was. We had little to relate to and even less people to look up to.

Along came this tremendous athlete, outspoken, intelligent and brash. The world had never seen anything like him before. Hello champ.

He talked big and backed it up. In the ring and out; he took on the world. He was the first person I knew of that said it was OK to proclaim you were great and then go out and do it! He made predictions and then made them come true.

More importantly, he showed that you could survive by standing up for what you believe in. He showed that your beliefs are the most important thing you have and to risk anything to protect them.  By doing so he proved that you can be knocked down, in sports and in life, and get back up. In fact, it was your decision and your right to do so. You were supposed to.

He went from beloved Olympian to hated Muslim to beloved champion to hated draft dodger to beloved champion. Throughout he stuck to what he believed in, weathered the establishment’s storm and came out stronger.  All the while he was a humanitarian, an activist, devout in his religion (even while those who were supposed to be his friends, teachers and mentors tried to take advantage of him).

Here was a man who only wanted to be equal, nothing more – nothing less. He was the champion of the world, yet he felt he was being treated as an inferior to the majority. Champion of the world, but he felt inferior. I can’t even imagine what it is like to feel that way. Jesus, this great man treated as an inferior.

I grew up poor, but not discriminated against. I didn’t even know I was poor. My dad was a good man. He never let me know I was poor and he taught me the things I passed on to my kids – music, reading, and a respect for the past.

Funny thing is, he didn’t particularly care for Muhammed Ali. He thought he was a loudmouth. He didn’t like the braggadocio. But, he respected Muhammed Ali-as a person and activist. He never stooped to the racist statements the majority of the white males in his age range were making (Even when it was the chique thing to do when he refused to be inducted into the war).  He taught me that the color of someones’ skin did not affect the worth of that person to the world.

I met Muhammed Ali twice, pre and post Parkinsons. I don’t know that I have ever met anyone who has made ME feel so special, so worthy. He looked me in my eyes and he held look of love, of wonder. I swear he made me feel like no one else ever has. He was truly interested in only me and what I had to say. He made me feel like I was the celebrity. I only hope that one day I can make ONE PERSON feel the way that he made me feel.

Muhammed Ali taught me so many things more that I can put in this short tribute. In a time with so few heroes and so much confusion, there was Ali. Champion, activist, humanitarian, philanthropist.
I said previously, all he wanted was to be our equal, nothing more – nothing less. Sorry, champ you aren’t my equal. You aren’t anybody’s equal. You are simply – the greatest.

Allah is beaming with you by his side.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lose Yourself (with all due respect to Eminem, Nick Zero and Tone Atlas)

'Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?"

So, today I wanted to write about exercise. Why? Because I care about you all and want you to do something for you, your family and your friends. Stay healthy, stick around and live a long life. 

A couple of quick statements:
1. Kids who grow up in a house where exercise is the norm will exercise more as adults.
2. Exercise can help relieve stress and help make the brain stronger.

Let's get you jump started on exercising (if you aren't already.) We'll use my daily walk as an example, but you can change it to fit your routine.

Just Start- Pick up your iPhone, smartphone or whatever your device is; plug in your headphones and step out the door. Start your music, audio book or podcast and walk. Go for five minutes, ten minutes, whatever. Pat La Duca, trainer extraordinaire, recommends 45 minutes to two hours at a brisk pace. You'll get there, just start for now!

Get a smartphone program-I use Digi Fit on my iPhone. It is free, tracks most activities and you can run your music through there. It will announce intervals and times. There are a ton of free programs for working out. Get what works for you.

Lose Yourself- 
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime 

Whether it's a playlist, book or podcast, lose yourself. Let it go. The time will fly. My playlist is set for around 45 minutes, starts slow, gets fast paced through the middle and slows down at the end. Warm up, workout, cool down. 

Here's my list:
 1. Fix you - Coldplay
2. For What it's Worth - OneRepublic
3. He Got Game - Public Enemy
4. Lose Yourself - Eminem
5. Dreams - The Cranberries
6. For Taking the Trouble - Jackson Browne
7. Willing and Able - Prince
8. Clocks - Coldplay
9. Gloria - Paul Schwartz
10. Big Yellow Taxi - The Counting Crows
11. As - Stevie Wonder

Play Games- It's too cold. My back hurts. I don't have time.  When the little doubts and excuses creep in, say to yourself "Well, I'll just walk five minutes." "I'll just walk to the corner." You'll find you want to push yourself and do more. 

My knee was acting up today and I had to do it. I only did 1.5 miles, but that's pretty good considering I wasn't even going to go. 

I am very competitive and I try to go a little further, a little faster everyday. It works for me. I don't care how fast any one else is going, I'm just trying to be better than I was yesterday.

"You can do anything you set your mind to, man." - Eminem

If you are healthy and strong, you can do anything you set your mind to. Are there any exercise tips you have? Please share them via the comments!

(Photo is from thehuffingtonpost.uk)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

An unexpected journey (four things you should learn from Bilbo Baggins)

Every year when my good friend, Greg Black, asks me what books I would take with me if I was stranded on an island, the answer remains the same, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. if you haven't read them, you should. If your kids haven't, convince them to. If they are too young, read it to them. there are no 'spoilers' here, read on.

While watching The Hobbit I was inspired to write this blog. Bilbo Baggins is the main character and
his experiences change, surprise and inspire himself and others. There are many lessons throughout the book/movie, but I'll highlight four.

1. Get out of your comfort zone. Bilbo is visited by Gandalf, who invites him on an 'adventure.' Bilbo finally accepts, running out of his house with few items.

The first step is the most important. You can't begin with out it. Do something different, that you may not be comfortable with. You can learn,  you'll get some experience and, what the heck, you may even enjoy it.

I'm doing it as we speak. For the first time in, um, ever, I do not have a 'traditional' job and am hoping to never have one again. I do not know what it's like to be an entrepreneur, it is new, frightening and scary. But, I am trying to reinvent myself at 55 and loving it so far.

2. Be compassionate. Bilbo has several chances to kill one of the unfortunate villains, Gollum, but never does so. He sees some of himself in the unfortunate creature and chooses to spare him.

Cut people a break, they are not so different. You never know what is going on in their lives, what goes on behind closed doors. There very well may be a reason they act the way they are/do. And, they aren't so different than you sometimes.

While we are on the subject of you, here's an idea - cut yourself a break. Try and be a bit less critical of yourself. At times we are rougher on ourselves and family than others, so go ahead and give you and your family a little leeway.

3. Do what is right, regardless of the consequences or the immediate outcome. Bilbo has many chances to take the easy way out, to quit or to run and he always does the right thing. At any risk.

“It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there will be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”Mohatma Ghandi (One of my favorite quotes.)

I can't say any more than that, do the right thing.

4. Let courage rule - leap! Bilbo, and a dozen others, are watching Thorin being beaten mercilessly when he lets courage rule. The smallest, meekest, least experienced jumps and the others follow.

Now, I am not saying look before you leap, but sometimes you just have to. You will probably surprise yourself. What you can do is only limited by you. Believe in yourself, take a chance! Go ahead---LEAP!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deja Vu (for Darlene)

Several months ago I did a post by the name of  "Going Within." It was a post that went through the different stages of getting a meditation practice together.

In a completely unrelated conversation with my sister, Darlene Markarian, she told me that she had initiated a meditation practice. She stated she was not very good at it and that she was having some difficulty in making it a regular occurrence. That sentence probably sums up meditation better than anything I've ever heard. I was so excited to know that I had reached someone, and especially someone that I have looked up to for so long.

So, Darlene, this blog is dedicated to you. It is with hopes that I can help you improve on your meditation shortcomings and get someone else to meditate. I was not regularly meditating when we talked, but that has changed. I am now meditating for about 15 min. every morning, every day. ( And I'm not very good at it!)

Chogyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, wrote a brilliant book titled "Shambhala - The Sacred Path of the Warrior." in the book he gives one of the better descriptions of a simple meditation that I have seen. He begins "Meditation practice begins by sitting down and assuming your seat cross-legged on the ground or in a chair. You begin to feel that by simply being on the spot, your life can become workable and even wonderful. You realize that you are capable of sitting like a king or queen on a throne. The regal mass of that situation shows you the dignity that comes from being still and simple."

The upright posture comes naturally when sitting simply, but proudly. Then rest your hands on your thighs in a relaxed position. Find a spot approximately 6 feet in front of you and focus your gaze at that.

He continues "then, in meditation practice, as you said with a good posture, you pay attention to your breath. When you breathe, you are utterly there, properly there. You go out with the outbreath, your breath dissolves, and then the inbreath happens naturally. Then you go out again. So there is a constant going out with the out breath. As you breathe out. You dissolves, you diffuse. Then you're inbreath occurs naturally; you don't have to follow it in. You simply come back to your posture and you are ready for another outbreath. Go out and dissolve: tshoo; then come back here posture; then tshoo, and come back to your posture."

As you continue to do this thoughts will pop into your mind. Calmly dismiss them, saying "thinking."  No matter what thought enters your mind simply say "thinking" and let them disappear.

Do not judge your thoughts, they are just your thoughts. They are not good or bad, they are just thoughts. Send them away, "thinking." Meditation will help align your mind and body and bring an amazing calmness.

And, with that, I am pleased to announce the first podcast done by the aging hippie. I will be working on it tonight and should have it done sometime tomorrow. Additionally, with the holiday season upon us, I am going to be creating a "guided grounding and centering meditation." of course, all of this will be linked to and centered on theaginghippie.com. It will be around five minutes long (we can all find five minutes) and will be perfect for relieving the Holiday insanity!

Please let me know of any success stories! It's wonderful to know that you're actually reaching someone.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keeping the faith

So, today begins a really interesting time and point in my life. My interests have changed and so has my employment status. I am going to be relying on and concentrating on blogs, some different business opportunities and looking to set a different standard for my future.

My intentions are to become a regular blogger on both the theaginghippie website and the website I've had in my head since the other recent major life change, August 8, 2008, the infamous heart attack. I would like to put up an informational site where people can go to get comprehensive information on heart attacks. There are a number of websites like this, but they are very lacking in in-depth and useful, basic information.

One of the difficulties I have with blogging is that I have so many things I want to share. This blog was actually intended to be a blog on helping you, and me, to change or create a habit. That just isn't where my heart and head is at this time.

Earlier in the week I was talking with Roberta Janet Hatrick and I was telling her my idea about keeping the faith. I guess sometimes I know that a big changes coming prior to it coming. In any event, keeping the faith is very hard to describe. It's the thing that makes us get up every day and continue. It's this thing it keeps you going after a major drastic change.

For some people keeping the faith is just that, faith in their Creator. They believe that someday they will be able to meet and be together with their Creator, loved ones in spirit and in a better place.

Other people are of the belief that if they get up every day and do their best they will be rewarded. That reward probably ranges from anything like a raise at work to a better lifestyle to a place in heaven.

I guess my keeping the faith is a combination of that and more. I'm not certain if it's like that for everyone, but I'll do my best to describe it.

You know I'm a quote guy and one of my favorite quotes is "It's not about being better than anyone else, it's about being better than you were yesterday." So, that's the first thing I tried to do every day. get up and be a little bit better than I was yesterday. Better at work, better at being a father, a grandfather, a brother. Being a better person, a better friend.

My rewards are not riches, They're a smile on a granddaughters face. It's the excitement in my dogs, Norman and Rockwell, when they know I am going to take them for a walk.it's watching one of my sons perform, one of my nephews play football, it's spending time with my extended family. That is what keeping the faith is for me. It's the thing that gets me up and going every day.

It's the thing that gets me over a job separation, loss of a parent or just a trying day. knowing that I can make someone smile or get a hug for me close friend is what does it for me. think about what keeping the faith means to you and what it is that keeps you going.

Looks like this blog is going to be in three parts. The first was a little bit of a "get you up to date,"the second was the title section, keeping the faith, and the last part is about to websites that I enjoy. That is, after all, what Phil and I envision this site as, a way to share the uncommon path that theaginghippie is taking.

 zenhabits.net is an eclectic and interesting site. It is a site about simplicity and minimalism. It's a great site that will help you enjoy your life by slowing down, eliminating unnecessary things and organizing your life. Spend a few minutes and you'll get some great information on all of this. The autor is Leo Babauta, just an amazing guy. I will little disappointed that he has changed a lot of the content to a paid subscriber section, but it still offers some pretty decent information for free. This is one of my favorite sites and I will add it to the bibliography.

dumblittleman.com is quickly replacing zenhabits.net as my favorite site.this site offers some of the best information that I've seen on a daily basis. It is a blog that encourages guest writers and contributors. It's becoming a site that you can submit information to and get some traffic to your website or blog. Because it is done by a number of people it remains fresh and interesting.

Recent posts have been " Disaster or Opportunity? 4 Simple steps to Transforming Life's Catastrophes," and "Can You Really have it All," and "13 Ways to De-Stress and Feels Like Yourself Again."

Both Sites have email subscription and RSS... and here's my 'it' for today. My reason for keeping the faith.

                                             This is Sam dressed and ready for Wegman's!

During this Holiday season I encourage you all to revisit your "it" and reasons for keeping the faith. May you find peace, blessings and love all around you!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just start already!

The wonders of technology. I had just dictated a new post on my brand, spanking new computer via a wireless headset, only to switch pages, thinking it would save. WRONG! Whatever happened to autosave??? Stupid autosave!

In any event, I will be posting updates in Numb3rs and random musings later and a new post for the next three Sundays. The first post will be on changing a habit: how to do it and what to do.

I have a couple of shameless plugs in the meantime.....

My mentor, Ellen Bourn, is involved with http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Light-of-Truth-Church/180985598598379. These are good people with heaven and Earth's highest interests, I assure you.

If you or anyone is in need of healing, simply go on The Light of Truth Church Facebook page and post their name (you only have to post their first name if you prefer.) This is a powerful, powerful healing group which I am associated with. You can also contact me at dennis.digesare@gmail.com if you'd prefer not to go public or need something special and I'll post anonymously for you or pass it along.

Finally, we will be holding the 2nd Annual Artisan Holiday Shopping at the White Linen Tea House on Sunday, November 18th from 11AM to 4PM. Participating will be Dawn Vizzi DiGesare, Patricia Esposito, Rosanna Cappellino, Tanis Wiinslow, Kimberly Kendziora, Elizabeth Dugan, Giovanna DiGesare, Nancy Gullo, Dennis DiGesare, Bruce Verbeck.

I'll be doing 15 minute readings and there will be everything from jewelry to jams and scones to fused glass to granite cheese boards to handmade Christmas stockings to sock monsters to leather goods and more.

Stop and say hello if you can!!

That's all folks...new post Sunday....Blessings and peace!...dennis