Three Lines. Three Words. Three Lessons. Three Tips. Three Reasons to Believe.

Don’t worry. He won’t hurt you. Just sit there (three sentences).

Santa

Not sure why Santa scared me so much. Clowns frightened me. Women frighten me. Threes.

Scary happens in threes. Scary movie sagas frequently occur in threes, although many times I wonder why. The Godfather movies? Three. Don’t ask me why. Don’t see Godfather III. Abomination.

On occasion you need three signals to wake you, shake you, bake you – Three hammers hit you in the head, three lightning strikes. You cry, you deny, you wake up. Maybe you wake up. Most likely, you don’t wake up. Try. I try every day.

Why?

Because your brain forms protective layers. Three from what I’ve discovered about myself. As your mind tries to protect your heart. To get through to you, to others, you need to bust through the layers.

Thinking in threes, speaking in threes, can improve your life, possibly save it.

Everything you ever need to know can be learned in threes. Everything you ever need to communicate can be accomplished in threes.

Random Thoughts:

1). “Leave me alone. Go away. I mean it.” Use this for bad thoughts, bad people, bad ideas, bad anything. Sure, you can stop at leave me alone but it’s not enough. Go further. There is a force in threes.

2). I love you. Three actions prove it: I’ve been there for you in rough times, I’ve been there for you when you disappear and return, I’m there for you now that you’re gone again. Being there through bad times isn’t enough to prove you love someone. It’s through the challenging times, confusing times, the times when you want to let go. But you don’t. And you should.

3). All you need are three rules to be successful with money. Save more, spend less, be thankful for what you have. It’s not rocket science people. The financial services industry makes it more complicated, sexy, confusing, on purpose. Now you may need a coach to help you save more, spend less, be thankful. Most of the time it’s a failure to accomplish one of the three simple rules that upsets the game plan. Recently, I met with a distressed lady who saved, had no debt (and a beautiful home), but was not thankful and wanted more. I spent hours taking her through an inventory of all the gifts she’s been bestowed, most of them based on her good habits.

Try writing out your throughts in three sentences. Let me know if it works.

In 2000, I received a call from a doctor I didn’t know. I was at work. 1pm.

“Mr. R? Your mother is here at our hospital. She’s been ill. She’s about to die.”

“I can speak with her. What do I say? I’m not sure.”

“Tell her you love her. Forgive her for the bad things. Help her to move on.”

He handed me the phone receiver.

“Richard? Are you there? I’m sorry.”

“I love you mom. I forgive you for everything. Grandpa is waiting for you.”

I heard three breaths. Then nothing. Then a dial tone.

Threes. What an impact.

On everything.

 

What the Dead Taught Me – Lessons from an Urban Cemetery.

It was out of place then. It’s out of place now. Hundreds of years ago-perfect. And when I climbed the fence or dug a hole underneath to enter this hallowed wedge almost directly underneath the elevated “F” Subway line, I felt at home. Calm. An oasis of rest. There was nothing to fear, no one to judge. Just whatever is left after bodies move beyond the rot and weathered gravestones, some with captivating epitaphs.

First time I saw the sign was 1970. It’s timeless.

Hey, the cemetery was founded by a babe (lady). A plus.

There was a rumor that a tunnel existed underneath the caretaker’s abode; allegedly, this channel lead to the back of the cemetery, up through an unmarked grave to daylight. It was an escape route/hiding place during the Revolutionary War. I never had the guts to investigate the validity of this tale, although at times I was tempted. A couple of nights a week, especially during the summer, I’d find myself waking up early morning behind a grave marker. I felt a very live affinity for the dead.

The infamous caretaker cottage. Sealed for decades.

I’m not so macabre. You’ve been there. Many of the living hold a fascination with graveyards and tombstones. My connection, however seemed deeper. As I sat on lumpy ground deep inside iron gates, I’d close my eyes and attempt to cast out a spiritual thread. I was desperately seeking answers. Hoping for a visceral spiritual pull. Once, at 1AM through an August late night that turned to early morning, I felt a tug on the other end of the ethereal thread. It woke me. A voice.

I was startled. Awoke with a rapid heartbeat. It was so strong, I recall my ears closing up to any external sounds. The voice was inner and soothing. He said his name was William. Who the hell was William. I didn’t know a William, or a Bill. The words filled my ears-I live by them 40 years later (or at least by my interpretation of them):

                                                      “We are all the same.”

Underneath the surface not much different.

Random Thoughts:

1). Deep Down We All Seek. Love, good health for us, friends and family, success, fortune. Our paths to what we seek are different. Could be life experience, frames of reference, luck. Yet, no matter what, there is a measure of peace we all wish to discover. You wouldn’t know it based on the day-to-day surface noise we encounter which keeps us divided-class warfare, politics, work, the kids, constipation. Remember though we all share a spiritual thread. The key to reward is to cast it willingly and see what happens. Deep down we are all the same.

2). Empathy/Fairness Strengthens your Signal. If you learn (not easy) to set aside the divisions and truly connect with the very human elements of others, then you will learn something that will make you a well-rounded individual surrounded by friend with rich experiences. Empathy or fairness provides mental fuel for the adventure. Regardless of who you decide to vote for in November, we are all the same.

3). Stock Markets are Fear & Greed Machines. It’s helpful to understand beyond the sophisticated math formulas and technology, financial markets are people. Irrational people. Fear & greed cycles through all of us therefore it flows through markets. It’s not different this time. Far from it. It’s always been this way and always will be unless the dead create a stock exchange. It’s best to understand and work within this framework. You’ll sleep better and deal with the fact that “it is what it is.” The thread that winds through markets is  all the same.

4). Better Them than Me. Recently I watched (50th time) the latest movie remake of “Dawn of the Dead.” When asked to say a kind word over the bodies of the dead (and dead again) Ving Rhames’ character blurts out candidly: “Better them than me.” Yes, better them than you. If you’re alive, keep an open mind. Rise above petty politics and trivial distractions of the day. Get acquainted or possibly connected with other breathing souls. Because when you cut through all the shit realize we are all the same.

And being alive and all the same is better than being dead and all the same.

Ok, Ving R. is a badass. Maybe a bit different? No. Just an actor.

The voice was gone. Heartbeat normal. The streetlight above was bright. I was able to read the gravestone.

Asleep in Jesus. W. Williams. We are all the same.

I went back to sleep. I was no longer the kid with the crazy mom. I was the same. I fit in.

Thanks for the lesson, William.

Home Base – 4 Ways to Rediscover Where You Belong.

“You can’t stay here anymore, son. We lock the gates at dusk.”

“Really, sir?” I asked. I stretched out my voice. The politeness from him, from me, was painful. Sarcasm seeping through.

He stared at me. I returned the stare. Didn’t blink. He turned and walked.

I won again. Or did I?

The neighborhood park, an oasis almost directly underneath the rusted steel of the elevated “F” Subway line, was home away from home. For months. And now this prick was laying down some form of superficial martial law to prove he actually worked that day; like anyone I knew couldn’t find a way in to this park at night. Remnants of used condoms on the swings, discarded clothing told the real story. On the weekends, this park was teeming with people. Summer nights the same. Made sleeping on a park bench less sleep and more adventure.

park bench homeless

In Gravesend, Brooklyn. A lower-middle class pool of tepid toilet water. Swirling personalities. Harsh realities. Old-school foundations lost to a new generation.

During a summer when innocent people died.

When my father was almost shot by serial killer Son of Sam.

Four parked cars close. But far enough. He almost was called home. His ears were ringing from the gun exploding, creating death.

son of sam

Where home was. And hope wasn’t lost. Not yet.

Twelve-years old. Kicked out. Well, I left. Left a home that wasn’t a home. Too many strange men, too many strange drugs, too much nudity, too much of too much. And home wasn’t home anymore. And Dad was gone. Making out with women within the Son of Sam target zone; I was afraid of losing him. Like I lost my mother. Not to death. Just lost. She was in the dark. Couldn’t find home anymore.

She was..

Where home wasn’t. And hope was lost. Forever.

lose our way

Author Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again.” It was published after his death. I disagree.

But.

There’s that recurring dream some of us have. We leave a home, a comfort, turn around, find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. In darkness. Panicked. Alone. Afraid. Disappointed. Saddened. Most of us eventually find our center again – the way back. Some don’t. Some stay lost. They’re alive, but restless. Can’t get comfortable. In their sleep they’re walking, searching. Awake they do the same. They try to find what’s lost. The home long gone.  A torturous circle. A path with no end. Just a beginning. Over and over, again.

Until. It ends. On occasion, it concludes badly. Home burns down. Nothing left.

A few get shot in the head. Self inflict damage. Blood, spirits 100 proof, substances more evil.

Not you, though.

Time to rebuild.

Random Thoughts:

1). Who or What is Home? Where’s your hearth? Who or what adds kindle to your fire? I’ve learned it’s ok if a person provides the fuel. Until that person is gone. And the bad dream returns. The door is closed. You look back. Dark. Learn to re-establish home base. Begin from the foundation. Understand what is home to you. Live it again. Feel the shelter form around you again. Rejuvenation.

2). Define or Re-establish  your Home Base. It’s there. Just hidden. It’ll take some deep reflection to establish a new home base because each time you seek home center, the structure you build grows weaker, more frail. Until you stop. Stop building. You stop. The end. Don’t stop.

3). Understand your Financial Home Base. And work back to it regularly. If you’ve stopped saving, start again. If you haven’t examined your portfolio allocation, it’s time to do it with stock markets hitting post financial-crisis highs. Time to get your financial home back in shape. It’s never too late. You can go home again.

4). Know When it’s Time to Demolish. Start again. There will be times you’ll build a home base that never really was. In your mind you thought it was standing. Because what your mind feels will always be real to you. But it’s not. It’s a mirage. You find that out once the hearth grows cold. You’ll find building a new hearth is tougher than building the home itself. But it can be done. With time. As long as you stay focused. Have a plan, a blueprint to rebuild.

You’ll rediscover.

Where home is. Who and what the real hearth is.

And this time you may. Just may.

Die happy.

With a home around you.

home hearth

 

Before you’re called to.

Another.

The Life In The Mirror. 3 Ways to Save It.

I bolted. Ran out the door. Down three flights of stairs. 3am. Screaming. For a Brooklyn street it was eerie quiet. Dark. Street lights out. A desperate sprint. In pajamas. To the only pay phone close by. Would it be working? It had to be the most vandalized pay phone in the city. Odds weren’t good.

Directly across the avenue from Harold’s Pharmacy.

Neon beacon in the night. Still around.

It was a shabby three-room apartment in a pre-WWII three-story walk up.  But it was shelter. That’s all I cared about. It was my world for a time and to me it felt big when things were good and amazingly small and cloying when things were bad.

Lately it felt as if I was living on a pin and the head was about to run out of room.   For an old building, the steam heat worked amazingly well. New York cold was occasionally harsh, so I was grateful. Turn the valve for the first time and the radiator clanked and clunked loud like an old car starting up after a long hibernation. Steam heat smelled good to me. Like a change of season coming. Only because there were summers. Rough summers. Rough seasons overall. This summer was a scorcher. Hotter than usual. It was ready to crescendo to one of the most memorable electrical blackouts in New York City history.

Two weeks before it felt as if I leaped from the heat right into the fire. A life or death decision flare up. A three alarmer. I wasn’t mentally ready to play God, but God didn’t seem to give a shit. I was in the intense heat of a crossroad on fire. I needed to make a move. Otherwise someone was gonna die. I remember thinking: “I’m too young to be dealing with this shit.”

Is it really worth growing older? I ponder this question.

Mom & I alternated use of the only bedroom (for sleeping. Me anyway.) One night couch (no sleep), next night bed (sleep). There was this full-length mirror. I recall dad cursing, fighting to secure the clunky structure to the hall-closet door. It was his good deed. Got mom off his back. And he wasn’t very good at chores around the house.     If  the closet door was open just right, I could get a full view of the kitchen as it reflected into my line of sight. From the bedroom.     Since mom always seemed to gravitate to the kitchen especially late, the reflection in the mirror of her her pacing back and forth would always wake me.  Prevent me from staying asleep. My habit was to wake, look in the mirror, turn over. Eventually,  I was forced to get up and close the door so I couldn’t see what was going on. Back to precious sleep time. It was my turn to have the bed, dammit!  The night before she destroyed the red trimline phone. The entire phone right down to the wall. And beyond. R.I.P. trimline.

10pm: Wake up. Look in mirror. See kitchen. Fridge door open. More beer I was sure.  Midnight: Wake up. Look in mirror. See kitchen. Fridge door open. Heavy drinking binge. Turn over. 2:30am: Wake up. Turn over. Look in mirror. See kitchen. Fridge door open. Again? Or Still? Weird.

I was mad. So mad. Until I saw. Mom on the floor. On her side. Tangled in the phone cord. Her head literally inside the bottom shelf of the fridge. I picked her up from the shoulders. She was so cold. Her joints were stiff. She was a 100-pound human accordian who wouldn’t unfold. I thought this was how rigor mortis started. Yet she was alive. How could that be? Stll breathing. Her breath was far from normal. Shallow. Her tongue shriveled. Mouth open wide. Lips colorless, perhaps light blue.  I was in a panic. Half asleep. My mind reeling.

Then suddenly, I was overcome with calm. I sat on the floor. Staring at her. Thinking. I watched mom’s small chest closely as it went still for longer on the exhale. Then her machine started up again. I was waiting for stillness. Perhaps hoping for it. I was at a crossroad. I knew I was. It was the power to make a decision that would change everything.  An inside voice was talking. One I never heard before. It kept asking. Slightly teasing. The repetition of the query felt forbidden. But it continued.

Does she live or die? Choose.

Would it be humane but inhuman just for me to return to bed? She had lived such a horrible life so far. Mom was 35 but looked twice that age. Especially now. On the floor. I sort of understood the weight of what was unfolding in front of me.

I knew my path, my karma, my thought process would be shaped, or changed forever perhaps in a way I wasn’t sure I could live with.

I rose. Moved strangely calm, to the hall mirror. Stood there. Staring at myself. So many questions rolled through my head.

Would I look the same in this damn mirror tomorrow if I decided just to leave her there? She would most likely be dead in a few minutes. Was I supposed to find her? Was there a higher power guiding me? Was the mirror the conduit for the message?

What if I woke up just 5 minutes later? Then I wouldn’t need to deal with a choice like this. And why was this even a choice for me?

Was the phone, now ripped from the wall, dead, a sign? Why was I given the responsibility of dealing with this situation? I never asked for this challenge.

Random Thoughts:

1). Seek Out Your Mirrors. When up against the wall, at a crossroad, what decisions will you make? Would you be able to live with them? How would you go on? I’ve trained myself to ask tough questions and imagine how I would respond. What if I had a life-threatening illness, lost a leg, lost a loved one to tragedy? How would I appear in the mirror. My actions would shape my image.

2). Be Open to Reflection. Never question why a challenge, a person, an illness, an opportunity, a setback gets thrown in your life path. It was placed there from an energy source  you’ll never be able to explain or fully understand. Signs are all around you if you just let go of skepticism. Stay open minded.  What does your life mirror reflect upon? Whose life remains in the balance once you open your eyes, mind and heart to the signs?

3).  Own the Decision of Life or Death. Don’t let family members, children, parents, friends, be forced to make a decision that concludes your life. Who would make healthcare decisions for you when you can’t make them? What kind of medical treatment would you want, or don’t want if faced with a terminal illness? It’s not fair to place this burden on others, especially without notice. Go to www.agingwithdignity.org and complete the Five Wishes exercise.  Five Wishes is changing the way America talks about and plans for care at the end of life.  More than 18 million copies of Five Wishes are in circulation across the nation, distributed by more than 35,000 organizations.  Five Wishes meets the legal requirements in 42 states and is useful in all 50.

Five Wishes has become America’s most popular living will because it is written in everyday language and helps start and structure important conversations about care in times of serious illness. I was required to make the life or death decision for close family. It’s not a good feeling-It will change forever who you see in the mirror.

I ran. I bolted. The pay phone was working (a sign I made the right choice at least to me). I called 911.

It took mom 6 months to recover. I stayed out of school nursing her back to health. And then one day she noticed. Puzzled.

“What happened to the mirror?”

“Don’t you remember? You broke it the night you fought with what’s-his-name?”

She didn’t remember. I didn’t share the truth. I never did.

The hall mirror and its reflections were best left buried.

I wonder if it’s still in the ground?

I’ll never share the location.

That’s a decision I can live with.

Happily.

Lessons from a Fleabag Hotel. Fight the Yellow Sticky.

The smell of urine, semen and god knows what else (like there’s anything worse) filled my nose 3 stations before the train stopped at ground zero.

I could taste sour things way before.  The foulness overtook me. Absorbed in my clothes. I was paranoid about an air-born disease festerering in my liver.

The hollow of a play land called Coney Island-long deteriorated, burned out, rusted, ignored, graffiti ridden, was home to the Terminal Hotel.

Coney Island. Also home to the background for apocalyptic movies.

Only “The Warriors,” are not afraid of hanging around Coney Island.

The Terminal – It thrived, heaved in and out like an Amityville horror house but not as pretty. It was an evil presence that swallowed you whole. A landmark, a beacon, to the hopeless built right across from the elevated train line. There were no ghosts. Ghosts were too smart to linger.

The scary residents long or short stay were very real (but ghostly). They excreted more than normal humans should. And when the train passed, everything shook. Everything felt worse shaking. The residents shook. And fell. Some died right there in the entrance.

Mom couldn’t score a job at a grocery store or even a funeral parlor. And we had a great funeral parlor in our neighborhood. Those who visited the Terminal were dead but didn’t know it. And we were responsible for cleansing the linens of their gooey remnants. And there weren’t big enough washing machines; super-hot water wasn’t strong enough to handle the load (loads). Mom also handled the front desk. She was adept at making toothless barely-breathing death piles feel human.

I was forced to go. It was the only job mom could get that paid under the table. Along I went. Against my will. She played against my sympathy. She couldn’t do it alone. She needed me to strip the beds. I felt like I owed her even though I now realize I didn’t owe her. Cursing and screaming the entire way on the commuter train that railed you directly to the feet of darkness (what I called the Coney Island train station). Fridays after school and the weekends were no longer my own.

long-term resident. The Terminal Hotel. Coney Island. Join us!

I despised my own skin for an entire year. I couldn’t sanitize my hands enough. I didn’t want to associate with this.

I wouldn’t even touch myself below for a year (and you know how tough that can be for a boy who requires relief).

Why didn’t I consider gloves?

I just wasn’t thinking clearly on those trips.

Bed sheets were stained cloths. As rigid as plate glass in sections (hard, so hard in the middle). They were so soaked and dried, soaked and dried, and so wrinkled that the ends appeared to have shrunk. They’d ride up at the edges.

Almost seemed like they wanted to curl into a big yellow ball and die an honorable linen death.

It was customary to roll over a sleeping drunk to one side, then the other, just to expose what used to be at one time, a real mattress and get a sheet off. To me, there was nothing else on earth as putrid as these mattresses because they were NEVER cleaned.

Once I rolled this anemic looking passed-out naked black dude all the way into the hall just for fun. Later I found out he was dead and I didn’t know it. Real learning experience.

He appeared very peaceful. Too peaceful to be sequestered to a room in hell. He was in a far better place.

Once off the bed I’d drop the death piles of sheets to the floor and stuff them in a big laundry bag using a discarded wooden plunger handle. The handle was also a reasonable weapon to keep the toothless scrawny hookers away from me. I’d swing the stick way above my head like a lasso so they’d leave me alone.

 I was like sugar or meth to them for some reason.

No thanks.

I also learned the lessons of the yellow sticky in 1978.

I wished the hookers looked like this at the Terminal.

So what is yellow sticky?

Yellow  sticky are the shitty things you remember. Things that happened to you. Things you have really no control over yet affect you throughout your entire life.

Conditions that have been forced on you. Mostly unfortunate. Mainly through no fault of your own.

They’ve left a mark on you. Permanently altered your life filter whether you realize it or not

Look around. Think about it. There are many people you know right now who have cursed you with the yellow sticky.

It’s extremely challenging to shake off yellow sticky, too. Or at the least, work it down to a subtle buzz in your brain. The very best you can hope for is a channeling of its power into something productive. It can be done, but it’s going to take time. Steps to follow are coming. First, there must be awareness.

Yellow and sticky fades to clean but you’re never the same. It never goes away completely.

Everyone deals with yellow and sticky to some degree. For some, it’s as large as a bed sheet. Actually, your personal yellow and sticky is always large unless you’re in denial. And denial works to fade it. The denial method is temporary at best

Negative ways to deal with your PYS (Personal Yellow Sticky) Factor:

Drugs or alcohol. They do a fine job masking the factor yet the pain will return until next dosage. Over time the condition will worsen too if you don’t stop. You’re just trading in one yellow sticky for a numbing form of the same.

Therapists. My personal belief is they have good intentions but only make things worse. They’re attempting to cure you. That’s what they’re hired to do. From experience I’ve only become more confused by the processes they follow.

Anger. Anger will deteriorate your organs. Warp your mind. Cause cancer. Anger can cause you to lash out at those trying to help. Your door to healing will be cemented shut,emotionally.

Laziness. It’s fine to hang around, go numb to recharge batteries. It’s good for you. Ifyou’re spending a good majority of your time in front of the television, social media youmay be a victim of laziness. That is also an escape from yellow sticky. Learn to recognize and change the behavior.

Excessive work. The bookend to lazy. This has been my own way out for years. Sixty-hour work weeks on the short end, ninety on the other is a way to marathon run from yellow sticky. I can feel its presence chasing me constantly.

The harder and longer I work, thequicker and smarter it gets. On occasion I feel as if I’m on an endless treadmill and yellow sticky is a devious clown who hopes I stumble.

I shall eat you when you stumble. And you will stumble.

Overspending. Buying junk you don’t need, especially on credit, is just a temporary relief and enough of it will be detrimental to your financial health.

Spending within reason is fine. Spending to feel better is not healthy.

You want to know why America is sad? Why the majority is depressed?

Because we don’t possess the financial resources to spend like before. We can’t use our homes as never-ending ATM machines pumping out cash for new surround sound equipment or lavish trips.

I admit. I overwash sheets and pillowcases. Makes me feel in control. I’ve dropped every connection to yellow sticky in my life. I hadn’t seen my mother for 15 years. Oh I spoke to her on the phone from time to time but that’s it.

She died at an early age with me on the other end of the phone. I encouraged her to pass. The only way she was going to overcome yellow sticky was through death. I knew that. At the end, so did she.

For you, death is not an option.

Best it’s boarded up now. The smell remains…

You’re Gonna Die Today. 10 Ways to Avoid a Certain Kill.

I felt a slight breeze. I thought I was dreaming.

Then warmth. (Oh I must have been dreaming.)

Heavy breathing heard. Stale liquor odor permeated my nostrils.

Oh where was I? Not dreaming. Just harsh reality.

I turned my head away from the strange. Cat like. Fast.

Surprised at how alert I was so quick. Even though I wasn’t fully connecting the dots.

Eyes wide open. Senses not ready to connect fully to my brain.

I was sound asleep-a primal sliver of me was wide awake.

Was it a nightmare?

I immediately recognized the brown, worn, wooden (or facsimile) handle.

I remembered my mother telling me the knife was a wedding present from Uncle Sal. That was November, 1959.

This was September, 1977. 2:15AM. And there was my parent’s wedding gift deep in my pillow, up to the handle. Right where my ear and the rest of my face was a split moment earlier.

And split was the correct word to use. If I didn’t move away as quick as I did, the knife nana used to cut tomatoes for Sunday pasta sauce would have been deep in my head.

Knives are scary. Little people with knives. Scarier.

What would nana do? She would react! Punch out!

And that’s what I did. Straight up hard enough to knock mom’s new drunken boytoy right off the bed.

I ran. I kept running. I thanked up to divine vapors I couldn’t see nor understand.

Thank you for the burst of stamina I needed to survive.

I realized.

I could have died today. Killed today. Just like that. Shit-and I needed to get to school!

Don’t kid yourself. Most are out to gut you.

Every day someone is out to kill you. Even you.

No, I’m not referring to some psycho ex with a kitchen knife although for some of you I believe that’s coming. Mentally. Financially.

The entire world is wonderfully designed to slap you down and take your money for junk you’ll never use.

I mean do I really need this? I do want one (and I don’t fish.)

Sold millions..Millions!!! Really?

Daily, from the time you wake and turn on the radio or television there’s some fucker out to murder your spirit. It happens today more than ever.

Or I’m getting older and as my prostate grows I get angrier. Either way, I know it’s happening!

So what the hell can you do?? Random thoughts:

1). Find a compliment for someone today. Swallow your bile and do it. And be sincere. Set your tone for the day. Tell someone you love them even though they ignore you when you say it. Do it for you. Don’t expect shit in return.

2). Go one friggen day and don’t buy a damn thing. Not even gum. Buy nothing for one day. Ignore all the temptation to part with money. If you need gas stay home. Take a sick day. You’re sick of spending. And if you must – USE CASH. Yes, cash.

Much “Cash” is king.

3). Ignore negative people. If you feel like you lost a tailwind after talking to a person, remove that person from your life. Today.

4). Increase your retirement plan or 401(k) contribution by 1 percent. Get online or call your retirement plan customer service and do it. Do it now. You won’t even miss it.

5). Write down everything that/everyone who makes your life better. I carry a Moleskine notebook with me everywhere and write daily.

6). Move around. I bought a headset so I can make phone calls while walking around.

7). Cancel a credit card. Cancel your most recent card. You perhaps need two max. All the rest need to go. Cancel the one with the least credit history (I don’t want to murder your credit score) and the most in interest charges.

8). Take control. Of something. I don’t care if it’s arranging your pantry or balancing your checkbook. Accomplish something you feel good about. Something that gets your life in control. In better order. There’s a beauty to order. Hot messes only go so far.

9). Give (get) a foot massage (from) to a willing participant. Personally, I’m not doing this. I may do neck. There are  2 people in the world I’d touch below the ankles. They know who they are. Enough said. And nobody is touching me. Thanks though.

10). Breathe. Go deep.

You’re not dead yet.

You have more to do.

Hold the bastards off. Breathe deep!