Scarlette Letter – Weekend Edition September 13, 2015

Students of happiness agree that certain habits foster feelings of contentment, peace, and joy. These habits include:

Gratitude – I am grateful for the communities I belong to, physical and virtual

Affirmation – I am committed to my goals and dreams

Attitude – I feel empowered by my accomplishments

Activity – Just a little half marathon with a whole bunch of hills

Nurture – A lovely day Saturday with my love, strolling, enjoying the beautiful weather, a few new restaurants, and each other’s company. Sunday, after my race, a wonderful afternoon on the deck in the mild temps, reading, writing, resting, socializing (on social media)

Enrichment – “The future comes one day at a time”

Nourishment –

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Giving – Several organizations benefit from the proceeds of the race I ran, and, I donated by “Whole Foods bring your reusable grocery sack” nickel to a worthy cause fathering than having it deducted from my bill.

Connection – Spent time with my sweetie and we chatted with folks everywhere we went, on Saturday. Chit chatted a little, Sunday, with other runners and with a grandmother full of curious questions about running races and kids, with her grandson in mind

Simplifying – I made a new pile of clothes to go to charity this week, with intentions of adding a few more pieces from my closet

Journaling –

Ideas come to me at the oddest of times and usually when I am without pen and journal, or while driving and unable to tap my thoughts into Evernote or into a blank Word document on my phone.

I had a wonderful and rare Saturday with my guy, yesterday, and a busy and challenging half-marathon today. Several times, fabulously fantastic ideas came to me for stories to share with you, and, because I was enjoying my day, I did not record them, and, poof, they are, for now, gone.

Tragic, I know. But, there are times when we need to break away from the things we do to enjoy the moment at hand. Those special moments, special days, and special events that come so rarely should be unbastardized by work, or our other, usual tasks. Too often we squander the time we have with the really special people in our lives, or compromise it, by focusing on less important things. How often do you find yourself picking up your phone and addressing some seemingly important notification when you are in conversation with a loved one, a friend, a family member. Our attention is the most beloved thing we can share with those we love, they deserve as much of it as we have to give.

Yes, there are those unavoidable communications and tasks that must be dealt with, but, truly, those should be the exception and not the rule.

That’s my excuse, and I’m not one for excuses. I have no great story for you today, this weekend, but, rest assured, in my afternoon of rest and recuperation, I have jotted down a fair number of ideas I’ll play with for stories tomorrow, or the next day, and perhaps the day after. Today, yesterday, I had much more important things to do.

Social – Instagram (begoniascarlett), Facebook Page (Scarlette Begonia), Twitter (@BegoniaBegoniaS)

Scarlett’s Letter December 17, 2013

I’ve been a rebel without a cause for a while now. I’ll always be a bit of a rebel, but, today, I think I found a cause!

I’ve always been very involved in things I truly believe in. Scouting, for example. I was once a Girl Scout and loved every moment of it. I loved the friendships, the potential to earn and achieve, both as a group and independently, and the opportunity for adventures and exploration in nature. I had great leaders, so we actually had opportunities for adventures and exploration in nature, not just arts and crafts. And, probably from the time I first opened my Brownie Girl Scout Handbook in the first grade, I knew, someday, I wanted to be a Scout Leader. And I was. I was both a Girl Scout leader and a Boy Scout leader, for well over a decade, for both organizations, and just like my experience as a young girl, I loved every minute of being a leader, too. I truly feel like I had an impact, and, perhaps, made some small difference in a number of young lives. And it was fun.

The kids are grown and have moved away and are all far beyond scout age. I too have moved away and, yes, while I could still lead, I finally hung up my patch adorned red wool jacket a few years ago when work and travel and attending anything at all regularly became more than I could manage.

I miss having a cause.

I ran today, six miles. I’ve managed to shave a whole minute per mile off my average time since the marathon a couple of weeks ago. Oh, sure, I was capable of a bit more speed before the marathon, but I was being very conservative, making every attempt to avoid injury before the race. Training was about “time on my feet” and “staying on program”. Marathon completed, now I can push some limits. Running, now, is less about “time on my feet” and a whole lot more about “time in my head”.

The best book I’ve never read, recently, was “Younger Next Year for Women” by Henry Lodge and Chris Crowley (and, yes, there is a mens version, the original, actually). I enjoyed every word, on Audible. I have the printed version, digitally, on my Kindle, but have only managed the audiobook, thus far. It is truly a fantastic book and really great narration in the Audible version. It is both informative and totally enjoyable. I highly, highly recommend it. Within the volumes of very well researched, documented and supported advice was the first rule; exercise every day, for an hour a day, six days a week, for the rest of your life. Several of those days, per week, should include aerobic exercise, strenuous enough that you can speak, barely, but you can’t sing. They actually include far more precise measures of knowing whether you’re in your aerobic zone, or not. I achieve this level of exertion on the cardio equipment at the gym, and nearly so, yesterday, in spin class. And, by the way, it was Chris Crowley’s own account of his first spin experience, at the age of 70, that bolstered my courage enough to finally go. Running, however, the way I’ve been running, and even during the marathon, with the exception of those mysterious hills that appeared in my former hometown that I really don’t remember, I could’ve sung the whole time. I did in fact hold several lengthy mid-race conversations.

A gift? For me? Thanks secret pal, long-lost rich uncle or benevolent stranger!
A gift? For me? Thanks secret pal, long-lost rich uncle or benevolent stranger!
Highly recommended book. The Audible version is fantastic!
Highly recommended book. The Audible version is fantastic!

At my “new” running pace, I’ll not be singing, nor will I be saying much. It feels really good to pant a little during my one minute walk break, which occurs after every five minutes of running. My average pace during pre-marathon training was 11:07 minutes per mile. During the marathon I ran 12:02, but there were many more miles and a few porta-potty breaks, with long lines, that contributed to that time. My plan, though, was to run the race at an average pace of 12:00, so I guess I was “on plan”. My new average pace, this week, has been about 10:14. And, like I said, it feels pretty good. I’m not sure I could sustain it for more than the six-mile loop I guess I’d call my regular route. We shall see.

As to having a regular route; running in Napa has been very different than my experiences running in Sacramento, where this whole undertaking began a couple of years ago. In Sacramento, there is the gem of the city, the American River Parkway, miles and miles and miles of paved and meticulously maintained multi-use trail for runners, walkers, cyclists and even equestrians. It is the prize of the community and separates Sacramento from many other urban areas, as, in my opinion, a world-class city. Napa has a little bit of trail here and a little bit of trail there, separated by busy streets with unaware motorists, many of whom are tourists, many of whom have been wine-tasting. Running the streets of Napa, especially on a weekend, is akin to urban guerilla survival boot camp drills. I’d be terrified to cycle, and, in fact, routinely run, respectfully, past a couple of different roadside shrines to fallen cyclists. And then, there are crosswalks. There is nothing quite like watching your running watch displaying a pace of 18:55 while waiting for the green walk signal to appear. I’ve taken to strategically dashing between cars, both stopped and moving, rather than wait for the walk signal. Clearly, Napa, a world-class city in its own right, could use multi-use walking/running/cycling trail. And I’d be more than cool with equestrians, too. Fifty miles of trail would be about right, if you ask me.

I ran a couple of errands, today, on my way to run. Almost as difficult as finding a good and reasonably safe running route is finding a good and reasonably priced dry cleaner. There is one a mile or so away, next to my favorite pizza place and coffee shop. They are convenient, obviously, the people are nice and the prices reasonable enough, and they’ve done a good job, but, they don’t take credit cards. I have to remember to go get cash before I go get my dry-cleaning, which I never seem to be able to do. There is a bank in the same little shopping center, which I’ve resorted to every time I’ve picked up my laundry, but, it isn’t my bank, so I incur an ATM fee, so in the end, my dry cleaning ends up costing me way more. I Yelped dry cleaners and found one with rave reviews, across town, that takes every form of plastic imaginable. Location makes little difference to me, Napa is a “ten-minute” town. You can get anywhere within ten minutes within the city limits. I dropped my black coat there on my way to run, and they’re even going to sew a button back on for me! Cool!

As I turned out of the parking lot of the dry cleaner and headed in the direction of the park I park my car at for my regular running route, I pulled my sunglasses down from the top of my head. It was a lovely December day in Napa, sunny and about sixty-five degrees.  I was in shirtsleeves and a ponytail. It occurred to me that I’d forgotten my hat. I had sunscreen on, so I was protected, but I don’t yet have a nice pair of sports sunglasses. I have really cute gas station sunglasses with bling on the sides that barely suffice for driving into the rising or setting sun. They are miserable for running in every respect; they are heavy and bounce on the bridge of my nose, they have considerable glare, causing me to squint enough to make my head ache, and they are large lensed, sort of wrapped, and block the heat in so I have sort of an “eye sauna” going before the first mile. I’d spotted a little running store, near Massage Envy, when I parked for my two-hour massage the other night. It was on my way to the park, so I thought I’d pop in and buy a hat. True, a hat would cost more than driving home and getting the one I already had, but, well, whatever, they had pink and purple. My hat at home is gray. I pulled into the lot and parked near “Athletic Feat” and walked in. I was greeted and treated. The hats were shown to me and a friendly conversation ensued. During our exchange, I was enticed to join in on the “Resolution Run” on New Years Day, at 10:00 AM, a very polite hour to start a race given the likely activities the preceding evening. Proceeds are to benefit the Napa Valley Vine Trail. Say what? The Napa Valley Wine Trail! A planned forty-four mile, contiguous trail, dedicated to walkers/runners/cyclists. Well, damn! There we go! A cause I am happy to support in any way I can! I’ll be running 10k New Years Day no matter what happens the night before! Even if I crawl the entire route! Even if I sign up and pay and sleep through it! Right? And I will promote this cause in any way I can imagine! Give me a shovel and a pick, I am ready to dig me some trail!

I do, I want to help with this trail, however I can. I had a dream the other night and I remember some little bit of it. I was somewhere, talking to someone, about something and I volunteered to some large undertaking, on the spot. I’ve always been a little volunteer-happy, and, yes, I do tend to overcommit, from time to time. I don’t currently volunteer for ANYTHING, and this has been eating at my psyche a bit lately. I could almost feel the words form on my lips, just like in in my dream, “I want to help.” But, I refrained. For now. I need to reorganize a few things in my current, overcommitted life to free up some time for other, deserving overcommitments.

The only other excitement today occurred when the doorbell rang. I was upstairs, having just finished vacuuming for Mom. I peeked out the front window and, parked at the curb, by the mailbox, my car. Not my little Meep that I currently drive, the car I ordered from Tesla. I didn’t actually order it, I did dream of it, though. It was red, of course, and looked oh so good in front of the house. I think Meep whimpered a little. The doorbell rang again, Mom was in the garage. My mind was working, “who, what, why, how, etc.” I took a picture, of course, to post to Facebook with a snarky comment. The only thing I could come up with, why there would be a Tesla in front of my house, the occupants, apparently, anxious to speak with someone residing here; I test drove a Tesla Model S P85 a couple of months ago. While I may intend to buy one, someday, in my very vivid dreams, I am not currently, realistically, in the market for one. And I didn’t buy a Lotto ticket for tonight’s big jackpot, either. I’ve received a few polite, and really, non-threatening emails and phone calls since the test drive, so, I thought, perhaps, the sales folks were in the area and thought they’d just pop by to see if I had $100,000 laying around. I mean, they brought the right color and everything! Mom and I met in the hallway and whispered, deciding not to answer the door. I returned to my post by the upstairs window, and, by this time, the car was just pulling away.

A gift? For me? Thanks secret pal, long-lost rich uncle or benevolent stranger!
A gift? For me? Thanks secret pal, long-lost rich uncle or benevolent stranger!

I ran downstairs and opened the front door to see if there might be an envelope with keys and instructions to pick up my prize for some contest I’d entered and forgotten about. Nope. A canister of cookies from the First Presbyterian Church of Napa. Mom’s church. The one she’s been to a dozen times in fifty years. She’s been munching on homemade cookies, made by the church youth group, all day long. I think she’s even skipping dinner. I’m wondering just how much money she’s been sending the church every year that they deliver cookies to elderly members in a Tesla! Interestingly, I saw the very same car (yes, I memorized the license plate, it’s what I do) at Round Table Pizza later, when I went to the running store.

So, tonight, when I turn out the light and doze off to sleep, I will have happy little dreams of driving my red Tesla Model S P85 and a sprinting at a sustained and enviable speed along a beautiful running trail through the lovely Napa Valley. Good night! Sweet dreams!

Scarlett’s Letter Halloween 2013

Trick or treat?

I just returned, late last night, from four fun-filled days in Phoenix at my company’s “User Conference”. This was my fourth User Conference. I’ve been with the company for five years and some months. I remember feeling so left out and overlooked that first year, not being selected to go to User Conference. All the veterans just rolled their eyes and said, “ugh, consider yourself lucky.” After my first User Conference, the very next year, I totally understood. From about 7:00 AM every morning until about 11:00 PM every night, being “on” and “customer facing”. Towing the company line. Exhausting. Trick.

I am exhausted, though, I will admit, this was, by far, the best (for me) User Conference. Ever. I am still exhausted. Today was a day of adjustment; one of making my own decisions as to when to be where to do exactly what, well, sort of what, I wanted to do, rather than following a tightly scripted schedule, which, by the way, was to be worn around my neck along with a lime green lanyard, with my name tag and a large, garish button that said “How Can I Help You?” Kill me. Yes, today, I still had work to do; emails to answer, expense reports to complete (or so an email marked “URGENT !!!! said), and travel to arrange, then rearrange. Trick.

My goals for the day included 1) sleeping until I awoke, without the aid of an alarm, 2) running six miles, preferably with energy and enthusiasm, 3) attending to two personal matters that HAD to be dealt with today, one involving online research and a phone call, the second involving a trip to the courthouse, and 4) attending a wine club “members only” Halloween Party for free wine tasting, fun and debauchery. Treat.

On point number 1; the street out front appears to be done. The City of Napa has been replacing sidewalks and gutters where the tree roots of the nearly fifty-year-old Chinese Pistachio trees have leavened them like an angel food cake. For whatever reason, the tractors and jack hammers and dump trucks and loud men all begin work, in front of my house, where the work appears to be “done”, in a residential area, at some time before 7:00 AM. And, my luck, it’s fucking Thursday, and today is the only day, for months to come, that I have any hope of sleeping in past 7:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. Thursday is “garbage day”, which actually means the garbage trucks, an entire fleet of them, arrive at 6:00 AM, or so, and start groaning and slamming through the streets, dumping everyone’s discards into their cavernous guts with an alarming racket. Cross point number one off my list as pointless and futile. Happy Halloween, I AM the walking dead. Trick.

Number 2; run six miles. I slip out of bed like “The Ooze”, rummage through my perpetually packed suitcase for my beloved slippers and somehow navigate downstairs and manage to fix a fairly nutritious and almost delicious breakfast in spite of the fact I haven’t grocery shopped in weeks and wont’, because I’m on the road, again, next week. And the next. And the next. And the next. Until nearly Christmas. Mom joins me and we begin her favorite game; devils advocate. Happy Halloween! The devil is here, ready to respond to everything I say with some sort of point, counterpoint or possible argument. I’m tired. I don’t want to play. I can debate with anyone, I can defend my strongly held convictions and deeply rooted beliefs with anyone, almost anytime. Just not today. I feel challenged and defensive and exhausted I just want to … go upstairs and answer mind-numbing work emails on topics like Microsoft Word headers not functioning correctly in our workpaper manager software. Kill me. But I do this for an hour, until the URGENT !!! email comes in that says we HAVE TO HAVE our October expenses in by EOB (end of business) today. Well. Okay. I will take the two hours to complete a tedious and uncooperative online form, attaching images of receipts for every expense, no matter the triviality of the expense, so my company can reimburse me for all the credit card charges I’ve incurred and must, personally, pay, for my extensive travel. Twist my arm. It’s the tedium of the process that almost makes me say “f” it, I’ll just cover it out of pocket. But I don’t’. And by now it’s 1:00 PM. And I’m still in my pajamas, drinking cold, weak, bitter, black coffee. I’m in sweats, actually, that’s what I sleep in when I’m not with my Sweetie. I could, by today’s standards, go to the grocery store, the bank, a college campus, a restaurant, shopping, I could take an airline flight, in what I’m wearing; grotesquely baggy sweatpants, slippers and my boyfriend’s thermal t-shirt advertising a brewery in Fairbanks, Alaska. But I’m old school. I usually shower and get dressed before leaving the house. Hell, I usually shower and dress even if I don’t leave the house. I have some self-respect. Normally. Trick? Treat? Trick, I guess.

Finally, because I can’t stand myself anymore, I go and put my running tights and jersey on, lace up my shoes, pull my hair into a tight pony tail which I pull through the hole in the back of my running hat. I fill my bladder bag and strap on my Garmin watch. I answer another email, finish another expense report and decide I’d better have lunch before running. I’m out of fuel. Breakfast was hours ago. I find a frozen stuffed pepper in my freezer, reheat it, eat it, brush my teeth and head for the car. I run my “usual” six-mile loop and it’s like I haven’t run in years! All I can think about is the next walk break. I run for five minutes and walk for one, at a pace ranging from eleven minutes per mile to twelve minutes per mile. I’m old. I’m tired. That’s what I do. Right now, with about four weeks to go until my first full marathon, I just want to pile on miles and not hurt myself. I could care less about speed right now. I just want to finish. And live. But I don’t feel like I can finish six miles, alive, today. I guess you could say that today, I finished my first “zombie run”, except it wasn’t a race with energetic participants in gory costumes, it was me, lurching along like Frankenstein, for six, long, miles. Treat, actually. The sense of accomplishment made it all worthwhile.

I make it home, stinky, sweaty and even more tired, and it’s after 3:00 PM. I’ve taken care of the one point of personal business, on the phone, but I still have to go to the courthouse. And they close at 4:00. I wouldn’t be caught dead at the courthouse in my baggy sweats and my boyfriend’s shirt, but I’ll go sweaty and stinky in Lycra running pants! It was my only choice, there was no time for unpacking all my shower stuff and makeup stuff and hairdryers and straightening irons and curling irons and then showering and then employing all said items in order to look human. It’s Halloween! This is my costume! Living Dead in Lycra! Scary! Right? Treat, I guess; it’s a glass half full perspective.

I get my business done, fairly quickly. I only had to wait in line behind one person, a tiny and very young lady, who was attempting to complete papers to file for divorce from her husband, Stephen, the father of her child. How do I know it’s “Stephen” with a “ph” and not “Steven” with a “v”? Am I that assumptive? No, she has “Stephen”, with a “ph” tattooed, painfully, I’m sure, on the top of her foot. And socks are so not in fashion with skinny jeans and flats! I didn’t want to tap her on the shoulder and say, “honey, it’s almost November, boots are cool, if you want to cover up that “Stephen” of yours.” Um, trick?

Home. And, damn, I’m hungry again. I fix dinner and tell Mom about my plans for my costume for the wine club, free wine-tasting, costume party. A gypsy. I can wear my favorite super comfy skirt, a little more makeup than usual, a few scarves tied around my waist like a sash, all the jewelry I own, and offer to read people’s palms! She suggests I wear her clown outfit with the red, curly wig and the nose. She suggests I wear her witch costume with a tall, stiff hat and a hot, rubber mask. She suggests I wear my dad’s chambray shirt, jeans and a blonde wig that he wore to be something she couldn’t quite remember at an RV club party twenty years ago. I’m not getting any of this. And, geez, no wonder my shit is still in boxes in the middle of the floor in my room! Apparently the dresser drawers and closets are full of frumpy costumes from the past five decades. For two.  Trick.

I’m tired. I don’t want to wear my dad’s chambray shirt and a blonde wig. I decide not to go. It’s just easier, and I’m tired. I finish dinner, and dishes and think about trick or treating. It would be a real trick to find enough energy to get dressed up and ready and go to a Halloween party, alone, and be engaging and energetic and charismatic. A real trick. I decide on treat, and take a nice, hot bubble bath. I listen to an audiobook I’m half way through and am totally enjoying. I set my plastic Vino Volo glass full of cab sav on the edge of the tub. Might I mention that this bathtub and I do not get along. This tub is nearly fifty years old, though it looks brand new, because no one ever used it, and for good reason. Unlike new tubs, it has actual real estate on two corners, ample enough acreage for a bargain size bottle of Paul Mitchell shampoo, and a bargain size bottle of Paul Mitchell conditioner, face wash, body wash, a loofah, a razor and a glass of wine, or coffee, depending on the time of the shower. But, like many other pieces of real estate I’ve owned in my life, it’s too steep to be useful. True, it looks fine, until you try to actually use it, then the bottles all slide and tumble into the tub, one after the other. I’ve taken to setting the bottles on the floor, next to the tub, when I shower, and retrieving them and replacing them, one by one, in the order used. I don’t’ often take bubble baths, I don’t’ normally like to sit that still for that long. Who, beside me, takes a three-minute bubble bath? I take shorter bubble baths than showers! You can ask my Sweetie, it’s true! But, tonight, for whatever reason, I was able to just sit in the warm water and soak. I bet I was in the tub for a full ten, maybe even fifteen minutes. And, just how long do you think it took for my plastic Vino Volo glass of cab sav to slide along that stupid, generously sized but overly sloped tub edge and into the tub? Right! About ten seconds! I’ve heard that wine, in your bath, is very good for your skin. We’ll see. If I look younger and more radiant tomorrow, we’ll know! I managed to save a third of the wine, because I’m fast like that, and I clung, tightly, to my glass, while enjoying my audio book and being in a place where no one, on the phone or in person, was going to play devil’s advocate with me. Bliss. Treat.

My lesson for today; feeling a wee bit grumpy, tired, a little out of sorts, with some thought and self reflection, I decided it’s because I have been working very slowly, but very diligently, towards a number of goals, simultaneously. Career goals, relationship goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, fitness goals, nutrition goals. So many goals. For weeks, months, years, even, I have been just plinking away at these goals. They require a cannonball and I’ve been firing at them, monotonously, for years, with a child-sized, pellet gun. But, it seems, I am making progress. This week, for the first time in a long time, I could actually feel that I’ve made some significant progress. Every fall, for whatever reason, I sort of gird my loins and fight a little harder towards my long-term goals, and, this week, I actually felt like I was on the brink of some measurable progress. But, I am not there yet. I am so close, but not there. I have tossed all the knives into the air, I am standing, looking up, squinting and shielding myself as the knives all finish their arc up, pause, and begin their fall towards, well, me. Now, I’ve got to catch them all! Or, at the very least, dodge them. The “future” is frustratingly close, uncertain and a little scary. Boo! And, as a result, I keep catching myself “future focused”, rather than being present. This causes anxiety.

The real reason I didn’t go to the Halloween bash dressed, comfortably and fashionably, as a gypsy, was because I have that pain in my neck, again. Every fall, about the time I start girding my loins and fighting a little harder towards my long-term goals, I get a pinched nerve in my upper back that is excruciating. It takes weekly massages and chiropractic care, for months, to unknot them. This is all anxiety driven, I am sure. So, today, I caught myself, and reflected back on a handful of books I consider constant and vital resources in my life library. “The Power of Now”, of course, by Eckhart Tolle and “The Soulmate Experience” by Joe Dunn and Mali Apple, both of which I have read multiple times and have recently purchased on Audible and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to driving to and from the airport. Another, and one I’m about half way through for the first time, “The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism” by Olivia Fox Cabane. And last, but not least, Jillian Michael’s “Slim for Life”.

In “The Charisma Myth”, Olivia Fox Cabane provides a valuable pointer for staying present, one of the three necessary qualities for being charismatic, she says you should wiggle your toes when you are listening to others speak. By wiggling your toes, you are in the moment, you are present, and you appear, to the speaker, to be actively listening and engaged, which all charismatic people are.

Jillian. Jillian, Jillian, Jillian. Her books have changed my life, the others that followed have added, immeasurably, but I would never have begun my journey, my effort, towards personal improvement, had it not been for Jillian Michaels. To some, at first, she seems hard to take seriously. But, seriously; plain, matter of fact, backed with facts, passionate, clear advice. After her first book, in my household, WWJD, which a few years earlier stood for “what would Jesus do?” became WWJD, “what would Jillian do?” In Jillian’s latest book, “Slim for Life,” she talks a bit about the importance of core strength and posture. We all slouch. I slouch. I’ve seen pictures. Recently.

So, I’ve taken the very practical and important advice from “The Charisma Myth” about doing something physical to stay “present”, rooted in the moment, in the now, and I’ve combined it with Jillian’s advice on core strength and posture. So, to remind myself to remain present, while I may be wiggling my toes, unless I’m wearing flip flops, in which case, I may appear a bit weird, I tighten my core and stand very straight and erect, I flex every core muscle I can discern, and this keeps me focused, a bit more, on the present moment, where I should be, where there are no regrets of the past or anxieties of the future.

The point, here, is to live only in the present. The present is the only point in time in which we have any power. We cannot make any changes to anything that has happened in the past. No amount of regret or remorse will ever change anything that has happened. Make your peace with that, apologize, if need, forgive where necessary, and leave it in the past. Likewise, no amount of worry or thought about the future, now, will have any positive affect, other than to deprive you of the only time you do have to make an impact, now. Remaining so focused on the future not only deprives us of the present, now, and, ultimately, our life, it creates unnecessary anxiety. No amount of worry ever had any positive affect on the future. To the contrary, actually, if you are at all aware or familiar with the concept of the power of thought and manifestation. What you believe, you can conceive, to quote Brian Tracy. If we believe only anxiety driven worries and fears about the future, the energy and focus and though we believe is more likely to manifest than the opposite, or the actual, desired, outcome.  There is energy in thought, and energy will attract energy. So, negative, anxious thoughts about some undesired outcome is much more likely to attract that negative outcome than positive, affirming thoughts. This may sound all “new world, touchy-feely, spirituality”, but, hey, what have we got to lose? Anxiety? Pain? Discomfort? Unrest? It is so worth the try. And, from my standpoint, I swear by it. Standing straight, core muscles flexed, wiggling my toes, focusing on the moment, the present and thinking positive. Treat.