Monday, July 28, 2008

Mama On: Good Health

"Health is like money. Spend it wisely -- there are no refunds."

That my mother even said this is ironic. My mother endured chronic high blood pressure, and was a heart attack and stroke victim. She passed 10 days before her 57th birthday, and once told me that her first heart attack surpassed any pain she'd ever had or imagined, and she never wanted that for me.

Maybe as a reflex reaction, my life and career paths took extreme detours. A psychology major, working in social service, her words took root in my soul and led to a major career change. I stepped away from my caseworker's desk and sought certification as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer. The difference, for me, was more than one of dollars and cents, and measurable in more than calories and pounds.

The Mamaknologist wisdom is this: Good health is worth more than its weight in gold -- keep it for as long as you can. As a Mamaknologist, you know that if you aren't good for yourself, you can't be good for anyone else. You also know that everything that's good to you is not good for you. The thought you probably have not had (and that my mother would encourage) is that taking care of your health is an investment in your life and the quality of life that you will share with others.

So, as a Mamaknologist who knows her true worth, what are you going to do? How about letting your level of flexibility affect your joints as much as it does your decisions. Enjoy variety that affects your diet as completely as it does your wardrobe. Endurance of a problem never resolves it -- see your doctor and do the maintenance your body requires, and live the life that you deserve. Think of it this way: if health is like money, all it takes is the investment of small change(s) to keep it. My mother, the Ultimate Mamaknologist, would want that for you.

Spending your life as a person of quality requires respect -- respect of mind, body, and spirit.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mama On: Privacy

"Everybody's business is nobody's business and nobody's business is everybody's business."

Surprised to learn that everybody knows a different version of your business? And how willing they are to accept and (gasp!) appreciate the worst of it? Even when you don't make an active personal practice of putting your business, "out there"?

Hey, it happens, but the Mamaknologist knowing life for what it is, takes this as a series of lessons based in gossip, including:
  1. don't start none, won't be none (think about it...)
  2. don't do anything you don't want to see on the front page of your hometown newspaper.
  3. and (my mother's favorite) they talked about Jesus, what makes you think they won't talk about you?

Face it, people are going to talk, especially if you insist on painting targets on yourself and pouring fuel on an already happily burning fire. Contrary to popular belief, all publicity (including the negative) is not good publicity. Do you really want to be "famous" for the worst things you can do or have done? Do you really want to be seen as a less than valuable human being? Be less than worthy of love, respect and consideration?

I'm going to guess the answer to those questions is a resounding, "no". This means that your personal business and life should always be exactly that -- personal, and they should remain so. If you put them out in the world to be handled and abused like any other cheap commodity, that's exactly how they will be perceived and treated by the world at large. And worse, that's how you will ultimately treat yourself, leaving your spirit and your person damaged: chipped, tarnished, broken, and useless.

The Mamaknology to be gleaned here is that if you have no value for yourself and your affairs, don't expect anyone else to have it either. The biblical reference for this has to do with casting pearls before swine -- don't do it. Always keep the best of yourself for yourself, and know that others will treat you as you treat yourself.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mama On: Being Honest With Yourself.

"Always trust your first mind."

We've all heard that actions speak louder than words, but the skilled Mamaknologist has learned to read action as an indicator of character. While it may be simpler to interpret actions according to whim and felicity, translating them into what we would most like to be told or see, it doesn't work in the short run. And, in the long run, wishing will never make it so.

The person who promises everything and delivers nothing is never going to be the person you want to trust with a cherished secret, a family heirloom, a sensitive job, or your heart. And the only person you can trust to know this is yourself. A lot of people call this effort, trusting your intuition. The true Mamaknology lies in trusting your initial and heart-bound instinct: something my mother called, trusting your first mind.

I would, in fact be lying if I said that no Mamaknologist ever succumbed to the urge to ignore her first mind. And, yes, even after being raised at the knee of the 20th Century's leading Mamaknologist, I've slipped myself (a few hundred times...), but that doesn't make the lesson or the counsel any less valuable. When something doesn't feel right, learn to trust yourself to know that it's not right, and go forward in faith. My mother used to say that the real trick was to stop listening to what you want to hear, and listen to what is/was being said BEFORE you commit yourself.

I think she was right.