A public media professional living in Central New York. I blog about lifestyle and personal growth. Host of Life in HD, Pop Life, and The 315 podcasts (links in "Websites")
About The Making Of A Miscreant:
The Making Of A Miscreant is my deconstructed memoir. It's a collection of stories from events in my life that I believe have significantly contributed to the man that I am today.
In 1968, after several platinum and gold albums, members of the iconic rock group the Beatles found themselves spiritually exhausted. They enjoyed the fame and the riches that came with it but often wondered…”what’s it all for?”
The group sought answers through the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement. They visited the Maharishi’s ashram in India in 1968. The experience had a profound impact on their music. I was super curious about what the search for enlightenment was like, not only for the Beatles, but for tens of thousands of people around the world.
To help me understand the experience, I turn to Susan Shumsky, author of Maharishi and Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles Guru. Susan was under the tutelage of the Maharishi for 22 years and served on his personal staff for 6. She talks to us about the enlightenment movement and how Transcendentalism is manifested in the Beatles music.
You’d think, in 2019, that the choice to not have children would be acceptable in our society, but American culture can’t accept the reality of a woman who does not want to be a mother. Motherhood is sacred and revered. Not wanting children goes against everything we’ve been taught to think about the concept of family. Women and girls are portrayed in media and pop culture as individuals driven to get married and have children. Yet in reality, there are plenty of women who would rather not have the stresses of parenting or the loss of individual identity. And the pushback against the stigma of not wanting to be a parent has given birth to the childfree movement in America.
Overcome by emotions at the loss of her father, pressures from a demanding job, and conflicted emotions over failed relationships, author and humanitarian worker Natasha Scripture embarked on a journey to answer the question at the center of her anxiety…What is my purpose? The answer is detailed in her new memoir, Man Fast.
Books, movies, and TV shows often sell the fantasy of finding “Mr Right”. That can be in direct conflict with finding yourself and discovering your purpose in life. Man Fast is a book about a personal journey to self-discovery and self-love. In a culture that prizes finding the right man, Natasha Scripture shares her personal story that demonstrates a better understanding of self and the world around us. It’s a story of her awakening…the art of paying attention…and recognizing the true source of love. And it all started with a fast from the dating game.
“I needed to design a life that was empowering and inspiring and authentic for me and not settle for a partner that didn’t feel right.”
Push play and enjoy the conversation.
Music in this episode is Lonely Satellite by Bio Unit under Creative Commons license.
It is a heavily researched question and the consensus is…yes, it can. One of the key benefits that money provides is safety and security. Having enough money eliminates anxiety when shopping or making large purchases. Money also affords you memorable life experiences that bring joy and happiness, allows you to help loved ones, and give back to your community.
But just how much money do you need to be happy? To answer that question, we narrowed the focus of this conversation down to how much money and what kind of experiences do the happiest people in retirement have in common.
call it happiness or peace of mind, money CAN provide a freedom that allows you
to truly enjoy your life in retirement and, according to Wes’ research, you
might not need as much as everyone is telling you that you need. Remember, the happiest retirees
Have a median of $500,000 in liquid net assets (up to $850,000)
Once you get above that amount, you’ll experience “diminishing marginal happiness”
The happiest retirees average 3.5 core pursuits and have an average of 2.5 children. (Listen to find out exactly what that means)
And the happiest retirees live in the middle when it comes to shopping and dining out. Not too cheap and not too expensive.
You’ll find the common traits among the happiest retirees to be very enlightening. I hope you’ll listen to discover more.
Nora McInerny has become a reluctant expert in difficult conversations by bringing empathy and wit to difficult subjects. She is host of the American Public Media podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking and founder of the on-line support group the Hot Young Widows Club. I recently spoke with her about her new memoir No Happy Endings where she describes her exploration of the reality of being changed by loss without being completely defined by it.
Within the span of a few months, Nora lost her husband to brain cancer, miscarried her second child, and saw the passing of her father. Not long after those tragic events, she found love again in Matthew, her new husband. Through it all, she describes the awkwardness of being a widow, the difficulties of becoming a single mom, and the guilt of finding love again.
With great humor and sensitivity, Nora reminds us that there will be no happy endings in life, but there will be new beginnings.
It’s National Sibling Day and instead of thinking about the short life I spent with my brother Roland, I’ve given thought all day to his funeral. Perhaps is was because I was preparing for an interview with author Nora McInerny. Her book, No Happy Endings, is a memoir that chronicles the personal tragedy of losing her husband to brain cancer not long after they married. She writes, often with great humor, about the awkwardness of being a widow and how being around people became increasingly difficult. Which brings me back to my dead brother and the awkward day of his funeral.
My brother Roland died in 1999 at the promising age of 36 from complications resulting from the treatment he received as a kidney patient. After his body rejected the first kidney transplant, he had a 2nd operation that we thought was successful after living for 4 years with it. I’m not sure I was ever told what the official cause of death was.
A day or so before he passed, I received a call from my uncle Mike who said, “your brother isn’t doing well and I think you should come home.” I was dead asleep in the guest room of our house (because I snored like a growling bear) when the call came from my mother. My wife walked in the room and handed me the phone. My brother had passed before I could get there. I howled for quite some time as my childhood flashed before my eyes. Cried until there were no more tears to cry. Death had never come so close to me.
I learned a lot about my brother during his funeral. He was well respected by the faculty of the theology school he attended and by leaders from his church. Great moments of pride swelled my chest. The church was full of family, friends, church members and school mates. So many people that I could find a quiet place to think. I couldn’t breathe.
As grand a send off as it was, I hated the entire affair. I have always found funerals to be a morbid and unnecessary ritual. Looking at dead bodies is a creepy exercise and I was in no mood to socialize. My brother was a devout Christian and his funeral was as about as Christian as a funeral could be. Christians view funerals as a “home going” event, a reason to celebrate. Yet I was in no celebratory mood.
I had what could only be described as an out-of-body experience that day. Aside from my wife, who understood what I was going through, and my sister-in-law who was devastated upon losing her soulmate, everyone seemed to me to be attending a different event. The laughs and smiles, jokes and hugs all seemed foreign to me. There I was in my grief having just lost my only brother and people were engaging me as if we were attending a church picnic.
The thoughts that ran from the depths of my mind to the tip of my tongue were held back only out of respect for my mother. “What the fuck are you smiling at?” “You find this to be a fun event?” “Yes, I haven’t seen you in quite some time. Now get out of my damn face.” “Yes, upstate New York is beautiful country…now piss off.” I wanted to grieve. I needed to grieve. But these people did not understand the needs of the heathen black sheep of the family. The non-church attending son. The one yet to have his body snatched by space invaders. They didn’t understand the immense guilt that I carried knowing that the last conversation that I had with Roland was an argument about my not being saved.
I helped the other men carry my brother’s body to the dead person’s car. Weak in the knees, he nearly slipped from my grip. What a total dick I would have been if I dropped my dead brother to the ground. But I held on tight.
I still carry the guilt of not saying goodbye and the guilt of not donating a kidney and likely always will. It’s difficult separating that guilt from the memories. It’s a burden I’ll happily bear if it means that I can still remember the sound of his voice, his laugh, and his trying to save my lost soul.
Researchers find that achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort, and that much of happiness is under our personal control. Indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, achieving goals and maintaining close social bonds can all increase life satisfaction.
But what if your life has spun out of control? When all seems lost, can you find your way to happiness from rock bottom? Our next guest says, “yes”. After a failed marriage was closely followed by the death of his only brother, David Mauro, who suffered from depression, found himself at rock bottom. That is until he decided to climb a mountain. David is the author of The Altitude Journals: A Seven-Year Journey From the Lowest Point in My Life to the Highest Point on Earth. He tells us how he found his way back to happiness after his journey to rock bottom took him to the top of Mt Everest.
We can all relate to having low points. Some lower than others. What separates us is how we climb our way back to normal. Back to happier times.
In this conversation, David Mauro describes how his passion for mountain climbing forced discipline and focus in his life when he lacked it most. He explains how “rock bottom” can be the ultimate “gift.” And he tells us how conquering the challenges of mountain climbing allowed him to finally deal with his problems.
It’s a great conversation and there are good lessons to be learned. I hope you’ll give it a listen.
Do you have a “rock bottom” to happiness story? Feel free to share it here if you’re comfortable doing so.
For more information on David and his adventures, visit his website here.
explore happiness and what it means to be truly happy, we keep coming across a
repetitive theme…that happiness isn’t something that happens to you. Happiness is something that happens because
Behavioral scientists have spent a lot of time studying happiness and we know that happiness can predict health and longevity. So why wouldn’t we want more happy moments in our lives? I think most of us do, but we can often be our own worst enemy. We can sabotage our efforts and desires to live a happier life, often without even realizing it.
We must work at being happy and a part of that work includes removing obstacles that prevent us from experiencing joyous moments.
On this episode of Life in HD, we hear from Sheri D. Engler, author and illustrator of the book The Pearls of Wisdom: A Fairy Tale Guide to Life’s Magic Secrets for All Ages. Sheri helps us understand why we hold on to emotional clutter and how relieving yourself of it can help you lead a happier, more fulfilling life. Sheri is an experienced mentor, medium, and meta-physicist with a background in counseling and research. She received her BA in Clinical Psychology from San Francisco State University.
If we hold on to the clutter in our emotional storage space, we block our ability to think happier thoughts and conquer negative thinking. Thank you for giving this episode a listen. And please share your techniques or activities for clearing your mind with me in the comments section.
From Acts 20:35 of the King James Bible we get the notion that “it’s better to give than receive.” A noble proposition for sure, but is it truly better?
Psychologist say many people don’t give enough to themselves. Studies show that those who practice self-care can reap benefits in their mental state, physical health, and relationships.
In this next series of Life in HD podcasts, we will explore the pursuit of happiness. What it is, how we define it, and why obtaining it is easier for some more than others.
In this episode, I examine how self-care can lead to happiness when you make yourself a priority. I speak with Christopher Felton, author of the book Re-Member Yourself: A Healing Journey Through Your Innerverse. In his book, Christopher attemps to provide some answers to the question: in living for others, have you forgotten to live for yourself? A Healing Journey is a self-help book and journal and it encourages us to be recipients of our own good acts. In this regard, selfishness can actually be a good thing. Push play on the audio player and take a listen.
Welcome to Life in HD – the podcast that puts a spotlight on how we live our lives. [LANGUAGE ADVISORY]
You and I
both know how difficult personal change can be.
We are creatures of habit and we operate in comfort zones where sticking
to habits, whether good or bad, bring us the comfort of familiarity. But what if what’s comfortable for you makes
you not a likeable person? Brings out
traits that you don’t like in yourself?
What do you do then? You know the
kind of person that you want to be…you can see yourself in your mind’s eye…but
how do you get there?
I talked with man who, faced with that very scenario, decided to go through a personal transformation and he shares his journey with us on this episode.
John Kim, known as The Angry Therapist, was forced to face his shortcomings as a man and a human being. After a heart-wrenching divorce, he turned to blogging as a way to explore how to become a better person. He shares his journey and his discoveries in a new book titled “I Used to be a Miserable Fuck: An Every Man’s Guide to a Meaningful Life” He describes, that after some deep soul searching, that he was indeed a miserable man. He considers his journey as something of a rebirth.
In a sense,
John Kim is redefining what it means to be a man. In his work, he finds that there are many
fatherless young men out there without proper role models to emulate or provide
a moral compass.
In “I Used to be a Miserable Fuck”, The Angry therapist draws on his own personal experiences as a therapist and a man to help readers, men and women, start some important internal dialogue and think about who you are…and who you want to be. He says it requires work: reflection, pain, courage, and perhaps a rebirth. And he offers this book as a guide.
There are a number of do’s and don’ts in this book that will challenge you to examine yourself and your definitions of manhood. Like “Do live a through me life”, and “Don’t pee in the shower”.