For more than two weeks now I have had extreme muscle tension between my shoulders at the base of the neck. At first it seemed that a few Ibuprofen and a good nights sleep would relax that area. Unfortunately it seemed to get worse over the next few nights. I’m sure that was compounded by the fact that for many years now I have had to take special care in how I sleep in order to prevent neck tensio and headaches all day. I know the initial cause of this bout of muscle tension. There were several extremely stressful weeks at work and stresses at home. It finally caught up to my body.

Good news, I know I can self treat the tension (now that the personal stressors are gone). Bad news, I have tried many things over the past few weeks and so far only temporary relief. I found an article on which should help me stretch that area of my back. If I add that to deep massage and careful rest of my neck when I sleep I should be as good as new, soon.

At least I hope so. The body is an absolutely fascinating machine. Diet, exercise, stress management are, in my opinion, the source of MOST ailments in our culture. Read on for a short history of how I virtually elimnated headaches that professionals could not.


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This is this weB log’s first leap day. In case you missed it it is not a common year, this is a leap year. I will assume that everyone knows that about every four years we need to add an extra day into the year to keep our calendar in sync with the astronomical alignment that defines a year. This is all based upon keeping the vernal equinox close to March 21st.

Did you notice that I said about every four years? That choice of words was intentional and the topic of this post.

In the Gregorian calendar (our calendar system), most years that are divisible by 4 are leap years. In a leap year, the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. Adding an extra day to the calendar every four years compensates for the fact that a solar year is almost 6 hours longer than 365 days (almost ¼ day longer). However, some exceptions to this rule are required since the duration of a solar year is slightly less than 365¼ days, which means that adding a full day every four years pushes our calendar ahead of the actual day – ever so slightly every leap year.

Here’s the little known addendum to the rule: Years which are divisible by 100 are not leap years, unless they are also divisible by 400, in which case they are leap years. For example, 1600 and 2000 were leap years, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not. Going forward, 2100, 2200, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2700, 2900, and 3000 will not be leap years, but 2400 and 2800 will be. By this rule, the average number of days per year will be 365 + 1/4 – 1/100 + 1/400 = 365.2425, which is 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds.

However, even this fine tuning introduces an error of about .000125 days per year. Therefore that means that in 8,000 years the calendar will be behind by a day. To top it all off, the exact position of the earth in 8,000 years can’t be predicted to that that kind of accuracy (the Earth is slowing so the day is becoming ever so slightly longer), therefore at some unknown date in the future we’ll have to add an extra day to keep it all in sync.

Way too technical? How about this, what is a person born on a leap day called? A leapling, of course.

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Here I am again posting about being heard. The topic makes me wonder how many people think the same of me – that I do not hear them.

In the last few years I have tried to work more on active listening skills – but find myself constantly falling into old habits. It’s not that someone else isn’t important enough for me to listen to, there’s just something in me that says “hey, I know something about that, here’s my two cents.” When I have those moments it’s all too quickly I find that I have taken over the conversation. Yucch, I hate that. Here I am really wanting to listen and then I find that I have taken the conversation. Why do I do that?

Active Listening = listening to find the meaning in what is being said.

Active listening involves watching body language, hearing what is being said not with just the words and mannerisms, but also “hearing” what the emotions are saying. Is the person speaking out of fearfulness, anger, sadness or hurt? The emotions can tell us more than the words are able to express. I know for me that is so often true.

Its goal is to improve mutual understanding. A side effect is that you and I feel heard – it makes us feel important, worthy, valuable.

My challenge is to be that active listener.

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Lately I have been struggling to discern the difference between needs and wants. So many wants can look and feel like needs. Now complicate that issue by looking toward another person to meet or fill that need or want. In my thinking needs are reasonable requests that you would reasonably expect to be met by someone close to you. Wants can also be quite reasonable but they seem to have an “optional” quality about them.

What’s reasonable? For that matter is it even reasonable to expect anything from another fallible human being?

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In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true, and try to imagine what it could be true of.
George A. Miller, Ph.D.

This is a fascinating quote indeed. I stumbled upon this when researching George A. Miller for his work on short term memory.

Basically he says that if I tell you I am a styrofoam airplane your response would be something to the effect of, “Is it advantageous to be lightweight when you fly?” You would then exercise your attentive listening skills and ask appropriate questions as the interchange continued.

The theory is that it would reduce a great amount of wasted time over your arguing with me and prevent you from leaping to conclusions.

Instead of trying to get our message across we should stop and listen to the significance of what others are saying.

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Good question and a tough one. We applaud intervention. We want to help others – for their own good and oft times ours as well. At the same time nagging is rejected as an unacceptable behavior.

Let’s take something clearcut, like alcohol. A drink or two daily – problem or not? If there is no negative consequences to the drinking should intervention take place? What if the person NEEDS to drink everyday? There are so many “drugs of choice” that we all use to numb the pain. When is it appropriate to point out, and how often? At what point do you take more serious action?

Is nagging something in which the eventual outcome judges the behavior?

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rash –adjective
1. acting or tending to act too hastily or without due consideration.
2. characterized by or showing too great haste or lack of consideration: rash promises.

I have acted rashly. In relationships this can be very detrimental if the breech is not addressed and restoration of relationship made.

Thank goodness for SMS (Short Message Service) aka ‘texting’.

Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.
Proverbs 13:3The Message (MSG)

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Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.
– V. Raymond Edman

I’m not there, but there have been times where this quote would have gone a long way.

When you feel God has Disappeared

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