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This story starts in the sea. And it ends in the sea. It begins with water. And it ends with water. It is never stopping. It is always starting. So what’s it about?

Well, a swell, can’t you tell.

Let’s begin. It was late afternoon, late fall, and I was on a private charter a mile off Montauk Point. There was a touch of breeze and light from an emerging, honey-gold sun had made short haste of a heavy fog determined to keep secret the fact that massive schools of striped bass were prowling the surface. But we could hear them hunt, and when close enough, we could see them hunt, roiling and boiling, splashing and crashing, flipping and flopping in pursuit of prey. …

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Growing up in Rochester, New York, in a town a few snowball tosses away from the Great Lake of Ontario, I was blessed with many neighborhood friends who, like me, loved sports and loved to play sports.

The two are not always interchangeable. One can play sports and not play at all. I don’t mean sitting on a bench and not getting into the game, which I admit, I did much too much for my liking when I was on organized school teams. …

Healing and Moving on after Loss

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More than a day and less than a year after splitting with my first wife, I started to feel better and once again considered dating.

I was working with a therapist during and after the divorce. I shared in session one day that I might be ready to move on romantically. …

Why it’s just as important to understand your goals as to meet them.

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A few months back, I experienced a profound family loss. This setback added to the stress and sadness of living the past year in a state of near-constant alarm and roiling turmoil. As a result, I began to slide into a two-step feeling of narcissistic hopelessness:

(1) I was being singled out to suffer; and

(2) there was nothing I could do about it.

Of course, this was not close to the truth. If anything, my personal situation, while painful, has not only been experienced by countless others during this trying and tragic year, but pales in comparison to what so many have experienced and endured. …

“We are in No Man’s Land”

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It’s always good to take notice when a historical event from the distant past begins to pop up all over the place in the present popular culture. I assure you, it is no coincidence when this happens, sometimes stretching across many canvases of creativity — film, television, novels, painting, music and photography.

The phenomenon is not to be associated with the “collective unconscious,” the Jungian idea that deep in our minds sits shared genetically inherited beliefs and instincts, such as spirituality, sexuality, and life and death impulses. According to Jung, these beliefs and instincts are not shaped by personal experience. Rather, they are with us from birth. …

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Yoga Squat position is also known as the Garland Pose or Malasana in Sanksrit (Mala=Garland, Asana= Posture). It is a sitting pose that affects your ankles, digestive system, lower back, hips, and the reproductive part. There are many Yoga Squat benefits that can impact your lifestyle extraordinarily.

The above explanation comes courtesy of Yoga Pandora. My definition of the pose, however, is much shorter. In fact, one word most aptly describes my experience with this Asana: “Ouch!”

You see, my middle-aged ankles, digestive system, lower back, hips and, yes, reproductive part, are not currently compliant with the idea of me getting down into a proper looking squat, let alone holding the pose long enough for those awesome mind and body benefits to kick in. About the best I can do, whenever I take a class and we’re encouraged to squat, is to bend over at the waist, dip my knees until I hear snapping, and stick my behind out as if ready to dive into the deep end of a pool. …

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Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

― Alfred Lord Tennyson

It pains me to log onto my social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, in particular, and read a steady stream of angry back and forth exchanges between users I know and those I do not know. …

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If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

~George Bernard Shaw

To this day, I believe, given the right combination of marketing, capital, fabric and wire, my idea for a windblown necktie — a springboard to a whole line of windblown clothing accessories — is a winner.

Of course, I’m probably wrong. But who knows, maybe it’s already been done? Perhaps, at this very moment, a dapper individual is in a socially-distanced business setting, expounding colleagues on, let’s say, profit and loss margins, and sporting a necktie locked in a sideways and up position, as if caught in a strong breeze or a subsiding hurricane. …

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I am a middle-aged man. I am happily married. I am pleasantly plump. And I am relatively energetic, particularly after an iced coffee and a powdered donut.

I am hoping, if God is on my side and the stars align, to live long enough to become a happily married, pleasantly plump, relatively energetic, ice-coffee-and-powdered-donut-loving older man.

But as that great mariner (and hopeless romantic) Popeye the Sailor Man likes to say, “I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” And right now I am middle-aged. …

The journey is everything, even in basketball.

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Picture, if you will, a crowded basketball arena in Western New York. It is the dead of winter, a snowy evening in the late 1920’s. Fans smoke cigarettes and cigars and, because it is Prohibition, sneak hard spirits from pocket flasks.

In between puffs and nips, they shout encouragement as well as slander to players on both sides. Imagine, though, a quiet gripping the crowd as one sharp-shooting guard, after weaving through an intricate series of moving and stationary picks, receives a pass from a teammate. From the deep, right-hand baseline corner, the dead-eye fixes his black-canvass, rubber-soled shoes on the scuff-stained floor, rotates the leather-laced ball until the feel is right, and then releases it with two hands, pushing it out and upward, creating an arcing trail through the smoke-soaked air. …

About

John McCaffrey

John McCaffrey is a writer and a director at a nonprofit mental health treatment and training center in NYC. jamccaffrey.com

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