Motivated to do nothing?

The hardest part about motivation is staying motivated.  There is a reason why gyms have a bunch of new members in January and a lot less in April.   I have been feeling very unmotivated the past ten days.  It seems like every aspect of my life needs a good kick in the butt.  I blame it all on Day Light Savings.  Why we need to go and mess with something that is working just fine makes no sense.  I was enjoying waking up at 6 AM and not having it be dark! The fact that Arizona doesn’t change their clock and a lot of the state is very warm, puts it high on my list of places I currently wish I lived.

I have mentioned many times here in this blog how difficult getting up in the morning is for me.  Most days I wake up feeling as bad as I will feel all day.  I thought the trick to dealing with this issue was waking up an hour earlier than the rest of my family.  I use this time to pump my leg, pray, and read.  All while enjoying a 16 oz mug of freshly brewed coffee.  Just because Verizon Wireless changed the time on my “smart phone” at 2 AM on March 13, 2011, didn’t mean my “not-as-smart body” can just change its biological clock as well.  (Good thing I double checked the hyphens in “not-as-smart body”.   Seems spell check isn’t going to pick it up if you move the hyphen between the S’s to the right…)

Two weeks ago, when I was waking up at 6 AM, I didn’t feel good.  I really felt lousy as I tried to drag my aching body out of bed the first Monday after the time change, when it thought it was 5 AM.  After one day I gave up trying to wake up at 6 AM.   This meant I was now waking up at 7 AM with the rest of “the natives”.  All the benefits my family got from me waking up at 6 AM were gone.  I now am moving more slowly as I get the kids out of bed for school.  They all get to see me at my peak pain level (translate: I’m grumpy). Worst of all, Tonia isn’t getting her morning cafe mocha delivered to her bedside. (There goes any chance for the Husband of the Year Award, and it is only March.)

I was also getting a lot of benefits from starting my day off on the “right foot”.  There is a great deal of peace that comes from starting each day with prayer and reflection.  It doesn’t feel the same when you have to rush it.  Pumping my leg early also sets me up for my workout later in the morning.  Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that exercise plays an important role in my life.  Not following my morning routine is screwing up my whole day.  My desire to work out is diminished.  My writing/blogging has slowed down.  Focusing at work is more difficult.  The whole thing is a big mess…

This week I have been blessed to attend 3 one hour talks given by Paulist Father John Collins as part of my church’s 40 Hour Devotion.  The Paulist Fathers have a wonderful approach to spreading the Gospel.   Father John has a great sense of humor. Listing to him talk has been very inspirational.  I am always trying to recognize the ways that God is working in my life.  I have had a lot of times over the past 3 years where I sensed God’s intervention.  During Father John’s talk on Tuesday, I had one of those moments.  Father spoke of losing interest in prayer, of just going through the motions.  He has been a Priest for 41 years and during that time there were periods where it “just wasn’t working for me.”  He told God, “You guided me this far, I followed your call.  Now it is up to you to put me back on track.”  He said he just waited. He made sure he was open to God working in his life, but he didn’t push the issue.  He waited for God to “Remotivate” him.

I am now patiently waiting to be “Remotivated” again.  I am not doing “nothing”, but I have had to cut back a lot.  I have only exercised 4 times in the last 10 days.  During the same time period I hadn’t written anything, until now.  I have avoided taking on more work because of a lack of energy.  Yesterday, I fell asleep while pumping me leg.  (It was 8 AM.)   I had been trying anything and everything to kick-start my motivation, with little to no success.  Funny how 3 days of noon time Mass, followed by a motivational talk from a Priest cleared things up.

God has led me this far through my recovery.  He has allowed me to fall, but He has always been with me. God does not control every aspect of my life but He also doesn’t leave me alone.  If this step backward in my recovery ends up allowing me the room I need to make another push forward than I guess this small hurdle will have served a greater purpose. Meanwhile, I am just going to wait.  (Already I am beginning to feel more focused again.  At least good enough to write a blog post.)

One last word one changing the clocks.  I can only assume that God doesn’t think Day Light Saving is a good idea either.  The Creation Story says that on Day 1 God created light and He separated it from darkness.  He called the light day and the darkness night.  From what I remember reading, God didn’t say three months later, “OK now we are going to turn the ‘world’s clock’ one hour head so Adam and Eve get less sleep.  As soon as they get use to the new time we will switch it back.”

My Update: “aka” Why I am not keeping up with my promise of more posts.

I haven’t written a post in a while because I have been working on my book a lot lately.  I spent the past weekend in Naples, FL with my brother visiting our grandmother.  I got to spend a lot of time writing.  This time away was very helpful as I can’t always commit large blocks of time to my book while at home.  I started writing again after talking to two publishers.  It seems that I may need more pages.  I have been shooting for a 200 page book, but they are telling me I should be closer to 250 pages.  From a content point, that should not be an issue.  I haven’t written a whole lot about all the changes in my life over the past 18 months.  (However, for a moment I did consider taking the easy way out and getting a box of crayons and some paper to draw pictures.)  The only real issue is time.  Time to write and time to have it edited. I now know why writers lock them selves in hotels in order to meet deadlines.

Last week I agreed to give another talk for a larger group (350-500 people) in May, as

Nurses Aid Class Feb 28, 2011

well as two smaller groups.  It still seems a little surreal to have large organizations pay me to talk about motivation.  I will always continue to talk to small groups (churches and civic organizations), as my schedule permits, because I love the small group experience.  The interaction with the audience is such a positive experience for me that I leave the meeting or seminar feeling even more motivated and inspired.  I get to hear so many heart-felt stories of adversity and triumph.  It amazes me how simply being honest and open encourages others to follow suite.

I have been working on getting some guest bloggers.  The first one will be a very special post that you won’t want to miss.  (No it is not my wife Tonia, but I am hoping she will eventually be ready to share her story.) Look for it soon.

There have been a few additional stories written about me lately.  My alma mater , Lebanon Valley College, wrote an article. (You can read it here.) The Pennsylvania Realtor Association also did a nice article.  (Read it here.)  Last week I did an interview with Carolyn Kimmel from the Patriot News in Harrisburg, PA.  It was a pretty enjoyable interview and Carolyn asked me a lot of questions about the role God played in my recovery.  Not a topic I get to talk about to often in interviews, but one I am very comfortable discussing.  I expect it will run on a Sunday in the next few weeks.  I still need to do the photo shoot.  (Not comfortable with that part.)  I will post a link after it comes out.

If you want to get more updates about articles and talks I am giving, you can become a “Fan” of my Facebook fan page My Recovery-My Motivation.  If you are involved with a church, organization, or business who might benefit from having me come to a meeting to talk, contact me at or comment here.  I will always do my best to accommodate requests, but I do need to be mindful of protecting balance in my life.


There have been so many times during my recovery that I have wanted to quit.  I was in so much pain in the nursing home that all I wanted to do was lie in my bed.   During rehab, I wanted to quit almost every day.  I can’t begin to tell you in words, what it is like to over come an addiction to narcotics.  The lesson I learned was that the difference between giving up and succeeding was taking the first step.  The hardest part of rehab, most days, was getting out of my wheelchair.  It was easier and less painful to just sit. Once I stood up at my walker, I was committed.  I didn’t worry about taking ten steps, I worried about having the nerve to take the first one.  The same was true when I started going to the gym.  Getting to the YMCA was often harder than the workout.  I still wake up feeling pretty bad every day.  The first thought that enters my mind is “pain” followed by “accident”.   The biggest challenge I face each day will be decided in the first 30 seconds of waking up.  Can I make myself get out of bed?  I know it is going to hurt.  I also know that if I go down that rabbit hole of not getting up, of giving in and staying in bed for a day that my will to continue to get better may be in jeopardy.  It is the mental hurdle, “the mental first step”, that keeps us from success.

I decided early in my rehab, that all my injuries were not going to determine how far I could go in my recovery, they would only determined where I started.  I believe this is a key element to my success.  Recovery is a slow process.  There are no short-cuts.  Most success stories are measured in months and years.  Success is built with the tiniest of improvements, continuously piled on top of each other, until finally, they become visible to others around you.  Perseverance is the key to recovery. It is taking thousands of “first steps” over and over again.  Perseverance is your heart and soul overpowering your mind and allowing you to do things others said you couldn’t.

The accident has given me a battle to fight and a war to win.  I know the cards are stacked against me.  Time is both my friend and my enemy.  I am not getting younger.  However, I hope to get myself to a point where my body can age gracefully.  A point that my injuries will not cause me to be more debilitated as I become older.  I know the outcome will not be decided today, but what I do today will make a difference.