Posted by Joe Wald
At 12:25…yes, you read that correctly. 12:25 it was and President Pat called this meeting of the Rotary Club of Lansing to order. At least he thought he called it to order—until Dave O’Leary stepped up to the podium to deliver the invocation. But first, let’s give a BIG thank you and acknowledgement to the first- rate lunch we had on this sunny (and cold) Friday in our first meeting of February in 2020. How good was our lunch? At least at my table we spoke about sticking around until dinner to see what was being served. Excellent! Excellent! And the chicken…loved it! Many, many thanks to the LCC staff for taking such good care of us! And then the distinguished David O’Leary gave a carefully chosen invocation speaking about “growing old gracefully”. “Too late for some” he began with a smile on his face. It hit home with many of us. As he used his time at the podium to then speak about the funeral for Rotarian John Stephenson, as if on cue, music began to play. Hmmm? I was almost expecting David to start dancing, but maintaining decorum, he continued until President Pat threatened the hook. John Dale Smith next led the club in our patriotic song, the National Anthem. President Pat then spoke about our two Rotarian friends who passed away this past week, Leon Atayan and John Stephenson. The club observed a moment of silence in their memory and honor.
Lisa Smith facilitated the introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians followed by the declaration by Pat Munshaw, that but for the passing of Leon and John, the health of the club was good. President Pat shared that our International Grants have been distributed from Guatemala to Bangladesh for a total of $29,100. He also acknowledged the great work that Susan Angel has been doing to continue improving the look and functionality of our webpage. And finally, he thanked Bob Hoffman and our intern Sarah for their work on social media for the benefit of our club. Sarah was asked to provide a quick update. She shared that they have been utilizing limited paid advertising to increase our reach and the statistics she shared demonstrated how our message is expanding exponentially in some cases. Pat concluded his announcements by speaking about the every- other Tuesday evening Happy Hours at Arcadia for the “35 and unders”, and how pleased he was to see Lansing Rotarians (a number over 35) who were attending. One of our newer (and under 35) Rotarians, Parker Sessa, reached out to President Pat from one of these Arcadia events and followed up with an email which was shared. Expressing his appreciation for the warmth and acceptance of the club members, Parker commented that he will be leaving to return to Grand Rapids and that today would be his final meeting, even before he would be able to deliver his new member presentation. But President Pat knew how to remedy this by inviting Parker to the podium to make his presentation before his move. Parker thanked everyone for making Lansing Rotary so inviting and comfortable for him. His few months at Lansing Rotary have been a wonderful experience, and in fact, he will be looking to join Rotary in GR.
Ken Beachler then introduced our special music of the day. Peter Boylan, an MSU alum and voice teacher in Haslett, sang two songs for the club, a German opera piece and a song from the Unsinkable Molly Brown. We sat back to first rate entertainment once again. Many, many thanks to Ken and our pianist extraordinaire, John Dale Smith.
Our Chair of the Month, Paula Cunningham, asked John O’Leary (son of David) to serve as our Chair of the Day. John began his introduction of our speaker by expressing his pleasure to be sitting at the head table of Lansing Rotary with two of the most influential people in his life, Dad Dave O’Leary and speaker Chris Johnson. His friendship with Chris Johnson goes back to his childhood, and in fact (years later) it was Chris who introduced John to his future wife. Listing a number of Chris’s accomplishments beginning in elementary school, it became obvious that Chris was destined to make a difference! Fitness and exercise seemed to always be a passion of Chris, but he had to weather a “dark” period in the snack food industry first. But thankfully he did, and not only did it change Chris’s life, it has changed the lives of thousands of people including me. Chris has an MA in Exercise Physiology and was known for many years for his work at the Michigan Athletic Club (commonly known as the MAC). Chris left the MAC to create On Target Living with the simple goal of helping people to take better care of themselves. He is a nationally recognized speaker on health and fitness. Both his son and daughter work in On Target Living. With his new location, Chris and his business are now bringing others to our community to take advantage of these incredible resources, On Target Living and Chris Johnson. And taking the liberty given to the Editarian, I also want to state my admiration for Chris, who I had the pleasure of working with during my tenure at Sparrow as the president of the MAC. Chris truly is a treasure in our community, bringing amazing energy and knowledge to whatever he does. I am pleased to call him a friend.
Chris began his talk by highlighting that health, stress and poor habits are the biggest challenges facing business’s greatest assets – their people. Chris simply asks, why, and then helps his clients to attack each of these areas with simple advice. Beginning his talk with high energy music and a quick specially designed for Lansing Rotary exercise class, he got us all up and moving. It is what Chris does so well! Explaining that the discussions used to be all about losing weight but have now changed to addressing the issues of stress, anxiety and the inability to sleep.
People, Chris states, are businesses most valuable asset, and our most valuable asset is our health. If people feel better, they perform better, and businesses now are beginning to understand this connection. Everyone wants more energy, to lose a few pounds, to sleep better and to get off of their medications. And to accomplish this, Chris has a simple answer – change our eating and drinking and moving habits! Talking about the environment which we all live and function in, Chris observed that the demands in all of our lives are up as our capacity seems to be shrinking. To this he suggests we think of “white space” which suggests among other things that we begin to limit some of our screen time. He highlighted how our personal time has been steadily shrinking from the 1940’s to the present. He also observed that the answer to better health is not added use of the health care system, but rather to begin to have a better understanding of “our numbers”, the key indicators of our metabolism and health. Commenting on the increase in type 2 diabetes diagnoses and obesity in our society, he pointed directly to our eating habits. By focusing our attention on those areas that can make a difference for us; by understanding the importance of energy and the fuels which can accomplish this for us; and by embracing the drive which will propel us to the state of better health, we can all begin to take control of our health. And then there is “rest”. By not getting enough rest today, stress is killing us. He addressed this via what he referred to as “recovery” and demonstrated how by simply understanding the basics of breathing we can once again begin to take control.
Eating, breathing, moving, hydrating and understanding the difference between good calories and habits and not so good can make a profound difference. Returning once again to his central theme, Chris talked about the impact that simply feeling good can have on all of us. The genius of Chris Johnson is his understanding that by doing what we like, we can build habits which will have a positive impact on all of us. Do one thing at a time. Everything is a progression. As he states, “we need to play more as adults.” Seems so very simple!
Chris concluded his talk by responding to questions. He offered to respond to any additional questions at Thanks to Paula and John O’Leary, and of course to Chris Johnson for this enjoyable and informative program.
President Pat concluded the meeting by reminding us that we meet at the Lansing Center next week with some “very special” music, and our featured speaker, Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel.
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