Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night before Christmas

Twas the nights before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except for my spouse.

The last minute shopping had her pulling her hair,
In hopes that all presents, she needed were there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of shopping kept my wife on her meds.

And mamma in her hurry, while I took a nap,
I settled my brain, while hers started to snap.

When out of my brain there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to realize nothing else mattered.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a wondrous life , for all to revere.

With daily activity, so lively and quick,
A candles light burning, right down to the wick

More rapid than eagles life’s lessons they came,
We complained, and we shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Anger! now, Frustration! now, Depression and Pain!
On, Guilt! On, Anxiety! on, Resentment and Blame!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

"With life’s challenges before us, leave us wondering why
when we meet with an obstacle, we mount to the sky.

So take on life’s challenges, is what we should do,
All of life’s joys, and some sorrows too.

And then, in a twinkling, I found myself proof
all the bad from last year, disappeared in a poof.

As I cleared my head, a thought came with no sound
all good things in my life, were suddenly found.

My life was a great life, from its head to its feet,
And life’s clothes were not perfect but over all pretty neat.

A bundle of Joys life had flung in a sack,
My life was a good life, the more I looked back.

Life’s moments they twinkled! Life’s bumps could get harry!
Life wasn’t all roses, but overall it was merry!

I wasn’t quite sure, where life was planning to go,
But I knew his intentions, were as pure as the snow.

The bumps of this life, were lessons to learn,
Life had no free passes, this is something we’d earn

Life had a broad spectrum, of the good and the bad,
Life kept us all going, through the happy and sad!

Life was always reminding, it could be short like an elf,
A hard lesson remembered, unless affected myself!

With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Life gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

Life spoke not a word, but just kept on giving,
And filled all our days, with purpose for living.

Laying me down, with a tweak of my nose,
Life gave me a smile and then he arose!

Life sprang up to say, to us all gave a whistle,
And away we all fly like the down of a thistle.

But I heard life exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-life!"

Monday, December 13, 2010


Most of the time, we go through our lives without a true appreciation for the things we have. It usually takes a loss, to remind us how important the things we take for granted, truly are.

Last week, I stood in a room surrounded by unfamiliar faces yet familiar feelings. In the corner of the room were the few faces that were familiar and to see their expressions, brought an empty feeling. I approached them and gave them my condolences for their loss, knowing that nothing I could say would bring them peace at this difficult moment. As I walked into the next room, I was reminded of the times in my life that I had loss someone close to me, in particular, my dad. I remembered the feeling of desperation knowing that this was something so permanent that no one could ever change. I found myself alone with my thoughts, sitting just outside the viewing room. Here I was, on a Thursday night, sitting alone at the wake of someone I had never personally met. Why? As you probably already have figured out from my writings, I always want to know why. I want to know the deeper meanings of the simple everyday events. I ask myself, “What am I suppose to be learning from this experience?” As I sat there, more familiar faces arrived. These were faces that less than a year ago, were not so familiar. As I stood up to greet them there was sincerity in our happiness to see one another. As we sat around talking, I found myself focusing on the relationships and could'nt help but notice, that these relationships were “real”. I found it odd since most of them had been formed over just the last couple years, yet they were more “real” than others that I had for many years. As we sat around talking, I found myself recognizing that the “realness” of these relationships, were a direct result of the people I was choosing to form relationships with. Most importantly, I found myself truly appreciating these relationships that had been so recently formed. I was grateful for having the opportunity to not only know these people but to experience their friendships. It was at that moment that it struck me. As this year comes to an end, it was a reminder of all the things I needed to be grateful for. It should go without saying that while at a wake you should appreciate life, (not only yours but all of those close to you) but in addition to life, we should never take for granted our relationships and how important they are to us. I look at life a little different than I use to. Normally I would have felt burdened and cheated out of a Thursday night but as I drove home that night, I thanked God for giving me the gift of appreciation. The wisdom to appreciate all the things in my life and I was only saddend that it took a wake to awake me. From this day forward when someone mentions going to a wake, I will say “awake” in my head, and it will bring me clarity.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Aren’t we better off believing we can change things, than allowing other things to have control of our lives? I recently had a conversation with someone regarding Alzheimer’s. During the conversation I mentioned that if we have concerns about getting Alzheimer’s, we should work every day to keep our minds sharp. I went on to say that our minds our like our muscles - the more we neglect them, the sooner they will weaken. After going on about it for a few minutes, I got a disapproving look followed by the comment that Alzheimer’s is hereditary and there is nothing we can do about it.

Regardless of whether this is a true statement or not, do we want to live our lives this way? Isn’t it better to believe that we can change the things in our lives, than to believe we have no control? Isn’t it better to believe that we can keep our minds sharp by reading daily, doing Suduko puzzles, working, or anything else we can think of doing? Isn’t that better than believing it is all completely out of our control? I mean if you have ever heard about the placebo effect, you know that our mind is capable of doing just about anything that we believe it can do. The point isn’t whether or not we do or do not have the ability to change things but whether or not it is better to believe we can. Once we stop believing we can, we lose hope and with loss of any hope, we lose our will. I believe I can cure my own back problems, prevent Alzheimer’s, fend off potential colds, and anything else that may come my way. When I believe that it is possible, I look for things that I can start doing to help these things happen and I work hard at them. Most of all, I believe that believing empowers me and makes for a much happier life. By doing so, the worst thing that could happen is that I end up with these ailments anyway but had a great time believing I could overcome them. On the other hand, if I give into them now, the battle is already over and I succumb to the inevitable. Which one sounds like something we should do?

Friday, October 29, 2010


Learning to be independent is like learning to play a musical instrument. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how many sheets of music you read, or how many times you look at the instrument, you have to practice. As scary as it may be, we must evaluate the risk and then allow whomever it is the opportunity to do things on their own. As time passes and they have proven to be able to handle that level of responsibility we raise the bar. Within a short period of time you look up and they have gone from playing snippets of the simplest of songs with your guidance, to playing full length songs alone. What I think we must all remind ourselves is that this kind of progress only comes as a result of practice and taking calculated risk. I stress the word "calculated" because allowing someone to take on too much responsibility before they are ready to handle it, can also have an adverse effect. I look at it as age appropriate responsibility, similar to age appropriate behavior. However it’s important to understand that age refers more to one's responsibility age, than one's physical one. 

Driving is a good example. Although I am sure that there are many 12 year olds that are tall enough and physically capable to drive a car, we wouldn’t allow them to because it would be putting them in a position to fail - potentially hurting them from the natural process into healthy independence. Similarly, there are 16 year olds that although of legal age, are still not ready either and must be carefully guided and allowed more time to mature. That being said there are also 15 yr olds that the moment they sit being the wheel of a car are capable of the responsibility of driving the car as best as one can understand that responsibility. It’s a careful balance to decide who, where and when but if we don’t have the opportunity to practice we will never learn. If we reflect on our own lives and what we have learned, it was only by taking chances and practicing, that we improved and grew as individuals to become strong, confident and independent .   

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Funk Fixer (It’s a long one)

Sometimes we fall into a bit of a funk and it can seem impossible to get out of it. About a month ago I had something happen where I suddenly found myself in one of these funks. My positive attitude had changed to a more negative one and everything that had seemed so clear to me, had been lost in a fog of resentment, anger and a feeling of desperation. This hadn’t been the first time this had happened to me, yet I could not remember what it was that had lifted this cloud so many times before. Needless to say, I could not write a Dailydumbbell to save my life and the thought of writing one, made me feel like a hypocrite. What had changed? Why had my thoughts gone from being so focused and happy, to so scattered and negative? About a week ago the answer came to me like it had so many times before. The answer was simple, I was focusing on myself. Somewhere in the previous month my mind had shifted from thinking of others, to thinking about myself. The more it fed my ego the more my mood and attitude shifted. I found myself saying things like, “when do I get to have fun” why don’t I get that, when do I get a break,” etc…. I think about it now and it sounds ridiculous but those were the thoughts that governed me. As my mind dwelled on these things, I built a perfect case as to why I should be disgusted with my life and everyone around me. Of course this may sound extreme but when I fall into a funk, I am just as passionate about it, as I am anything else. Slowly and almost secretly, I was forced to do things for others while putting my thoughts aside. As a result, I had brief moments of fulfillment and happiness that although I didn’t realize, were a result of focusing on and helping others. As I mentioned before this was not the first time that life had taught me this lesson and I am sure it will not be the last. Although I was seeing some light, I still was not out of the woods. I like to keep my writings short but since this is the first in while and because I think it is such an important subject, I want to share with you a story about what finally brought me out of my funk and allowed me to begin writing again.

The story of two champions:

While finding my way out of the “Funk” I was in, my sister Mary invited me to watch her son Stevie run in a cross country meet this past weekend. I agreed to go and give him my support. I woke up early Saturday morning and drove to Belen to find Mary with four of her children, patiently waiting for their brother to run the race. Once the race began, I noticed the level of excitement in all of their faces as he ran down the field in front of them. All of us were lost in our excitement for him. During the middle of the race I ran to a spot where I knew he would be coming by and cheered him on. I raced back to the stands only to find Mary and the kids in the same spot with the same look of anticipation on their faces and joy in their eyes. As the runners entered the field to run the last hundred yards, everyone was screaming in an effort to support their child and we were no different. Stevie beat his best time by running a 7:30 minute mile. As I sat there reflecting on what had just happened I realized that while focusing on others and their happiness I had brought myself happiness. I thought about how hard Stevie had to push himself even when every bone in his body was surely telling him to stop. I wondered how it was possible that I had forgotten what had previously brought me to such a high level of fulfillment. I compared my life to Stevie’s run and was disappointed in myself for quitting. Suddenly, Stevie came running up to everyone and was swarmed by a proud family of Lee’s. Although exhausted, his pride gave strength to his smile and he proudly talked about his race. I congratulated him and then Mary and the kids said goodbye as she headed off for the days adventures. As I sat there in silence pondering on the shift that had just occurred, I was reminded that there was still one more race I had come to see. A very good friend of mine had a daughter that would be running in about an hour. I took the time to think about and remind myself that my fulfillment comes from giving and helping others. This day had made me realize that for the last month, I had been a prisoner of my own selfish thoughts. Within what seemed like minutes, the last race was about to begin. I looked out on the field scanning all the girls to see if I could find Sofi Miguez. There were lots of girls but I was focusing on a petite girl with a white uniform. Within seconds I found her. She had a certain presence out there that most of the others did not have. It was a mix of confidence, strength, determination but most of all focus. Her body language as she ran up and down the field warming up, radiated with it. I had heard some good things and knew she was a great runner but could have never imagined what I was about to witness. In the first hundred yards she pulled away from the pack and got a comfortable lead of about 20yds. I watched her run effortlessly out of site and would patiently wait to catch glimpses of her as she ran the course. The first time she came back into full site, I watched to see if she would still be in front and she was. As she came around the corner she maintained her original stride and look of determination. She never looked back but only forward to her goal. If she would have looked back, she would have found that her lead had increased to 30yds. This was a two mile race so she went around one more time and I anxiously waited for her return. Within a few minutes I saw the golf cart enter the field and right behind it was Sofi. She came around the far end of the track with a Secretariat type pace and lead. I was inspired by her strength and focus and that she continued to push herself, knowing that she could slow the pace and still win easily. After she crossed the finish line, I sat and reflected on what I had been taught by two little champions. It isn’t about winning a race but more about beating your personal best. It’s about taking what God has giving you and doing the best you can with it. I was forced to admit that no matter your age, size or list of excuses, you can do anything you put your mind to and should. But the most important thing I learned that day was that in an attempt to do for others, I did the most for myself. Thank you Stevie and Sofi, for a great race, a great day and for fixing my Funk.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mailbox Misery

Isn’t it torturous to receive a letter in the mail regarding something you disagree with but by the time you read it you realize there is nothing you can do until the next day or sometimes until Monday? Throughout my life I have received many letters and or phone calls like this. I always seemed to get them late Friday afternoon (just before the weekend) and whatever the issue was, it could not be addressed until Monday morning. I would torture myself the entire weekend. I’d run through why it was wrong and what I was going to say, reliving the moment throughout the entire weekend. Needless to say, I completely ruined my weekend and affected those around me. Now as I sit here writing this, I can only tell you that the letters usually came from the mortgage company , community management, school, utilities, insurance companies, or some lawyer letter (those were always scary). For the most part, I cant give you the details of what the letters were about and I definitely can’t tell you when I got them or how many. Whatever they were about and however life impacting they felt at the time, they all got resolved and are nothing but a faded memory now. Unfortunately what I can’t have back, are those weekends I wasted in anger or the examples I showed others on how to cope with such issues. So what was it that drove me so crazy that I felt the need to resolve the problem right then and what has changed now? The answer is, was and will always be, fear. Fear can drive us to do some really crazy things. We will act out in desperation just to bring closure and eliminate the fear. When we are forced to wait, it gives us a feeling of loss of control. The fear that they will take your house, assess you with penalties, turn off your power, raise your premium or prosecute you, can be paralyzing. Now after many years, I have reached a point where I can let go of those fears. I understand that all these things are directly controlled by my actions. I realize that they will all be resolved in time and if that time is not now, to let it go and enjoy my weekend. I take responsibility for the issues I have created for myself and reflect on how I can do things differently so as not to find myself in the same situation again. I stop blaming others and focus on what part I might have played in what's happening. Lastly, and most importantly, I focus on today and ask myself what I am so afraid of that I am willing to give up my happiness for? What is so important that living my life must wait for?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Barks Like a Dog

“If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog, it’s a dog.”
 As we go through our lives, there have been times where what we see doesn’t match with what our minds or instincts tell us. We go through an internal struggle questioning ourselves and wondering whether or not it could be possible that our instincts are just flat out wrong.

Two simple examples that we can all relate to are the following: We see people buying expensive cars, beautiful homes, going out to fancy dinners, wearing designer clothes and traveling the world vacationing. We question ourselves as to what we might be doing wrong that does not allow us the same opportunities. We ask ourselves, “Should I be working harder?" or "Am I not smart enough?" "Did I pick the wrong profession?" We wonder, "What did the others do to make them so much money?" and "How is it that they make it look so effortless?"  They seem to have the perfect life. It just doesn’t make sense. I am not saying that there are not those who have worked extremely hard and sacrificed other areas of their lives to obtain wealth, but everyone in Miami? As life unfolds, so too the truth oftern unfolds. Credit card debt, bankruptcy, foreclosures and many other financial secrets unfold and our instincts are proven to be right.

My daughter Elle spent her first semester at the University, struggling to balance her academic life with her social life. She would struggle wondering how it was possible that her friends were going to parties every night and able to make the grades. She, herself, would ask if there was something she was doing wrong. She questioned her own decisions and abilities. I would tell her, “If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog, it’s a dog. Wait until the end of the semester before you beat yourself up. Just keep doing what you know to be right.” As life unfolds so too the truth will unfold. Many of those very same girls were forced to drop their classes while others failed.

We all question ourselves but we need to go with our instincts using our internal compass to guide us. Our entire life is filled with examples like the two above. If we allow what we perceive others to be doing to guide us, we will spend everyday at the end of a social leash being yanked around in the direction that others choose to go. Remove yourself from the leash and be free to roam the park as you see fit. When you see something that doesn’t make sense remember, “If it looks like a dog and barks like a dog, it’s a dog.”

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Devil's Tool

                                "Idle time is the Devil's tool."
When I was growing up, one of my best friend’s mom would always say this to us. Of course at thirteen, I just felt she was telling us we were being lazy. Now as a 43yr old man, I realize the wisdom in her words. When we are busy doing something we are forced to become fully present in the moment. While fully present in that moment all of our other thoughts cease to exist and time is lost. The result is usually a sense of fulfillment; happiness if you will. On the other hand, what happens when we become idle? We sit and think. We think about the future and what might be, sometimes creating fear and anxiety. We sit and think about the past, creating a sense of longing, sadness and sometimes despair. When my friend’s mom said idle time was the devils tool, I think she was also implying that if we had nothing to do, we might find something negative to do and get into trouble. She was right. As a result of thinking about the future and or past, one might decide that they need to do something to try to correct the past and or what they believe to be the inevitable future. That decision can involve, and many times will involve, making a bad decision.

When it comes to raising my kids this has absolutely been the case. When we have kept them constantly busy with schooling, sports and personal activities, they have stayed positive and happy. On the other hand when there has been the least bit of inactivity, they complain about being tired more, they lack motivation, they seem almost bored with life and at times just lay around waiting for something to happen to them. This is no different for me. When I am constantly moving and busy, I am fulfilled and happy. I sometimes hear a voice that tries to tell me I need a break or that I wish I could just lie around and do nothing for a day. I’ve come to learn that that is the voice of death (figuratively speaking). That it is the devil in, “Idle time is the devil’s tool.” If I feed that idea, it will grow out of control and I will find myself wanting more and more time to rest. It has an insatiable appetite. On the other hand if I push forward and ignore it, I become present in what I am doing and a natural flow or tempo is created. The rest and down time, is self dictated and when it arrives, I am present in that moment as well.

It took me 30 years to get it. Idle time truly is the Devil's tool and therefore Work and activity can only be God’s gift.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is Bad? (2)

What is good versus what is bad, is usually determined by how we think we will be ultimately affected by what is happening. If we really looked in depth, we would realize that most of what we determine to be bad, is created in our own minds. The only way we could possibly determine whether something is bad, would be if we could foresee the end results. Since this is impossible, we create a future world in which we determine how the event will negatively impact our lives. Based on this imaginary future we make a determination as to whether the event is good or bad.
A very simple example can be illustrated through sports. When the Miami Heat pulled off one of the biggest trades in the history of the NBA, it was a great thing and people in Miami were elated. However if you lived in Clevland, it was betrayal and the end of your franchise. The people in Clevland were were insanely upset. Oh yeah, and the rest of the country had mixed emotions. Based on how each group thought they would be affected, they determined whether the event was a “good thing” or a “bad thing.” The reality is that not even one single game has been played yet. No one really knows what any of it means. We can have our ideas but nothing has really happened yet. It may be the best thing that ever happened to Clevland and the worst thing that ever happened to Miami.
So how can one event be a good thing, a bad thing, or “no thing” all at once? The answer is that it can’t. It is just an event, neither good nor bad, just an event. That example is simple but powerful because so many people can have their entire mood change and their lives affected from the results of one sporting event. Life is too important and short to be affected by something so trivial.

Here’s a more powerful example: My dad died when I was thirteen and that was a bad thing that happened to me and my family. Or was it? Originally I perceived this to be the most horrific thing that could have happened to me. I spent many nights asking God why he would do this to me. It is only now that I realize that with my father’s death, many great things have happened in my life. My wife, my children and the way I look at life, are all direct results of his death. In short, I am who I am today, because of his death, not inspite of it. I am not suggesting that everything that happens will feel good. I am only suggesting that if you look back at your life, many of the things that you thought to be so horrible at the time, turned out to be good things. In the end when we look back with the benefit of knowing the conclusion, everything will be good.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lottery (2)

Too many times I hear people say, " If I could just win the Lotto everything would be different." Of course I can understand the financial freedom, however temporary, that might come from such an event but how would this make someone change their feelings towards themselves? What would they be so proud of ? That they were able to pick random numbers. Give a monkey some darts and he can do the same. Once we bought everything we think we needed and gave to those who we thought were deserving, then what? Would we feel pride, or perhaps some sense of fulfillment? We should take pride in the fact that we make it through our lives without winning the Lotto. We provide for our families and give to others when it is not so easy to do so. When times are difficult we have the perseverance to continue forward. Giving what comes without sacrifice and what you have in great abundance is easy. Giving what we have worked hard for and is scarce, is what will be appreciated the most and fulfill us in the end.
We are all lottery winners in one way or the other. Whether its the health lotto, family lotto, brains lotto, good job lotto or any of the many others, I am sure when we look at the gifts we have in our lives, we can find our own personal lotto win. If the $1 million dollar lotto winner spends his days worrying about why he didn't win the power ball for $136 million, he will always be disappointed and feel cheated. We should be thankful for the things we have been given and not worry about the things we think we "should have" received. When we let go and fully trust that what is, is what should be, the world opens up to us and everything comes in abundance. When we try to force and fight against what is, we only tire and make it more difficult and break things along the way.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We Tell Our Children (2)

We tell our children:

“Always give 100% to everything that you do.”
“Have confidence in yourself.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“Don’t settle for just anyone, wait for the right person.”
“You deserve better.”
“Pick your friends wisely.”
“Don’t worry about what other people think.”
“Don’t be a follower, be a leader.”
“Life isn’t always about having fun.”
“If you want something bad enough, I know you will get it.”

The question is, what do we tell ourselves?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nobody's Perfect

There’s pretty much something about everyone we know that we don’t like and I am sure the same can be said about us. Without thinking about it consciously, we tend to like those people who have more of the qualities we like than dislike but even the best of the best, will have things we wish where we could change. The other day while talking to a friend they said, “I really expected more from this person, they are one of my closest friends.” The key word in what they said was, “expected”. As we talked about it some more he said, "if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done...’’ and then he went on to say how he would have handled it. How can we hold everyone to a standard based on what we would do as opposed to what they would do? Maybe the things that occur to us, don’t occur to them. Maybe we have more insight or have been exposed to a different way of handling things. For many reasons, we all handle things our own ways because we are all individuals with a lifetime of different experiences. The key is managing our expectations of others as well as our interpretations of their behaviors. We cant assume that because our doing something means something, that it means the same when another does it. The fact that one might apologize quickly when in the wrong, doesn’t mean everyone will. Maybe it just comes easier to one person than another. I would assume that it means more coming from the person whom its harder for. The point is that everyone is different and therefore we all handle things differently. If we hold everyone to our standard and expectations, it will be hard to find anyone that doesn’t eventually disappoint us. In the end, I gave my friend this example that has always been helpful to me.
“I have many pets. I have two birds, a rabbit, two dogs, a cat and some rats in the attic but they don’t count. I may like some of my pets more than others but enjoy all of them. I never ask the birds to sit or play dead. I never try to put my rabbit on my finger and ask him to sing or talk. I never get mad at the dog for not using the litter box and I never take the rabbit for a jog. I enjoy them all for what they can offer and my expectations for each one of my pets are in line with what they are capable of offering. Just imagine how frustrated I would be, if my expectations were not.”

This example is by no means comparing the ones we love to our pets but meant more as an illustration of the influence our expectations can have on our relationships.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Traffic Again?

With school back in session, the roads have once again become disgustingly crowded. The time to get to work in the mornings has almost doubled and the near misses while jockeying for positions are increasing by the day. It’s a hostile environment out there and on top of that the anxiety level for everyone has escalated as we rush to make it on time to our destinations. Of course this is a fabulous way to start your day. By the time you get to where you’re going, you’re so jacked up that the smallest misfortune can seem like the end of the world. It can take us hours to come down from this heightened state of anxiety. Needless to say, none of the screaming, honking or worrying has any effect on the traffic. In fact, it’s the equivalent of staring at a clock to make time go by faster. The only thing that makes time go by faster is to distract yourself away from the clock on to something else.

It goes without saying that leaving early is the best way to avoid all of this but regardless, there will still be traffic and you will still find yourself doing the same morning commute every day. So here are a few things you might do instead of “staring at the clock”:

1. Get a book on CD.
2. Listen to some motivational CD’s.
3. Learn a new language.
4. Talk to your children about the things you never have time to talk about.
5. Call 5 people you think you should talk to once a week
6. Go through the things that you should be thankful for that day or week

I know I am not the only one who has ever asked for peace and quiet. Well there it is, every morning as we drive through traffic. Make good use of it and it will be over in a minute or if you prefer, keeping staring at the clock in the hopes you will make it tick faster.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Universal Thought

This weekend while in Universal, I experienced an incredible feeling. We had just come back from one of the parks and I was sitting waste high in the pool, leaning against the edge. I closed my eyes and started thinking about the fact that this was the first time my eldest daughter Elle had not gone on a vacation with us. As my heart started to swell, I remembered all the first with her. The first time she saw a Disney character and clung to me for safety. The first time I played with her in the Boardwalk pool and we slid down the clown slide until we were both exhausted. I remembered convincing her to ride on all the rollercoasters and the look on her face as she ran to get back in line. The memories overwhelmed me and sadness numbed me with the thought that I would never experience those feelings with her again. I was suddenly jolted out of my trance when my youngest daughter “Baby” jumped on my back and said, “Take me around the pool, I wanna ride you like a dolphin.” I smiled , and began swimming around the pool, or at least attempting to swim around the pool with a 14yr old 110lb passenger. After her ride, I spit out the gallon of water I had engulfed to find myself suddenly attacked by Emma (middle daughter) who loves to tickle me at any opportunity that she can. The lunch we had ordered came and both girls jumped out of the pool, ran over to a pool side table and started eating. Once again, I found myself alone in the pool daydreaming about the past. I remembered all three girls clinging to me as we played in the pool. I remembered the double strollers we managed to make into triple strollers and race car driving them around the parks. When they were young, we jumped on beds, sung songs, went to character breakfast, watched fireworks, swam at night and everything else I ever dreamed a family would do together. Along the way we built a life lasting bond. Once I had snapped out of the past, I realized that the present was in my hands and it was my choice to do with it as I decided. We spent this weekend doing everything we could do.
 I enjoyed  “Baby” and “Emma” for what I could do with them now. I thought of what a great woman Elle has become and how much I enjoy talking to her now as an adult. I truly had the best time I could have ever had, with the best life a person could ever ask for.

Note: In all the time I spent daydreaming I never remembered anything bad about the trips with the girls. Bad memories come and go but the good ones last a lifetime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's the Message?

All of my kids have been involved in sports and they will all tell you that prior to every game, I always instruct them to send their opponents a message. If you start out the game slow and lethargic or weak and afraid, that will be the message you send the opponent. Your opponent will not only get the message but they will feed off of it. Your message can make a weak opponent strong or a strong opponent weak. The first thing I ask my girls is, “What message do you want to send and then how can you clearly communicate that message.” Of course after telling them this for many years, I ended up asking myself the same question about the messages I am sending. Just as in sports, this translates to everyday life. We send our messages out every day, from our first experience in the morning, to the last one before going to bed. What message are we sending? Have we even thought about what message we want to send? I am sure it is an effort for my children to send that message every game but they will tell you it has been worth it. In trying to send a message to their opponents, they have found that the same messages were received by their teammates and coaches. When your teamates and coaches recieve that message they too will begin to treat you according to your message.Think about what the message is you want to send, make the effort to send it and watch how everyone around you responds.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Everyone's a Teacher

Many times we spend our days just going through the motions. We go accomplishing the task at hand and not taking the time to focus on what it is we are suppose to be learning. When we do this, our potential for growth is limited. On the other hand, if as we go through our day we try to learn something from every encounter we have, the world becomes an incredible school, filled with an endless supply of teachers. When you stop to get your morning coffee, what do you learn from that server who is always so friendly and takes the time to ask about your morning? What do you learn from the way your kids act, or the questions they ask, as you drive them to camp or school? What do you learn from the co worker that attacks you as you get to work, before you have had a chance to settle in? What can you learn from, the convenience store clerk, the co worker, the neighbor, the friend, etc….

Yesterday, my sister came over for a few minutes and her kids were neatly packed into her minivan. As I stood at the passenger window and took in everything that was going on in her van, I learned a lot. The twins taught me that although we may all look the same we are all individually unique with our own set of preferences and instead of being judged for that, it should be as interesting and unique as it is with them. Sophia taught me that having strong opinions about what you like and don’t like can be a sign of strength and cute, if presented correctly. Stevie, who is usually a mile a minute, taught me that if your quite and not participating in what is going on, you can be overlooked (he was in stealth mode, I barely knew he was there). Mary as always, taught me that the right attitude makes all the difference in how you perceive the life that you have been given (gifts are given).

Everyone is a teacher if you’re willing to be the student. What will you learn today and from who?

Monday, August 16, 2010

DVD Collection

Many times in our lives we will make decisions that make sense at the time but may make less sense as time passes by. In that initial moment, we hopefully weigh out the pros and cons and make our decision. As the years go by we reinforce our decision by continuing to act on our beliefs. The scary part is that during those years, we can somewhat brainwash ourselves and be blinded to the fact that what once may have made sense, no longer does. Here is my example:

When my kids were much younger my wife and I had little or no time to go to the movies so we began buying DVD’s at Costco. We had calculated that Costco had the best prices and that buying DVD’s was much cheaper than going to the movies. After years of doing this, I began to create a DVD library that I was very proud of. As times changed and the practice of collecting DVD’s no longer made sense, I couldn’t bring myself to recognize this, so I continued to buy and add to my collection. The one adjustment I did make, was to buy them “previewed, 4 for $20” at blockbusters. When people would suggest that I was wasting my money or that I should stop collecting "fossils", it would bother me. I think one of the reasons it bothered me so much is because deep down, I knew they were right. Although I knew that my DVD collection would soon be right next to someone else’s prized VCR collection (Garage Sale or Garbage), I continued collecting them. Recently, a good friend came over and forced me to look at the deal NetFlicks had. For $8.99 a month, I could watch anything I wanted through my computer and or gaming system. In addition to movies they had TV shows. In the worst case scenario, if they didn’t have it available for live streaming they would mail me the DVD with a self addressed envelope and all I had to do is mail it back when I was done. Shockingly enough, I had to think about it. I found myself struggling to let go of the idea of buying DVD’s. The thought of not adding to the collection, bothered me. How could I stop now when I had come this far and had been collecting for so long? When I woke up the next morning, I proudly announced that I would no longer be buying DVD’s (as if though I had climbed Mount Everest). I am so happy with that decision. Once I allowed myself to make it, it was really quite painless.
So why was it so hard to make such a simple decision to change? Is it that we feel changing what we have done for so long, somehow means we are admitting that what we were doing was wrong? Is it that we become identified with our decisions? Is it that we forget to revisit our decisions to see whether or not they continue to make sense? For me, I think it was all of the above and more. What I learned was that I need to constantly revisit all the things I am doing or believing in and see if they still make as much sense as they did when I started.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Prep Work

Everyone wants to have success in life. When I speak of success I am referring to success in everything we set out to do, not just financial success. To have success we must put ourselves in a position to succeed and preparation is the dominant factor in reaching this goal. Unfortunately, preparation can seem to be boring and tedious. Even though I am well aware of the benefits of preparation, I continue to struggle with having the discipline to put all of my efforts into “prep work”. We live in a world of instant gratification. Fast food, internet and many more of the things we use daily, come to us with little or no preparation on our part. As a result, the things that require more time and preparation, can feel slow, boring and sometimes even frustrating. Regardless, preparation is key in our success and we must find ways to reinforce that belief so as to motivate ourselves during times of preparation. Reflecting on what brought us success is a tool that can be helpful. Take a look at the following examples to see not only how the “prep work” results in a more successful outcome but in the long run, might create less work.

1. Vacationing – Familiarizing yourself with your destination and the activities that are available as well as creating a budget and schedule will impact the success of your trip.

2. Sports – Practicing and physical preparation as well as diet and sleep will have a direct result on your achievements.

3. College- What was developed in Grade School and High School? Location and size of college as well as how it fits in to what your strengths are academically and socially, will have a direct impact on your chances to succeed.

4. Painting – Preparing the walls. Repair work, taping, primer and selection of paint. Not only will the “prep work” affect the outcome but it can avoid having to do things over again.

The end result is always directly impacted by preparation and although preparation is usually boring it is instrumental in our success. Through reflection I have come to the conclusion that almost all of my failures have come as a direct result of my lack of preparation and only by reflecting on that, am I able take responsibility for what I decide to succeed in next.

“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity”
                                                                             Henry Hartman

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back by Popular Demand, Its the Sponge Bob Game!

Just in case you have never watched the show, I will sum it up for you. It’s a very sarcastic cartoon, staring the following characters. Sponge Bob, Patrick Star, Squidward, Mr Krabs, Sandy Cheeks, Plankton, and Gary! In the beginning, I watched this show with my kids with no real consideration as to what was happening. Now, upon further review, I have come to realize that it is the story of all our lives. Each character represents someone you know. So here is how we play. Familiarize yourself with all the characters and their individual characteristics.

Sponge Bob = Quirky, sarcastic, funny, a bit off the deep end
Patrick Star = Simple, naïve, jolly, dopey
Squidward = Raspy, Grumpy, Annoyed, Miserable
Mr Krabs = Busy, Money Hungry, Blinded with Ambition
Sandy Cheeks = Happy, smart, savvy, fresh
Plankton = Evil, Wicked, Thief, Mean
Pearl = Happy, Chearful, Positive
Gary = Quiet, slow, misunderstood, lonely

Now, go out into the world and every time you talk to someone, decide which character they resemble and why. I know this sounds silly but there is a point. First, it will bring light to the fact that we all take ourselves way to serious. Secondly, it will allow you to see how our actions can group us into a category of people, we may not want to be associated with. Lastly, it might make us further understand that our individuality provides for one heck of a good show. I mean how much fun would life be if everyone was Sponge Bob?
To win the game, ask yourself who you think you most resemble and why. Then ask yourself, who you think most people would pick you to be and why. Who would you like to be? Are they the same? What could you do to change your character? An important thing to remember is that people will communicate with you differently based on what character you portray. Make sure that if you want to be treated like Sponge Bob, you’re not acting like Squidward.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where the Answer Lies

Helping someone else with their problems, is so much easier than solving our own problems? For one, we don’t have to do the work and or feel the pain involved of going through the issue. Secondly, we have not created a story in our minds pertaining to the characters involved and what has led up to the problem. Lastly, we are not emotionally invested and are therefore are able to see the problems more clearly for what they truly are, allowing us to come up with a more logical solution. Are we as the outsider, really able to see the problem more clearly? The truth is that the answer to our problems always lies within us. We know every last detail better than we could ever describe to the person trying to help us. We know how we got there, why we got there and who played what part. It may be difficult to be honest with ourselves and take responsibility as to what part we played but we know. After we ask everyone for their advice, we are the ones who ultimately decide what to do. I am not saying that it is not good to vent and bounce ideas off of others but what I am saying is that while we do this, we should always know that the answer already lies in us. We should be more conscious of the fact that asking others for advice is a one man game of squash. We bounce all of our ideas and problems off of those we respect, in an effort to confirm our feelings and ideas yet in the end it is our internal compass that guides us. Since everyone’s compass is different, what works for me, may not work for you and vice versa.

Example: If you have that one person at work that really annoys you and you just can’t seem to get away from them, ask yourself:

What is it about this person that causes me discomfort as a person?

Is there a insecurity in me that this person irritates or brings to the surface?

What message have I sent or am I sending, to that person on a daily basis?

What have I done to try to try to improve the relationship?

Assuming that the person is just a miserable person, have I tried to understand why?

Do I believe that contrary to the rest of the world this person does not want to be liked?

Do I challenge myself to break through and become that persons friend?

If we sit around waiting for others to change, we take the control out of our hands, if we take responsibility and therefore assume action, we take control of our lives.

My dad use to say that anyone could sail a ship but it took a captain to sail through rough seas. I have told my kids anyone can get good grades with an easy teacher but it takes a real student to get good grades with a bad teacher that you don’t like. The people that we meet in our lives will define our character and it won’t be the ones we like.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Conquering Your Fears?

The other day I was asked,” How do you know the difference between doing something to conquer a fear, or doing something that may be detrimental to you as a person?” I was given the examples of asking for a raise or speaking out in a meeting about something you disagree with but your superiors feel strongly about. When I talk about conquering a fear, I am talking about something that you feel you lack strength in, such as speaking in public, being social, etc. . I myself have not practiced and therefore do not like, reading or speaking in front of crowds. Leading up to the moment, adrenaline starts pumping through my body and I get extremely nervous about what I am about to do. The only way I will ever overcome this is by “conquering my fear” and pushing through the situation enough times. By doing it over and over without a negative outcome, I will become less nervous and eventually overcome the fear. To compare this to my friend’s example, if you were a person that finds it difficult to speak up in meetings, I would begin overcoming that fear by speaking out about things that will create a positive result and therefore positive reinforcement. The effects of speaking out the first time to disagree with the rest of the room, would most likely feed your fear, making it less likely for you to speak up the next time. It’s important to put ourselves in a position to succeed when we attempt to conquer our fears. The last thing that we want to do is feed the fears. In the case of asking for a raise, again it is important to differentiate between a general fear and a risk vs reward decision. A general fear would be someone who typically does not like to ask for things for themselves. In this case that person may need to “conquer their fear” to find the courage to go in and ask for the raise. On the other hand most people just fear the consequences of asking for the raise, more than the act of asking. In these cases this has nothing to do with the “conquering your fears” idea. We all have our own individual fears that we need to work on and I think it is a very valid point that we must not confuse what is a general fear, with the fear of consequences from a particular decision. Most importantly, its important to always put ourselves in a position to succeed. I will practice reading in front of small crowds before you see me singing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium.

Friday, August 6, 2010

T.G.I.F (2)

“Thank God it’s Friday”! How come no one says, “thank God its Tuesday” or, “thank God it’s the 24th”. The answer for most, is obvious. Friday is the last day of the work week. Friday represents the beginning of the weekend. Two days off from the everyday hustle and bustle of work. Everyone says it and society reinforces it. What if everyday could give you that same feeling that Friday does? What if I told you that having a job and going to work was a vital part of your self-worth? What if I suggested that always sitting at home and doing nothing, would do nothing more than create depression and make you socially deficient, creating a lack of self worth. I realize that the weekend represents time for us to enjoy and do the activities we like doing but if we spend our weekdays focusing on our weekends then we never get to enjoy what our weekdays represent to us. Think it through and build a case for everyday to be as great as Friday. Mondays could be great for any of the following reasons, depending on who you are:

1. Maybe your favorite TV show is that night
2. Maybe you go out to lunch with your peers
3. Maybe you just want a change of environment after being at home Sat and Sunday
4. Maybe it gives you a chance to talk to your peers about the big game
5. Maybe the kids go back to school during the day and you get a break
6. Maybe there’s a hotty in your chemistry class. (no I don’t take chemistry)

Perception becomes reality and the more we tell ourselves that one day is a bad day and another is a good day, the more it becomes reality. Every day is different and for that reason alone, they are all good days. Forget about, “thank God it’s Friday” and try, “thank God it’s my day.” If you live your life waiting for Friday, it will come and go every week, taking you for an emotional rollercoaster. If you live your life for “my day” it will last forever.

For those of you who live for Friday, it’s here, so enjoy and make the most of it because your current bad to good day ratio is, 2(Fri, Sat) out of 7(Sun thru Thurs)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Im Proud of You

Isn’t it ironic how in the heat of battle we can throw around insults and curse words with reckless abandon, yet for the most part we hold compliments close to the vest. The insults and curse words are a facet of how we learned to do battle (defend ourselves) growing up. We learned at an early age that if you want to be heard in an argument, you need to speak louder (scream) to take control of the conversation. We were taught that curse words can be used to emphasize your emotional state (although I think they have lost their power, due to over using them). Lastly, we were taught that if we felt we were losing, we could do anything in our power to win, including insulting the other person. Since most everyone is using the same format, what starts out as a discussion, can lead to an argument and eventually end up in a fight. Many times, the things that were said had no relevance to what was originally being discussed. So if this is all a result of learned behavior, why don’t we just as enthusiastically learn to compliment, when things are good? Why is it so easy to curse but so difficult to compliment? Why is it so easy to tell others what they do wrong and what they should be doing differently yet so difficult to tell them what you like about them and what they do that you like. Is it that we are afraid it will make us sound stupid? Do we sound smarter when we curse and insult? Is it that we are afraid that we will sound soft or weak? Cursing may make us “sound” strong but does it “make” us strong? Which of the two comes from a stronger person? Maybe we are afraid that if we say nice things others will take advantage of us? Isn’t it true that we have direct control of who we “allow” to take advantage of us?

I recently had someone tell me they were proud of me. It caught me off guard because it was something that is typically not said. I spent a lot of that day thinking about what I could have done to evoke such a comment. It wasn’t a family member, whom one would usually associate with those words but instead it was a friend and someone I had spent little time with over the years. Those four words empowered me. As many of you know, my father died when I was 13 and in the last 30 years, I have seldom heard those words. With those four words, that person made a difference in my life and as a result, a difference in the lives of everyone I will encounter. Realize the power that you carry in your words and use them.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Play It Again Sam"

To create habits, we need to do, hear or say the same things, many times over. The mistake is in thinking that if you do something a few times, it will somehow stick. If we look around at successful people or programs, they are all built on repeating the same thing over and over. Exercising, yoga, meditation, school, church, AA, Weight Watchers, reading the bible or even something as simple as a daily walk, can all be a form of an affirmation as to what you want in your life. In fact, that is the whole point behind my Dailydumbbells. For you the reader, as you read what is written it creates a thought for you to start your day with and hopefully helps you carry that thought throughout the day. For me as the writer, it forces me to think as I write, about the things I need to work on and then carry those thoughts with me into the day as well. Many times, I struggle with the same issues because they are the things I need to work on the most. Throughout our lives all of us have experienced the feeling of “why does this always happen?” We are confronted with the same problems over and over. This problem occurs in different settings, with different people yet the one common element is, us. The unpopular but obvious reason is that we are bringing this problem to ourselves. Until we can change the way we think and in turn change the way we act, this problem will always find us. Once we reflect on what is occurring and realize that what we have been doing must be corrected to create a new outcome, these things that seem to always appear in our lives will suddenly stop appearing.
"You can't solve a problem with the same mind that created it." -- Albert Einstein
 The difficulty is that unless we work at it daily, we will tend to go back to our old ways and once again our old problems will appear. For this reason, it is important to have something that reminds you to stay the course. We need to understand that to change the way we think, it will require revisiting the issues many times over and or having some activity that reminds us of where we want to go.

Uncontrollable Storm

A storm forms deep inside of me, for things I can’t control
I search the clouds for answers, because I don’t feel whole

Thunder shows in desperation and drowns my thoughts completely
Then silence and vast empty lands, show only to deplete me

I set in search for rainbows, the good things in my life
Dark sky’s of desperation, they cut me like a knife

In desperate search for cover, the rains persist to come
The drowning overwhelms me, my colors start to run

Standing soaked in burden, the wind will pay my toll
For passing rains will wet my body, but the sun will dry my soul
Alex Becerra

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vengeance 2

Our our first thoughts when we are hurt by others, is to strike back and or take revenge. We become engulfed with anger and the idea that vengeance can bring us peace. Vengeance can bring us peace? Does that make any sense? Maybe vengeance can bring us satisfaction? Does that make sense? Vengeance cannot bring us peace because wishing harm or ill will on another is a form of aggression and hate, which are both a direct contradiction to peace. So maybe vengeance can bring us satisfaction? Should we get our satisfaction from seeing another suffer. Will that restore a healthy, positive attitude in ourselves? What if they don’t suffer as much as we wanted them to? Will we then suffer more due to the lack of their suffering? It can get very complicated and confusing to be vengeful. In the long run, you create a world where your emotions are governed by that of others. It’s not to say that we won’t all at times feel the injustice of certain situations, but that to restore a sense of justice, we must take positive actions instead of creating ill willed negative reactions that will consume us more than others.

Before we act or better said react, we need to stop and think as to whether what we are doing is a positive step to change our circumstances, or a negative step to try to negatively change those of another.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Building Relationships

I came to realize that there is a good reason why it is, “building a relationship” and not, "naturally falling into a relationship". The truth is that all relationships, especially in the beginning, have to be built. We may have a natural tendency to like someone over another but once you begin to interact with that person, it becomes a give and take dance, with careful consideration of not stepping on your partners toes. You may think I am only referring to our romantic relationships but I am referring to all of them. Like anything else we build, the amount of time you spend and the effort you make to build a strong foundation, will impact that relationship for its entire life. There are some relationships that are not particularly chosen but more inherited, like a brother, sister, mother, father, daughter or son. Although everyone would love to believe that these relationships should be naturally occurring they are not. In fact these inherited type relationships, can be some of the most difficult you will ever have. Once again, these will not be anymore naturally occurring than the others. You must work at them just as hard, building a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect. This last part may sound a little crazy and would take pages to fully explain, but I am going to try to explain in a few short sentences. If we find that we are not feeling the way we think we should about someone and wish we felt differently, we must decide to "fake it, until we make it". Although our emotions may be saying one thing, we must tell ourselves what we want to believe about that relationship and then reinforce it through our actions. If we can do this for a sustained period of time, the relationship will change. The part that is hard to believe and may even sound a little crazy, is that the other person in the relationship doesn’t have to cooperate for this to work. We do not need the other person to change for our new perception to become our new reality. Here is a good example: We have all had close friends that we felt strongly about. Our relationship with that person was solid and we were should it would never change. During that relationship a simple change may occur, such as a change in schools, a move or change in marital status. Suddenly our relationship changes with that person. We feel and talk differently towards them. This person who was once so close, now starts to fade away and become different. We question how well we really new them. Is it possible that the core of that person changed so drastically? Is it possible that we were so off on what we thought about our original thoughts towards that person? It is more likely that with that one change, our perception changed and then we began feeding our new perception,  until it became our new reality.

It is up to us to decide what we want to feed our minds in regards to our relationships. We can feed our minds junk food and end up building unhealthy relationships. I think we should feed our minds healthy thoughts and in turn end up with healthy relationships that will keep us happy and last a lifetime.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Pay the Piper

One very simple concept that we all tend to forget is that everything has a price. If you want to be a millionaire, it will only happen if you pay the price. In the case of celebrities, they may pay the price of a lost childhood or the loss of the freedom that the rest of us take for granted. If you want to be in shape, you will have to work out regularly and control what you eat vs what you would like to eat. If you want to have a good family, many times you will have to sacrifice your needs for those of your family’s. The list goes on but the point is clear, whatever you want will come at a cost. The question is, “are you willing to pay the piper?” Many of us dismiss this by attributing success to luck or “God given talent". We may say, “she/he is naturally fit or can eat whatever they want." I have heard some attribute family success to children being “born that way” or once again “lucky parents”. As long as we attribute all of these things to chance, we close the door in our minds that allows us to see that we can change what we don’t like and create what we want our lives. Once we take responsibility and are truly willing to pay the price, almost anything is obtainable. One of the hardest things to admit to ourselves is that we might not really want “it”, as bad as we think we do. Take a look at where you are today and what you have. I would bet that if you are honest with yourself, it is relative to what you were willing to pay, to get the things that you wanted. All of us would love to be millionaires but are we willing to put in the effort while taking on the responsibilities and giving up the freedoms that come with that. All of us want to look good on the beach but are we willing to go to the gym four days out of the week and pass up on the goodies to get there. Lastly, all of us would love to have perfect families but are we willing to sacrifice some of our personal goals (like being a millionaire) to have that family.

One way or the other, we all must pay the piper to get the things we truly want. No excuses, chose wisely, make the sacrifices and no matter who you are, anything is possible.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finding It

I find it funny that people “lose their temper”. I don’t know about everyone else but I seem to find my temper or it finds me. I am sure they are talking about losing control when they refer to someone losing “it”. Well I lost, “it” the other day and looking back on what happened, it seems as though while losing “it”, I found a whole bunch of other things that were stuffed inside of me just waiting to come out. As I started to lose it, I started to say things that looking back, where just dumb, hurtful and borderline stupid. At the time, everything I was saying seemed so important. Subconsciously, I convinced myself that if these things did not happen, it would affect me in such a way that I could no longer be happy. Looking back now, it is all so irrelevant. Without knowing, I started bringing up other things that I was upset about that had no relation to the current “crisis”. Within ten minutes, I went from having a normal outlook on life to an abnormally warped view. Once I convinced myself how bad I had it and how the world was against me, it was all downhill. Over the years, I have learned to get out of this downfall but I am embarrassed about how I handled the situation. Unfortunately there were a few casualties along the way. I have tried to undo the damage but as we all know you can’t take back what you say.

So when I ask myself what caused me to lose it, the overwhelming answer is fear. You tell yourself a story as to what will happen if these things unfold and then fear ingulfs your thoughts as it builds its home in your mind. In reality, we may think we have an idea as to what may happen but we don’t really know. It is this build up of internal fear that explodes out of us. We scream, kick, fight, insult and do anything humanly possible to change what we built up to be something that will impact our lives negatively. In the end, many of the very things we were so afraid of and fought so hard for them not to happen, are the best things in our lives.

I wish I could lose my temper and never find it again. It only hurts me and stops me from growing. I wish I could lose my fears and have complete faith in the fact that everything happens for a reason. I wish I could lose the part of me that judges others and forgets to appreciate the things I take for granted. I wish I was a better, dad, brother, friend, husband, person. I know that If I trust and have faith, I can “find” that better person inside of me and it will grow, just as I know that if I allow fear to guide my thoughts, my temper will find me again.  Amazing Little Girl (Listen)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Your Lifetime

Your estimated lifespan is 75 Years. That's 900months or 3,900 weeks or 27,375 days or 657,000 hours or 39,420,000 minutes or 2,365,200,000 seconds. In that time:

A person who lives to be 80 years old will sleep 233,600 hours / 9,733 days or 33 percent of their life.

For a 75 year old person with average tendencies, he/she will spend 3,650 hours on the toilet over the course of a lifetime.

The average person will spend an estimated 20,160 min kissing in their lifetime. (If your Latin you may half to double that)

A Child in the US will spend an average of 900 hours a year in school.

Women will spend 5 1/2  years on the phone in an average lifetime

The average person will spend 6 years and ten months eating in his or her 70 year life time.

The average person will spend 9 years watching TV in their lifetime

According to US dept. of Labor people in the US spend at least 1896 hours per year at work. That’s 89,112 in a life time (18-65). 3,713 DAYS

When we look at all of these statistics from a lifetime view, we are amazed at how many minutes, hours or days, we will actually spend doing things. We don’t really realize the enormity of what lies ahead of us. It is for this very reason that we are told to live our lives, “one day at a time.” When we tell ourselves all the things we have to do (on a given day) it is like reading to yourself all the statistics that are written above. We overwhelm ourselves. It’s torture as we reminding ourselves of every last thing that we need to do and how hard these things will be. Of course doing this only makes it harder. As our chest tighten and our level of anxiety grows, we find it difficult to start the very first of the things we need to do. We need to live our lives one minute at a time. We should face what is right in front of us and do it the best we can at that moment. The only way we can truly be at our best is if we are living in that moment, rather than worrying about what is coming next. Most of the time what we think will happen and how it will happen, rarely occurs. I realize we all need to plan and that part of planning is looking forward but once the planning is done, focus on each task as it arrives. We will feel good that whatever we were able to complete that day, was done to the best of our ability. At the end of the day, what was done was done, tomorrow will be another day. Remember, life will go on without you, but you can’t go without life. Don’t just go through the motions of life, live every moment of your life. One last stat, we spend approx 80 hours of our lifetime tying our shoes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Age Doesn't Matter

Most of us assume that the older you are, the more you know. We will hold someone more responsible for their actions, based on this idea. The reality is that if your ability to know or do something was a direct result of age, we would all be able to play the piano or solve the most intricate mathematical formulas, by the time we were in our 50’s. In truth, we get better at things as we age because we have had more time to practice those things but nothing comes naturally as a result of getting older. We must learn things from someone and then perfect them with practice, through the years. It could be learning to play a musical instrument, learning to play a sport or just the everyday challenge of learning to live. Who teaches us good coping skills? Who teaches us the skill of independence? Do we go to a school to learn these life lessons? Do we get private lessons, like one might get in sports? How is it that we learn the difficult art of being able to take care of ourselves and handle the tough times as well as the good times? As a parent I know I have put a tremendous amount of time into my girl’s education and sports. I have paid for private lessons and spared no expense, to send them to the best schools. I also realized somewhere along the way that more importantly, I needed to teach them the skills they would need to cope with life as independent young women. I realized that these skills would guide them and dictate the path their lives would take. Most of us assume that as you get older these skills should come on their own but just like learning to play the piano, they must be taught to you by someone. It’s not to say that there are not those who have a natural ability to play the piano and can just hear a song and play but most of us are not that fortunate. If we are taught incorrectly are music will always sound off and we will struggle with bad technique.

As you all know, it is much harder to learn to do something at an older age but it can be done. How did you learn your life skills? Are they bringing you success and happiness? What can you do to teach yourself better technique? Lastly, as you look around at others, “don’t judge a piano player by the way they play try to understand how they learned to play. “