Friday, December 24, 2010
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
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
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?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
“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
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
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
Friday, August 27, 2010
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
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
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
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
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
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
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.
“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity”Henry Hartman
Thursday, August 12, 2010
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
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
Friday, August 6, 2010
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
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
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
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
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
Thursday, July 29, 2010
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.
http://video.yahoo.com/watch/7960956/21085003 Amazing Little Girl (Listen)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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
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. “
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
1. When we first started dating, at times it felt tortuous to go through the newness of the relationship. The first time holding hands, the first kiss, the first fight and many other first were not as exciting as you now may remember them to be. At the time we just wanted everything to be perfect and were in a hurry to get to a certain level of comfort not realizing that it was the discomfort that was exiciting and fun. Now looking back, although they were not the easiest times, those were some of the best times of the relationship
2. When we buy a new home, we want it to be perfect the day we move in but in most cases cannot afford to do all the work at once. We slowly but surely begin to add furnishing, remodel, paint and do many other things to get it just the way we want it. We hurry to get it all done so it can be “perfect”. Once everything is “perfect”, a lot of people will chose to move or change styles and start all over again. If it was the journey that was going to fulfill them, why is it that once they get there they want change again? No matter what, they will always look back fondly and with admiration on all the work they had done (The Journey).
Like these two examples, there are many more I could give. The idea is that every day is the journey and the final destination is when it is all over. Slow down, smell the roses and enjoy the journey. Realize that even the very things you may be complaining about today will be missed and laughed about later.
If you can really get in this mind set, you can learn to enjoy even the worst of situations because you will have the ability to look at the present as if though you are looking at it from the future. That perspective will show things for what they truly are and bring you comfort.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
1. Said: “You always come home late from work”.
Heard: “You must be having fun or prefer being away”.
Message: “We love having you around and worry when you’re not here”.
2. Said: “I do everything around here and it would be nice to get some help”.
Heard: “ You are lazy and do nothing all day”.
Message: “Your interest, help and support, makes my workload easier to deal with”.
3. Said: “Mom/Dad, how come you always have to go to ________ with your friend".
Heard: “You’re a bad mom/dad and don’t deserve time for yourself”.
Message: “Sometimes I feel like you prefer being with your friends over me, can you reassure me that you love me and that I am important to you”.
4. Said: “I remember when we use to go to the park and throw Frisbee, that was fun”.
Heard: “I like reminiscing about going to the park and Frisbee throwing”.
Message: “I like spending time with you, can we do something together again”.
These are just a few examples, of some typical situations but every conversation is full of what is said, what is heard and what the real message trying to be conveyed is. Sometimes, even the person conveying the message, isn’t aware of what they are truly trying to convey becuase they get lost in fear and anger while trying to convey their message. In our conversations with people today, see if we can tell the difference between what people are saying and what their message is. I think you will find it to be extremely interesting, how easy it is to pick up on, if you take the time to “listen”.