When You Rely on Worldly Accomplishments to Define Your Worth, You Will Ultimately Feel Like a Loser
But lately I have been noticing a disturbing trend that has both surprised and discouraged me. Every time I read about a former friend or colleague, specifically the ones that are closer to my age, my excitement and pride for them soon gave way to my deficits and insecurities.
Amid the grieving from a major loss, it is not surprising to want to return to the way things were. But for as tempting as it is to wish for things to return to “normal”, the fact is you are just wasting important energy needed to facilitate your healing.
I was reading an article that stated 51% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 do not have a steady romantic partner. It also mentioned this trend is up from 45% since 2016 and continues to rise. The author concluded there are no signs this pattern will reverse any time soon.
Having spent these past half a dozen years living alone, I have come to terms with the difference between being alone and being lonely. Although they can be related, they are not the same. We may not control or change the factors that led to us being alone, but we don’t have to choose to feel lonely when people are not around. This is an important distinction to make if you want to live a fulfilling life, even when you find yourself alone. Being alone is a physical condition, while feeling lonely is an emotional reaction.
Well, this is a message you heard before, but it bears repeating, your power to change your life begins this very moment. Converting your challenges into triumphs begins with you.
Going over some old papers, I came across an old Chinese story I heard long ago, and it filled me with hope about our future. I want to share it with you; it goes like this,
With another mass shooting, missile launched, high-profile controversy, along with all the assorted bad news we hear so often and it is easy to conclude the world is spiraling into oblivion. News about raids on immigrants, the crisis in the southern border and the separation of children from their families leave me feeling depressed.
Are you are ready for some good news? You have power to create a great life! Everything you require to become all you can be is available to you, but like so many of us, you sabotage yourself. You can change all of that.
Every decision in life has its own consequences. Every action we take or avoid taking brings its own challenges and struggles. If you deem procrastinating has no consequences, you are mistaken. The best step to achieving your goals is to take action, no matter how small, to make them come true.
Historians credit author Thomas Wolfe for coming up with the expression, “You can’t go home again”. Although this was the title of his book, many people have used this idiom to describe the notion that you cannot return to the way things were.
I love to play tennis, but there are days I can’t do anything right. I am better at keeping my cool now, it now, but in the past, people could hear me drop an f-bomb or two when I missed a critical shot during a match. Sometimes, I even threw my racquet.
Neuroscientists have discovered that your thoughts create your reality. This is easy to understand when you realize that you created your current life based on what you believed about yourself and the world.
I’ve seen enough throughout my life to have lost my fear of death. This wasn’t always the case. During my twenties and thirties, I was certain I would live forever. Losing loved ones along the way made me realize my mortality, but I did not embrace until.
These are the words of fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, the young woman who captured the world’s spotlight with her protest on the steps of the Swedish parliament building. Her demands; a radical change of government policy to help reverse the trends of climate change.
I love the stories about genies and magic lamps. Imagine rubbing an old magic lamp and having a genie come out to grant all of your wishes. This fantasy has a ring of truth to it, except for you are the genie in the bottle with the power to get for you what you desire.
We are all guilty of being dishonest. We lie about our age, weight, or why we are late. Some cheat on their taxes, others on their spouses. Some embellish their experience and education on their resumes. Deceiving others is so common in our culture that many assume it to be acceptable. We even use the term “white lie” to excuse minor falsehoods we deem unimportant.
It is easy to lose hope that we can bridge our country’s ideological divide. More than ever, we must try, but we need to do something different to create unity; we must listen and understand those who differ from us. Asking someone to explain their opinion is a significant first step towards that understanding. Doing so is a sign of respect, it says you want to know more. But listening is a choice. If you look for the opportunity to interrupt with your counter arguments while they are talking, that is not listening.
It is a sign of the times that divorce continues to be at the highest rates ever. Some view this to be a bad thing, as the end of a long-term relationship can leave a person feeling alone and discouraged. But just like every life challenge offers new and better possibilities, the end of one love can lead to the beginning of an even fuller and more fulfilling relationship.
What is your favorite brand to put on people? Epithets like redneck, communist, socialist, asshole, lowlife, uneducated, high-maintenance and loudmouthed are common ones. There are others that don’t seem so offensive but put boundaries around the targeted person’s character; blue collar, conservative, liberal, progressive or overly religious. When we label others, we unfairly restrict them to this description.
Because the World Measures Some as Having a Lower Social Status and Less Money than Others Does not Mean They Have Lesser Value
Hard to pinpoint where it all began, but somewhere in human history people began comparing themselves to one another. Later on, society began assigning hierarchical values to these comparisons. They invented terms, like “upper or ruling class, working class and lower class” to designate a person’s importance in society.
During a visit to Spain, there was a sign in the corner of a small tapas restaurant in Madrid that caught my eye. It contained this quote from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo,
“Take a lover who looks at you and sees magic.”
Even if you accept that every person is just one of countless microcosms in the Universe, nature shows you daily that even the smallest organism has a purpose. Let’s take the human body as an example. Scientist have proven that your body replaces every cell roughly every seven years.
In his book, An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake, Srinivas Rao states, “Work for an audience of one. When the only person you are trying to please is yourself, judgements vanish, and in that process, we become more present.”
I have been pondering this question ever since an old memory of my father came up during my meditation time. This memory pertained to a time my father was giving me a warning about keeping my guard up to protect me from other people. His words of caution went like this;
I could have titled this piece “How to forgive your abusers”, but I think surviving a troubled childhood is about a lot more than forgiving those who made you suffer. It is about understanding how a troubled childhood has affected your life and kept you from becoming the best you were meant to be.
Setting and enforcing boundaries is necessary if you want to maintain healthy relationships. Many of us, however, were trained to do exactly the opposite. Our parents, teachers and mentors convinced us it was selfish to take care of our needs before the needs of others. They also taught us to adhere to rules of our family adults and those of people in authority.
We often see an addiction as an illness related to substance dependency, but it is much more than that. A behavior can also be addictive, like a sexual addiction or being a workaholic. In simple terms, an addiction is a coping mechanism your ego helped establish so you could feel better or to help you handle stress or suffering.
Two of my greatest childhood idols, John Havlicek and Bart Starr, have passed away. I mourn their losses and thank them for the thrills they brought into my life. Who can ever forget Bart Starr leading his Green Bay Packers to victory against the Dallas Cowboys in the “Ice Bowl”, one of the greatest football games of all times? John Havlicek won eight NBA championships during his sixteen-year career with the Boston Celtics.
While walking on the boardwalk that connects my townhome with nine others, I stopped to watch a spider busily building a magnificent web. Then the wind picked up and started blowing the web back and forth like a trampoline. A few minutes later, a gust blew the web into oblivion and I was sure the spider had flown with it. The next day, I saw the same spider reconstructing a new masterpiece.
Life is full of important lessons. I remember how proud I was when I learned to drive a car, balance a checkbook, change my babies’ diapers. But these pale in comparison to the importance that the following six lessons have meant to my life.
If you are like me and been around the block a few times, then you have experienced some form of spiritual restlessness. I remember how scared I became the first time I experienced the kind of anxiety that comes from this unexpected internal upheaval. My first experience came when, after years of tailoring my life to the expectations of others, the emptiness I sensed inside slowly overtook my entire conscious awareness.
People use the phrase “you are perfect just as you are” to express appreciation for others. While it is kind to show others how much you care for them, it is wrong to think anyone is perfect. Perfection is an illusion, it has no definition, it is not an image fixed in time. The fact is we are always growing. Telling someone they are perfect just as they are detracts from the self-reflection they need to continue seeking their most authentic self.
How many nights have you spent whining and whimpering about the things that didn’t work out, like the promotion you didn’t get or the lover who got away? How many hours have you wasted afraid of making an important decision or worrying that the decision you made may be the wrong one?
Serving as manager of public works for the City of Denver was one of the most challenging jobs I ever held. Among the myriad of responsibilities, I was in charge of the Waste Management Branch. These are the folks who daily pick up the trash and recycling citywide.
Some of the best salseros (salsa dancers) in the world come from the Caribbean island I call home; Cuba. During my two return visits to my homeland—in 2001 and 2017, forty years after my parents sent me fleeing Castro’s Revolution to the United States—this joyful and sensuous style of dancing was still front and center in Cuban culture. Like baseball (beisbol), salsa rhythms are part of every Cuban’s DNA (or so I am told).
There is probably no single person alive in America today (and perhaps the world) who has not heard the advice, “whatever you do, always give it your best.” I grew up convinced this was expert advice, even noble and admirable. We should always give everything we do our best effort, I figured, but this is easier said than done. What does “best effort” mean? Weren’t our successes enabled by a series of conditions that we had nothing to do with and have no ability to reconstruct in the future? Isn’t that the case for everyone?
One of my all-time favorite characters on Saturday Night Live was Debbie Downer. Comedian Rachel Dratch played this fictional character in several SNL skits, and she was hilarious.
We misunderstand the power of the mind to create our reality. This is apparent in the way people use affirmations as though they were desires someone out there can fulfill for them.
Society encourages us to use caution at the expense of curiosity. Our teachers, parents and mentors were not trying to do us harm with these instructions, this is what someone taught them. But these directives convinced us it is bad to make a mistake or to get lost wondering what to do next. Yet, this is a necessary aspect of the human condition. It is through facing adversity, failure and suffering that we grow.
Nothing in life is stationary, yet we assign permanency to many situations, like having good health, or being with one partner in a long-term romantic union. When these things change or go away, we find ourselves caught in a quagmire of negative emotions.
Jim Nolan was my best friend from college. The two of us shared many experiences that nurtured in us a glorious sense of brotherhood. We graduated from the same Civil Engineering Class at the University of Colorado and moved together to Los Angeles to work for the same engineering company. Within a year, we returned to Colorado within months of each to work for another same company. After several years, Jim left this company to work for the Colorado Department of Transportation and I followed him there six months later. We even moved to the same neighborhood from where we carpooled to work for decades.
We all struggle with periods of confusion in our lives. Failures and disappointments trigger them, especially the ones that you were certain your efforts would guarantee success. Trying to sort why things failed can be so perplexing that you feel it is as though the forces of darkness and light within you are locked in a fierce battle to control your mind. Sometimes this fight can be so fierce that it can leave you feeling powerless and overwhelmed. The seeming contradiction we all face is that it is during those periods when we are living through oppressive and abusive times, that we must choose the path of light.
There are many clichés about age that many frequently use in American culture. Their purpose seems to be to try to make us feel better about growing...
Our ability to make money and become financially independent is probably the most important societal value of American society. Our quest to make money can cause us to conclude that efforts that don’t create wealth belong to adolescents or retired people. If it doesn’t pay, then it must be play!
There is a scientific theory that claims we create our reality with our thoughts. This has been my experience, the thoughts I throw out into the Universe come back like boomerangs.
It is common to believe we were all wired to be something special, but does this mean it is just one purpose for every lifetime? Is this special something connected to a career or accumulating wealth? These two questions are worth pondering, especially since as parents, teachers and mentors, we will teach new minds about how to find their life’s meaning.
Recently, a movie came out based on a book by Garth Stein titled, The Art of Racing in the Rain. Enzo, the story’s principal character, is a dog and he narrates the story. Enzo believes the canine existence is an apprenticeship to becoming human. How a dog develops in his/her life will determine whether they will return to a new life as a person or not. What the movie depicts is the canine version of the saying “Live, evolve or repeat”.
Religious leaders tell us we were not created by accident, for we came into this world with a purpose the world needs. So, does this mean you have some special job or assignment given to you to fulfill? If so, are your life circumstances and fate aligning to get you to perform that incredible mission that will save the world? Or, is your life purpose the ability to find and pursue your passions and do good with them, whatever they may be?
There was a time when I was certain I had it all together. My ego ruled over my life with what appeared to be a reliable set of rules and beliefs forged out of my many experiences. My life worked pretty well then, and I loved and revered my ego’s beliefs. They were welcoming, reassuring and reliable, until one day when they were not.
I have never been comfortable letting go of control. I want what I want when I want it and don’t want to leave it up to chance. Trusting a Higher Power is very intimidating, and it takes great effort for me to let go and wait for the openings the Universe gives me. What if it is something I didn’t want?
Over the years, a majority of political, religious, government, and education leaders have insisted that forces of good and evil are forever battling for supremacy over the world. They encouraged us to adopt a large inventory of things moral and immoral, strong and weak, positive and negative, winners and losers, etc. Our life experiences propelled us to add to this list. Those things that caused pain are bad, and those that gave us pleasure are good. As we learned to judge and compare ourselves to others, we added names to the list’s winner and loser category, often using these people as a standard to gage our level of success in the game of life.
Until a few years ago, I believed being patient was for losers; winners made their own way. The proverb, “where there is a will, there is a way” had me convinced that—if I wanted something bad enough—I had to rely on my willpower to make things happen exactly as I wanted and in my timing. From my vantage point, this is what successful people did, they made things happen, obstacles be damned.
As I looked further for the existence of a Higher Power guiding me, I was not satisfied with the idea that choosing good thoughts would lead me to a greater connection with my highest, most authentic self. This seemed such a nebulous and unconvincing way to start a new path. If there truly was a Higher Power, then surely He/She would reach out to me in a way that left no doubt. I became the modern version of Thomas in the Bible who would not believe in Christ’s resurrection until he touched the nail wounds in Jesus’ hands. Such was the beginning of my search for personal messages from a Higher Power in the form of mystical experiences.
I did not go easily down the path of accepting the notion that a Higher Power was in charge. If this was the case, then why is there so much evil in the world? Does this Higher Power justify all evil as experiences meant to develop our species?
I will not experience again the same level of emotional pain I suffered the day I saw my parents disappear into the horizon as the plane I was on sped towards Miami from Havana, Cuba. Starting my American life as an orphan in a Colorado orphanage was rough. Yet, these events catapulted my life into the miracle of hope and opportunity it is today. When I reflect on my life, the proof is irrefutable; even the most painful events taught me lessons that helped shape me into a better man.
There was a time when propagating was our species’ highest priority. To comply, one needed a mate of the opposite sex to create offspring. As the concept of family developed, having an exclusive love partner became very important. Today, propagating humans is not as necessary as it used to be, for we can all see we have bred humans to beat the band.
Whenever I remember my father and mother, I am reminded of the thorny relationship I shared with both of them. Physical and emotional abuse played such an enormous part of our time together. It is not my intent to tarnish their memory, I bring it up because, fortunately, I have been able to reach a level of understanding and acceptance that they were, in their own way, doing the best they could. This allowed me to absolve what they did or failed to do, but it wasn’t easy.
Life transitions often catch us by surprise. They can demoralize and disorient us, especially if we thought we were doing the right things all along. Suddenly, it becomes difficult to explain why that dream job you got five years ago has become empty and lackluster. Or the ideal mate that you married has inexplicably become aloof and you wonder if the marriage will last. During times like these, we can become so afraid of the changes we may need to make, that we often chose the road of denial to sidestep the emptiness and dissatisfaction we are experiencing. But disavowing reality will not allow you to escape the inevitable shift that is coming into your life.
One of the toughest concepts to understand about life is that people—no matter how evil or unethical you think they are—are doing the best they can. Yet, it is factually true. Just like us, the environment they were born into and the people and experiences that came into their lives shaped them.
Spring and summer remind me of the emerging human spirit. Watching a new plant powering through the barren ground into the light of the sun is a metaphor for the incredible resurgent powers that every person possesses. Just like a plant, we are often called to fight through the darkness of our lives so that we may reach the light.
Our fears initiated our negative self-beliefs into existence. They could have been triggered by a terrible childhood event, or one that caused a painful loss. Perhaps it is a personality trait that people around you judge negatively. Whatever it is, this hidden part of ourselves keeps us living a limited life and prevents us from being our authentic selves.
Whenever people around me talk to each other as though I wasn’t there, I use a line to get their attention I learned long ago, “What am I? A Potted Plant?”. Brendan V. Sullivan, attorney for Marine Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver North during the Iran-Contra hearings is credited with using the first version of this line. I love using this quip as a humorous way of reminding friends they are ignoring me like they do potted plants. But the truth is that we should not be ignoring them, for we share a lot more things with these plants than we realize.
Many people settle for unsatisfactory choices in the major areas of their lives, like career or relationships. There is a good reason for this if you are from my generation, the Baby Boomers. We grew up being told to be logical, to choose things that will please our parents, or to rely on the opinion of friends and family before making any decisions. We learned that our most profound wishes were pipe dreams and that it made no sense to pursue them.
We know where to get our problems fixed. A toothache we take to a dentist, a cold to a doctor, a sore back to a chiropractor. Masseuses help us loosen up and relax. Dieticians give us advice on what to eat. Many have ready lists ranging from plumbers to mechanics to deal with the myriad of external problems that become present in our lives. We act fast to get these things repaired, but we ignore the spiritual signs that tell us we have lost ourselves.
While in search for spiritual direction, I came across one of the main tenets of spiritual thought called “the Law of Attraction”. This law is a theory from Quantum Physics, the branch of science that deals with nature at small scales and low energy of atoms and subatomic particles.
There is an adage claiming terrible things come in threes. There is no data to back this up because perception is subjective, what some judge as awful, others don’t. This adage amounts to nothing is more than a person trying to find logic in the random events that happen in their life. But the combinational effects of three events, a pandemic, the economic turmoil left in its aftermath, and the unrest triggered by the violent death of George Floyd at the hands of police seem to add credence to this old belief concerning challenging events. These past few months highlight some of the toughest periods in our nation’s history. People are genuinely frightened by them and are questioning the ability of our nation to survive them.
We have become a fear-based culture. We fear not being properly insured, missing out on an activity, not having the best car or living in the right neighborhood, not having enough money. One need only look at our nightly news to understand that we lust for a regular dosage of fear-mongering to get us through the day. Worrisome topics rule our conversations with friends and family where we warn them of the oncoming doom and fill them with the precautionary actions they must immediately take.
The quirky thing about change, whether one considers the nature of what catalyzed it to be good or evil, is that it can become the source of immense...
When I consider the events going on in our world today, it is easy for me to judge and segregate between the people I like and those I don’t. Up to now, this has been an unconscious reflex, but now I am aware of it and I cannot accept this trait enhances the greater good I am trying to create. This is because I judge some lives more valuable than others. If I truly believe we are all made in God’s image and likeness, then I must accept that every life comes from the same source. This can only lead to one conclusion; every life matters.
One thing is sure about life transitions, especially those that include the loss of a job, a home or a spouse, they can leave you feeling like you have been body slammed.
One only has to listen to a sports program for a few minutes to realize the importance we give to someone’s “legacy”. Who is the greatest? Was it the number of touchdowns, goals, points per game, strikeouts, etc. that marks their place in glory?
Think about it, if your ego was in charge, then everything you ever wanted would be yours. You would be rich, living in a big house with all the latest gizmos, driving the latest German luxury car. Unquestionably, you would be in charge of a successful business or be a famous movie star. If it was my ego in charge, I would be a professional basketball player who could jump so high I could dunk the ball with my feet.
Media pundits and politicians continue to promote the idea we are a divided nation. This is true. There are many areas of conflict, in particular, we seem most divided among political and religious lines. But I don’t believe we are all that divided. The media thrives on reporting on conflict and fear because they know that will keep people tuning in. They are helping to create this illusion of separateness with reports that support a sense of tribalism.
Just the other day, while taking a walk, I ran into a big turtle (the size of a basketball) laying on its back. Don’t know how it got there, but it was frantically trying to turn over so it could get out from under the hot sun. Ironically, the hard shell the turtle relies on for protection was killing him/her. It would have died had I not turned him/her over upright. The incident reminded me of an old life lesson; tomorrow is not promised to anyone, we can never do enough to protect ourselves from everything life throws at us.
Thinking beyond ourselves is one of our greatest challenge. Ask anyone about the Golden Rule and they will tell you they support it, but in practice we often ignore it.
Scientists know that Quantum math incorporates many possibilities for the outcomes of all measurements. They also know that Quantum Physics promotes this idea of unlimited possibilities because of the theory that all material structures are the actualization of invisible forms. In other words, all ideas come from an invisible source of unlimited intelligence therefore, if you can think it, you can create it.
One of my favorite quotes about life comes from comedian Jim Carrey, who said;
“Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them.”
The Universe/God/Higher Power never stops teaching us. While it is easy to feel aligned with this Power’s influence when times are easy, it is much more difficult to see the Universe at work when we are amid stormy waters. However, the fearful feelings that overwhelm us during times like these are important messages from our soul. This is the lesson I am learning under the tutelage of CORVID-19.
Society defines the term delusion of grandeur as the false belief in one’s own superiority, greatness and intelligence. I have never met a person (myself included) who does not suffer from this affliction. This is particularly visible when we act as though we are the center of the Universe. Perhaps, technically speaking, each one of us is the center of our own world, but that does not make us superior to anyone.
What makes less sense, beating a dead horse or watering a dead plant? Does it matter what time of year you do this? This is how nonsensical the logic behind our excuses to stay in dysfunctional relationships sounds like. What good does it do for two people in a bad relationship to wait until they have the right amount of money in the bank, or for the kids to grow up, etc. before they consider ending it?
The common explanation for Karma has always bothered me. Maybe I have interpreted the teachings incorrectly, but I cannot accept there is some kind of heavenly score board that keeps tabs on the bad things a person has done and then smacks him/her down later in their life with some sort of payback. Hard to accept karma is like what John Lennon describes in the lyrics in his song Instant Karma;
“Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet”
Zombies have been made popular in our day and age by television programs like The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z. These stories blamed the coming of age of zombies on some kind of biological accident or plague that was unleashed on the world.
There are people already insinuating the coronavirus is some kind of sign the end of days is coming. This is like a few years ago when there was an increase in the number of natural disasters happened and some claimed the death and destruction they caused was a sign of God’s displeasure with us “sinners”. This is bull crap! However, I remember a time when I too believed that the bad things that happened to me were proof of God’s displeasure for something I did or failed to do. Today, I know better. The fact is that “shit happens” in every person’s life. There is no escaping hard times, for they are a necessary part of the human experience.
Life is finite, but many live mindlessly convinced we own plenty of time to spare. Every moment lost is one you cannot get back. Although this is intuitive knowledge, very few possess the presence of mind to ensure they are living life to their fullest capacity. If you are tired of the way your life is going, then it is important during this life time out we are experiencing to do some self-reflecting.
The future seems more uncertain than ever before. Will life return to what we once understood to be normal? Will the things important before this contagion-imposed purgatory began still mean the same? Life has taught me the answer to both questions is no. One can never go back to the way things were before the transformation began.
Seems like everywhere you look today, there is reason to feel scared. Listening to the daily press conferences by our elected officials, followed by the second guessing that happens afterwards, it is easy to feel frightened and depressed. But you don’t have to project your expectation of worse things to come into this fear-full situation when the potential of good things happening is just as likely.
There are so many people who are petrified of the confinement our city, state and federal leaders have mandated to contain the outbreak of coronavirus. The thought of living without the daily hustle and bustle is intimidating. This is not unexpected. We have grown so accustomed to filling our time with an endless bevy of activity that we lost our ability to differentiate between what we need and the superfluous.
We spend our lives chasing after money, power, fame, status and power thinking this will make us happy. A few achieve a certain amount of these things and discover they didn’t make them happy at all. It took me a while to learn this about life, but now I know I understand the concept that lasting happiness comes from within. While material gains may give you a temporary high, they don’t make life better in the long run.
With the threat of the Coronavirus hovering over our heads, I am reminded of how life’s turning points come without warning. Whether an individual, community, organization or, as it is happening today, for nations and the world, turning points offer the opportunity to become better, more enlightened. They can also turn us to our dark side. That fate depends on the choices we make. I am not trying to minimize the pain and suffering that life’s turning points can bring. Undoubtedly, the Coronavirus is a threat many of us have not seen in our lifetimes. There will be a great loss of people, businesses and financial stability, However, our best bet to deal with this situation is to remain as positive and optimistic as we can.
It is easy to find fear on the faces of people now that the Coronavirus occupies every headline and lead story. All one has to do is go to the grocery and you will know what I am talking about.
I don’t understand what it is in me that causes me to want to solve other people’s problems. This is a bad habit because so often I am giving advice without listening to the pain within the person. I am not alone in this, for it is common for people to blurt out their solution to another’s travails.
Doing the right thing is not a default position for great leaders, it is their only option. While it is important to pay attention to a person’s behavior and words, comportment alone is not enough to determine the level of his/her leadership ability. The quality of their decisions must also be part of this evaluation.
In the heat of our many discussions, a friend of mine would often scold me with these words, “Guillermo, opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.” This was his good-natured way of pointing out my tendency to share an opinion on everything under the sun, whether or not I know anything about the subject.
We have grown accustomed to have stress rule our lives. Many mistakenly believe stress is natural. Some think being under stress is a sign of an active, productive life. i was taught that, if you are not feeling stressed or struggling to accomplish something, then you are wasting time. Actor Robert De Niro depicted this thought when he said,
“You will have time to rest when you are dead.”
Educated as a civil engineer, I have relied on the hard and fast rules of force, physics, math and mechanics of materials to guide my view of the Universe. Yet, no amount of scientific facts and mathematical equations could ever explain the inner movements of my soul. It took the times of painful endings to open the door to my spiritual world.
Aging is a natural part of life. Whether a newborn or a sexagenarian, you are growing older by the second. But aging does not have to be passive or unconscious, you can determine the quality of the way you age. It is a matter of mastering what life gives you in a way that fulfills you and simultaneously helps create a greater good.
Ask anyone how they define love and they will give you their version of romantic love. This is not surprising, as our culture bombards us with a plethora of stories by which to base our definition for love.
Everyone needs someone to inspire them now and again. It is a fact of life that sometimes it takes more than coffee to lift us out of our doldrums. I often rely on inspirational authors to give my soul spiritual CPR when I am feeling low. Fortunately, there are many wonderful writer who blog and publish books that provide the inspiration many of us need. Sometimes a good friend or family member can provide this kind of stimulus and it is important to determine who they are.
Even with the best intentions not to do it, I often pass judgement on people, situations and myself. This is an old habit that has been hard to break and whose net result often leads me to self-loathing and discouragement.
There was a time when I didn’t believe in anything except my willpower to succeed, but all that came tumbling down five years ago and I felt disoriented and disenchanted. Things are different for me now. I am living the best years of my life and I am the most comfortable I have ever been inside my skin. It took a while, but I finally learned there are times when you have to be shaken away from everything you rely on so you can be set free to go to the place you were meant to be. Seeing this for the first time helped me realize there is a Higher Power at work in my life.
Unless you have been living in isolation in some monastery hidden deep in Nepal, you know there are people in this world we don’t belong with. Nobody warned us about this when we were young. In fact, we were taught the opposite. My parents, for example, taught me as a child to respect and obey all adults and I relied on this value indiscriminately throughout the years. I didn’t take into account that not all of them behaved honorably, in fact, some were toxic and I should have avoided.
Growing older is a fact of life. We see it in our children as they change from babies to adulthood. Our face wrinkles and greying hair become the signs that the years are traveling past us, yet few of us give thought to the aging process while our lives fly by. If you remain unconscious to how you are aging, you may wake up someday and begrudge being older. But, if you stick to these five key things, you will discover that aging well is within your power.
We are not even at the end of January and I have already lost my third sock in the laundry. Now, every time I open the sock drawer, I am reminded of this mishap by the three lone sock soldiers sitting idly waiting to hear news about their missing mates.
Nothing stirs up your fears more than taking a risk. Any option challenging you to leave your zone of comfort and security can seem like a threat to your survival. Although I know this reluctance to change comes from the ego, that is not enough to keep me from freezing up from making life decisions that call for new beginnings. I can easily talk myself out of new and necessary course corrections by my what-iffing them to death.
There is a lot of confusion about what it means to let Universe be in your life’s driver’s seat. Unbeknownst to you, the Universe has always been there, but we mucked up our lives by relying on and following the advice of our ego instead. It took the failure of these willful efforts to open my eyes to the Universe in my life.
We make it hard to let go of situations that are bad for us. This is particularly true when it comes to love relationships. Even when the evidence is in front of us, we analyze and rationalize another’s behavior in a way that postpones our responsibility to take action and allows us to stay in an unhealthy setting.
For some strange reason, I always tried to scare the crap out of my children when I wanted them to stop doing something. “You will get sick if you eat all of that candy.” Funny advice coming from me considering I am the one who got them the candy in the first place. “Get down from that tree before you get hurt.” Nonsensical advice I gave them after lifting them up to a branch. But I realize I am not alone giving children this kind of advice. Some might consider this good parenting, but now I am not so sure.
Ringing in the New Year with a plethora of resolutions is a well-known aspect of this annual celebration. The will to adhere to them is always strong in the new year’s first days, but come the second week in January, the desire to change has gone as if they were visiting family members.
Nothing is permanent in life. Yet, we assign permanency to many situations, like having good health, or being with one partner in a long term romantic union. When these things diminish or go away, we find ourselves caught in a quagmire of negative emotions.
The other day, I was driving late on my way to meet friends and play tennis. There was no one else to blame for my belatedness but me, as I had over-scheduled myself with too many activities. This is something I often do. But I took no responsibility. From the moment I got in my car, I was already demanding from the sea of traffic I would encounter to clear a path along the way.
One predictable thing about life is that all roads lead to our individual development. There will be lessons for us no matter what path we chose. Therefore, it is so important not to judge the decisions we make as proper or improper, correct or incorrect.
How to prepare for the future was a big part of what my parents taught me. I adhered to their advice for decades on the assumption I could create a future I could plan for today. Little did I stop to reflect on the fact that I could never predict what will happen in the next fifteen minutes, except maybe that I will eat my next meal.
Life is a journey we take alone. This is not a complaint; it is a fact. There is no one else in there with you, so you might as well work to be comfortable while your finite body houses your spirit. The great news is that you are in command and you can choose any direction you want.
Have you ever reached a point in your life when you wondered what on earth you were doing here? I have, several times in fact. Loss and failure have usually ushered this questioning into my wounded thoughts.
Everything I have ever done rooted in self-seeking has never amounted to much. The same goes for the things I longed for in the material world. Having a bigger home, a new car, latest styles and most modern gadgets filled my inner emptiness for just a little while. It didn’t take long after to place my sights on new desires.
I loved the series Mad Men. It was a crazy and entertaining reminder of how we are suckers for glib and flashy ads. While this show was enjoyable TV watching, it also reminded me that the premise of sales is to make us believe we are lacking joy, comfort or ease because we don’t own what they are selling.
No matter how you slice it, everything we do is for our personal benefit. We love someone because we get something from them; we do a job because we profit from the rewards, we buy showy things to be seen as cool. Even our play is done for our pleasure. This is how we are wired, it is natural and it makes us selfish.
It is very normal for relationships, even those that started with great joy and optimism, to wither and die. No one can promise to love another forever, for we cannot foresee the future. But it is necessary to understand what a relationship’s dynamics are when one partner wants out of the union and the other does not.
How many nights have you spent whining and whimpering about the things that didn’t work out, like the promotion you didn’t get or the lover who got away? How many hours have you wasted afraid of making an important decision or worrying that the decision you made may be the wrong one? I wasted a good part of my life doing these stupid things.
Jim Nolan, my best friend from college died in his early fifties from cancer of the esophagus. Jim was a dear friend and the two of us shared many experiences that brought us closer. We graduated from the same civil Engineering Class at the University of Colorado and moved together to Los Angeles to work for the same engineering company. Within a year, we returned to Colorado to work for another. After several years, Jim left the company to work for the Colorado Department of Transportation. I followed him there six months later. We even moved to the same neighborhood and carpooled to work.
Historians credit author Thomas Wolfe for coming up with the expression, “You can’t go home again”. Although this was the title of his book, many people have used this idiom to describe the notion that you cannot return to the way things were.
Our society teaches us that family always comes first. This is so ingrained in us we are shocked when some of the people next to us behave like scumbags. Unfortunately, this is a fact of life, for we didn’t get to choose our family members. As author Harper Lee aptly stated in To Kill a Mockingbird,
“You can choose your friends, but you sho’ can’t choose your family”
It is very difficult for people pleasers, like me, to accept the concept we were not meant for everyone nor was everyone meant for us. The reason for this is that people pleasers get our sense of worth from the approval of others. I learned, however, that, no matter how hard I try, there are people who dislike me simply for taking my share of oxygen from the planet.
Even if you assume we are just one of countless microcosms in the Universe, nature shows you daily that even the smallest organism has a purpose. Let’s take the human body as an example. Scientist have proven that your body replaces every cell roughly every seven years.
One of my all-time favorite characters on Saturday Night Live was Debbie Downer. Comedian Rachel Dratch played this fictional character in several SNL skits and she was hilarious.
Not too long ago, a movie came out based on a book by Garth Stein titled, The Art of Racing in the Rain. The story’s main character, a dog named Enzo, narrates the story. According to Enzo, the canine existence is an apprenticeship to becoming human. If the dog finishes their years having evolved enough, they will return to a new life as humans.
It is rare to find a person who does not wish to go back in time and change events that happened. They must already know what has taken me a lifetime to learn; it would not do much good, for if we changed our experiences, we would not be the persons we are today.
Hurricane season in Florida is always nervy, especially when the expected development of a mounting storm becomes the centerpiece of media reports. Make no mistake, hurricanes need to be taken seriously. The devastation they leave in their wake is often beyond human understanding. Puerto Rico and the Bahamas are recent examples of the kind of horrible devastation a hurricane leaves behind. These areas deserve our help and attention, for it will take decades for these wonderful places to fully recover. However, hurricanes can teach us a lot about life.
It is common to believe we were all wired to be something special, but is it just one thing for every lifetime? Is this special something connected to career or accumulating worth? These two questions are worth pondering, especially since as parents, teachers and mentors, we will teach new minds who come after us about how to find their life’s meaning.
Ok, maybe my headline is a little over the top, but I know we all have love hate relationship with our doctors. They are the bearers of bad news, for we all know they will deliver the news we are going to die someday. My real purpose was to get to divert your attention to this important message; we should focus our lives on living, not on dying.
Until a few years ago, I believed being patient was for losers; winners made their own way. The proverb, “where there is a will, there is a way” had me convinced that—if I wanted something bad enough—I had to rely on my willpower to make things happen exactly as I wanted and in my timing. From my vantage point, this is what successful people did, they made things happen, obstacles be damned.
It is a sign of the times that divorce continues to be at the highest rates ever. Some perceive this as a bad thing, as the end of a long-term relationship can leave a person feeling alone and discouraged. But, like every life challenge that crosses each path, the end of one love can lead to the beginning of an even fuller and more fulfilling relationship.
Life transitions are hard because they cause us to tumble from a perch that took us years to build. Having lost our foundation, we try to deny what...
Sleepwalking through life makes us old. Once we stop doing what makes us happy, bring us fun, fill us with a sense of purpose (no matter what it...
We hear a lot about how everyone being angry about something these days. This is hard to disagree with when you consider all the instances of violence, fear-mongering and destructive political discord manifesting themselves in our society.
Every decision we make in life has its own consequences. Every action we take or avoid taking brings its own challenges and struggles. If you deem procrastinating has no consequences, you are mistaken. The best step on the road to achieving your goals is to take action, no matter how small, to make them come true.
We use the phrase “you are perfect just as you are” as a way to express appreciation for others. But it is wrong to think we are perfect. Perfection is an illusion, it has no definition, it is not an image fixed in time. The fact is we are always changing and evolving. Telling someone they are perfect just as they are belittles the self-reflection they need to continue seeking their most authentic self.
There was a time when propagating our species was the highest priority. To do so, one needed a mate to create families, which made having a love partner very important. That may not be the case today, for we can all see we have bred humans to beat the band. Although some would argue this, I believe our human species today must adopt a new priority; that of self-actualization. This has been coming since enlightened humans (Christ, Buddha, Muhammed, to name a few) opened our minds to life’s spiritual realm and changed the world as much as science and technology.
In his book, An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake, Srinivas Rao states,“Work for an audience of one. When the only person you are trying to please is yourself, judgements vanish, and in that process we become more present.”
We misunderstand the power of the mind to create our reality. This is apparent from the way people use affirmations as though they were wishes someone out there can fulfill. I think the use of affirmations is important, but I don’t trust repeating them daily can get you a million dollars or a date with Halle Berry. Mind you, believing you can get these things is better than not, but I don’t think just wishing for them provides any guarantee.
There is a myriad of sayings about age that are frequently used in American culture. Their seeming purpose is to make us feel better about growing older. Here is a small sampling;
“You are only as old as you feel.”
“Age is just a number.”
“Wrinkles are traces of where our smiles have been.”
“Old age is a lot better than the alternative.”
“He/she is —– years young.”
A few days ago, a friend and I were reminiscing about our lives when our conversation turned to our dating adventures. After some heartfelt belly laughs, we both delineated the many mistakes we have made in search for a romantic partner. I wanted to share them with you. Although I present my perspective from the male point of view, I think this advice is good for women, at least it will help shed some light on the pressures we all face.
A news show I was listening to proposed the idea that the nation needs a particular candidate as president because he knows loss and pain. Perhaps I misunderstood what they meant, but I don’t think this is correct. By all means, we need leaders who struggled in life and have suffered, but that is not enough. While we all suffer different degrees of stress and anxiety in life, we don’t need a consoler-in chief; we need someone who can help bring us together. This cannot be achieved by someone reminding us of what pain and suffering is like, leaders who envision what the triumph over suffering will be like for all of us are the ones who can unite us.
Another mass shooting, missile launched, high profile controversy, along with all the assorted bad news we hear so often and it is easy to believe we are spiraling the world into oblivion. As an immigrant child who was separated from my parents by Castro”s Revolution when I was ten, news about raids on immigrants, the crisis in the southern border and the separation of children from their families leave me feeling depressed. My heart aches every time I see pictures and videos of the empty and sad faces of children in American internment camps. This experience of family separation that saw me start life over in an orphanage in a country where I didn’t know the language is by far the greatest trauma I have ever survived.
A few weeks have gone by since two of my greatest childhood idols, John Havlicek and Bart Starr, passed away. I mourn their losses and thank them both for the thrills they brought into my life. Who can ever forget Bart Starr leading his Green Bay Packers to victory against Dallas in the “Ice Bowl”, one of the greatest football games of all times? John Havlicek won eight NBA championships during his sixteen-year career with the Boston Celtics.
My parents were batshit crazy. It wasn’t so much that they had faults, every human has them, it was that their marital union blended their failings into a cocktail of emotional and psychological poison. As you read this article, make no mistake, I am grateful for them and how they helped shape the person I am today, but it was no picnic.
Game of Thrones and human history have one thing in common; life is just one damn thing after another. But there is one other thing that may not seem so obvious; they both contain a lot of episodes about family members betraying one another. The fact is that “blood is not thicker than water” as the adage proclaims. Being related by blood is not the strongest human bond there is.
Although you may not know of it, you are being influenced by many negative forces. This is more prevalent than you think. It is in books, TV Programs, the workplace, church, your favorite sporting venue, etc. It is even there when you engage in gossip about others.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, especially when it comes to being loved by someone else. This can apply to anyone who surrounds you, be it mother, father, sibling or lover, their love for you is not automatic. For that matter, it may never be.
The day we stop having dreams is the day we stop living. Dreams can motivate us to become better people or to accomplish greater things. Having a vision for the future separates the human species from the rest of the animal kingdom. Dreaming, therefore, is an essential gift a Higher Consciousness gave us as part of our creation.
Hard to pinpoint where it all began, but somewhere in human history people began comparing ourselves to one another. To make matters worse, society assigned hierarchical values to these comparisons. They invented terms, like “upper or ruling class, working class and lower class”, to designate a person’s importance in society.
Some of the best salseros (salsa dancers) in the world come from the Caribbean Island I call home, Cuba. During my two return visits to Cuba—in 2001 and 2016, forty years after my parents sent me fleeing Castro’s Revolution to the United States—this joyful and sensuous type of dancing was still front and center in Cuban culture. Like baseball (beisbol), salsa rhythms are part of every Cuban’s DNA (or so I am told).
Major losses spare no one in this world. I am reminded of this by my children who lost their mother to Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease a few days ago.
Most people believe we can always do better. This may seem like an honorable and humble attitude to have, but it is a pronouncement that is too open-ended by which to judge our efforts. We can be better according to whom, or based on what standard? Unfortunately, there are many people willing to define better for us, and we make the mistake of letting them affect our actions.
Perhaps you are not old enough to remember when every young family had to have an Encyclopedia Britannica (or a version thereof) in their home. Long before computers became an integral part of our lives, an encyclopedia adorned most houses in the United States.
When I reflect on my life, the proof is irrefutable; even the most painful events introduced a benefit that helped shape me into who I truly am. I will not experience again the same level of emotional pain I suffered the day I saw my parents disappear into the horizon as the plane I was on sped towards Miami from Havana, Cuba. Starting my American life as an orphan in a Colorado orphanage was rough. Yet, this event catapulted my life into the miracle of hope and opportunity it is today.
I’ve seen enough to have lost my fear of death. This wasn’t always the case. During my twenties and thirties, I thought I would live forever, but losing loved ones along the way changed all of that. I began realizing my mortality then, but not embracing it. That has taken me till now to do.
It did not take me long to find inspirational topics to write about during my recent visit to Spain. The first thing that caught my eye was a sign in the corner of a small tapas restaurant in Madrid. It contained this quote from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo,
Former Pennsylvania congressman Joe Sestak just became the 24th candidate in the crowded field of those seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. This large number of candidates has become the fodder for ridicule, especially by late night show comedians, but this is a serious matter. Deciding to run a national campaign for president is no easy task, and you can bet all 24 candidates will put all of their heart, soul and sweat into this effort.
There is probably no single person alive in America today (and perhaps the world) who has not heard the advice, “whatever you do, always give it your best.” I grew up convinced of this. It sounded like good advice, even noble and admirable. We should always give our best effort, I figured, but this was easier said than done, for there is no real definition for “best effort”.
We hear from many sources (myself included) that we were not created by accident, for we came into this world with a purpose the world needs. So, does this mean you have some special job or assignment someone gave you to fulfill? Are your life circumstances and fate aligning to get you to that incredible mission that will save the world? Or, is your life purpose the ability to find your find and pursue your passions and do good with them, whatever they may be?
Society encourages to use caution at the expense of curiosity. Our teachers, parents and mentors were not trying to do us harm with these instructions, this is what someone taught them. But these directives convinced us it is bad to make a mistake or to get lost wondering what to do next. Yet, this is a necessary aspect of the human condition. It is through facing challenges we grow.
If you have been around the block a few times, like I have, then you have experienced some form of spiritual restlessness. I remember how scared I got the first time I experienced this kind of anxiety because it came so unexpectedly. For years I had been tailoring my life to the expectations of my mentors, but the emptiness began to feel inside slowly overtook my consciousness.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs has kept me glued to the television these past few weeks. While watching my Denver Nuggets lose to Portland in a seventh game of a seven-game series, I witnessed an interesting commercial with Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors which offered the inspiration for this blog.
I believe life is a series of lessons we are to learn before we leave our earthly existence. We repeat them until they enlighten us with a new wisdom that allows us to move to the next level.
Dr. Wayne Dyer tells the story about an agnostic surgeon friend who was bragging about never finding evidence of God.
“I have cut people open by thousands on the operating table over the years and not once have I seen a soul.”
The dove pictured here showed up on the deck outside my office and lingered for such a long time I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a spiritual message involved with his/her appearance. Dutifully, I googled the symbolism for this creature. The consensus among various authors was that they equated doves with heavenly visitations.
Some friends challenged my spiritual beliefs at a recent get-together. Their point was this; if every experience has purpose—as I claim—then it is implied a Higher Power justifies evil with his/her desire to use it to develop our species.
The presence of bullies in our culture has become an epidemic. No matter where you look, whether in government, business, schools, religion, social media and even in families, there are examples of someone who feels powerful by habitually seeking to harm or intimidate those he/she perceives as vulnerable.
It sucks to have to wait for an outcome you desire to materialize. No amount of belief in the Law of Attraction can make something appear in your preferred timing. When things don’t happen for me in the timing I desire, I waver on my belief we connected with the Higher Consciousness/God/Universe that is a part of all creation.
Making a bucket list is a popular and necessary thing to do. It is important to have goals and dreams in life for, no matter your age, there is a limit to our time on earth. Many put these lists together, but the items don’t get done. The usual excuses for postponing action are, being too busy, waiting for a better time, needing more money. But the real excuse is fear. It petrifies us to live boldly, to operate in the present moment because we might disappoint those we want to impress.
Have you ever wondered what the life lesson the Universe/God/Higher Power expects you to learn while you exist on earth in this current form? I am sure I know mine; it is to develop trust and patience.
It is important in life to take risks and explore new ways of thinking and feeling. This is especially true when you are beginning on a new leg of your life journey. During these kinds of periods in my life, I adopted a policy of saying “yes” to all invitations. I call accepting all invitations as doing the Desperado, a name I confiscated from my friend Suzanne who uses it to describe saying yes to everything.
I enjoy playing tennis. Not only does the sport provide me with the physical need I have for exercise, it also teaches me valuable life lessons.
There is a story about a man who—for twenty years and counting—prayed daily to win the lottery. He asked God on his hands and knees before every...
As I was going over some old papers, I came across an old Chinese story I heard long ago, and it filled me with hope about our future. I want to share it with you; it goes like this,
Men seem afraid of their female side. We seem to have a cultural aversion to being seen as wimpy or gay if you embrace the side that has traits associated with women. My good friend expresses this apprehension in the way he jokes about being in touch with his feminine side. He likes to say;“I embrace the woman inside of me and, thankfully, she is a lesbian.”
I was reading an article the other day about how 51% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 do not have a steady romantic partner. This is up from 45% since 2016 and the trend continues to rise. There is no sign this pattern is reversing.
I have been pondering this question ever since an old memory of a warning my father had given me long ago came up during my meditation time. His words of caution were thus;“Never reveal who you are to others for they will use that information against you.”
One of the most difficult concepts to understand is that people—no matter how evil or unethical you think they are—are doing the best they can. Yet, it is factually true, because, just like us, they have been shaped by the environment they were born into and the people and experiences that have come into their lives.
A muscular young man at my gym the other day gave me the inspiration for this blog. He was wearing a muscle shirt that allowed him to display the carpet tattoos covering both arms. They were beautiful, intricate and colorful. The combination of good looks and tattoos elicited the attention of most gym rats in the place.
What is your favorite label to put on people? Epithets like redneck, communist, socialist, asshole, lowlife, uneducated, high-maintenance and loudmouthed are common ones I hear. There are others that don’t seem so offensive but put boundaries around the targeted person’s character; blue collar, conservative, liberal, progressive or overly religious. When we label others, we unfairly restrict them to this description.
To seek advice from experts is a necessary part of learning new skills or information. It would not be very prudent to ignore the advice of a doctor, carpenter, architect, nutritionist, etc. if you need to get something done in any of these areas. But it is a different story altogether when you are seeking life advice for, depending on who you ask, you may not get something useful.
The worst day of my life happened on September 29, 1961. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. This was the day my parents put my brothers and I on an airplane from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida as part of a program called Operation Peter Pan.
Have you lost hope we can bridge our country’s divide that is pitting political ideologies with one another? I have not, but I believe we need to do something different to create unity; we must listen and understand what those who differ have to say.
Just like negative thinking can create undesirable outcomes, positive thinking can create optimistic ones. Our thoughts do matter, and we can use them to create the reality we want. However, we were not taught to believe we could make the life we wanted. We were told instead that our talents limited us or that we belonged in some world pecking order. We were taught to conform to the norms of society and limit ourselves to what our five senses perceive. But that is too restrictive for there is a real world of thought, spirit and of creation.
The most important aspect of building a solid house is how you construct the foundation. Educated as a structural engineer, I learned that a house...
Of all the great Indiana Jones movies made, my favorite one is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The plot has Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) racing to rescue his father, Doctor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) from the Nazis to find the Holy Grail, the cup Christ used during the Last Supper.
Our efforts to make money and become financially independent correspond to the most important societal value of American society. We often conclude that efforts that don’t make money belong to adolescents or retired people. If doesn’t pay, then it must be play!
There is a new scientific theory claiming our thoughts create our reality. This has certainly been my experience. The self-beliefs I threw out into the Universe come back like a boomerang.
While walking on the boardwalk that connects my townhome with nine others, I stopped to watch a spider busily building a magnificent web. Then the wind picked up and blew the web back and forth like it was a trampoline. A few minutes later, I saw the web blown into oblivion and I was sure the spider had flown with it. The next day, I was amazed me to see the spider reconstructing a new masterpiece.
There was a time when I was certain I had it all together. My old self, or ego, ruled my life with what appeared to be a reliable set of rules and beliefs forged out of my many experiences. My life worked pretty well then, and I loved and revered my ego’s beliefs. They were welcoming, reassuring and reliable, until one day when they were not.
Serving as manager of public works for the City of Denver was one of the most challenging jobs I ever held. Among the myriad of responsibilities, I was in charge of the Waste Management Branch. These are the folks who picked up the trash and recycling citywide.
When recovering from a major loss, it is not surprising to long for a return to the way things were. But for as tempting as it is to pass the time wishing for things to return to “normal”, the fact is you are just wasting important energy needed to facilitate your healing.
Setting and enforcing boundaries is a necessary skill one must learn if you want to maintain healthy relationships. Many of us, however,...
People who provide wisdom about getting through life’s challenges focus on how to endure the pain of loss and change. This is valuable advice, but there is not much out there about reaching the end of a difficult life transition. Knowing you are near the end is important because it gives you hope life is not only normalizing, but actually getting better.
Whenever people around me talk to each other as though I wasn’t there, I usually crack a line I learned from watching television.
“What am I? A Potted Plant?”
Anyone who has survived a breakup, divorce or lost a loved one has wondered if they will ever again have a romantic partner. The confusion, self-doubt and lack of clarity for the future experienced during these times generates a lot of anxiety about our ability to attract a partner.
I learned throughout my thirty-seven-year stint in government service there are people walking around with pent up rage ready to explode at any moment. They sling their verbal arrows at any target. You catch these words and stick them into yourself when you take them personally and react. If you can detach, you can see these words were never meant for you.