Make no mistake, life can change in the blink of an eye and just like that, everything is different. As a young man, I swore The Old Man would always be around. I never expected him to pass or my family’s business to go under.
I never saw my Father’s death coming. I never saw the bankruptcy of his business coming or the theft of all my family’s worth coming.
If you had asked me, I would have sworn this would have been my future. Only, my future was changed two weeks before Christmas in 1989 when The Old Man had his first heart attack.
Hold on to your own enthusiasm folks because rest assured, not everyone shares the same thing and not everyone is interested.
There are all types of different people out there.
Believe me on this one.
Be advised, life comes with options. Even when the options are not what we like or even if the options we have are unfortunate or painful; there will always be options.
Be advised, we do have the right to choose who we spend our time with. We have the right to choose who we share ourselves with and how much we give.
There is no rule which states we have to give it all, especially when we all we feel is that we give and we give, but nothing is ever returned.
As parents or loved ones or even as good friends, we try to find the right words to say when life turns bad for someone we love. However, before going forward, I will take into account my own times of hopelessness, in which, any word was too hard for me to hear. Some words, in fact, were more like an insult instead of encouraging.
When I was young, I swore I would never grow old.
I made a promise to myself that I would never be like them.
I said this with an emphasis on the word, “Them:” to define my contempt.
I never wanted to grow old or forget myself.
I never wanted to be lost in the land of status whores
Or lost to my own contempt or lost to my resentment as a result of my insecurity. I swore, I wanted to be strong, if not stronger.
A note for the kid:
I wrote this a while ago. But the shoe still fits, so . . .
I was around 14 or 15 years-old when a tall, heavy-set teacher, shoved me into the back corner of an empty classroom.
He was out of line but then again, so was I.
Grinding his teeth he said, “Do you wanna know what I’d like to do to you?”
Then he leaned even closer. “I’d kick the living shit out of you right now if I could.”
There is something I know, which we all know, which is unfortunate at times but even still, the truth is no matter how much we love or care, no matter how we have the best interests at heart, and no matter how hard we try to help or “Fix” the problem, whether we like it or not, not everyone wants help. Not everyone accepts it. Not everyone agrees. Not everyone wants to stop what they’re doing and not everyone wants to change their life.
It is true. So many of us fall short of our dreams and live secretly or privately unsatisfied. It is also true that many of us fail to step forward. We fail to try or dare to risk the odds of disappointment.
I came across a quote this morning. I was listening to random motivational speakers so that I could A, improve my own life and B, learn more and improve my own motivational abilities.
And now it’s here, summer, and I am thinking of how it was when the days were long and the nights were hot. The lights were bright and the music was good. I remember.
In fact, I remember it all. I remember the bars on the waterfront and the friends I thought I’d know forever.
I remember the songs that played throughout different periods of the night and towards the later hours; they’d always play the song Sweet Caroline at a place called Paddy McGee’s.
Everyone sang along too.
At this point, the crowd was thick and the liquor had flowed enough to fuel the patrons that stood and danced around at the outside bar, which was on the canal, and tucked away in a town called Island Park
I believe in the ultimate connection.
I believe in beauty
and that true beauty never fades
nor should it
or could it.
So now the fad has changed. Now it’s vaping. It used to be smoking. And now it’s the products because let’s face it, everything is based on style and the different variations of what’s cool.
I sat with a small group of people and someone asked, “How old were you when you smoked a cigarette for the first time?”
And me, I was in grade school at the time. I was this little prepubescent kid, smaller than everyone else my age, and I appeared to look much younger than the rest of my class.
I spent a great deal of time worrying. I was either hinged upon emotion or dependent upon people, places, and things, which I believed were parts of my identity. I was so afraid to be alone. I was afraid that my fears may be true; that I was nothing more than the sum of my concerns and that I was truly incapable.
A lot has changed in my life. Then again, a lot changes in all lives. This is us and how we live. We go through changes, like it or not, and we evolve and we grow.
We move through different phases of life, which may or may not overlap. However, one thing I have learned with all certainty is that awareness and personal realization happens on an individual and timely basis. Maturity takes time. Growth takes time. And awareness also takes time. This is fact and as fact, this is non-negotiable.
I have seen some pretty incredible things over the last few years. More specifically, a lot has changed in the last year and a half, and more so, a lot has changed over the last several months.
I have grown and come into my own sense of self-awareness, which is important in order for me to grow
I have not forgotten you or what you mean to me. Along with millions, I celebrate you today. I think of the ways we honor you. I think of the barbecues and the cookouts. I think of the parks and recreational places where people gather on days like this. I also think about this day and the way we were when we were younger and a much younger country. I think about our purity and how our youthfulness was everything to us at one point.
There is a connection that happens, which I cannot describe in any other way or with any other word. It’s a connection.
Like the kids from the neighborhood. You never forget the kids from the neighborhood. They know you in a different way and from a different time.
There is a connection that comes when people go through a process together. I have completed several programs and classes throughout my life. I have gone through different phases and changes. Throughout each, I have made life changing connections.
I’m mad . . .
I learned some news this morning. More than another one gone, it’s another two gone. And I’m mad.
I’m mad that I can’t place their faces to their names anymore because at this rate, we are losing so many and guaranteed to lose more to this so-called war on drugs.
This is the last full day here at the retreat in Imperial Beach. I have to say Sand Diego has been very kind to me. For now, the sky is the same as was when I came, gray and misty.
But overcast or not, each day a woman comes to sit on the rock pile on the beach and meditates until the sunrise is complete.
Currently, the winds are slightly cool. The waves are rolling in slowly. The surf is somewhat calm and the moment is mainly quiet. Soon enough the silvery mist will give way and the sky will return to its usual blue, which is beautiful to say the least. It will be warm and the sun will be kind to the skin. In full disclosure, this is not a bad way to get well.
I am sitting at a glass table in the surrounding of an Asian themed home , alone, wondering, and thinking about the life I lived, the life I’ve built and the life I look to achieve.
The sky is in view across from me and the beach is just outside the sliding glass doors, which are closed for the moment. However, the windows are open to allow the reoccurring sound of the waves crashing into the shoreline along Imperial Beach.
Hypnosis is truly helpful. Self hypnosis is also helpful and easily achieved by following a simple script.
Find yourself someplace comfortable. Sit comfortably or lay in a relaxed position. Find your best position without your legs or your arms crossed . Before this starts, it is important to disregard any of the outside sounds. or touching in any way. Close your eyes and allow yourself to relax.
I am here, now, and working on a new form of treatment with a team that fights to see results and does not give up until the end results are achieved. I am far from home now.
Don’t get me wrong, California is beautiful but I am still just a New York kid at heart.
I saw a few pictures on social media and then penned my thoughts, which, by the end, I found myself teary-eyed for more reasons than I have time to explain.
But as I was thinking, I took to my video blog and spoke out loud. However, now I have come here to lay the passion in my voice to rest.
Instead, I will speak plainly and honestly and lovingly, with all my heart and hope this message finds its place in the hearts of those who need it most.
This is day two:
I am awake to watch the sky change. Sunrise takes place at 5:44 they say but my sleep pattern is off because my body I still on the hours of Eastern Standard.
For the moment, I am outside, facing the beach and listening to the waves. I can smell the salty air and feel the winds, which are cool on the skin.
Here I am now (but of course, you already knew this)
I am far away from you, my life, and the rest of my comfort zone. I am here, clear across the country, in which, let’s face it, I am farther away than I have ever been before.
I see them sometimes, old friends and neighborhood friends. I see people from my past life whom I miss and appreciate their appearance. I also see people who I’ve spent time and shared intimate moments with but yet, now we just pass each other like strangers on the street now. I think about the different phases of my life. In each phase, I was always searching, always trying to find my way, and always looking to fit and find my place in the circle.
I see these phases like chapters in a book with a plot that keeps changing. I suppose one could call this our different phases of maturity. Then again, one could just call this life, in which case, all things do and must change.
Each morning, my alarm clock sounds. I am usually up before this; however, I still have the alarm set because as soon as I hear the sound, I know this means it’s go time.
I am an early riser. I always have been.
I wake up early and I move into my usual routine. I keep an eye on the time because I have a schedule to keep. I have a bus to catch and people to see.
I work a lot. Then again, we all work a lot because work is unavoidable.
I learned the hard way at a young age.
I learned that anyone who represents himself in a court of law has a fool for a client. I learned this while sitting on a hardwood bench and listening to jailhouse lawyers discuss cases of other detainees. I call them jailhouse lawyers; only, they never went to college. They just did a lot of time. That’s all.
One thing I know is we pay into a system.
We pay for our benefits. We pay for healthcare.
We pay for car insurance. We pay for gas and oil and electricity.
And ah, here it comes.
Someplace I’ve never seen before
but only heard of
or maybe dreamed about at some point . . .
San Diego California, the sunrise, the beach,
the fact that I earned this trip on my own steam
and on my own merit.
The West Coast is what happens
when I keep my plans together
and set my distractions to the side.
I am a firm believer in self-assessment. This is not to say I believe in being overly critical. We beat us up enough; however, I need to understand my personal inventory if I plan to achieve my personal goals.
I started a podcast a few months back with my producer and co-host Jay. Together, Jay and I discuss life changes and recovery. We talk about our involvement with The Recovery Spot on 18th and Irving Plaza.
I am writing this because this has been a topic of conversation over the last few days. This has been brought up by different people for different reasons by all circumstances still relate on one specific way.
And I’m glad for this. Not that I like the topic but I would rather someone reach out and speak out than suffer in silence and carry out their plans to say goodbye.
So, essentially, this is for you.
And you know who you are.
My morning is simple. . .
I wake up, which is always a good thing. I get myself to the kitchen to push the magic blue button on my coffee machine. Then I head back upstairs to my loft. I go through my usual morning routine. I write a little. I think a little. I plan my day, finish my coffee and then clean myself, brush my teeth, get dressed, head downstairs, put on my shoes, and then I head to the bus. I park in the same spot, unless someone beats me to it.
I cross the street to wait on a line with others who stand and wait for the same bus every day, seemingly mindless, lost in thought during the early morning sunrise, and still sleepy, but hey, bills are bills and work is work.
I think of you now and I am young. I am a boy again, like I was on the piers in Shinecock canal in November, cold as ever, and bundled up in a big blue coat with mittens and a pull-over hat that was knitted by my Grandmother. The sky was gray and the docks were quiet. I sat there shivering from the cold but I did not complain. I watched the end of my fishing rod, (just like you told me to) and hoped a fish would swim along and take my bait.
I could have sat that way for hours and not caught a thing and the day would still be perfect. I could have lived there in fact, exactly as it was, cold and gray and quiet, shivering.
I was in the back of a truck with no windows, handcuffed to a man that was drinking the night before. He was handcuffed to another man and him to another and then so on.
I was afraid. I was hungry and my stomach was growling, but yet, how could I even think of food in a time like this?
I hadn’t eaten in a while, but like I said, food was not my top priority.
Sure, everyone has an opinion. . .
Everyone thinks they know better. They get their information in drips and drabs and bits and pieces so that can create their opinions. This way they can act worldly, like they’re an authority. But the truth is no one knows. No one gets it. They just point their fingers and feed into the stigma . . .
Back when we
were kids, someone told us it costs a dime each time you flip a light switch. Of
course, me being me, I ran up to the front of the classroom and flipped the light
switch as fast and as many times as I could before the teacher could run up and
Back then, I had no idea what electricity was or where it came from. I knew what a light switch does. I knew there was this thing called electricity. I knew the story about Benjamin Franklin and a kite with a key (or something like that) but I didn’t know much else.
I want you to think of something. . .
Are you ready?
I want you to imagine a sunny day in the City of New York. Let’s take a busy section, like say Midtown, and think of people walking or going wherever they go.
Think of the businessman (or woman) and think of the family man (or family woman) and the tourists near Times Square, which is a perfect place to consider because it is estimated that 330,000 people visit Times Square on a daily basis.
Imagine this. Imagine the random faces of people. Picture the hot dog carts and the uniformed officers. Think about the interactions and the stores, the delicatessens, the clothing shops. Consider the crowded walk during rush hour, everyone moving, everyone walking with the intention of heading someplace in a hurry.
. . .
It’s hard to get up in the morning.
it’s not that we’re sleepy so much
it’s just . . . pointless is all I can say
am I right?
It is morning, earlier than usual, but yet, I am awake (like always) and looking at today’s date. I realize that four years have passed since my last trip down to Ft. Lauderdale in good old Sunny Florida. I know this because the date has been tattooed into the top of my wrist and commemorated for a special reason.
I woke up to
the thought machine somewhere around the hour of 2:00am. Maybe I was dreaming.
Maybe something clicked and triggered a thought, which caused me to go back to
an old lesson that I need to be reminded of from time to time.
I love my early morning drives. . . .
I love how the sun comes up from behind me and paints the horizon in pastel shades of purple and peach.
I love it this way. The world, I mean, I love the quiet.
I love the ring in my ears due to the absence of sound.
There are times when I am lucky enough to perform and show people what I do. And I smile, wholeheartedly, because this is me and this is what I do at my best.
I smile because I love to see the reactions of the people I interact with. I love to watch emotion come to fruition and watch facial expressions change as one comes into a moment of awareness.
I tell you the best part about life coaching and motivational speaking is the moving response when realization takes place.
This is to you:
There are so many things I want to say. They are the things I have always wanted to say but I never knew how to to say them, how to tell you, or how to get this message to you. That’s what this letter is about,
There are things I wished I could have told you but I never had the words. I wanted to give you more but I never knew how. I wish I did though. I really do. I wish I could have given you the attention you’ve always deserved (and wanted.)
Years back, I would go to a small pond not too far away from the town where I grew up. I went with my cousin Craig and tossed bread to the ducks and the geese.
This was a religious time of year for my family. These were the High Holy days in my family’s religion and a time for reflection. This was a time for atonement and to atone for the things we did to the people we love. This is time for amends; to become even with the house from a spiritual perspective. This was the Day of Atonement in the religion I grew up with.
There is a time when it all comes down to this,
the moment, the surreal feeling and the numbing pause
that comes with the harshness of reality.
There is a time when the moment comes
and we are aware, we are faced with the truth,
and although we tried, although we hoped,
there is no more pretending.
I always do an honest assessment after I present or speak. No matter what the lay out may be or what the crowd looks like, I always assess what I do so that I can continue to improve and reach my best potential.
I like what I do. More accurately, I love what I do,
And here’s why . . .
Before going forward in my life, I needed to understand more about the things that held me back. I needed to understand the reason why I behaved because the reason why I behave as I did were more important to the behavior itself.
I think of it like this, when we’re sick and go to the doctor, the doctor asks about our symptoms.
Do you have a sore throat? Is there any headache?
Do you have a fever?
They ask simple questions like this. But the headache or the runny nose are only symptoms. Although uncomfortable, the symptoms are not the problem. They are only evidence that the problem exists. We can alleviate them. We can soothe them. But to rid us from the symptoms, we have to treat the underlying problem.
The way I love you comes back at me in different directions.
And I can see this in the reflection of your eyes,
which look at me like perfect mirrors
to reflect the stories in your life.
This teaches me what I have become
and what I mean to you.
I was sifting through some of my older journals and came across a piece that was posted a few years back.
It’s funny to me. It’s funny because time overlaps something relevant from our yesterdays to remind us of what should be important now.
In the book, “A Dairy of a Young Girl,” Anne Frank wrote, “Paper is more patient than man.”
She said this because she believed that people are impatient. And let’s face it. She is right. We live in a me first world.
But she was just a kid when she write this. She was a kid from a different generation in an ugly time and an ugly place. She wrote in her diary because to her, it was easier to be honest on paper.
I get that.
To her and her dairy, Anne Frank used the paper and pen because a blank page has no agenda or anyplace else to go.
I get that too.
There is no way to undo the yesterday we wish we could get away from. Words can not be retrieved once spoken and actions cannot be undone. So don’t wast too much time on this.
The reason why is nothing about yesterday is changeable or alterable, which is the reason we keep running from it.
It is amazing how we limit ourselves. We limit our abilities. We limit our successes. We limit our interactions as well as our opportunities. We do this based on fears, concerns, and the internal arguments, which convince us that we just can’t do what we want to do.
It is amazing to me how one small word can limit us from such enormous possibilities.