Sometimes, There Is No Right Thing To Say

It is time for us to address a common topic. It is time to recognize that unfortunately, there is loss. Dying is part of life. There are times however, when loss comes unexpectedly. There are times when loss defies the natural order of how life is supposed to be.
For example, it is unnatural for a parent to bury their child. It is unnatural when the older buries the younger. No matter what the age might be, although natural, the finality of death seems so unnatural to us; to be without someone, to never hear their voice again or see them in the flesh, to say goodbye but yet, to hold onto them with all we have because memory is all we have left is an idea that has become far too common.

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Four Simple Words

There are four words that make up one important question. I remember the challenge this presented to me and the way I was stunned for the moment. I was stunned because I lacked an answer.
The question is “What is your why?”
What is your why? As in, what is your reason or what is your purpose? What is it that gets you up and out of bed in the morning? What’s your drive?
When you hang your hat at the end of the day, what is your takeaway?
What do you want to leave behind? The initial question is “What is your why?” but the question is bigger than just one simple thing.

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Letters From A Son: From The Heart 1/25/21

I took a drive by the old house last night. I drove through town and saw some of the old places. I drove by the park and saw the opened gate on East Meadow Avenue. This reminded me of the times when my friends and I would run around and be nothing else, except for young and crazy. It has been a long time since then. It’s been too long but still, I remember this all very well.

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Perfection

There was a time that seemed so long ago. I remember this time. In fact, I remember these times very well. And looks were everything back then. Life was different. The world was a different place to me. Then again, I was different then too. I was young and wild, crazy, and eager to be someone.

I had all the hopes but no direction. I was working at my first gig at the time. Dear God, I must have looked like a 12 year-old in a suit. I was baby-faced and carried a briefcase. I had hopes to make my first million by the time I was 21. The only problem was I never really knew the work this entails. Plus, there wasn’t much money or hopefulness in the business I was in.

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It’s Just A Little Thing Called Kindness

Know this:
Know that words have meaning.
Know that even the simplest terms can have the most powerful and profound effect on someone’s life. Everything we say has impact.
Everything we do has impact. Everything in life moves in an inevitable, eventual and unavoidable way.
Imagine a lake.
Imagine the quiet. Think about the surroundings. Think about the emptiness. Think about the toss of a rock in the middle of still waters. Think about the plunge and the ripple effect; whether the rock is big or small, there is always an effect. This is the same as the words we share.

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Notes From The Heart: Take The Shot, Son

It isn’t fear of success so much. Not really. This is not to say that fear isn’t there because fear is always there. Isn’t it? Fear itself is neither good or bad. Instead, fear is only a factor. Fear is only a motivator. This is one of the prime movers in our system.
There is no fear of success. There is no fear of crossing the finish line. There is no fear of “Making it.”
No, the fear isn’t about success at all. Instead, there is a fear to acquire and lose. There are the fears of reaching for a goal, achieving it and then losing it.
There are the inherent fears that have nothing to do with success itself. No, the fear is for the effort it takes to maintain our achievements. There are fears about making it once, feeling the thrill and then suddenly we become old news. There are questions like, “How do we keep this shiny and new? ”

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Fuel

It is safe to say that we meet all kinds of people. It is safe to say that we will meet unforgettable people. We will meet the remarkable ones who no matter where they are or where they come from or move to, there is and always will be a place in the heart for them.
Along the way in this thing called life, we will meet friends. We will love people. We will need them in our life and of course, there will be times when fate is being unkind. Yet somehow, almost mysteriously but always timely, the people we need most in our life instinctually arrive. We need these people. We need to be sure to keep them whenever possible.

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The Benefit of Commonality

There was a sales class I took where the teacher explained that it is best to always find a benefit to every fact. Whether the fact is positive or not, the idea is to always find a positive benefit and learn to connect to our co-workers and clients with a strong level of commonality. I saw how this helped me as a salesman. Moreover, I can see how this helps me with everyday life.

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This

This is who we are. We are this.
The truth is we are so many different things. Aside from being a person, we are what we see and what we think. We spend time worrying too much about things that are less important than we actually believe. We can all be trivial at times. We contemplate. We anticipate and predict. We find ourselves in a routine to create a source of comfortable understanding. This way we can come to an understanding. Or, if nothing else, at least we can find a way to tolerate the pace of everyday living.

We are a compilation of events and ideas that mix with emotions to become our feelings. We procrastinate from time to time. We are smart in our own way and ignorant in others. We are literally all of this. Yet, we are so much more.

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A Note From The Divorced: To Recover

There are basic motivations in life. There are motivations to be, to think and to feel a certain way. There are also certain motivators to keep us moving in a preferred direction. Ideas and thoughts lead us to the end results of feelings and emotions, which trigger a sense of need, desire and urgency. Motivation is neither positive or negative. Instead, motivation is an energy source in need of direction. The direction of our energy depends upon our motivator as a primary drive. 

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From Notes From The Heart: Do Not Quit

No one ever said that life will be easy . . .
There comes a time when you work and you work so hard that you almost lose sight of your purpose. You run into yourself at the door. You burn the candle at both ends and you wonder if any of this will ever make sense. You wonder if any of your plans will come through. You wonder if this is all just a game. Maybe what people say is true. Maybe this is all just a rat race. Maybe what people say is true and this is all just a maze and at best, all you can do is try to avoid the dead-ends so you don’t have to backtrack so much.

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A Little From The Abstract: This is Me

This is my heart. Does it look any different to you? Can you see this? Can you hear it? This is my soul. It contains all that I need to think and feel, breathe and dream.
Do you see?
Perhaps, I can show you.
I am a series of ideas and a chain of events. I am the backbone of my soul. I am the way towards my fate and yet, I am the only factor that can ever hold me back. I am a young boy around the age of six or maybe seven. I am the realization that not everyone plays fairly. Not every memory is a benefit and not every lesson is taught by the appropriate teachers.

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Switching Focus

Everyone knows what this is like but yet, when it all goes down, there is in fact an inherent sense of loneliness. When life fails or when you find yourself at the bottom of misfortune; or wait no, even worse is when you find out you’ve been wronged or betrayed, or wait no; when you’ve invested so much into someone for so long, you worked and bled, sweat and your tears were all given; only to wake up and realize that it all went wrong. You wake up to see your life blow up in your face. Your hopes are sunk and your heart breaks. In the meantime, there is nothing but the truth of what just happened. There is nothing but loss and the taste of contempt that coats your tongue. This is life sometimes. No one gets out without a scratch. Unfortunately, heartache finds everyone.

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A Mental Trip

It was after nightfall on the beach in San Diego. I was about a half mile north of Mexico. The moon was full and beaming down on the surface of the ocean. I had never seen a place like this before. I had never seen the moonlight intermingle with the waves like this. I never saw a pier that reached out from the land and stretched high above the shoreline and reached out into the water. I never saw anything like this, except in movies. I never felt the feelings or smelled the smells. This is partly what made my trip so memorable to say. Perhaps this was memorable because there is nothing like this in New York. There are certainly no palm trees. The sunrise was different here. So are the sunsets.

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A Note To The Speaker

I have had the chance to speak in small rooms and large auditoriums. I have presented in front of people that ranged from young kids to adults. I do not change my speech. I do not change my explanation nor do I change the flow of my story. First of all, my story is my story so why change it?
And the answer is yes, like anyone and everyone else in this world, I have a past. I have a past that I am not proud of. I have a history that was marked with shame. I have a stigma that I had to learn to change.

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Notes From The Heart: For Kareem

To say the previous year was a year of loss would be an understatement. The truth is we all lost. We lost connections. We lost the opportunity to gather. Some people lost their jobs and businesses, and some people lost hope. We lost loved ones, friends and family. 

As it stands, 2020 is a year that will never be forgotten. There is no doubt this year will be a year that goes down in history books. This will always be known as the year of the pandemic. 

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Silence The Inner Critic

There is a popular saying that goes, “I am my own biggest critic.” There is another popular saying, which goes, “I am my own worst enemy,” and all of which can be true. We can beat ourselves up. We can hold ourselves accountable for things that were far beyond our control. We can blame ourselves and punish ourselves but the punishment is in the mind.
Marcus Aurelius once said, “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Think about this for a second.

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No More Excuses

Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.”
If you want to do something then do it. If you want to go somewhere then go. If you want to be someone then be it. Don’t let a small thing like intimidation set you back.
Don’t allow the worries or irrational fears to keep you from your dreams or your happiness. Above all things, don’t allow your dreams to be exchanged for a life you never wanted. Be mindful. Be aware of excuses and be diligent on your course towards happiness.

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The In-Group and The Out-Group

In order to step away from the in-group and out-group bias, there has to be an understanding that difference does not always create enemies. The truth is there is no “Us versus Them” and there is no reason to “Other” someone. There is a word for this. Ever hear of it? It’s called “Othering.”
There are interesting phenomena that can be seen all around us. Take a sports team. Take the hometown favorite. Take the best player on the team and see them get hurt. See them fouled or mistreated in any way possible. The fans would feel empathy for the player. If the injury was severe enough to end the player’s career, the fans would mourn the player. The fans would hurt as if the player’s loss belonged to the fan’s themselves, which in reality, this isn’t so.

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Stop With The Pedestal . . .

I remember the first time I ever read the line “No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence.” I like that line.

For some reason however, we view others and put them on a pedestal. This begins at birth. This begins with the people in our life and in our family. This begins with our mothers and fathers and older siblings. We are trained to believe in a pecking order. We are taught and trained to think and hold people in specific regard because of who they are and the positions they hold. 

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A New Journal: Notes From The Heart

If for nothing else, today is a perfect day to reflect. Today, as in this moment now and here with you, the sun is coming up and peaking through my window of my loft. The clinking from my radiator signifies that it is cold outside but it is warm in here.
For now, all is quiet. For now, the new year is only a baby and was just born a little more than eight hours ago. There is so much. There are so many things I wish I could see and so many things I’d like to say.
Perhaps this is why I value our time as much as I do.
This is why you mean so much to me. I am fine here. I am comfortable. And you understand me. You get it. There is no need to pretend. There is no need to act or perform. It’s perfect.

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New Year’s Eve 12/31/20

So here it is, the last day of 2020. And here we are, hoping for something to come along and save us, like a vaccine or an answer of some kind, which can hopefully turn us all around. Maybe this is so we can get back to being human again. And tonight when the ball drops, this year will become last. I am writing this specifically to you. So, for the time being, I would like to clear away all of our sorry little distractions and scale back to the core of our natural being. 

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Having The Uncomfortable Talk

It’s time to have an uncomfortable conversation.
There is one painfully undeniable fact, which is there are no easy ways to have a difficult conversation. The truth is whether we want to talk about the struggles we face or not; the struggles are still real. There is no denying the problems we face. More importantly, there is no reason to deny them.

There is no denying the issues and there is no denying that sometimes, life moves too fast. Gravity can be too heavy. There is no reason to deny the fact that deep down, there is something that drowns us in what I can only describe as emotional quicksand. Know what I mean?

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Letters From A Son: A Note To The Old Man

Hey Pop,
It’s been awhile. It’s been 31 years to be exact. In fact it was 31 years ago today when you left us. I’m sorry it’s been a little while since my last letter. Not sure if you can see the news where you are but the world is in a little bit of a tailspin. In spite of this, I’m doing well. Or, perhaps I should say that I’m doing as well as I can be, I am still growing and still learning.

I often think about the lessons you would try to teach me when I was young. I was thinking about the different clouds. I remember you told me if we read the clouds then we can somewhat tell which kind of weather is on the way. I’m not sure what the difference is between nimbus or stratus clouds or cumulus or cirrus clouds. I don’t know much about the weather that’s on the way. I don’t know if it will rain or snow or if the sun will share its warmth but I admit it. It would be nice to know what’s coming my way.

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Understanding

Are you ready for some honesty?
See, I ask this because the interesting part about writing honestly is people have their own interpretations about this. Then again, the reason I write about this or the reason I write about any of my life is to expose my truth. I write about my life to be unafraid.

I do this because by exposing myself or my thinking, I have learned to uncover truth. I have learned to understand more about the roots of my thinking. I have grown to understand the roots of my emotions and the roots of my behavior.

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The Mental And The Physical

There is no secret that the mental affects the physical. In fact, there have been numerous studies on the subject. There have been studies on our inability to forgive or hold resentments and how this leads to anxiety and depression. Subjects like anger and rage or resentment and the constant internal struggle with the internal voice which can otherwise drive us insane can also put us at risk of strokes, heart disease and heart attacks. There have been studies to prove that mental illness fuels physical disease. I suppose this is why self-care means more than just a healthy diet.

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So I Heard You Want To Talk About Inclusion

There is a common need, which we all have. There is a basic sense that goes beyond the initial five senses, which are sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. We need a sense of purpose. We need to feel a sense of balance as well as a sense of belonging. We have a need to be included or involved; not to mention the need to be protected or the need to be right. We have a need to dream and a need to feel. We have a need to be wanted and desired as well as nurtured, valued, comforted and loved.

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Christmas Morning 12/25/20

This morning is Christmas Day. I am sitting in the loft of my home beneath the skylight and listening to the sound effects of a heavy rainfall. Of course, I have my trusty cup of coffee by my side. The quiet dimness and the warmth of soft Christmas lights around the Christmas tree and the other decorations in my house is peaceful to say the least.
Most of the snow from the previous storm has melted away. And for now, I am alone in a much needed moment of isolation and reflection. For now, I am thinking about an old family tradition that we shared together on all of our holiday gatherings.
The tradition is heartfelt and simple and although this began on Thanksgiving, the tradition to go around the table and express what we are grateful for had eventually moved beyond the traditional Thanksgiving feast and grew to a larger custom, which followed us to every big occasion or family gathering. 

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Letters From A Son: About Last Night

There are times when I am given the opportunity to share my experience with others. And there are times when I have the chance to allow my past experiences to help someone undergoing the current moments in their life. More importantly, there are times when I am able to pay for the destruction of my past or better yet, there are times when I am given the chance to resolve my old tensions and pay back for some of the pieces of my life, in which I owe or feel as if I need to amend. 

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The Oppressor Within

If given the chance to do anything or say anything you wanted to, what would it be? If you could go anywhere with anyone, where would it be and with who?
I love these questions.
Of course there would always be the obvious answers. There would be the natural responses. There would be the usual loved ones. I suppose the list would consist of usual places. Or perhaps not.
Maybe we could make this interesting. Maybe could switch this up and go to places that no longer exist with people that are not in our life anymore.

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The Uneasy Memories

We were younger once. We were young and unafraid. Remember? We were the kids from the town. We all knew each other. We knew the stories and the places where the stories began. I look back and laugh sometimes.
I see pictures from our youth. However, I am seldom in photos. I don’t know why this is but nevertheless, this is true. There aren’t many photos of me from when I was younger. Yet still, there are times when I come across pictures from when we were kids.
I can almost smell the smells and hear the songs. And the songs were everything. Perhaps I have said this before but the songs and the music we listened to were like matching anthems, each with their own spirit of revolution and independence and each with their own mood. 

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Boat Trips

I want to feel the wind on my face…
I want to smell the salty air of the sea, way out beyond the world and far beyond the manmade products that fade in the distance. I want to set my course to head out beyond the concepts that keep us connected to our daily technologies. I want to disconnect from the common tragedies and be free from the rat-race and the mazes we’ve been trained to run through.
I dream of this.
I dream of me behind the wheel in a wheelhouse in this vessel I call my fantasy. My boat is not the newest in the marina. She is older and matured. She has seen her time and lived through her day but above all things, she is trusty. She is sturdy. And she is mine.

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Just a Note to Self for Those Who Need It

James Cagney once offered an actor some advice on how to handle the pressures of stardom when stardom comes along. He said, “Start with one thing, that they need you. Without you, they have an empty screen. So, when you go down there, just do what you think is right and stay with it. From that point on you’re on your own.”
I love this. I watched this interview several times but for some reason, the interview struck me differently this time. I heard this and I thought about you. I thought about you and your life. I thought about the life you face and the fears which hold you back. More accurately, I thought about how unaware you are of the meaning behind your presence and the absolute value of your worth.

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To Understand

There are things in life that we all understand. We understand the difference between sunshine and rain. We understand the difference between daylight and nighttime. We understand what it means to lift something that weighs 5lbs as opposed to something that weighs 50lbs. We understand the sensation of touch and taste, sights and smell. These things make sense to us. Intellectually, we understand why time flies when we’re having fun or how it drags when we’re stuck in a place where we’d rather not be.

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The Relapse

So there is an ever popular question, which people ask all the time. And the question is “Why?” 
As in, if you got out and got away from the bad life, why would you ever go back to the poison that almost killed you?

I’ve heard people say, “You were doing so well,” or they’ll say “But you had so much potential,” and they say this with a sad, tragic expression on their face as if to express pity or as if I or you or we the diseased minded, sickly and weak have somehow fulfilled the supposed label of being a letdown and mentally ill.

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‘Tis The Season

There are times of year which people favor more than others. There are times when the autumn winds begin to change from warm to cool. The leaves change color and then fall to the ground to leave the branches empty. There are times when seasons affect us in different ways. Some have a hard time when the seasons move towards the holiday time and some people find this triggers a sad way of thinking. There is a term for this. Then again, there is a term for everything nowadays. And I’m not much for labels however, the one thing this can affirm is we are not as lonely as our thoughts may imply.

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You Asked If I Pray

If asked if I believe then I would say yes, I do believe in something. I believe there is something out there. Maybe it’s just energy. Maybe what I believe in is a balance to the unbalanced life we live. Maybe it’s just a need to have something on my side, or maybe this is me talking to myself, which is something that I do often. But again, if asked do I believe in prayers then my answer is yes, I do believe in the power of prayer. This is not so much about my belief in God or the lack thereof. It is not even about religion, let alone an organized religion, or about a man or woman who stands on an altar or at a podium and tells me what to say or how and when. 

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A New Entry from “A Little From The Abstract”

There are times when we can feel something coming. We don’t know what it is or what it will be but either way, we can feel something coming. Maybe it’s a change. Maybe it’s a change for the better. Or maybe it’s an end to a chapter that needs to close, yet, we’re still in the middle and we’re not ready to finalize anything. Maybe it’s just a mood. Or maybe it is a predicament of the mind. Maybe this is why we think or feel this way. Maybe it’s the stress levels of the surrounding atmosphere that begins to over-pressurize this capsule, which we call our life.
I want to breathe, we say. And we want the weight to go away. Or in exchange, I can spell the word differently to take on an entirely different meaning and say “we want the wait to go away.” But either way, the word pertains to a sense of heaviness. In which case, either meaning can still mean the same thing.

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California Dreams: Imperial Beach, S.D.

There were mornings there in which I swore were nothing like any mornings I had ever seen before. The sea and the sunrise look different on the West coast as opposed to the East. The grayness of morning and the silvery mist atop the blue Pacific and the rumble sounds of the waves crashing in and then hissing after the collapse to return to sea was how I’d see the mornings. This, by the way, is how the Earth breathes. The ocean swells and the waves rise and fall like the chest of the body as it inhales and breathes out.

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The Anti-Bully: Be Your Own Hero

It’s not only what people say. It’s the way these things linger in the mind. It’s not the instance of bullying, it’s the aftermath. It’s the buildup of insult after insult and injury after injury. To believe this has no long-term effects is simply inaccurate. To believe that any trauma has no long lasting reactions is equally inaccurate.

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My Christmas List

Moving through the month of December, we are at the home stretch of the holiday season. People are looking for their last minute stocking-stuffers and gifts to put under the tree. I have some ideas myself. I have some thoughts about what I’d like to get this year. I have some ideas of gifts I’d like to give. Unfortunately, my ideas go a little beyond the normal catalog abilities and nothing from my list is sold in stores. 

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