20120912

Friendship Factorial!

Just when you thought it was safe, I decided to throw down the challenge of a lifetime,

Friendship Factorial!

Cultivating relationships are a big part of being human. Are you human enough to accept my challenge?

Expectations

Pick a person in your life whose relationship with which you want to grow and for the next twenty eight days grow it! It could be anyone in your life that you value. A spouse, partner, lover, friend, parent, sibling, family member, roommate, anyone!

Determine three things that you can do that will grow the relationship. It could be something like this:

  1. Schedule a dinner together at your favorite restaurant
  2. Tell that person something personal about your life
  3. Find out what the last book they read was and have a conversation about it

Then, do it.

Finally, let me know how it went. Looking forward to hearing from you!

20120823

The Story of The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Love

I’d like to share a great story that I read in a book called “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz.

There’s a very old story about a man who didn’t believe in love. This was an ordinary man just like you and I, but what made this man special was his way of thinking. He thought…

“Love doesn’t exist…”

Of course he had a lot of experience trying to find love and he had observed the people around him. This man was highly intelligent and very convincing.  He said that love is not real and that’s why no human being could ever find love… even though he might look for it all his life.

Love, he said, is just like a drug. It makes you very high but it creates a strong need.  You can become addicted to love. But what happens when you don’t receive your daily doses of love? Just like a drug, you need your everyday fix.”

He used to say that most relationships between lovers are just like a relationship between a drug addict and the dope dealer.  The one who has the biggest need is the drug addict.  The one who has the little need is like the dealer and this is one who controls the whole relationship. You can see this dynamic so clearly because usually in every relationship there is one who loves the most and the other who doesn’t love, who only takes advantage of the one who gives his or her heart.

The drug addict, the one who has the biggest need lives in constant fear that he will not be able to get the next hit of love. The drug addict thinks “What am I going to do if she leaves me?” That fear makes the addict very possessive.  “That’s mine.”

The addict becomes jealous and demanding because of the fear of not getting the next dosage. He completely surrenders and does whatever he can to do to avoid being abandoned. The provider can control and manipulate the one who needs the drug by giving more doses or fewer doses.  Or, no doses at all. What humans call love is nothing is a fear relationship based on control. Where’s the respect? Where’s the love they claim to have?

The man went on explaining why love doesn’t exist.

 

Young couples make a lot of promises to each other, to live together forever, to love and respect each other, to be there for each other through the good times and the bad.  They promise to love

and honor each other and make promises and more promises.

What is amazing is that they really believe these promises.  But after the marriage, a week later, a month later, or a few months later, you can see that none of these promises are kept. What you find is a war of control to see who can manipulate who; who will be the provider and who will have the addiction.

You find that a few months later the respect they had for each other is gone. You can see the resentment, the emotional poison, how they hurt each other little by little until they don’t know when the love stopped. They stay together because they afraid to be alone.Afraid of the opinions and judgments of others and also afraid of their own judgments and opinions… but where is the love?”

The man used to claim that he saw old couples who were so proud to have lived together 30-50 years or more.  But when they talked about their relationship, they said, “We survived the matrimony.” That means one of them surrendered to the other at a certain time… he or she gave up and decided to endure the suffering.  The one with the strongest will and less need won the war.  But where is that flame they called love?

The man went on and on about all the reasons why he believed love doesn’t exist.  His arguments were quite logical and he convinced many people. Then one day he was walking in a park and there on a bench sat a beautiful lady who was crying. Feeling curious, he decided to ask why she was crying.

You could imagine his surprise when she told him

she was crying because “love doesn’t exist”

Of course, he wanted to know more about her… “why do you say love doesn’t exist?”  he asked.

“Well, it’s a long story,” she replied. “I married when I was very young and full of hope that I would share my life with this man. We swore to each other our loyalty, respect, and honor.  So we created a family. But soon everything changed.

I was the devoted wife who took care of the children at home.  My husband continued to develop his career and his success outside of home was more important to him than our family.  He lost respect for me and I lost respect for him. We hurt each other.

And, at a certain point I discovered that I didn’t love him and he didn’t love me either.  But the children needed a father and that was my excuse to stay and do whatever I could to support him.

Now the children are grown and I now have no excuse to stay with him.  There’s no respect, there’s no kindness.  I know that even if I find someone else, he’s going to be the same because love doesn’t exist.  That’s why I’m crying.”

Understanding her very well, he embraced her and said, “You were right, love doesn’t exist. We look for love, we open our heart and become vulnerable just to find selfishness.  It doesn’t matter how many relationships we have, the same thing happens again and again.

Why even bother to search for love any longer?

They were so much alike and they became best friends. It was a wonderful relationship.  They respected each other and with every step they took together they were happy.  There was no envy or jealousy.  There was no control, there was no possessiveness. They loved to be together because they always had a lot of fun.  When they were not together they missed each other.

One day when the man was out of town he had the weirdest idea.  He was thinking…“hmm, maybe what I feel for her is love.”

But this is so different from what I’ve felt before.  I don’t feel responsible for her.  I don’t have the need for her to take care of me.  I don’t need to blame her for my difficulties. We have the best time together.  I respect the way she thinks and feels.  She doesn’t embarrass me.  I don’t feel jealous when she’s with other people.  I don’t feel envy when she is successful.

Perhaps love does exist but it’s not what everyone thinks love is.

He could hardly wait to go back home and let her know about his idea.  As soon as he told her, she said, “I know exactly what you’re talking about.  I had the same idea long ago but I didn’t want to share it with you because I know you don’t believe in love.  Perhaps lovedoes exist but it isn’t what we thought it was.”

They decided to become lovers and live together and it was amazing that things didn’t change.  They still respected each other.  And the love grew more and more. Even the simplest things made their hearts sing with love because they were so happy.

Then one night… a miracle happened.

The man was looking at the stars and he found the most beautiful one and his heart was so full of love that the star came down from the sky and soon it was in his hands.Then, a second miracle happened and his soul merged with that star. He was intensely happy and he could hardly wait to go to the woman and put the star in her hands to prove his love to her.

And as soon as he put the star in her hands, she felt a moment of doubt.  This love was overwhelming and in that moment the star fell from her hands and broke into a million pieces.

Now, there is an old man walking around the world swearing that love doesn’t exist.  And there is a beautiful old woman at home waiting for a man, shedding a tear for a paradise that she once had in her hands but for one moment of doubt, she let it go.

This is the story about the man who didn’t believe in love.

Who made the mistake?

The mistake was on the man’s part thinking he could give the woman his happiness.  The star was his happiness. And his mistake was to put his happiness in her hands.

Happiness never comes from outside of us. He was happy because of the love coming out of him and she was happy because of the love coming out of her.

But as soon as he made her responsible for

his happiness, she broke the star because she

could NOT be responsible for his happiness.

No matter how much the woman loved him, she could never make him happy because she could NEVER know what he had in his mind.  She could never know what his expectations were.  She could not know his dreams.

The Moral of the Story is…

If you take your happiness and you put it someone else’s hands, sooner or later, that person is going to break it. If you give your happiness to someone else, he or she can always take it away. So if true happiness can only come from inside of you…

You Are Responsible for Your Own Happiness!

If we truly wish to be fulfilled, we can never make anyone or anything responsible for ourhappiness.

20120822

Poetry for Change

Langston Hughes Let America be America Again


Let America Be America Again
1935

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.



(America never was America to me.)



Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.



(It never was America to me.)



O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.



(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")



Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?



I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.



I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!



I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.



Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."



The free?



Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.



O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME-
- Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.



Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!



O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!



Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!



Hughes, L. (1994). Let america be america again. The collected poems of langston hughes (pp. 189-191). New York: Vintage Classics.

20120821

My other half

"I saw your other half on Monday. We were at a professional gathering of professionals and we spoke about how professional we were."

That was a dramatic reenactment of something that was said to me the other night when I myself was at a professional gathering of professionals (Toastmasters). It got me thinking, "I'm not an incomplete person, dammit."

Really, I just wanted to call attention to the idea that people don't necessarily need to be in a romantic partnership to be a complete person. People do need a varied assortment of relationships and social activity to live a full life. I'm not saying that each person is an island entire of them-self; I'm saying that the whole notion that a second person could complete another is, to me, silly. People are complete as individuals. Think of the ideas of collective impact, 1 + 1 = >2, apply that to your social life, and achieve great things.

20120604

Authentic Happiness: Meaning in Life Questionnaire

I took the Authentic Happiness Meaning in Life Questionnaire and wanted to share my results:

you probably do not feel your life has a valued meaning and purpose, and you are actively searching for something or someone that will give your life meaning or purpose. You are probably not always satisfied with your life. You may not experience emotions like love and joy that often. You may occasionally, or even often, feel anxious, nervous, or sad and depressed. You are probably questioning the role of religion in your life, and may be working hard to figure out whether there is a God, what life on Earth is really about, and which, if any, religion is right for you. People who know you would probably describe you as liking to play things by ear, or “go with the flow” when it comes to plans, occasionally worried, and not particularly socially active.

Find the book here:

Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment

20120514

The Prisoner's Escape

Rain. It can be wonderful to dance in the rain for a few moments but to have to endure it for longer is difficult. Yet I have always loved the rain and have yearned for a day like today. I sit now, stuck under the cover of a branch that has kept some of the rain off of me. It was an adventure that has brought me to this very moment. It all started yesterday.
Yesterday began as any other day. The sun rose, it's light shining through the window down to the cell, where I have spent my entire life. My captor brings me my meal, clean water, and leaves me to my day. On their way out the window is opened so that I can have air and listen to the outside world. The sounds outside run my imagination wild and I dream up a life of freedom. That is how I usually spend my day until my captor returns and then we spend the evening together discussing the day's events. It is always a one-sided conversation. I have nothing to say that would be understood. But yesterday was different.
It was getting late and I could see by the light of the sun through the window that it was getting late in the afternoon. My captor is past due. Anxiety starts to creep up my body. A soft rustling outside the window startles me and I cry out.
Nothing. Moments pass but still nothing. It is unnaturally silent. I hear the rustling again, this time louder. My vision partially blocked by my cage I cry out as I catch a glimpse of a terrible sight.
Covered in fur, eyes as black as night, four legs, a tail with, and dangerously sharp teeth and claws. The beast is designed to kill.
This is the first time in my life that I have seen such a creature. Fear shoots up my body capturing my breath. The beast, now at the window, squeezes through. Soon the beast will be upon me. Locked in my cage I had few options.
Up to now all I have ever known is the safety of my cell. Yes my captor would often let me out but it was always so dangerous. Boiling cauldrons of water. Four immense spinning blades positioned on the ceiling that could kill me. I almost preferred the cage. It was safe. But back to the story.
The beast had heard my frightened screams and approached my cell. In a series of leaps and bounds it landed on the cage. I still had the cell to protect me but the weight of the beast on the edge looking down at me was causing the cage to lean dangerously to one side; it toppled over crashing down leaving the cell's door wide open.
With not a moment to spare I launched myself at the opening and to the open window. With a quickness the monster sunk three claws into my back knocking me down. I stumbled and rolled across the floor, to the window. Just as quickly as the beast I leaped up and flew out the open window and into a nearby tree.
That was yesterday. Now I sit here today; in a tree, on a branch, in the rain. The beast left me many hours ago. I am free. Alone.

20120429

Amazing American Express card limited time offer

Hi. For today's post I'll be offering a referral for the very cool to have, Starwood Preferred Guest (R) card from American Express.



All that I need to send the referral is your first name, your last name, and your email address. This offer expires 30 April (if this at all interests you, then, seriously, act now). If you click on the link, apply for the card, and are accepted, then I get 5000 points. To give you an idea of the value, I recently stayed at a Four Points by Sheraton for $25 a night. I ended up using 1000 points per night to cover the rest of the cost of the stay. It was actually a very good deal and, to top it off I was upgraded to a better room upon my arrival.



Sound good? Then click the picture link below to ask for the referral. Thanks.


20120406

Today is Good Friday...

Today is Good Friday, observed worldwide by Jesus buffs as the day on which the popular, bearded cultural figure, sometimes referred to as The Messiah, was allegedly crucified and - according to legend - died for mankind's so-called sin. Today kicks off a holy weekend that culminates on Easter Sunday, when, it is widely believed, this dead savior - who also, by the way, claimed to be the son of a sky-dwelling, invisible being known as God - mysteriously rose from the dead.



According to the legend, by volunteering to be killed and actually going through with it, Jesus saves every person who has ever lived - and every person who ever will live - from an eternity of suffering in a fiery region popularly known as hell, providing - so the story goes - that the person to be saved firmly believes this rather fanciful tale.

20120302

My letter to: Arizona government

I'm writing to urge you to address the funding disparity among Arizona's
three universities and encourage you to support Arizona State University's
FY 2013 State Appropriation Request. As your constituent, I am counting on
your support.

The FY 2013 disparity funding request will allow ASU to expand the
faculty, increase instructional support and student services, and address
problems created by unfunded enrollment growth.

I was able to receive a quality education at Arizona State University and
want my children to have that same opportunity.

Can I count on your support of ASU's State Appropriation Request?

Thank you for your consideration of this issue. A strong higher education
system is essential to job creation and a more prosperous economy.