Monday, November 29, 2010

This Thing Called Life

During this time of year, I’m pretty observant when it comes to people: what they say, how they act and of course, their actions overall. More people get depressed and there are plenty more suicides during the holiday season. Everything may appear to be “okay” on the surface, but inside they’re dying. Certain dates, loved ones passed and other negative triggers can leave someone feeling either bitter or sad. It’s so easy to say, “Well it’s just like any other time of the year” --but it really isn’t. There are too many “happy” memories of the past...key word: past. The holidays are no longer about happiness, but only the nostalgic memories of ‘a time when’. Some tend to get stuck into that time warp, leaving them with a sense of hopelessness that there will never be a holiday full of cheer, no one to love like once before and no more laughter while celebrating the New Year. “The New Year” - think about it. It’s a new year for a new future. It’s a new opportunity to jump into another chapter of your life. It’s a door opening, welcoming you into a new and hopeful future. The past is the past. Cherish the memories, but remember, everything you have ahead of you will be much better than what you had once before. It’s a state of mind that you have to adapt to in order to make life worth living again.

Sadly, a friend of mine lost her brother in an unfortunate car accident about a month ago. She’s having a hard time, especially now during the holidays and doesn’t know how to cope without him. They were best friends - never apart and always did everything together. She happens to be an atheist and told me that she feared not being able to be with him in the afterlife due to her lack of faith. Although I respect her enough not to push my religion on her, I told her what I believe would happen. I truly believe that God has given us the ‘burden’ of time ---for a very good reason. In “heaven”, or for some, the afterlife, there is no concept of time. I think of it like this: our deceased loved ones are up in heaven and waiting for us. For them, they’ve been told that they will see us in ten minutes. For us here on earth, ten minutes is equal to seventy years. Our time here is drawn out to the max, while up there, there’s no such thing as “a long time”. To us, it seems like forever. I also believe that God is an all forgiving God and it’s so easy to get lost in losing the faith due to so many bad things happening. “How can a “god” do this to us? How can he take away the people we love? It’s not logical.” No. It’s not logical because if it were, people would have figured out God and His plan a long, long time ago. Science and faith/spirituality do not go hand-in-hand. In fact, the more intelligent (book smart) one gets, the more debunking goes on; the more analyzing and proving that spirituality or perhaps, “God” is not real. Science will definitely give you concrete answers to ‘what’s not seen is to not be believed’. But when you think about it on a ‘higher realm’ other than science: God created science. Why would He have us figure it all out? He sees the bigger picture, while we only see a small scope of the meaning of life.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a sibling God forbid, but knowing (by faith alone) I believe that the "ten minutes" that our deceased loved ones have to wait, is comforting in itself. If you can simply “choose” to go on and be happy --deliberately smile even when you don’t feel like it - it eventually comes naturally. Think about your life ten years ago. Now think about how fast time flew. Life is way too short to mourn for too long. I’m not saying not to grieve for someone, I’m just pointing out that there is a bigger picture to this thing called life.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Would Your Life Be Like...?

In between writing my second book and still digesting my Thanksgiving dinner, I started to miss my blog. I’m sort of at a crossroad, more like a complete block. While rummaging through Tumblr and Twitter posts trying to find some sort of inspiration, I then got a call from a very special person in my life. We had the most interesting conversation about people and life in general. It’s amazing how much we think alike and experience much of the same things. An hour over the phone felt like five minutes. Without divulging specific events or names, we were discussing how some people are - how they react to certain situations and how inconsiderate, mean-spirited and just plain rude they can be overall. While we all have our faults, we focused more on the people who are more self-absorbed, worrying about their self-image through other people. And what I mean by that is, those who are ashamed to be friends or associate with people who they truly like and admire. Their own insecurities of self-image consumes them, where they find themselves either not attending certain functions or not inviting ‘mixed company’ due to differences in financial statuses or maybe lacking some 'runway model' features. While these people gnaw their way into the whole ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ gig, they miss the core value of life and the meaning of true friendship. It’s solely based upon similar wealth and appearances. While keeping your appearance up to par is always a positive thing, it can also be quite consuming if you’re only doing it to “compete” with others. If it’s not about feeling good about yourself, then it’s just meaningless in the end.

Speaking of the same people, we also trickled into the topic of the thoughtlessness of those who have so much, but give so little. Dare I even say...selfish? My mother always taught me that when you go to somebody’s house, never go empty handed. If you’re invited to dinner, either bring a bottle or two of wine or dessert...or perhaps both. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to do about the thought behind it: the gratitude of someone inviting you over to their home for dinner. Many people don’t understand the concept of ‘bearing gifts’ at a dinner party or any function at all. It’s not about monetary reasons either - it has everything to do about being thankful. These types of people are going to look back on their lives in their golden years and wish they had done it differently; wishing they would have spent more time with the people they liked better, instead of trying to rub elbows with ‘higher ups’ just to impress the world around them. They always have to get a better house, a better car, a better anything that everybody & their mother are trying to obtain. It has to get exhausting at some point. Is there a moment in their lives when they simply get tired and say, “When will this all end?” I said to my wife the other day, “I’m not so sure if I would want to win the lotto.” Of course I would, but it would be more about living off the interest and living a completely normal life, volunteering, giving to charity and more about how that money provides more time with my wife and family. It’s all about “time”. Some people don’t realize how short life is. If I win the lottery tomorrow, I have won more time with the people I love. I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if I still had to stay in my small condo forever. It’s all about connecting with the people you care about the most.

If you won the lottery or became rich tomorrow, what would your life be like?
Even now, in your own financial situation, (providing you haven't won the lotto yet) do you give more than what you receive?

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Friday, November 19, 2010

The World Unbeknownst to Me

Lately I have been neglecting my blog for a bit, unintentionally of course. Between getting plagued with the flu and trying to stay focused on my second book, which has been challenging in itself because a lot of it has to do with my life growing up as a child well into my adulthood. Some of the content brings me back to where I felt safe and loved for the most part, but there was a whole other world around me to which I knew nothing about. Some of the subject matter has everything to do with this post I had written here. Other content shows you how the typical Italian household functions; endearing moments to which many people can relate to, especially Italians in New York. My dad’s a good sport. Although he is willing to provide me with many stories of his past, I can’t write about that because it’s not “my” experience. I want to share my own experience in the eyes of a child (me) and let the reader decide what is what, and how I perceived everything to be as “normal”. You’ll be doing the “ahhs” and “ohs”, realizing what’s really taking place as I tell it through the eyes of a child. After my realization of it all at the age of sixteen, the story written “today” even at the age of thirty-six is very emotional to me, in turn becoming a difficult project in itself.

Many of the ‘thought to be’ traumatic things or perhaps, ‘unspoken events’ that had taken place have to be discussed with my family so that everyone is okay with what I am writing about. To some, people would say, “Oh you poor thing”----but that’s incorrect. I wasn’t this “poor thing” growing up, in fact when I think back to my childhood, I smile. All the things my parents had given me: love, support, guidance, a roof over my head, food, being cared for and tons of fun and laughter. So when some people think, “Oh wow she went through that” - no - I didn’t “go through that” - I was taken care of, loved, looked out for and never harmed emotionally or physically. I was spoiled rotten in fact. I had three older sisters to look up to, lots of family members who gave me such incredible loving memories. So, no “poor Deb” - it’s something I look back at and smile, even though the world around me was a bit unclear, the intentions of my family was in fact, to take care of the family.

So with much on my plate with trying my hardest to finish this book and go through the motions of experiencing it all over again, trying to keep my project of “Gays & Lesbians of Faith” still moving and also, maintaining my blog, as well as trying to get over this terrible flu, I ask that you please forgive me if my writing lessens just a tad on this website. This current book I am working on is much different from my first book - different in many ways: my writing skills, my topic and content overall. I started my first book back in 2003 & published it in 2005. I didn’t even have a blog back then. It was the first thing I ever wrote. Fast forward eight years later, I’m hoping to engage more readers and share my life with those who are interested, and those who can truly relate to the good ol’ Italian household, in every stereotypical aspect. Many will nod their heads, remembering similar times. I’m hoping to have this book released this spring or summer. I’m going to baby this one...

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Biding Her Time...

Why do things seem so much clearer once a sufficient amount of time has gone by? In the midst of all the madness, all things are foggy, unclear, confusing and perhaps seemingly ‘not so bad’. The eye of the storm is the most calmest, giving you an illusion of “peace and happiness”; a facade of tranquilness, well at least for now. When it comes to an end, you’ll have the approach the wall of the storm that’s swirling around you, waiting, hoping that you’ll enter its fury. Most of times, we know it’s waiting for us, but we don’t know exactly when we’ll be approaching that wall. For those with half a brain who are smart enough to know that ‘this relationship’, ‘this situation’ or whatever circumstance that they’re in the midst of - it’s as thrilling as bungee jumping. They know the consequences, yet they’re brave enough, or perhaps, bored enough to seek the thrill they’ve been yearning for. They don’t mind the risks, the consequences of the worst case scenario - they just want the thrill, hence the phrase, “thrill seekers”. It’s almost comparable to a drug addict. They’re desperate for their “next fix”, doing anything to get what they’re looking for. They know it’s bad for them, but they need it; they crave the “high” and know that the low is inevitable.

Are you sickened by my metaphors yet, or shall I go on and on? My favorite quote by Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Through experience and also seeing others go through this, I have to say that I’ve been through the insane road of going around the mountain a billion times until I learned that it was no longer fun and wasn’t benefitting me whatsoever. There was no destination other than grief. Why do some people cheat on their spouses, and yet keep them? Is it the thrill of getting caught or is it something they are lacking at home? If it’s something they are lacking at home, either separate from them or be honest and communicate about what you need. But the truth of most cases like these is that they never leave their spouses. I would say 90% of the time too. A good friend of mine is dating a married woman. The woman she's seeing has been with her husband for over ten years but is seeing my friend who happens to be another female. The husband has no clue other than “her friend” is coming over to pick her up. No harm in that, right? This has gone on for a few years now. My friend has fallen madly in love with her, with mutual feelings by the married woman. Of course, the married one had promised my friend that soon, she’ll be without her husband because she wasn’t in love with him and they are no longer intimate. Fast forward two years later, the married woman is in fact, still married and still sleeping in the same bed as her husband.

I’m writing this post with full permission of my friend who chooses to be anonymous, however would like to hear advice from others. She has been around the same mountain at least five times already, whether it be with another taken woman or someone who was married. I called her out on it and said she had commitment issues. She’d rather date someone who couldn’t ‘attach’ so much. She disagrees of course and claims that she just falls in love with who she falls in love with--period. Fine. But what explains the reason why every single person has already been taken? Why not a single person? So, my friend sits around by the phone waiting and waiting....and waiting sometimes, with no response, no phone ringing, no text message, until the next day. “I’m sorry, my husband was here and we went out to dinner with the family.” I know for myself I could not bear the thought of someone I love sleeping with another man every single night while I slept alone just merely thinking of her. It’s not fair to do to yourself. The agony she goes through each and every day is excruciating to watch, and yet somehow, as I’ve said to her before, “I don’t feel bad for you, but I hope you make a wise decision.” This woman is never going to leave her husband - ever. The family bond that these two people have is incredible. Whatever intimacy issues they’re facing is their own, but it’s sad she had to bring my friend into this as a quick and gratifying pastime.

To my dear friend, when will you stop traveling around this endless mountain and take a different route? You deserve so much better and you’re wasting your life on hoping that a marriage will end. What then? What if you two have problems? Will she seek another gratifying pastime if you don’t satisfy her every whim? Think outside of the box and please, jump out of the box while you still have time. It’s too stifling for you. You're just biding your time for something you'll most likely regret.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Table for Two, Party of One

We never wake up to an alarm. Our internal clocks get us up at exactly 7am. It was the first time in probably four days that we had both gotten more than eight hours worth of sleep. We’ve been sick with whatever plagued us, a cold, the flu --who knows, but it was bad. Last night I made a hot toddy for the both of us. My grandma always told me that scotch cures all, and you know what ---it definitely does. I couldn’t believe that I had woken up with such energy and steam to push through the day. Even though I work from home, I was more eager to trek down the street and get my coffee instead of making it. Being cooped up all week with this nasty bug was okay for the first or second day, but day three and four, I was getting a little stir crazy. Sometimes it’s just nice to relax, nurse a flu and turn the world off, but after a while, your eyes start to cross and you wonder if you’ll ever see civilization again.

As I hopped in my car, I realized how bitterly cold it was this morning. I turned the heat on, put my seat warmer on (it’s like a heating pad from heaven) and off I went to grab two coffees and breakfast at a nearby bakery that makes their java better than Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts put together. The line was longer than usual and the crowd was a bit more upbeat than I had expected, except for one lady sitting by herself at a small round table for two. Her eyes were red and watery, her hair disheveled as though she just rolled out of bed and her long black overcoat only revealed a pair of faded out jeans and worn out sneakers. I looked away to see if the line was moving, until I heard a sniffle. I looked over again thinking maybe she had a cold, but she was crying. “Don’t look, don’t look”, I told myself, but I had to...she was by herself...crying...alone. Naturally, New Yorkers are “insensitive” and they typically don’t want to get involved, especially in anything that has to do with emotional issues, but this lady was tugging at my heartstrings. What if that were me? Maybe she had no one to go to and just needed to feel people around her, so that the loneliness would somehow lessen...

“Ma’am? Can I help you?” I looked around and realized it was my turn to order. I asked for two coffees along with two egg white sandwiches with cheese. I looked back at the woman still sitting at the table sobbing with her cup of coffee. Out of nowhere, not knowing what she liked, I quickly interrupted the girl at the counter taking my order and asked for a regular egg, bacon & cheese on a bagel on top of that. I have no idea if this woman is watching her cholesterol or waistline, but it didn’t matter. I needed to do something. I walked over with a small little white bag with her goodies inside and said, “I'm sorry to bother you, but I took upon myself to order you a breakfast sandwich. I don’t know if this is something you normally eat, but I was hoping it would possibly make you feel better.” She looked up at me with her puffy red eyes, almost confused, and then went inside the bag to find the sandwich and looked up at me again. “Why, do you know I order these here?” For a moment, I was scared she had thought I was some weird stalker, until she said, “This is the nicest thing someone has ever done for me” and then got up and hugged me. I felt her jolting as she was crying. “Are you okay?”

With a big smile, she said, “I am now.”

I never knew little things like that go such a long way. I typically don't get into other people's business or get involved, because most of the time, it's more than I can handle. But seeing this woman this morning just broke my heart. I felt like in a sense, she was me, almost as if God was testing me somehow. I couldn't let it go and this was so out of my character because #1. I am too embarrassed to approach a stranger and #2. I always get a bit timid around emotional people, even being one myself at times. I don't know the right things to say or how to comfort those who are crying or upset about something. Although I couldn’t stay and sit with her, at least I left her at that small table for two with a big smile on her face.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Both Sides of the Fence

The other day, I had an interesting comment by another blogger on a previous post. It made me realize that there are people out there who still think that all homosexual relationships are “perverted”, and never once considering that it may just be a loving union between two people of the same gender. She wrote, “Someone I know says any same sex relationships has a hint of 'kinkiness' in them. I disagree whole heartedly and we argue. He then says, and yes he's Catholic, so the whole creation of the world is critical in his world, that God created Adam and Eve, and made it possible to procreate ONLY through the combination of man and woman. IF we hope to continue to have people exist, then reproduction is critical, which means He in a way defined a relationship to be between a man and a woman. Thoughts?”

Well of course I have thoughts on this. As far as homosexual intimacy goes, why do people assume that it’s “kinky”? Whether homosexual or heterosexual, any sex between two people can be “kinky”, but for some, just the thought of two people of the same sex is kinky in itself. It’s “perverted” and “unnatural”. Another concern of mine is the thought process some “religious” heterosexuals go through. For instance, any mention of the word “homosexual”, “gay” or “lesbian” means, “SEX”. Being gay or lesbian to me is just a sexual orientation, and by “sexual”, I mean the sex of the person you are drawn to. It blows my mind away whenever I tell somebody that I’m a lesbian, they tend to ask more sexual questions, never asking about the dynamics or lifestyle of being homosexual or loving my partner of sixteen years - they just want to know the sexual aspects of it, which is disheartening to say the least. I’ve even had had questions asking if I still have sex with men. What part didn’t they understand about me being together with someone for sixteen years? So right there is another concern: many think just because you are bisexual, gay or lesbian means that you have multiple partners. Promiscuity is not the same thing as a relationship between two people who love one another.

On to procreation... There are many heterosexual couples who cannot procreate due to health issues. So my question would be: should they divorce or break up just because they cannot procreate? Many gays and lesbians can adopt or go through means of artificial insemination or have a trusted friend donate, to have children these days. Not everyone is meant to have children. Not everyone wants children. Is it a “sin” to be childless? In China, I believe they’re only allowed to have one child per family and in most cases, in hopes for a boy to carry on the family name. I’ve heard many opinions from ignorant people stating that gays and lesbians should not have kids due to their reckless lifestyles. Reckless? So they bulk us all up into a category of reckless, promiscuous, perverted people. They never seem to look at the other side of the spectrum: the relationships of two people who love one another and create a family unit. They never think about those heterosexual couples who have children and end up beating them, sometimes to death, or the parents who do drugs, go on welfare, have more kids so they’ll get more money. There are two sides of every lifestyle. Why not look at it all instead of focusing on all the negative aspects of homosexuality, just because it’s unfamiliar to them? No doubt there are many homosexuals who give those monogamous couples a bad name. There is promiscuity on both sides of the fence

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Instant Gratification

It’s amazing how much we rely on the internet these days. Even for me to write a blog post takes a bit of research, depending on what subject matter I’m talking about. Whether minimal to extreme internet surfing, from the correct spelling of certain names to the correct information given by news sources, the internet has taken a whole new meaning of “instant information” at the tip of our fingers. I’m sitting here in my office without any internet connection. We’re having quite the storm here in New York, which brought down a few trees around the area. When I came home to open up my laptop, I realized I had no connection whatsoever. I picked up my phone, which happens to also be connected to the internet ---nothing. Even our phones are relying on the internet. I quickly shuffled over to my BlackBerry to frantically dial customer service. “The technician will be there tomorrow between 10am - 2pm ma’am.” Although this wasn’t the answer I wanted, it was the only solution I was going to get. We’re so quick to get online, yet they’re so damn slow to get us back online. It’s amazing how far behind telephone & internet companies are when it comes to restoring services. And yes, I tried logging onto someone else’s internet connection, but apparently they were down too.

I remember the days when I worked for a telephone and internet company myself. I’d cringe at the person who would call in at around the time I did today --5:00 pm complaining about no phone service. I used to take a deep breath, and inform the customer that a technician would be at their house restoring service the next “working” day between 8am - 1pm. (God forbid this fell on a Friday evening.) I heard the frustration in their voices. One older gentleman used his neighbor’s phone. He had health problems and was disabled. He clearly couldn’t be without a phone. He didn’t have a cell phone or any other means to call if there was an emergency, other than his neighbor checking up on him. We literally had to send one of our reps out there to give him a temporary cell phone overnight just in case he had an emergency. What did we do before the internet? I mean, think about it - we totally flip out if we can’t log on or use our landlines when in fact, we hardly ever use our landlines. I use mine mostly for business and conference calls, but when it comes to personal stuff, most of my communication is through the internet or through my cell phone. The more technology increases, the less our motivation to do it the hard way decreases.

For example --my loving sister. She just bought a brand new BMW with an advanced navigation system inside it. She’s a real estate broker, so having this navigation system helps her a great deal when going to new locations she’s never been to before. For some odd reason, the navigation system had to be repaired and updated. While driving to one of her locations a bit far from home, she panicked when it told her to make a left hand turn into....a lake. My poor sis was stuck in the middle of nowhere relying on this piece of technology (or POS) to get her over the river and through the woods. Whatever happened to compasses? I love my navigation system, but I remember back in the day when we didn’t know where a location was, I would trek over to & print the directions out, and before that I would call the person or company to get complete directions and write it down manually. (I forgot what my own handwriting looks like.) What have we done to ourselves? We’re completely helpless. We are slaves to technology.

While talking with my mother today, she made me laugh and asked, “Remember the 'bag phone' we gave you when you were sixteen years old?” It was a phone inside this leather sack - looked much like a car phone, with the exception of mobilization. People thought it was an ugly purse, so I just left it in the car and said the hell with it. Even before the cell phone craze, remember CBs? I mean, come on, talk about antiquated - but hey, you had communication inside your vehicle just in case of an emergency at least. “Breaker breaker 1*9 1*9” and someone would respond to your emergency call. Granted, you’d probably end up with some hillbilly in a rig, but it sure beat being stuck on the side of the road waiting for someone to stop.

And whaddya know - oddly enough, my phone and internet just started working NOW. Time to call the cable company to cancel that visit from the technician. I think I’ll post this little tidbit on my blog NOW. Wow, instant gratification. Gotta love it.

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Saturday, November 06, 2010

It Works Both Ways: Recovering From a Broken Heart

There came a time in my life when I realized that some of the people I trusted with all my heart were absolute frauds. I turned bitter and skeptic of everyone who had entered my life thereafter. Within that period of skepticism and doubt, I then realized something else: people are only human. We all are human, we make mistakes, we say things that sometimes don’t line up with our actions. We’re not perfect. The higher my expectations were for the people who were in my life, the more disappointments came flying my way. I would isolate myself and basically befriend those who were “safe” -- like people from across the nation or I would hang around my family more (which is never a bad thing). My circle of friends became less and less and when I delved in deeper into understanding human behavior as well as understanding my own flaws, I took into consideration that yes -- maybe every single person in my life will betray me, hurt me or disappoint me at some point, but in life, that’s the risk in anything or anyone you come across. For instance, you land a great job. Risk: you lose it. Same with people.

Let me ask you this... In your memory file inside your mind, do you remember anyone telling you sincerely, “I would never hurt or betray you. You can trust me”, and as they’re telling you this, they have the most sincere tone and look in their eyes? And maybe months or even years later, this very person does the one thing you would have never thought possible. It’s quite a pill to swallow and sometimes, it’s the most hardest thing to recover from: being betrayed from someone you trusted most. As I have said in my previous post, forgiving “should” go hand-in-hand with forgetting, but our minds, as human beings, as faulty as we are --how can we forget? I used to be a big believer in forgiving and forgetting, but that second part, I. just. can’t. forget. So many people chime in with their advice, “Get over it” and you just give them a look as if they’ve lost all sensitivity whatsoever. I’ve even said that to a few of my friends after harping over a lost friendship or relationship. Again and again they’d tell their story and I would sit there and blurt out: “Get over it!” Easier said. There’s an “educated guess” about how long it takes to get over someone. So, if you were with the person for two years, your estimated time of recovery is one year. So whatever the time length, cut it in half, “they say”. I think it’s bullshit. I think every single one of us deals with emotional grief in various ways. The heart is a fickle thing. I believe most memories are stored in our hearts. We tend to focus more on the good because let’s face it, just thinking about the bad times actually makes us go through it again.

Especially with friends, my heart seems to never heal. It’s like losing a friend to death, yet they’re still out there choosing not to talk to you due to bitterness and resentment. When is it time to just let go? (For both people.) When we’re sitting inside a deep lull in lives and those thoughts come trickling in unexpectedly, do we entertain them or do we brush them aside and try to ignore our own minds and hearts? I have a few friends who have lost their parents, including Madelene. Years and years go by and still, their hearts are much too heavy on certain days. They never truly get over the loss. Something is always there to remind them or spark a memory, whether through a song, through something someone said or maybe finding an old photo. How do you tell your heart to stop? How do you make the memories disappear? And, if the person you can’t get over is still alive, how do you reconnect and take away all the pain, grief and bitterness and replace it with trust, love and laughter? I truly believe that life’s too short to waste on bitterness. The relief you can give to somebody who has hurt you is to forgive them. Whether or not you choose to (or are able to) forget is just something out of our control. But once forgiveness sets in, you're not only giving relief and peace to the offender, but you’re giving relief and peace to yourself. It works both ways.

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Friday, November 05, 2010

To Forgive & Forget: Is It Possible?

The hardest thing in the world is having your heart completely shattered by someone you love. To make things even more complicated is to fight back with words that can only do more damage. Those words are never forgotten, yet they can always be forgiven. But what’s the use if forgiveness doesn’t go hand-in-hand with forgetting? To “forgive and forget”: has that old saying been expired? Or, to our surprise, were they never a couple to begin with? With something trivial like a petty argument between two friends, it is very possible to forgive and forget, whereas weeks later, the two involved have no idea why the argument took place. But what about a breakup or a heartbreak of any kind, through a lover, a friend or a family member? Words are so powerful and sometimes, more brutal than a physical kick to the throat. I have said and regretted many things that have hurt people who were close to me, and those not so close. I have said things that made another cry. I saw how powerful those words were, and I still realize how much pain it gives to another person. In turn, I also remember each and every word that has ever pained me in the past. It’s embedded in my mind and sometimes, the words will repeat themselves when I’m having a bad day. They still hurt “today”. Those words sit inside me, molding my heart into a voodoo doll, jabbing and poking needles in every which way, reminding me that someone else may come along to throw some more needles in for the attack. Forgiveness is huge, but if it’s not forgotten, is it truly forgiven?
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Are You Truly Happy?

This morning, the rain seems to be a lot heavier, with a bit more steam behind it. I can’t imagine just mere clouds in the sky having so much tears to shed; a constant flow of sadness and bleakness barreling down my roof and the streets below. In ways, it’s a beautiful, comforting sound, and in other ways it feels very dreadful and sad. On the other hand, the rain inspires me to write, however it also makes me think of things in the past, conjuring up thoughts that tug upon my heartstrings: a past love, a death of a close friend or feelings of inadequacies, etc. Sometimes it even churns my current situation and asks, “Are you truly happy?” Am I truly happy? What does that even mean? What does that mean to each and every individual? “Happiness”. The word alone sometimes makes me wonder if it’s all a facade; a mask that hides the hidden tears, just as umbrellas save us from the rain. We’re still “in the rain”, yet not getting the full effect, showing everyone around us that we’re okay - we’re “dry”, at least for now. I think many of us do that in life: put a smile underneath all that sadness. Truth is, it’s just human nature.

We all get into funks or little depressions in life, but sometimes we find ourselves trapped in it for longer than expected. I know for myself, I would dwell in it, welcome the sadness because it was a good outlet for my emotions. On the other hand, the side effect was a lingering feeling of hopelessness that seemed to have parked itself with no motivation to move out. I couldn’t shake it. I decided to go with my last resort which should have been my first resort: God. I prayed and prayed but more so, listened. Meditation is so important while you are praying. Without meditation, it’s like talking and talking without listening to any feedback in return. It’s pointless. What I found through prayer and meditation was the only answer possible. It was my only ticket into slipping out of this depression: gratitude. Well, what did I have to be thankful for? Things were going crappy and it seemed as though there was no change in sight. But wait --I’m breathing, I have my family, I have my friends, my health and I have this wonderful outlet & career that makes me --- “me”. I have a job that I love, to which I can’t even call it “work” because it’s exactly the opposite. It’s my passion. It’s my lot in life. So instead of praying for this and praying for that, or perhaps, just wanting "more", I thanked God for everything I have ‘now’ and everything good that is about to come. I also thank God for the best day of my life, before the morning even begins. That right there, is instilling faith (in whatever faith you practice) and putting positive reinforcement into your life, which in turn, brings back a positive outcome. Although I’m of Christian faith, I have learned a lot by those who practice Buddhism.

To some, this may sound a bit ‘wishy-washy’, but for me it’s truth. It borderlines the laws of attraction to some degree, but more so, it’s all about faith in knowing that your gifts from God (or your faith alone in whatever practice) are coming into fruition. Faith alone speaks volumes and shakes up the universe bringing back things that are supposed to be just for you. They were in fact, already there, waiting for you to call upon them. It’s not about monetary things I speak of --it’s the little things in life that make us happy like having no pain when you wake up or sipping on a delicious cup of coffee with nobody interrupting you. I used to be an adrenaline junkie where I had to get my high off of some sort of excitement in life, whether buying a big ticket item that I would soon get tired of, or spicing up life with a big party, until the next morning I had to clean everything up and retreat into hermit-mode. (I still love having parties though.) But it's more than that - it’s all about the constant joy, whether you are feeling happy or perhaps feeling a bit down about something. The constant joy of gratitude: knowing what you have right now; what’s right in front of you. Some people take these wonderful things in life for granted. This past year I went through many health issues as you’ve seen if you’ve been reading me for some time. I must have visited the ER about twenty times with various health problems, having doctors wanting to open me up and dispose of my gallbladder as well as other organs just to "eliminate" this & that, to finding out I had all sorts of gastrological problems. I came home and automatically thanked God for healing me completely, even as I sat there in pain crying. I prayed that God would baffle the doctors by healing anything that was detrimental to my health. I had complete faith that nothing---I mean nothing was wrong with me. When I went in for more testing, oddly enough they couldn’t find anything, as they have seen before. The doctors were completely baffled. After my last visit to the doctor’s office plus an endoscopy - I have never felt better in my life. "Umm, your stomach is fine and there seems to be nothing wrong..." the doctor said, as he shuffled through my medical records indicating a much different story. This stuff really works! By your own words and most of all, complete faith, you can turn things around.

With any circumstance, whether it be health issues, relationship problems or just a dose of depression, your words have so much power. I used to toss all that up to a buncha’ b.s. - but after experiencing this for myself, I know for a fact, (through faith) that it works. With the clocks soon changing back one hour this weekend and the nights creeping up on us faster, many of us are bound to experience S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is the depletion of your vitamin D, which we get from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, milk and by through supplements. With lower levels of vitamin D, most people experience depression or a lack of motivation. So even on a physical level, but keeping our vitamin D levels up, increasing our time outside and even buying one of those ultraviolet ray lights, you can up your doses. I prefer taking supplements, as I enjoy the evening hours very much. I’m like a vampire. But chemically, it can wreak havoc on your pysche without you experiencing anything ‘bad’ in your life. “I feel sad but I don’t know why”---is the most common thing heard when having S.A.D. You can get your levels checked by a doctor & see which source is best for you.

So what’s the secret to happiness? There is no secret because nobody is completely happy, unless they are content with having the constant joy that comes only through faith and positive thinking.

Here are some great quotes I picked out:

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln
“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy
“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” ~Palmer Sondreal
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.” - Alice Meynell
“Attaining Happiness is an ‘inside-job’.” ~Author unknown

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