Investing in Love

Sep
30

What exactly is an investment?  An investment can be defined as the commitment of resources in order to gain a profitable return.  You may think I’m referring to investing from a financial standpoint, but in actuality, we invest different things throughout our everyday life.  We invest “items” such as energy, time, knowledge and even love and emotions.  With every investment, there come risks.  In terms of investing love and feelings, what exactly is being risked?

 By pursuing a relationship of any type, the risks include emotions, feelings, rejection and even love.  The question is whether or not your feelings and emotions are worth risking.  Is the person with whom you have this relationship worth the investment?

When entering into a relationship, a person usually has a good idea of what they are seeking from the relationship, but is probably unclear as to what he/she is willing to risk.  This lack of uncertainty may evolve from a person’s own insecurities or past experiences and may even be due to the clear realization of the return on investment (ROI).  We can define ROI as the ratio of what you’ve gained or lost against what you have invested into the relationship.

Also, when deciding whether to pursue an emotional investment, the other person’s goals must be taken into consideration.  The goals must match up to some degree with your own.  Take for example a guy and girl that have known one another for quite a while.  Over the years, the guy develops feelings for the girl whose feelings remain only platonic towards the guy.  There are two scenarios in this instance.  The guy may not know the girl does not have the same feelings (the risk) or he knows the girl has similar feelings, but he is afraid to pursue the relationship (investment).  He may choose not to explore the possibility of a relationship both because of the risk of being rejected and because of the risk of destroying the friendship.  The guy would then need to determine if a relationship with the girl is worth the investment because of the possibility of no ROI or an undesired outcome.

How does one go about determining if a relationship is worth the investment?  How do you invest in a new relationship if you’re “investment leery” due to past relationships?  The majority of the time you know when a relationship is a good investment or not within a few weeks.  You may even know sooner given you’ve asked yourself the right questions.  When contemplating an investment in a relationship, consider the following questions:

  1. What attracts me to this person?
  2. What is the sort of relationship I’m seeking with this person?
  3. Where do I want to be in five years?
  4. Why did my last relationship (investment) fail?

 The above questions can provide great insight in determining if your investment goals match up to your partner’s goals.  There are instances when a past investment has put a sour taste in your mouth and you may be gun shy to make another investment or even allow someone to invest in you.  Try to avoid this trap as each investment is a new journey and will have very different results.  Past investment strategies that did not produce a desired outcome may cause you to delay or even turn down an investment that may have a positive impact on you.  Don’t be scared to invest what you have to offer.  Resist the urge to make an investment to only gain instant satisfaction

Referencing the definition of investment above, it was stated that an investment includes the commitment of resources.  Commitment is a critical part in any relationship, but commitment in this context has nothing to do with being in a “committed” relationship.  In this case, commitment means to continuously and without hesitation commit your resources:  feelings, emotions or love.  It is simply how willing two individuals are to invest in the relationship.

If you have decided to take the risk and pursue a relationship, don’t be lazy and stop investing.  A relationship could be looked at like a 401(k).  The more you invest, the higher your return will be.  If you stopped investing in your 401(k), you wouldn’t be very surprised when you had very little money in it.  Relationships require a regular investment of:

Time – All about how much time you actually invest into the relationship.  Remember that you can’t save time, you can only invest it.

Commitment – All about how much of your resources you invest on a continuous basis (love, emotions, etc.).

Emotions – All about how you feel when you’re with your partner and how you make them feel.

Esteem – If your self-esteem has taken a hit in the past, it could take years before your investment “breaks even”.  Allow the investment to grow your self-esteem which, in turn, will grow your partner’s self-esteem.

Energy – All about how much energy the two of you invest in the relationship.  Extra energy may need to be invested when times are rough.

Loving someone is never easy due to the fact that many trials and obstacles will be encountered. The investment (relationship) is continuously at risk and sometimes these obstacles might make you feel like giving up. It will be tested as times passes. Risks will always be present.  Always remember though, to love and be loved in return, that is the best result in this kind of investment.

A Better Place

Mar
22

Clearly love conquers all
Others often short do fall
Much empathy is needed each day
Possibly humanity is the way
Altruism displays true tolerance
Spontaneity inspires true impulse
Such actions we all should copy
Inhabitants of this land we occupy
Only selflessness should reign supreme
Near perfect world and we’re the team!

This is my first shot at what’s called an acrostic poem.

Dance of the Rainbow

Sep
7

Blades of soft green grass dance in perfect harmony.
Swaying violets join in the choreography.
Red flutter-bys are making their final descent.
And the fluffy white billows are all but absent.

The vast blueness has been the stage for the long day.
But soon the huge black shroud will enter into play.
And the flaming orange sphere will soon be retired,
As it begins its long journey as it’s required.

The glowing yellow globe rises above the stage.
The performers departed tired but assuaged.
Distinct sounds from the chirps of brown hop-alongs,
And whispers from Mother’s breath make a lovely song.

Hours go by as the orange globe sleeps peacefully.
Non-stop work is part of her everyday reality.
Soon the bright orange sphere will journey back again.
Another day of light and warmth it must begin.

Day begins to break, and the colors again rise;
The blues, greens and yellows; even the flutter-bys.
Sunrise to sunset, the cycle never does end.
Oh how beautiful; Mother Nature, our best friend.

The Next Step

Sep
7

I clear my mind; I clear my head.
Yet I still have the thought that I want to be dead.
Free of sorrow and definitely free of pain,
Death is a way to end life’s pleasure less game.
What did I do to deserve all this strife?
All I ever wanted was a peaceful and joyous life.
Life’s wicked game has surely taken its toll on me.
Everyone says I have much to live for, but I just can’t agree.
Fear of death no longer holds a barrier in my way.
And I don’t know why I continue, but I don’t know why I stay.
Perhaps I’m trying to convince myself that things could be changed.
Maybe my priorities are out of order. Maybe my life needs to be rearranged.
What shall I do with these inevitable feelings inside?
I used to keep them bottled up, but they’re no longer feelings I hide.
Where do I go now? Where do I run to next?
This decision is much too complicated; For now I’m much too perplexed.

Love and Compromise

Sep
4

For partners to compromise in their relationship, they must first understand how to compromise. This is easier said than done. They must first agree that it is acceptable to disagree with one another as long as no resentment is held against the other. Also, lines of communication must always remain open as it is important to let your partner know how you feel. Help one another analyze the pros and cons of the situation as this will allow the two of you to be fair to one another. Feelings of resentment should never come out of a compromise so be sure the compromise is what you want when you agree to it.

We need to distinguish between a need and a want. Webster’s Dictionary defines a need as a necessity or a requirement whereas a want is defined as to desire or crave something. It is not our needs we have to abandon in a relationship but rather our wants possibly if we must compromise effectively. The basic premise is how do we love one another if we fail to love our selves through self neglect? Can we be free of needs? I really don’t think so. We need water and food at a minimum, but of course there are other needs. In my opinion, needs differ from person to person. One person may need love; another person may need compassion; and yet another person may need ongoing medical attention ;-). An abundant life can come from the fulfillment of our wants. What does all of this have to do with compromising in a relationship? It’s simple. We compromise to fulfill our needs and the wants are just icing on the cake!

Compromising is a basic skill that is for life in general and is an important skill that must be honed to be successfully used in a relationship. Knowing how and when to compromise is a key component to a healthy relationship that will stand the test of time. Without the willingness or ability to compromise, your relationship can be set up for failure. There are plenty of people that view compromise as a sign of weakness or that it makes them appear to be the passive partner in the relationship. That is not the case. First off, it takes two to compromise and secondly, you must make the correct compromise. If you don’t both compromise, then it’s not a compromise. You basically just gave in to your partner. If you suffered a loss or didn’t fulfill a need, then you made a wrong compromise.

Just like any other agreement or relationship individuals enter into, there are rules of engagement so to speak. It’s the same with compromising. Here are a few basic guidelines when compromising:

• Neither of you should experience a considerable loss during a compromise. You will be giving up a portion of what you originally “wanted” due to the nature of a compromise though.

• The compromise should be as close as possible to a “win win” situation for both of you.

• It is central to the success of the compromise that the two of you trust one another will not take advantage of each other during the compromise.

• If you or your partner does not think they will be able to live by the agreement of the compromise, then do not enter a compromise.

To reiterate, every successful relationship requires a fair amount of give and take of your wants. The key to this equation though is balance. Each partner should contribute equally and should receive an equal amount of enjoyment in return. This may seem like a simple concept, but it is one that couples struggle with everyday. Neither of you are ever going to want the same thing at the same time. But if you master the art of giving an inch, your partner is more likely to go that extra mile in return!

Feelings in Relationships

Sep
3

If you are in the beginning stages of a relationship, an established relationship or even a marriage, shouldn’t you be able to ask your partner about their feelings and emotions? I understand the desire to avoid some painful topics, but if I ask you questions about your feelings, it is only because I am attempting to get personal and make an emotional connection with you. Isn’t that what partners in a relationship do? Isn’t that what people that love one another do?

When then is it so hard for some to open up to one another? Remember, there are a number of ingredients in a relationship: trust, communication and empathy, all of which play an important role in this situation. It only benefits us then to open up possibilities for sharing emotions with one another. We have all experienced pain and suffering sometime in our lives, but being honest and open about it gives the listener or the one asking the questions the chance to understand you a little better and to make that emotional connection with you. If your partner does not respond with the compassion and empathy that you expected or deserved, then that reflects on his character and NOT on you, the person that just revealed her emotions and feelings. Yes, sharing such intimate feelings of pain and sorrow can create feelings of vulnerability and even make us feel uncomfortable, but it will also allow us to make connections with our partner that are meaningful and beneficial to the relationship.

Emotions and feelings are actually the glue that binds couples together. Emotions and feelings are the groundwork of your ability to understand yourself as well as to relate to your partner. When you can control your emotions, you can clearly communicate your emotions and feelings as well as let your guard down, trust, become vulnerable and open yourself up to your partner. You will enjoy a healthier and happier relationship.

We all have the ability to experience many emotions including joy, fear, pain, sorrow and anger. But many of us are usually disconnected from these feelings in some way or another. By attempting to avoid these feelings, our emotions have become distorted in a way and have been placed on the “back burner” so to speak. We kind of forget about them and avoid them, but avoiding them can cause serious damage to our relationship. For instance, distracting yourself with some sort of obsessive or destructive behavior in order to avoid these feelings you dislike so much. Or sticking to a single response when someone brings up something that makes you uncomfortable and you retort by making a joke to avoid feeling sad or feeling insecure. Or lastly, you may even shut down completely by totally disconnecting from those harsh feelings. This can be bad for not only you, but for you partner as well. If you shut out your emotions, you’re shutting out your emotions. By that I mean you are shutting out both the good and the bad emotions so you are unable to experience the good things like love, trust and intimacy. It also takes quite a bit of energy to keep these feelings suppressed versus sharing them with the one you love. This can eventually become quite exhausting. And finally, it will damage your relationship. The more distant you become from your feelings, the more distant you become from your partner. You break the line of communication, but you also break the trust that is the foundation of the relationship which could possibly cause some resentment from your partner.

You can change. You can trust and feel safe sharing your feelings with the one you love. Trusting your partner and allowing them into your safety zone is frightening, and if you are afraid of a breach of trust, this can be quite devastating and can damage your desire to ever be intimate again. Always remember, relationships are built on feelings. When those in a relationship are honest with one another, they experience pain at times, but they will not experience the misery of a relationship built on lies or the lack of intimacy by one partner towards the other. Feelings come and go. Only those feelings that you act upon matter in the big scheme of things as well as in love and in relationships!

Love and Acceptance

Sep
3

In the early stages of every relationship, partners are usually ecstatic when they discover they share common interests. When obvious differences arise, these same partners abandon their previous convictions with the same enthusiasm. It is at these early stages in a relationship when that “new love” propels you forward to create similarities when none exist. To go a step further, the intimacy (both physical and emotional) is also effortless. Sometimes couples feel like they can talk for hours or even experience intense passion. As the relationship progresses though, the partners may find themselves preferring television over a conversation or the intimacy could even be on the decline.

Those couples that have been together for years have probably realized that there are differences between the two of them. Since they are human, and no two humans are alike, it is inevitable that differences were eventually going to surface. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Partners can be different but still be compatible if they are compatible in the areas that matter the most such as core values, parenting techniques, etc. Certain differences can actually complement one another though. For example, if you like to cook but you don’t like to clean and your partner does like to clean, then that’s a situation where the differences complement one another. Another example could be personality traits such as one partner is serious and the other partner is playful; or one partner is shy and the other is outgoing. On the other hand, differences can also cause much conflict. For instance, the quietness you once thought was charming can someday frustrate you especially when it takes all of your energy to engage your partner in conversation.

It’s at this point when couples begin to think about change. Something or someone needs to change. Finger pointing begins and couples often seek the help of a counselor. He expects her to change and she expects him to change. How can you change the unchangeable though? The answer is YOU CAN’T. You should accept that person for whom they are and learn to work with their differences as they are to learn to work with your differences. Most of us can easily see how we are different from our partner, but we do not know what to do with these differences. We are usually threatened by them though. We use them in arguments or even in power struggles. Therefore, we destroy or damage what might otherwise be a very fulfilling relationship.

A simple change in perspective, those very same differences can become a passage to the deepest intimacy a relationship has to offer. Differences can be transformed into the catalyst for change, ongoing adventure and personal growth instead of negativity and hurt. The differences will be painful at first, but with time and a new perspective (acceptance), the soul will open and new experiences will soon begin to occur. Work toward accepting the differences that exist. The art of acceptance is essential for a healthy relationship. Acceptance should be an essential tool that is always at hand in your relationship toolbox along with your willingness to compromise and negotiate!

In closing, practicing and mastering the art of acceptance will create a stronger, more fulfilling relationship. There are a few things to remember about acceptance. (1) You should always cultivate a mindset of openness. You or your partner cannot move past your differences unless you both consciously and completely open your hearts to one another. This means even the parts that you wish did not exist. (2) There are many roads to intimacy. The differences exist in how you and your partner get there. Notice I said differences? They do not imply a right or wrong method so you should suspend all judgments. (3) Acceptance is definitely not defined as submissive complacency. Basically, you are allowing yourself to co-exist with your partner peacefully given those circumstances that are beyond your control. (4) The road to acceptance does not entail lying down and accepting everything that your partner says or does whether you agree or not and never challenge your partner to improve. Relationships are built on compromise and change as time goes on. There may be something that your partner can change that would benefit the relationship and this should be encouraged. (5) Once you begin to accept the differences in your partner, you have taken the vital step toward appreciating your partner’s uniqueness. With practice, you will embrace the differences in your partner. It is these differences that make both you and your partner unique. And it is these differences that will make your relationship change over time and become stronger each day. Accept the differences and allow the change!

Thought of the Day

Sep
1

To discover true love, one must first embrace his own soul.

Love and Empathy

Sep
1

Empathy is another agent that binds a loving relationship together. Empathy can be both healthy and destructive for a relationship. Empathy allows us to form a deeper more fulfilling emotional bond with our partner. Empathy can be defined as the ability to feel and experience another’s emotions, moods or attitude within our own body as though it were our own feelings and sensations. It is sort of like compassion for another person, only empathy takes understanding and compassion to a whole new level. Empathy gives you an actual physical experience in your own body. This can be compared to watching your partner give birth. You can almost experience and feel every muscle and every pain in her body as if it were your own. This constitutes the ultimate act of love and complete surrender and can be emotionally rewarding.

Empathy can be said to be the building block of emotional closeness in a relationship. It is the foundation of the whole idea of “we” rather than just the “I” or even “you”. Less stressed is caused if you sense your partner feels how it is for you. You also feel closer and more trusting as well as more inclined to return empathy. Fundamentally, empathy is a skill that must be learned and honed and you can get better at it over time. Not only will getting better at it help your relationship, but it will also help with your parenting skills as well.

Once again, empathy is the ability to feel what one another are feeling. Compassion is deeply caring about one’s own pain as well as your partner’s pain. These two concepts are very inter-related in a relationship. People are born with compassion and empathy but as a child, if they are not shown either, they will tend to put up a wall and create boundaries. This child may even shut down when a parent shows compassion or empathy for others but not for themselves and ends up being walked on or potentially abused because of it.
Once one partner shuts down their empathy and compassion, they can do a great deal of harm to the other partner. This can include emotional disrespect or even abusive or physical violence. It is only when we feel one another’s feelings that we care about the effects our behavior has on our partner. It is through our empathy that we feel the connectedness with our partner and cannot and will not do them harm.

At times, both partners tend to shut down their compassion to conflict and then their conflicts are rarely resolved satisfactorily. One partner sometimes shows more empathy and compassion than the other partner, especially during conflict causing even more difficulties. If one person is able to maintain his or her compassion for the partner even when angry, but the other person shuts down, this creates an imbalance in the relationship. The more empathetic partner may end up feeling abused by the situation and may also be the one who usually takes steps to remedy the situation. Another problem faced in the relationship is when one partner deeply cares about the other person’s happiness and freedom, but the other partner, due to shutting down, does not support the other’s happiness. This can cause tremendous stress in the relationship as well as resentment between the two people.

It is only when both individuals can stay open to empathy, both for themselves and for others, even when they are angry or upset, that they can reliably care for themselves or others. Because caring ceases to exist without empathy or compassion, the partner on the non-receiving end of this may feel as if they are walking on eggshells.

I must point out that while bringing empathy and compassion to a relationship, you must also respect yourself enough to bring that same compassion and empathy to within yourself. You definitely need to make sure that the empathy and compassion you have for others does not mean you place yourself in such a vulnerable state to allow your partner to take advantage or to abuse and disrespect you in any way.

In closing, relationships achieve growth and balance when both partners are intent on developing empathy and compassion for themselves and for each other. Without empathy and compassion, there is no true intent to learn. Remember, it is only the one with an open mind that will accept how to learn to maintain empathy and compassion for both oneself and others.

On Fire

Aug
31

I saw the fire in her eyes
As she lay by my side
Like I have never seen before.

But something wasn’t right
As we lay there that night
Embracing each other as one.

I tried to explain
That we had much to gain
And that we should leave at once.

But she told me it was okay
To embrace her anyway
So I pushed her down to the floor.

I could feel her warm breath
Up against my bare chest
As we writhed together as one.

Our clothes were soaking wet
We were dripping with sweat
As we blindly crawled around.

Soon the place filled with smoke
And we both began to choke
As the firemen broke down the door.

Love and Tolerance

Aug
31

Although love is the binding agent that keeps a relationship together, there are a number of factors, both positive and negative, that affect how strong the love binds that relationship. One important element is tolerance. Tolerance can be defined as a fair, objective and permissive attitude toward opinions, feelings and practices that are different that one’s own. Basically, this is saying that to be tolerant is to have compassion for another’s feelings and ideas when they are different from your own. Exactly how important is this in a relationship? Should you have a low tolerance or high tolerance in a relationship?

In my opinion, tolerance goes hand-in-hand with respect. Respect in a relationship acknowledges that life isn’t always black and white and that for one person to always be right, the other person does not have to always be wrong. There can be times where there are areas of grey. Realizing this can always help the partners avoid unnecessary stressful discussions and arguments. If you respect your partner, allow that to reduce the workload in the relationship by limiting the challenges to those issues that are really important, not just differences in opinion. Is the house on fire? Are you having a heart attack? If not, then there probably are some areas of grey. Stop arguing! Have some tolerance of the other person’s opinions. Respect the other person’s opinions!

Displaying respect for your partner builds feelings of acceptance and reassurance. It helps to tear down any walls or barriers that may have been put up over the years. It also makes relationships lighter which could mean better intimacy in the long run. Naturally, there are things that couples do to one another that cause irritation or friction and possibly even embarrassment. This can be as simple as how your partner puts the toilet paper on the roller, or more serious such as the way he or she uses vulgar language in front of your small child. It is the tolerance in the relationship that recognizes that sometimes you each do things that drive the other crazy, but unless there are formidable consequences, you take a breather and let the irritation pass. One positive about developing tolerance is that benefits go both ways: You can each be yourselves without worrying that the other is going to take you to task. Over time, it seems that the relationship becomes stronger, or more adhesive, because the give-and-take attitude, or the tolerance, means that the irritation at some of these habits actually turns into a form of fondness for one another’s idiosyncrasies which creates a more loving atmosphere.

In closing, I must ask, why then have a low tolerance in a relationship? Having a low tolerance can only destroy the glue that binds the relationship together. It will annihilate the love that you both have worked so hard to shape. Low tolerance means you have no regard and little respect for the other person as well as their feelings and opinions. Tolerance and trust go hand-in-hand. A lack of tolerance will also create a lack of trust. This lack of trust will establish walls and boundaries between partners; a suit of armor per se will be put on be each person. These walls will then lead to less intimacy and less respect for one another. Destruction of the relationship is the final phase of the relationship.

Even though getting passed your partner’s irritations and aggravations may seem like a hard road or a huge challenge, in the long run, you will be rewarded not only with tolerance, but with your partner’s trust and loyalty. It will create intimacy and a strong bond or what we can call the ultimate love!

Thought of the Day

Aug
29

Just as water nourishes a plant, knowledge nourishes the mind and love nourishes the soul.

Love and Vulnerability

Aug
28

I have been doing a great deal of thinking about the relationship of vulnerability and love. Believe it or not, you are the most vulnerable when you are experiencing love. Years and years ago, I used to believe love was simply an elusive feeling, more of an ideal than a reality. Love was simply a fascination that you felt at the beginning of a relationship but never achieved in a way that was portrayed in the movies or in romance novels. In hindsight, I believe the “love” that I felt was merely a combination of physical attraction, a fondness for the girl’s personality and the security of being in a relationship. What I have since learned is that true love requires an additional ingredient more powerful than any other factor: vulnerability!

During my typical teenage years up until only just a few years ago, I engaged in the usual defense mechanisms of artificial confidence, hiding my insecurities and holding in my emotions both to protect my self-image and eliminate judgments from others. I wasn’t ready to reveal my true self on the basis that people might use that information to hurt or better yet, to destroy me.

Vulnerability plays an important role in any relationship. People need to feel needed. They need to feel they fill a special place in their partner’s lives that no one else can. They want to be missed when they are gone and celebrated when they return. Women forget the men have these feelings and the men forget women have these exact same feelings. One step further, emotional need can be said to be the willingness and the ability to allow vulnerability within you. Both men and women are guilty of confusing vulnerability with weakness. Let’s get this straight: VULNERABILITY DOES NOT EQUAL WEAKNESS! Individuals with true courage and strength will allow themselves to be vulnerable.

Emotional need is a requirement in any relationship. A relationship, without need, will only result in a superficial relationship at best. Need seems to instill in us the desire to carry on under certain circumstances where desire alone would not. It is not enough to love, desire and respect your partner through the hard times. You must also NEED them. For you to allow vulnerability and love, the part that I’m talking about letting down or letting go of is the perceptible hardness or resistance that we experience against another person or a situation. We usually experience this as a type of armor. This “self-armoring” can inflict a huge amount of pain and suffering to you. At the time, it may seem as if it is doing a world of good by keeping harm out, but in reality it is actually cutting you off from your own love. It creates a very rigid or clamped-down feeling that is not only uncomfortable but also cuts off any possibility of feeling something positive with the other person.

Vulnerability, even thinking about it can be frightening to some people. Actually, a person must be strong to allow himself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability allows others to know us, who we genuinely are. Vulnerability allows negotiation. It allows an opening between conflicting needs.

Unfortunately, many people have been raised from the time they are young to deny their vulnerability. Many were raised by parents who could not be vulnerable. Many parents believe their children’s poor behaviors are directed at them and become angry and defensive in their parenting behaviors. When children are raised by defensive parents, they learn how to be defensive. Adults who are on the defensive cannot allow themselves to be open and vulnerable enough to relate to another adult.

Being vulnerable is being open. To love others, we must be open. When we are open, we allow our hearts to feel. When our heart is open to feeling love, it will also feel pain when love is withdrawn.

Vulnerability is part of process of empathy. To empathize with someone we need to be able to feel them, to know what they are feeling. This is part of good enough relationships. Being open allows us to be affected by one another and is vital to connection. When we allow ourselves to be hurt and feel pain, we are much more likely to recognize another’s pain. Sensitivity is important in this context; sensitivity to ourselves and others. By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we understand humility.

Often, highly defended people have been so deeply hurt, they can no longer allow themselves to be vulnerable. Some may have been raised in a situation where everyone was defensive. Many who are highly defensive also become grandiose. Grandiosity, needing to believe we are somehow bigger, better, more important than we are, is an illusion. A sad illusion built on unrecognized and acknowledged pain.

When we allow ourselves to feel our pain, and work through it, we learn important lessons about ourselves and others. Our ability to empathize with others who are in pain, increases and we become better able to help them. We can be genuinely helpful when we can hear others. Only when we can fully listen to others, with every fiber of all our senses, can we be helpful to them. Respect involves listening.

Being attuned to others requires us to be vulnerable. We need to be able to allow the other to have control. We need to listen and empathize. Our ability to do that is built on our having felt and worked through our pain. Tempering a sword involves putting it into a fire and hammering it. A tempered individual is a vulnerable one. One who has allowed herself to go through her pain and healing process. As Marcel Proust said, “One heals suffering only by experiencing it to the full.”

In closing, if you really are vulnerable, you are loving. You can’t help but be loving. And if you’re very loving, you can’t help but feel vulnerable. If you allow yourself to feel, you heart is completely open.

The Sound of Silence

Aug
26

The sounds of life slowly become blurred
It’s as if my own speech becomes slurred
As the people around me sound very hushed
As I answer the questions posed very rushed.

The sounds are getting more muddled
My mind is becoming greatly befuddled
My head is cleared of each and every thought
Because with my soul silence has fought.

The battle was quick and rather deadly
I opened up my empty mind rather readily
To allow the silence to boldly take control
And force my mind to open like a black hole.

Drifting off into the vastness of space
You can see the blank look on my face
I’m asked “Ben, where did you go?”
Suddenly, I reappear and answer “I don’t know”.
As I battle with the sound of silence!

Where Are You Going?

Aug
24

Such as life, full of grief and strife.
Struggle each day. Is life going astray?
Keep it in tact, stay on track.

Such as life, full of joy and bliss.
Live life full until termination prevails.
Today ’till tomorrow, life is love, not sorrow.
The grass is greener as life is cultivated.

Learn to live though life may take and life may give
A mind dominated by hate only travels the road to fate.
A heart of affection journeys towards a meaningful direction.

The Beach

Aug
24

Infinite grains positioned side by side;
The fluxing of the massive brine,
Continuously changing the grains’ shape.

The huge glowing ball from so high above
Casts its rays over the blue as the wind pushes and shoves
The ocean’s plethora of waves.

The large pallet, blemished by the visiting peoples
Is wiped clean in unpalatable intervals
By the fluctuating ebb.

Darkness approaches and peacefulness dominates,
And the calm, smooth flow is all that penetrates
As one walks along the beach.

All About You!

Aug
20

Your touch is warm and gentle as is a mother’s for her child.
Your words are never harsh but always gentle and mild.
Your ears are always open for my words of stress and despair.
These three things together gives you a heart full of care.
Your love is always faithful; not to mention never-ending,
The past years with you have been the best that my life is spending.
Just as wood kindles a fire, your love kindles my heart.
That gleaming, devoted look in your eyes assures me we’ll never part.
I wake up each morning thanking God for my many treasures,
And you are the diamond in my treasure box-now and forever.

A Growing Experience

Aug
20

Some time ago, when I first met you,
I never thought we’d have a friendship that would be so true.
There’s something special about what we possess;
Our friendship consists of love, trust, and truthfulness.
You often lift me up from grief and carry me away,
With words of wisdom and strength; you always know what to say.
When times get stressful, hectic, or even depressing,
You keep your chin up–a positive attitude you’re always professing.
You have taught me confidence and how to be me;
It doesn’t matter what others think–it’s what I want to be.
Thank you so much for the love you’ve given and shown.
And I thank God for a friendship that has continuously grown.

Past, Present and Future

Aug
17

The heart is like a canvass and love is like a pen
My heart has been scribbled upon time and time again.
With bright colors of love and the gentle strokes of time
You began painting my heart to make it truly shine.

The past was full of memories both of delight and despair
But we made the journey together because we knew what was near
We were doubted and tested by those who didn’t believe
That the feelings we shared together were quite genuine indeed.

Finally the day came where we were united as one
Husband and wife to live together until our days were done.
Time has tested our vows but love always shows the way
Because we always are able to start fresh and begin a new day.

The canvass has grown as we now paint as one
And we’ve welcomed a new artist whose life has just begun.
She has added many colors beyond our wildest dreams
Watching her grow for the love of life is plenty to make us beam.

The beauty of love should last a lifetime and I vow to you mine
I believe our love is invulnerable and will stand the test of time.
The past was quite a journey; in the present we’re learning more
But I promise to you on this day our future is safe and secure!

The Warmness of Transience

Aug
15

Like the vast depths of space,
So are my days filled with turmoil and haste.
Just as all dreams come to an end,
Ironically, it seems as though mine never begin.

Grasping for life and struggling from overwhelming despair
Sometimes it feels like I’m gasping for air.
Everyday of my life is as dark and bleak as the night,
Images of death play in my head easily with no fright.

Death is audacious and extremely bold.
Will I live and will I grow old?
Dark as night and cold as ice
The cards life deals are not always nice.

I hope I die without all of the pain
Because life is but a meaningless game.
As I sit and contemplate with tears in my eyes,
I wonder if I’ll be missed if I should die.

The pain is like a blade cutting through my heart,
How much more can I take before I fall apart?
If living was something to live forward to,
I wouldn’t be sitting here wondering what to do.

I wish I could explain the way I’m feeling.
These daily doses are becoming less appealing.
My head spins around as I stay in place,
Wondering if death is what I will chase.

I wonder if any of this will ever end,
Or if mortality will become my new friend.
Should I stay or should I die?
I guess for now I’ll just sit and cry.

The Island of Greed

Aug
14

There once was a small island far, far away
And on it lived a man who was sad until one day
He found a treasure, which made him happy and gay,
But off this little island he had no way.

He dreamed of the things he could buy and places he could see
With the magnificent treasure he found that made him so happy.
He thought of things to do to escape this island in the sea,
But nothing seemed to work, at least nothing of reality.

One day he noticed a ship passing by
Out of a shirt he made a flag to fly.
Was this his way off the island? It was worth a try.
But the captain saw the treasure and couldn’t believe his eyes.

The captain asked, “Would thee liked to be removed from this land?
If so, give me your treasure and well, my man,
I will take thee far, far away to places that are grand.”
“I will not give up thy treasure which was unburied by my own hands.”

The captain grew angry, and pulled out his gun
And said, “Give me your treasure or your life will be done!”
The greedy island man grabbed the treasure and began to run.
Escape was quite troublesome, for the treasure weighed a ton.

He ran and ran ’till he was out of breath,
So he sat on a rock to take a rest.
He was shot from behind by the pirates of the sea,
The death of another victim claimed by greed.

My Guiding Lights

Aug
12

This poem was written for my parents…

You’re always just a phone call away
With words of wisdom you know just what to say;
You ease the pain and create much cheer,
And because of that life’s little fears
Seem so small and benign.

You’re there for me until the end of time,
You are the strength I know I can always find.
You’re my guidance when life takes a swing;
Or when I’m down and don’t care about a thing
You lift me high with joy.

I have been blessed with many treasures
But none so special as you, My Parents.
Your absolute love for me has been shown
Through my life’s years as I have grown
Into what I am today.

I’m proud to say that I am your own;
Created from the same love I’m shown
Each and every day of my life.
I thank God for you every night
For blessing me with YOU!

Theodore vs. the Oompa-Loompas

Aug
12

So, the other day Theodore and I were sitting under our tree with our kick ass tree house in it watching the Oompa-Loompas playing soccer.  Theodore was having his 40-ounce of Miller Lite like normal.  For some reason, he was in a rather pissy mood that day.  All of a sudden I see Theodore get up and start running towards the soccer field, pick up the soccer ball and kick it across the street.  All I could do is watch in amazement.  Next thing I know, the Oompa-Loompas gather around him and begin chanting:

“Oompa Oompa, Doompadee Doo
I’ve got some simple advice for you.
If you touch our soccer ball once more
We will knock your monkey ass to the floor.”

Theodore then yells a few explatives to them and strolls back to the tree, sits down and begins to sip his 40-ounce again. I asked him why he did that and explained that I liked Willy Wonka and that I eat Sweet Tarts and Nerds and that wasn’t a cool thing to do. He said “Fu&% those little orange guys. Why can’t they just talk normal?” So we continue to watch the game.

Not fifteen minutes later, Theodore gets up, looks around and takes off running full speed towards the soccer field.  He’s headed for a Oompa standing alone on the side of the field.  He gets closer and closer.  Next thing you know, he drop kicks the little guy.  He freaking drops kicks the orange fellow.  I’m thinking, OH MY GOD.  There’s going to be a riot.  The orange people are going to start coming out the woodwork.  The soccer game stops.  All the Oompa-Loompas run over and gather around their friend.  You then hear a sound above and then appears a glass elevator with Willy Wonka coming down out of the sky.  Wonka gets out of the elevator, picks up the hurt Oompa, brings him back to the elevator and takes off back into the sky.  As he’s taking off, he orders the other Oompas to “Get Him”.  The Oompas encircle Theodore, and I’m pretty sure Theodore got the ass-whipping of his life.  After about 20 minutes, Theodore stumbles back to the tree, sits down and takes a sip of his beer and says “And I always thought those little orange bastards were make believe!”

Monkey vs. Midget Clown

Jul
30

Ok, the damn midget clown visited me again last night in another dream, BUT there’s good news. Before I get into the story, let me say that I’ve always wanted a pet monkey. I think that’s the only thing I’ve ever been jealous of Michael Jackson about. Anyways, since I can’t have a real monkey, I’ve settled for an imaginary monkey who I’ve named Theodore.

Ok, I was picking apples from my favorite apple tree and that darn midget clown was chasing me around the apple tree. Not knowing how much longer I could keep the little guy away from me, I began to run away from the tree and tried to run home. As I’m running home, the small ball of horror is slowly catching up. Out of the air jumps Theodore. It was like a kung fu movie. Theodore head-butted that little bastard and then drop kicked him all in one fell swoop. See, some dreams can end up good.

This is Theodore

This is Theodore

Why???

Jul
30

A poem of love by yours truly….

Sometimes at night, when I look to the sky,
I start thinking of you and then ask myself, why?

Why do I love you? I think and smile,
Because I know the list could run on for miles.

The whisper of your voice, the warmth of your touch,
So many little things that make me love you so much.

The way you support me, and help with my emotions,
The way that you care and show such devotion.

The way that your kiss, fills me with desire,
And how you hold me with the warmth of a blazing fire.

The way your eyes shine when you look at me,
Lost with you forever is where I want to be.

The way that I feel when you’re by my side,
A sense of completion and overflowing pride.

The dreams that I dream, that all involve you,
The possibilities I see and the things we can do.

How you finish the puzzle that lies inside my heart,
How that deep in my soul, you are the most important part.

I could go on for days, telling of what I feel,
But all you really must know is my love for you is real.

Comfortably Numb

Jul
29

Slowly drifting away to try to touch the light
This is what I do when I lie in bed at night
A precious little treasure is what’s keeping me here
As darkness offers a hand and death is surely near.

I’m comfortable yet yearning for a new life
Uncomfortable and churning from all the strife
Sadistic thoughts plague my mind
As I’m urged to leave everything behind.

Flying high from the medicine man’s gifts
Then I hit a low as life makes a shift
Back to reality and back to the ground
As I lift myself up from another rebound.

Submit to the realms that life has prepared
Be joyous of these treasures that have been shared
Winning or losing, it is all just the same
Being comfortably numb helps ease the pain.

Boom Boom Pow – The Second Amendment

Jul
28

The Second Amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  I’m not exactly sure why there is so much need for “interpretation” of this amendment as it seems pretty self explanatory.  The first part speaks of having a military to protect the freedom and security of our country.  The latter part clearly speaks of the right of the private citizen to keep a firearm.  Why is the Second Amendment one of the only amendments that always needs interpretation?

With the above in mind, the Democratic Party tends to push a great deal towards achieving gun control through gun bans and stricter gun laws.  For example, a bill was just voted against that would allow those citizens that were licensed to carry a concealed handgun to carry that handgun across state lines.

Why then is the issue of gun control so important to the government?  Is it because of the high crime rate?  Could it be another attempt for tighter control in general?  Let us explore the  issue of crime rate.  Studies have been done that show gun control actually elevates the crime rate.  On the other hand, reducing restrictions on private gun ownership tends to reduce crime.  Take the United Kingdom for example, which has one of the most extreme gun control measures of all the Western countries and yet, has one of the highest violent crime rates.  Even when in office, President Clinton’s extensive study on gun control could not provide conclusive evidence that his gun control measures reduced the overall crime rate in the United States.

So if it is not gun control laws, or the lack of for that matter, why is the crime rate high or considered high?  Well, the term high is relative depending on who you are speaking to.  Government tends to think the crime rate is high and that the high rate is caused by guns.  Is that really why the rate is “high” or is there another reason?  We must dig deeper and see where the rates are high culturally.  By that I mean, we have to look at the United States population as a whole and then break it down into cultural groups as does the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  These two non-biased govenment groups break the population down into racial groups and analyze the crime rates in that manner.  We will look at statistics momentarily.

President Obama promised during his campaign to pass stricter gun control laws.  A great deal of Obama’s speeches, at least in my opinion, always in up talking about race and how the blacks are being unfairly treated.  Take for instance, the recent arrest of Mr. Gates.  While this was a mistake in identity, Obama blamed it on racial profiling.  The point I’m trying to make is that while Obama speaks of racial inequalities quite often, he never speaks of how blacks commit the highest rates of violent (gun) crimes.  He still blames the high crime rates on guns in general and not the cultural aspect of society.  Now I’m not saying that whites or any other race does not commit crimes.  I’m saying that it is statiscally proven that the blacks in America commit a higher number of violent crimes that any other race. 

Now for the statistics.  The Department of Justice reported that in 2005 blacks commited 53% of murders in the United States despite being only 12.1% of the total population while whites (including Latinos) only commited 42% which represent 75% of the population in the United States. 

I really don’t think gun control is the answer to this situation.  Criminals aren’t going to obtain guns through a legal avenue  so how are gun laws and gun control going to affect them anyways?  Gun control is only going to prevent legal citizens, collectors, hunters, etc. from obtaining firearms.  How are we to protect ourselves.  How are we to hunt and enjoy the outdoors if we don’t have access to guns?  I  have a four-year-old daughter and I would like the opportunity to teach her about guns and teach her to shoot when she is old enough.  Here’s that famous saying:  Guns don’t kill people; people kill people.  And studies show, some ethnic backgrounds are more likely to kill than other backgrounds.

What is sickening is that people are charged with murder and sent to prison for protecting their family by shooting an intruder in their own home while someone that murders another person during a robbery may get  prison time but can easily get out on parole.  I can assure you, if I wake up to someone in my home in the middle of the night, I will definitely put to good use one of the 8 guns I have in my home.  I’m pretty sure the Second Amendment guarantees me that right!

Daddy’s Princess

Jul
23

This was a poem that I wrote for my little girl one Christmas after she was born…

DADDY’S PRINCESS

There is nothing as special as the birth of a child

And there’s nothing as precious as a toothless smile.

A bundle of joy and full of life and bliss

She’s daddy’s little girl; she’s my beautiful Princess.

Delight from something as simple as a tiny grin

Watching her move about and taking all of life in.

There is nothing as touching when she screeches with delight

Wide brown eyes, outstretched arms and her love burning bright.

So much love and protection that I want to bring,

So that my dear Princess will have to worry about nothing.

Unconditional love, big hopes and dreams I have for you

I will always be here for you whatever life takes you through.

When you are adult and full grown, I hope you use the things I’ve shown.

Please pass them on with lots of love when you have a child to call your own.

I know someday like a butterfly you will be grown and take flight.

Please always remember my dear Princess God will forever shine his light.

I have told you I love you everyday of your life,

Always remember you are my love, my Princess and my life!

Thought of the day!

Jul
15

Why settle for what you’re comfortable with or what you’ve grown to become accustomed to? Why allow yourself to continue to follow the same ideals that you grew up with if you don’t agree with them? Open yourself up to new ideas and explore new principles. Don’t be afraid to follow your heart. Don’t allow other’s judgements to hinder your decision to chase new beliefs. To grow, you must allow your mind to be open to new beliefs, new ideas and new principles. Constantly strive to learn and don’t be afraid of the doors that knowledge will open to you. Embrace those doors as this will only allow the mind to continue to grow instead of becoming stagnant. Knowledge will grow the mind as the mind will grow the heart. The heart is what will guide you through the walk of life!

Press 1 for English?

Jul
13

Last night I had the pleasure of phoning my bank for a rather senseless issue.  Once I reached Customer Service, I was prompted to press 1 to continue the call in English.  Let me begin by saying the bank that gets my business only operates in the states of Louisiana, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  My curiousity got the best of me at this point so I decided to hang up and begin the call again just to hear the other language choices.  To my utter surprise, there was only one other choice.  Can you guess what that language was?  Spanish!

My first question is why should I have to even press 1 in a country where the predominant language is English?  Question two, why should I have to press 1 when calling a company that does not even operate outside of the United States?  And my third question, is it now a requirement that one must speak Spanish to obtain a job in a United States corporation – that ONLY operates in the United States?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, a requirement to become a US citizen is to be able to read, write and speak English.  Now, I know I just said a requirement to become a “citizen”, but isn’t that what’s important at this point?  I know the United States is the “land of the free and the home of the brave” but are our soldiers fighting for the freedom of immigrants that are coming over here taking jobs away from our Americans, costing tax payers thousands of dollars at the borders and in general weakening the overall national security of the United States?  I think these soldiers would greatly disagree if you asked them that same question!

So, if you are a United States citizen a) you were either born in this country or b) you received a green card.  If you were born in this country, I assume you know English.  If you became a citizen through the immigration and naturalization process, as I mentioned earlier, it is required that you learn to read, write and speak English.  Therefore, why the need to press 1 for English?  In my opinion, giving the choice to press 2 for Spanish is only inviting immigration.  Do these large banks really think that these immigrants (legal or otherwise) that can speak very little or no English at all are really going to use banking services?

I think it is time we start taking care of our own people instead of trying to be politically correct and taking care of every person that comes to the United States!  Press 1 for English?  Give me a break!  Made in America!