Friday, December 17, 2010

Real men don't cry

Well, the long and the short of this title should be adjusted accordingly: “That’s a lie!” Grown men do cry. Even “real grown men” cry, but most would just rather you not see that happen, or not do it out in public among relative strangers.

Because of our upbringing most men fight real hard to hold back tears even when it may be appropriate to let them flow. The loss of a loved one, close friend, or even an associate can bring us to tears. Even attending the funeral of those that are not necessarily that close to us can make us cry when we feel the sorrow of others in their mourning.

In the dark of a movie theater you will find many grown men shedding tears shielded by the darkness of the room. Why, heck, the older I get the more vulnerable I seem to be and freer to shed a tear or two.

At this stage of life I no longer feel ashamed about shedding tears. It makes me feel more human. Holding back legitimate tears makes me feel less human. 'Fessing up to tears welling up is another subject. Our foolish male pride still tells us that real men don’t cry. For some reason it continues to look strange to see a grown man cry in public. That’s not the case for females or children.

On several occasions the newly elected Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has cried in public. He cried at his acceptance speech for winning the election and cried again in an interview with Leslie Stahl of CBS 60-Minutes news show while talking about him crying on election night. Apparently this new Speaker will also be known as the “Weeper” of the House. I know men do cry, but at one point it appears to go a bit overboard. From the public comments so far not everyone seems to be holding it against him.

Crying has ended several political aspirations, as was the case of Ed Muskie attempting to defend his wife back in 1972. This incident was attributed as the cause of his losing the election. Over the past decade men have been detected while crying in public, including all the past presidents since Reagan up to and including our current President, Barack Obama, crying over the loss of his grandmother. Apparently “real men” can cry in public, but it is usually for a very good and specific reason where the public can sympathize with them.

Human beings cry as a response to an emotional state. There is an actual connection between the tear duct (lachrymal gland) and those areas of the human brain involved with processing emotions: that is a normal function of the human body. Both males and females come equipped with this function.

Perhaps females reveal more emotions than males on average. It is socially acceptable for women and children to cry in public, but less acceptable for men to show their emotions outwardly. For most men it’s a matter of “mind over emotions,” similarly to the concept of “mind over matter.” The urge is there, but the mind tells them not to let it show.

Where does the pressure come from that compel most males not to cry in public? Unfortunately pride seems to be the main culprit. Pride is a high sense of one’s personal status, ego, or importance. It may be an inordinate opinion of one’s merit or dignity. It is mostly our personal opinion of the self, not necessarily something that is based upon facts or supported by physicality. It exists mostly in the mind of the beholder.

If males think crying makes them appear to be less of a man they would rather not do things that make them appear to be a “weakling.” In this case they are more concerned about how others view them rather than something they might do to them physically. This is caused by our over-inflated pride.

The bottom line is that men do cry. It is part of our human function. The fact that it is less acceptable for men to cry in public is a perception that we must deal with as well. People will do really foolish things in order to keep certain secrets they do not want publicly exposed, even including suicide.

As far as the new Speaker of the House is concerned, if he cries because he didn’t get the particular vote that he expected I would worry about him, but when his emotions get the better of him while expressing emotional things, that is something we might have to get used to seeing in public. After all, he is human like the rest of us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sins of The Father

When you speak about things such as generational curses it is hard for someone who hasn’t been touched by it to conceive what it could possibly mean. How can the sins of a father transfer to an innocent child who was not responsible for the acts and deeds that happened, maybe before they came into the world? Such borders the mystic, strange, or the Gnostic.

Just recently the son of Bernard Madoff hanged himself by a dog lease in his apartment as his two-year old child slept in another room in the home. One could only imagine what would cause an intelligent person to commit such an act with the child in the home. Unfortunately incidents such as this are not rare.

Apparently three generations will be adversely touched by the sins of this father so far. Who knows how far this stain will remain on the family’s ledger? The egregious acts of this father have already stained many… possibly for generations to come.

How does one account for such a travesty? You feel bad for the innocent ones who had no hand in the act and yet their lives are so adversely affected by the happening.

Besides, and perhaps before the family members of the perpetrator, you have the individuals who were the actual victims of the crime along with their family, friends and associates. Their lives were directly impacted by the acts. Not only are the sins of the father an infliction, who knows how many others may be impacted in some fashion?

Is there any rationale for such? Is there any justification for those involved?

One thing we all can learn as bystanders is the danger of wrongful behaviors. With each action there is always a reaction, and with each cause an effect. How far and how deep the effect may dig is not within the hands of the perpetuator. That would be up to the LAW. The only option we have is the choice not to make the cause. Once it is made the consequences follow as the universe compels them.

It is said that we should be impeccable with all energies that emit from our beings. This includes our acts, deeds, thoughts, and spoken words. It also includes our wishes, desires, hopes, dreams and the like. In essence we are like a processing plant creating things which intern produces more of its likeness.

That would imply that as we are living and going about life we are actually co-creating it. We are causing things to happen that causes other things to happen so we are co-creators of life while in it.

Obviously many do so without thinking about what they are doing so therefore they may be careless with certain actions. Even without the intent to cause harm an action may still cause a harmful reaction so the act of carelessness would have been the fault. On the other hand when you are impeccable with your acts and deeds and still make errors such goes beyond the scope of our control. However it would seem to put you on the positive side of the cause and effect equation.

Keeping these generalities in mind one could only do their best in any given situation and accept the consequences beyond that point. It is dangerous enough when one is unaware of harmful energies that they emit, but to do so with malicious intent crosses another line of the universe where consequences are more severe. It would be prudent not to cross such lines even suspecting the possibility of facing such consequences. Everything that comes from you will be accounted for eventually.

Regarding the sins of a father, we may feel bad for the apparently innocent victims but with the same law that appears to be unjust on this side of the equation, it’s reciprocal works the opposite on the other side with utter perfection.

Nothing goes unpaid; every ounce is accounted for, and to each will come what is due. Fear not! Your finite mind was not built to hold what is infinite; it does not have the capacity to do so. This also implies that the finish line does not happen with death of our bodies, but in another realm where the end substantiates the beginning and all is eventually made whole. Every soul will get there. Be impeccable in all you do.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I think I get it now...

It was always confusing to me in trying to understand the apparent inconsistencies in human behavior. Even though we are physically similar, our mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects make us so dramatically different.

Think about the vast differences between a mass murderer and a nun. Other than being two living and breathing human beings, just how similar are these two individuals?

How about a bank robber and a bank teller? What about a drug dealer and a drug addict? How about a soldier of war and a street thug killer? How are these humans similar and what part makes them totally different?

From an outward perspective we recognize each other’s human element. Unlike zebras or tigers that recognize each other’s markings, we see only a surface that differentiates us from other mammals. We recognize our human aspect, but other than that we know very little.

Because we are so wonderfully made yet so imperfectly assimilated our physical appearance tells us very little about the real person inside the human facade. A thief could look like a saint and a military hero could look like a mass murderer.

Judging a person merely by their image tells us only so much about them, but reading and delving into a person’s character can tell you more about the real person inside that shell. Realizing this to be a fact all we would need to do is learn how to read someone’s character.

Unfortunately many people know how to cover up what they don’t want you to know. Take, for example, intimate relationships that end up in marriage: just how much do couples really know about each other before they tie the knot?

The reason behind so many failing marriages is because certain vital information was concealed from the other party. Once this information was revealed the couple found out just how incompatible they were in the first place. Because of this, learning to read character could save so much time and heartache for countless people.

Obviously there are people that go to school to learn how to read behind the façade, but even they are not perfect. One simple way to read into people is to follow your hunches. You get a sense of people almost from the beginning, but most are willing to ignore this sixth sense in order to acquire what’s behind door number two.

Some are so eager to find a mate, a close friend, or to get close to others that they ignore what their sixth sense tells them. This is similar to the secret of a good magician. They intentionally convince you that you are seeing something that in reality, you are not!

In order to read another's character you have to decide in advance to look beyond the facade, or what your eyes reveal to you. By doing this, your mind opens interior eyes that are not just attached to the sight, but much deeper to the heart-sensor as well.

You sense character through the heart rather than the eyes. It is feeling something that is unseen, which is the essence of the spiritual and emotional charkas. It is a knowing beyond conscious awareness.

The problem most have is our willingness to accept what is seen rather than probe more deeply into the unseen, which is the real person inside the shell. Their character is their soul. The soul cannot lie because it is the total essence of the person beyond their physical characteristics and attributes.

It is said that the eyes open a window to the soul of a person. If you are contemplating adding someone into your inner circle, such as in an intimate relationship, look into their eyes without speech or preconception and see what is revealed from their soul.

Stop looking at what you want to see and feel what you sense instead. We all have this ability, but many choose not to use it. In understanding the apparent inconsistencies of human behavior try using your sixth sense rather than what the eyes reveal. When you sense something don’t ignore it in order to acquire the storefront dressings.

I think I get this now…you have to want IT first. Not what you hope for, but what’s really there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Walk a mile in someone else's shoes

ALTADENA – Have you ever wondered why there seems to be so much chaos, conflict and confusion in the world?

In truth there are so many mini-worlds in the entire world. People can live and die in a relatively close in proximity and never know each other. In order to get to know people there must first be a desire to do so or, secondly, something that causes your paths to coincide.

Think about how many different shoes you pass by daily. We have our leaders, the clergy, law enforcement, business owners, educational community, the banking community, real estate services, child care facilities; senior citizen care and services, neighborhood associations, the military, healthcare providers, builders, craftsmen, farmers, public roads and highway services, the Chamber of Commerce, public services, communication services, entertainment professionals, and on and on. This doesn’t include some of the negative distinctions such perverts, criminals, or derelicts.

In your community alone there are so many different walks of life on so many levels of the spectrum. You might wonder why there isn’t more unity among people, the causative reason being that we all walk in so many different paths that chances are that we may never walk a mile in each other’s shoes.

Not that long ago I could not figure out why more people couldn’t learn to get along better and live in amity and harmony. One of the reasons may be because of the invisible walls that partition us. I don’t think much of this is intentional, at least not any longer. It’s more in the way we have grown accustomed to living. We are so focused upon our own activities that we pay little attention to the world of others.

Then along the way came a spider. Well, actually, along the way came technology. We are connected in ways like never before. We can literally reach into each other’s space quite easily these days. We may choose to be extremely connected with a huge network of people if we so desire. We are finding out what it’s like walking in another's shoes, perhaps more than we’d like.

It’s not that hard to reach out and touch others these days. However, one of the main factors to consider is personally exposing yourself as you step into the world of others. With smart phones you can point, shoot, and upload into the media. The problem we have so far is learning how to act with this much unbounded freedom. We will need to redefine the rules of this new game.

Because we are able to peek into the lives of so many people it seems as though we know people when we really don’t. We see Obama in the news so much that we think we know him. How about Oprah, Sarah Palin, Kobe Bryant, or your local news personalities? We peek into the lives of these people so often that it appears we know them. In truth you have no idea of what it is like to really walk a mile in their shoes.

Where is all this transparency leading us? For one, I think once we get used to the extra exposure we might possibly become more humane. Perhaps we will become more compassionate with each other as we realize the price of walking in someone else’s shoes.

We just might learn that being rich and famous comes with a price and that being less fortunate financially is not as bad as one might think as long as there is love in the picture.

In truth we don’t know what it is like walking in many of our fellow human being’s shoes but suffice to say that with each walk we'll discover there is a load to carry. It may not be exactly what you imagine.

Might I suggest that before you get so carried away with walking in the shoes of others that you spend an ample or even equal amount of time perfecting your own walk in your own shoes! Before you criticize the lives of others make sure your life is worthy. Learn how to walk a good mile in your own shoes before you try to take on the load of others.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keep it fresh

The fact that we are suffering through a miserable economy is not news. We’ve been in this mode for over five years now and counting. At times such as this it seems as though we’re going through a lunar eclipse that casts darkness over the entire planet. In this case the darkness is the gloom that is being felt worldwide.

This is not the first time we have experienced such despair. This is not even the worst financial depression the world has faced. Although very few of us were around during the Great Depression of the 1930s, what we’re currently experiencing would have been a joy compared to what they faced.

How do you remain positive when there are so many people and things around you suffering? Most of us know of someone who has lost a job or home or even worse. If you don’t know them personally all you need to do is turn on the news or read the periodicals. When gloom is this pervasive it reaches nearly everyone in some shape or form.

One thing to consider, if or when you are filled to the brim with gloom, is to reduce the amount of negativity that you allow to penetrate your mind. Your mind has an almost unlimited capacity for storage, yet the things that we allow to dominate or proliferate in it takes the full spotlight. It’s like one rotten apple that spoils an entire barrel of good ones.

Perhaps I’m doing myself a disservice as a columnist, but I would strongly suggest that you turn off the news and discard the periodicals that constantly fill your mind with negativity. Instead, find ways to feed the mind with positive things.

Imagine that your mind is a cup. A cup has only a maximum amount of liquids that it may hold. In your cup you may put in muddy unclean water or you may put in mountain-fresh water. If you think of putting just a teaspoon in your cup per day for forty-eight days, your cup would be full of muddy water. The same would be true if you put forty-eight teaspoons of pure, clean water in the cup, it would be full.

Using this analogy why would you constantly put garbage in your mind daily? If you are feeling gloomy perhaps you are “full of it.” Why not instead make a more desirable choice to feed or otherwise fill the mind with wholesome positive thoughts and ideas.

Think about what you are feeding your mind. Are you watching too much television? Do you spend too much time gossiping or socializing through the net? Do you spend too much time around negative people that constantly have bad news to pour into your cup? Until you make an accounting of what you are putting in your cup (mind) you will not do anything to change your current status.

Keeping it fresh means intentionally going out in life and choosing what goes into your mind. Even though you cannot avoid the negativity of life, you don’t have to swim in it. As they say, “birds may fly over your head daily, but you don’t have to allow them to land on your head and build a nest.” You must be in control over your mind.

Go out and take a walk in the woods, in the park, along the beach, through the neighborhood, or just sit silently and quietly on a clear day and gaze at nature. You may also do it in the rain or snow. Find a way to flush out the garbage with which you have been gorging your mind. Consider meeting new friends if your old ones insist upon filling you with muddy water. You don’t need to be rude to them, simply find a way that no longer permits them to "dump" on you.

Change the way you look. Color or cut your hair, if you still have some. Wear a different color than usual. Grow a mustache, beard, or cut off the one you have. Do anything to create a new image of the person you would like to become. Find ways to keep life fresh and new rather than dull and boring. If you are in a rut, exit it - fast! Part of that is a clear and intentional choice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Part of the problem or the soultion

Although there's no justification, when we go out and enjoy our action-filled violent movies, what price are we paying for it with our souls? I must admit that I enjoy an action-filled movie, but I’m beginning to query myself about that enjoyment. Is it the acts of violence themselves that I enjoy or simply the thrill of witnessing graphically violent imagery?

Lately some of the really gory movies have been making me sick to the stomach. Movies specifically about killing victims in the most horrific ways have ceased to be entertaining to me. When nearly everyone in the plot dies so gruesomely and there is no message of redemption you wonder why are we watching such movies and calling it "entertainment"?

What message is the movie industry sending us? Better still, what messages are we, in turn, sending to the movie producers? Their bottom line is making money for the producers, so when they produce those bloody violent movies they do so with the understanding of what’s most marketable. Violence sells “big time” so let’s not blame business people for delivering what the people willingly pay to see.

In the same manner violent video games are very popular among our youth. Blowing away people, making the most horrific destructive scenes and the like is the attraction. The more graphically depicted the better it sells. Do we blame the game creators for delivering to the purchasing public what they are most eager to possess?

Pornography has long been a very lucrative market. It is like a plague that seemingly focuses on those males who have a problem in dealing with their sexual appetites. It gives these men what they want to see in order to scratch an itch they can’t reach as readily or as easily in real life. Are we to blame the producers of such graphically explicit material that even involves minors when there is a market that quickly sucks up all they produce?

Wherein lies the problem? The movies and games are usually fictional, but the actual people that cater to this sort of material are real. We may cut up the films and destroy the games but the only way to eradicate the source of the problem is to eradicate the people that are carrying the problems. Since we can’t go around killing everyone that is causing the problem where is the solution?

I am part of the problem because I have either willingly and intentionally purchased or participated in the production or purchase of such product. To the degree that I have participated is the degree of blame that I shoulder.

Perhaps I should be stoned for my crime against morality, but whom could we find that would be worthy of my stoning? Let he or she who without sin cast the first stone. Make sure that their violent action in my stoning does not find making them guilty of evil as well.

As I read of the Connecticut man who was condemned to death for a night of terror inside a suburban home in which a woman was strangled and her two daughters tied to their beds, doused in gasoline and left to die in a fire, I wonder who is to blame.

These were not actors in a violent movie or game. These victims will never come back. The criminals were among the sickest of the sick. Are we not a bit culpable here?

Even though we don't condone such behavior, if we're the consumers of violence that is sold to us as entertainment, where does our appetite fit in this equation?

Until we stop being the willing consumers of violence and in essence thereby condoning it, we are part of the problem and not the solution. I am not worthy of even casting the one hundredth stone here. What about you?

Carving Your Pathway

If you're under the age forty you may not have reached this fundamental awakening point in life yet but once you cross over something changes the way you see things. Yes, it appears that there is an invisible veil that seems to separate young ambition from matured realization.

When I was young I saw things through the eyes of youth. Things seem to be more hopeful and idealistic. However as I have matured I see the reality that was virtually obscured by my youthful exuberance. This is not usual; it is the “normal” path of youth.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could see an image of where you are headed before you actually had to make a critical decision about which fork in the road you should take? Oddly, though, in life we don’t have the option of living in suspended animation. Each tick of life counts like that of an old grandfather’s clock, even when we’d prefer otherwise.

Acquiring wisdom is not a magical process. It is the one thing that is actually real about reality. Your life is happening. Each notch is like mounting each individual brick of a huge brick wall. The totality of your life is unfolding moment by moment, however, most of us are not fully aware of this process with vivid awareness while it is happening.

When you’re young you don’t usually realize that which you don’t know. No one can or could effectively convince you of your ignorance at that stage. This is fact. If you’re currently in this stage of life you may have issues with my statement. Don’t worry; it makes you “normal,” for most of us were similarly idealistic.

Alternatively there are rare individuals that dance to a different tune. They know very early in life who they are and have a good idea of where they are headed. They appear to have inbred wisdom beyond their years. Such individuals end up carving their own path in spite of the circumstances.

At the proverbial fork in the road of life they pick the one that propels them toward their perceived goals. Such individuals make up less than one tenth of one percent of the population. Some call them our natural born leaders.

Look back at some of our recent leaders. Look at our past presidents, governors, senators, or other leaders. Most didn’t just wake up one morning late in life and decide to get their act together. Perhaps George W may have been an exception to this according to his accounts. It was at his crossroads when he decided to turn his life around. We are now aware of his story from that point of change. Most of us have such a period in life, but only a few make it to such a high position.

Regardless of your personal opinion of George W the facts prove that this man turned his life around and carved a much different path than where he had been headed. He was able to see himself in a mirror and did not like the direction in which he was headed. This is what inspired him to carve a different path.

Most people come to such a point in life but not all make a clear choice to turn their lives around. Some just continue becoming old fools. Since George W became one of our past presidents he definitely didn’t fall into that category, putting political differences aside.

Although this essay deals specifically with adults making critical choices to carve a specific pathway, each of us tend to operate on our own unique time clocks. My critical point was specific to my life along with all the circumstances and situations therein. Your critical moment happens just at the perfect moment of life when it becomes necessary. This is similar to how each individual fruit on a tree ripens when it is ready, but not all ripen at the exact same moment in time.

Ironically life really doesn’t have to take as much time as we assume but since most aren’t aggressively and affirmatively moving things forward by intentionally carving out the path they wish to take, they’re left with waiting on the forces of nature to bring them forth. I say you may decide otherwise. This is what free will allows us. We all have it but only a few choose to use it.

Carve your own path in life…don’t just wait on it to carve one for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dealing with grown sons

-Tough situations require more thoughtful solutions-

Fellows… this is a tough call, especially for African American males, but perhaps for matured males across the board. I can’t speak for all of you.

However, when you have grown sons over the age of twenty-one living at home without a job or otherwise not contributing to their upkeep, the tendency is to kick them out to the curb.

When we were in our twenties, or earlier for some, we could not wait to leave home. In fact our parents, primarily our mothers, had to hold us back until we were at least eighteen because they didn’t feel we were mature enough to be out on our own. By the time we graduated from high school we were out lick-i-ti-split! We were either working, going to college, or perhaps getting ready to be married and raise kids on our own. That was the culture of our day.

Back then labor jobs were commonly available if you didn’t mind working hard. You could find a job if you really wanted one. You didn’t necessarily have to like the job because you only wanted to gain your financial independence.

If you had a live-at-home father you couldn’t wait to prove to him that you were also a man. Even if you had a great relationship with your father you wanted to make him proud by showing your independence. If no father was present you might have stuck around longer than you would’ve liked just to make sure your mom was okay. But, as soon as possible you were out the door.

We were raised differently and things were much different then. Today is not the same for our grown sons, as it was for us. Even those who attend schools of higher learning are not guaranteed to find jobs these days. There aren’t enough jobs to go around. Of the few jobs that are available there are probably dozens or even more people standing in line waiting for them. This includes skilled and unskilled labor jobs.

The tendency we have as the older generation is to be tough on our sons because our fathers were tough on us. Although it is important to keep a certain amount of pressure on them to perform, we must not hold the pressure too tight that it breaks them. A healthy line of communication would help the situation.

Sit down with your boy (young man) and talk with him about what he is doing toward gaining financial independence. Whenever possible assist him toward achieving what he needs. Just yanking his chord alone will not help him do what must be done. He is not you and neither is the world he is facing like yours. These are tough times that require measures that match these times.

I say this from personal experience. My first inclination was to tighten up the screws as much as possible because I felt that if you “mother” a man you would weaken him. Many of our wives do a good job of mothering so we feel that it’s our job to be the (hammer) tough guy. That is not always the best measure.

Staying on top of the situation is a good practice. However, just imagine if you were in his exact shoes and what kind of assistance you might need in dealing with this tough economy. Again, tough situations require more thoughtful solutions. Give your boy a hand and help him become what you would like to see him achieve. He needs you and your strength to help him come through this economic storm. One day you will be happy that you did this.

Friday, October 22, 2010

All Advice is Not Good

When accepting advice from non-professionals, please at least consider the source. We know that most of our friends mean well, if they are our true friends, but some of the advice they give us is biased. Regardless of the situation our friends usually want to see us win.

When discussing relationships problems with a friend is when they are most culpable. It is difficult to be impartial and give sound advice when you’re only willing to weigh one side of the equation. In order to give the best advice one needs to impartially look at both sides. Where the shoe fits… that is where the gavel should fall; however, out of loyalty to our friends we may unintentionally curve our advice to please them.

From one guy giving advice to his buddy, many times it has nothing to do with what is right, good, or decent. He could even be dead wrong. A macho pal usually stands by his buddy regardless. Perhaps they think it's possible to find another mate, but not another great friend. So guess who gets the ax? This may even include wives as well as girl friends. Guys tend to stick together just as the gals.

Are we really doing our friends a true service when we take their side knowing they are wrong? The real answer is "no", because they don’t get a chance to correct a fault in them. Many friends will watch their buddies go through several failed relationships for the same reason and never tell them the truth.

If you knew your pal was a constant womanizer and cheated on his wife frequently, what position should you take? If this buddy had been married and divorced several times and continued with the same habit, are you being a good friend by taking their side?

I once knew an associate/friend that had a thing for under-aged girls. He was a schoolteacher. At the time I said nothing, even though I disagreed with what he was doing. I knew he was both morally and legally wrong.

You hear of such teachers on the news occasionally going to jail and serving serious time for their crime. In essence my loyalty to a friend made me culpable to his crime. (Aiding and abetting!)

At the time I was young. Even knowing it was wrong I didn’t quite know how to handle the situation so I just ignored it. After a while he left town so the problem was "out of sight and out of mind" for me. Whenever I hear of a teacher getting busted for this crime I think of this friend.

This is a character issue. Condoning illegal or immoral behavior is a reflection upon us. What if one of those under-aged girls had been my daughter or granddaughter? Does it make it less immoral or illegal when they are strangers? Absolutely not!

Our character defines us. It specifies who you are at the core. At the time I was willing to turn a blind eye to things that were seriously wrong. Who amongst us doesn't know people who have done wrong things? How do we respond in the face of culpability?

Back in the 60s many of my generation were fairly heavy into experimenting with all sorts of illegal drugs. We were drinking and driving, or high on something more lethal than alcohol. Weren’t we all a bit culpable to a degree at some point in our lives?

When we have friends or relatives that egregiously violate our moral boundaries yet fail to mention it to the proper authorities, does our silence help them? These are tough calls. The Unabomber’s brother was the one that turned him in to the authorities.

When young, perhaps there were many things that you ignored even knowing they were wrong. Even to this day we may do that for friends and family thinking we are on their side. Ask yourself, is it right to condone wrongful behavior?

The truth of the matter is there are morals and laws in a civilized society. We know the difference between right and wrong. When we allow wrong things to happen and do nothing to report it, this is a direct reflection upon our character.

The least you should consider doing when you know people are committing illegal and immoral behaviors is to tell them they’re wrong. If they choose to cut you off as a friend you would have only lost an immoral or illegal person. That is really your gain.

However, if this person is a family member you might want to give them another chance to correct the situation before reporting them to the proper authorities or family elders.

Some choices in life are tougher than others. This is a really tough call. Being a true friend should include doing what is morally and ethically right for them regardless of the possible outcome of the friendship. All advice is not good advice…FYI!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Finding Common Grounds

Our society is built upon polar opposites. Along with the good you have things that are not good. Many aren’t even well intended. Your awareness of this dichotomy may assist you in managing life with all its complications.

To bring this topic home we realize the seeds from which the world was founded upon were not shaped by perfection. We know that to be fact. There are many dark stains upon mankind’s history.

Although we cannot undo what was done, we can redo what we decide to act upon. Understanding the polar opposites can help us in intentionally making choices that we know to be formed by positive intentions, rather than negative.

Life is not fair. If you think things are based upon equality, freedom and justice for all you’re living in a false dichotomy. Most of our expectations come from things our guardians taught us in order to help us paint a rosier-than-reality-picture. It is only natural for them to want what’s best for their children. Telling them the truth would not paint the best of pictures.

Depending upon how and where you grew up you may know very little about the dark side. Even though you may have read about it or seen it in news stories, you can only know it by being there. Darkness is not something that most would want to knowingly experience by choice, unless they are naïve or ignorant. Perhaps the youth would also fall into that group of takers.

In the real world you have a mixture of light and darkness. These two poles somewhat balance each other. Even though you may experience more of one than the other, both exist simultaneously. The fact that you are not experiencing certain things does not in any way refute them. There is a lot of ugliness in our society along with greatness.

The dark side of reality is very powerful. It needs no help standing alone. Even knowing this fact we still have certain entities that cater toward the weaknesses in people. They exploit those who may be sick or have a low threshold of resistance in their human nature. This sect doesn’t need any help realizing their full evil intentions. On the contrary they may need help in restraining from doing their dastardly deeds. Unfortunately most such individuals aren’t willing to come forth to get help for fear of exposing themselves.

With that in mind why do you suppose we have reality shows promoting to the lowest level of human nature? Show producers actually advertise to sick individuals in order to get them to come on their shows. How sick is that?

I know this is a free society but what possible good comes out of airing such vile shows. Are they selling to those who are just as sick or to those who call themselves “normal?” Obviously they have high enough ratings in order to stay on air otherwise the stations would drop them. They must have connections in high places otherwise they couldn’t pollute our airways so easily with such garbage.

Is there any level of decency we’re willing to adopt? Are there any morality lines we might entertain? Does free speech and choice mean you can do anything no matter how offensive it may be to others?

I’m just curious!

I understand that evil people have rights, but don’t those who draw morality lines have rights as well? Can’t we at least keep certain things out of the view of fragile minds? (OUR KIDS)

Sick people need no help promoting their sickness? Children need no help crossing over boundary lines. Don’t we have the right to restrict certain things from the public access?

Years ago parents set rather strong moralistic lines that children had to obey or face strong consequences. The children didn’t like it then but it steered them into a righteous pathway. Although they may have fallen off track at least they knew there was a line. We were those children. I’m not sure children of today understand boundaries.

How do we find common lines we can respect today? What one likes others may hate. What greatly appeal to one may be offensive to others. How do we find peace in the middle? This is the twenty-million-dollar question? What do you think?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Room for cream?

During my daily affairs I find myself consulting a few friends and associates about matters of life. They would call me their life-coach but that is not one of my official titles. Since I study, read, and write into this genre often it’s easy for me to share my advice about many subjects concerning daily living. One such topic I found myself sharing with several people was about leaving some room in their cup.

You coffee drinkers out there may have been asked by the attendant serving your freshly brewed cup of coffee; “Room for cream?” Rather than filling the cup all the way up to the brim they might ask if you want to leave room on top in order to add condiments to spruce up your coffee.

In that light I share my concept of dealing with many things that we allow to add unnecessary stress into our lives. As you may realize by now, life happens! When least expected certain things happen that throw us off our game. They seemingly come out of nowhere. Such is the nature of life.

Even though we might plan as much as possible for “what could happen,” inevitably things will happen that we didn’t plan for nor expect. Since they catch us with our guard down we are impacted more forcefully than if we were prepared. It is one thing to get hit hard when you are expecting to take a blow but another one when it catches you totally by surprise.

If someone hit you in your stomach while you were braced to receive the blow it would not impact you as badly as if you were hit with no advance warning. This is what life does to us occasionally. It hits us with things when we least expect them. Consequently, we are not prepared. For this very reason I suggest that you “leave room in your cup for BS. (I’ll let you define BS.)

Imagine that you are a cup with a certain capacity. Once your cup is filled to the brim nothing else can fit into it. That’s like the infamous straw that broke the camel’s back. Just one more thing happening to you when your cup is full could throw you completely out of whack. On the other hand if you consciously left a bit of room at the top for the unexpected (BS) it would be like bracing up when you knew someone was going to hit you in your stomach.

In a sense I expect the unexpected to happen in life. When it does I have room in my cup to receive it. I leave x-amount in my capacity for BS so when it inevitably happens I just shuck it off instead of getting all bent out of shape. This is a conscious daily practice.

When people do unexpected things or act in ways that are contrary to my ideal they no longer throw me completely off my game. When something I hoped for does not materialize as I had hoped I am no longer as devastated. Even though I keep a positive mental attitude in general, I try to leave enough room for the unexpected.

We are not superior to life. We are merely having our being inside this game of life. Expecting the unexpected, the unplanned and unwanted, leaves room in your cup.

Although we may hope that our incoming match our outpouring… that is not always the case with life. When things don’t happen according to our expectations we are free to let it go and move forward. By leaving room in our cup for the unexpected it is much easier to let go, forgive, or just press ahead with a positive mental attitude. Some refer to this as “Letting go and letting God.”

Try this practice as conscious awareness. Teach yourself to expect the unexpected. Keep enough head-room in your cup so some of those small things do not become really, really huge things. Be at peace with yourself so you can be at peace with the world around you. Constantly do things that take the edge off the top in order that you may have the extra head-space.

Leave room for cream. Leave some room for the inevitable BS that life tosses your way. If you do this you might become a much more peaceful person. In doing so the world will usually reflect back what it senses coming from you. Leave room in your cup for cream.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Where Are We Now?

Occasionally you can feel a sense of the passage of time. There have been many incidents that placed bookmarks in the pages history so we could remember where we were then. As you age certainly there are more marks to remember simple because you lived that long.

Think back over the past decade at the incident stands out the brightest. I suppose for many of us that would be the tragedy of 9/11 event. For others it could be the election of America’s first African-American President. Even though there were many more notable events these two stands out quite vividly.

Go back to the decade of the 90s, what stands out the most? Perhaps the scandal of our President with what’s her name stands out? During the 80s we had a boom in the housing market with interest rates as high as 19%. The 70s was the dance fever, disco, and a shifting of racial currents after the turbulent 60s. Of course the 60s was the assassination of the Kennedy brothers, MLK, and several civil rights leaders, along with the Vietnam War. This was certainly an age of revolution against the status-quo establishment.

To go back any further would precede most of you, but I think the point has been made about how time seems to have many notable bookmarks that keeps us conscious of its movement. I am one of the baby-boomers of the 40s with the last World War and my parents could go back even further to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Each decade has at least one shinning bookmark.

As we get ready to enter the second decade of the 21st Century I wonder what’s in store for us. Currently we are in one of the greatest financial recessions since the Great Depression. Could a recovery out of these bad times be a coming bookmark?

Will we enter into a new age of green technology essentially ousting the combustive engines that have been killing our planet for over a hundred years? Will we finally get sick enough of partisan politics and let the politicians know whom they work for? Will people finally wake up and began to understand that we are the ones that must bring in the change we want to experience, otherwise we must rely upon the darker days to bookmark this time for us.

Time and history are not all that particular about what they record. Whatever we give is recorded and stored indelibly in their annals. On the other hand as conscious being we have the ability to look ahead and plant seeds that can grow into good things. The seeds we are planting today will produce the fruit that will be gathered tomorrow. That brings a question to mind; what type of seeds are we planting?

In this day of rapid technological advancements certainly our society should be more transparent? If only we open our eyes we would see what goes on behind the scenes much better than we could see before. The days of back-door politics and under-handed dealings should be out. Devious people used to do their dastardly deeds in private and the people were forced to deal with their stuff. It doesn’t have to be that way now.

We shouldn’t continue fall for the stranglehold the gas companies have over us. We should find a way to end the political wars we are fighting for the interest of some pie-in-the-sky, deep, secret, hidden agenda. We should spend our available funds in order to re-build our infrastructure rather than spending one more dime on anyone’s war? We could easily calculate the total daily cost of fighting both wars we are currently fighting and see what this country could do with that much money by putting it back into our system. We must stop the bleeding before we can rebuild.

Think about this!

Where in the hell are we?

If we are not planting seeds that we know will produce good fruit then we are vulnerable to the dark days that will certainly bookmark this very time we are passing through. Do we need another tragedy to remember the second decade of the 21st century? Dare we consciously do something positive that could be remembered for the next few hundred years?

Certainly the fact that we elected our first African-American President will be remembered for a long time, but the jury is still out on what his legacy will become.

We can come together as the people of these United States and finish a great mark in history as was proclaimed by the crafters of our nation. Or, we can place just another dark stain on history as we have done in the past. We can come together as people and do what is right and decent for the sake of the country and for our future, or, we can continue to do as we have always done, business as usual. What will it be folks; the call is ours.

Where are we now?

Perhaps a better question is:

Where do we want to be?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life is an Illusion and Somewhat Delusional

Although this blog deal primarily with male issues, this one is for all.

Have you noticed that life is rarely what it appears to be on the surface? Most of it was intended to make you dig under the surface of things in order to find its true meaning. For this reason most go through their lives in somewhat of a fog. This is because they don’t care to work that hard for wisdom. Wisdom is usually hidden in plain view because of the delusion that life depicts.

Too bad we are not like the fowl that know instinctively to dig under the straw in order to find their goodies. If we had such an outlook about life we would certainly find the most precious of goods right before our very eyes; however, because we focus on the delusion of things, we don’t see what is right there. We live primarily upon perceptions and assumptions. Under this façade is the reality.

Behind thing that are seen there are the unseen forces that causes the seen things to appear. Beyond the physical existence are powers and forces at the spiritual and even the physical subatomic level that are unseen to the naked eye. By the time you physically see things happen the cause has already passed through the seen vortex.

When we see the leaves move on a tree it is after the wind has passed through it. When we experience one of nature’s storms it is after the cause has created the effect. In a similar way there are mostly unseen forces in the universe that creates the seen outcomes.

If you go about your normal day making critical judgments based upon what is revealed rather than probing deeper into what caused the revelation you are at least one step behind what “IS.” That alone is not a problem for us. But our unawareness of the initial causes can be a problem for us. It is like working on the sickness rather than the cause. An aspirin works on the symptom but not the cause.

Headaches are our body’s way of telling our minds that something is wrong within our body’s system. If you merely take the pain reliever without exploring what the body may be telling you the problem may be still hidden within. If you had too much to drink the night before and have a bad headache the next morning chances are you know the cause. In this case the aspirin should do the trick to relieve the pain until the alcohol passes through your system. If you choose to drink too much the next day perhaps you didn’t learn a lesson (wisdom) from the headache. If you continue to do so the body may choose to breakdown in another way like a liver or kidney problem.

As we experience the unwanted things of life we need to try to use our invisible eyes rather than the visible ones. The cause is usually hidden in plain view but often we are not looking just under the surface of things. Behind every action there is a cause. If you want to make changes try looking beyond the action into the cause. Be like the fowl that realizes how much goodies are hidden just under the surface. Make this a regular practice.

Don’t live in the delusion merely following the illusion that life reveals. It wants you to dig deeper where true wisdom is stored. Open your spiritual eyes and stop allowing your physical eyesight to rule your mind. “Be in control over the mind.”

This is food for thought for those who seek. May those with eyes to see and ears to hear receive this message.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


There is no better time than the present to do the things that need to be done. The habit of procrastination is one that is very hard to break once it becomes a part of your core being. Most habits take a considerable amount of time to develop and at least that much or more time to break them.

In truth we don’t usually need the amount of time that we think in order to break our habits. Most of the time we spend by way of getting things done is spent on overcoming procrastination. It is like having a roadblock in the mind. Once the mind is in gear to go forward then time is no longer our enemy. When you do things in the NOW moments time is not your obstacle.

How does one learn how to break the tendency of procrastination? Like all things you develop in life you need to make it a constant practice. Each day give yourself a chore to do and see if you can do it immediately, at the moment you think about it. If you are lying in bed in the morning and there is a chill in the air… tell yourself to get up immediately and do it immediately. Or, tell yourself to get up five minutes before the time you originally set… do it on an impulse. Do something spontaneously without giving yourself the time to talk yourself out of doing it. These are just a few examples of ways you can practice breaking the habit of procrastination.

Once you become a proactive person rather than a reactive one you will be surprised at what you can accomplish. Most highly successful people are the ones that live actively with life rather than re-actively. They create the action, albeit good or bad, and just do it! They are the ones in charge rather than waiting on others to make the first move. Most highly successful people have found a way to overcome procrastination.

In fact, most ordinary people do not reach a fraction of their potential because they cannot make themselves do what must, or needs to be done, just when it needs to be done. There is usually much more in the “potential tank” than most utilize. Once you overcome the habit of procrastination you will inevitably climb up the ladder of your potential. You will learn to burn more of the fuel in your tank.

Learning to live in and with the current moment is something that we all could do much better. In order to do so we must somehow learn to overcome our own demons. We are at war with ourselves much more than we care to admit. The main battleground is in your mind.

The world is not really holding you back. The system is not really holding you back. People are not responsible for holding you back. We are our own worst enemy. We have to learn how to overcome the hurdle of our own mind. When we win the battle over the “self” is when we are free to reach our highest potential. NOW is the only time that matters. Not a while ago and certainly not in the future. Do what you know needs to be done in the NOW!

The past is eternally gone and the future has not yet arrived, NOW is really all there is. That’s a fact and your truth!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recolor the World's Picture

I find myself looking at the news and almost instantly getting somewhat depressed at the condition of mankind. It appears that we are in a “hellhole” waiting on the final wall to crumble down over us, finally taking us out of our misery.

The economy is down, crime is up, people are loosing their homes, no jobs to be found, schools are failing, we’re fighting two wars, soldiers are dying, alcohol and drug abuse on the rise; God is being taken out of homes, families and workplaces, road rage on the rise, workplace rage, and the overall picture we see daily is very gloomy. Is that the state of the human condition? Is that the image the world portrays?

If this picture is drilled into our minds each day then eventually we will start believing that it's almost worthless to leave our homes. If things were that bad why even bother? I for one refuse to accept such a gloomy picture. Even though things are very bad in many areas of life, I refuse to give up hope.

There is a lot of good in the world, but that is not what sells through the media. I understand that only bad news sells; not only that, it also paints the image that most people perceive. I say to each of you, recolor your picture!

What we believe to be true has a lot of influence upon how we operate. If you have a negative outlook on life that has an effect upon you just as well as if you have a positive one. Both paint the world you see. Are you willing to allow the news media to tell you how to paint your picture of the world?

In truth there are many great news stories. There are tons of people doing incredible and charitable things, but they usually don’t make the headlines. If you want good news you have to go out and find it for yourself. If you can’t find it easily then why not become the star of your news show and make your own good news story. Try doing something incredibly kind and nice for someone and feature it on your show.

This may not be good advice of each of you, but my suggestion would be to turn off the news for a while. You know it’s going to be gloomy so why punish yourself. Why allow them to paint the picture for you knowing that it will be gloomy? If you consume too much negativity your system will eventually become what you consume. Likewise when you feed your system positive thoughts your system will respond to that kind of input.

I encourage all of you to take back the picture that is being painted for you. We know all those bad things happen, but we do not have to swim in it. We don’t have to allow those thoughts prevail in our minds as our main source of mind-food. Become actively involved in either finding good news or making it. Help someone in need, feed a hungry person or family, help someone who is in distress, do something to save the natural resources, join the green healthy planet movement, teach a child, or there are about a gazillion positive things you can do if you set your mind to it.

Don’t allow Big Brother to tell you what image to accept as the world’s picture. It takes only one bad apple to spoil a whole bunch. For the most part people are not as bad as you think. Out of one hundred people more than 85% will be decent. 10% will be vulnerable to negative behavior and about the remaining 5% may be bad, with only 1% of those being hopeless. I just made up these statistics, but when you think about it, the bad news is committed by a very small percentage of the population. Why allow them to paint the entire picture when they are only a small segment of our population? Re-color your picture of the world. I beg of you!

A Man's Mind

For the most part men are creatures of habit, much more so than women. Men like to know what to expect and when to expect it. When things happen in a random manner, most men get uncomfortable. The reason why home furniture, carpeting and flooring shows evidence of imprints or indentations is because a man will normally sit in the same place in his home, watch the same programs, (sports of many kinds) eat the same thing for breakfast, or order the same meal when they go out to dinner. Men like stability around them, not instability. They prefer sameness over difference.

Because of this trait you would think that men would make ideal partners in marriage and relationships. The truth of the matter is; most men would make very committed partners in relationships if things remained the same as when they made their commitment. The problem with females is the fact that “sameness” is rarely part of their nature. Inwardly and outwardly females seem to be in a constant state of change. Going through their monthly cycles makes one day different from the next. It seems that they are always leading up to their cycles or dealing with the days after. In many ways females are like the four seasons of a calendar year. Their emotions seem to change with whatever season they are experiencing. This is not something that most males can easily handle.

The reason why many men leave their relationships is because women are constantly changing, which throws the typical male out of his comfort zone. Since men prefer sameness, you have two ships moving in opposite directions. Until both parties understand their conflicting differences they tend to blame each other for the problem.

How do we tackle this dichotomy? Is there a way that these two virtually opposite poles can come to an understanding of their ordinary nature so it does not become a stumbling block? The first thing that has to be done is for the parties to understand their differences: their needs, their desires, their wants, preferences, hopes, dreams, and other parameters that actually cause the ripples between them. Males need to understand that females have certain mannerisms and tendencies that may oppose a part of their natural mannerisms and tendencies. As the genders begin to understand that these differences are a part of something that is natural, they no longer need to take them as a personal attack.

Take a very basic example. Most females sit when they have to pee, while most men stand up. . Should males become upset when the female complain if he wets the toilet seat that she has to sit on? What if you had to sit in someone’s pee? Another example: If a woman tend to speak while she is going through the thinking process and a man is quiet while he is going through the thinking process, this doesn’t mean that the man is angry or ignoring the woman when he is quiet. He is only dealing with things the best way he knows. When we understand such differences we don’t have to assume the worst.

Women need to understand how simply a man’s mind works, while men need to do the best they can to understand what many women can’t figure out about how her mind works. Just step back, fellows, and allow her to lead you into what she feels in her heart. Don’t try to figure out a woman’s heart with your mind. Just food for thought, gentlemen!

Real Change

What’s it going to take to create real change in society? I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but America is a time bomb waiting to blow up. Our economy is out of whack, our people are out of whack, our entire system is out of whack, and overall… this ship is sinking deeper and deeper. What is causing all this negativity? How did we get into this deep hole, and how can we get out? Real change means making radical moves that may not be popular. Keeping things the same as always just because we want things to work in our favor is not a recipe for success. More than likely all of us need to adopt a policy of doing what it takes to fix the problem even at the expense of some discomfort.

It appears that too many people are seeking something or someone to blame rather than spending an equal amount of time or energy toward doing what they personally can to make a positive change. When you have a limited capacity to deal with it is wise to use as much of that capacity toward things that are beneficial rather than those that are not. All of us are busy doing what we must to run our lives. That means that we have limited energy and resources to spend on fixing problems outside of our own.

In truth our problems are similar. The economy, jobs, home prices, food prices, gasoline prices, our school systems, crime, roads, highways and infrastructure; most of us are affected adversely by these things. It is not “their” problem but “our” problem. Until we come up with solutions that work for all of us, our ship will continue to sink.

We need real change. Real change means we may have to give up something that we think we must have. We’ll have to sacrifice personal pleasure for a while until the ship is repaired otherwise the ship will sink. It’s either sacrifice and live, or remain the same and go down with it. Those are our real options. Like it or not, we are a nation of people.

Only a very small percentage of citizens can afford to build walls tall enough not to be affected by the ills of our society. For those who are that selfish, there’s a separate category in which they fall. If you are a heartless person that cares only about your own selfish gains, then there’s very little that you’re willing to sacrifice for the gains of others. This description doesn’t fit the majority of the American people. Yes, we want what we want, but for the good of us all I think people would be willing to give up a little, even a lot, if they knew we would all benefit. We need the type of real change that requires a willingness to do what is best for the entire ship, not just a cabinet on the ship. If the whole ship sinks, what good purpose would that luxury cabinet serve?

There is real power in people. If we should ever join hands and stand together there is no stronger power. Imagine us standing together to feed everyone who is hungry. Imagine us standing together to make sure everyone has medical attention, a roof over their heads, or a place to live in dignity. There are some that have so much wealth and resources that they will never use in their lifetime. There are many of us who are spoiled by having more than we require in order to sustain our basic life functions. It’s not that we have too little, but that we are so used to wasting and glutting what we have. People, we need real change and, it must start with a willingness to give up on being so spoiled.

Saturday, July 31, 2010



Many of you are too young to remember this song by James Brown, who was arguably the single greatest black entertainer of his times when I was growing up as a young man. It was a different world back then, but one that people of my generation know quite well.

Unfortunately too many men think the world they are facing now should be handled like the ones from the olden days. I can tell you now that with absolutely no uncertainties, “This is a completely different world.” Even though it is still basically a man’s world in terms of who controls the major leadership roles, in between the sheets things have already changed drastically. What happens in the bedroom may have stayed there in times past but that is no longer the case. Women and girls are stepping out and doing their thing.

Should males be intimidated by the surge of female empowerment? If a person is the best candidate for a position why should it matter which gender they may be? Most business owners want workers in their companies that are the best at what they do. They are seeking high performance in what they were hired to achieve. No matter what the job may be the bottom line is the level of performance and what the workers may add to the company’s bottom line. If females prove to be the best candidates then they should be the ones hired.

In an ideal world considering the best person for a possible position would certainly be the most logical thing to do. All people should be treated fairly and given an equal chance to compete for the jobs or positions at hand. However, this is not an ideal world. People are not treated equally. Bigotry, gender biases, discriminatory practices, haters, and male chauvinists still dominate our western civilization. However, that day seems to be on a short leash. Female power is on the rise and there doesn’t appear to be much to stop them from gaining full equality.

A real man would stand up to the challenge and make sure he is fully prepared to compete in the world at large for the position he seeks. Only the lazy or underprivileged would sit back and complain about their inability to compete. Who would you blame besides yourself? When different people compete for the same things then the basic rule is victory to the winner. If someone seeks an unfair advantage then how could that be a good thing?

Fellows, this is your wake up call. This is no longer a man’s world. It is now a world where the best person for the position gets the job. Men no longer have an unfair advantage. Women always had more power than we gave them credit for having, but now they are able to flex their muscles and exert their power. The game is on. If you want to compete in this world then you had better come to the table with your best stuff. This is a good thing. It should bring out the best of both sexes. Ultimately and perhaps even unfortunately the weak will fall. That is how Mother Nature takes care of business. The strong survive and the weak are trampled by a stampede of the strong ones. Fairly soon we will no longer call this “a man’s world.” It will simply be a place where the best person walks away with the goodies.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Road Most Travelled

We know that the wider road is the one most traveled simply because most people don’t want to take risks. If they see the majority taking a certain path they assume they do so for a reason. Normally I would say that is not a bad practice, but much depends upon if you, as an individual, have more to offer to the group effort than you are willing to give. It’s easy to take the wide road, but much harder to go above and beyond the call of duty onto the road less traveled. Those who take this road realize why they do so.

The common thought process is: “Why should I do more than absolutely necessary in order to put myself into the position that I desire?” If you are capable of achieving great things yet refuse to do so, “just because,” then you are wasting your natural or God-given gifts. As you look at the totality of the human species there are only a few chosen ones that carry our species progressively forward in a positive manner. If those who have such ability refuse to step on the throttle… the consequences can be devastating for the rest of the species.

As a person who has gifts and talents to do more and rise higher, it is almost a duty to fulfill the shoes I was destined to follow. Since the truly gifted and talented ones are so rare it may take several years or decades before life can reproduce one with uniqueness. Therefore it is imperative that those who have unique and special talents do all they can in order to place their stamp upon society and the world.

Imagine if Gandhi had taken the road less traveled? Imagine if MLK had chosen to get his nuclear family ahead and allow his race to fend for itself? Imagine all the scientists and inventors receiving an idea to create something totally new for the benefit of humanity and, for whatever reason, chose not to share their thoughts with the world? The road less traveled is not an easy one, but it is one that the select few chose to take.

Regardless of what you may think, you came into this world with a special and unique gift or talent. You have a special ability that is yours alone. Just suppose for a moment that you are the only one that can perform what you have the ability to do. Would you not feel an obligation to do the right thing for the right reason? Truth has it; people choose to take the lesser road. They realize that a higher road is available, but still opt to take the lesser one. Is that you?!!!

Without blaming anyone for negligence I would simply say there is much more available to us as a species than that of which we take advantage. More people with special gifts and talents think they can simply take the popular road and allow life to do what it does. I say to you; “That’s not good enough.” You were blessed beyond others for a reason. For those who are given much, more is expected of them; and for those who were given less, not as much is expected. Where you fall in the overall scale is something that you inwardly know. Your Creator knew in advance what you were intended to achieve.

Understanding this to be even a remote possibility: which road will you take? There are two choices: the road most traveled or the one less traveled. The choice is YOURS.

A Man With a Plan

Sorry to admit this, fellows, but too many of you wing it through life rather than coming up with a sensible plan that will assist you in navigating through it. In this case it is not the pot calling the kettle black because I was like most males who share a similar attitude when they are young. They operate from the seat of their pants or from their gut feelings.

Fortunately for me I made a couple of wise choices that assisted me later in life. I can’t take any credit for being smart because I only followed the prompting that came my way from my environment (most specifically from my Mother) that led me to take precautionary measures.

Unfortunately, the statistics show a drastic decline in how the male species is operating while at the same time it shows a counteracting incline in how females are operating. Overall females are doing much better in this society, while males are not. Much of this is attributed to the lackadaisical attitude men have adopted in recent years. Men are not used to having to compete against females for the typical roles men fulfilled since time's beginning. Men were the unchallenged heads of the family. Today, how things have changed.

Men can no longer depend upon going out and finding a manual labor job just to produce an income that will sustain a family. In tough economic times minimum-wage jobs will not cut it. Depending upon your financial social status such wages will not even cover the minimum standards of living. If living below the standard is what you are willing to accept for your family and yourself, then being a man without a plan will certainly get you there. Alternatively, if you want more for those who depend upon you, a plan of action is necessary. The rules of the world have changed. You must adjust if you want to become successful.

Obviously good planning is beneficial to all: Major businesses operate that way, teams work that way, and even the world at large works in an organized manner. When you don’t have a plan the automatic default is usually failure. For example, if you leave a plot of land un-kept it will not grow a manicured garden. It will only produce wild weeds. This is called entropy. A man without a plan achieves similar results.

Even though I can’t tell you how to plan your life, or what kind of plan may work with the skills or natural gifts you may have, I can tell you with certainty that if you do nothing… you will achieve nothing. If achieving nothing is good enough for you, then so be it.

Being incorrigible as a single person with no responsibilities is one thing, but being that way with responsibilities and people depending upon you places one on the lower side of human character and behavior. You are beyond constraints, advice, or correction. If that is truly how you want to run your life then do it alone, and hopefully away from others that want what is best for all.

A man with a plan is what you should want to be. When you were a child people expected you to act as one, but there comes a point when you reach the age of maturity. At that point you must shed your childish ways and step up to the plate in order to be counted or even be IN the game of life. You may not have a master plan for success but at least you should have one that keeps you out of the wild weeds. Be somebody that others can call worthy – be a man with a plan!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What do you stand for?

Obviously many of us have our different lines drawn we draw in the sand that we are willing to protect at all cost. A lot of this has to do with your upbringing. If you were taught a decent set of morals while you were developing your personality chances are that you will do the right thing when called upon to do so. However, with the peer pressure that comes when you are in the teens and young adult you are more liable to do things that go against your core values. At such times you may decide to recklessly break your own rules against what you know to be a smarter choice.

Are you your own man or do you dance to someone else's tune. Being your own man means standing on the values you deem to be right, correct, decent, caring, considerate, or just doing what you feel is best given the situation… I just used the “f” word “feel!” Do guys really feel things? Yes they do, but they were told not to show their feelings. It’s your gut instinct!

Regardless to what the media calls a “macho man,” a “real man” has the complete package. He is not afraid to stand up and do what is right. Doing things just to please others is not a “real man”… that would be one that does not pull his own chains. Since most males think analytically, tell me what you think is better… to be controlled by the desires of others or to be controlled by your desires? This is a trick question.

If you have good values then you should stand firm on them, but if you have weak values they are not worth standing upon. How do you know if your value system is good, bad, strong, or weak? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. If what you do causes harm to others and you as well… that would be weak or bad values. If what you do aids, assist, or otherwise improves upon others it would be good values. If no one taught you the difference between right and wrong while you were growing up it is up to you to start re-training you.

Think before you act. Understand that there are consequences to all the things you do. If you make a bad cause it will create a bad consequence. If you make a good cause it will make a good consequence. Use a simple set of rules in the beginning that are based upon the consequences of your actions, deeds, and thoughts. Once this becomes a habit then expand upon your basic values. Refine them to higher spiritual qualities. Know what you stand for and stand firm for the things you know to be beneficial.

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

I’m sure most of you have heard this statement, but few know where it comes from or what it really means. The term is often attributed to Rudolf Enrich Raspe's story The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen, where the main character pulls himself out of a swamp, though it's disputed whether it was done by his hair or by his bootstrap.

Tall boots may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a tool to provide better leverage in pulling the boots on. The saying "to pull yourself up by your bootstraps" was already in use during the 1800s as an example of an impossible task. Bootstrap as a metaphor, meaning to better oneself by one's own unaided efforts, was in use in 1922. This metaphor spawned additional metaphors for a series of self-sustaining processes that proceed without external help. This is from Wikipedia.

That’s more information than you need to know at this time but it is a good metaphor for what I want to talk about. When you are down you have options. You can stay down or you can figure a way to get back up. Your options as to how to get back up on your feet may not be simple, they may not be easy, or they may not be what you desire, but usually “where there is a will there is a way.” If you want to achieve something bad enough you will more than likely find a way to do it.

Many of us have been down at various points in our lives. Things have not always worked out the way we planned. Some go through health problems, financial problems, failed relationships, problems with children, drugs, alcohol, or other issues. The reasons why we fall down are too numerous to count. However, the first step to recovery is to realize that you are down. Become aware!

Acknowledge exactly where you are in order to pinpoint the situation. Once you see your exact situation and circumstance then you can plan a route to get away from where you are to where you want to be. For example if you have a drug problem you need to admit to the problem and then seek the necessary help to fix it. If your relationship is failing you need to admit that it’s failing and then try to fix it, or end it. You must first acknowledge your situations before you can change it.

Now, pull yourself up by your bootstraps. By that I mean don’t wait for someone else to come along and save you from your problem. Instead get a hold of yourself, your mind, your physical abilities, your heart, your will, your desire, and every part of your being and decide that you are willing to do what’s necessary to change your circumstances. Once your mind is made up to change then the will (volition) kicks into action. This is the inner part of your being, the spiritual component that you may not recognize.

Rarely do we know the full extent of our abilities until we are forced into action. In life or death situations you do things that you didn’t know you could do because you don’t have other options. Survival is one of the primary human instincts. We use every part of our being when we absolutely have to. You have it in you… but you just don’t realize it.

Why wait until the curtains are about to be pulled down on your life. Why wait until your foundation crumbles. There are enough tale-tale signs to indicate when things are going in the wrong direction. Things do not normally crash without notice. I say to you, pull yourself up before you go completely under: If things are not going well, get the proper help. Reach out to a trusted friend; get professional help, rally the troops, or just do something to change the immediate picture. Change your circumstance and you may be surprised when you see a difference. If you’re lying in the mud, get out! Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nurturing Your Male Needs

It is common knowledge that females have certain needs that are very important to their welfare. Most males are aware that females have these needs and do all they can in order to make their women feel nurtured, to a certain degree. This is not to say that men are naturally intuitive, in fact quite the opposite seems to be more of the standard, but when they aren’t supplying their spouse's needs, somehow they are made aware of it. Women have several ways of letting men know when they are not being satisfied. Many of these ways are not always verbal. When males sense something is not quite right they do what they are capable of doing in order to “make momma happy.” When momma is not happy, no one is happy.

However, when it comes to taking care of your masculine needs, very little attention is given. Males do all they can to please and nurture females, but the opposite is not the standard. When it comes to nurturing masculine needs most males are not consciously aware of what their needs may be because rarely is it verbally expressed. It is not that males want to become pampered by females but that they have certain needs that will make them function better. It is similar to how vehicles require regular maintenance in order to function at their best level of performance.

Several years back I read a booklet that spoke about masculine needs and how to nurture them. At the time I was not aware that I needed certain pampering or maintenance in order to function to the best of my ability. After reading this material I got it right away. I realized that when I was properly maintained I functioned better. Many men think that they need to be fulfilled sexually and that would place them at the top of their abilities.

In truth sex pertains to a physical need, but we are more than just physical creatures. We have emotional, spiritual and psychological needs in addition to our physical needs. Although our physical needs are quite important, sex is not a cure-all. It is not even a panacea for our physical needs.

Without getting into copyrighted material I will summarize some of the things this material revealed to me in reference to our masculine needs. Once you become aware of these needs you can personally take charge of being in charge of your own masculinity. You become the gatekeeper in order to make sure you are being properly maintained. Many of these requirements are up to you to carve out pf time and space in order to make sure they are met. Below, I will briefly mention these needs and you can figure out where you stand by way of servicing and maintenance. This was taken from a booklet by John Gray, PhD called, “Twelve Ways for Men to Nurture Their Masculinity.”

One: Men need to spend time with other males competing as a team or as individuals. This helps them to sharpen their personal tools. As boys you learned to play hard against each other. Even though you saw that as play, you learned life skills that help you today in a competitive world. When you learn to operate as a team that helps you in things such as family, business, or other natural groupings where we (males) are involved.

Two: Men need time alone in order to contemplate where they are in life and what they need to do in order to proceed forward. If you do not take this time alone for self-reflection life has a way of smothering you and you won’t be able to see through the fog. Find ways of spending time alone in self-reflection and it will keep you aligned with your purpose, your goals, and what you perceive as your truth. This was referred to as “cave time.”

Three: Males need to find ways of releasing their warrior energies. Males are born with aggressive tendencies. This is why they were the primary candidates for soldiers in war. They could be trained to unleash their warrior-like energies. These energies can be released by, playing games, looking at violent movies, exerting themselves physically through playing hard, and the like.

Four: Men need to regularly exert their muscles in different ways. There are energies that are running through your system that need to be managed properly. Allowing your muscles to flex helps to manage your masculine energies. Doing different things that allow your muscles to flex helps nurture your masculinity.

Five: Push yourself to new higher limits. Not only do you need to push your muscles, you need to push your mind. You need to reach for higher goals. Don’t get too comfortable with the status quo because that makes you age. Learn new things and keep pushing yourself.

Six: Do random acts of kindness. This will keep you spiritually-adjusted. Learn to do things for others. Learn to put the needs of others above your own selfish needs. Even though you need to always protect self, thinking outside of the self helps you to practice your masculine roles and the responsibilities that are expected of you. You are protector and provider. In order to do so you must think outside of just yourself.

Seven: Don’t punish those in your inner circle. Usually you take out your frustrations on the ones who are nearest to you. The ones in your own home tend to catch the brunt of your emotional storms. Find other ways of releasing without punishing the ones in your inner circle.

Eight: Do things that make you feel accomplished and in charge. Just as you would make a “to-do list” for the job or for household chores, make a list of things you do just to satisfy your needs. Perhaps no one does things for you that make you feel good. Not to worry, make your own list and do them for you just as you would do them for others.

Nine: Overcome procrastination. When something needs to be done do it immediately. Don’t put things off until later because that becomes a deadly habit. Make a check-list and do the ones that are tough first. The rest will be so easy that they practically take care of themselves. Become proactive. Do it NOW!

Ten: Don’t allow fear to freeze you. Most of us allow our fears to stop us in our tracks. If you want to do something and sense fear, face it. There is a reason why most people do not accomplish their goals. It is because they allow fear to stop them from acting. Face fear and overcome it. Use it as your motivation.

Eleven: Practice containing your anger. When you sense anger beginning to grow inside you, become conscious of the escalating agitation. Do something to divert or displace the anger. Sense it; give it a name as you would a tropical storm. When you face it you gain the upper hand rather than allowing it to take you out of your mental control.

Twelve: Create a male support group or system. Find other males you can speak to about emotional things or things that you don’t know how to express. A best buddy is good to have but if not, find other males that you can bounce things off. Don’t live in a bubble. Create a male support system.

I am not trying to infringe on copyrighted material but instead passing on something that I thought was extremely beneficial in helping me understand my masculine needs. Google John Gray PhD and learn more of his pointers to aid in your understanding of gender needs and differences. This is my paraphrase of what I learned from that book. I am happy to give credit where credit is due. Again, this is not something that I created.

Yes guys, you have masculine needs. Make sure you are doing something to fulfill those needs just as you are doing things to fill the needs of others.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Parenting Issues

One of the major responsibilities for most males is the role of parenting. For most of them this responsibility does not come easy. Males in general are not formally taught how to be good parents. Most learn from watching others fill this role such as our father, relatives, or other male role models that happened to be in their focus of attention. Because of this lack of adequate parental education most have their share of failures when it comes to being fathers.

Parenting can be a very tough role to fill. Like most other adult roles it requires on the job training. We do the best we can with the few skills we have. Unfortunately most of us don’t have good reliable resources to turn to when we have questions regarding how to effectively parent our children. Most don’t even have reliable resources to turn to in order to learn about marital issues in general, which include dealing with your spouse in addition to the children, the in-laws, aging parents, and a host of things that come with matrimony.

If you only had one issue to handle such as being a great dad perhaps you could buckle down and tackle that chore with personal pride and do an adequate job of what you set out to achieve. If life were that simple then more of us would be much more successful. Unfortunately we do not get to tell life when or how to dish us out our responsibilities. They do not come just one at a time wrapped in a neat package. On the contrary they usually come in bundles. While you are learning how to become a decent parent you have to also learn how to be a decent husband at the same time. You have to learn how to get along with in-laws, how to deal with employment issues, and a multitude of other issues at the same time. In fact, when it rains, it pours!

When you open the doors of problems to deal with they seem to flock together. Most young married couples don’t have the necessary maturity to deal with that much stress under intense pressure so many times they fold under fire. The marriage crumbles. Yet, you have to still be a parent to your children for life. How do you separate all the anger and venom from a failed marriage so you can still perform your job and responsibility as a parent? No one ever said it would be easy. When you thought you were falling in love with your potential mate you never anticipated having so many things to deal with at once, all requiring your immediate attention.

I’m not trying to paint a dark picture, but before you make the decision to become a parent you need to think through the big picture. Being married in and of itself can be trying and complicated. Learning how to deal with in-laws can have its challenges. Dealing jointly with finances, employment issues, career issues, and just coming together as a team with others is extremely challenging. Wouldn’t it be prudent to work slowly into all these tentacles before you bring children into the world when you will be required to master being the parent in addition to all the other issues?

Being a parent is one of your most important roles as a male, if you decide to become one. Since it is such a precious responsibility you should think carefully before you allow the heat of the moment to create a child. Although you may never be fully ready for the challenges that a young family offers, you can plan ahead and talk over such things with your spouse in order to have a planned family rather than one that you are dealing with blindly. For those who choose to bring children into the world with no desire to become a fully-active parent, shame on you. That is a cruel thing to do to a child, who deserves a fair chance to compete in such a complicated world.

If you choose to get married and start a family, make sure you think this thing through. Don’t just allow regularly and readily available sex to dominate your reason for getting married or for having children. It is much more complicated that just calling yourself a married person. There is much to do, much to learn, and much to consider, especially before you bring children into the world. If you get married while you are young, in your teens or early twenties, don’t rush children into the package. Learn about each other and about the complications of being married before you take the next logical step of bringing children into the picture. Once you bring them in it is too late to undo the lifelong obligation of parenting.

These are things that males need to think through before just jumping into the sack. It is not just for the pleasure of sex. If you want just sex do something to insure that you do not accidentally bring a child into the world unplanned and perhaps even unwanted! Don’t be that irresponsible with the life of a child. Don’t take the role of parenting lightly. It requires much more than you may think while only looking at the picture from the outside. It is a tough responsibility, but it can be a very rewarding one. All I am saying is to think it through wisely before you decide to become a parent. Be prepared for the challenges and step up to the plate to do the right things when the issues come up. Being a parent is one of the toughest roles you could have as a male, but also one of the most rewarding when it is done right.

Greg Middleton is the founder of Real Men Seminars LLC, an organization dedicated to helping men become better men.