Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Heart & My Future

With all of life around me,
and stray thoughts of love still haunted,
I will embrace my heart and my future
and shelter them - undaunted.
Dusted off and polished, and ready to shine once again.
And if what they say is true,
and good things come to those who wait,
then my future, and my heart, may stay idle
until a later date.
But I will do my best,
as I always have,
to be patient,
and know that time spent waiting for love,
is not wasted,
and moments of loneliness
are not in vain.
For once I've found happiness again,
long forgotten becomes the pain.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

In a Silent Way

Even a hot flame can shiver
when a cool breeze passes,
yet it keeps burning,
keeps burning,
in a silent way.
Steady in the air,
and quiet in the mind,
you keep burning,
keep burning,
in a silent way.
but ever steady,
shining brightly
with inanimate diligence.
and burning,
in a silent way.
And the heart hears loudly
what the eyes believe the flame speaks
as it keeps burning
and burning,
in a silent way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Giving Away Memories

Last week I donated four huge bags of belongings.
Four HUGE bags.

Two bags that had been slowly getting filled over the past few months, and another two bags that only took me about two weeks to fill.

And fill them I did, with years of memories from my past.

Funny thing about giving clothes and stuffed animals and other random stuff away is that its easy to feel like you're giving away a piece of yourself.  Obviously, I'm not talking about some silly attachment to an old shirt, but rather the stuff you get rid of because its mere presence in your home will do nothing but spark painful memories of the people and times you associate with it.
I, for one, don't readily get rid of things that bring about powerful feelings and memories - even if they're powerfully hurtful feelings and memories.
The reason is because I tend to embrace melancholia as if it were an old friend, so a simple thing like a picture, a card, an old scarf or even an ugly coffee mug, can literally stop me in my tracks and take my mind and heart to some place a million miles away.  Happy or not, I embrace it as part of what I've experienced and learned from and felt through, and I take from it everything I can, leaving nothing emotionally behind.

But sometimes we must give away.
Give away pieces of our hearts and souls, pieces of our anguish and sorrow, pieces of long-lost times of joy that we simply cannot keep because the path through our memories to get to them is littered with too much heartache.  A memory, no matter how innately perfect by itself, is sometimes not worth holding onto when the painful reminders it spawns overshadow its beauty.

Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.  ~Harlan Ellison

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Humor and Companionship

In looking back on my first year or so of blog entries in 2008, I realized two things:

1- I wrote mostly about people and boring happenings
2- I wrote with a very sarcastic, wise-ass sense of humor.

Interestingly, some of those posts were actually somewhat funny! Or at least I thought so.
And let's be honest, its not like more than maybe 2.5 people read this damn thing, so do I even CARE if anyone else thinks I'm funny??

So now that we have THAT established, I can reveal that while I still have that cocky sense of humor and enjoy making fun of anything and everything, I've developed more of a sincere appreciation for writing about things that require a little deep thinking.

Now, that in no way means that I've banished humor from these hallowed texts. On the contrary, I appreciate humor now more than ever. At some point in life, after you've learned what real pain and loss is about, and after you've experienced massive disappointments and run the gauntlet of emotions associated with love, friendship, family, fear, hopelessness, pride and loneliness, you realize the true value of humor in life. Not as a distraction to living, but as the gentle bumpers on the road to happiness that keep you from falling in the gutter.

Once, several years ago, someone told me that I seem to act like everything is a joke.
That statement bothered me.
I understood why she said that, because I have a light-hearted and joking personality, but it irked me because as much as I want to be the person who can make you laugh, I also want to be the person who you can have a deep, personal, meaningful and insightful conversation with about anything and everything.
FYI - I believe I am that person.

In addition to humor, I've also learned about the intricacies of companionship.
This past weekend I was discussing with my friend about our current and past experiences with relationships. One theme that he touched on was companionship.
Emotionally and figuratively, having companionship is the opposite of loneliness.
I've always been a guy who's enjoyed solitude and privacy because I feel like those two things force one to discover a true sense of self through the lack of external influence - which is important. However, companionship is something that is so easy to swear off as unnecessary right up until the very moment you realize you crave it so badly.
But, just like being alone doesn't really mean you're lonely, having someone there doesn't always mean you have companionship.

I've been right next to someone I've loved yet felt incredibly lonely, and I've also felt like I've had true companionship even though there was no one else around for miles.

Sometimes the logic and emotion of love and life aren't aligned, and you find yourself baffled and hurt, and all you really want is just someone there by your side, someone just to feel close to,someone to just touch and know they're there with you and for you because they really want to be, just as you want to be there with them. If only for a day, or even just a few hours, its that physical and emotional closeness that can provide a needy soul with a much-needed dose of companionship.

And remember, whether you're in each other's arms or one of you is on earth while the other is on the moon, love and closeness know no physical distance when the heart is what bonds you together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Listening in the Night

It's dark out, and I heard him yet again.

I heard him for the first time three days ago.
As I walked out the door on my way to the car, my keen hearing picked up on a very faint but familiar sound. Walking around my building for a while to see what I could discover, the sound had ceased so I couldn't find him.

Then around 2am that night I heard him yet again.
I knew that sound very well.
It was a kitten.
A young one.

That first night I heard him outside - alone - meowing non-stop until about 7am. Several times that night I woke up, as I'm sure others did in my complex, from his constant cries. He stopped finally once the sun was up and more people were stirring about.

The second night he was back once more.
I came home late and upon getting out of my car, I heard him yet again.
This time I walked towards his crying, determined to find the little creature who sounded so pathetically lost, and finally I saw him - meowing and terrified - crouched down between a car and the curb.

I think he spotted me the same time I spotted him.
He was likely scared when he saw me, but my heart sank a little when I saw him.
He was younger than I'd hope he'd be.
Four, maybe five weeks old at best, which is not good news.
Kittens that young are barely old enough to be weaned, and the fact that this little guy is all by himself wasn't a good sign. I know cats well enough, and I knew the reality of his chances of survival.

My attempts to call him over and get any closer were foiled when his learned response to flee humans kicked in and he took off. Hiding under a car a little ways down, he once again started up his futile cries for mama, who was nowhere to be found. If I could just get close, maybe I could nab him and take him in and feed him, but he'll never let anyone get near.

Abandoned, alone, and scared.
I wonder how often people feel like that, and how often their cries for help go ignored.

Its easy to feel lost in this world. Things can so quickly be taken away from us that we're left baffled and numb with no idea what to do. Even sometimes when help might be just a few steps away, you're too terrified to let it even get close. The fear you so wish would leave you alone, is at the same time driving you farther from the help you so desperately need.

Whether you're the one feeling lost and crying out for help, or the one who hears someone else's cries, you need to have the strength and compassion to embrace another person for the betterment of you both. Don't accept waiting for someone else to come along, because that might never happen. It's up to you to be the important difference.

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."
~Ben Sweetland

His constant crying did bother me, as I'm sure it did everyone else who heard it throughout the night. It made it difficult to sleep not only for the mere annoyance of it, but for the realization of what it meant.

But now, tonight, I stand on my balcony listening anxiously, and hear only the normal sounds of the night............................

..........and that bothers me even more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Li'l Freestyle....

DISCLAIMER: Obviously, I don't make a habit of writing raps, but after seeing some scrubs at an open mic night a few weeks ago, I felt like having some fun. Don't read too much into it.

There must be some kind of .....disillusion
when you're desperate for answers but can't find any solutions.
Like if you just go out tonight and find yourself at an open-mic,
you expect some amateurs who just can't do NOTHING right.
Throwing words together like random shit in a cake batter,
But this stage ain't your bakery and your skills are a mockery.
I shoot holes in your style like swiss cheese,
And do it take me a while? Nigga please!
Your rhymes are so porous
your wack lyrics just bore us
So just take your ass back home and throw out that thesaurus.
Its back to the drawing board for you, son.
You can't talk thug 'til you held a REAL gun.
Your pistol don't count when all it shoots is water,
And callin you out is like lambs to the slaughter,
Cuz the only bitches you popped was your slut neighbor's daughter.
Oh snap! Did I hit a nerve?
My words are like fastballs and I just threw you a curve.
Swing all you want but you can't hit back,
I got you lookin stupid like cheese without the mac.
But its all good, I'ma go easy tonight.
you done a good enough job of makin yourself look white.
So let me put you outta your misery
as I fulfill your girl's fantasy,
cuz I'm a true thug spitting lyrically,
like you only hope one day to be.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Escaping Blindness

"A man needs something he can hold onto
A nine pound hammer or a woman like you
Either one of them things will do"
-Jolene by Ray LaMontagne

It's been a mere seven short months since I wrote my post about being a better man in 2010.

I can say with confidence that while I've made great progress in certain aspects, I still don't quite have everything "together" that I'd like to. Granted, my idea of having things "together" is probably more complex than others. I'm not oblivious to the fact that I have a pretty good life and not much to complain about. I'm very thankful for that, and don't at all take it for granted. Yet, there are issues I deal with that may very well be self-induced, but they exist nonetheless, and I'm trying to find my way through them.

Having said that, I can't express enough how much of a learning experience this past year has been for me.

I've gained an incredible amount of insight into the person I was, the person I am, and the person I want to be.

I've learned more unique life lessons in this past year or so than at any other point in my adult life.
There's been some very emotionally-draining days where I had powerful moments of insight that will stay with me forever.

"God is not always silent, and man is not always blind. In every man's life there are moments when there is a lifting of the veil... But such experiences are rare events. To some people they are like shooting stars, passing and unremembered. In others they kindle a light that is never quenched."
~Abraham Joshua Heschel

Now I admit that not only am I pretty private, but I have just as much - if not more - pride than the average guy, and rarely do I share my personal issues openly.
I'm not the "FML!" kind of person looking for sympathy, and I despise attention whores.
I'm more the suffer in silence kind of person who chooses to fight his own battles solo while staying out of the spotlight.

But yet I still find myself at a crossroads (for lack of a better word) that I'm just trying to find my way through.

There's a few things I've learned along the way that I strongly believe in..........

It's OK to ask for help. It doesn't mean you're crazy or pathetic, it just means you're looking for others' input to help you find your own answers. There is a clear distinction between a sad, pathetic, whiner who always craves attention, and someone who just could use a little input right now. I hate whiners, so as long as you're not being one, its more than OK to open the doors of communication to help find some guidance.

It's not OK to be pessimistic or cynical. I can be a wise-ass. I readily admit that. I make jokes and comments about people and things sucking because I find it humorous. But I don't readily believe life is like that. For the most part, I've always been and continue to be balancing on a healthy line between realism and optimism, with a tendency to lean towards optimism. Good things will happen if you make yourself smile and believe that they will. There is always something worse that could be happening and someone out there with a life that is a thousand times shittier than yours. So suck it up, realize how good you actually have it, and continue to know that positive experiences will come your way eventually.

Write. You don't have to be a poet, an English major, or well-read in Medieval literature in order to write. I'm not talking about sonnets, or screenplays, or Pulitzer Prize winning pieces. I'm just talking about the physical act of writing ideas, thoughts, feelings, concepts or problems down on a piece of paper. I don't care who you are, sometimes you have so many things bouncing around in your head that it's impossible to keep track of everything. Even if you just write a list to help you visualize things, it will help. If you want to write something creative, it could be a much-needed artistic release. Just do it. Not only will it help, but it could even end up being something you're proud of - like a post on your blog that nobody reads but you keep writing it anyway.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I wish I had a pair of goggles,
through wish I'd view the world,
in a different light,
beyond my sight,
people's secrets - to me - unfurled.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Baseball Means to Me

It doesn't take a long time of knowing me to know that I love baseball.

I'm a die-hard Yankees fan, but above that, I'm an all-around fan of the sport itself.
I love watching any game - from Little League up through the Majors.

I played 3 years in Pony League, 4 years in Little League, 3 in Babe Ruth, all 4 years in High School, 3 years of American Legion and another 3 years of amateur ball after college, and if I didn't have a job with such a restrictive schedule and chronic tendinitis in my throwing shoulder, I'd be playing still now.

So last night when a friend asked me this question: "So what does baseball mean to you?" it stirred up some emotion for me. Aside from this being one of my all-time favorite books EVER, it's also something that I could go on explaining for hours.

But here was my short and sweet reply:
"It means the smell of freshly cut grass on a Sunday morning. It means being on a team with a bunch of cool guys and working together to win while also having a fun time. It means being nervous as hell when you're up at bat with 2 outs and everyone is relying on you, and it means feeling on top of the world when you make perfect contact with a well-pitched ball and hit that sucker far over the outfielder's head.
It means both good and bad memories of my childhood and middle and high school. It means running the bases until you want to pass out because Coach made you. It means getting sunburn on your forearms and nose and getting a "strawberry" on your thigh because you slid without wearing your sliding pants.
It means the start of Summer and the end of Winter. It means playing a double-header that takes all day long and coming home exhausted, but you don't mind one bit because it was baseball."

Baseball, for me, is a comforting feeling of nostalgia that never gets old or fades.
If anything, my fondness for it gets renewed every Spring.

Excerpts from the late Ernie Harwell's famous essay seems to sum it up best:
"It's America, this baseball. A re-issued newsreel of boyhood dreams. Dreams lost somewhere between boy and man. In baseball, democracy shines its clearest. Here the only race that matters is the race to the bag. The creed is the rule book. Color is something to distinguish one team's uniform from another. Baseball is ballet without music. Drama without words. A carnival without kewpie dolls. Baseball? It's just a game -- as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. "

It's a part of my childhood and a part of my being, and I'll forever be one of the boys of Summer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Untold Story

(Wrote this a few years back. Thought maybe I'd share it)

Excited to be invited

to a magical place,
I wander with curiosity
from space to space,
from room to room
in a well-known house
that I've never seen
yet have been to before.
Although it's not real
I'm compelled to explore,
taking my time,
walking slowly throughout,
my joy slowly fades
as I see through the haze,
clouding my eyes and
blurring my mind,
that today in this house
there's something amiss,
making me nervous
to be discovering this.
The hallways are silent,
each room left empty,
as I peek through the doorways
endlessly searching
for answers to questions
that now have me confused and
bringing me sadness;
no longer amused.
I step into the kitchen
lights - a cool white;
sensing the happiness that
lived here before.
To the back,
by the door,
there's a pair of nice shoes that
were worn with devotion
but shall never again
be used with emotion
and will sadly remain,
from what I can see,
fossils of joy
from a now dead dream.
Overshadowed by pictures on the
now barren walls,
more discoveries of what was
a home, but no longer.
My attention now shifts
to a mother, a father,
with children around
that I wish could still be -
for one moment more -
alive, and not driven
off in the distance
now saying goodbye.
I refuse to wave
as I watch them go on
into the sky
with nothing but dreams,
all left behind.
And is if from a dream,
I awaken from sleep,
with one lonely tear
alive on my cheek.
My eyes closed in sorrow,
as the sadder I grow,
knowing here died a story
the world will never know.
A tale so sad,
so hard to remember.
In a dream it will stay,
untold forever.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quiet Winter Night

When the cold hits your face,
when the glow of the soft, twinkling lights compel your eyes to stare,

and the distant sounds of traffic soothe some melancholy mood,

Loneliness becomes a companion

who conjures up remembered feelings of warmth from nights long passed.
Time - for this moment - spiteful and biting - is a soreness that pains a contemplating mind.
Even darkness, and the night, seem kinder when sweet dreams and fond memories cry out to be left behind.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Gods and Ghosts

I remember the first time I had a real debate about religion.

I was in high school and was home, online, in an AOL chat room with some of my friends - one of whom was a devout Baptist.

I remember feeling rather strongly about arguing for logic and science and what I believed to be common sense, while he was more focused on his beliefs that were acquired through years of church activities and religious teachings.

I stood by my seemingly bullet-proof claim that the Bible and stories of Jesus and the like were all just extravagant tales written by men who had no connection to God. I distinctly recall saying how aliens from another planet could've landed here thousands of years ago and planted these beliefs, and there's just as much "proof" to support that happening as there is to support the elaborate stories of Jesus found in the Bible.

Fast forward a little over a decade later and I still have pretty much the same view on the topic.
(I have a love of logic. So sue me!)

Movies such as this one below further that belief:

Though not 100% accurate, Zeitgeist shows what I believe to be much more of a factual explanation of the origins of Jesus and Christianity.

However, it's only in recent years that I've come to the enlightened conclusion that arguing about the accuracy of religion by using logic is utterly pointless.
No one can ever truly prove or disprove the stories in the Bible or the Koran or the Torah, etc.

But, not only is an argument about the validity of these stories one you can't win, but it's also one that isn't really worth having at all.

Let's be realistic - The whole reason for the existence of religion is to give people some sense of hope and purpose in their lives.

It's goals are to teach goodness, which will ideally lead to happy people in happy societies. So in the end, any reasonable person will realize that nobody wants to be the one to try and discredit anything meant to spread happiness and goodness.

So whether you can put your faith in these ideals or not, it's purpose is what's really important.

Similarly, I've also adopted a deeper understanding of the concept of ghosts.
Since I love logic, you can probably understand that I am skeptical of the notion of spirits and hauntings, etc. I can't watch any of the Ghost Hunter shows without thinking that anyone who claims to "experience" something is just another person who has succumbed to the power of suggestion.

But after thinking about it, the real answer seems almost too obvious:
People believe in God for the same reason they believe in ghosts -- the prospect of something after death!

What a great relief it must be to believe that we aren't just clumps of cells that live and die and decompose in a mundane scientific cycle, but instead, we are all unique souls that live on in a beautiful world that we can never truly explain or understand.

May God bless you all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Live the Moment

I thought about death.

I thought about losing someone close to me.

I thought about something unexpected happening that dramatically changed my life forever, and wondered how I’d feel and how I’d react.

I stopped and tried to envision how my outlook of life would change and what paths I’d choose to go down afterward.

The only problem with thinking so deeply like that about the future, is that it inevitably brings you back to thinking about the present and where you stand at this moment.

It's cliché, but life is short.

A long, hard look at the bigger picture almost always enlightens you to the fact that there's no good reason to sit around and wait for what you want to come to you.

You can't wait for life to come knocking at your door or just fall into your lap.

Living well is not something you can do passively.

Let that be your mantra and I sincerely believe amazing things will happen.

"You'll seldom experience regret for anything that you've done. It is what you haven't done that will torment you. The message, therefore, is clear. Do it! Develop an appreciation for the present moment. Seize every second of your life and savor it!"
--Wayne Dyer

RIP Rik T.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Are you?

It's February.

If you had any New Year's resolutions and managed to keep them 'til now, GOOD JOB.

Research shows that it takes 21 days/times to make something a habit.
So if you've made it this far, DON'T FUCK IT UP!!!

So here we are - a little over a month into 2010 and what have I got to show for it?

Well, I did spend a week in Puerto Rico, trekking through the rain forest, touring the Bacardi distillery and exploring Old San Juan.

I'm also getting over a really rad strep throat.

But I'm a man focused on progress this year, and like my last post made clear, becoming a better person should be a consistent, never-ending battle in many aspects.

....such as fitness.

Here is a blog post
from one of my favorite training authorities.

My favorite quote from it: "If you are too stupid to realize that regular exercise and a healthy diet is a necessary part of life I’m not going to waste my time telling you. Get on some prescription drugs, order a sausage pizza and watch another episode of Friends."

Beautifully said!

Motivation has to come from WITHIN, people!
You also have to discover your own drive and determination to achieve any kind of goals - fitness or otherwise- that you truly desire.

Like Jason says, "You either want to do something or you don't"

I have people coming to me for fitness and nutrition advice, and they seem disappointed when they ask me how they can get a six-pack or lose arm fat and I say they need to change their diet.

Not to call anyone out, but I'll never forget a certain someone who said she'd rather double her time on the treadmill than give up the 5 spoonfuls of sugar in her cereal or stop eating rice with every meal.
Well guess what............
"You either want to do something or you don't"

NOTHING worth achieving comes easily - including a healthy body.
If you ask me for advice, I will ask you what your goals are and I WILL offer you a genuine, heartfelt opinion that I think will help you.
I WILL NOT tell you about some secret, all-powerful exercise or supplement or piece of equipment that will transform your life, because none exists.

But this isn't just a fitness rant, it's a lifestyle rant.

A friend recently shared with me this NY Times article about an intense research study that revealed the power of social circles.

Your close friends, not-so-close friends, and even your friends' friends, can have a dramatic effect on whether you're happy, addicted to something, fit, overweight, etc.

If this isn't a wake-up call to reevaluate the people in your life, I don't know what is.

Hanging out with guys who drink 4-5 beers or sodas a day or eat a large bag of Doritos with their lunch will prevent you from getting that leaner body you say you want.

Likewise, accompanying your buddies on a smoke break will hurt your chances of quitting.

But spending time with that healthy friend with similar goals WILL help you dramatically!

Energy is contagious!
Use it to your advantage!

Here's hoping you may you find positive people to help you with your goals.

Best of luck.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Inspiration for 2010

Everyone greets the changing of the year with different emotions and sentiments.

Some are anxious to be done with a period of time that may have brought them great pain and bad memories, while others simply try to look forward to a new year with great inspiration to pursue life goals and other important changes.

Much like birthdays, celebrations of the passing of time can occasionally bring with them bittersweet reminders of things we'd rather forget. In these cases, it's always better to make sure we make the most of these tough experiences by learning what we can from them, and then never looking back. Only by looking forward and moving onward can you continue to become a better person and obtain your goals.

While '09 definitely had it's share of good times and everlasting memories, it also held more than its share of discontent that I'd rather forget about.

So now - in a new year and new decade - I look forward to 2010 with great optimism and confidence.

One of my many goals for the year ahead is to continue my pursuit of making myself a better man.

To paraphrase something I read in a magazine recently, I want to be the ideal man for our times.
A guy who's got it all together, in both body and mind.

I will continue my journey to be both ruggedly powerful and supremely confident, and capable of taking on whatever comes out of those gates (....to borrow a line from Gladiator).

I will not just look manly and heroic, but feel and act manly and heroic.
I will show that I can be a protector, a provider, and a take-charge kind of guy with a heart.
I will continue to be the best man I'm capable of being.

As for everyone else - Whatever your goals are, I hope you have the patience, wisdom, courage, and tenacity to achieve them.

Need some motivation?
Here are some quotes from my collection that I believe hold bits of priceless wisdom.

"When we are motivated by goals that have deep meaning, by dreams that need completion, by pure love that needs expressing, then we truly live life."

- Greg Anderson

"If a man does his best, what else is there?"
- General George S. Patton

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

- Thomas Jefferson

"Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

- George Jackson

"If you are clear where you are going and you take several steps in that direction every day, you eventually have to get there. So decide what you want, write it down, review it constantly, and each day do something that moves you toward those goals."

Jack Canfield

"What you need to know about the past is that no matter what happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new."

Author Unknown

"Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"There will always be challenges that have manifested, and dreams that haven't. But they'll always pale in comparison to the number of dreams that have manifested, and challenges that haven't."

- Mike Dooley

"Do not wait for joy."

- Author Unknown